New Age Islam
Wed Aug 12 2020, 10:56 AM

Islamic World News ( 14 Jul 2016, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Why France Has Become the ‘Epicentre’ Of Terror Attacks In Europe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo: A truck drove into a crowd during Bastille Day celebrations in Nice, France, sending hundreds running for safety. By NATALIA V. OSIPOVA and A.J. CHAVAR on Publish Date July 14, 2016. Photo by Eric Gaillard/Reuters.

 

Truck Attack In Nice, France: What We Know, And What We Don’t

Imams of West Bengal to Use Social Media to Counter ISIS Influence

Injured Amarnath Pilgrims Rescued By Mosque Bound People of Bijbehara

Bangladesh Regulates Friday Sermons after Attacks to Combat Islamist Extremism

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Europe

Why France Has Become the ‘Epicentre’ Of Terror Attacks In Europe

Truck Attack In Nice, France: What We Know, And What We Don’t

Scores Die In Nice, France, As Truck Plows Into Bastille Day Crowd

How A Danish Town Helped Young Muslims Turn Away From ISIS

42% of French Muslim Youth Support Suicide Bombing, Young US Muslims Not Far Behind

Refugees in Europe say they fear terrorists are among them

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India

Imams of West Bengal to Use Social Media to Counter ISIS Influence

Injured Amarnath Pilgrims Rescued By Mosque Bound People of Bijbehara

Zakir Naik Pleads Innocence, Accuses Media of Ulterior Motives

Hashimpura killings planned by officials, claims former police officer

Maharashtra ATS arrests suspected Islamic State mediator

Kashmiri Pandits Stay in Homes Of Muslims: Building Bridges Netas Won't

Dadri lynching: Court orders FIR against murdered Mohammad Akhlaq, his kin

Kashmir unrest: Restraining forces, but can’t allow anti-national activity

156 stranded Indians reach home from worn-torn South Sudan

Allahabad HC dismisses PIL seeking SC category benefits for Muslims

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South Asia

Bangladesh Regulates Friday Sermons after Attacks to Combat Islamist Extremism

Nabil Release Secret Docs About Pakistan’s Support To Afghan Militants

Hanif: IS not an Islamic organisation

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Mideast

Turkey Strongly Condemns Nice Attack, Offers Solidarity with France

Turkey's State-Run News Agency Fires Freelance Reporter for Mocking Nice Attack

Rapprochement with Russia will help resolve Syrian unrest: Ankara

Turkey to announce economic aid package for troubled east, southeast: Deputy PM

Legal shield for Turkish soldiers in anti-terror ops becomes law

Main opposition leader ordered to pay Erdoğan 50,000 liras over ‘insult’

Turkey imposes curfews on 16 villages in southeast

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Southeast Asia

Don’t Overlook Situation In Southern Thailand, Says Terror Expert

Southeast Asia Will Soon Become Major Target of Terror

Hindu body asks temples in Malaysia to step up security

Myanmar drops anti-Muslim activist defamation charges

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Africa

Troops Ambush Boko Haram in Borno, Recover High Calibre Weapons - Army

France's history of 'civilising' North Africa has catalysed radicalisation

South Sudan is a mess, but it is not Africa

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Arab World

Syrian Army Gains Full Fire-Control over Railway in South-western Damascus

Terrorists Sustain Heavy Losses in Army's Offensive in Deir Ezzur

Syrian Army Engages in Fierce Clashes with Terrorists in Dara'a

Terrorists' Offensives Repulsed by Syrian Army in Sweida

Russian Warplanes Pound Terrorists' Centers in Aleppo Province

Iran, Italy Ink 4 MoUs to Broaden Bilateral Ties

Iran's Foreign Ministry Official: France’s Mere Branding MKO as Violent Not Enough

ISIL Executes, Crucifies Syrian Pilot in Deir Ezzur

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North America

After Nice, Newt Gingrich Wants To ‘Test’ Every Muslim in America And Deport Those Who Believe In Sharia

Clinton to Resettle One Million Muslim Migrants during First Term Alone

Where Are the Peaceful Muslims?

Pakistan should target groups that attack its neighbours: US

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Pakistan

Pakistan Buys Bulletproof Buses To Woo Back Visiting Cricket Teams

Pak COAS condemns killing of Kasmiri youth

Sharif regime reluctant to take strong and clear position on Kashmir, says Imran

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/why-france-has-become-the-‘epicentre’-of-terror-attacks-in-europe/d/107973

 

 

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Why France has become the ‘epicentre’ of terror attacks in Europe

JULY 15, 2016

THE world has watched on in horror as the most visited country on the planet has rapidly become a hotspot for bloody terror attacks.

Terror has returned to the streets of France just as the country was about to breathe a sigh of relief.

France has been under a state of emergency — which gives security and legal forces more power to conduct investigations and arrest suspects — for 19 months.

It was due to be lifted on July 26 after the Tour de France cycling race but has instead been extended another three months following the Bastille Day attack in the French Riviera city of Nice on July 14.

The mass murder of at least 84 people during Bastille Day celebrations has marked the third deadly terror attack in less than two years in France.

No one has yet claimed responsibility for the Bastille Day attack, which saw a driver plough a truck into a group of spectators and fire rounds at them, along the famed Promenade des Anglais seafront.

The driver — who has not yet been identified — drove at high speed for more than 100m before he was shot dead.

France has become disturbingly familiar with terror attacks on home soil but while there are still many questions to be answered, at the top of the list is, why?

‘It’s the epicentre of Europe’

Neil Fergus, chief executive of Intelligent Risks (IR), is an Australian-based expert on international terrorism, who works with French authorities in relation to safety and security in Paris.

Mr Fergus told news.com.au that France was a prime target for IS-related terror attacks because it was “a beacon of liberty, egalitarian and with social values”.

“Paris and France are at the heart of western numinous philosophy,” he said.

“It is abhorrent to these people. Europe is abhorrent to these people. France is seen as the epicentre.”

He said that France had come under attack from homegrown French terrorists and others who travelled from outside the country to inflict maximum devastation on the nation.

Mr Fergus said French authorities were currently investigating more than 150 cases in the greater Paris region as part of their ongoing counter-terrorism efforts.

“The history of jihadi attacks in France goes back to the mid-90s when the GIA launched attacks on the metro rail system,” Mr Fergus said.

“The current spate of attacks has been prompted by the (Al-Nusra Front) leadership of Jabhat al-Nusra in Raqqa, Syria.”

Police officers and rescue workers arrive at the scene in Nice, scene of the latest terror attack. Picture: Valery Hache/AFP

Police officers and rescue workers arrive at the scene in Nice, scene of the latest terror attack. Picture: Valery Hache/AFPSource:AFP

‘France-based IS followers instructed to strike from inside’

In a worldwide message to its followers in September 2014, Islamic State singled out France: “If you can kill a disbelieving American or European — especially the spiteful and filthy French — or an Australian, or a Canadian, or any other disbeliever from the disbelievers waging war, including the citizens of the countries that entered into a coalition against the Islamic State, then rely upon Allah, and kill him in any manner or way however it may be.”

Then in November 2014, IS released a recruiting video aimed at French Muslims, calling on jihadists to execute attacks in France if they could not make it to IS-held territory.

“They put out tapes on YouTube 18 months ago involving French jihadists, speaking in French and declaring attacks on France and encouraging their brothers to launch opportunistic attacks in France,” Mr Fergus said.

“What (IS) has been doing through far reaching social media campaigns is encouraging supporters anywhere and everywhere to carry out opportunistic terror attacks.”

On November 13, 2015, nine militants carried out a deadly and co-ordinated set of attacks throughout Paris, killing 130 people and wounding many more. Some of the attackers blew themselves up near the Stade de France stadium, others opened fire on downtown cafe terraces and a third group armed with guns and suicide vests killed 90 music fans at the Bataclan rock concert hall.

France intensified its military campaign against IS following the terror attacks in Paris in November.

In response to the massacre, French President Francois Hollande labelled the night of carnage an “act of war” and ordered a three-month state of emergency, which was later extended to July 26, 2016.

The state of emergency was today extended for another three months.

In the wake of the attacks on November 13, 2015, IS continued to incite French citizens to violence and threatened further attacks on France and other Western countries.

Mr Fergus said there was credible intelligence that suggested two teams of operatives were recently sent by IS to carry out attacks in Europe.

“The precise targets are not known,” he said.

“I’m not suggesting the attack in Nice is a part of that. It may be a totally separate event.”

‘IS is weakening and wants to appear otherwise’

French President Francois Hollande announced on Wednesday that France was sending an aircraft carrier to help in the fight against IS in Iraq and Syria.

“We have to strike back at and destroy those who attacked us here in January and November 2015,” Hollande said.

A battle group that includes the aircraft carrier the Charles de Gaulle will be deployed in the fall, Hollande said.

Mr Fergus said IS was weakening as it continued to “suffer serious military reversals in principal operations”, including Fallujah, Iraq.

“IS is well aware it’s about to be attacked in Mosul (Iraq) and they will lose Mosul. They are instructing people to take people outside of that area. What we are unfortunately going to see as a result, as (IS) is defeated by military over the next 18 months to two years, will be a spread of people all over world. We will see more attacks globally.”

Crowds flee the scene of an attack in the French city of Nice. Source: INSTAGRAM

Crowds flee the scene of an attack in the French city of Nice. Source: INSTAGRAMSource:Instagram

He said IS wanted to break the will of the French government with continued terror attacks.

“(IS) no longer has the capabilities to take on regular forces in the way they defeated Iraq units. They’re more dangerous (now). The instructions from their leadership is to strike their enemies,” he said.

“They’ve had aspirations of being an IS caliphate and having the organs and instruments of government including military forces.”

On June 13, 2016, convicted terrorist Larossi Abballa stabbed two police officers in an attack claimed by IS.

The wave of jihadist attacks, claimed by IS, follow France’s deadly January 2015 Charlie Hebdo attacks and a thwarted August 2015 shooting attack on a France-bound train from Amsterdam.

‘France isn’t an easy target but it’s a prime one for IS’

In response to these attacks, France has become increasingly alarmed over its susceptibility to terrorist attacks and homegrown radicalisation, according to a new report by the Counter Extremism Project.

Mr Fergus said France boasted some of the best security in the world.

“There are very significant and effective security operations being conducted on an ongoing basis on all ports of entry, principally international airports,” he said.

“Deployments of several thousand military with French national police to protect points of mass assembly, transport hubs, iconic tourist venues, the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, obviously France is full of wonderful places of that ilk. It’s not only French national police on patrol but also the French military unit.”

Earlier this week, France’s most senior security chief predicted Islamic extremists would look to increase their capacity to kill by using booby-trapped cars and bombs.

Testimony by Patrick Calvar, who heads the internal intelligence agency DGSI, and other top security officials was made public Tuesday in a 300-page report by a parliamentary commission that examined France’s means to fight terrorism.

According to AP, the report revealed numerous intelligence lapses that paved the way for the attacks in January and November 2015 that together killed 147 people.

The Australian government is warning travellers in France to exercise a “high degree of caution”.

Supporters of Islamic State were today celebrating on social media the Bastille Day attack.

“The number of those killed had reached 62 French crusaders and sinful infidels in Nice, France. God is great, God is great,” read one tweet.

Authorities investigate a truck after it plowed through Bastille Day revelers in the French resort city of Nice. (Sasha Goldsmith via AP)

Authorities investigate a truck after it plowed through Bastille Day revelers in the French resort city of Nice. (Sasha Goldsmith via AP)Source:AP

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Truck Attack in Nice, France: What We Know, and What We Don’t

July 15 2016

A large truck plowed into a crowd gathered to watch Bastille Day fireworks in Nice, France, on Thursday, killing scores of people in what the French president called a terrorist attack.

What We Know

• Around 10:30 p.m. Thursday, the truck sped down the promenade in the seaside city of Nice. French officials said that one man was identified as driving the truck, and he was shot dead by the police.

• At least 84 people were killed, an Interior Ministry official said Friday morning. Dozens of others were injured, some severely.

• President François Hollande called it a terrorist attack, and he convened an emergency meeting at the Interior Ministry in Paris to discuss the situation. He said he would travel to Nice on Friday.

• The president said he would request a three-month extension of the state of emergency declared after terrorist attacks in and around Paris in November. It had been scheduled to expire on July 26.

• Prime Minister Manuel Valls said Friday morning that France would observe three days of national mourning, starting on Saturday, and that the country would not give in to terrorism. But he warned that France had entered an era in which it would have to live with terrorism.

• The Paris prosecutor’s office, which oversees counterterrorism investigations in France, has taken charge of the inquiry.

• France was already reeling from a string of terrorist attacks since the start of last year, including attacks in and around Paris in January and November 2015 that killed 147 people. Islamist extremists claimed responsibility for those attacks.

• The attack in Nice occurred on France’s national holiday — 227 years since the storming of the Bastille prison, a pivotal moment in the French Revolution — and in one of France’s most populous cities, during peak vacation season.

What We Don’t Know

• Who committed the attacks, and why. The newspaper Nice Matin reported early Friday that he was a 31-year-old Frenchman of Tunisian origin, but officials have not confirmed that.

• The extent and adequacy of the preparations that French officials had put in place to handle large crowds during the Bastille Day celebrations, especiallyin cities outside Paris, the capital. Extensive security, including the hiring of private security agents, had been put in place for the recent European Championship soccer tournament.

• Whether France’s intelligence and security agencies had received any hints of the danger. On July 5, a parliamentary inquiry examining last year’s attacks found widespread failures in the collection and analysis of information that could have helped prevent those assaults.

nytimes.com/2016/07/15/world/europe/nice-france-truck-attack-what-we-know.html

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Imams of West Bengal to Use Social Media to Counter ISIS Influence

July 15, 2016

Kolkata: In a bid to dissuade the youth from getting attracted to ISIS and other terror organisations, Imams here are contemplating using social media to spread the message of peace and educate them on the true meaning of Islam.

The social media initiative, led by Qari Fazlur Rehman, a senior cleric of Bengal, comes after reports that ISIS is extensively using social media to radicalise youngsters.

“Nothing has been finalised as of now. I am talking to various clerics, and Islamic scholars on this issue. What I have seen is that various groups including ISIS is misleading the youth by misinterpreting the versions of Islam and Quran,” Rehman said.

“This has to be countered. Islam doesn’t teach us violence or bloodshed. Islam teaches us peace and brotherhood. And our aim is to spread the true version of Islam on social media in various languages so that it has the maximum reach,” he said.

After the matter is finalised, languages such as Arabic, Urdu, Bengali, Hindi and English will be used to spread the message on social media as part of a concerted campaign.

Rehman said that terror groups were luring the youth across the globe through sites like Facebook, Whatsapp and Youtube.

A few days ago, a youth, Mohammed Musiruddin, with suspected links to the ISIS and Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), who had gone to Kashmir to train, was arrested in the state.

“If you have to combat this trend you have to use the social media so that young minds don’t get polluted by the malicious campaign. I am talking to authorities and a number of organisations in this regard and we will come to a concrete decision very soon,” he said.

