New Age Islam
Tue Aug 11 2020, 06:00 AM

Islamic World News ( 24 Oct 2016, NewAgeIslam.Com)

US Exhibition Celebrates Beauty of Quran Manuscripts
















Mohammad Sohan, 25, and Nuresha Khatun, 20, married in a Shiva temple at Bhimnagar village in Bihar. (HT)

 

60 Killed In Twin Suicide Attacks as Terrorists Storm Police Training College in Quetta

Bihar: Muslim Couple Exchange Wedding Vows in Shiva Temple

ISIS Trying To Establish a Caliphate inside Afghanistan: US General

The Muslim Prayer at Rome's Coliseum Was a Declaration of War

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North America

US Exhibition Celebrates Beauty of Quran Manuscripts

Hillary Clinton’s Khizr Khan Campaign Ad Finally Gives American Muslims the Humanity They Deserve

Islamic relief group helps North Carolina recover from Hurricane Matthew

6,000 Muslim migrants with forged papers were captured trying to cross the U.S.-Mexico border

--

Pakistan

60 Killed In Twin Suicide Attacks as Terrorists Storm Police Training College in Quetta

Terrorists Can’t Deter Judiciary, Say Judges

Pakistan, after facing isolation, says will attend Heart of Asia conference in India

Police officer killed as polio team targeted in Peshawar IED blast

Cinema owners deny lifting ban on Bollywood films

Two more ceasefire violations as Pakistan lodges protest with India over 'unprovoked' firing

Army not backing Imran: PML-N

--

India

Bihar: Muslim Couple Exchange Wedding Vows in Shiva Temple

‘India Has Capacity to Produce Hundreds Of New Nuclear Bombs’

Defence Minister Condemns Quetta Attack, Says Pak Should Stop Backing Terrorists

‘ISI radicalising Sri Lankan Muslims to target India’

J&K to prosecute 9 men for raising Islamic State flag

Centre Encouraging Online Applications for Haj: Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi

Pakistan: 4 killed in Pakistan, India border clashes

--

South Asia

ISIS Trying To Establish a Caliphate inside Afghanistan: US General

Quetta Attack: Abdullah Says State-Sponsored Terrorism Leads to Destruction

Dostum accuses Ghani of nepotism, slams Abdullah for being incapable

USAID pledges $791 million in fresh aid to Afghanistan

Bangladesh opposition leader among seven indicted on Italian murder charge

Afghan border police suffer casualties in attack on Torkham posts

--

Europe

The Muslim Prayer at Rome's Coliseum Was a Declaration of War

Reticent Danish Queen Rethinks Islamic Integration

Lavrov: US Yet to Separate Terrorists from Militants in Syria

Aer Lingus removes man 'abusing' Muslim passengers from flight

--

Arab World

Peshmerga and Iraqi Forces Closing In On Mosul

Over 20 Terrorists Killed in Clashes with Syrian Soldiers in South-western Damascus

Terrorist Groups Pull Forces Back from More Lands in North-eastern Hama

IRGC Commander Underlines Need to Produce Radar-Evading Missiles

Syrian Army Scores More Victories against Terrorists in Northern Hama

Commander: Iraqi Army, Volunteer Forces Win Back Key Region in Anbar Province

Iraqi Artillery Fire Starts Hitting ISIL inside Mosul

Senior Terrorist Commander Killed in Syrian Army Attack in Aleppo City

Iran Strongly Condemns Terrorist Attacks in Quetta

Gov't Forces Seize ISIL's Cargo of Grad Missiles in Southern Syria

Syrian, Russian Forces Help Dozens of Civilians to Escape Militant-Held Districts of Aleppo

Syrian Envoy Calls for Halt in US-Led Coalition Attacks on Syrian infrastructure

--

Africa

Al-Shabab Suicide Bomber Hits AU Base in Beledweyne

Somali Extremists Kill 12 Non-Muslims in Northern Kenya

With Just One Place to Worship, Somalia Is A Dangerous Place For Christians

Coming in from the cold: Morocco returns to Africa

Suspected extremists attack African Union base in Somalia

Terrorists Hamper Polio Eradication Efforts in Africa

--

Mideast

Bylock Use Is an Evidence of Gülen Network Links: Owner

Turkey to Step up War against Terror in Iraq: FM Çavuşoğlu

US updates travel warning to Turkey over terror threat

Ayrault and Çavuşoğlu clash over state of emergencies in Turkey and France

Accusing CHP of allying with FETÖ a comedy: Leader

AKP signals presidential system with one chamber

Fresh indictments prepared against July 15 suspects in Istanbul, İzmir

At Least 10 Injured in Explosion near Trade Chamber in Turkey's Antalya

--

Southeast Asia

UN Urges Myanmar to Probe Recent Violence against Rohingyas

Indonesian Islamic State militant handed eight-year jail term for Jakarta attack

Thousands of Islamic  Hardliners Protest Indonesia’s Christian Governor for Allegedly Insulting Islam

Malaysia Muslim body says Starbucks' drinks 'Halal'

Army captures Malaysian terror suspect in Basilan

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/us-exhibition-celebrates-beauty-of-quran-manuscripts/d/108916

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US Exhibition Celebrates Beauty of Quran Manuscripts

October 25, 2016

"The Art of the Qur’an", the first major exhibition of its type in the United States that opened Oct. 22 in Washington, features more than 60 of the most important manuscripts of and about the Quran, created over more than 1,000 years across the Islamic world - from North Africa to Turkey, Iran and Afghanistan.

The large manuscript created in ink, color and gold on paper, greets visitors at the entrance to the exhibition at the Smithsonian Institution's Sackler Gallery. The exhibit is a collaboration with the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts in Istanbul.

"It’s certainly one of the biggest and certainly the heaviest," Massumeh Farhad, the Sackler’s chief curator and curator of Islamic art, said of the piece. "It weighs some 60 kilos and it is quite remarkable in its size and in its sort of power of display. Many of these manuscripts were created primarily for display. They were given as gifts to mosques and mausolea.”

The majority of the 66 manuscripts on view are from Istanbul's Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts, and some are from the Smithsonian’s permanent collections. The works' origins range from 7th century Damascus, Syria, to 17th century Istanbul.

Some were transferred to the museum from the tombs of Ottoman sultans whose power once extended from southeast Europe to northern Africa and the Middle East.

“They were created for some of the most powerful sultans, rulers in these regions. And eventually, after many years, they were acquired by the Ottoman royal family," Farhad said.

She explained that although each manuscript contains an identical text, they are in different formats and styles. The mastery and skill of the artists have transformed each manuscript into a unique work of art.

“For instance, there is a manuscript by the calligrapher Yaqut, who is probably one of the greatest calligraphers ever to work in the Islamic world, from the late 12th to early 13th century," Farhad said..

The exhibition showcases the beauty of the calligraphy and the intricacy of the illuminated decoration by early Quran scribes. It also tells the individual stories of some of the manuscripts, their makers and original owners.

”We hope that visitors, whatever their interest is, will come and take away some of these stories, said Farhad. "Some may be interested in the calligraphy, some may be interested in particular calligraphers, or in the art of Illumination and the way that the exhibition is organized. We hope that we have something for all of the visitors.”

The Quran exhibition continues through February 20, 2017, and also offers additional resources on a website available both on-site and online.

Source: voanews.com/a/us-exhibition-celebrates-beauty-of-quran-manuscripts/3565005.html

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60 killed in twin suicide attacks as terrorists storm police training college in Quetta

25 October 2016

Heavily-armed militants wearing suicide vests stormed a police academy in Quetta, killing at least 60 people and wounding dozens more, Balochistan Home Minister Mir Sarfaraz Bugti said Tuesday, in one of the deadliest militant attacks this year.

Three gunmen burst into the sprawling academy, targeting sleeping quarters home to some 700 recruits, and sent terrified young men aged between 15 and 25 fleeing.

Communication intercepts showed the attack was carried out by Al-Alimi faction of the Lashkar-i-Jhangvi (LJ) militant group, IG Frontier Corps (FC) Major General Sher Afgan said.

Separately, the militant Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack, according to the group's Amaq news agency.

Most of the deaths were caused when two of the attackers blew themselves up. The third was shot dead by Frontier Corps (FC) troops. At least 117 people were injured.

“I saw three men carrying Kalashnikovs… they were in camouflage and their faces were hidden,” one cadet told reporters. “They started firing and entered the dormitory but I managed to escape by climbing over a wall.”

Bugti confirmed to reporters that there had been three attackers.

“They first targeted the watch tower sentry, and after exchanging fire, killed him and were able to enter the academy grounds,” he said.

"We have taken one of the suicide bombers' bodies into custody," Bugti told DawnNews.

The attack on the Balochistan Police College, around 20 kilometres east of Quetta, began at around 11:10pm Monday, with gunfire continuing to ring out at the site for several hours.

Major General Sher Afgan, chief of the paramilitary FC in Balochistan, which led the counter-operation, said “the attack was over in around three hours after we arrived”.

"The operation needed to be conducted with precision therefore it took us four hours to clear the area completely."

“There were three terrorists and all of them were wearing suicide vests,” he said. “Two suicide attackers blew themselves up, which resulted in casualties, while the third one was shot dead by our troops.”

He added that the militants had been communicating with their handlers in Afghanistan.

Afgan said communication intercepts showed the attackers belonged to LJ's Al-Alimi faction, which is affiliated with the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). The group itself, however, has not claimed the attack.

The area was plunged into darkness when a counter-offensive was launched, and security personnel threw up a cordon while ambulances zoomed in and out, taking the injured to hospitals. Military helicopters circled overhead.

The cadets were rescued from the college following an operation carried out by Special Services Group (SSG) commandos.

The training college is situated on Sariab Road, which is considered to be one of the most sensitive areas of Quetta. Militants have been targeting security forces in the area for almost a decade.

The training college has come under attack in the past in 2008 and 2006, with attackers firing rockets into the college playground. It covers about an acre of land located about 13 kilometres outside the main city of Quetta.

'Darkness hindered operation'

The attackers entered the complex through the front gate after shooting the guard manning the check post.

A senior law enforcement agency's official said assailants had fired at the police training centre from five different points.

Two terrorists entered the premises after shooting at the guard manning the checkpost near the front gate, while the third reportedly climbed the rear wall of the police centre.

"Two attackers entered through the front gate," Senior Superintendent Police Operations Mohammad Iqbal had said earlier.

Iqbal said that the suicide jacket of one attacker was not detonated and his body was lying at the centre premises.

Initial investigations showed the terrorists had entered the hostel, he said. The SSP said that there had been trouble distinguishing friend from foe as it was dark at the time.

'The attackers were wearing shawls'

Eyewitness says he saw three terrorists enter the barracks

An eyewitness speaking to reporters after making a narrow escape said he saw three terrorists directly enter the barracks. "They started firing. We saw them and started screaming. We ran upstairs towards an exit."

He described the terrorists being covered in shawls.

The barracks and hostel blocks are situated deep inside the compound, making it hard to hear any sounds of gunshots from the building.

'Tried to break down our door'

Academy recruit recounts his experience.

Asif Hussain, a recruit at the academy, told DawnNews he was lying in bed and browsing Facebook on his cellphone when the attack began.

"We'd been told that if anything like this ever happens, we should hide ourselves under our charpoys and not show ourselves.

When the firing started, all of us lay down under our charpoys, turned off the lights and closed the door, he said.

"We heard a loud explosion downstairs. These people broke down the door and started shooting at them one by one.

"They tried to break down our door, but were unable to. Then they started shooting our windows in. They couldn't get in."

"Only two boys in our room were injured," he said.

Security beefed up at hospital

The injured cadets were brought to Civil Hospital. Those in critical condition were shifted to CMH Quetta.

Extraordinary security arrangements were made in and outside the Civil Hospital to prevent any untoward incident, especially in the wake of August 8 attack when a suicide attacker targeted the hospital.

An emergency was declared in all government hospitals of the provincial capital, with the injured shifted to Civil Hospital Quetta and the Bolan Medical Complex.

Source: dawn.com/news/1291999/60-killed-in-twin-suicide-attacks-as-terrorists-storm-police-training-college-in-quetta

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Bihar: Muslim couple exchange wedding vows in Shiva temple

Oct 25, 2016

The two had been in love, but fear of society led them to elope. Shortly afterwards, the young Muslim couple returned to their village, where elders held their wedding — at a Hindu shrine.

Amid nationwide surge in religious intolerance, Mohammad Sohan, 25, and Nuresha Khatun, who is five years younger to the groom, married in a Shiva temple at Bhimnagar village of Supaul district in northeast Bihar bordering Nepal.

The nikah last weekend was attended by hundreds of people from Hindu and Muslim communities. Maulvi Mohammad Jaffar, who read out kalma to the couple, said the decision was taken “to make people realise that one thing which always wins is love”.

Added panchayat head Sudhir Kumar Singh, who was behind this organising the marriage with a difference: “It’s a nikah that was solemnised at the verandah of Shiva temple. We hope this will send a strong message to those who are spreading hatred among communities in the world.”

Both Sohan and Nuresha, who are natives of Bhimnagar panchayat along the Indo-Nepal border, were in love for over five years. During the Dussehra festival, they eloped to Delhi travelling no less than 1,200 km, only to return to their village on Friday.

Soon after, local people convened a panchayat, which was attended by members of both the communities. They “unanimously” decided to solemnise the pair’s nikah at the Lord Shiva temple in Bhimnagar, 240 km from state capital Patna.

The Maulvi noted that it was “really wonderful” to see a nikah being performed in a mandir. “I don’t know whether this will succeed in spreading worldwide the message of love. But I can say this will certainly strengthen our unity here,” he said.

A beaming Nuresha said the couple’s love has “finally won”.

“We will return to the temple every year to celebrate our marriage anniversary,” she added.

Source: hindustantimes.com/opinion/bihar-muslim-couple-wed-in-shiva-temple/story-AzsJc2k7tneY0cLdGXYEiI.html

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ISIS trying to establish a caliphate inside Afghanistan: US General

Tue Oct 25 2016

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group is attempting to establish a caliphate inside Afghanistan, the top US commander in Afghanistan has said.

General John Nicholson who is also in command of the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission (RSM) in Afghanistan has said the majority of the ISIS fighters in Afghanistan are foreigners.

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

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

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

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

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

Both the Afghan forces and the US forces in Afghanistan are conducting regular raids against the Taliban insurgents and ISIS loyalist in the districts where they are conducting insurgency activities.

The US forces increased airstrikes against the Taliban insurgents and ISIS loyalists earlier this year after the Obama administration granted a broader role to the American forces.

Source: khaama.com/isis-trying-to-establish-a-caliphate-inside-afghanistan-us-general-02139

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The Muslim prayer at Rome's Coliseum was a declaration of war

25/10/16

Something dramatic happened last Friday in Rome and slowly,slowly we are starting to decipher it. A vast, silent mass of hundreds of Muslim faithful gathered to pray in front of Rome’s Coliseum.

They chose a symbol of Western culture and did so under the wise guidance of political Imams. This was not an Islam respectful of the secular and democratic nature of Italian institutions. It was the political branch of an Islam that does not separate state and mosque, the Muslim Brotherhood, whose slogan has never changed since the time of Hassan al-Banna: “Allah is our goal, the Prophet our leader, the Koran our law, the jihad our way, dying for the way of Allah is our greatest hope”.

That spectacular Islamic mass was like a refusal of the illusion of a cultural “peace” slowly being strangled and punctuated with Koranic invocations. Something similar had already happened in front of Milan’s main cathedral and Bologna’s church of San Petronio, the target of Islamic fundamentalism because of a fresco by Giovanni da Modena that depicts Mohammed among the damned, in accordance with Dante’s Divine Comedy.

Islamists aim at a pedagogy that is not afraid of using words based on strength honor, faith and war. That mass prayer means that it is not possible to turn Muslims into liberal secularists. That Muslims could be assimilated to a secular environment.

Rome’s prayer was part of the acculturation of Europe’s Muslims, understood as “dar al shaada,” a land of religious mission by Islamist organizations. The purpose of prayer was to advance loyalty to the Prophet. It was pure Islamic, their concept of “the solution”.

We lack the will and fear abounds.

Lee Harris said a most important thing: The glory of the West has been the eradication of the virus of fanaticism, but perhaps we have achieved it at the price of our defeat.

exercise of religious freedom. It was a declaration of cultural war, the deadly encirclement of Western secularism. 

The well-known preacher Yussuf al Qaradawi said that the day will come when Rome will be Islamized. It remains to decide whether it will “by the word or by the sword”. Last Friday’s prayer it was by the word, while ISIS released videos in which the Coliseum is burned and bombed.

The American philosopher Lee Harris said a most important thing: The glory of the West has been the eradication of the virus of fanaticism, but perhaps we have achieved it at the price of our defeat.

The multicultural paradox, of which Rome’s mass prayer was another manifestation, looks like this: We are afraid of each other and we try to flatter, we do not know ourselves so we don’t see our enemy’s goals.

The mass prayer in front of the Coliseum is a way of saying, “we are radically different and we say this in front of your historical nationalist monument”. But is there someone who hears them?

Source: israelnationalnews.com/Articles/Article.aspx/19660

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North America

US Exhibition Celebrates Beauty of Quran Manuscripts

October 25, 2016

"The Art of the Qur’an", the first major exhibition of its type in the United States that opened Oct. 22 in Washington, features more than 60 of the most important manuscripts of and about the Quran, created over more than 1,000 years across the Islamic world - from North Africa to Turkey, Iran and Afghanistan.

The large manuscript created in ink, color and gold on paper, greets visitors at the entrance to the exhibition at the Smithsonian Institution's Sackler Gallery. The exhibit is a collaboration with the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts in Istanbul.

"It’s certainly one of the biggest and certainly the heaviest," Massumeh Farhad, the Sackler’s chief curator and curator of Islamic art, said of the piece. "It weighs some 60 kilos and it is quite remarkable in its size and in its sort of power of display. Many of these manuscripts were created primarily for display. They were given as gifts to mosques and mausolea.”

The majority of the 66 manuscripts on view are from Istanbul's Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts, and some are from the Smithsonian’s permanent collections. The works' origins range from 7th century Damascus, Syria, to 17th century Istanbul.

Some were transferred to the museum from the tombs of Ottoman sultans whose power once extended from southeast Europe to northern Africa and the Middle East.

“They were created for some of the most powerful sultans, rulers in these regions. And eventually, after many years, they were acquired by the Ottoman royal family," Farhad said.

She explained that although each manuscript contains an identical text, they are in different formats and styles. The mastery and skill of the artists have transformed each manuscript into a unique work of art.

“For instance, there is a manuscript by the calligrapher Yaqut, who is probably one of the greatest calligraphers ever to work in the Islamic world, from the late 12th to early 13th century," Farhad said..

The exhibition showcases the beauty of the calligraphy and the intricacy of the illuminated decoration by early Quran scribes. It also tells the individual stories of some of the manuscripts, their makers and original owners.

”We hope that visitors, whatever their interest is, will come and take away some of these stories, said Farhad. "Some may be interested in the calligraphy, some may be interested in particular calligraphers, or in the art of Illumination and the way that the exhibition is organized. We hope that we have something for all of the visitors.”

The Quran exhibition continues through February 20, 2017, and also offers additional resources on a website available both on-site and online.

Source: voanews.com/a/us-exhibition-celebrates-beauty-of-quran-manuscripts/3565005.html

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Hillary Clinton’s Khizr Khan Campaign Ad Finally Gives American Muslims the Humanity They Deserve

October 25, 2016

No campaign ad has ever made me cry before. That was until Friday when Hillary Clinton released a video featuring Khizr Khan discussing his late son, U.S. Capt. Humayun S.M. Khan. I challenge anyone to watch this and not get at least misty-eyed.

As most recall, Mr. Khan, along with his wife Ghazala, made headlines for a speech in July at the U.S. Democratic National Convention. There Khan challenged Donald Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric and posed this powerful question to the GOP presidential nominee: “Have you even read the United States Constitution?”

Trump responded by mocking Mrs. Khan for being silent during the speech, suggesting that as a Muslim woman she was not permitted to speak. Trump then added gasoline to the media firestorm that ensued by equating his creating “thousands and thousands of jobs” as being on some level equivalent to the sacrifice of the Khan family.

Khizr Khan holds up a booklet of the U.S. Constitution and offers to lend his copy to GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump at the Democratic National Convention on July 28, 2016.

As of Monday evening, the Clinton commercial featuring the Khan family has already been viewed over 1 million times and is still trending on YouTube. The tears that rolled down my face watching it were triggered for a few reasons. The video opens with Khan looking at the U.S. Army uniform of his late son who was killed in Iraq in 2004 while protecting the men in his unit from a suicide bomber. On its own, a parent reflecting on the death of his or her child is both deeply heartbreaking and painfully unjust. 

But in this case it’s even more moving when this Gold Star father, while fighting back tears himself, holds a photo of his late son while commenting, “he was 27 years old and he was a Muslim American.” Khan then recounts his son’s heroism and concludes, as his voice breaks with emotion, “I want to ask Mr. Trump, ‘would my son have a place in your America?’”

I was also rendered teary-eyed by the historic nature of this commercial. Here we are seeing for the first time ever an American Muslim family prominently featured in an ad for a major party’s presidential nominee just weeks before Election Day. To be blunt, there’s little upside for a national politician to take such a risk, and Clinton truly needs to be praised for her political courage in doing just that.

Still from Hillary for America campaign ad as Khan asks GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump if his son would have had a place in Trump’s America.

Don’t get me wrong, Trump has also included images of “Muslims” in his campaign ads. But, of course, those were all terrorists, and most American Muslims ― myself included ― would not consider them part of our faith. In one of Trump’s campaign commercials, for example, the presidential nominee used the San Bernardino attack for political gain. This video opens with a narrator stating, “The politicians can pretend it’s something else, but Donald Trump calls it ‘radical Islamic terrorism.’” Images of the couple associated with the terror attack fill the screen, including an image of the wife wearing a hijab. Then the ad notes that Trump has called for, “a temporary ban on Muslims entering the United States,” and as the word “Muslims” is heard, we see images of what appear to be terrorists brandishing their flag.

The Trump ad ― in stark contrast to the Hillary Clinton Khan ad ― presents Muslims not just as scary, but as the enemy of America. This is a message that we American Muslims have sadly grown far too accustomed to seeing in the years since 9/11.

And the emotional reaction to the ad was made more acute by the fact that this presidential election cycle has been marred by openly anti-Muslim rhetoric by several GOP presidential candidates. It’s truly been bone-chilling to see major politicians ginning up hate of a religious faith.

There was former Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson last September declaring his opposition to any American of Muslim faith serving as president of the United States. And worse, after making that comment, Carson was apparently rewarded with a fundraising bonanza by people who agreed with him.

Then there was Ted Cruz, another candidate for the GOP presidential nomination and a U.S. senator, calling for American Muslims to be placed under surveillance simply because of our faith, meaning we would have less constitutional rights.

But Trump truly has been the Muslim basher-in-chief this campaign. In March he stunningly declared that “Islam hates us.” He had earlier called for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States,” as well as for surveillance of Muslims. (Yes, Trump has back peddled on his total Muslim ban but the damage has been done.) And even at the second presidential debate when Trump was asked about Islamophobia, he shockingly responded by drumming up more anti-Muslim hate by claiming that Muslims are in essence hiding terrorists in our midst, which is a bald-faced lie.

Given this hate spewed by Trump towards Muslims, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of pride that perhaps a Muslim family could play a role in defeating the man.

Adding to my sentiments was the realization that the Khan family was effectively making a powerful point that is often not seen by our fellow Americans ― namely that you can both be proudly American and proudly Muslim. That is the very same point U.S. President Barack Obama made in February during his first visit to a United States mosque while in office when he declared, “You’re not Muslim or American. You’re Muslim and American.” The Khan family is the living embodiment of those words for all Americans to see. 

Apart from the emotional impact of this video, it may have a political impact as well. While American Muslims overwhelmingly oppose Trump – a recent poll with data compiled by the Council on American Islamic Relations found only 4 percent of Muslims supporting Trump – only 72 percent support Clinton. This ad could change those numbers, increasing support for the Democratic nominee from Muslims living in key swing states like Florida and Ohio. At least I hope it does.

U.S. Democratic Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at the 2016 U.S. Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on July 28, 2016.

Clinton has been criticized by some in the Muslim community for only speaking of us in the context of national security, as though we are on the front line of countering extremism. But this ad shows an American Muslim family in a light we rarely see in American media: as human beings. Indeed, the real message of the ad is our humanity ― and that is a concept often lost in discussions about Muslims in our current political climate. Just look at how Donald Trump Jr., the GOP nominee’s own son, recently described Syrian refugees seeking to flee the horrors of war ― not as regular people, but as poisonous Skittles.

Hillary Clinton has called Captain Khan, “the best of America.” She is 100 percent correct. And while Election Day will come and go, the message sent by Khan’s sacrifice will endure long thereafter. On some level, the captain, through his family, is still fighting for the values that make America great. And thinking of that moves me to tears every time.

Source: huffingtonpost.com/entry/hillary-clinton-khizr-khan-ad_us_580e5cbde4b0a03911ee26e1

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Islamic relief group helps North Carolina recover from Hurricane Matthew

Oct 25, 2016

When a group of 13 volunteers entered Purnell Swett High School in Pembroke on Oct. 14, people openly stared at the words on their blue vests: “Islamic Relief.”

The day before, they’d gotten a call from Hani Hamwi, 29, disaster response team manager at Islamic Relief USA, the largest Muslim charity in America. Founded in 1993, it’s an affiliate of Islamic Relief Worldwide, an international organization that provides disaster aid and development assistance.

Most of the team members are in their 20s. For many, this was their first “disaster deployment.” Several had recently graduated from college; one is a teacher and another is an IT consultant. One is studying for the entrance exam for law school.

On Friday, they flew to North Carolina from California, Oregon, Texas, Washington, D.C., and Florida to help Hurricane Matthew victims in eastern parts of the state. When they entered Purnell Swett, a rural high school that had been transformed into a shelter for more than 800 people displaced from their homes by flooding, some stared and asked them questions.

Volunteers from the charity have grown used to the stares. As they visit areas to serve in the months leading up to the 2016 election, they have found themselves thrust into the role of unofficial ambassadors for their faith.

“Our faith tells us to want for your brother what you want for yourself,” Hamwi said. “Before there was a negative rhetoric about Muslims, Islamic Relief was working in communities, training people to respond to disasters. That’s the focus of our work. We’ve been doing this for a long time.”

Some people ask Hamwi if the volunteer work he leads is just a publicity stunt. Others hurl insults and racial slurs online. But the team sees its service as an opportunity to combat people’s perception of Muslims.

“I think people find that there is common ground between us, way more than they thought,” said Nazreena Jaffry, 28, a volunteer from California.

At Purnell Swett, some shelter residents and local volunteers told the Islamic Relief team that they had never met Muslims before. The majority of them were welcoming, thanking the team for its service.

“We tried to be emotionally there for them,” said Unis Barakat, 22, a volunteer from California.

Many of the shelter’s inhabitants had been rescued from their rooftops. Nearby streets remained underwater. The team saw dead fish piled high in people’s yards and watched people wade through the murky brown water to their houses, belongings in tow.

Arige El-Naser, 27, served on a deployment to Louisiana, which was hit by devastating floods in August. Still, she was unprepared for what she saw in North Carolina.

“The level of damage ... though it was just as great as in Louisiana, this was different,” El-Naser said. “I don’t think you get used to seeing how much damage disasters create. The meaning of the word ‘disaster,’ I don’t think I understood it until I saw these type of areas and the impact it has on so many lives.”

Many restrooms at restaurants in Pembroke were out of order because of the flooding.

“I will not take being able to flush a toilet for granted again,” said Nasima Chowdhury, 50, a special education teacher and Islamic Relief volunteer.

The first night the volunteers arrived, they slept side-by-side with shelter inhabitants in a dark room filled with people. Over the next week, they sorted donations of food and clothing and cleaned the school’s wrestling room so that it could be converted into a day care center.Volunteers danced and played games with children while their parents sought help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and went to their homes to assess the damage. Every morning when they arrived at the shelter, parents would be lined up with their children, already waiting.

After one mother dropped her two sons off, one of them asked if she was leaving to return to their house, Chowdhury said. “There is no more home,” his brother quietly replied.

“Many parents had to explain to their children that they didn’t have homes anymore,” Chowdhury said.

During their 10-day visit to North Carolina, the Islamic Relief volunteers say they received words of thanks from countless hurricane victims, local residents and other volunteers for their efforts.

On Oct. 20, they visited a local mosque to hand out water bottles and hygiene kits. One woman told them, “I really appreciate everything you guys have done, because there are people out there who don’t know who you are and don’t care about it ... You can tell the love and care you have for humankind.”

This year, Islamic Relief volunteers have responded to eight domestic disasters, including floods in Louisiana and Texas, tornadoes in Oklahoma, wildfires in Washington and water contamination in Michigan. They have not always been welcome in the areas they serve. In some cases, they have been told to leave and threatened with arrest.

One Red Cross volunteer in North Carolina was surprised after meeting the team.

“He told us we’d changed his perspective on Muslims,” Chowdhury said. “But then he said, ‘It’s sad that it takes a disaster to bring us together.’”

Source: newsobserver.com/news/weather/article110219312.html

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6,000 Muslim migrants with forged papers were captured trying to cross the U.S.-Mexico border

Oct 24, 2016

ORIGIN:On 24 October 2016, the Conservative Daily Post published a badly-jumbled article that was a mish-mash of information gleaned from other conservative publications, which themselves rehashed a legitimate 16 August 2016 news report about cross-Mexico migration by people from outside the continental Americas:

An official report was released on Monday, stating that 6,342 “Special Interest Aliens” have been captured. This report shows just how bad it has gotten at the U.S.-Mexico border. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency recently endorsed Donald Trump, and now we know why.

Federal U.S. Agents working on the border in immigration facilities have detained over 6,000 Islamic aliens. Conservative Tribune confirmed this in a recent report on the state of our crumbling borders.

Adam Isacson, An analyst at the Washington Office in Latin America pointed out the specific location the jihadists where able to enter from. The Department of Homeland Security has acknowledged this glaringly weak area of Tapachula in the past, yet has failed to take any real action. It is an area that terrorist groups could easily use to funnel in weapons, ammunition, drugs, and sex slaves.

For starters, Tapachula lies on Mexico's southern border with Guatemala, not on the U.S.-Mexico border. Further, there is no "official report" or credible media report that 6,000 "Islamic aliens" have been detained by U.S. agents. The information was apparently gleaned from conservative web sites such as Breitbart and the Conservative Tribune, both of which used misleading headlines (Breitbart: "Thousands of Middle Eastern Illegal Immigrants Busted With Forged Papers at Border; Conservative Tribune: "6,000 Muslims Cross Southern Border, All Caught With 1 Alarming Item). Both publications cribbed their stories from a report by Reuters that did not report what those sites claimed.

According to Reuters, U.S. agents had been sent to Mexico's southern border to vet 640 migrants from countries outside the Americas who were being held there. Further, Reuters reported that 6,342 migrants from Africa, Asia and the Middle East were apprehended by Mexican authorities trying to enter that country in the first six months of 2016.The figures were accompanied by a similar growth in migrants from outside the American continent attempting to enter the U.S. along its Southwest border, but the report made no mention of the migrants' religion nor stated that they were all using forged papers:

The U.S. agents' findings come as Mexican immigration data show 6,342 Asian, African and Middle Eastern migrants were apprehended trying to enter Mexico in the first six months of this year. That was up from 4,261 in all of 2015, and 1,831 in 2014.

U.S. border apprehensions point to the same trend. Between October 2015 and May 2016, U.S. agents apprehended 5,350 African and Asian migrants at the U.S. Southwest border. That's up from 6,126 in all of fiscal year 2015 and 4,172 in all of fiscal year 2014.

U.S. concerns about potential security risks from migrants using the unusual and circuitous southern route have been growing in recent years, following a string of Islamic State-inspired attacks in the West and the surge in Syrian refugees fleeing that country's civil war.

Five Syrian nationals detained in Honduras last November were part of a wider group of seven Syrians who acquired forged passports in Brazil and then went by land to Argentina on their way north, a U.S. government source familiar with that case said. There was no evidence to suggest the men were militants.

While the Reuters report does make it clear that upticks in migrants making arduous treks through Latin America and Mexico in order to enter the United States (sometimes with forged documents) presents a security concern, most of those migrants are persons seeking better economic prospects or fleeing persecution, not "jihadists" intent on wreaking terror in America. U.S. agents are making efforts to partner with immigration authorities in other countries to gain intelligence on who may be heading north to America's southern border with Mexico.

The web sites mentioned above published fear-mongering headlines about "thousands" of Muslim migrants converging on the U.S.-Mexico border, but the Reuters report specifically identified only about a dozen people hailing from predominantly Muslim countries trying to migrate to the United States through Mexico. None of those persons were tied in the Reuters report with any type of terrorist activity. It's also worth noting that while the union that represents employees of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) endorsed Trump, the agency itself has made no political endorsement, as no governmental agency would.

Source: snopes.com/6000-muslims-caught-border/

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Pakistan

60 killed in twin suicide attacks as terrorists storm police training college in Quetta

25 October 2016

Heavily-armed militants wearing suicide vests stormed a police academy in Quetta, killing at least 60 people and wounding dozens more, Balochistan Home Minister Mir Sarfaraz Bugti said Tuesday, in one of the deadliest militant attacks this year.

Three gunmen burst into the sprawling academy, targeting sleeping quarters home to some 700 recruits, and sent terrified young men aged between 15 and 25 fleeing.

Communication intercepts showed the attack was carried out by Al-Alimi faction of the Lashkar-i-Jhangvi (LJ) militant group, IG Frontier Corps (FC) Major General Sher Afgan said.

Separately, the militant Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack, according to the group's Amaq news agency.

Most of the deaths were caused when two of the attackers blew themselves up. The third was shot dead by Frontier Corps (FC) troops. At least 117 people were injured.

“I saw three men carrying Kalashnikovs… they were in camouflage and their faces were hidden,” one cadet told reporters. “They started firing and entered the dormitory but I managed to escape by climbing over a wall.”

Bugti confirmed to reporters that there had been three attackers.

“They first targeted the watch tower sentry, and after exchanging fire, killed him and were able to enter the academy grounds,” he said.

"We have taken one of the suicide bombers' bodies into custody," Bugti told DawnNews.

The attack on the Balochistan Police College, around 20 kilometres east of Quetta, began at around 11:10pm Monday, with gunfire continuing to ring out at the site for several hours.

Major General Sher Afgan, chief of the paramilitary FC in Balochistan, which led the counter-operation, said “the attack was over in around three hours after we arrived”.

"The operation needed to be conducted with precision therefore it took us four hours to clear the area completely."

“There were three terrorists and all of them were wearing suicide vests,” he said. “Two suicide attackers blew themselves up, which resulted in casualties, while the third one was shot dead by our troops.”

He added that the militants had been communicating with their handlers in Afghanistan.

Afgan said communication intercepts showed the attackers belonged to LJ's Al-Alimi faction, which is affiliated with the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). The group itself, however, has not claimed the attack.

The area was plunged into darkness when a counter-offensive was launched, and security personnel threw up a cordon while ambulances zoomed in and out, taking the injured to hospitals. Military helicopters circled overhead.

The cadets were rescued from the college following an operation carried out by Special Services Group (SSG) commandos.

The training college is situated on Sariab Road, which is considered to be one of the most sensitive areas of Quetta. Militants have been targeting security forces in the area for almost a decade.

The training college has come under attack in the past in 2008 and 2006, with attackers firing rockets into the college playground. It covers about an acre of land located about 13 kilometres outside the main city of Quetta.

'Darkness hindered operation'

The attackers entered the complex through the front gate after shooting the guard manning the check post.

A senior law enforcement agency's official said assailants had fired at the police training centre from five different points.

Two terrorists entered the premises after shooting at the guard manning the checkpost near the front gate, while the third reportedly climbed the rear wall of the police centre.

"Two attackers entered through the front gate," Senior Superintendent Police Operations Mohammad Iqbal had said earlier.

Iqbal said that the suicide jacket of one attacker was not detonated and his body was lying at the centre premises.

Initial investigations showed the terrorists had entered the hostel, he said. The SSP said that there had been trouble distinguishing friend from foe as it was dark at the time.

'The attackers were wearing shawls'

Eyewitness says he saw three terrorists enter the barracks

An eyewitness speaking to reporters after making a narrow escape said he saw three terrorists directly enter the barracks. "They started firing. We saw them and started screaming. We ran upstairs towards an exit."

He described the terrorists being covered in shawls.

The barracks and hostel blocks are situated deep inside the compound, making it hard to hear any sounds of gunshots from the building.

'Tried to break down our door'

Academy recruit recounts his experience.

Asif Hussain, a recruit at the academy, told DawnNews he was lying in bed and browsing Facebook on his cellphone when the attack began.

"We'd been told that if anything like this ever happens, we should hide ourselves under our charpoys and not show ourselves.

When the firing started, all of us lay down under our charpoys, turned off the lights and closed the door, he said.

"We heard a loud explosion downstairs. These people broke down the door and started shooting at them one by one.

"They tried to break down our door, but were unable to. Then they started shooting our windows in. They couldn't get in."

"Only two boys in our room were injured," he said.

Security beefed up at hospital

The injured cadets were brought to Civil Hospital. Those in critical condition were shifted to CMH Quetta.