Akhtar Hossain, general secretary to the All Bengal

Imam-Muezzin Council, an umbrella organisation of Muslim clerics, who is also part of this initiative, said that the social media initiative would soon get off the ground.

“If someone tries to mislead people on Islam and about the teachings of Quran, it is the duty of the Imams and the Muezzin to spread the true message of Islam. Islam never teaches us terrorism and those who are using Islam to shield their terror activities, don’t know the true meaning of Islam,” Hossain told

newindianexpress.com/cities/kolkata/Imams-to-use-social-media-to-counter-ISIS-influence/2016/07/15/article3530595.ece

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Injured Amarnath Pilgrims Rescued By Mosque Bound People Of Bijbehara

July 14, 2016

As the people of Bijbehara were leaving for the the mosque to offer morning prayers, they were attracted by the cries and wails. As they rushed for help, they found Amarnath pilgrims bleeding in the minibus. Instead of going to mosque, they rushed them to the hospital. This selfless act of brotherhood and communal harmony from the people of Bijbehara, who buried its four young men in last five days, has come as a pleasant surprise for the pilgrims. And Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has hailed the people for keeping alive the "glorious tradition" of harmony. On Wednesday dawn, a minibus carrying 30 Amarnath Yatra pilgrims travelling from Baltal in Ganderbal district to Jammu had a head-on-collision with a truck at Hamula village of south Kashmir's Bijibehara town. As the pilgrims cried for help, the villagers apparently out to offer the morning prayers came to their rescue and arranged vehicles to move them to Sub district hospital Bijibehara. "The youth shouted for help from others and broke the door to take us out. They came as god and saved us. They saved our lives by giving us blood," Anil Kumar Arora told The Indian Express. "I sought help from the yatri and army vehicles traveling on the road but no one stopped." Officials said Bilal Ahmad Mir, a local driver of the vehicle and a pilgrim Pramod Kumar were killed in the accident when the bus collided with a truck. The 22 injured patients were first taken to the sub district hospital of Bijibehara and later shifted to Shri Maharaja Singh Hospital in Srinagar. Four youth have been killed in the forces' action in Bijibehara town during the protests that began last week in Valley. J-K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti hailed the"exemplary effort" of the residents of Halmula and said they had upheld the tradition of brotherhood and amity.

indianexpress.com/videos/news-video/injured-amarnath-pilgrims-rescued-by-mosque-bound-people-of-bijbehara/

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Bangladesh Regulates Friday Sermons after Attacks to Combat Islamist Extremism

July 15, 2016

"Whoever kills a person unjustly, it is as though he has killed all mankind," it said, citing a verse of the Quran.

Bangladesh on Friday moved to regulate weekly sermons in hundreds of thousands of mosques as part of a stepped-up campaign to combat Islamist extremism, officials said.

The move comes after the deadly attack in an upscale Dhaka cafe in which 20 hostages were brutally shot and hacked to death in the nation's worst attack by suspected Islamist militants.

Since then, authorities have shut down a television channel run by a controversial Indian preacher, and decided to monitor the social media and Friday sermons of local mosques in a bid to prevent radicalisation.

As part of the drive, the state-run Islamic Foundation, which works as a watchdog for mosques and religious establishments, has prepared a sermon for the main national mosque which it has asked other mosques to follow.

The sermon, which was published by the agency ahead of Friday's prayers, invokes Koranic verses and traditions of the prophet Mohammed to rail against murderous extremism.

"Whoever kills a person unjustly, it is as though he has killed all mankind," it said, citing a verse of the Koran.

It also quoted the prophet as saying the killing of a human being is the biggest sin and urged parents to take good care of their children so they cannot be "brainwashed".

It was not clear how many of Bangladesh's mosques, which are run by independent neighbourhood lay committees, would follow the instructions.

But a senior police official said local administrations, police and regional Islamic Foundation officials would "monitor" the sermons.

Foundation chief Shamim Mohammad Afzal told AFP that the sermon had been distributed to more than 300,000 mosques.

"It is not mandatory but we hope the imams will follow our sermon or take their inspiration from it," he said.

"Our core message is there is no place for terrorism in Islam. We want to make sure our children cannot be brainwashed to commit an act of terrorism."

Islamic parties, who have strongly denounced the cafe siege and a string of other recent attacks on minorities, have criticised the sermon regulation as "undesirable".

"Long before the Foundation issued its instructions, our clerics have been vocal against terrorism," said Mufti Faiz Ullah, secretary general of Islamic Oikya Jote, a faith-based party.

Last month, just ahead of the cafe attack, a pro-government council of clerics issued a fatwa against violent Jihad, which was endorsed by more than 100,000 imams.

thehindu.com/news/international/bangladesh-regulates-friday-sermons-after-attacks/article8854123.ece

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Europe

Why France has become the ‘epicentre’ of terror attacks in Europe

JULY 15, 2016

THE world has watched on in horror as the most visited country on the planet has rapidly become a hotspot for bloody terror attacks.

Terror has returned to the streets of France just as the country was about to breathe a sigh of relief.

France has been under a state of emergency — which gives security and legal forces more power to conduct investigations and arrest suspects — for 19 months.

It was due to be lifted on July 26 after the Tour de France cycling race but has instead been extended another three months following the Bastille Day attack in the French Riviera city of Nice on July 14.

The mass murder of at least 84 people during Bastille Day celebrations has marked the third deadly terror attack in less than two years in France.

No one has yet claimed responsibility for the Bastille Day attack, which saw a driver plough a truck into a group of spectators and fire rounds at them, along the famed Promenade des Anglais seafront.

The driver — who has not yet been identified — drove at high speed for more than 100m before he was shot dead.

France has become disturbingly familiar with terror attacks on home soil but while there are still many questions to be answered, at the top of the list is, why?

‘It’s the epicentre of Europe’

Neil Fergus, chief executive of Intelligent Risks (IR), is an Australian-based expert on international terrorism, who works with French authorities in relation to safety and security in Paris.

Mr Fergus told news.com.au that France was a prime target for IS-related terror attacks because it was “a beacon of liberty, egalitarian and with social values”.

“Paris and France are at the heart of western numinous philosophy,” he said.

“It is abhorrent to these people. Europe is abhorrent to these people. France is seen as the epicentre.”

He said that France had come under attack from homegrown French terrorists and others who travelled from outside the country to inflict maximum devastation on the nation.

Mr Fergus said French authorities were currently investigating more than 150 cases in the greater Paris region as part of their ongoing counter-terrorism efforts.

“The history of jihadi attacks in France goes back to the mid-90s when the GIA launched attacks on the metro rail system,” Mr Fergus said.

“The current spate of attacks has been prompted by the (Al-Nusra Front) leadership of Jabhat al-Nusra in Raqqa, Syria.”

Police officers and rescue workers arrive at the scene in Nice, scene of the latest terror attack. Picture: Valery Hache/AFP

Police officers and rescue workers arrive at the scene in Nice, scene of the latest terror attack. Picture: Valery Hache/AFPSource:AFP

‘France-based IS followers instructed to strike from inside’

In a worldwide message to its followers in September 2014, Islamic State singled out France: “If you can kill a disbelieving American or European — especially the spiteful and filthy French — or an Australian, or a Canadian, or any other disbeliever from the disbelievers waging war, including the citizens of the countries that entered into a coalition against the Islamic State, then rely upon Allah, and kill him in any manner or way however it may be.”

Then in November 2014, IS released a recruiting video aimed at French Muslims, calling on jihadists to execute attacks in France if they could not make it to IS-held territory.

“They put out tapes on YouTube 18 months ago involving French jihadists, speaking in French and declaring attacks on France and encouraging their brothers to launch opportunistic attacks in France,” Mr Fergus said.

“What (IS) has been doing through far reaching social media campaigns is encouraging supporters anywhere and everywhere to carry out opportunistic terror attacks.”

On November 13, 2015, nine militants carried out a deadly and co-ordinated set of attacks throughout Paris, killing 130 people and wounding many more. Some of the attackers blew themselves up near the Stade de France stadium, others opened fire on downtown cafe terraces and a third group armed with guns and suicide vests killed 90 music fans at the Bataclan rock concert hall.

France intensified its military campaign against IS following the terror attacks in Paris in November.

In response to the massacre, French President Francois Hollande labelled the night of carnage an “act of war” and ordered a three-month state of emergency, which was later extended to July 26, 2016.

The state of emergency was today extended for another three months.

In the wake of the attacks on November 13, 2015, IS continued to incite French citizens to violence and threatened further attacks on France and other Western countries.

Mr Fergus said there was credible intelligence that suggested two teams of operatives were recently sent by IS to carry out attacks in Europe.

“The precise targets are not known,” he said.

“I’m not suggesting the attack in Nice is a part of that. It may be a totally separate event.”

‘IS is weakening and wants to appear otherwise’

French President Francois Hollande announced on Wednesday that France was sending an aircraft carrier to help in the fight against IS in Iraq and Syria.

“We have to strike back at and destroy those who attacked us here in January and November 2015,” Hollande said.

A battle group that includes the aircraft carrier the Charles de Gaulle will be deployed in the fall, Hollande said.

Mr Fergus said IS was weakening as it continued to “suffer serious military reversals in principal operations”, including Fallujah, Iraq.

“IS is well aware it’s about to be attacked in Mosul (Iraq) and they will lose Mosul. They are instructing people to take people outside of that area. What we are unfortunately going to see as a result, as (IS) is defeated by military over the next 18 months to two years, will be a spread of people all over world. We will see more attacks globally.”

Crowds flee the scene of an attack in the French city of Nice. Source: INSTAGRAM

Crowds flee the scene of an attack in the French city of Nice. Source: INSTAGRAMSource:Instagram

He said IS wanted to break the will of the French government with continued terror attacks.

“(IS) no longer has the capabilities to take on regular forces in the way they defeated Iraq units. They’re more dangerous (now). The instructions from their leadership is to strike their enemies,” he said.

“They’ve had aspirations of being an IS caliphate and having the organs and instruments of government including military forces.”

On June 13, 2016, convicted terrorist Larossi Abballa stabbed two police officers in an attack claimed by IS.

The wave of jihadist attacks, claimed by IS, follow France’s deadly January 2015 Charlie Hebdo attacks and a thwarted August 2015 shooting attack on a France-bound train from Amsterdam.

‘France isn’t an easy target but it’s a prime one for IS’

In response to these attacks, France has become increasingly alarmed over its susceptibility to terrorist attacks and homegrown radicalisation, according to a new report by the Counter Extremism Project.

Mr Fergus said France boasted some of the best security in the world.

“There are very significant and effective security operations being conducted on an ongoing basis on all ports of entry, principally international airports,” he said.

“Deployments of several thousand military with French national police to protect points of mass assembly, transport hubs, iconic tourist venues, the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, obviously France is full of wonderful places of that ilk. It’s not only French national police on patrol but also the French military unit.”

Earlier this week, France’s most senior security chief predicted Islamic extremists would look to increase their capacity to kill by using booby-trapped cars and bombs.

Testimony by Patrick Calvar, who heads the internal intelligence agency DGSI, and other top security officials was made public Tuesday in a 300-page report by a parliamentary commission that examined France’s means to fight terrorism.

According to AP, the report revealed numerous intelligence lapses that paved the way for the attacks in January and November 2015 that together killed 147 people.

The Australian government is warning travellers in France to exercise a “high degree of caution”.

Supporters of Islamic State were today celebrating on social media the Bastille Day attack.

“The number of those killed had reached 62 French crusaders and sinful infidels in Nice, France. God is great, God is great,” read one tweet.

Authorities investigate a truck after it plowed through Bastille Day revelers in the French resort city of Nice. (Sasha Goldsmith via AP)

Authorities investigate a truck after it plowed through Bastille Day revelers in the French resort city of Nice. (Sasha Goldsmith via AP)Source:AP

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Truck Attack in Nice, France: What We Know, and What We Don’t

July 15 2016

A large truck plowed into a crowd gathered to watch Bastille Day fireworks in Nice, France, on Thursday, killing scores of people in what the French president called a terrorist attack.

What We Know

• Around 10:30 p.m. Thursday, the truck sped down the promenade in the seaside city of Nice. French officials said that one man was identified as driving the truck, and he was shot dead by the police.

• At least 84 people were killed, an Interior Ministry official said Friday morning. Dozens of others were injured, some severely.

• President François Hollande called it a terrorist attack, and he convened an emergency meeting at the Interior Ministry in Paris to discuss the situation. He said he would travel to Nice on Friday.

• The president said he would request a three-month extension of the state of emergency declared after terrorist attacks in and around Paris in November. It had been scheduled to expire on July 26.

• Prime Minister Manuel Valls said Friday morning that France would observe three days of national mourning, starting on Saturday, and that the country would not give in to terrorism. But he warned that France had entered an era in which it would have to live with terrorism.

• The Paris prosecutor’s office, which oversees counterterrorism investigations in France, has taken charge of the inquiry.

• France was already reeling from a string of terrorist attacks since the start of last year, including attacks in and around Paris in January and November 2015 that killed 147 people. Islamist extremists claimed responsibility for those attacks.

• The attack in Nice occurred on France’s national holiday — 227 years since the storming of the Bastille prison, a pivotal moment in the French Revolution — and in one of France’s most populous cities, during peak vacation season.

What We Don’t Know

• Who committed the attacks, and why. The newspaper Nice Matin reported early Friday that he was a 31-year-old Frenchman of Tunisian origin, but officials have not confirmed that.

• The extent and adequacy of the preparations that French officials had put in place to handle large crowds during the Bastille Day celebrations, especiallyin cities outside Paris, the capital. Extensive security, including the hiring of private security agents, had been put in place for the recent European Championship soccer tournament.

• Whether France’s intelligence and security agencies had received any hints of the danger. On July 5, a parliamentary inquiry examining last year’s attacks found widespread failures in the collection and analysis of information that could have helped prevent those assaults.

nytimes.com/2016/07/15/world/europe/nice-france-truck-attack-what-we-know.html

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Scores Die in Nice, France, as Truck Plows Into Bastille Day Crowd

JULY 14, 2016

PARIS — A Bastille Day fireworks celebration was shattered by death and mayhem Thursday night in the southern French city of Nice when a large truck barreled for more than a mile through an enormous crowd of spectators, crushing and maiming dozens in what France’s president called a terrorist assault. It came eight months after the Paris attacks that traumatized the nation and all of Europe.

Officials and witnesses in Nice said at least 84 people, including children, were killed by the driver of the rampaging truck, who mowed them down on the sidewalk. He was shot to death by the police as officers scrambled to respond on what is France’s most important annual holiday.

Graphic television and video images showed the truck accelerating and tearing through the crowd, dozens of victims sprawled in its path, and the bullet-riddled windshield of the vehicle. Municipal officials and police officers described the truck as full of weapons and grenades.

“The horror, the horror has, once again, hit France,” President François Hollande said in a nationally televised address early Friday. He said the “terrorist character” of the assault was undeniable, and he described the use of a large truck to deliberately kill people as “a monstrosity.”

“France has been struck on the day of her national holiday,” he said. “Human rights are denied by fanatics, and France is clearly their target.”

Mr. Hollande, who only hours earlier had proclaimed the impending end of a state of national emergency on July 26, said that the measure would be extended by three months and that additional soldiers would be deployed for security.