Extraordinary security arrangements were made in and outside the Civil Hospital to prevent any untoward incident, especially in the wake of August 8 attack when a suicide attacker targeted the hospital.

An emergency was declared in all government hospitals of the provincial capital, with the injured shifted to Civil Hospital Quetta and the Bolan Medical Complex.

Source: dawn.com/news/1291999/60-killed-in-twin-suicide-attacks-as-terrorists-storm-police-training-college-in-quetta

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Terrorists can’t deter judiciary, say judges

25 October 2016

QUETTA: Supreme Court Judge Justice Qazi Faez Isa and Balochistan High Court Chief Justice Muhammad Noor Meskanzai said on Monday that terrorists could not stop bench and bar from providing justice to the masses by committing acts of terror like that of Aug 8 suicide bombing at the Quetta Civil Hospital which left more than 70 people dead and score others injured.

The banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan’s (TTP) splinter group, Jamaat-ul-Ahrar (JuA), had claimed responsibility for the bombing.

They said that the Aug 8 suicide bombing claimed precious lives of several lawyers and other people, but pledged that the bar and bench were not afraid of the terrorists.

“We will continue providing justice to the masses as we are not afraid of terrorists,” they pledged.

The two judges were addressing a full court reference at the Balochistan High Court premises to pay tribute to lawyers killed in the suicide bombing.

Justice Isa said that such a large number of lawyers had never been killed in a single act of terrorism.

“Martyrs are alive and we will always remember our martyred lawyers,” he said.

He said that terrorists could not force judiciary and lawyers to give up their duty of providing justice to the masses.

Chief Justice Meskanzai also said that acts of terrorism could not stop the judiciary from providing justice to the masses.

“The nation is fighting a war on terror which is a war between the right and the wrong,” he said, adding that several lawyers were killed in the Aug 8 suicide bombing.

He, however, expressed the hope that young lawyers would play their role in ensuring provision of justice to the people.

Senior judges and lawyers attended the reference.

Source: dawn.com/news/1292126/terrorists-cant-deter-judiciary-say-judges

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Pakistan, after facing isolation, says will attend Heart of Asia conference in India

October 25, 2016

Islamabad: Adviser to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz has confirmed thatPakistan will be attending the upcoming Heart of Asia conference scheduled to be held in India.

Aziz on Monday confirmed Pakistan`s participation during a press conference here, Dawn online reported.

The Heart of Asia conference will be held during the first week of December in Amritsar, India.

“We have started an effective campaign for the cause of self-determination of Kashmiri people,” said the foreign affairs adviser.

 The announcement came amid growing tensions between the two neighbours following the September 18 attack on an Indian Army base in Jammu and Kashmir`s Uri town that killed 19 Indian soldiers.

Foreign ministers from 14-member countries, including Russia, China and Turkey, are expected to attend the day-long conference meant to discuss the current Afghan situation and possible initiatives the immediate and extended neighbours of Afghanistan could undertake to restore long-term peace and stability in the war-torn country, Daily Pakistan reported.

Senior officials from 17 supporting countries, including the US, will also participate in the meeting to be jointly presided over by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process was established in 2011 at the initiative of Afghanistan and Turkey. Its main objective is to foster efforts for regional cooperation and connectivity with a view to promoting long-term peace and stability as well as progress and development in Afghanistan, and the region.

Pakistan hosted the last Ministerial Conference in December 2015 which was also attended by Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.

Source: siasat.com/news/pakistan-facing-isolation-says-will-attend-heart-asia-conference-india-1049016/

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Police officer killed as polio team targeted in Peshawar IED blast

25 October 2016

A police officer was killed and a Bomb Defusal Squad personnel injured in two separate Improvised Explosive Device (IED) blasts targeting a polio team in Peshawar's Daudzai area Tuesday morning, police said.

A polio team was hit when the first IED was detonated, police said.

A second blast occurred when the BDS attempted to defuse another IED found during a search operation in the area, they added. A BDS personnel was injured in the blast.

Polio vaccination drives are underway across Pakistan, one of only two polio endemic countries left in the world.

Last year, the number of polio cases recorded in Pakistan soared to 306, the highest in 14 years. Pakistan has, however, witnessed a 62 per cent drop in polio cases in 2016, according to the Ministry of National Health Services (NHS).

Attempts to eradicate polio have been badly hit by militant attacks on immunisation teams due to claims propagated by the Taliban that the vaccination drive is a front for espionage or a conspiracy to sterilise Muslims.

These rumours have also made inhabitants of lesser-developed parts of the country more wary of allowing immunisation.

The Taliban stepped up attacks targeting polio immunisation teams after Pakistani doctor Shakeel Afridi was recruited by the Central Intelligence Agency to set up a hepatitis immunisation drive as part of efforts to track down Al Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden.

Source: dawn.com/news/1292188/police-officer-killed-as-polio-team-targeted-in-peshawar-ied-blast

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Cinema owners deny lifting ban on Bollywood films

25 October 2016

Contrary to some reports, the ban on Bollywood films will not be lifted as of now, states Chairman of the Film Exhibitor Association Zoraiz Lashari.

Speaking to Images on the ban lift Lashari said, "I have never said any such thing, I am not holding any press conference.

"At the moment all we’re saying is that Fawad Khan is appearing in a Bollywood film [ADHM] and none of the scenes have been cut from his film, and we’re extremely happy – it’s a good gesture from the Indian side."

He added that at the moment they’re still waiting to see how things turn out, however, there will be "no press conference about the ban being lifted, and we hope the media plays a positive role in making things normal."

In regards to Fawad’s film Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, Lashari said, "There is a possibility [of it screening] since the government has issued ADHM and Shivay the NoC."

Nadeem Mandviwalla owner of Atrium cinema, Karachi and Centaurus cinema, Islamabad said he could not comment on the matter.

While Mohsin Yaseen of Cinepax said that such a decision has not yet come to his knowledge: "Officially there has been no announcement to us from the association but we will meet in a couple of days."

As far as the screening of ADHM is concerned, he said the association will meet and decide in a few days. "We’re happy that ADHM is releasing in India with Fawad Khan in the film," he said.

Khorem Gultasab of Supercinemas, like Mohsin Yaseen, denied news of the ban being lifted. "No, I have no idea. There’s no news about this. If any such decision does take place the Chairman of Film Exhibitor Association will release an official statement saying so," he said.

Jamil Baig of Neuplex said that there has been no decision thus far. On the release of ADHM, he said, "We've heard it's releasing in India but it hasn't been decided whether it will be screened here."

IMGC Media and Marketing Manager Sabina Islam told Images that the ban has been lifted but only on one Bollywood film. "So far, we're waiting to find out which film the ban has been lifted for. Of course all films that are submitted will be played, but our agenda is to push the film in which Fawad Khan has been cast."

"Till then we're going to wait. However, it needs to be understood that things have escalated so much between both sides that we have to be very careful," she added.

Although cinema owners have all denied the ban being lifted, they admitted that banning Bollywood films in Pakistan will only hurt them. "It will hurt them, it will hurt us. It will hurt legitimate business stake holders. The winner is the pirate," Mandviwalla had said in an earlier interview.

Source: images.dawn.com/news/1176483/cinema-owners-deny-lifting-ban-on-bollywood-films

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Two more ceasefire violations as Pakistan lodges protest with India over 'unprovoked' firing

25 October 2016

Two more ceasefire violations were reported on Tuesday shortly after Pakistan lodged a protest with India and the United Nations Military Observers group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) over the killing of two civilians in 'unprovoked' firing across the Working Boundary a day earlier.

"India resorted to unprovoked firing across the Line of Control and the Working Boundary in the Bhimber and Chaprar sectors respectively today," Inter-Services Public Relations said on Tuesday.

"Till the filing of this report, the exchange of fire was ongoing," the statement said, adding that Pakistani troops responded 'befittingly' to Indian firing.

The director general (South Asia and Saarc), Ministry of Foreign Affairs, summoned Indian Deputy High Commissioner JP Singh on Tuesday and lodged a strong protest against earlier ceasefire violations along the Working Boundary by Indian border forces, Foreign Office said.

"A strong protest was lodged against the unprovoked ceasefire violations on 23-24 October 2016 by the Indian occupation forces at the Working Boundary in the Phuklian and Chaprar Sectors," an FO statement said.

An infant and an elderly man were killed and seven people were injured in heavy mortar shelling by the Indian Border Security Force (BSF) in villages along the Sialkot Working Boundary on Monday.

The attack came in the dead of night when residents of villages in Bajwat, Chaprar, Harpal, Sucheet­garh, Merajkey and Charwah sectors were asleep, senior officials of the Punjab Rangers said.

India was asked to investigate the incident and share the findings with Pakistan, and to instruct its troops to respect the ceasefire agreement in letter and spirit, refrain from intentionally targeting the villages and maintain peace along the Working Boundary.

A strong protest was also lodged with the UNMOGIP "regarding unprovoked firing by Indians across the Working Boundary," Inter-Services Public Relations said.

Foreign Office Spokesperson Nafees Zakaria last week alleged that India has committed more than 90 ceasefire violations in 2016.

"During the 2014 provincial assembly elections, India violated ceasefire agreement more than 200 times," Zakaria said.

He claimed that Pakistan has "never violated the ceasefire agreement."

Source: dawn.com/news/1292190/two-more-ceasefire-violations-as-pakistan-lodges-protest-with-india-over-unprovoked-firing

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Army not backing Imran: PML-N

25 October 2016

ISLAMABAD: The government claimed on Monday that the army had no role in the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s (PTI) planned ‘lockdown’ of the capital city and contended that party leaders were merely giving that impression in order to topple the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government.

“Imran Khan and Sheikh Rashid are fooling the nation into believing that the army is with the PTI and will make their agitation a success,” said PML-N MNA Tallal Chaudhry.

Addressing a press conference at the Press Information Department (PID) alongside Privatisation Commission Chairman Mohammad Zubair, he said that if the impression of army backing were to be set aside, the PTI’s “lockdown” plan carried no weight.

However, he was reluctant to respond when asked why the government did not ask the army to issue a statement or a tweet to remove the ambiguity about the army’s role. “The information minister and other government functionaries have tried a number of times in the recent past to dispel this impression and have assured the nation that the army has nothing to do with PTI’s agitation,” he added.

Mr Chaudhry said Imran Khan had also given a similar, false impression during the 2014 sit-in when he implied that a “third force” was backing his party. “But if that was true, it would have come to the fore,” the PML-N MNA said.

He questioned Mr Khan’s tendency to drag the army into politics. “The entire nation respects our armed forces and admires their sacrifices for the sake of our motherland, but Imran Khan is trying to drag this otherwise respectable institution into the political sphere,” he added.

When asked about the possibility of arresting PTI leaders, including Imran Khan, ahead of the Nov 2 lockdown, the PML-N MNA said that all steps would be taken to ensure peace and order in the federal capital.

“No one will be allowed to take law into their hands. No one will be allowed to revolt,” he said.

He accused Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervez Khattak of planning to use provincial government machinery to bring PTI workers to Islamabad.

Mr Zubair asked why Mr Khan, who was so quick to accuse others of money laundering, tax evasion and establishing offshore companies, did not reply to similar allegations that were levelled against him,” he added.

When asked why the government did not present this evidence before a court of law, Mr Zubair claimed that such offences could not be challenged in a court as they had been committed 27 years ago, in 1983. “However, we laid them before the appropriate forum — the office of the National Assembly speaker — who has forwarded a reference to the Election Commission of Pakistan for action,” he said.

Source: dawn.com/news/1292118/army-not-backing-imran-pml-n

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India

Bihar: Muslim couple exchange wedding vows in Shiva temple

Oct 25, 2016

The two had been in love, but fear of society led them to elope. Shortly afterwards, the young Muslim couple returned to their village, where elders held their wedding — at a Hindu shrine.

Amid nationwide surge in religious intolerance, Mohammad Sohan, 25, and Nuresha Khatun, who is five years younger to the groom, married in a Shiva temple at Bhimnagar village of Supaul district in northeast Bihar bordering Nepal.

The nikah last weekend was attended by hundreds of people from Hindu and Muslim communities. Maulvi Mohammad Jaffar, who read out kalma to the couple, said the decision was taken “to make people realise that one thing which always wins is love”.

Added panchayat head Sudhir Kumar Singh, who was behind this organising the marriage with a difference: “It’s a nikah that was solemnised at the verandah of Shiva temple. We hope this will send a strong message to those who are spreading hatred among communities in the world.”

Both Sohan and Nuresha, who are natives of Bhimnagar panchayat along the Indo-Nepal border, were in love for over five years. During the Dussehra festival, they eloped to Delhi travelling no less than 1,200 km, only to return to their village on Friday.

Soon after, local people convened a panchayat, which was attended by members of both the communities. They “unanimously” decided to solemnise the pair’s nikah at the Lord Shiva temple in Bhimnagar, 240 km from state capital Patna.

The Maulvi noted that it was “really wonderful” to see a nikah being performed in a mandir. “I don’t know whether this will succeed in spreading worldwide the message of love. But I can say this will certainly strengthen our unity here,” he said.

A beaming Nuresha said the couple’s love has “finally won”.

“We will return to the temple every year to celebrate our marriage anniversary,” she added.

Source: hindustantimes.com/opinion/bihar-muslim-couple-wed-in-shiva-temple/story-AzsJc2k7tneY0cLdGXYEiI.html

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‘India has capacity to produce hundreds of new nuclear bombs’

25 October 2016

ISLAMABAD: A new study indicates that India has sufficient material and the technical capacity to produce between 356 and 492 nuclear bombs.

The study titled ‘Indian Unsafeguarded Nuclear Program’ which was published by the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) and was co-authored by four nuclear scholars, unveils a new and comprehensive assessment of India’s nuclear weapon capacity The launch of the study at the ISSI on Monday was attended by foreign diplomats, scholars, journalists and students.

Speaking at the event, ISSI Board of Governors Chairman Ambassador Khalid Mahmood said the book gives a fresh perspective on India’s unsafeguarded nuclear program, will be read with interest around the world and will benefit scholars and diplomats alike.

An internationally known physicist and a member of the International Panel on Fissile Materials Dr A.H Nayyar said the book was a significant addition to the existing material on the size, history and capacity of India’s nuclear program. He also highlighted a number of weaknesses and flaws in the book and suggested the ambiguities be removed in the next edition.

Former Chairman Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission Ansar Pervez said the research breaks new ground by providing officials, researchers, scholars and students with new insight into India’s nuclear weapon making capacity.

Study reveals India has largest, oldest unsafeguarded nuclear programme in developing world

He said that in terms of detail, depth, analysis and the use of information from primary sources, the research is far superior to several studies on the Indian nuclear program and carefully blends social science perspective with technical details.

Mr Pervez added that the book will also expand international awareness, policy discourse and academic debate on this secretive and unsafeguarded program.

ISSI’s Dr Naeem Salik then chaired a discussion between the authors and called the study a “pioneering effort”. The four authors – including Adeela Azam, Ahmed Khan, Mohammad Ali and Sameer Khan- said that the purpose of the study was to provide an understanding of the true history, size, extent and capabilities of the different aspects of the complex Indian nuclear program which New Delhi has kept outside the International Atomic Agency safeguards.

The authors said the study contains evidence that India has the largest and oldest unsafeguarded nuclear programme in the developing world and among the states not party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

They said that member states of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) should consider the large and swiftly expanding Indian nuclear bomb capacity when dealing with India’s NSG membership and ensure that Indian membership of this export control arrangement does not, in any way, help India expand and accelerate its nuclear weapons program.

Source: dawn.com/news/1292132/india-has-capacity-to-produce-hundreds-of-new-nuclear-bombs

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Defence Minister Condemns Quetta Attack, Says Pak Should Stop Backing Terrorists

October 25, 2016

New Delhi: Expressing grief over the terrorist attack on the police training college in Quetta in which 51 people, mostly cadets, have been killed, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Tuesday said that non-state actors involved in terrorism should be curtailed and must not be supported by any state as sometimes it bounces back.

Talking to the media persons in New Delhi, Parrikar said terrorism anywhere in any form can’t be accepted.

“Let me express grief for any loss of life. We don’t believe in violence or any kind of violence. I am not describing any country with anything. Non-state actors who are involved in terrorism should be curtailed. It shouldn’t be supported by any state sometimes it bounces on you too. I think this is one of those events. But I regret the loss of lives and my sympathies are with the people who lost their lives,” he said.

At least 60 people were killed as three terrorists stormed a police training college in Quetta on Monday night, prompting an operation by the military and Frontier Corps forces to clear the premises which houses at least 600 police cadets.

There was an intermittent exchange of fire between the attackers and security forces for several hours, with reports of a hostage situation.

At least three terrorists were reportedly killed with the security forces claiming that the operation was over.

Source: siasat.com/news/parrikar-condemns-quetta-attack-says-pak-stop-backing-terrorists-1049617/

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‘ISI radicalising Sri Lankan Muslims to target India’

October 25, 2016

New Delhi: The Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Pakistan’s intelligence agency, has been trying to radicalise Muslims in Sri Lanka for many years now in a bid to use them for promoting its terror activities worldwide, primarily India, a report has said.

According to Ceylon Today, a Sri Lankan newspaper, the ISI used terror organization Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) and its charitable wing, the Idara Khidmat-e-Khalq (IKK), for the purpose.

The report has set alarm bells ringing within the Pakistani establishment, as they see this as the end of an importation operations hub.

The LeT-IKK contingent was “first noticed operating in Sri Lanka in 2004, after the devastating tsunami,” said the daily.

Trained cadres of the organisation visited the Maldives and Sri Lanka at that time in the disguise of humanitarian charitable workers, seeking to recruit jihadis in these areas, added the daily.

The report reveals that many youngsters from these areas headed to Pakistan and were found in LeT training camps in Pakistan’s Punjab province and in the tribal areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Using Sri Lanka as a staging post, the ISI’s primary and apparent objective is to encircle India from all sides. It wanted to use the island nation to access south India, both in terms of finding terror networks as well as for recruitment of cadres.

The Sri Lankan media report also reveals that in June 2009, the activities of Maulana Umar Madani were uncovered. Prior to his arrest in India, Madani was a frequent traveler to Sri Lanka.

Madani, a close confidant of JuD chief Hafiz Saeed and Abdul Rahman Makki, was developing a network in eastern Sri Lanka’s Muslim areas.

In April 2014, following the arrest of Shakir Hussain, the ISIS’s plans to target the US Consulate in Chennai and the Israeli Consulate in Bengaluru were foiled. This led to the unceremonious recall of Pakistani Visa Counsellor in Sri Lanka, Amir Zubair Siddiqui, who was Shakir Hussain’s handler, added the report.

It has also been exposed that the ISI used Colombo as a transit point for terror funding for smuggling fake Indian currency notes.

Further, a recent report in the Colombo Gazette has highlighted continued attempts of groups like Al Qaeda to recruit cadres from Sri Lanka to wage jihad in Syria.