Prime Minister Manuel Valls said Friday morning that France would observe three days of national mourning, starting on Saturday. Flags will fly at half-staff at all government buildings.

“We would like to tell the French people that we will never give in,” he said in a statement outside the Élysée Palace, in Paris. “We will not give in to the terrorist threat. The times have changed, and France should learn to live with terrorism.”

As French officials quickly concluded that terrorism was the likely motive and the scope of the slaughter grew clear, the use of a large commercial truck as the principal weapon of death raised new questions about how to prevent such attacks.

The officials warned residents to stay indoors and canceled all further scheduled festivities in Nice, a seaside city of 340,000, including a five-day jazz festival and a concert on Friday night by Rihanna.

“There are numerous victims,” said Pierre-Henry Brandet, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry, on BFM Television. “It’s a tragic, exceptional situation.”

Witnesses described scenes of pandemonium, with conflicting accounts on social media, including a false report of hostage-taking in Nice.

“We were enjoying the celebrations when we suddenly saw people running everywhere and tables being pushed down by the movement of panic,” said Daphne Burandé, 15, who was at a bar near the beach to watch the fireworks.

“No one explained to us what was happening, and I heard some gunshots not very far away,” she said. “I waited at the bar for more information because I thought it was a false alert. But then, people were still running.”

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, and the identity of the driver was not immediately clear, but the newspaper Nice Matin reported early Friday that he was a 31-year-old Frenchman of Tunisian origin.

Christian Estrosi, the president of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region of France, which includes Nice, expressed outrage, sympathy and frustration in an interview with BFM-TV on Friday morning, pointedly noting previous attacks on a satirical newspaper in Paris in January 2015; the coordinated series of attacks in and around Paris in November that included a music hall, the Bataclan, among its targets; and the attacks this year in Brussels.

“Questions are raised,” he said. “As I try to comfort the families, I also try to contain my anger; I can’t hide to you that I feel a deep anger. How is it possible in our country that, after everyone said there was a state of emergency, a state of war, we forgot it after Charlie Hebdo, and then there was the Bataclan. After the Bataclan, we forgot, and then there was Brussels. After Brussels, we forgot and there was Nice.”

“There are questions that need to be answered,” he said.

Mr. Estrosi said that the families needed time to mourn, and added that it was “our duty” to support them. But he also asked how it was possible that an individual was apparently able to breach security, and he said that he expected an answer from Bernard Cazeneuve, the interior minister.

“I don’t want to hear the usual, ‘We are going to carry out an investigation,’ ” he said.

The attack amounted to a gut-punch to a nation that was struggling to restore some sense of normalcy and had begun to drop its guard.

Hours after Mr. Hollande said during Bastille Day festivities in Paris that “we cannot prolong the state of emergency eternally,” a massive white truck came crashing through in Nice.

The main strip through Nice was littered with bodies, one after the other.

“Whatever the nature of what happened in Nice, the threat of terrorism is particularly high,” Mr. Brandet, the Interior Ministry spokesman, said on the iTele television station. He added that security forces were on high alert in the area and in cities around France.

Dozens of people were seriously injured, and many more were psychologically shocked, Mr. Brandet said. The region has activated a so-called White Plan, put in place during the Nov. 13 Paris terrorist attacks that killed 130 people, to open all emergency rooms to receive victims, he added.

The Islamic State, the militant group that asserted responsibility for the attacks in Paris, did not make any immediate claims for the assault in Nice.

It typically takes the Islamic State several hours, and sometimes up to one and even two days, to assert responsibility for attacks in Western countries. It typically does so through its Amaq channel on the encrypted telephone app Telegram, which serves as the group’s news wire.

However, as in the hours immediately after the Paris, Brussels and Orlando attacks, there was a now familiar celebration on channels run by groups that support the Islamic State, as well as on at least one channel affiliated with the group, also known as ISIS and ISIL. They cheered the carnage.

On a channel created on Thursday, called the United Cyber Caliphate, run by a group that has previously tried to carry out cyberattacks in the Islamic State’s name, a message included a single word — France — followed by a smiley face.

The channel of an Islamic State member, Aswarti Media, which has repeatedly been shut down and claims 1,987 members, was posting the phrase “Allahu akbar.” Yet another channel suspected of being for the Islamic State showed an image of the Eiffel Tower going up in flames.

The attack in Nice took place just as the Euro 2016 soccer tournament had concluded. France had hosted the tournament, and the entire country had been on high alert. There had been reports that suspects linked to the attacks in Paris and the Brussels assault in March had planned an attack during the tournament.

With tens of thousands of people gathered at stadiums and in designated “fan zones” during the games, the police and private security took extraordinary measures to try to secure the sites.

It was difficult to know if the measures were successful or if in fact there were no plans to attack the soccer tournament.

One question people will be asking is whether the security forces, as well as civilians, let their guard down once the tournament was over thinking that the danger had passed.

Several witnesses spoke on iTele. A man who gave his name as Michel, working at the Voilier Plage restaurant in front of the Promenade des Anglais, said that around 10:30 p.m., a large white truck drove into a crowd that had gathered near the beach. “A huge number of people started running, then there was a lot of gunfire,” he said.

Another witness who owns a restaurant nearby, whom iTele did not identify, said that when the truck plowed into the crowd, it “crushed everyone in its path.”

French television showed footage of a panicked crowd running from the scene. On Twitter, witnesses posted grim photographs of bodies lying in a pile on the asphalt.

nytimes.com/2016/07/15/world/europe/nice-france-truck-bastille-day.html

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Refugees in Europe say they fear terrorists are among them

July 14, 2016

BERLIN — Saif Ali grew nervous when he met his six Syrian bunkmates in a Munich refugee camp after finally making it to Germany late last year.

“They were strong supporters of the Nusra Front,” said the Iraqi refugee, referring to the al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist group fighting in the Syrian conflict. “I was praying five times a day, to hide my beliefs from them. They did not force me to, but I did not feel secure.”

Ali, 21, is an atheist and said his lack of religion was one reason he fled Iraq. He worried that if his bunkmates knew, they would consider him an apostate and beat him up — or worse.

It's a common story in Europe these days. Many refugees have detailed experiences similar to Ali’s, encountering extremists among the estimated 1 million migrants who made the journey into Europe from the Middle East last year.

After the Islamic State’s attacks in Paris in November and in Brussels in March, European concerns that terrorists could be arriving as refugees have taken on new importance, especially as more migrants arrive. Similar concerns are echoed in the United States, notably by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

A survey by the Washington-based Pew Research Center released this week found about half to three-quarters of Europeans, depending on the country, said the wave of refugees raises the risk of terrorist attacks in their countries. Respondents said they fear the newcomers — even as some refugees say the same thing.

“I see many extremists,” said Bader Khaishah, 28, a Syrian refugee at a Munich refugee camp. “I cannot be certain, but they have strong tendencies (toward militancy). I can feel this from the extremist tunes on their mobile phones, their injuries and their reaction when discussing the incidents in our region.”

Frontex, the European Union's border control agency, said the Paris terrorist attacks that killed 130 people demonstrated that terrorists can mingle among the flow of migrants into Europe. "Two of the terrorists involved in the attacks had previously irregularly entered through Leros (a Greek island) and had been registered by the Greek authorities,” Frontex said in its 2016 risk analysis.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said this week  that militant groups are sneaking people into Europe among the refugees. "The refugee wave (last year) was used by some to smuggle in terrorists," she said.

Germany said it is investigating about 40 cases of suspected radicals posing as refugees. In June, German police arrested three Syrian men on allegations of planning a terrorist attack in Dusseldorf for the Islamic State. A fourth man allegedly linked to the plot is in custody in France.

Jamal Jabur, 32, an Iraqi refugee in Esslingen, Germany, said he met three men who claimed they previously fought for the Islamic State. Two of the men, from Ramadi, Iraq, were forced into the militant group, he said. But a third, from the Iraqi city of Mosul, believed in the Islamic State’s cause and often chastised anyone who didn’t follow the group’s harsh interpretation of Islam.

“The man from Mosul is a dangerous person,” Jabur said. “Once, the man from Ramadi and I talked with a German woman, and the Mosul member said this is wrong, and that prophet Mohammed disapproves.”

Jabur said he never met anyone affiliated with the Islamic State, also known is ISIS or ISIL, when he lived in Baghdad from 2003 until 2015.

"Within a few days in the refugees' camp in Germany, I met three former ISIS members," he said, shaking his head. “There are lots of them. Many are escaping the service with ISIS, but they seem to be dangerous. I felt afraid to tell the camp administration about them.”

Some extremists see their mission as converting Christians into Muslims, Ali said about a fighter from the Nusra Front militant group who was forced out of Syria after the Islamic State invaded his town.

“One of this man’s goals after getting the residence (permit) was to spread Islam. He said, 'Europe will become Muslim, we will Islamicize (them),'” Ali said.

Others who share that goal believe they are being helpful, Ali added.

"They are happy with the German attitude of welcoming other cultures and see it a suitable environment to spread Islam," he said. "They say, 'Germans are good, and we should save them.'"

usatoday.com/story/news/world/2016/07/14/refugees-europe-say-they-fear-terrorists-among-them/87008334/

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India

Imams of West Bengal to Use Social Media to Counter ISIS Influence

July 15, 2016

Kolkata: In a bid to dissuade the youth from getting attracted to ISIS and other terror organisations, Imams here are contemplating using social media to spread the message of peace and educate them on the true meaning of Islam.

The social media initiative, led by Qari Fazlur Rehman, a senior cleric of Bengal, comes after reports that ISIS is extensively using social media to radicalise youngsters.

“Nothing has been finalised as of now. I am talking to various clerics, and Islamic scholars on this issue. What I have seen is that various groups including ISIS is misleading the youth by misinterpreting the versions of Islam and Quran,” Rehman said.

“This has to be countered. Islam doesn’t teach us violence or bloodshed. Islam teaches us peace and brotherhood. And our aim is to spread the true version of Islam on social media in various languages so that it has the maximum reach,” he said.

After the matter is finalised, languages such as Arabic, Urdu, Bengali, Hindi and English will be used to spread the message on social media as part of a concerted campaign.

Rehman said that terror groups were luring the youth across the globe through sites like Facebook, Whatsapp and Youtube.

A few days ago, a youth, Mohammed Musiruddin, with suspected links to the ISIS and Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), who had gone to Kashmir to train, was arrested in the state.

“If you have to combat this trend you have to use the social media so that young minds don’t get polluted by the malicious campaign. I am talking to authorities and a number of organisations in this regard and we will come to a concrete decision very soon,” he said.

Akhtar Hossain, general secretary to the All Bengal

Imam-Muezzin Council, an umbrella organisation of Muslim clerics, who is also part of this initiative, said that the social media initiative would soon get off the ground.

“If someone tries to mislead people on Islam and about the teachings of Quran, it is the duty of the Imams and the Muezzin to spread the true message of Islam. Islam never teaches us terrorism and those who are using Islam to shield their terror activities, don’t know the true meaning of Islam,” Hossain told

newindianexpress.com/cities/kolkata/Imams-to-use-social-media-to-counter-ISIS-influence/2016/07/15/article3530595.ece

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Injured Amarnath Pilgrims Rescued By Mosque Bound People Of Bijbehara

July 14, 2016

As the people of Bijbehara were leaving for the the mosque to offer morning prayers, they were attracted by the cries and wails. As they rushed for help, they found Amarnath pilgrims bleeding in the minibus. Instead of going to mosque, they rushed them to the hospital. This selfless act of brotherhood and communal harmony from the people of Bijbehara, who buried its four young men in last five days, has come as a pleasant surprise for the pilgrims. And Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has hailed the people for keeping alive the "glorious tradition" of harmony. On Wednesday dawn, a minibus carrying 30 Amarnath Yatra pilgrims travelling from Baltal in Ganderbal district to Jammu had a head-on-collision with a truck at Hamula village of south Kashmir's Bijibehara town. As the pilgrims cried for help, the villagers apparently out to offer the morning prayers came to their rescue and arranged vehicles to move them to Sub district hospital Bijibehara. "The youth shouted for help from others and broke the door to take us out. They came as god and saved us. They saved our lives by giving us blood," Anil Kumar Arora told The Indian Express. "I sought help from the yatri and army vehicles traveling on the road but no one stopped." Officials said Bilal Ahmad Mir, a local driver of the vehicle and a pilgrim Pramod Kumar were killed in the accident when the bus collided with a truck. The 22 injured patients were first taken to the sub district hospital of Bijibehara and later shifted to Shri Maharaja Singh Hospital in Srinagar. Four youth have been killed in the forces' action in Bijibehara town during the protests that began last week in Valley. J-K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti hailed the"exemplary effort" of the residents of Halmula and said they had upheld the tradition of brotherhood and amity.

indianexpress.com/videos/news-video/injured-amarnath-pilgrims-rescued-by-mosque-bound-people-of-bijbehara/

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Zakir Naik pleads innocence, accuses media of ulterior motives

July 15, 2016

Mumbai: Pleading innocence that he never encouraged terrorism, controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik on Friday alleged that the Indian media started trying him just because one of the Bangladesh newspapers reported that one of the terrorists involved in the Dhaka cafe attack was inspired by him.

“I am seeing that there is an India media cry on me just because a report came in one of the Bangladesh newspapers ‘The Daily Star’ that one of the terrorists who was involved in the attack was inspired by me, and the media trial started. On July 29, the newspaper corrected themselves that they never said that Dr Zakir inspired him and Dr Zakir did not inspire any terrorist to kill innocent people,” Naik told a press conference in Mumbai via Skype from Medina.

He said that his answers were altered and misguided people, adding those who did that shall be held responsible.

“Media for ulterior motives change meaning of my statements,” he said.

Naik said he condemns all terror attacks anywhere in world and will speak for hours if needed.

“Suicide bombings where innocents are killed is ‘haraam’. But as tactic of war it is permitted say many scholars,” said Naik, who began his press conference by condemning the France terror attack.

He said, “Verse 32 in Chapter 5 of the Quran says killing innocents is crime. No scripture other than the Quran says one innocent killed is killing of the humanity.”

“Knowingly I have never met any terrorist, but if some people stand next to me to take photographs, I smile. I don’t know who they are? I am a messenger of peace. I do not criticise any sect of Islam, I may disagree on interpretations,” he said.

Meanwhile, there was utter chaos during the press conference after Naik accused a reporter of Zee News of not having ‘tameez’ (discipline) after he posed a question to the controversial Islamic preacher.

He said he has replies to all allegations made on TV, adding they are available on pen drives for reporters.

“I challenge you to show me any unedited answer of mine where I have not condemned suicide bombing of the kind that is happening. Why are you relying on a doctored clip or an answer which is out of context? I challenge you to show my any unedited clip,” said Naik.

Naik claimed that no official or government authority has approached him with any question, adding that he has no problem with the Indian government or police so far.

“I will cooperate 100 percent with any government authority, which wants to speak with me,” he said.

He claimed that Peace TV had in 2008 applied for downlinking permission, which was denied by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry.

“The only reason I can think of why I&B Ministry had not given permission to Peace TV for downlinking in India is because it is a Muslim channel,” he added.

siasat.com/news/zakir-naik-pleads-innocence-accuses-media-ulterior-motives-986397/

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Hashimpura killings planned by officials, claims former police officer

July 15, 2016

The massacre of 42 young Muslims at Hashimpura in Uttar Pradesh in 1987 was masterminded by some police and civilian officials, says a former senior police officer in a new book.

Vibhuti Narain Rai also says that the crime could not have been committed if the killers had not been assured by “a very senior officer or some powerful politician” that they could get away with it.

Rai was the Superintendent of Police in Ghaziabad, where Hashimpura is located, and was the first to uncover that the massacre was the work of a rogue unit within the Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC).

The cold-blooded murders took place in an isolated part of Ghaziabad district bordering Delhi on the night of May 22, 1987 — when Meerut, not far away, was in the grip of communal violence.

In his recently released book “Hashimpura 22 May”, Rai says there have been references “of some mysterious meetings on 21 and 22 May where all the top civil and police officers of Meerut were present along with some army officials.

“I have reason to believe that it was in one of these key meetings that the two groups – those who would identify the victims and those who would execute them – were finalized.”

Rai, who broke the news of the massacre to then Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Veer Bahadur Singh, recalls that soldiers, CRPF, PAC and police dragged 600 to 700 people from Hashimpura from inside their homes.

Of this, 40 to 45 young men were picked, pushed into a PAC truck (URU 1493), driven to a canal near Makanpur village along the Delhi-Ghaziabad border and shot dead one by one by 19 PAC men.

The bodies were then pushed into the canal. Unknown to the killers, a handful survived the massacre and helped Rai and his police force to stitch together the gruesome saga when they reached the spot at night.

This came to be known as the “Hashimpura massacre”. Rai calls it “the country’s biggest custodial killing after independence”.

Rai, who joined the Indian Police Service in 1975 and served for 36 years, says the CID that was asked to probe the killings ended up siding with the killers.

“I have no hesitation in saying that right from the day the investigation began, the CID was engaged in a virtual mission to save the culprits. The investigation’s focus was not on proving the charges against the accused but to botch up the inquiry and create such confusing circumstances that no court would have been able to pronounce them guilty.”

28 long years later, all the accused were acquitted by a court for lack of evidence. By then, Platoon Commander Surendra Pal Singh, “the man behind the carnage” as Rai says, was already dead.

Looking back, Rai feels that murder charge should have been immediately slapped against the guilty PAC personnel, the truck into which the victims were stuffed should have been quickly seized and the weapons held by the guilty PAC men should have been confiscated.

Winner of the Indian Police Medal for Meritorious Services and the President’s Police Medal for Distinguished Services, Rai says the conduct of the army during the Meerut riots of 1987 “was a breach of their official boundaries and a gross violation of the laws of the country”.

According to him, when the PAC seized people at Hashimpura, the area was under army control.

The book says: “Hashimpura is not just one instance that can be summarily dismissed. Hashimpura is a phenomenon that goes deep into the mindset of the Indian society – a mindset that leads to communal violence.”

He says that the mindset of police and administrative officials was often deeply anti-Muslim. “Most police officials and magistrates refer to Hindus as ‘us’ and to Muslims as ‘them’.

“It is not surprising that communal riots in India often happen between the Muslims and police, and not versus the Hindus.”

Rai adds: “Hashmpura was an integral part of this design, to show the Muslims their place.”

indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/hashimpura-killings-planned-by-officials-claims-former-police-officer-2915463/

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Maharashtra ATS arrests suspected Islamic State mediator

Jul 15, 2016

A 31-year-old suspected mediator of the Islamic State (IS) has been arrested by the Nanded ATS in Parbhani.

The accused had allegedly planned a bomb blast in the city in the month of Ramzan and was to receive some weapons from Syria, ATS inspector Manik Bendre said.

Bendre said Naser Bin Abubakar Yafai came in contact with the terror outfit through internet and had renewed his passport to visit Syria.

Yafai, a resident of the Gadiwan locality in the city, had frequent discussions with one Farooq from Syria, the officer said.

He was arrested on Thursday and a case against him was registered at Kalachauki police station in Mumbai.

Parbhani police said the accused has been remanded to a seven-day police custody by the railway court of Aurangabad.

hindustantimes.com/india-news/maharashtra-ats-arrests-suspected-islamic-state-mediator/story-kiWeh1GcpTq3TWiKL1aZuN.html

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Kashmiri Pandits Stay In Homes Of Muslims: Building Bridges Netas Won't

July 14, 2016

We have seen politicians fighting over the return of Kashmiri Pandits, we have seen successive governments paying lip service to the issue, but no one has moved concretely. Now we see a people's initiative in which Pandit families have been invited to stay at Muslim homes in the Valley. This is a compelling counter-narrative to the demand of separate Pandit colonies. Can it work? An exclusive ground report from Kashmir.

ndtv.com/video/news/the-buck-stops-here/kashmiri-pandits-stay-in-homes-of-muslims-building-bridges-netas-won-t-420723?site=full        

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Dadri lynching: Court orders FIR against murdered Mohammad Akhlaq, his kin

July 15, 2016

TEN months after Mohammad Akhlaq was lynched by a mob in Uttar Pradesh’s Bisara village for allegedly consuming beef, a local court has directed that an FIR be registered under laws related to cow slaughter and animal cruelty against the 50-year-old and six members of his family.

The directions were issued by judicial magistrate Vijay Kumar at the Surajpur district court on Thursday, under section 156 (3), on a petition filed by a Bisara resident on June 9. The petitioner, Surajpal, had based his plea on a report by a forensic lab in Mathura that a meat sample taken from the site of the attack belonged to “a cow or its progeny”.

The petitioner had also claimed that another resident of Bisara had seen Akhlaq’s family slaughter a calf (bull) on the afternoon of September 25, 2015 — three days before Akhlaq was beaten to death.

“The court on Thursday directed that an FIR be registered against seven persons — deceased Mohammad Akhlaq, his mother Asgari, wife Ikraman, daughter Shaista, son Danish Mohammad, brother Jaan Mohammad and his nephew’s wife Sona,” said Yusuf Saifi, the Akhlaq family’s lawyer.

The latest order comes at a time when a case against the 19 accused facing charges related to the murder of Akhlaq is being heard at a fast track court in Surajpur. The Gautam Buddha Nagar police has submitted a chargesheet in the case but charges against the accused are yet to be framed in court.

Reacting to Thursday’s order, Jaan Mohammed said that Akhlaq’s family had full faith in the judiciary that “the truth will come out”, while local BJP leader Sanjay Rana, the father of one of the accused, said “truth has prevailed”.

Gautam Buddha Nagar SSP Dharmendra Singh said police had not “received a copy of the order yet”.

“We respect the judiciary and we are going to offer every help possible in the investigation. A fair and unbiased inquiry should be carried out. We should be questioned and investigated and so should the other party. We are confident that the truth in the case will come out,” said Mohammad.

Akhlaq’s elder son, Mohammad Sartaj said, “My family members welcome the court order and they are ready to cooperate in the investigation. They have full faith in the judicial system. They are fully confident and 100 per cent sure that these allegations are totally fake and lack any basis. If a fair investigation is done, the truth will come out. Everybody will come to know that these were fake allegations, made only to pressurise the family to compromise.”

Rana, who had earlier threatened to hold a mahapanchayat if an FIR against Akhlaq’s family was not registered, said, “Truth has prevailed finally. We are going to hold a small meeting in Bisara tonight to decide our next course of action.”

SSP Singh said, “The government has informed us that the court has issued an order to register an FIR in the Bisara case. We will register an FIR as directed by the Hon’ble Court and then carry out the investigation based on merits.”

Prior to approaching the court, the petitioner had filed a complaint at the Jharcha police station, seeking the registration of an FIR on charges of cow slaughter against seven persons. “The complaint filed in Jharcha police station on the same issue stands rejected suo moto since the court has taken cognisance under section 156 (3),” said SSP Singh.

The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), meanwhile, welcomed Thursday’s order, stating that “the man who was supposed to be at the receiving end was actually the real criminal”.

“The Hindu society that was portrayed as the perpetrators of the crime was the actual victim,” said VHP’s joint general secretary Surendra Jain.

Contending that “the forensic report has established that beef was recovered from Akhlaq’s house,” he said the UP government should “investigate the case of cow-slaughter in a fair manner, the family of Akhlaq should be sent to jail immediately, and all the compensation and facilities that were showered on them should be taken back”.

On the night of September 28, 2015, a mob surrounded Akhlaq’s residence in Dadri’s Bisara before allegedly dragging him out of the house and beating him to death. Akhlaq’s younger son, Danish, sustained severe injuries in the attack.

Police said the mob had reached Akhlaq’s house minutes after an announcement was made from a local temple asking residents to assemble as a cow had been killed in the locality.

VHP leader Jain alleged that Akhlaq’s family had killed a calf and consumed its meat. “The villagers had visited his home only to elicit information but the situation got out of control only due to the bad behaviour of Akhlaq and his family,” he said.

indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/dadri-lynching-beef-ban-mohammad-akhlaq-family-fir-bisara-2914776/

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Kashmir unrest: Restraining forces, but can’t allow anti-national activity

July 15, 2016

Saying that while security forces have been asked to exercise restraint in the Valley, where violent protests erupted after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani, Jammu and Kashmir Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Kumar Singh Thursday said anti-national activities won’t be tolerated.

He said the administration was going to keep a close watch on the Friday prayers to ensure that nothing untoward happens, and also ensure that the Amarnath Yatra continues without any hitch.

“Yes, we have asked the forces to exercise maximum restraint, but anti-national activities won’t be tolerated. We are aware that Pakistan-backed elements are behind fanning of violence. They are trying to revive militancy,” Singh, the most senior BJP representative in the Mehbooba Mufti government, told The Indian Express over phone.

“Pakistan and those supported by it are behind the recent protests. Pakistan, which knows that it has lost the proxy war that it has been waging in the state, is playing dirty games through some elements on its rolls. Look at the Pakistan government’s statements and actions in the last few days. Do we need more proof? We are aware and action is being taken. The highest number of militants have been killed. Every recent incident of protest, be it over the Sainik Colony in Kashmir or others, have been the handiwork of Pakistan-supported elements,” he said.

Singh said “a section of the local youth active on social media” was behind attempts to “turn a terrorist into a hero”: “He (Burhan Wani) was a militant, responsible for deaths of innocent persons. There should not be any doubt. However, some local youth active on social media are trying to portray him as a hero. That won’t be allowed.”

Asked about the focus of the state government in the coming days, Singh said, “Our first priority is tomorrow’s prayers. Anti-national elements can’t be allowed to stoke passions among common people. Peaceful continuation of the Amarnath Yatra is also our top priority.”

On why Jammu has remained peaceful in contrast to the massive protests during the 2010 stir, Singh said the BJP took the initiative to ensure that rumours were not allowed to result in peace being disturbed.

“We were very alert this time. Many of my colleagues and I remained stationed in Jammu, formed local committees to explain the situation to the people. And, the results are there for everyone to see.”

indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/kashmir-violence-burhan-wani-killing-hizbul-cant-allow-anti-national-activity-2914665/

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156 stranded Indians reach home from worn-torn South Sudan

July 15, 2016

New Delhi: The Indian Air Force (IAF) aircraft C-17 carrying Indian nationals from war-torn South Sudan landed in New Delhi this morning.

Union Sports Minister Vijay Goel received Minister of State for External Affairs General (Retd.) VK Singh, who was leading the evacuation operation named as ‘Sankat Mochan’, at the Palam Airport.

The evacuees also included two Nepali citizens, besides nine women and three children.

General (Retd.) Singh told reporters at the airport that 156 persons, including two Nepali citizens, have been evacuated.

“We have so far rescued 156 people those who wanted to come with us. Out of these 85 people deplaned at Thiruvananthapuram Airport. There were some people, who had already booked their tickets when the commercial flights started and 300 people did not want to be evacuated due to their business concerns and other activities. There are nine women and three children among those evacuated,” General (Retd.) Singh said.

“There were a lot of difficulties in the operation because no one was aware of the conditions there. The situation over there is still not stable. And there is firing on the outskirts,” he added.

The evacuation exercise faced a hurdle when several Indians, after registering with the External Affairs Ministry for leaving South Sudan, refused to return despite an appeal by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.

South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir has ordered a ceasefire after days of intense fighting in Juba which left more than 150 dead and many more injured since fighting broke out on Thursday.

The ceasefire announcement came as United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called on the Security Council to impose an “immediate arms embargo” and targeted sanctions on leaders and commanders blocking implementation of the peace deal.

There was renewed fighting between the government and former rebel forces since Thursday in Juba.

The latest exchanges were apparently sparked by a shootout between President Kiir’s and Vice President Riek Machar’s bodyguards.

siasat.com/news/156-stranded-indians-reach-home-worn-torn-south-sudan-986361/

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Allahabad HC dismisses PIL seeking SC category benefits for Muslims

Jul 15, 2016

The Allahabad high court on Thursday dismissed a PIL petition seeking Scheduled Caste category benefits for Muslims.

The order was passed by a bench comprising acting chief justice VK Shukla and justice MC Tripathi while hearing a petition filed by the Association for Protection of Civil Rights and two others.

The petitioners contended that as per the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950, passed by the President of India, only Hindus (Sikhs and Buddhists) could be included in the Scheduled Castes category which was discrimination against Muslims on the ground of religion.

They said that members of the Muslim community should be included in the Scheduled Caste category according to their status in society and benefits such as reservation, protection from social evils, etc should also be provided to them.

hindustantimes.com/india-news/allahabad-hc-dismisses-pil-seeking-sc-category-benefits-for-muslims/story-abKmZj5MSnmHJg9tJ5wlOK.html

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South Asia

Bangladesh Regulates Friday Sermons after Attacks to Combat Islamist Extremism

July 15, 2016

"Whoever kills a person unjustly, it is as though he has killed all mankind," it said, citing a verse of the Quran.

Bangladesh on Friday moved to regulate weekly sermons in hundreds of thousands of mosques as part of a stepped-up campaign to combat Islamist extremism, officials said.

The move comes after the deadly attack in an upscale Dhaka cafe in which 20 hostages were brutally shot and hacked to death in the nation's worst attack by suspected Islamist militants.

Since then, authorities have shut down a television channel run by a controversial Indian preacher, and decided to monitor the social media and Friday sermons of local mosques in a bid to prevent radicalisation.

As part of the drive, the state-run Islamic Foundation, which works as a watchdog for mosques and religious establishments, has prepared a sermon for the main national mosque which it has asked other mosques to follow.

The sermon, which was published by the agency ahead of Friday's prayers, invokes Koranic verses and traditions of the prophet Mohammed to rail against murderous extremism.

"Whoever kills a person unjustly, it is as though he has killed all mankind," it said, citing a verse of the Koran.

It also quoted the prophet as saying the killing of a human being is the biggest sin and urged parents to take good care of their children so they cannot be "brainwashed".

It was not clear how many of Bangladesh's mosques, which are run by independent neighbourhood lay committees, would follow the instructions.