Such activities have also led to greater cooperation between intelligence agencies of the world’s major powers.

Recently, the intelligence sharing among India, Sri Lanka and China led to the arrest of Pakistani national, Faiz Muhammad, in Guangzhou (China) with fake Indian currency notes worth Rs 2.5 million, according to the Colombo-based report.

Faiz’s arrest was the result of a tip-off by Indian intelligence agencies to their counterparts in Colombo and Beijing.

Source: thenorthlines.com/isi-radicalising-sri-lankan-muslims-target-india/

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J&K to prosecute 9 men for raising Islamic State flag

October 25, 2016

IN THE first such decision, the Jammu and Kashmir government has accorded sanction for prosecution of nine people charged with raising an Islamic State (IS) flag in Srinagar two years ago. The nine have been booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, or UAPA.

“The government is of the view that there is sufficient material and evidence available against the accused persons for their prosecution,” states a notification issued by the state’s Principal Secretary (Home), R K Goyal.

On October 17, 2014, a few unidentified youths had raised the black flag of the IS at Srinagar’s Jamia Masjid after the Friday prayers. The police registered a case and said that their investigations revealed that nine Srinagar residents were involved in the incident.

The police had booked the youths under UAPA Section 13 (punishment for taking part in or committing, advocating, abetting, inciting or assisting in any unlawful activity), which makes state government’s sanction mandatory for prosecution. While the state Home Secretary until recently issued such sanctions, under new rules the power lies with the Chief Minister.

Stating that the police have established a prima facie case against the accused, the gazette notification states, “The appointed authority by the state government has independently scrutinised the case diary and documents relevant to the case and has come to a conclusion that this is a fit case for accord of prosecution sanction against the accused persons.”

Police officials said the nine people to be prosecuted are not “motivated” by IS ideology, and had raised the flags only to “hurt” the Central government and “garner international attention” towards Kashmir.

While the IS has no presence in the Valley, a Srinagar youth, who was working in Australia, had reportedly joined the terror outfit in Syria two years ago. In the last two years, IS flags have been raised on several occasions in different areas, most such incidents coming after Friday prayers.

Source: indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/jk-to-prosecute-9-men-for-raising-islamic-state-flag-3101471/

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Centre encouraging online applications for Haj: Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi

October 25, 2016     India 0 Comments

Mumbai: The Centre is encouraging online applications for the next Haj pilgrimage so that people can get an opportunity with complete transparency, Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said here today.

Naqvi, who inaugurated a meeting of Haj Committee of India and states/UTs Haj committees at the Haj House in south Mumbai this morning, said during this year’s Haj pilgrimage, 45,843 people applied online, which was about 11 per cent of total applications received from across the nation.

Maharashtra was at top place regarding online applications for Haj in 2016 with 10,960 online applications, Naqvi said.

Altogether, 9,257 online applications were received from Kerala, 5,407 from Uttar Pradesh, 2,983 from Telangana, 2,426 from Jammu and Kashmir and 2,425 online applications were received from Gujarat, he said.

“We have been making efforts to make the process of online application simple and easy so that more people can apply online for next Haj pilgrimage,” he said.

Altogether 99,903 people went to Saudi Arabia for Haj from 21 embarkation points across India through Haj Committee of India this year, he said.

About 36,000 Haj pilgrims also proceeded for Haj through private tour operators, he added.

During the last Haj, Ministry of Minority Affairs had sent a team of officials to two holy cities (Mecca and Medina) in Saudi Arabia to take stock of arrangements for the pilgrims, he said.

“The Centre is committed to provide best facilities to pilgrims and making their pilgrimage comfortable. We have written to Chief Ministers of all the states and MPs last week to give suggestions regarding Haj,” he said.

The Ministry has already started preparations to make arrangements for the next Haj, he said. Haj Committee of India and state Haj committees should chalk out a strategy to ensure that pilgrims do not face any problems at Mecca and Medina, he said.

“The Ministry has been preparing a 10-15 minutes duration film which will provide all the necessary information to Haj pilgrims. This film will be shown to pilgrims at training camps to be organised for pilgrims. Our Ministry has been making efforts to ensure smooth Haj pilgrimage next time also,” he added.

The Saudi Arabian government had cooperated a lot which ensured smooth Haj 2016, he said.

“We have started discussion with Government of Saudi Arabia and Haj related agencies in India on suggestions received,” he said.

The state Haj committees should make the people aware about ‘Dos and Don’ts’ regarding Haj and their journey so that they don’t face any trouble during the pilgrimage, he said.

“People going for Haj should follow all the rules and regulations of the Government of Saudi Arabia regarding security, accommodation and transportation etc so that they can also cooperate with the Saudi Arabia Government for smooth pilgrimage,” Naqvi said.

Source: siasat.com/news/centre-encouraging-online-applications-haj-mukhtar-abbas-naqvi-1048823/

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Pakistan: 4 killed in Pakistan, India border clashes

25th Oct 2016

KARACHI, (AA): Three civilians, including two children, and an Indian soldier have been killed by fresh border clashes between Indian and Pakistani forces, officials said Monday.

The Pakistani army’s spokesperson’s unit claimed Indian forces began “unprovoked” firing and shelling for several hours late Sunday night, killing a one-year-old baby and a local man.

The Indian Express newspaper reported a six-year-old child and an Indian soldier were killed by Pakistani fire. India accused Pakistan for the exchange.

Tensions between the two nuclear neighbors has failed to ease after 19 Indian soldiers were killed in Indian-held Kashmir last months, by militants India has claimed had links to Pakistan.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has since boasted about carrying out “surgical strikes” on the Pakistani side of the border, a claim Islamabad strongly rejected.

The two countries have been locked in numerous disputes over land and sea boundaries since Pakistan was created after the end of British rule and the partition of India in 1947.

India and Pakistan have fought three wars; two of them over the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir.

Source: muslimnews.co.uk/news/south-asia/4-killed-pakistan-india-border-clashes/

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South Asia

ISIS trying to establish a caliphate inside Afghanistan: US General

Tue Oct 25 2016

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group is attempting to establish a caliphate inside Afghanistan, the top US commander in Afghanistan has said.

General John Nicholson who is also in command of the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission (RSM) in Afghanistan has said the majority of the ISIS fighters in Afghanistan are foreigners.

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

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

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

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

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

Both the Afghan forces and the US forces in Afghanistan are conducting regular raids against the Taliban insurgents and ISIS loyalist in the districts where they are conducting insurgency activities.

The US forces increased airstrikes against the Taliban insurgents and ISIS loyalists earlier this year after the Obama administration granted a broader role to the American forces.

Source: khaama.com/isis-trying-to-establish-a-caliphate-inside-afghanistan-us-general-02139

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Quetta Attack: Abdullah says state-sponsored terrorism leads to destruction

Tue Oct 25 2016

The Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah reacted towards the attack on a police academy in Quetta city of Pakistan that left at least 60 police cadets dead, saying state-sponsored terrorism leads to destruction.

Reaffirming the support by Afghan people to the people of Pakistan, Abdullah said “I ofer sympathies and condolences to the families and friends of those killed in the attack.”

Abdullah further added that the state-sponsored terrorism, use of proxy forces and differentiation between terrorists will always lead to destruction as he called to ‘Say no to terror’.

At least 60 people were killed and nearly 120 others were wounded in a coordinated attack on a police academy in Quetta city, the provincial capital of Balochistan province of Pakistan.

According to the provincial officials, the attack was launched late on Monday night after a group of heavily-armed militants wearing suicide vests stormed the police academy.

The official further added that the most of the deaths were caused when two of the attackers detonated their suicide vests inside the academy while the third gunman was shot dead.

No group has so far claimed responsibility behind the attack but the Major General Sher Afgan, chief of the paramilitary FC in Balochistan, said the attack was likely carried out by Al-Alimi faction.

Al-Alimi faction of Lashkar-i-Jhangvi militant group is affiliated with the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, Afgan said, adding that the communication intercepts showed the attack was carried out by the same group.

Source: khaama.com/quetta-attack-abdullah-says-state-sponsored-terrorism-leads-to-destruction-02140

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Dostum accuses Ghani of nepotism, slams Abdullah for being incapable

Tue Oct 25 2016

The First Vice President General Abdul Rashid Dostum accused President Ghani of nepotism and slammed Chief Executive Abdullah for being an incapable leader.

The latest remarks by Gen. Dostum unveils the persistent rift among the leaders of the government of national unity amid tense security situation in the country.

Speaking to a gathering in northern Jawzjan province following a military operation led by him, Gen. Dostum said President Ghani prefers those speaking Pashto and individuals belonging to his province are even more important to him.

Gen. Dostum further added the Chief Executive Abdullah is an incapable leader and has lost his fame among the Tajiks of the country despite he ethnically a Tajik.

The First Vice President appears to have adopted a similar stance the Chief Executive Abdullah adopted earlier in August.

Abdullah President Ghani as unfit for the office, during a gathering in Kabul as he was addressing a group of young people in his office garden.

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

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

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

The Presidential Palace issued a statement and expressed regrets regarding Abdullah’s remarks, saying such remarks are not in line with the standards and spirit of governance, insisting that principles and legal criteria forms the basis of governance based on which the executive steps are taken.

Source: khaama.com/dostum-accuses-ghani-of-nepotism-slams-abdullah-for-being-incapable-02137

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USAID pledges $791 million in fresh aid to Afghanistan

Mon Oct 24 2016

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) pledged $791 million in fresh aid to Afghanistan to support programs that achieve Afghan-led, sustainable development.

U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Director Herbert Smith and Minister of Finance Eklil Hakimi signed the funding agreements.

“These agreements are a testament to the enduring partnership between the American and the Afghan people. Over the next 12-months, this funding will enable us to implement projects and deliver valued services to our citizens across Afghanistan,” said Afghanistan’s Minister of Finance Eklil Hakimi.

Mr. Hakimi went on to say, “These are some of the first practical steps we are taking to deliver on our commitments and the pledges that were made at the Brussels Conference to help Afghanistan achieve self-reliance.”

USAID Director Herbert Smith said the documents just signed begin to implement the multi-year pledge that the United States made at the recent Afghanistan donor’s conference in Brussels, where the U.S. underscored its enduring commitment to the people of Afghanistan and its National Unity Government.

“This document reaffirms U.S. determination to support the government of Afghanistan in efforts to strengthen Afghanistan’s institutions, maintain gains in education and health services achieved in recent years, and improve the welfare of the Afghan people,” Herbert said.

The funds obligated under the agreements will support programs that achieve strategic development objectives, including a thriving economy led by the private sector, a democratic government with broad citizen participation, and a better educated and healthier Afghan population.

Source: khaama.com/usaid-pledges-791-million-in-fresh-aid-to-afghanistan-02136

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Bangladesh opposition leader among seven indicted on Italian murder charge

Tuesday, 25 October, 2016

Seven persons including an opposition party leader have been indicted in a case filed for killing Italian citizen Cesare Tavella in Dhaka's diplomatic enclave Gulshan on Sept. 28 last year, in an attack claimed by Islamic State (IS) group jihadists.

Judge Kamrul Hossain Mollah of Metropolitan Sessions Judge's Court in Dhaka on Tuesday fixed Nov. 24 for starting the trial in the case.

According to the charge sheet, ex-Prime Minister Khaleda Zia's Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) leader MA Qayum planned the murder of Tavella as part of hatching conspiracy to kill any white-skin foreigner to create trouble for the government.

Qayum's brother MA Matin coordinated the murder and hired three assassins to kill a "white man," the charge sheet said.

Two accused including Qayum are currently on the run. The remaining five men including Matin, who are now behind the bars, Tuesday pleaded not guilty and demanded justice after the judges read out the charges against them.

Bangladesh police have ruled out IS link to the foreigner's killing.

A BNP spokesman who did not like to be named has termed the case against Qayum and his brother false and politically motivated.

Source: famagusta-gazette.com/bangladesh-opposition-leader-among-seven-indicted-on-italian-murder-charge-p36907-69.htm

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Afghan border police suffer casualties in attack on Torkham posts

Tue Oct 25 2016

The Afghan border police forces have suffered casualties in an attack on security posts located along Torkham near Pakistan, the local officials in Nangarhar said Tuesday.

The provincial governor’s spokesman in Nangarhar Ataullah Khogyani confirmed the incident took place late on Monday night but he did not disclose further information regarding the casualties of the security forces.

However, another official in Torkham said at least 8 personnel of the border protection police forces lost their lives in the attack.

The official speaking on the condition of anonymity said some security posts were also briefly captured by the militants but the Afghan forces managed to retake it after a gun battle with the militants.

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

Nangarhar is among the relatively peaceful provinces in eastern Afghanistan but the anti-government armed militant groups are actively operating in a number of its remote districts.

The Taliban insurgents and militants loyal to the Islamic Stat of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group are active in a number of the restive districts of Nangarhar.

Source: khaama.com/afghan-border-police-suffer-casualties-in-attack-on-torkham-posts-02141

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Europe

The Muslim prayer at Rome's Coliseum was a declaration of war

25/10/16

Something dramatic happened last Friday in Rome and slowly,slowly we are starting to decipher it. A vast, silent mass of hundreds of Muslim faithful gathered to pray in front of Rome’s Coliseum.

They chose a symbol of Western culture and did so under the wise guidance of political Imams. This was not an Islam respectful of the secular and democratic nature of Italian institutions. It was the political branch of an Islam that does not separate state and mosque, the Muslim Brotherhood, whose slogan has never changed since the time of Hassan al-Banna: “Allah is our goal, the Prophet our leader, the Koran our law, the jihad our way, dying for the way of Allah is our greatest hope”.

That spectacular Islamic mass was like a refusal of the illusion of a cultural “peace” slowly being strangled and punctuated with Koranic invocations. Something similar had already happened in front of Milan’s main cathedral and Bologna’s church of San Petronio, the target of Islamic fundamentalism because of a fresco by Giovanni da Modena that depicts Mohammed among the damned, in accordance with Dante’s Divine Comedy.

Islamists aim at a pedagogy that is not afraid of using words based on strength honor, faith and war. That mass prayer means that it is not possible to turn Muslims into liberal secularists. That Muslims could be assimilated to a secular environment.

Rome’s prayer was part of the acculturation of Europe’s Muslims, understood as “dar al shaada,” a land of religious mission by Islamist organizations. The purpose of prayer was to advance loyalty to the Prophet. It was pure Islamic, their concept of “the solution”.

We lack the will and fear abounds.

Lee Harris said a most important thing: The glory of the West has been the eradication of the virus of fanaticism, but perhaps we have achieved it at the price of our defeat.

exercise of religious freedom. It was a declaration of cultural war, the deadly encirclement of Western secularism. 

The well-known preacher Yussuf al Qaradawi said that the day will come when Rome will be Islamized. It remains to decide whether it will “by the word or by the sword”. Last Friday’s prayer it was by the word, while ISIS released videos in which the Coliseum is burned and bombed.

The American philosopher Lee Harris said a most important thing: The glory of the West has been the eradication of the virus of fanaticism, but perhaps we have achieved it at the price of our defeat.

The multicultural paradox, of which Rome’s mass prayer was another manifestation, looks like this: We are afraid of each other and we try to flatter, we do not know ourselves so we don’t see our enemy’s goals.

The mass prayer in front of the Coliseum is a way of saying, “we are radically different and we say this in front of your historical nationalist monument”. But is there someone who hears them?

Source: israelnationalnews.com/Articles/Article.aspx/19660

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Reticent Danish Queen Rethinks Islamic Integration

25.10.2016

In a new book, penned by Thomas Larsen of the Danish daily Berlingske and based on interviews with the Queen, Margrethe II addressed on some of today's most controversial topics. According to Margrethe II, Danes have underestimated the challenges of successful integration. Consequently, this underestimation is reflected in democratic Denmark's failure to successfully explain the ground rules for Islamic groups, who are ready to challenge them.

We probably thought that this kind of thing would happen by itself. If you walked the streets of Copenhagen, drank the municipal tap water and took the local bus, you would probably become a Dane in a short time. It was so obvious for us, and therefore we thought that it must also apply to those who settled and lived here. It was not. Now we have learned," Margrethe II said, as quoted by Danish daily Berlingske, stating that it was not a law of nature that one becomes a Dane simply by staying in Denmark.

According to Margrethe II, one need not yield to over-politeness and must sometimes dare to make guiding remarks.

"We must work with it and you have to occasionally put people back against the wall and say: Hey! This here is unacceptable," Margrethe II said.

The Queen's statements come at a time when Denmark is still reeling from the consequences of last year's migrant crisis. Throughout the past year, the political tone has become more intense and the very concept of Danishness has been debated. Margrethe II admitted that she now has a different perspective on the development compared with the times when immigration took off in the 1960s and all Danes thought it was "exciting."

"We cannot pretend that it wears off by itself. It won't. Many of us thought that people who come to a strange place are a kind of a blotting paper that absorbs everything new. <…> The task becomes harder, however, when so many people having various backgrounds and a particular religion arrive at once. They risk isolating themselves regardless of their will," Margrethe II warned. The Queen pointed out schooling and education as some of the main roads that the newcomers could consider pursuing, although she herself went to admit that she did not have a recipe for successful integration. "If I only knew that, I would probably be a wise wife. It is no easy task and I'm not one who can put into words," Margrethe II admitted, self-deprecatingly. © FLICKR/ NEWS ORESUND Nordic Facelift: Scandinavian Population Changes Ethnicity Danish Culture Minister Bertel Haarder, who previously identified the five roots of being Danish as equality, freedom of speech, higher education, a working nation and, last but not least, a keen cycling culture, sided with his Queen. "She described precisely the development that many of us have gone through. I remember saying at the beginning of my tenure as Integration Minister that the number of immigrants and refugees did not matter meant so much, as long as they found work. It sounded good, but unfortunately it was not true. It is the number that matters," Haarder admitted. The first time Margrethe II took up migration was during her New Year speech in 1984, when she warned her compatriots against meeting newcomers with "a polite coolness" and called for a heartier attitude. In 1992, she criticized her fellow Danes' nationalism and xenophobia. In 2005, Margrethe II stated, however, that Islam was a challenge to be taken seriously. Earlier this year Margrethe II declared that Denmark is "not a multinational country."

Source: sputniknews.com/europe/201610251046703528-danish-queen-immigration-integration-islam/

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Lavrov: US Yet to Separate Terrorists from Militants in Syria

October 25, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Tuesday the United States has not fulfilled its promise to separate militants from terrorists in Syria nearly a year after pledging to do so.

"The most important condition is the immediate and complete separation of the so-called moderate Syrian opposition from ISIL, al-Nusra Front (also known as Fatah al-Sham Front) and the like," Lavrov said at an Association of European Businesses briefing in Moscow, RIA Novosti reported.

"Our US partners have promised us to do so eight months ago. As of now, nothing has happened," Lavrov said.