But a senior police official said local administrations, police and regional Islamic Foundation officials would "monitor" the sermons.

Foundation chief Shamim Mohammad Afzal told AFP that the sermon had been distributed to more than 300,000 mosques.

"It is not mandatory but we hope the imams will follow our sermon or take their inspiration from it," he said.

"Our core message is there is no place for terrorism in Islam. We want to make sure our children cannot be brainwashed to commit an act of terrorism."

Islamic parties, who have strongly denounced the cafe siege and a string of other recent attacks on minorities, have criticised the sermon regulation as "undesirable".

"Long before the Foundation issued its instructions, our clerics have been vocal against terrorism," said Mufti Faiz Ullah, secretary general of Islamic Oikya Jote, a faith-based party.

Last month, just ahead of the cafe attack, a pro-government council of clerics issued a fatwa against violent Jihad, which was endorsed by more than 100,000 imams.

thehindu.com/news/international/bangladesh-regulates-friday-sermons-after-attacks/article8854123.ece

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Nabil release secret docs about Pakistan’s support to Afghan militants

Fri Jul 15 2016

The former Afghan Intelligence, National Directorate of Security (NDS) Chief, Rahmatullah Nabil has released classified documents about the support of Pakistan to the Afghan militant groups, specifically the notorious Haqqani terrorist network.

The six documents released by Nabil include formal letters by Pakistani military and the military intelligence of the country, Inter Services Intelligence (ISI).

Nabil says the Haqqani network not only remained intact from Zarb-e-Azb operations but the Pakistani military shifted the network’s fighters, families, weapons and other equipment to safe places.

He said the Afghan and American intelligence agencies were undoubtedly aware of the move and National Directorate of Security has hundreds of classified documents of the Pakistani military regarding its support to Afghan militants.

According to Nabil, the first classified document he has shared is regarding the relocation of Haqqani terrorist network commanders to Miranshah in North Waziristan as Inam Rabbani belonging to MI-422 in Peshawar formally informs Gen. Khalid the head of MI-22 regarding the move amid Zarb-e-Azb operations.

The second document is regarding the current condition of the Haqqani terrorist network as CTC in Islamabad sent a formal letter to CTC in Nowshera asking regarding the personnel and commanders of the network based in Nowshera, Mardan and Swabi.

The letter states that the central office of ISI has instructed the 945 and 935 departments to bring the Haqqani network militants to Miranshah, Tochi and Mir Ali under the escort of the military.

ISI has also instructed the relevant authorities to ensure the security of the families of the Haqqani network commanders until they reach Miranshah.

The third document is regarding a formal letter by MI in Islamabad to MI-422 regarding the arrangement of accommodation for two Taliban commanders identified as Hafiz Gulbahar and

The fourth document is regarding an attack on military airport in Hamid Karzai International Airpot in Kabul.

The letter states that ISI has hailed the individuals involved in the successful attack on the airport and instructs to offer 2.5 million Pakistani ruppees for each of the individuals involved in the attack.

The individuals involved in the attack have been identified as Haji Khalil Haqqani, Haji Hakim Woloswal, Qari Zahir Shah and Mawlavi Hakim.

The fifth document is regarding a formal letter issued by SI 945 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa instructing the Haqqani terrorist network to kidnap or assassinate the Shi’ite leaders in Herat, Kabul and Farah province of Afghanistan.

The sixth document is regarding a formal letter issued by ISI office in Quetta to IW in Islamabad and 945 in Rawalpindi regarding the visit of ISI officers from Quetta council. The visit was aimed at discussing peace talks between Afghan government and the Taliban group and what should be the conditions of the group.

khaama.com/nabil-release-secret-docs-about-pakistans-support-to-afghan-militants-01488

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Hanif: IS not an Islamic organisation

July 15, 2016

Joint Secretary of the Bangladesh Awami League (AL) Md Mahbub-ul-Hanif said people of Bangladesh were now worried over two issues. One was our religion Islam and another was our motherland for which three million people had scarified their lives.

Some vested interested groups, including BNP-Jamaat, is trying to destabilise the courty with their subversive activities, he said while addressing a workshop on terrorism and Islam held at Jessore Zila School yesterday morning.

“Islam does not support militancy and terrorism. But international conspirators are killing people in the name of Islam which is tarnishing the image of the religion.

“The the Islamic State has destroyed civilisation in Iraq. They are now killing as well as torturing people in Syria in the name of establishing Islamic State,” he said.

Terming the IS as agent of Israel, he said the terrorist group had killed thousands of people in Muslim countries, but they yet to make any attack in Israel.

He said Rita Katz who operated IS’s site is from a Jew’s family.

“The secret killing has started across the country after BNP leader Aslam Chowdhury met a member of Mosad, the national intelligence agency of Israel,” he added.

Kazi Nabil Ahmed, lawmaker of Jessore constituency 3, who also present at the programme, said the country was heading towards development, but homegrown as well as foreign terrorist groups were trying to destalise the country.

Presided over by Deputy Commissioner of Jessore Dr Humayun Kabir, the programme was attended by Lawmaker Advocate Monirul Islam, Superintendent of Police Anisur Rahman and Deputy Director of Islamic Foundation Masiruddin Molla.

dhakatribune.com/politics/2016/jul/15/hanif-not-islamic-organisation

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Mideast

Turkey strongly condemns Nice attack, offers solidarity with France

July 15, 2016

Turkey has strongly condemned the terrorist attack that killed at least 84 people in Nice during the French National Day celebrations, offering solidarity with France and other nations in the fight against global terrorism.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan strongly condemned the attack, which he described as “barbarous,” while also extending his condolences to the families of the victims and the French nation.

“As a country which has been subjected to many terror attacks, we understand the feelings of France and the French nation very well. This barbarous attack, which has been evaluated as a terror attack, has once again revealed the necessity of a determined and consistent fight against terrorism,” Erdoğan said in a written message of solidarity.

The president also added that anyone who acted in an ambivalent manner against terror had to take the necessary lessons from the recent attack, saying that terror has no religion, race or nationality.

“I strongly condemn the cowardly terrorist attack that ensanguined Nice on the [French] National Day. Always on the side of the states of the world in the fight against international terrorism, Turkey shares the pain of the people of France,” said Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım in a Twitter message, which he tweeted in French.

Terrorism is a crime against humanity and no one knows whom and when it will strike next, Yıldırım said, offering his condolences with those who lost their lives in the incident.

In a written message early July 15, the Foreign Ministry condemned and cursed the terror attack, saying, “Turkey is in a full solidarity with France in the fight against terrorism. We will all together continue our struggle against these villains. Terror, before anything else, is an offense against humanity and its universal values.”

Kalın: Barbaric attack

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s chief foreign policy advisor and spokesperson İbrahim Kalın condemned the “barbaric attack” in a written statement, offering his condolences to the loved ones of the victims and wishing a speedy recovery to the wounded.

“The modern barbarians who perpetrated the attack have nothing to do with religion and humanity. There is no room for them in this world - nor should there be. On this sad day, we stand in solidarity with France. Joint action against all forms of terrorism is a global responsibility and necessity,” he said.

hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-strongly-condemns-nice-attack-offers-solidarity-with-france.aspx?pageID=238&nID=101625&NewsCatID=510

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Turkey's state-run news agency fires freelance reporter for mocking Nice attack

July 15, 2016

Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency has announced that it has fired a freelance reporter who mocked the terrorist attack in Nice on his Twitter account.

The agency said freelance reporter Ali Kahrıman was dismissed on the grounds of sharing an “irresponsible post” after the attack, stating he reported for the agency occasionally.

“It has been determined that Ali Kahrıman, who was not our permanent employee but a freelancer whose reports we used occasionally, shared an extremely irresponsible post on his personal Twitter account after the terror attack in the Nice province of France which killed 84 people. This person was dismissed from Anadolu Agency. Respectfully announced to the public,” the agency said in a statement issued on its Twitter account.

“The truck which ploughed into the public in the attack in France failed to brake. It is not a terror incident,” Kahrıman tweeted, while also adding a laughing emoji, following the attack, which killed at least 84 on July 14.

Kahrıman’s tweet drew angry reaction from Turkish social media users. He later deleted the tweet before subsequently deactivating his account.

hurriyetdailynews.com/turkeys-state-run-news-agency-fires-freelance-reporter-for-mocking-nice-attack.aspx?pageID=238&nID=101630&NewsCatID=341

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Rapprochement with Russia will help resolve Syrian unrest: Ankara

July 15, 2016

A senior Turkish government official has said Turkey’s mending of ties with Russia will have a positive impact on finding a settlement to the ongoing unrest in Syria, while however noting the two were on completely different pages over how the problem would be resolved.

“I am of the opinion that rapprochement between Turkey and Russia will facilitate the resolution of the Syrian question. This is not so easy. I do not think that Turkey and Russia will leave their important differences of opinion behind by tomorrow and come to a common point but I think [rapprochement] will ease [the solution] of the Syria issue,” deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş told TRT in an interview late July 14.

Turkey and Russia broke the ice after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan sent a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin in late June to express his deep sorrow over the downing of a Russian jet on Nov. 24, 2015, and his wishes to normalize bilateral relations.

Turkey’s perspective with regard to the Syrian question was based on the will of the Syrian people instead of what some members of the international community preferred, Kurtulmuş said. “There can be a transitional period. A new Syria constitution, political parties’ law and new parties could be founded after the closure of the Baath Party, because it’s now a bloody-handed party,” he said.

Different elements of the Syrian people would also be included into this new political framework, which would be controlled by the international community, he said. “The decision to be given by the Syrian people under this process would be absolute,” he added.

Syrian people will not accept Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who bore responsibility for the deaths of 450,000 people, the displacement of 8 million others and the collapse of Syria’s history, as the leader of the future Syria, Kurtulmuş stated.

No country has the power to resolve the Syrian crisis alone, the deputy prime minister stressed, adding, “Therefore there is a need of a joint perspective for peace.”

hurriyetdailynews.com/rapprochement-with-russia-will-help-resolve-syrian-unrest-ankara--.aspx?pageID=238&nID=101627&NewsCatID=510

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Turkey to announce economic aid package for troubled east, southeast: Deputy PM

July 15, 2016

Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Şimşek has said Ankara will announce an economic aid package worth 35 billion Turkish Liras for the country’s restive eastern and southeastern regions.

The incentive and social aid package includes measures to operate factories with “guarantees of purchase” in underdeveloped provinces, Şimşek stated.

The Economy Coordination Board (EKK) is expected to meet to finalize the package on July 16 and it will subsequently be announced by Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım, he said, adding that four “attraction centers” will be formed.

According to the package, many of the state’s needs - including textiles, stationary and food requirements - will be provided by factories set up or due to be set up in the east and southeast, parts of the country that have been shaken by violence for months.

Describing 2015 as a “tough year” in terms of attracting foreign investors, Şimşek vowed that Turkey’s performance would “improve.”

“We need to separate two things: The first is direct global investments. Last year was tough but Turkey still drew investment worth $16.8 billion. This is a really great achievement. This reflects the risk appetite of the world economy and trust and belief in Turkey,” he said at the 240th Independence Day event held by the U.S. Embassy in Ankara on July 13.

“There is recovery this year. The first two months saw the risk appetite for developing countries globally decreasing. Volatility in the markets increased. But that’s in the past and now there is improvement in the risk appetite. There’s an increase in interest in Turkey. This is reflected in pricing in the markets,” Şimşek added.

hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-to-announce-economic-aid-package-for-troubled-east-southeast-deputy-pm.aspx?pageID=238&nID=101633&NewsCatID=344

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Legal shield for Turkish soldiers in anti-terror ops becomes law

July 15, 2016

A proposal to provide legal protection to soldiers taking part in anti-terror operations and enable the participation of Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) in operations in urban areas was made into law after being published in the Official Gazette on July 14.

The law, which increases the authority of all soldiers participating in security operations against groups listed as terrorist organizations, also provides a legal shield to security officials by requiring permission to launch probes in case of wrongdoings.

According to the bill amending the TSK Personnel Law, which was approved by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan later on July 13, trying commanders or the chief of general staff will require permission from the prime minister.

The permission mechanism will depend on the rank of the personnel, it said, adding the permission of the local district governor would suffice for probes into public personnel or on-duty soldiers.

As part of the bill, temporary village guards and voluntary guards will also be granted a legal shield.

The law also controversially enables the participation of the TSK in operations in central provinces, in cases where the capabilities of the police forces are deemed insufficient, upon a proposal from the Interior Ministry and an approving decision from the cabinet.

Soldiers will be permitted to enter residences in order to provide safety of life and property or apprehend certain people with the written order of a commander. The decision of a unit’s commander will be presented for a judge’s approval within 24 hours. 

Apprehension, detention or arrest will not be able to be carried out for military personnel due to an accusation until permission for an investigation is granted. Alleged crimes committed during operations will be regarded as military offences and a civil trial will not take place.

A similar judicial shield was also previously granted to National Intelligence Organization (MİT) personnel, with the Prime Ministry granted authority to halt all investigations into MİT officials.

MİT chief Hakan Fidan was among the names from the MİT who was shielded from investigation by the Prime Ministry.

The draft version of the law was presented to the Turkish parliament on June 7 and met with full support from the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), saying it “always stands by” security forces against terror.

“Most particularly, I would like everyone to rest assured and be at ease that we will do our best to strengthen the Turkish soldier’s hand in fighting terrorism and further enlarge the legal assurance that they need,” MHP chair Devlet Bahçeli said on June 8.

Parliamentary debates over the controversial bill were inflammatory, as scuffles broke out between lawmakers from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), which is focused on the Kurdish issue. The bill was approved by parliament late on June 23, despite fights between deputies.

hurriyetdailynews.com/legal-shield-for-turkish-soldiers-in-anti-terror-ops-becomes-law.aspx?pageID=238&nID=101597&NewsCatID=341

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Main opposition leader ordered to pay Erdoğan 50,000 liras over ‘insult’

July 15, 2016

The leader of Turkey’s main opposition party was on July 14 ordered to pay President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan compensation for calling him a “sham dictator.”     

An Ankara civil court ruled Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, leader of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), should pay 50,000 Turkish liras ($17,200) on charges of  insulting the president.    Kılıçdaroğlu made the remarks at the party’s 35th Ordinary Convention on Jan. 16 and in a parliamentary group meeting on Jan. 19. His lawyer denied the allegation.     

Erdoğan’s lawyer argued that Kılıçdaroğlu’s comment constituted “extraordinarily weighty insults” with the intention of attacking his client’s image.     

According to the Turkish Penal Code’s Article 299, it is also a criminal offense to insult the president. The offense carries a jail sentence of between one and four years.     

The CHP is the biggest opposition party in Turkey, with 133 seats in the 550-member Turkish parliament. Kilicdaroglu has led the party since May 2010.

hurriyetdailynews.com/main-opposition-leader-ordered-to-pay-erdogan-50000-liras-over-insult.aspx?pageID=238&nID=101589&NewsCatID=338

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Turkey imposes curfews on 16 villages in southeast

July 15, 2016

Turkey imposed round-the-clock curfews on 16 villages in its southeast on July 14 as security forces tried to root out militants nearby and sacked two co-mayors it accused of supporting the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Authorities in the province of Diyarbakır imposed the lockdown as security forces searched for members of the PKK in the hills and woods near the town of Silvan, the provincial governor said in a statement.

People will not be allowed to enter or leave the area near Silvan during the curfew, the governor’s statement said.

“It is important for citizens to follow the ban for the security of their lives and property,” it said.

Separately, the Interior Ministry ordered the co-mayors of the town of Mazıdağı in the province of Mardin to be removed from office, security sources said.

A prosecutor is investigating the elected officials’ potential culpability after a municipal vehicle was allegedly used in a car-bomb attack on a gendarmerie outpost that killed two soldiers and wounded another 12 on July 9.

In the past year, a number of mayors from the Democratic Regions Party (DBP) were dismissed or arrested for alleged links to the PKK.

Meanwhile, the district governor in the restive town of Nusaybin said its four-month curfew would be lifted on July 19. Clashes with the PKK there ended on June 3, but authorities have barred residents from returning as they continued weapons searches and conducted cleanup operations.

hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-imposes-curfews-on-16-villages-in-southeast.aspx?pageID=238&nID=101628&NewsCatID=341

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Southeast Asia

Don’t overlook situation in Southern Thailand, says terror expert

July 15, 2016

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia should not overlook the conflict in Southern Thailand as many people in the region are supportive of the Islamic State (IS), says a terror expert.

Ahmad El-Muhammady of the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) said that while Thai separatists did not necessarily support the terror group’s brand of violence, they subscribed to IS’ ideology.

Ahmad said he had made the discovery recently in conversations with people he knew from there, and from observations on social media. 

“The close proximity to the conflict zone is what bothers us. Everyone talks about the threat from Indonesia and the Southern Philippines but we shouldn’t overlook the situation in Southern Thailand,” he told The Star Online.

In Southern Thailand, groups such as Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN), The Patani United Liberation Organisation (Pulo) and Patani Malays People's Consultative Council (Bersatu) are fighting for their independence from Thailand, said Ahmad.

“The ideology of an Islamic state is compatible with what they are fighting for,” said the lecturer, who regularly assists the police in the rehabilitation of captured militants.

But while he doesn’t believe that the separatists will harm Malaysia, he said the possibility of them using the country to hide from Thai security forces or as a transit point could not be discounted.

Ahmad added that militants from Southern Thailand did not go to Syria or Iraq, as they believed in their own struggle.

Since 2004, violence in Thailand’s three southern-most provinces – Yala, Patani and Narathiwat – has resulted in more than 6,200 people killed and more than 10,000 injured.

The three Muslim-dominated provinces were once part of a Malay Muslim sultanate until annexed by Thailand in 1909.

thestar.com.my/news/nation/2016/07/15/dont-overlook-situation-in-southern-thailand/

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Southeast Asia will soon become major target of terror

July 15, 2016

Governments in the region are not helping matters, as IS influence spreads to Malaysia and other nations in the region, says article in Nikkei Asian Review.

Nikkei-Asian-ReviewKUALA LUMPUR: The Islamic State may be helping returning fighters recruit and organise spectacular attacks in their countries of origin in Southeast Asia.

An article in the Nikkei Asian Review said the killing of almost 400 people by the IS around the world during Ramadan, and particularly the targeting of Bangladesh and Malaysia, had revived fears that IS had begun to employ networked terrorist cells.

Since last year, the report said, a specific Malay-speaking unit within IS, known as Katibah Nusantara, had amassed a force of 500-plus fighters hailing from Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Katibah Nusantara will become a conflict driver when it returns to the region, according to the article written by Michael Vatikiotis.

It said many social factors in Asia were conducive for the incubation of a new wave of Islamic extremism.

“Islamic militancy is a strong undercurrent in the Muslim-majority states of the region, fuelled by social and economic injustice and well-financed Wahhabi and Salafist teachings. The recent surge in tension between religious communities — Buddhist against Muslim in Myanmar, Sunni against Shia in Indonesia — has helped highlight perceived threats to Muslims that lend impetus to militant teachings.”

Listing some of the factors in various nations in the region that were giving rise to extremism, the article also offered some suggestions on tackling the menace.

The first priority, it said, was for states to accept responsibility for the careful management of relations between religious communities.

“In Malaysia, the government has carelessly allowed conservative Islamic views to upset the country’s delicate ethnic and religious balance. Just a week or so before the first IS attack in Malaysia, a leading member of the Islamic clergy declared that non-Muslim members of a leading opposition party could be slain because they opposed the imposition of the Islamic criminal code.”

There was also a need to control or cut off foreign funding of religious education and preaching.

“The virtually unfettered access to funding from Wahhabi foundations in Saudi Arabia has cultivated less tolerant conceptions of Islamic faith in the region. This in turn exposes young Muslims to an austere, exclusivist version of Islam at odds with the traditionally moderate and open-minded brand of the mostly Hanafi-school Islam practiced in Southeast Asia for hundreds of years.

“This is not simply about promoting moderation or balancing religious and secular curricula, but speaks to the need to actively recover the region’s distinctive adaptation of Islamic dogma and teaching, which over centuries has enabled Muslims and non-Muslims to coexist harmoniously.

“In the 1980s, Indonesia’s Ministry of Religious Affairs considered adapting Islamic law to the specific Indonesian context; today, Islamic scholars in Indonesia and Malaysia are arguing for the replication of laws and conventions that governed society in 7th century Arabia.”

The problem also lay in the fact that governments were seeking to be popular with their majority populations.

For instance, no Malaysian Government would take kindly to being told about the dangers of giving conservative mullahs free rein.

freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2016/07/15/southeast-asia-will-soon-become-major-target-of-terror/

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Hindu body asks temples in Malaysia to step up security

Jul 15, 2016

Kuala Lumpur: A leading Hindu religious body in Kuala Lumpur has asked temples across multi-ethnic Muslim-majority Malaysia to step up security measures following a spate of vandalism reports in six shrines in some northern states.

The measures were especially pertinent for temples with very minimal security, the Hindu Sangam president R S Mohan Shan said.

Hindu temples in Penang state have been the worst-hit, with four shrines vandalised in just two months.

On Tuesday, unidentified miscreants destroyed statues and stole temple jewellery from the Sri Maha Muthumari-amman temple in Mahang and the Suba Sri Sakthi Kanagavalli temple in Selama in Perak state.

In George Town, Penang police chief Abdul Ghafar Rajab said a man had been arrested based on a CCTV footage at one of the temples and is believed to be a drug addict.

"The suspect was under the influence of morphine when he was picked up," he told a press conference.

Earlier this month, two temples on the island the Dewa Sri Mathuraiveeran and the Sri Muneeswarar were also vandalised.

The Sri Dharma Muniswarar temple and Muthu Mariamman temple in Seberang Prai were desecrated last month. In Ipoh, statues at the Sri Muneswarar Amman temple were smashed in April.

deccanchronicle.com/world/asia/150716/hindu-body-asks-temples-in-malaysia-to-step-up-security.html

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Myanmar drops anti-Muslim activist defamation charges

15.07.2016

A prominent anti-Muslim activist has been freed from detention after being previously charged with defamation for posting a provocative statement on Facebook about the Myanmar's military chief and its de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi.

The ruling -- in which a court dropped all charges Friday against Nay Myo Wai -- has fuelled fears among opponents that Myanmar's courts continue to practice double standards, in a country with growing problems of racial and religious discrimination.

Wunna Shwe -- joint general secretary of the country's Islamic Religious Affairs Council -- expressed his concerns to Anadolu Agency that the court could grant seeming impunity to such a high profile anti-Muslim activist while others charged with similar crimes have been sentenced to jail for at least six months.

“To be honest, it makes us worry,” he told Anadolu Agency by phone.

Nay Myo Wai -- the chairman of the Yangon-based Peace and Diversity Party -- was arrested in early May 2016 after an activist filed a complaint against him for a post he made that claimed Army Chief Min Aung Hliang had failed to launch a coup against Suu Kyi's ruling National League for Democracy (NLD) after it won last year's election because he wanted to marry the Nobel laureate.

He was charged under the Electronic Transaction Act for defaming both parties -- punishable by up to three years imprisonment, a fine or both.

However, after two months detention in Prison in Pathein, the capital of the Ayeyawaddy region in Myanmar's west, he was released Friday.

“Pathein Township court dropped all charges against him on the grounds of there being insufficient evidence,” Win Ko Ko Latt of the nationalist Myanmar National Network told Anadolu Agency by phone.

“We nationalists support him for his patriotic spirit and movement,” said the leader of the group, best known for organizing demonstrations against the country's Muslims.

Prior to his arrest, Nay Myo Wai had maintained a high profile at such demonstrations alongside nationalist Buddhist monks, and has frequently associated local Muslims with terrorists.

In January, he threatened local journalists before demonstrations in Yangon, prior to condemning United Nations' and international media's claims that many people then stranded on a boat at sea were Rohingya Muslims fleeing persecution in Myanmar’s western Rakhine state.

In December last year, Chaw Sandi Tun -- a political activist and NLD member – and Kachin peace activist Khun Ja Lee were sentenced to six months in jail for Facebook posts deemed to insult the military chief and other senior army officers.

They were both charged separately under the Electronic Transaction Act.

aa.com.tr/en/asia-pacific/myanmar-drops-anti-muslim-activist-defamation-charges/607945

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Africa

Troops Ambush Boko Haram in Borno, Recover High Calibre Weapons - Army

Jul 15, 2016

Troops of the Nigerian Army, under the 118 Task Force Battalion of the 7th Brigade on Thursday made a major retrieval of high calibre munitions from Boko Haram when they executed an ambush attack on a moving gang of suspected terrorists in the northern part of Borno State, authorities said.

The soldiers, according to a spokesperson for the Army, were able to take possession of one Buffalo Land Cruiser gun truck mounted with an Anti-Aircraft gun, 1,600 rounds of 12.7mm Armour Piercing Incendiary (API) ammunitions, 563 rounds of 7.62mm (NATO) ammunition for General Purpose Machine Guns and 57 rounds of 7.62mm (Special) ammunition, after a brief shoot out with the outlawed Islamic group.

Army spokesman, Colonel Sani Kukasheka Usman, said most of the terrorists, who were caught off guard by the ambush attack, abandoned their vehicles, and other related logistic supplies as they escaped with bullet wounds.

Mr. Usman's statement reads: "Following reliable information about movement of remnants of suspected Boko Haram terrorists, troops of 118 Task Force Battalion, 7 Brigade, laid an ambush for the terrorists today morning", he said.

"The troops laid the ambush about 3 kilometres away from Goneri town, South West of Kukawa Local Government Area, where they encountered the unsuspecting terrorists in 2 gun trucks and on motorcycles and engaged them. An unconfirmed number of the terrorists escaped with gun shot wounds abandoning 1 Buffalo Land Cruiser gun truck mounted with an Anti-Aircraft gun, 1,600 rounds of 12.7mm Armour Piercing Incendiary (API) ammunitions, 563 rounds of 7.62mm (NATO) ammunition for General Purpose Machine Guns and 57 rounds of 7.62mm (Special) ammunition.

"The troops further recovered 1 motorcycle, 7 jerry cans of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) and Automotive Gasoline Oil (AGO), a pair of Nigerien Army uniform, 2 Cameroonian telecommunication service providers SIM cards, as well as a pair of the Boko Haram terrorists Special Forces uniform. They also recovered 1 Samsung Galaxy Tablet and assorted drugs and such as Climax Oxytocin, Tetracyclic HC1 Ointment, Drips and Springe, amongst others.

"Consolidating on this success, the troops are further exploiting the situation while troops of 157 Task Force Battalion are blocking likely escape routes of remnants of the terrorists in Mile 90, Yoyo, Barwati and Kekeno villages".

allafrica.com/stories/201607150182.html

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France's history of 'civilising' North Africa has catalysed radicalisation

Jul 15, 2016

“Today when people see an Arab, they think that person is a terrorist.”

“When people see a woman wearing the veil, people feel themselves attacked, and they reject her.”

“Someone who has got an Arab-sounding name, or who doesn’t eat a certain foodstuff, is seen as dubious. It is as if at some point, to be French, you have to have the right name, and eat the right things.”

Soon after the Brussels terror attack, New Statesman spoke to some Muslims and the Imam of a temporary mosque in Toulouse to understand how they were coping. The replies reflected an atmosphere of fear and discrimination that prevails in France against the Muslims.

A number of people are critical of the the role immigration has played in bringing Islam to France, while others like the mayor of a French town are taking a bit more of a an extreme stand: Urging a ban on Muslims and the demolition their makeshift homes.

Authorities investigate the truck after it plowed through Bastille Day revelers in Nice, France. APAuthorities investigate the truck after it plowed through Bastille Day revelers in Nice, France. AP

According to a report by the Brookings Institute, most Muslims in France came from North Africa, particularly Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia.

Colonial history

Many parts of North Africa were French colonies. France’s domestic and foreign policy towards the country sowed the seeds of division between the Muslims and the non-Muslims, which is still plaguing the society.

It echoes “The horror! The horror!” of Joseph Conrad’s The Heart of Darkness. The phrase refers to the imperial policy and the exploitation that happened in the colonies by the colonisers. The colonised people are seen as ‘savages’ and ‘beasts’.

The French rule over North Africa mirrors the situation in any other country which was colonised and robbed of its resources.

According to a piece in The Federalist, the French colonial rule in North Africa was seen as a “civilising mission” to help the natives. The French brought their wealth and secular society to North Africa as a “civilised” alternative to the Muslim way of life.

Most of France’s wealth today has been seized from the colonised people of Polynesia and Senegal, according to Boston Globe.

In 1830, France conquered Algeria and soon after World War I, it took control of Syria and Lebanon and some French settled in North Africa, a Time article said. However, after World War II, North Africans came to France to work in new factories, settling in the poor areas.

The Algerian war for independence in 1962 was bloody and brutal.

The North African immigrants have however, not forgotten their roots and are aware of the history of their country. Some of them harbour much resentment against the French. It's worth pointing out that the people who attacked the office of Charlie Hebdo were of Algerian descent.

However, The New Yorker quoted Ben Ahmed, of Algerian and Tunisian descent, soon after the Charlie Hebdo attack as saying “My French heart bleeds, my Muslim soul weeps. Nothing, absolutely nothing, can justify these barbaric acts.”

Ahmed works as a liason between residents and the local government in Bondy – a suburb in an area called Department 93.

Muslim ghettos

This area is full of Arab and African-origin residents. The French look at it as a hub of crime, poverty, social isolation and unemployment.

Suburbs dominated by Muslims are often viewed with contempt and suspicion in France.

Ahmed wrote an open letter to President François Hollande titled 'All Partly Responsible, but Not Guilty'. He wrote about the problems of joblessness and discrimination.

These Muslim ghettos are isolated from the city. The Washington Times refers to a study by a think-tank Institute Montaigne that described the Muslim ghettos as “wasteland of the deindustrialisation” or “radical rejection of France”.

On 13 July, Mayor of French town Calais, Natacha Bouchart said that the refugee camp in the town would be demolished very soon, The Independent reported. There are around 4,500 refugees in the area, mostly from North Africa.