Syrian government has been engaged in war against several militant groups since 2011, with government forces loyal to President Bashar Assad fighting numerous foreign-backed militants, as well as terrorist groups.

The United States has been supporting some militant groups in Syria, while Russia has been supporting Syria's legitimate authorities.

Russia advocates the soonest and peaceful settlement of the conflict in Syria, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Tuesday.

"Russia, as you know, has consistently been advocating for an early, peaceful and just settlement of the violent Syrian conflict," Lavrov said during the briefing in Moscow.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950804000783

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Aer Lingus removes man 'abusing' Muslim passengers from flight

24/10/2016

Aer Lingus cabin crew removed a man from a flight due to his alleged verbal abuse of Muslim passengers, it has emerged.

The incident took place on flight EI0330 from Dublin to Berlin this Sunday.

"Before taking off, a passenger showed abusive behaviour against two other Muslim passengers," wrote another passenger, Khalid Wafiq Kamel, on Aer Lingus's Facebook page (see below). "The crew reacted promptly to stop him, and the offending passenger was removed from the flight."

Contacted by Independent.ie Travel, Aer Lingus declined to comment specifically on the incident, but said its crew "are fully trained to deal with disruptive incidents that may arise on board our aircraft, and do so according to our operating procedures."

The captain and crew's reaction "made my day," Mr Kamel said.

"As a Muslim, I felt safe and respected being in Ireland and on Aer Lingus. As one of the crew said, 'We are all Equal'."

Over 11,000 people had liked Mr Kamel's Facebook post as we publish, with the vast majority of comments reacting positively to his sentiment.

"Well done Aer Lingus," said Theresa Corcoran, who replied to his post. "There is no place for racial hate in Ireland."

"I have been here is this beautiful country for 15 years," said another, Syed Ahmed. "I have so much love and respect for the Irish people the way I have been treated fairly in this country regardless of colour, race or religion."

"We're so sorry to hear that this took place, but we're glad that the crew handled the situation well," Aer Lingus's social media team replied.

Source: independent.ie/life/travel/travel-news/aer-lingus-removes-man-abusing-muslim-passengers-from-flight-35157099.html

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Arab World

Peshmerga and Iraqi forces closing in on Mosul

25 October 2016

Kurdish Peshmerga forces and the Iraqi army are making advances on different fronts as they push towards the ISIL stronghold of Mosul, but they are facing stiff resistance, and elsewhere in Iraq, ISIL has staged counterattacks.

ISIL, or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant group, also known as ISIS,  took full control on Monday of the town of Rutba in the western Anbar province as the approaching force tried to expel its fighters from Mosul, 700km north of Rutba.

"They also attacked Kurdish Peshmerga forces in Sinjar close to the Syrian border," said Al Jazeera's Zeina Khodr, reporting from northern Iraq.

"For two days ISIL forced Iraqi security forces to declare a state of emergency in the northern city of Kirkuk. Dozens of fighters targeted multiple locations in a sophisticated assault that some described as a message."

Iraqi special forces, for their part, began shelling ISIL positions before dawn on Monday near Bartella, a historically Christian town to the east of Mosul that they retook last week.

With patriotic music blaring from loudspeakers on their Humvees, they then pushed into the village of Tob Zawa, about 9km from Mosul, amid heavy clashes.

After entering the village, they allowed more than 30 people who had been sheltering in a school to escape the fighting.

Several countries are involved in the battle to reclaim the city, including Turkey which on Sunday confirmed its first attempted shelling of ISIL positions near Bashiqa, a key town near Mosul, at the request of Peshmerga forces.

"The Peshmerga forces have now reached the town of Bashiqa but are not inside it yet," Al Jazeera's Hoda Abdel-Hamid said, reporting from Erbil on Monday.

"It may take a few days. They [Peshmerga] suspect that there are a few ISIL suicide bombers inside."

Turkey's moves on Sunday  raised tensions with the Iraqi government.

Relations have been strained after Turkey sent hundreds of troops to the Bashiqa region to train anti-ISIL fighters.

Elsewhere, the Iraqi Federal Police, a military-style force, pushed into a small village in the Shura district south of Mosul, where they fired a large anti-aircraft gun and rocket-propelled grenades as they battled ISIL fighters.

They later appeared to have secured the village, a cluster of squat homes on a desert plain, and handed out water and other aid to civilians.

The US-led coalition said it carried out six air strikes near Mosul on Sunday, destroying 19 fighting positions and 17 vehicles, as well as rocket and mortar launchers, artillery and tunnels.

Separately, Human Rights Watch, the New York-based watchdog, called on Monday for an investigation into last Friday's purported air strike in northern Iraq that struck the women's section of a Shia mosque in the town of Daquq.

Field notes from Stefanie Dekker in Erbil, northern Iraq

Commanders from Erbil, Baghdad and the US are all sayingt hey are happy with the progress that is being made. But on the flipside, ISIL launched an attack on Rutba, in Anbar province, and took the entire town late on Monday night. Now there is a renewed push by Iraqi security forces backed by coalition and Iraqi air power to take back Rutba.

The assault was sort of a message from ISIL: Yes, you may be squeezing us on the battlefield when it comes to Mosul but we are still very capable of carrying out attacks in different places. So this is a concern. People will tell you they are expecting more such incidents.

We also saw an attack in Kirkuk in the last few days. It was a major security breach. So in the end, the fight for Mosul is not going to start any time soon. This could take weeks, and some people say even months.

The strike happened amid a large ISIL assault on the nearby city of Kirkuk that was meant to distract the Iraqi forces and their allies from the security operation around Mosul.

Human Rights Watch said Daquq's residents believe the attack was an air strike because of the extent of the destruction and because planes could be heard flying overhead.

It said at least 13 people were reported killed.

The US-led coalition and the Iraqi military are the only parties known to be flying military aircraft over Iraq.

The US denied conducting the deadly strike.

Iraqi Brigadier-General Yahya Rasool, spokesman for the Joint Military Command, confirmed that the Iraqi government was investigating the attack.

However, he declined to say whether Iraqi or coalition planes were flying in the area at the time of the explosion.

The campaign to retake Mosul comes after months of planning and involves more than 25,000 Iraqi troops, Kurdish forces, Sunni tribal fighters and state-sanctioned Shia militias.

It is expected to take weeks, if not months, to drive ISIL out of Iraq's second largest city, which is still home to more than a million people.

ISIL has suffered a series of setbacks over the past year, and Mosul is its last major urban bastion in Iraq.

"What allowed ISIL to gain large traction in Iraq was the breakdown of the political order in Baghdad," Feisal Istrabadi, former Iraqi ambassador to the UN,  told Al Jazeera.

"Leaderships throughout the country will have to make the necessary compromises and political bargains to dry out the swamp that allows ISIL to thrive."

Source: aljazeera.com/news/2016/10/battle-mosul-iraqi-army-making-advances-161025053342299.html

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Over 20 Terrorists Killed in Clashes with Syrian Soldiers in South-western Damascus

October 25, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Terrorist groups lost at least 23 rebels as their attack on government positions in Western Ghouta was repelled by the Syrian Army troops and popular forces.

Syrian government forces fended off terrorist groups' offensive on their strongholds along Khan al-Sheih-Deir al-Khabiyeh road, inflicting 23 casualties on the militants and destroying at least three tanks of the Takfiri groups.

The clashes occurred in al-Diwan neighborhood in the Southwestern countryside of Deir al-Khabiyeh.

In the meantime, the Syrian fighter jets pounded Jeish al-Islam's centers near the town of al-Reihan in Eastern Damascus.

In relevant developments in the region on Sunday, Fatah al-Sham (formerly known as the al-Nusra) Front suffered a heavy death toll in a heavy army raid and ordered withdrawal from key farms near Khan al-Sheih in Western Ghouta.

Syrian Army soldiers struck heavily the positions of Fatah al-Sham and captured al-Bawayeh farms, inflicting a heavy death toll on the militants.

The Syrian army men backed up by the Syrian fighter jets' air support further made a headway in the Southwestern flank of Khan al-Sheih and prevailed over the terrorists in the region after hours of non-stop battle.

After seizing control over al-Bawayeh farms and the areas Southwest of Khan al-Sheih, the army deployed fresh forces to the opposite side of the city to make a headway from the Southeast.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950804000791

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Terrorist Groups Pull Forces Back From More Lands in Northeastern Hama

October 25, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Syrian Army soldiers and popular forces engaged in fierce clashes with three main terrorist groups in Northeastern Hama and forced them to retreat from key positions in the region.

Syrian government forces inflicted major losses and heavy casualties on the terrorists of Jeish al-Nasr, Ahrar al-Sham and Jeish al-Ezzah near the recently-freed town of Ma'an and took full control over al-Madjaneh area in the Western part of Ma'an.

Syrian military forces also drove militant out of a strategic region outside of Ma'an town.

Meantime, a notorious field commander of Fatah al-Sham Front (the al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist group previously known as the al-Nusra Front) was killed in Syrian warplanes' massive air raids in Northern Hama on Monday.

A large number of militants of Fatah al-Sham, including their commander Ahmad Abdu Razaq al-Henesh, were killed in the Syrian air assaults on their positions in Khirbet Ma'arin, Morek, Souran, al-Lahaya, al-Latamina, Taybat al-Imam, Tal al-Mantar, al-Masaseneh, Tal Bazam and al-Saman.

Fatah al-Sham also lost a large number of military vehicles and tanks in the attacks.

The Russian air force also targeted terrorists' centers on the Eastern side of al-Salamiyah, inflicting major loss and casualties on the militants.

Military sources said that heavy bombardments of the Russian and Syrian fighter jets pave the ground for the government forces to launch fresh operation to take back Souran and Taybat al-Imam. 

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950804000748

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IRGC Commander Underlines Need to Produce Radar-Evading Missiles

October 25, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Lieutenant Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Brigadier General Hossein Salami called on Iranian scientific and academic centers to develop radar-evading materials to be used in the country's home-made missiles.

General Salami made the remarks while visiting Imam Hossein (AS) University's advanced materials and nanotechnology center inaugurated in Tehran on Tuesday.

"We need radar-evading materials for missiles and one of the tasks at this center is studying the weaponry systems' electromagnetic properties," he said.

"Production of compounds and composites to decrease the volume and surface of aerospace equipment and ground-based weapons are among the other measures to be adopted by the center," General Salami added.

Late in 2014, Iran's Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan had said that his country is the fourth missile power in the world and is working on plans to develop radar-evading missiles.

"Iran ranks fourth among the world missile powers after the US, Russia and China," General Dehqan said at the time.

He said Iran has increased the range of its missiles in reaction to enemy's possible threats, but it is now "trying to increase the precision of our missiles and their endurance, and (also) make them radar-evading".

Iran has made huge progress in building different types of weapons and military equipment, including radar-evading equipment.

General Salami announced last November that the IRGC has developed a drone technology which has empowered its radar-evading pilotless aircraft to fly 3,000km nonstop for reconnaissance and combat missions.

"Our defensive achievements and tests have grown so much that we avoid releasing reports about them in order not to prevail a security atmosphere in the society," Salami said.

Noting that Iran which one day merely test-fired short-range missiles is now in possession of high-precision long-range missiles, he said, "Today, our drones' 3,000-km operational range and their ability to carry out offensive operations is no more surprising to us."

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950804000760

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Syrian Army Scores More Victories against Terrorists in Northern Hama

October 25, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Syrian military forces continued their advances against terrorist groups near the militant-held town of Souran and Taybat al-Imam, beating them back from more strongholds, field sources said Tuesday.

"Syrian government force, backed up by the Syrian and Russian fighter jets, stormed terrorists' bases and defense lines in the towns of Kafr Zita, al-Latamina, and near the towns of Ma'an, al-Naseriyeh and Souran, destroying militants' bases, artilleries and mortar launchers," the sources said.

"Several terrorists were also killed and several more were injured in the Syrian soldiers' offensive in the Eastern part of Souran, backed up by air force and artillery units. 

On Monday, the Syrian Army and popular forces started a joint operation to beat the terrorist groups back from the towns of Taybat al-Imam and Souran in Northern Hama.

"After the Syrian and Russian warplanes pounded terrorists' positions near Taybat al-Imam and Souran, the ground troops and popular forces stormed militants' defense lines," army sources said, adding, "Intense battle is reported from areas near the two towns."

"The pro-government military forces deployed hundreds of forces along the road to Souran after pushing back militants from the regions near the towns of Kawkab and Ma'ardes that have been recently captured by the army," the sources added.

"The army soldiers also discovered and detonated a 5.2-kilimeter-long tunnel connecting Ma'ardes to Taybat al-Imam. At least 23 Jeish al-Nasr terrorists were killed in the army attacks along the road to Souran," the sources went on to say.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950804000715

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Commander: Iraqi Army, Volunteer Forces Win Back Key Region in Anbar Province

October 25, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Iraqi forces continued their military advances in Anbar province, and managed to seize back control of a strategic region from the ISIL terrorists.

"Iraq's joint military forces took full control of al-Rataba region in the Western part of Anbar province," Commander of Anbar Operations Esmayeel al-Mahlawi announced on Tuesday.

He noted that the mop-up operations are still underway in al-Rataba region.

Meantime, member of Anbar Provincial Council Azal al-Fahdavi told FNA that the Iraqi forces are in full control of al-Rataba region.

Al-Fahdavi pointed to the situation in al-Rataba region, and said, "The Iraqi forces killed four suicide bombers who had explosive belts and arrested four others."

Media reports said on Sunday that Iraq's joint military forces had seized back 53 villages since the beginning of Mosul military operation.

"An arms depot and 7 suicide belts have also been destroyed," the Arabic-language media reported.

On Thursday, informed sources said that the Iraqi security and popular forces retook 14 villages in the Northern and Southern parts of Mosul from the ISIL control.

Iraqi sources said that the army and its allies seized back control of al-Khalediyeh, al-Salehiyeh and al-Khabat villages near al-Qayyara, Deiri, Samaqiyeh, Soqra, Kobra and Nahla villages near Sahl Neineva region, Sidaveh, al-Makouk, al-Manavir and Khanisat villages in Southern Mosul and Barima and al-Nouran villages in Northern Mosul.

They added that operations will continue until freedom of all regions in Mosul from the ISIL hand.

Meantime, reports said that the Iraqi army and volunteer forces have surrounded the center of al-Hamdaniyeh town in the Southeastern parts of Mosul.

Governor of Iraq's Nineveh Province announced on Wednesday the Iraqi army and popular forces managed to liberate 40% of the province from ISIL terrorists and they met with little resistance by the terrorists while liberating the villages in the Nineveh Province.

“The arrival of Iraqi security forces to Mosul cheered up the citizens and displaced people,” the Governor of Nineveh, Nofal Hammadi said in a press statement.

“We are waiting for the full liberation of our province and the Iraqi flag to be raised on its center,” he noted.

“Iraqi security forces liberated 40% of Nineveh Province, and they met with little resistance by the ISIL members in the liberated villages due to their retreated morale,” Hammadi concluded.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950804000703

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Iraqi Artillery Fire Starts Hitting ISIL inside Mosul

October 25, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iraqi Army and its allies started targeting ISIL's positions inside the city of Mosul with artillery fire, Iraq’s top anti-terror commander said, as operation aimed at liberating the Northern Iraqi city from the terror outfit has entered its second week.

Abdul-Ghani Asadi, the commander of the Iraqi army’s anti-terrorism contingent, made the announcement as reports suggest that Iraqi forces have liberated more than 70 percent of the territory lying to the South of the ISIL-held Northern city of Mosul, and are weeding out explosives planted by the terrorist group on their way to the city, presstv reported.

On Tuesday, the joint military and volunteer forces liberated three more villages, located to the city’s South, from ISIL, the country’s war news media reported, with Tweeter pictures showing children rejoicing after the areas’ liberation.

Footage also showed a military Abrams tank ripping through a bomb-laced ISIL vehicle, which had been left at one entrance to the city to block the forces’ advance.

Overwhelmed by casualties, the ISIL militants threw 40 bedridden patients, most of them elderly, out of the Mosul General Hospital, filling its aisles and emergency ward with their own wounded members, Iraq’s al-Sumeriya TV network reported.

Locals, meanwhile, said the bodies of most of the victims of the city’s clashes had been taken to the al-Qabat district, situated in the city’s East.

On Monday, Iraqi forces were engaged in a push toward the center of the strategically-important al-Hamdaniya district in the Northeast of Iraq’s Nineveh Province, of which Mosul is the capital, as part of the larger-scale push to retake Mosul.

Large numbers of the terrorists are, meanwhile, reported to have fled Mosul as the group is said to have lost the power to confront the advancing Iraqi forces.

The terror group has declared the city its so-called headquarters in Iraq. The city has been under ISIL control since 2014, when the terror outfit started ravaging the country.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950804000752

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Senior Terrorist Commander Killed in Syrian Army Attack in Aleppo City

October 25, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- A notorious commander of the Turkey-backed terrorist group of Nouralddeen al-Zinki was killed in clashes with the Syrian Army and popular forces in Salahuddin district.

Abu Omar Danial was killed in a heavy fighting with Syrian government forces in Salahuddin district Southwest of Aleppo city.

In the meantime, Syrian government forces captured several building blocks in Salahuddin after hours of non-stop clashes with al-Zinki terrorists.

The Syrian army and popular forces also engaged in fierce clashes with Jeish al-Fatah in the districts of Sheikh Saeed, and al-Ameriyeh, beating them back from more positions

Syrian army's artillery and missile units, for their part, continued to shell terrorists' centers in Housing Project 1070, and the Syrian soldiers are now engaged in an intense battle with terrorists to take back Mouteh, Ahad and al-Mohebah hills near al-Bazo height.

Syrian and Russian fighter jets, for their part, have been bombing terrorists' gatherings and bases in the town of Khan Touman, Rashedeen region, Ramouseh road, near Housing Project 1070, and the districts of Bostan al-Pasha, Suleiman al-Halabi and Sheikh Saeed.

Field sources disclosed on Monday that Syrian government forces are getting ready for an imminent large-scale operation to end Jeish al-Fatah's rule over Khan Touman region in Southern Aleppo.

"Syrian army troops and the Lebanese Hezbollah fighters are preparing to push South towards Khan Touman, al-Eis and al-Zerbeh after capturing air defense battalion, Tal Bazo, and finding full fire control over Rashedeen 4 ad 5 on the Southern outskirts of Aleppo city in the last few days," the sources said.

The sources added that Syrian government forces, backed up by Russian and Syrian fighter jets, continue to hit Jeish al-Fatah's centers in neighborhoods on the Aleppo-Khan Touman road and in Housing Project 1070 and the districts of Sheikh Saeed and Ameriyeh.

Jeish al-Fatah's centers in Rashedeen 4 and 5 and Ramouseh's road came under heavy air raids by the Syrian and Russian warplanes.

Wining back Khan Touman region will bring the Aleppo-Damascus highway under government's control.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950804000650

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Iran Strongly Condemns Terrorist Attacks in Quetta

October 25, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Iranian foreign ministry on Tuesday strongly deplored the suicide attacks against a military college in the Pakistani city of Quetta which killed nearly 60 people.

Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi extended his condolences to the friendly and brotherly Pakistani government and nation as well as the bereaved families, and called for serious collective confrontation against the ominous phenomenon of terrorism.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran has always stressed the need for cooperation in fighting against the terrorist groups and underlines its preparedness to help the Pakistani government to this end," he added.

At least 59 cadets and guards were killed after militants attacked a police college in Quetta.

Three militants wearing suicide bomb vests entered the college late on Monday, reportedly taking hostages.

A major security operation lasted for hours and all attackers were killed.

No group has said it carried out the assault, but Quetta has seen similar attacks by separatists and Islamist militants in recent years.

Hundreds of trainees were evacuated from Balochistan Police College as troops arrived to repel the militants. Local media reported at least three explosions at the scene.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950804000656

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Gov't Forces Seize ISIL's Cargo of Grad Missiles in Southern Syria

October 25, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Syrian Army soldiers and National Defense Forces sized a pickup of the ISIL terrorist group carrying several Grad missiles in Western Sweida, provincial sources said Tuesday.

"A pickup of ISIL carrying at least four Grad missiles was stopped and its cargo was seized by the Syrian government forces after minutes of chasing in the Western Sweida to Eastern Badiyeh (desert)," the sources said.

"The government forces had previously been informed of ISIL's plan to transfer heavy arms to Eastern Badiyeh," they added.

Also, Syrian military forces stormed the concentration centers and gatherings of ISIL terrorists in two regions in Eastern Sweida on Monday, destroying several fuel tankers.

ISIL's bases in al-Bayader region and in the Eastern side of the village of al-Rashideh came under heavy attack by the Syrian army troops, destroying a base, several oil tankers and killing a number of militants.

A militant commander disclosed in September that several foreign states gave rebels surface-to-surface Grad rockets of a type not previously supplied to them in response to a major Russian-backed offensive in Aleppo.

The Grad rockets with a range of 22 km and 40 km were supplied in excellent quantities and would be used on battlefronts in Aleppo, Hama and the coastal region, rebel commander Colonel Fares al-Bayoush told Reuters at the time.

While Grad missiles were previously supplied to rebels, Bayoush underlined that it was the first time this particular type had been delivered.

Each salvo contained 40 rockets, he said, without giving further details. The rebels had previous stocks of the rocket captured from army stores, he added.

The militant commander claimed that there was as yet no sign of the rebels being supplied with anti-aircraft missiles they had demanded, while other terrorist groups, including Fatah Al-Sham (Nusra) Front and ISIL have already started using such weapons systems.

A video posted on YouTube also in September showed Free Syrian Army (FSA) militants firing Grad missiles at Syrian government positions near Aleppo. Meanwhile, Bayoush confirmed the weapons being fired in the video were newly supplied.

Militant groups fighting under the Free Syrian Army banner have received military aid from states opposed to President Bashar al-Assad via a US-backed coordination center in Turkey.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950804000554

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Syrian, Russian Forces Help Dozens of Civilians to Escape Militant-Held Districts of Aleppo

October 25, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry announced on Tuesday that his forces and the Syrian soldiers assisted at least 48 civilians to leave militant-held districts in Eastern Aleppo to the Western part of the city via the government-established Bostan al-Qasr corridor.

"Late on Monday, October 24, 48 women and children, accompanied by the officers of the Russian reconciliation center and Syrian authorities left Eastern Aleppo through humanitarian corridor. They have been provided with the necessary medical aid, hot meal and night accommodation," Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said Tuesday, adding that six humanitarian corridors, hot meals and first aid stations continued working for those civilians who wanted to flee Aleppo.

"Forty eight people managed to escape from the Eastern part of Aleppo city. We cannot disclose any details," the police spokesperson said for his part, adding that "We hope that it will be possible to pull out more people using the same system".

Battlefield sources disclosed on Monday that the Syrian army gave a last chance to the terrorists in the Eastern parts of Aleppo to surrender now or never.

The army helicopters dropped thousands of "Surrender Now" leaflets, calling on the terrorists to take this last chance to surrender or leave the Eastern parts of the city.

The signature of the Syrian Army's General Command was down the leaflets that warn the present chance would not stand for long.

The army vowed to seriously confront the terrorists if they did not leave the city through the safe corridors specified for them.

Concurrent with the start of the ceasefire in Aleppo on Thursday, the terrorists stationed in the Eastern parts of Aleppo city blocked the corridors established by the army for the people and militants who intended to leave the city with heavy rocket and artillery fire.

Militants also deployed snipers in certain areas to prevent the evacuation of their comrades and civilians and announced that they would kill and set fire on houses of those people who wanted to leave.

Using a loud speaker, the Army officers on Thursday told the militants to lay down their weapons and surrender themselves to the security forces in checkpoints at several entry points in Eastern Aleppo.

The Army also promised not to punish any militant that surrenders themselves to the security forces in Eastern Aleppo.

Also on Thursday, the army helicopters dropped leaflets which also included instructions and maps for the civilians to easily find the six safe corridors for leaving the Eastern parts of Aleppo city.

The instructions also showed the two safe passages allocated to the militants to evacuate the city.

But, the Army's call on the terrorist groups to surrender themselves to the authorities or evacuate the city was rejected by Fatah al-Halab and Fatah al-Sham Front (the al-Qaeda-linked terrorist group previously known as the al-Nusra Front) that constitutes the main body of the terrorists in Aleppo city.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950804000458

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Syrian Envoy Calls for Halt in US-Led Coalition Attacks on Syrian infrastructure

October 25, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Syria’s Permanent Representative to the UN Bashar Jafari called for halting the attacks launched by the US-led international coalition on the Syrian infrastructure and the country's oil and gas facilities, which have amounted to the destruction of the Syrian nation's assets.

Jafari clarified in two letters directed to the Chiefs of UN Secretary General and the UN Security Council that the aggression which has recently targeted the oil and gas fields in the Provinces of Deir Ezzur, Raqqa and Hasaka caused huge material damages and an almost complete demolition of some facilities, SANA reported.

He noted that the aggression of the “international coalition” along with the unilateral coercive measures imposed by some states on the Syrian people is responsible for the deterioration of the difficult circumstances which undergo in Syria.

He said that Syria keeps its right of demanding the US-led international coalition to pay compensations due to the targeting of its infrastructure, according to the international law.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950804000667

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Syrian Envoy Calls for Halt in US-Led Coalition Attacks on Syrian infrastructure

October 25, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Syria’s Permanent Representative to the UN Bashar Jafari called for halting the attacks launched by the US-led international coalition on the Syrian infrastructure and the country's oil and gas facilities, which have amounted to the destruction of the Syrian nation's assets.

Jafari clarified in two letters directed to the Chiefs of UN Secretary General and the UN Security Council that the aggression which has recently targeted the oil and gas fields in the Provinces of Deir Ezzur, Raqqa and Hasaka caused huge material damages and an almost complete demolition of some facilities, SANA reported.

He noted that the aggression of the “international coalition” along with the unilateral coercive measures imposed by some states on the Syrian people is responsible for the deterioration of the difficult circumstances which undergo in Syria.

He said that Syria keeps its right of demanding the US-led international coalition to pay compensations due to the targeting of its infrastructure, according to the international law.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950804000667

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Africa

Al-Shabab suicide bomber hits AU base in Beledweyne

25 October 2016

A suicide bomber has driven a vehicle loaded with explosives into an African Union military base in central Somalia, according to a Somali security official.

Tuesday's attack in Beledweyne was claimed by the Somali armed group al-Shabab.

"There was a suicide attack targeting the Djiboutian military base in western Beledweyne," said Abdullah Ibrahim, a local security official.

A military offensive launched in 2014 by AU forces and the Somali army pushed al-Shabab out of major strategic centres.

Even so, the fighters, who once held sway over much of the Horn of Africa country, still control some settlements and rural areas.

Somalia has been embroiled in conflict and lawlessness since the early 1990s following the toppling of Mohamed Siad Barre.

Aided by the AU-mandated force known as AMISOM, Somalia's military and central government have tightened their grip on the country but a campaign of violence by al-Shabab persists.

Source: aljazeera.com/news/2016/10/al-shabab-suicide-bomber-hits-au-base-beledweyne-161025100944121.html

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Somali Extremists Kill 12 Non-Muslims in Northern Kenya

OCT. 25, 2016

NAIROBI, Kenya — Islamic extremist gunmen from neighboring Somalia killed 12 people in an attack on non-Muslims in Kenya's northern Mandera County, an official said Tuesday.

Somalia's al-Shabab rebels claimed the responsibility for the early-morning attack on the Bishaaro Guest House, saying its fighters targeted Christians, according to the group's radio station, Andalus.

The gunmen used grenades and homemade explosives to break into the guest house and then stormed in with guns, said Mohamed Saleh, Mandera's regional commander.

Survivor Veronica Wambui, an actor with a group touring Mandera to showcase textbooks in schools, said they were asleep at around 2:30 a.m. when they heard explosions at the main gate to the guesthouse.

The attackers came in and went to room to room shooting and killing her colleagues, she said. She said she and others hid in a storeroom and the attackers set off another explosion which made the wall collapse on her.

"I could see the lights from the torch (flashlight) when they were checking out the room but the collapsed wall had covered me," said Wambui, speaking from her hospital bed where she is being treated for a bullet wound in the palm of her left hand and injuries to both her legs.

The acting troupe came from Nairobi and had been touring schools in Mandera County, which is near the border with Somalia, for about a month. Two weeks ago a watchman was killed at the guesthouse and there were rumors that the lodging was being targeted.

Al-Shabab has vowed retribution on Kenya for sending troops to Somalia since 2011 to fight the militants, who are waging an insurgency against Somalia's weak, Western-backed government. Kenyan security forces have managed to stop al-Shabab's attacks in major cities in Kenya that have killed hundreds.

However, Mandera County remains volatile. Al-Shabab militants hijacked a bus in Mandera in November 2014 and killed 28 non-Muslims on board. In December 2014 they killed 36 quarry workers. This year six people were killed in July when gunmen shot at buses and on Oct. 6 when al-Shabab gunmen killed six at a residential compound housing non-Muslims.

Al-Shabab's campaign of attacks targeting non-Muslims has had a devastating impact on education in Mandera County. Many non-Muslim teachers have asked to be transferred from the region, causing a shortage of teachers in the area.

Source: nytimes.com/aponline/2016/10/25/world/africa/ap-af-kenya-extremist-attack.html?_r=0

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With just one place to worship, Somalia is a dangerous place for Christians

Oct 25, 2016

Vatican sends message to Hindus for Deepavali Michel Aoun meets with Patriarch Rai, after gaining support of most Lebanese partiesAs drug war darkens, Filipino cardinal sheds light with rehab centersSaints of Mercy The new bishop of Changzhi and the many voices on China-Vatican dialogueDJIBOUTI: “Even if work has to be done silently, it is better to be here than not be here.” These are the words of Bishop Giorgio Bertin, apostolic administrator of the Diocese of Mogadishu.The prelate, who has been in the region for almost 40 years and is also Bishop of Djibouti, was hinting at the grave risks Christians face in the Horn of Africa.There is only a single church in Somalia: St. Anthony of Padua in Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland, a semi-autonomous region. Saying Mass has been and continues to be “very dangerous,” the bishop told international Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need.

Just last January, after the church had been boarded up for some 20 years, the bishop was able to re-consecrate the church, which now also serves as a base for humanitarian activities sponsored by Caritas.“Not many people come to Mass – 10 at most – but nonetheless, it is important,” the bishop said. The church is a silent witness in a country where “there are more and more mosques”, thanks to financial aid from Saudi Arabia, he added.For Catholics, however, “there is no possible way of having a presence in Mogadishu, since it is very dangerous. There are a few Catholics, but if they engage in any activities, for example with Caritas, they will be risking their lives. We can only be present there through the intermediary of other Somali associations.”It was 27 years ago, after the assassination of Bishop Salvatore Colombo, that the Holy See asked Bishop Bertin to become apostolic administrator of Mogadishu, after rebels had destroyed almost the whole of the Somali capital and the Church’s entire infrastructure.“They deliberately targeted us, though not only us; in fact they destroyed everything, including embassies, and all public institutions,” the bishop recalled.

To this day, Somalia has remained a completely dysfunctional state, with a host of unrecognized self-proclaimed independent regions – such as Somaliland – and the constant threat of the jihadist militia of Al-Shabaab.Fortunately, in neighboring Djibouti, the former French colony where Bishop Bertin resides, the Church has freedom. “We are left in peace there; there is no danger and the Church is respected,” he said. The local Church is comprised of 5,000 Catholics, the majority of them expatriate, with only very few native faithful.Providing education and humanitarian work are the primary tasks of the Church, which, the bishop stresses, is not out to make converts. The Catholic schools almost exclusively serve Muslim students, however.Still, the prelate said, “we are sowing the seed of the Gospel among the people.” There are 30 missionaries in the country, serving two churches and four mission stations.The bishop stressed that “a priest or a religious sister is not there for the Catholics only; they are there as a presence in society, in contact with the people and open to them. We cannot remain closed up within our structures.”

Source: heraldmalaysia.com/news/with-just-one-place-to-worship-somalia-is-a-dangerous-place-for-christians/32711/1

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Coming in from the cold: Morocco returns to Africa

October 25, 2016

Two countries are making determined efforts to return to Africa. One is, in fact, an African country. Morocco left the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) 32 years ago over the admission of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) to the continental body.

Morocco considers SADR (Western Sahara), until 1976 a Spanish colony, one of its provinces.

That quarrel has not ended, but it appears Morocco sees it in its best interest to return to the fold. There are several probable reasons for this change.

Although the African Union (AU) and some other countries recognise SADR, the reality on the ground has remained unchanged for the past three decades. SADR controls about 25% of the territory while Morocco controls the rest.

The political and diplomatic situation is a stalemate, but one in which Morocco has a stronger hand. So there is probably no strong reason for Morocco to remain in the cold.

Besides, staying out of the African Union isolates Morocco from a growing market. Africa’s economies are growing and its people are increasingly earning higher incomes.

And with this comes a more visible and bigger role in international affairs. So there are economic and diplomatic benefits to be gained from closer engagement.

To show that they mean business and want to be actively involved with the rest of Africa, Morocco is not going about its return the old-fashioned way – sending diplomatic feelers or envoys to make its case. They are going about it in a businesslike manner, with business proposals and economic projects.

The king, no less, is visiting East Africa, a region of the continent where Morocco hardly has a presence. But he is not calling on the leaders and making the usual nice statements about cherished ties and brotherhood, and so on.

In fact on his just ended visit to Rwanda, he made no speeches. Perhaps that is royal protocol. Or it was not necessary because he came armed with many agreements that made a loud enough statement.

It is not the number of agreements alone that is significant, but the type as well. On such state visits, it is common for agreements to be signed between states. They are usually of a general nature about cooperation and are rarely implemented.

This time they are more specific and wide ranging, covering agriculture, finance, housing, manufacturing, energy, health and education, among others.

It is likely similar agreements will be signed in Tanzania and Ethiopia where the king and his large delegation will be next.

The Moroccans’ current visit to East Africa marks a serious intent to enter the region and widen their interests in Africa. Until recently the Arab north of Africa has had very little to do in this region.

Their interests have been mainly in West Africa. Only Gadaffi’s Libya, perhaps because of its leader’s interest in becoming the de facto leader of Africa, had financial and commercial interests in the region. Lately Egypt has been making trade inroads. Now Morocco is following suit.

From all this, it is clear is that Morocco is determined to return, and indeed has already made the necessary requests to do so.

The other country making a diplomatic comeback in Africa is Israel. The majority of African countries broke relations with Israel in 1973 following the Yom Kippur war. For many it was an expression of solidarity with Egypt and the Palestinians.

What did Africa reap from severing ties with Israel? Not much. In fact the continent suffered heavily from a petrol crisis fuelled by OPEC immediately after the 1973 war.

In terms of development cooperation, the Arabs did not fill the gap left by the Israelis. Yes, there were some loans and grants from a number of Arab Development Banks, but little else.

Instead there was a proliferation of Islamic NGOs and missionary organisations in much of Africa. Because these groups represented different factions within Islam, they brought their differences and created divisions within African Muslims. A more dangerous result was radicalisation of Muslims which has led many of them into joining terrorist organisations.

All along, however, discreet relations between some African countries and Israel remained. In recent times Israel and African countries have been slowly re-engaging. It is perhaps time these contacts came into the open.

Why now and what benefits are there for Africans? Israel continues to be a leader in matters of security, technology and agriculture. Africa needs this expertise.

For the Israelis too, improved relations with Africa are beneficial both economically and diplomatically. In any case, with the political mess in the Middle East, particularly the weakening of Syria and Iraq, the threat to Israel will likely take on another form that requires a different kind of response. Yes, the existential threat remains, but in different configurations.

So two countries are returning to Africa, and this is a reflection of the changing times. Solutions to many conflicts are increasingly to be found in establishing common ground than in maintaining a stand-off.

Collaboration is crucial because the alternative leads only to division and instability. Finally realpolitik and not sentiment is informing diplomatic decisions.

Source: newtimes.co.rw/section/article/2016-10-25/204760/

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Suspected extremists attack African Union base in Somalia

October 25, 2016

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — A Somali police officer says a suicide car bomber hit an African Union army base in central Somalia Tuesday.

Ahmed Ali said the bomber detonated an explosives-laden vehicle at the gates of a base of soldiers from Djibouti in Beledweyne town.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, however Somalia’s Islamic extremist rebels, al-Shabab, often carry out such assaults.

Despite being ousted from major strongholds across Somalia, al-Shabab, which is allied to al-Qaida, has recently been attacking military positions of Somali and African Union troops bolstering Somalia’s government.

Source: wtop.com/africa/2016/10/suspected-extremists-attack-african-union-base-in-somalia/

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Terrorists Hamper Polio Eradication Efforts in Africa

OCTOBER 24, 2016

It’s a battle that’s taken longer than anyone expected.

On World Polio Day, the international campaign to end the paralyzing disease takes stock of what has been accomplished and recommits to eradicating polio worldwide. And this year, the campaign—by the World Health Organization, UNICEF, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Rotary International—is facing a reassessment.

In August, virologists proved that polio has been lingering in Nigeria, in a corner of the country with porous borders and shifting populations where travel had been blocked by terrorism. Now, even though the number of cases is small, Nigeria has been re-declared “endemic,” a place where polio has never stopped circulating—and planners worry the disease could spill from there into other parts of Africa.