France is seen by its critics as a country that continues to meddle economically and militarily to defend its interests in Africa. And its policy of segregation against the Muslims years after its “civilising” mission in North Africa has quite possibly alienated the Muslim youth and sown the seeds of jihad in them.

firstpost.com/world/nice-attack-frances-history-of-civilising-north-africa-has-catalysed-radicalisation-2895034.html

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South Sudan is a mess, but it is not Africa

Jul 15, 2016

This is not an article on South Sudan, which is just as well because the conflicts there are almost fractal in their complexity. The miniwar last weekend between the forces of President Salva Kiir and Vice-President Riek Machar, which killed more than 270 people and saw tanks, artillery and helicopter gunships used in the capital, Juba, is part of a pattern that embraces the whole country.

The four days of heavy fighting began on Friday, July 8, with a disagreement between the two men's large forces of bodyguards outside State House where they were meeting, and rapidly escalated to an all-out clash between all of Kiir's and Machar's troops in the capital. Nobody was surprised, because the peace deal last August, which ended a two-year civil war that killed tens of thousands across the country, was never very secure.

After a shaky ceasefire was agreed, President Kiir said: "Making South Sudan glorious will only happen if we see ourselves as South Sudanese first rather than tribal or political groupings," which is the sort of thing that leaders are obliged to say after a pointless clash like this. It's true, too, but in South Sudan it is very hard to do.

Last weekend was the fifth anniversary of South Sudan's independence from Sudan, but celebrations had already been cancelled before the shooting started because the government couldn't afford them. The country has some oil but virtually no other exports, and was hard-hit by last year's collapse in the oil price.

The real reason for its poverty, however, is war: The country that is now South Sudan has been at war for 42 of the past 60 years. British colonialists included it in what we now call Sudan for administrative convenience, but the dominant population in the much bigger northern part was Muslim and Arabic-speaking, while the south was mostly Christian and culturally, ethnically and linguistically African.

The fighting began a year before Sudan's independence in 1956, with the southerners resisting the Sudanese government's attempts to Islamize and Arabize their part of the new country. That civil war lasted until 1971, and the second (1983-2005) was even longer. By the time South Sudan finally won its independence in 2011, it had long been a fully militarized society.

It didn't take long after independence before the two biggest ethnic groups, the Dinka (led by President Salva Kiir) and the Nuer (led by Vice-President Riek Machar) were at each other's throats. Those are just two of South Sudan's sixty ethnic groups, each with its own language, culture and territory — and even within the two big ethnic groups, different subgroups sometimes find themselves on opposite sides of the fighting.

One-fifth of South Sudan's 12 million people are currently refugees within their country — the lucky ones in United Nations camps, but many hiding in swamps and badlands from local ethnic militias. Kiir and Machar are both brutal, untrustworthy men, and neither is fully in control of his own generals. And the outside organizations that have poured foreign aid and peacekeeping troops into the country are losing patience.

U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice said: "This senseless and inexcusable violence — undertaken by those who yet again are putting self-interest above the well-being of their country and people — puts at risk everything the South Sudanese people have aspired to over the past five years."

Two Chinese peacekeeping soldiers were killed in the most recent fighting, causing United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to abandon his usual diplomatic caution. "Yet again, the leaders of South Sudan have failed their people," he said. "Rarely has a country's conduct squandered so much promise so quickly."

The current ceasefire may not last: seven others were broken during the course of the recent civil war. South Sudan is unlikely to achieve a lasting peace settlement any time soon. But South Sudan is not representative of sub-Saharan Africa. Out of 48 countries south of the Sahara, only Somalia, Burundi, and South Sudan are currently suffering from large-scale internal violence.

A dozen others have experienced similar upheavals at some point in the past fifteen years: sub-Saharan Africa is unique in the extravagant diversity of its population, with two hundred ethnic groups of more than half a million people and only three with over 15 million people. But mostly they manage to coexist fairly peacefully, and over time broader national identities are being built over the postcolonial wreckage.

The image of a continent ravaged by war is an optical illusion perpetuated by the international media's fixation with violence. For example, during most of 2014-15 the headline news coming out of Europe, as far as the rest of the world was concerned, was the war in Ukraine — although all of the continent's other fifty countries were at peace.

South Sudan is desperately unfortunate in its history and its leaders, but it is no more typical of Africa than Ukraine is of Europe.

Gwynne Dyer is an independent journalist whose articles are published in 45 countries.

thespec.com/opinion-story/6768592-dyer-south-sudan-is-a-mess-but-it-is-not-africa/

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Arab World

Syrian Army Gains Full Fire-Control over Railway in Southwestern Damascus

July 15, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian army soldiers beat back the terrorists of Ajnad al-Sham from their positions on Southern side of Darayya in Western Ghouta, and gained fire-control over the town's railway, army sources said.

The Syrian military forces inflicted a heavy death toll on Ajnad al-Sham terrorists who have nowhere to retreat and gained fire control over Darayya railway.

In relevant developments in the province on Thursday, the Syrian army and allied forces continued advancing in the Southern parts of Darayya city in Southwestern Damascus and retook control of several residential blocks, including a building used by terrorists to produce bombs.

According to a field source, the building was located in the Eastern parts of Nouralddeen Shahid grand mosque.

The army also seized back control of several tall buildings in the region to further tighten siege on the terrorist groups.

The source added that facing the Syrian troops' advance, the terrorists stationed in the region lost their spirit.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950425000333

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Terrorists' Offensives Repulsed by Syrian Army in Sweida

July 15, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Syrian Army troops fended off the offensive of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) in Southwestern Sweida, forcing them to retreat from the battlefield under heavy fire, military sources said on Friday.

"The Syrian soldiers repelled the FSA's attacks near the villages of Burd and Mujaymir and in the Eastern side of Busra al-Sham, which claimed the lives of several terrorists and destroyed their military equipment and vehicles.

Also on Wednesday, the Syrian military forces repelled ISIL's attacks on their positions in the Northeastern countryside of Sweida city, and pushed them back from the battlefield under heavy fire.

The Syrian Army troops fended off ISIL's assaults near Tal al-Buthaina, which ended in the killing or wounding of several terrorist, and caused the remaining pockets of them to retreat from the battlefield without any gain.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950425000187

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Syrian Army Engages in Fierce Clashes with Terrorists in Dara'a

July 15, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian military forces struck the strongholds of al-Nusra Front in Dara'a al-Balad district and near the town of al-Naima, pinning the militants down behind their defense lines.

The Syrian army men hit al-Nusra positions hard the Southern part of old customs building in al-Manshiyeh neighborhood in Dara'a al-Balad, which claimed the lives of several militants and destroyed two explosive-laden cars.

At least four terrorist were killed and several more were wounded in the Syrian army's anti-terrorism offensive to the East of al-Naima in Eastern countryside of Dara'a city.

In relevant developments in the province on Wednesday, the Syrian army men hit al-Nusra positions in the Southern side of al-Jumrok al-Qadim, Tel al-Sheikh, Teloul Kkleif and Dara'a al-Balad, which not only left several terrorists dead or wounded but ended in destruction of their machinegun-equipped vehicles, military equipment and checkpoint.

The Syrian army also repelled al-Nusra offensive on government positions in Dara'a al-Balad, which ended in the killing or wounding of the entire members of the terrorist group.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950425000227

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Russian Warplanes Pound Terrorists' Centers in Aleppo Province

July 15, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Russian fighter jets carried out several combat flights over the terrorist-held regions in Southern Aleppo, inflicting major losses on the militants.

The Russian Army aircraft bombed heavily concentration centers and gatherings of the terrorist groups of al-Nusra Front, Ahrar al-Sham and Faylaq al-Shalm in Khan Touman, al-Zarbeh, and Khalsah regions, which ended not only in the killing or wounding of scores of the militants but destroyed their military hardware in large scale.

In relevant developments in the province on Thursday, the Syrian army forces launched new operations in al-Lairamoun district on the Northern parts of Aleppo and launched surprise attacks against the terrorists' positions in al-Khalediyeh region on the Western side of Bani Zaid district.

The Syrian army and popular forces could purge the terrorists off Sarhil and Makki workshops and killed and wounded over 34 of them in the early hours of their attacks.

Clashes continued until Thursday morning with the resistance front's full control over Khalediyeh region which means establishment of security in the Eastern parts of al-Lairamoun and surrounding the terrorists from Bani Zaid's Western side.

Concurrent with the attacks, the Syrian army started offensives against the terrorists in Jabal al-Shawihana and Maarah al-Artiq regions in Northern Aleppo.

The Syrian warplanes also launched airstrikes against two strategic districts of al-Rashedin 4 and al-Rashedin 5 districts in the Western parts of Aleppo and al-Malaah farms.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950425000163

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Iran, Italy Ink 4 MoUs to Broaden Bilateral Ties

July 15, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian and Italian officials in a meeting in Sari signed four memoranda of understanding (MoUs) to further expand their mutual cooperation in different areas, specially in trade and economic fields.

The MoUs were signed at the presence of governors of Iran's Mazandaran Province and Italy's Marche province on Thursday night.

Marche Governor Luca Ceriscioli is on a visit to Tehran. He is accompanied by a 50-member trade delegation comprising 43 CEOs, manager of an Italian bank and chancellors of two Italian universities.

In mid-April, Iran and Italy signed 12 contracts to boost their cooperation in trade and economic fields.

Chairman of Iran-Italy Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Mines Ahmad Pourfallah said the agreements were signed in the presence of Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and Iranian Minister of Industry, Mine and Trade, Mohammadreza Nematzadeh.

He said negotiations are also underway between Iranian and Italian trade delegations to discuss further cooperation in economy, trade and banking.

According to the official, the discussions include cooperation in oil, gas, electricity, power plant, steel, textile, fashion, car, infrastructure, urban planning and architecture, telecommunication, railway, airport construction, shipping, refinery, and petrochemicals.

He said the Italian economic delegation, including 70 economic firms, is the ninth delegation which traveled to Iran after the nuclear deal and the lifting of sanctions.

A day earlier, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani had reiterated the need for the timely and precise implementation of the nuclear agreement by the world powers.

"The nuclear agreement between Iran and the Group 5+1 (the US, Russia, Britain, France and China plus Germany) was a success for all countries which believe that talks is the solution to the international problems and we should well protect the achievements of this agreement so that all people opt for the path of talks as a role model to settle the problems in the world," Rouhani said, addressing a meeting between high-raking Iranian and Italian delegations, also attended by Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, in Tehran.

He underscored the importance of precise and timely implementation of all undertakings accepted by the other side in the nuclear agreement with Iran.

President Rouhani also appreciated Italy for its good will and supports during the Iran-G5+1 talks.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950425000405

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Iran's Foreign Ministry Official: France’s Mere Branding MKO as Violent Not Enough

July 15, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- An official at the Iranian foreign ministry underlined that describing the Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO, also known as the MEK, PMOI and NCR) grouplet as a terrorist and violent group by France is not enough.

The remarks by the Iranian foreign ministry official came in reaction to a recent stance by the French foreign ministry taken after Paris hosted an annual MKO meeting.

"It would not be merely sufficient to term the Monafeqin (MKO) grouplet as a terrorist and violence-seeking group... ," the foreign ministry official said.

"This stance by France comes at a time when the French people have always considered themselves as one of Europe's victims of Takfiri groups' terrorist acts as supported by some reactionary countries, fathers and supporters of al-Qaeda and Daesh (the ISIL) and have emphasized confronting terrorism and extremist groups," the official added.

Paris hosted MKO's annual meeting which was attended by former Saudi security chief Turki al-Faisal.

Iran's Foreign Ministry summoned on Tuesday French Ambassador to Tehran François Sénémaud over MKO's meeting in Paris.

“This annual meeting is unacceptable because its holders have their hands stained with bloods of the Iranian people and they support terrorist groups such as Taliban, al-Qaeda and the ISIL as well as accomplice with the Zionists and utter inappropriate statements against the Islamic Republic of Iran in France," Iranian Foreign Ministry Director General for Western Europe Abolqassem Delfi said.

Delfi underlined that allowing a third country to disrespect and propagate against Iran contradicts the international law and is doomed.

The Iranian foreign ministry official also called on the French government to declare its official stance on MKO and the anti-Iran statements stated by founders and supporters of Takfiri terrorists and anti-human grouplets in Paris.

The French ambassador, for his part, said his government has no relations whatsoever with the MKO and does not recognize the group, adding, “The Islamic Republic of Iran’s protest will be conveyed to the French officials shortly.”

Later Paris termed the MKO as a violent and terrorist group, but Iran says France should not allow terrorist groups to move freely and stage gatherings in the country.

In relevant remarks on Tuesday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif blasted former Saudi General Intelligence Directorate (GID) Chief Turki al-Faisal in MKO's annual meeting in Paris, saying he is going the same path that former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein did.

Speaking to reporters upon arrival in Kazakhstan for a ministerial meeting of the Caspian Sea littoral states, Zarif lambasted France for hosting the MKO terrorists' annual gathering.

He said every year, a number of infamous political figures from different countries participate in the gathering giving a speech.

"These people have visible records. People like Bolton and Gingrich have been attending such meetings and supporting the terrorists for years, and it is not a new event and they have always been pursuing the same policy," Zarif said.

"Unfortunately, the presence of a person who is the manufacturer of both the al-Qaeda and the Taliban and has played a highly disgraceful role in the Saudi regime's past actions in the region (Turki al-Faisal) has drawn so much attention from the media which shows his lack of competence and wisdom as he has tied his future to the terrorists like what Saddam Hussein did," he added.

Also on Tuesday, Iranian Government Spokesman Mohammad Baqer Nobakht deplored Saudi Arabia and France for their support for the MKO terrorist group.

"We condemn any positive measure or assistance to this terrorist grouplet by any government," Nobakht told reporters in Tehran.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950425000336

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ISIL Executes, Crucifies Syrian Pilot in Deir Ezzur

July 15, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The ISIL terrorist group captured and executed a Syrian military pilot, whose jet had crashed due to a technical failure in Eastern province of Deir Ezzur, media sources said.

"An army's warplane that took off from Hama airport reportedly crashed near al-Thardah mountain in Deir Ezzur province," the sources said, adding, "The crash was caused by a technical failure in the warplane and that the pilot survived the incident."

“However, Syrian pilot Mahmoud Jubair was captured by ISIL fighters after landing with his parachute in Deir Ezzur,” sources further added.

Pilot Jubair, originally from Musiyaf town in Hama province, was publicly executed and crucified by ISIL militants in the Kinamat square in Deir Ezzir city.

On Wednesday, Syrian Army Aircraft carried out several combat sorties over ISIL bases in the Southern and Southeastern sides of Deir Ezzur city, inflicting major damage on the terrorists' military vehicles.

The Syrian fighter jets bombed ISIL's positions near al-Mura'yeh village East of Deir Ezzur South of the Euphrates and al-Jafreh in Southeastern side of the city, which ended in mass destruction of their machinegun-equipped vehicles.