The discovery is discouraging because success seemed so close. When the international campaign launched in 1988, there were 350,000 cases of polio paralysis every year, mostly in children. Last year, there were 74. So far this year, including four in Nigeria, there have been 27. As cases dwindled, it was assumed that the last places to harbor the virus would be Pakistan and Afghanistan, which for the past two years produced the only cases of natural polio in the world.

“We have never been as close to eradication as we are right now,” Dr. Reza Hossaini, UNICEF’s director of polio eradication, told me. (See “Polio Eradication: Is 2016 the Year?”)

He cited a number of reasons: the low case count, but also the occurrence of polio in only limited areas in each country, as well as diminishing genetic diversity in the viruses being retrieved from the wild. All of those factors increase the opportunity to draw a noose of vaccination around the areas where cases are still occurring.

But, Hossaini said, “we are still challenged to reach every single child, with an adequate number of rounds of immunization, in order to create enough immunity to entrap the wild virus.”

In the campaign’s favor: In the three countries where polio is entrenched, it is about to be the dry season. Polio virus, which hides in feces, moves through the environment more easily when the weather is damp. Not in its favor: For every known case, there may be up to 200 more cases of people carrying the virus without visible symptoms, and case counting has been affected by the same political difficulty that allowed the Nigerian virus to persist.

“This really is a reflection of the issue of security,” Dr. Thomas Frieden, the CDC’s director, told me. “The lack of security and lack of access meant that we did not have adequate surveillance, and polio spread for five years without being recognized. This is a warning for countries all over the world, but particularly in Africa.”

What happens next in polio eradication—in Africa and in the disease’s stubborn redoubts in Afghanistan and Pakistan—will be examined today in a press conference and World Polio Day observances at the CDC’s Atlanta headquarters.

The Role of Boko Haram

Planners might have predicted that Nigeria would be the African country where polio surged back. It has repeatedly been a polio hot spot, out of a combination of politics, religious disagreements, and random bad luck.

In 2003, Muslim imams in Kano state in Nigeria’s northern tier began preaching that parents should not allow vaccination, claiming the vaccine had been contaminated in order to harm Islamic children.

That may have been an authentic belief or part of political maneuvering between the Muslim north and Christian south of the country—but whatever the motivation, the result was a freeze on vaccination in northern Nigeria for more than a year. Any children who were not yet vaccinated, including the ones born in those months, were vulnerable. So much infection boiled up that the disease leaked over borders to reinfect 14 other African countries, which had already eliminated polio and turned their attention and vaccination funds to other problems.

In Nigeria, lingering distrust kept vaccination rates low for years afterward. So many children went unprotected that, in 2006, a random mutation of the weakened virus used in the oral polio vaccine, which took the virus back to its wild disease-causing state, sparked a national epidemic.

During the time that spike was being controlled, the terrorist militia Boko Haram—best known for kidnapping more than 200 schoolgirls in 2014—began gaining control of the same parts of the north where vaccination had been low. They cut off entire provinces, blocking the access needed by teams vaccinating children and epidemiologists counting cases. When the Nigerian military forced the militia out of parts of Borno state, in Nigeria’s northeast corner, the polio campaign discovered that wild polio virus had been circulating there for years. (See “How Northern Nigeria’s Violent History Explains Boko Haram”)

Porous Borders and Rising Risk

Now the entire area—Borno and three other Nigerian states and the adjoining countries of Chad, Cameroon, and Niger, which touch Nigeria at Lake Chad—are caught in what the World Health Organization calls a “complex emergency,” with more than 150,000 people fleeing across national borders and more than two million people internally displaced. Malnutrition and diseases of all kinds are rising, and the risk of polio is rising too.

“I’m quite worried about the Lake Chad area, because there are weaknesses of surveillance, and there are nomadic populations which could be introducing polio to a wider area,” Frieden said.

Lake Chad shifts in size with the seasons and is surrounded by wetlands, where the national borders are not monitored. Hossaini said: “It’s really hard to say what the population movement across the borders is, because the borders are so porous. There are checkpoints, but people cross for trade, and often they are crossing with children.”

In response to the discovery of polio in Borno in August, the eradication effort and the governments of Nigeria and five nearby countries mounted a vast emergency vaccination campaign: six rounds of vaccination covering more than five million children each time. But getting to them is challenging. According to maps prepared by the polio campaign, much of the northern half of Borno remains under the control of Boko Haram, and the militia conducts raids into Cameroon, Chad, and Niger as well.

In Borno, “certain (local government areas) are totally accessible, but they are very few,” Hossaini said. “Some are accessible, but high risk. And there are a few where the military has not been able to free them up. The military has created corridors where people can come from the rural areas into internally displaced persons camps, but outside those corridors only the military can go. We think the majority of the population is accessible in that manner, but we don’t know how many more families and children are still in areas where we don’t have access.”

Boko Haram is an explicitly anti-Western movement—its name has been translated as “Western education is a sin”—so to have any hope of succeeding, the polio campaign has to be led by locals.

“The Nigerian [polio] program is very robust,” Frieden said. “Anywhere they can get in, they do a really good job. They vaccinated 830,000 kids in the first two weeks” after the first two cases were found.

‘We Have to Save the Children’

Since its beginnings in the 1980s, volunteers from Rotary International have been the boots on the ground for the eradication campaign. They do not buy vaccines (other agencies in the campaign handle that), but their emergency donations cover training and rental cars and radio ads—even town criers in places where there is no power or mobile-phone coverage—and they volunteer as vaccinators themselves. (See “A ‘Polio Warrior’ Recounts Decades of Struggle Toward Eradication”)

John Germ, Rotary’s president, said their knowledge of local politics is crucial. “We have a strong committee in Nigeria,” he told me. “They are working with the governmental leaders, religious leaders, and they are trying to work with some of the conflict leaders, to allow us to get in where the children are. Getting in there with volunteers is very, very difficult to do.”

The challenge facing the campaign is to ring-fence the disease before the virus manages a repeat of its 2006 feat, leaking into surrounding countries where polio has not been present and vaccination has therefore slowed down.

That may be an even more difficult task than in Afghanistan or Pakistan. In those countries, most of the areas where polio survives are remote, with little traffic in or out. Nigeria, on the other hand, is the most populous country in Africa, and a crossroads for the rest of the continent.

There is no quick fix that can make the risk of onward spread go away; it requires yet more of the hard, grinding, repetitive work that eradication campaigners have been doing for almost 30 years.

“I think we will eventually eradicate polio back from Nigeria, and we will get it out of Pakistan and Afghanistan also,” Germ told me. “We have to save the children. We will get to that last child.”

Source: news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/10/world-polio-day-resurging-endemic-in-nigeria/

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Mideast

Lock use is an evidence of Gülen network links: Owner

October 25, 2016

The usage of ByLock, an encrypted messaging application that is said to have been used by members of the Gülen Movement under U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, who is accused of orchestrating the failed coup attempt of July 15, could show evidence of links to Gülen, according to a Turkish-origin U.S. citizen, who has been revealed to be the patent holder for the app.

David Keynes, who acquired American citizenship and changed his name with inspiration from British economist John Maynard Keynes, told daily Hürriyet in an interview in New York on Oct. 16 that he agreed using ByLock could be construed as evidence of Gülenist links, although not in all cases, noting that he himself installed the app but never used it because he did not add anyone.

GETTING IN CONTACT WITH DAVID KEYNES

David Keynes was the subject of much speculation as the rights holder for ByLock, and daily Hürriyet reporter İsmail Saymaz related how he finally came to meet Keynes.

“David Keynes called my office phone on Oct. 12 and said ‘I want to talk to İsmail Saymaz.’ We tried to confirm that the caller was actually the owner of ByLock and found him on the records at Apple. We decided to meet him face to face to confirm his identity once again. We met with him on Oct. 16 in New York as he did not come to Turkey. Hürriyet’s New York correspondent, Razi Canikligil, was also present at the meeting, which was conducted at a café in Brooklyn. We took a photo in front of the Brooklyn Bridge to prove that the meeting was held in the U.S. He only permitted a picture to be taken from behind due to security concerns; Canikligil took the picture.”

Keynes told Hürriyet that his Gülen-linked former flatmate, nicknamed “Fox” and currently living in Turkey, developed ByLock before using Keynes’ credit card to publish it on Apple’s App Store three years ago.

Born in 1973 in Turkey, Keynes said he studied at Gülen-linked schools and stayed at their residences in Ankara before eventually moving to the U.S. in 2001 for a master’s degree after graduating from Ankara University’s Faculty of Political Sciences. Keynes said his father acquired Turkish citizenship and his mother was from the Black Sea province of Giresun.

During the interview, Keynes stated that he met “Fox” in his college years and that they became flatmates in Portland between 2003 and 2004, adding that the flat upstairs was used as a residence of the Gülen movement. Keynes said “Fox” had links with the movement and that the latter’s father was also a member of the organization.

Now a sworn financial adviser in Connecticut, Keynes is the owner of ByLock and still holds the records of the application in Apple, which is currently not available for download.

Keynes said the application had been downloaded by 600,000 people, mostly from Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Iran, with 500,000 downloading the app on the Google Play Store and another 100,000 on the App Store. He said 90 percent of Turkish ByLock users were members of the Gülen Movement, admitting that it had turned into a communication tool of the organization.

However, Keynes noted that the application had been unavailable since January 2016 and that it was also not available during the failed coup attempt of July 15. He said the application was available both on the App Store and Google Play Store from March 2014 but that it was removed from the App Store on Sept. 7, 2014, because it was not updated. The app, however, remained available for download in the Google Store for a year. The application was also available for download through various websites after its removal from both mobile platforms.

According to Keynes, he learned about ByLock when he met with “Fox” on Dec. 3, 2013, to watch Breaking Bad at his house, during which time “Fox” asked to use his credit card.

“I asked what he was going to use the [credit card] for? He said, ‘I’m going to develop a program.’ I said OK. [A credit card] was necessary to publish a program on the App Store. This was how it began. The aim of ‘Fox’ was to present ByLock to technology companies at Silicon Valley in San Francisco. He would have invested capital and expanded the company had the application been appreciated,” Keynes said, claiming that “Fox” might have wanted to expand the number of ByLock users to sell it in Silicon Valley.

Keynes also stated that he questioned “Fox” about ByLock after reports began to circulate regarding the application following the failed takeover on July 15.

“When there were reports on ByLock after July 15, I asked ‘Fox’ what that meant. He could not provide an explanation. Referring to a Gülenist partner and the movement, he said, ‘I gave it to some friends and they passed it on to others.’ The partner of ‘Fox,’ who escaped after July 15, is currently in connection with a journalist abroad. It became a communication tool of the movement via those people. The movement used it for organizational communication, but I think that’s absurd because it is very easy to hack. I asked, ‘What were you doing?’ to Gülenists in the U.S. and they said, ‘We were sending prayers and chats to each other,’” Keynes said.

When asked why the application was not used in Europe or U.S., Keynes said it was only advertised to the Gülen movement without any general advertisement.

Keynes also stated that he stopped paying the server company GoDaddy in October 2015. Keynes also noted that he would file a lawsuit against GoDaddy as the codes of ByLock had been hacked by the Turkish National Intelligence Agency (MİT) and that his user identity had been disclosed.

In addition, Keynes said he would disclose the identity of “Fox” once he is called to testify and an investigation is opened. After the failed coup attempt, “Fox” first fled to Germany and then U.S. but returned to Turkey as there was no investigation opened against him, according to Keynes.

According to his passport, Keynes came to Turkey on June 12 and went to the Netherlands before eventually coming back to Turkey on June 17. He left the country on Aug. 7 after the coup attempt.

“It is impossible for MİT to not know. I entered and left the country twice a year with my passport. I was in Turkey both during and after the coup. I did not feel like I was being followed,” Keynes said, adding that intelligence officials have not contacted him even though he was listed as the owner of ByLock on the App Store.

Keynes also refuted that he was a member of the Gülenist movement, but said there were clients of his who were from the movement.

“I think that Fethullah Gülen is schizophrenic and he is acting. I think that he is exploiting the poor and lower class by also controlling the monetary resources of people around him. I believe that the grassroots are innocent but the upper class of the movement is a coup organization,” Keynes said.

The name of Keynes first appeared in a report in The Guardian at the request of Reuters in August. He was mentioned as the creator of the application but that the report said it was unable to locate anyone matching the name or verify the veracity of his identity.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/bylock-use-is-an-evidence-of-gulen-network-links-owner.aspx?pageID=238&nID=105284&NewsCatID=509

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Turkey to step up war against terror in Iraq: FM Çavuşoğlu

October 25, 2016

Turkey is participating “in a multi-faceted way” in the operation to retake Mosul province from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and four Turkish F-16 jets are part of the anti-ISIL coalition forces, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has stressed.

Turkish artillery fire has killed 17 ISIL militants since Mosul offensive began, Çavuşoğlu stated on Oct. 24 at a press conference in Ankara with visiting French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault.

“The Peshmerga forces that we trained in Iraq actively participated in the Mosul operation. The forces that we trained in the Bashiqa camp [in northern Iraq] have also been actively involved in the operation against ISIL,” he said.

His comments come amid conflicting signals about the extent of Turkey’s involvement, with the Baghdad government insisting that Turkey must not be involved in the Mosul operation.

Çavuşoğlu said Turkish warplanes are part of the U.S.-led coalition participating in the aerial campaign, but the details of their participation will be negotiated by the Turkish military and other coalition members.

He added that Turkish troops at a military camp in the Bashiqa region of northern Iraq, which the Iraqi Parliament has demanded Turkey leave, have killed total of 700 ISIL militants so far. 

“No other country has single-handedly neutralized so many ISIL terrorists. Our common purpose, with France, is to clear ISIL out of Iraq and Syria. Iraq is our neighbor and brother country. Iraq’s territorial integrity, security and stability is as important as our own security,” Çavuşoğlu said.

“Unfortunately, [outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party] PKK terrorists from different parts of Iraq have come to our country and organized attacks,” he added.

Çavuşoğlu vowed that Ankara would be “even more active” in fighting against PKK-linked elements in northern Iraq, saying Turkey will never allow the Sinjar region to become a “second Qandil,” which is the headquarters of the group in Iraq.

Asked about Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım’s remarks that Turkey and the Iraqi Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) would discuss declaring a safe haven in northern Iraq, Çavuşoğlu said they would “make Turkish borders more secure with additional measures taken both in Turkish territory and on the Iraqi side.”

“There are 40,000 displaced people in the refugee camp that we established in Iraq and we deliver humanitarian aid on a daily basis here” he said, noting that most of the world talks about Syrian refugees but there are over 300,000 Iraqi refugees in Turkey who have fled conflict in their homeland.

His remarks came after Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said claims that Turkish troops have taken part in the ongoing Mosul operation are “baseless and untrue,” again calling on Turkish troops to withdraw.

Iraq’s joint operations command on Oct. 24 denied that Turkey was participating in military operations to retake the northern city of Mosul from ISIL.

“The spokesman of the Joint Operations Command denies Turkish participation of any kind in operations for the liberation of Nineveh,” a statement said, referring to the Iraqi province of which Mosul is the capital.

Baghdad objects to presence of more than 600 Turkish troops in Bashiqa, which have been training local Sunni Arab and Kurdish forces. Ankara refuses to withdraw those solders and is pushing to play a more active role in the Mosul operation.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-to-step-up-war-against-terror-in-iraq-fm-cavusoglu.aspx?pageID=238&nID=105322&NewsCatID=352

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US updates travel warning to Turkey over terror threat

October 25, 2016

The U.S. Department of State issued an update to its travel warning to Turkey on Oct. 24 over “increased terror threats from terrorist groups” across the country.

“U.S. citizens should still carefully consider the need to travel to Turkey at this time. The Governor of Ankara, acting under the authority of the recently-extended state of emergency, and on the basis of reported terrorist threats against cities in Turkey, has banned all demonstrations in Ankara province until November 30. The Department continues to monitor the effects of the ongoing State of Emergency; recent terrorist incidents in Ankara, Istanbul, Gaziantep, and throughout the Southeast; recurring threats; visible increases in police or military activities; and the potential for restrictions on movement as they relate to the safety and well-being of U.S. citizens in Turkey,” the Department of State said in a statement.

“Delays or denial of consular access to U.S. citizens detained or arrested by security forces, some of whom also possess Turkish citizenship, continue,” it added.

It also said terrorist organizations could stage additional attacks and kidnappings in the country targeting Westerners and U.S. citizens in popular spots.

“U.S. citizens are reminded to review personal security plans, monitor local news for breaking events, and remain vigilant at all times,” the statement urged.

In addition, it noted that U.S. government personnel in Turkey were subjected to travel restrictions in the country’s eastern and southeastern provinces, so the U.S. mission to Turkey may also prohibit movements by its personnel in the region for security reasons.

Earlier, the U.S. Consulate General in Istanbul issued a security notice on Oct. 22 over potential terror attacks in the city.

The U.S. Embassy had also warned its citizens of a terror attack targeting Western businesses in the border province of Gaziantep, which was the scene of a suicide attack blamed on the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) on Aug. 20, killing 57 people, 34 of whom were children.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/us-updates-travel-warning-to-turkey-over-terror-threat.aspx?pageID=238&nID=105325&NewsCatID=341

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Ayrault and Çavuşoğlu clash over state of emergencies in Turkey and France

October 25, 2016

During his official visit to the Turkish capital, French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault has criticized Ankara’s comparison of the state of emergency in Turkey with the state of emergency in France.

“Turkey has the right to defend itself against terror. It also has the right to extend the state of emergency. But the state of emergencies in Turkey and France are not based on the same legal grounds,” Ayrault said on Oct. 24, speaking at a joint press conference with his Turkish counterpart.

In the state of emergency practices in France, “the judiciary and the executive are separate, and the judiciary is still independent,” he added, noting that Paris had simply extended police authorization.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu criticized Ayrault’s remarks, saying the aim of both countries was the same.

“There is no difference regarding the state of emergencies in Turkey and France. Their context and objectives are the same. They both target terrorist organizations,” Çavuşoğlu said.

He acknowledged that suspected members of what the government calls the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), believed to have been behind the coup attempt, have not yet been taken to court, but claimed that state of emergency practices in neither France nor Turkey restricted freedoms.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had pointed to the French situation in order to justify an extension of Turkey’s state of emergency.

“France declared an initial state of emergency for three months, then prolonged it for a second three months. Now they have prolonged it for yet another three months. So there is no obstacle in terms of prolonging it. After three months we could ask for a second three-month period and extend it,” Erdoğan said before the first extension was announced.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/ayrault-and-cavusoglu-clash-over-state-of-emergencies-in-turkey-and-france.aspx?pageID=238&nID=105307&NewsCatID=510

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Accusing CHP of allying with FETÖ a comedy: Leader

October 25, 2016

Accusing the Republican People’s Party (CHP) of supporting the Gülen movement is nothing but comedy, the social democratic party’s leader has said, blaming the Justice and Development Party (AKP) for preparing the conditions for the failed coup through its generous support to the Gülen movement since it came to power.

“I can’t stop laughing when I read all these [accusations],” main opposition CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu told daily Hürriyet in a phone interview on Oct. 24.

“Our entire political life has been spent against [religious] communities that tried to seize control of the state. The AKP, however, is the one that supported these communities. We have never defended coup plotters or Gülenists. We have only defended the rule of law,” he said.

Kılıçdaroğlu was responding to criticisms voiced by some leading AKP personalities who have been trying to associate the CHP with the Gülenist movement, claiming that the social democrat failed to remove members of the community who had infiltrated the party.

Noting that some prominent civil servants and members of the military who had served in the years when the Gülen movement was able to increase its influence within the state had information to a parliamentary panel investigating the July 15 coup, Kılıçdaroğlu said: “They informed the panel about their actions when they were in office. One of them who had access to the state secrets told the panel that they had expressed their concerns to the government at that time. If you look at the newspapers’ archives, you will openly see the government’s support to this community.”  

The government cooperated with the Gülen movement in paving the way for the dismissal of a slew of high-ranking military personnel, including generals, so that they could be replaced by Gülenists, Kılıçdaroğlu said. “I make a call from here: MİT [National Intelligence Organization] submits intelligence reports about all terror organizations at MGK [National Security Council] meetings. They should reveal their reports on FETÖ as well. There is nothing to hide now.”

The CHP chief accused the AKP government of passing laws and appointing civil servants upon the Gülenists’ call, saying: “And in return, the [Gülen] community helped the AKP get control of the state. They became two parallel structures. The fight began through the Dec. 17 and 25 [2013] operations. A conflict between these two parallel structures began at that time. They should now account for it. Was it us who appointed these generals? They were the ones in the power. In fact, the real government was FETÖ?”

‘I hope common sense will prevail’

On the government’s efforts to go to a referendum to change the constitution to adopt the presidential system, Kılıçdaroğlu criticized such a political campaign at a moment when the country has so many problems.

“He [President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan] is violating the constitution. The principle on the [president’s] neutrality has been breached. What is the shortcoming of the parliamentary system? Why is the president intervening into parliamentary affairs?” he asked.  

Expressing his belief that common sense would prevail in parliament and that lawmakers would not vote in favor or going to a referendum for such a change, Kılıçdaroğlu said: “I don’t know how Mr. Bahçeli will act. But granting all the power to one man will drag the country into chaos. I hope common sense will prevail in parliament.”

Kılıçdaroğlu referred to Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli’s conditional support to the government’s plan to introduce a draft constitutional amendment with a presidential system.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/accusing-chp-of-allying-with-feto-a-comedy-leader-.aspx?pageID=238&nID=105321&NewsCatID=338

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AKP signals presidential system with one chamber

October 25, 2016

The AKP proposes a unitary presidential system, the party’s commission head Mustafa Şentop has said, adding that the AKP is working on a two-stage election system in the country

‘The most important thing is to preserve [Turkey’s] unitary structure. What we propose is a unitary presidential system,’ Şentop says in a speech.

Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is working on a system that will impose a system with one chamber, a presidential system and a two-stage election system on the country, the party’s constitution commission head, Mustafa Şentop, has said.

“The most important thing is to preserve [Turkey’s] unitary structure... There is a federal [system] in the United States; this has nothing to do with the presidency, but there are those who claim this. This is impossible. In Germany, there is a federal [system] but there is also a parliamentary system. There is a parliamentary system in Turkey … I think that these [systems] are not connected. What we propose is a unitary presidential system. In the United States there are dual parliaments; our suggestion is a single (chamber) parliament,” said Şentop during an event at Trakya University in the northwestern province of Edirne.

The AKP has finalized preparations for the draft of a constitutional amendment, which will change the country’s parliamentary system to an executive presidency, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said Oct. 23.

“We have finalized our work on both the new constitution and on the presidential [system]. We have made sufficient discussions both in parliament and by the public. We’ll bring our proposal to parliament as soon as possible,” Yıldırım said in an address to deputies in his closing speech at a three-day AKP camp in the western province of Afyon. During the camp, some AKP deputies suggested that the party’s deputy chair, Şaban Dişli, should step down from his position because his brother, Maj.-Gen. Mehmet Dişli, was arrested as part of a probe into the Gülenist organization in the aftermath of the July 15 coup attempt, daily Cumhuriyet reported on Oct. 24.

Dişli wanted to speak with prime minister according to the report, during one of the sessions held in Afyon, an AKP deputy said: “We are expecting a sacrifice from one of our friends. We are not accusing [him], and we are not judging [him], but we are expecting a sacrifice,” implying Dişli. After these statements, Dişli sought to speak but Yıldırım did not allow him to do so to prevent any further arguments.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/akp-signals-presidential-system-with-one-chamber.aspx?pageID=238&nID=105323&NewsCatID=338

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Fresh indictments prepared against July 15 suspects in Istanbul, İzmir

October 25, 2016

Istanbul prosecutors sought three aggravated life sentences each for 21 police officers and up to 15 years in prison for eight police officers for their alleged role in Turkey’s failed military coup attempt, while 267 people were charged for alleged involvement in the attempt in another indictment in the western province of İzmir.

The 59-page indictment prepared by Istanbul prosecutor Evliya Çalışkan named 29 police officers as suspects and described the role they played in the coup attempt.

The indictment stated that the suspected police officers did not show up at their posts after the coup attempt had gotten underway, despite a call from the authorities to resist the attempt on the night of July 15. It also said the suspects tried to prevent such an anti-coup mobilization and attempted to dissuade friends and civilians from protesting the coup activities.

It also said the suspected police officers failed to help the civilians who asked for their help to avert the actions of the pro-coup soldiers, ordering other officers to remain passive and surrender themselves without resistance.

Another incident said some of the suspects did not carry out orders to transfer the police Special Operations Team to the Huber Presidential Mansion in Istanbul. The suspects are accused of stating that they would be killed by pro-coup forces if they were to take the Special Operations Team to the mansion.

In the indictment prepared by prosecutors in İzmir, 267 suspects were charged with coup-related activities and being members of an “armed terror organization.”

The indictment written by prosecutor Berkant Karakaya, which also included the U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen as the prime suspect, alleged that the suspects attempted to “dissolve the constitutional order,” were “members of an armed terror organization,” and attempted to “dissolve the Turkish Parliament and prevent it from performing its duties.”

The document said the suspected members of the Fethullahist Terror Organization (FETÖ) gave codenames to a number of state institution buildings, as well as activities taking place within the police department, National Intelligence Agency (MİT) and Justice Ministry. 

The indictment claimed that the FETÖ members came together at secret meetings, which were the top rung in the hierarchical ladder of the group. It added that the organization’s leaders were tasked with pressuring new members who wanted to leave the community, using both physical and psychological threats.

Source:hurriyetdailynews.com/fresh-indictments-prepared-against-july-15-suspects-in-istanbul-izmir--.aspx?pageID=238&nID=105319&NewsCatID=509

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10 injured in explosion at trade chamber parking lot in Turkey’s Antalya

October 25, 2016

Ten people were injured early on Oct. 25 in an explosion that occurred in the parking lot of the Antalya Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ATSO) in southern Turkey.

The explosion occurred in a vehicle parked in the parking lot behind the chamber building at around 8:50 a.m., the Antalya Governor’ Office stated, adding that the cause of the blast remains unclear.

There were no casualties in the explosion but 10 people were slightly injured and transferred to nearby hospitals, according to the statement. ATSO Chair Davut Çetin told reporters at the scene that those injured were in a stable condition.

“There are no casualties as a result of the explosion. Ten people were wounded from glass cuts due to broken glasses shattered from nearby buildings. Findings on the cause of the incident will be shared with the public once they are reached,” the governor’s office statement read.

Earlier, Çetin had stated that the incident might have been caused by the explosion of a vehicle with an LPG system.

A number of ambulances, firefighters and police units were immediately dispatched to the scene after the blast. Police cordoned off the area and blocked entry to the parking lot, which is also usually available for use by locals as well as ATSO officials. Employees of the chamber left the building in panic after the explosion.

Antalya police chief Cemil Tonbul also arrived at the scene to coordinate the work of security personnel.

One witness told state-run Anadolu Agency that around 15 cars were damaged after the huge explosion, with scattered hoods of vehicles and glasses of the chamber building.

The Antalya 1st criminal court of peace demanded a gag order on the explosion shortly after it occurred, after which the order was issued on the website of Turkey’s media watchdog the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK).

Doğan News Agency reported that ATSO Board Member Hüseyin Barut announced that a meeting scheduled for 3 p.m. at the chamber, due to be attended by Antalya Mayor Menderes Türel, had been canceled.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/10-injured-in-explosion-at-trade-chamber-parking-lot-in-turkeys-antalya.aspx?pageID=238&nID=105324&NewsCatID=341

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Southeast Asia

UN urges Myanmar to probe recent violence against Rohingyas

Tue Oct 25, 2016

The UN has called on Myanmar to investigate new reports of human rights violations, including the killing of unarmed people and torching of rural settlements in the Muslim-majority Rakhine state. 

Myanmar deployed troops to Rakhine earlier this month following alleged attacks on police posts along the border with Bangladesh, which authorities blamed on Rohingya Muslims.

Officials say security forces have slain 30 attackers and arrested 53 suspects while hunting for at least 400 other suspected militants.

The identity of those militants has not been revealed yet because Rohingyas have no known militant group.

UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar Yanghee Lee said state authorities had promised to launch proper investigation into the incident and not accuse anyone until “solid evidence” was obtained.

“Instead, we receive repeated allegations of arbitrary arrests as well as extrajudicial killings occurring within the context of the security operations conducted by the authorities in search of the alleged attackers,” she said on Monday.

Rights groups say troops have gone on a rampage, which has forced terrified civilians to flee their homes. Reports of summary executions of civilians, including of children, during searches and raids have abounded.

“Reports of homes and mosques being burnt down and persons of a certain profile being rounded up and shot are alarming and unacceptable,” said UN Special Rapporteur Agnes Callamard said.

“The authorities cannot justify simply shooting suspects down on the basis of the seriousness of the crime alone," she said.

"The authorities have the duty to take concrete measures to prevent extrajudicial killings in the country, not to perpetuate them,” she added.

In this photograph taken on October 21, 2016, armed Myanmar army soldiers patrol a village in Maungdaw located in Rakhine State as security operation continue following the October 9, 2016 attacks by armed militants. (Photo by AFP)

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) said up to 15,000 mostly Rohingya Muslims have been displaced from their villages in Rakhine in the wake of the recent military raid.

Rakhine, home to around one Rohingya Muslims, has been the scene of communal violence at the hands of Buddhist extremists since 2012.

Hundreds of people have been killed, while tens of thousands have been forced to flee their homes and live in squalid camps in dire situations in Myanmar and other countries in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.

According to the UN, Rohingyas are one of the most persecuted minorities in the world.

The government denies full citizenship to Rohingya population, branding them illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, even as many trace their lineage in Myanmar back generations.

Source: presstv.ir/Detail/2016/10/25/490604/Myanmar-Rakhine-Rohingya-UN-Bangladesh

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Indonesian Islamic State militant handed eight-year jail term for Jakarta attack

OCT 25, 2016

JAKARTA – An Indonesian court Tuesday jailed an Islamic State group supporter for eight years for his role in a deadly gun and suicide bombing attack in Jakarta, the latest extremist sentenced over the assault.

Ali Makhmudin, 41, was found guilty of breaking anti-terrorism laws by helping prepare bombs used in the attack in the heart of the Indonesian capital in January, which killed four civilians and four attackers.

The attack — the first claimed by the Islamic State in Southeast Asia — saw dramatic scenes as a suicide bomber blew himself up at a Starbucks coffee shop and security forces battled gun-toting militants.

It was the first major attack for seven years in Indonesia, which has long struggled with Islamic militancy.

A Jakarta court found Makhmudin guilty of committing an act of terrorism and sentenced him to eight years in jail.

Although he did not directly take part in the assault, presiding Judge Muhammad Noor said his actions had nevertheless “caused widespread public fear and ran counter to the government’s program to eradicate terrorism.”

Makhmudin, who pledged allegiance to the militant group in 2014, said he accepted the court’s decision.

The court heard that Makhmudin made casings for several pipe bombs used in the attack after he was contacted for help by a militant, who went on to take part in the assault.

Makhmudin gave the devices to another militant, who transported them to Jakarta and handed them to the attackers. They were later found at the scene of the attack.

The sentencing came after two other Islamic State supporters were jailed last week over the assault, one for helping to make a bomb and a second for trying unsuccessfully to procure weapons and ammunition.

Dozens of people have been arrested over suspected involvement.

The Islamic State has proved a potent new rallying cry for radicals in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country, and hundreds have flocked to the Middle East to fight with the jihadis.

Last week police shot dead a man carrying knives, suspected pipe bombs and an Islamic State symbol after he assaulted officers near Jakarta.

Other Islamic State-linked incidents this year have included a foiled plan to launch a rocket at an upmarket Singapore waterfront district from an Indonesian island and a botched suicide bombing attack on a police station that killed only the assailant.

Source: japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/10/25/asia-pacific/crime-legal-asia-pacific/indonesian-islamic-state-militant-handed-eight-year-jail-term-jakarta-attack/#.WA9FPuV97IU

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Thousands of Islamic  Hardliners Protest Indonesia’s Christian Governor for Allegedly Insulting Islam

Oct 24, 2016

Thousands of protesters gathered in Jakarta earlier this month calling for the execution of its Christian governor over some remarks that were allegedly an insult to the Quran.

Muslim hardliners protest against Gov. Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, more popularly known as Ahok. Facebook/International Christian Concern

Thousands of protesters gathered in Jakarta earlier this month calling for the execution of its Christian governor over some remarks that were allegedly an insult to the Quran.

The protest was participated in by about 10,000 Islamic hardliners, who called Jakarta governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, popularly known as Ahok, as a “blasphemer.”

A report from Bangkok Post said that Ahok allegedly told a crowd that those who used verses from the Quran to convince people not to vote for him were deceiving them.

“You are being fooled,” he said, according to Bangkok Post.

Another report from the International Christian Concern said the protest was triggered when Ahok quoted the Quran while giving a speech before fishermen. Ahok also allegedly said his opponents had been quoting the Quran against him and telling people they were not allowed to vote a non-Muslim.

"Ahok must be executed. According to Islamic teaching, he must be killed," said Emed Muhammad, Ahok’s opponent , according to Bangkok Post. "Jakarta is now being governed by an infidel, but Indonesia has the biggest Muslim population."

Ahok, a Christian with a Chinese heritage, assumed the role of governor in Jakarta when the post was vacated by former governor and now Indonesian president Joko Widodo in 2014. Ahok is seeking to be elected to the post in next year’s election. Many Muslim hardliners are using the mosques to campaign against him.

At the Al Furqon mosque, ABC caught on film cleric Alwi Wahid telling the people not to vote for the “infidel.”

"Be careful on the judgement day — God will ask you, why did you choose the infidel as the leader, while I have warned you not to. Believers should not choose a non-Muslim as their leader," he said, adding that those who vote for a non-Muslim will face “bad consequences.”

Ahok dismissed the comments and said Indonesia has much to learn.

“I think it is democracy,” he said, refusing to condemn what Muslim leaders were saying about him. “We are just 71 years independent, I think we are more advanced if you compare [us] to the United States of America. If next year I could be elected as a governor in this city it is like the qualification of president 50 per cent plus one."

Ahok ‘s reputation as the tough-talking governor who possessed the determination to clean up the streets of Jakarta and fight against corruption has helped him gain popularity especially among the middle class and the younger voters.

However, many people feel that he should not be allowed to hold a government position because of his faith, according to ICC.

Source: gospelherald.com/articles/67477/20161024/thousands-of-islamic-hardliners-protest-indonesia-s-christian-governor-for-allegedly-insulting-islam.htm

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Malaysia Muslim body says Starbucks' drinks 'halal'

October 25, 2016

An Islamic body in Muslim- majority Malaysia has assured the citizens that drinks served by US coffee chain Starbucks here are "halal" and not as claimed otherwise by some spreading fake information.

A viral message on WhatsApp claimed that several of Starbucks' drinks were 'haram' (not permissible in Islam) as it contained E471 (Emulsifier 471) and a food additive of porcine-origin.

A representative of the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (JAKIM)halal hub division told The Star Online that the fake messages were not new and had previously gone viral two years ago.

"We debunked this rumour before. We can assure you that Starbucks Malaysia is certified 'halal' and its certification has never been revoked," said the officer, who requested anonymity.

The JAKIM officer said it was not within their power to stop the spread of the fake message.

"We can only repeat what we have said before, but it is Starbucks Malaysia that has to take a legal action against those who spread the fake information," she said.

Source: business-standard.com/article/international/malaysia-muslim-body-says-starbucks-drinks-halal-116102500747_1.html

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Army captures Malaysian terror suspect in Basilan

October 25, 2016

BASILAN, Philippines -- The military has confirmed that a Malaysian terrorist aiding the Abu Sayyaf Group was arrested recently.

Col. Cirilo Donato, commander of the Army's 104th Infantry Brigade, said the Malaysian militant member was captured early this month at the port of Maluso town while trying to slip back into Malaysia.

Donato did not name the suspect, who is in the custody of military intelligence.

He said the suspect was tracked down with tips from civilians who saw him in a former Abu Sayyaf camp in Barangay Baguindan, Tipo-Tipo that the military captured in August.

“When he was arrested, it seemed he was about to leave the country because he was seen in the area where there were motorboats plying the southern backdoor in Maluso,” Donato said.

He said the military is checking if the suspect may have been training the Abu Sayyaf to make bombs because he was caught with materials for Improvised Explosive Devices.

Donato said the Malaysian militant was also seen during the encounters in Barangay Baguindan. He was reportedly armed and bearing the ‘shahada’ flag of the Islamic State.

The military is verifying the reported presence of two Saudi nationals believed to be hiding with the Abu Sayyaf in Basilan. Donato said there are persistent reports about the two but no solid evidence.

Meanwhile, the military believes senior Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon is running out of places to hide in Basilan after 32 Abu Sayyaf members surrendered to authorities.

Lt. Gen. Mayoralgo dela Cruz, Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) commander, said Hapilon, who pledged allegiance to the ISIS has not been able to leave Basilan due to the intense operations in nearby Sulu province.

“The surrender of the Abu Sayyaf members is good because it makes Hapilon’s area smaller,” Dela Cruz said.

Hapilon, who is the remaining leader of the four most notorious Abu Sayyaf heads wanted by the US government for kidnapping and killing of American citizens, has remained elusive since 2000.

Source: philstar.com/nation/2016/10/25/1637225/army-captures-malaysian-terror-suspect-basilan

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URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/us-exhibition-celebrates-beauty-of-quran-manuscripts/d/108916

 

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