In the meantime, scores of the ISIL terrorists were killed and their military hardware and vehicles were damaged in the Syrian air attacks on the Takfiri group's positions near al-Thardah mountain.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950425000361

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North America

After Nice, Newt Gingrich wants to ‘test’ every Muslim in America and deport those who believe in Sharia

July 15 2016

Following the attack in Nice that killed at least 84 people former House speaker Newt Gingrich has called for deporting everyone in America with a Muslim background who believes in Sharia law.

“Western civilization is in a war. We should frankly test every person here who is of a Muslim background and if they believe in Sharia they should be deported,” Gingrich told Fox News’ Sean Hannity.

“Sharia is incompatible with western civilization. Modern Muslims who have given up Sharia, glad to have them as citizens. Perfectly happy to have them next door,” he added.

Gingrich also said that the attack in Nice is the “fault of Western elites who lack the guts to do what is right, to do what is necessary,” and suggested that mosques in America need to be monitored.

Gingrich’s proposal, which made no distinction between U.S. citizens and non-citizens, would violate scores of First Amendment-based Supreme Court rulings as well as civil rights laws which together bar discrimination on the basis of religion, entanglement by the government in religion and restrictions on freedom of expression and belief.

Specifically the First Amendment reads: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof….”

Gingrich has mentioned as a potential vice-presidential running mate with Donald Trump, who called off an announcement of his choice originally scheduled for Friday after the Nice attack.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations condemned the attack in Nice as well as Gringrich’s call to “test” and deport Muslims in the U.S.

“When former House Speaker Newt Gingrich suggests that American Muslims be subjected to Inquisition-style religious test and then expelled from their homes and nation, CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awaid said, “he plays into the hands of terror recruiters and betrays the American values he purports to uphold.”

Following Gingrich’s comments, Sharia started trending in the United States on Twitter.

Gingrich also alluded to the long debated “Clash of Civilizations” debate during his interview on Fox News: “These people are opposed to our way of life they are opposed to our value system they are opposed to our various religions they are opposed to the whole concept of freedom…” he said.

The comments made by Gingrich are similar to ones made by Donald Trump in 2015, where he called for surveillance of mosques.

washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2016/07/15/after-nice-newt-gingrich-wants-to-test-every-american-muslim-and-deport-those-who-believe-in-sharia/

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Clinton to Resettle One Million Muslim Migrants During First Term Alone

July 15 2016

If elected president, Hillary Clinton could permanently resettle close to one million Muslim migrants during the first term of her presidency alone, according to the latest available data from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Between 2001 and 2013, the U.S. permanently resettled 1.5 million Muslim migrants on green cards. However, under Hillary Clinton’s stated proposals, Muslim immigration would grow substantially faster, adding nearly one million Muslim migrants to the U.S. during her first term alone.

Based on the most recent available DHS data, the U.S. permanently resettled roughly 149,000 migrants from predominantly Muslim countries on green cards in 2014. Yet Clinton has said that, as President, she would expand Muslim migration by importing an additional 65,000 Syrian refugees into the United States during the course of a single fiscal year. Clinton has made no indication that she would limit her proposed Syrian refugee program to one year.

Clinton’s Syrian refugees would come on top of the tens of thousands of refugees the U.S. already admits from Muslim countries.

Adding Clinton’s 65,000 Syrian refugees to the approximately 149,000 Muslim migrants the U.S. resettled on green cards in the course of one year, means that Clinton could permanently resettle roughly 214,000 Muslim migrants in her first year as President. If Clinton were to continue her Syrian refugee program throughout her Presidency, she could potentially resettle as many as 856,000 during her first term alone.

Analysis from the Senate Immigration Subcommittee found that Clinton’s plan to expand refugee resettlement could cost U.S. taxpayers over $400 billion.

Additionally, once Clinton’s Syrian refugees are in the U.S. as green card holders, they will have the ability to bring over their family members through chain migration.

With regards to Middle Eastern migration, Clinton’s 65,000 Syrian refugees would be added on top of the roughly 96,000 Middle Eastern migrants the U.S. resettled on green cards in a single year. Based on the minimum numbers Clinton has put forth thus far, as President, she could potentially resettle approximately 644,000 Middle Eastern migrants during her first term alone.

According to a September 2015 Rasmussen survey, women voters oppose Clinton’s Middle Eastern refugee plan by a remarkable 21-to-1 margin. Democrat voters oppose Clinton’s refugee plan by a 17-to-1 margin. Most remarkably, 85 percent of black voters oppose Clinton’s refugee agenda– with less than one percent of black voters supporting her plan.

Yet Clinton’s expansion to Muslim migration would be in addition to her expansion for immigration overall.

U.S. Census data shows that if a President Hillary Clinton were successful in passing a Gang of Eight-style immigration expansion bill, the U.S. could permanently resettle roughly 9.4 million migrants throughout the nation during her first term alone. This figure does not include the additional 11 million illegal immigrants already here to whom Clinton has promised amnesty and U.S. citizenship.

Clinton’s desire to expand immigration is shared by GOP House Speaker Paul Ryan, who leads the pro-Islamic migration wing of the Republican Party.

Ryan has championed policies to expand Muslim migration into the United States. Ryan has repeatedly ruled out the possibility of curbing Muslim migration and has frequently chastised his party’s presumptive nominee for advocating policies to reduce immigration.

At times, Ryan has even echoed Clinton’s rhetoric in his efforts to denounce Trump and Trump’s proposals.

In recent weeks, Ryan has come under fire in his own Wisconsin district for continuing to support Islamic migration, and voting to expand Islamic migration, despite the fact that seven out of ten Wisconsin GOP voters would like a Muslim migration pause.

Paul Ryan has a two-decade long history of supporting open borders immigration policies, even though, according to Pew polling data, 92% of GOP voters and 83% of American voters overall want to see immigration levels frozen or reduced.

In stark contrast to Paul Ryan and Hillary Clinton’s support for open borders, Donald Trump has called for a common sense “mainstream immigration policy that promotes American values.”

“That is the choice I put before the American people: a mainstream immigration policy designed to benefit America, or Hillary Clinton’s radical immigration policy designed to benefit politically-correct special interests,” Trump said following the Orlando terrorist attack, carried out by the child of Afghan migrants.

Trump continued:

Clinton wants to allow Radical Islamic terrorists to pour into our country—they enslave women, and murder gays. I don’t want them in our country. Immigration is a privilege, and we should not let anyone into this country who doesn’t support our communities – all of our communities… The burden is on Hillary Clinton to tell us why she believes immigration from these dangerous countries should be increased without any effective system to screen who we are bringing in. The burden is on Hillary Clinton to tell us why we should admit anyone into our country who supports violence of any kind against gay and lesbian Americans. The burden is also on Hillary Clinton to tell us how she will pay for it. Her plan will cost Americans hundreds of billions of dollars long-term. Wouldn’t this money be better spent on rebuilding America for our current population, including the many poor people already living here? […]

America has already admitted four times more immigrants than any country on earth, and we continue to admit millions more with no real checks or scrutiny. Not surprisingly, wages for our workers haven’t budged in many years. So whether it’s matter of national security, or financial security, we can’t afford to keep on going like this. We owe $19 trillion in debt, and no longer have options. All our communities, from all backgrounds, are ready for some relief. This is not an act of offense against anyone; it is an act of defense.

breitbart.com/2016-presidential-race/2016/07/14/clinton-resettle-one-million-muslim-migrants-first-term-alone/

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Where Are the Peaceful Muslims?

By Amil Imani

Once again, Islamic terrorists attack yet another Western city.  This time in France.

A truck crashed into a crowd of people celebrating Bastille Day in the city of Nice on July 14, 2016.  In my opinion, Islam is the problem, because there are Muslims who take its scripture as gospel and carry out its divisive and deadly provisions.

The barbarity and variety of actions of Islamic extremists are seen daily around the globe, committed under the banner of Islam, and have become so commonplace that the world has come to view them as part and parcel of a troubled humanity.  From time to time, the world is shocked into a passing and momentary realization of the evil deeds these Islamist robots commit...and quickly gets over it and does nothing to seriously address this affliction of humanity.

The Islamic State – also known as ISIS, ISIL, and Daesh, has taken credit for a number of unconscionable, brutal attacks.  “ISIS has actually killed more Muslims than certainly members of any other religion,” noted Democracy Now via Amy Goodman after the Paris attacks.  Muslims are the victims of “Between 82 and 97% of Terrorism-Related Fatalities,” according to the U.S. government.

Based on the above premises, a Muslim has a greater chance to become prey of ISIS than to join it, and the huge majority of the group’s victims are fellow members of the belief.  This is due to the political motivations behind ISIS rather than religious ones, where it’s receiving arms and funding from nations like Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf sheikhdom.  Can the incomparably larger number of Muslims in the world who are so rightly terrified today come together with their own vision – which includes denouncing the extremists?  I don’t know.

A common and repeated mantra among experts is that Muslims haven’t bluntly condemned the extremism committed in Islam’s name.  How many times we have heard “Where are the moderate and peaceful Muslim voices in condemnation?”  “Why aren’t Muslims speaking up against extremists like ISIS?”

If Muslims want to live in peace and harmony with the infidels, they must work together and respect our laws.  Let us not forget that religious high authorities play a critical role in steering the masses toward or away from hate.  Fatwas – religious decrees – by Islamic muftis and ayatollahs carry considerable weight with their respective followers.  Sadly, most decrees and adjudications of these high Islamic authorities are exclusionary and even hostile toward the out-groups.

People are familiar with Islam's classification of the world into the Dar-ul-Solh, the house of peace, meaning the house of Islam, and the Dar-ul-Harb, the house of war, meaning the house of non-Islam.  Ironically, the self-proclaimed house of peace, from its early years, has waged war against the house of war.

Also there is a little-known third "house" according to Islam: Dar-ul-Aman, the non-Islam house of safety where Muslims find refuge.  We already know which of the three houses America is to al-Qaeda, the Iranian mullahs, the Taliban, the Muslim Brotherhood, and their ilk.

We are posing this question to rank-and-file Muslims, particularly to the arrivals in recent years who are finding refuge in the non-Islamic world, including the United States of America:

Peaceful Muslims: Which house is America, or any Western country, to you?

America and other welcoming and generous non-Islam nations in the Dar-ul-Aman have given you refuge with opportunities for a decent life denied to you in your own Dar-ul-Solh by the ruthless and deceptive holy men of Allah who rule it.

Peaceful Muslims, reciprocity is a high human virtue.  The kind people of Dar-ul-Aman deserve your in-kind response.  You physically left the Dar-ul-Solh because it was and is an abject failure in delivering its promises about a good life in this world. What guarantee is there that Islam's "pie-in-the-sky" promises about the next world – a world of virgins for the faithful male with rivers of milk and honey to energize him – are any more reliable?

What about Muslim women?  Are they going to be compensated for their enslavement by the men of Allah?  Do women, even in Allah's paradise, remain in perpetuity "objects" of entertainment for men?

Now that you have seen for yourself the misery of the Islamic system and sought a better life in the Dar-ul-Aman of the "infidels," you need to take other steps.  Bid farewell to the Islamic mindset, abandon Ummehism, and enlist yourself in the ranks of democratic and tolerant people.  Once freed from the oppressive and discriminating yoke of fundamentalist Islam, you can lend a hand to the protection and nurturance of democracy – a system of people's rule with a proven record of being the best instrument for the realization of humanity's aspirations.

The democratic rule of Dar-ul-Aman is not a void system invented by the infidels, as your devious, self-serving theocrat leaders claim.  Democracy is the best product of humanity's caring and decent people: the rule of the people, by the people, for the people.

Democracy, by its accommodating and benign nature, is susceptible to corruption and even destruction by forces from within and from without.  With this realization in mind, the Founding Fathers of the United States enshrined the Constitution to safeguard and protect the rule of the people.

Peaceful Muslims: Being born human comes with a precious gift: the gift to think and decide for yourself.  Islam has robbed you of this gift from birth.  Parents, aided by relatives and brainwashed by slaveholder imams and mullahs, colluded and did the thinking for you when you were still in no position to exercise your right.  They branded you as Muslim, simply because you were born in a Muslim family.  Cattle are branded, not humans.  Cattle are owned by others.  Humans are not.  Having branded you "Muslim," those who robbed you of your gift of self-determination dared you to leave their bondage under the threat of death as an apostate.

Peaceful Muslims: You have been intelligent enough to forsake failed Islamic lands for a better life elsewhere.  Dar-ul-Aman has given refuge.  Now that you are in a free society, you want to reclaim your stolen gift of liberty and freedom of choice.  You want to shatter the shackles of Islam that have chained you from birth.  You want to take your place in the ranks of the supporters and promoters of liberty that democracy provides and Islam destroys.

Peaceful Muslims: You know full well that it is Islam's dysfunctional doctrine with its stone-age rule of sharia that is responsible for the abominable conditions of Islamic countries.

Contrary to the preachers of hate – the Islamic clergy of vested interests – the "infidels" are not your enemies.  They demonstrate their goodwill by giving you refuge.  Your deadly enemy is ISIS and the interpretation of the doctrine of Islam that keeps you captive even in freedom.

Given that the formerly vast and largely segregated planet Earth has shrunk into a "global village," the disparate peoples isolated from one another for millennia are now a village community.  The thrown together diverse people are in urgent need of adopting a social compact that would allow individuals as well as groups maximum latitude of faith, coupled with responsibility, and free of any practices that infringe on the rights of others or demonize them.

Regrettably, Islam as too often practiced is incompatible with such a harmonious compact.  As an article of faith, Islam considers all non-Muslims, even the so-called people of the book, as infidels – people who are to be subjugated or cleansed from Allah's earth.

Peaceful Muslim: You have taken a great step by coming to the Dar-ul-Aman in search of self-betterment.  Now you need to take the next step of purging your mind of the psychosocial virus of fundamentalist Islam you contracted unwillingly.  Do all you can to give your children their gift of humanity by not doing to them what your parents did to you, so that they can, unencumbered by the dogma of hate, become emancipated human beings.

America or any Western country is not perfect.  No human enterprise ever is.  Yet these Western countries are the closest countries to a true Dar-ul Aman in the broadest sense.  And it is the "infidels," overwhelmingly who make up the Western world. While Western countries open their doors to the poor, the hungry and the oppressed of the world, they also open their hearts to the less fortunate people of various lands by their unsurpassed generosity.

These Western "refuges" are indeed the harbinger of the not too far away world of the future – a future where liberty rules supreme and fascism of all forms, including Islamofascism, will be remembered as horrific impediments to humanity's ever forward march toward the goal of making this presently darksome village earth a reflection of heaven.

americanthinker.com/articles/2016/07/where_are_the_peaceful_muslims.html

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Pakistan should target groups that attack its neighbors: US

Fri Jul 15 2016

The United States has called on Pakistan to target all militant groups including those targeting the country’s neighbors.

Deputy spokesperson for the State Department, Mark Toner, hailed Pakistan’s efforts regarding the ongoing military operations in the tribal regions of the country.

Admitting the country has suffered greatly from the menace of terrorism, Toner, said “We believe that Pakistan is taking steps to address terrorist violence, particularly focused on groups that threaten Pakistanis’ – Pakistan’s stability.”

Toner further added “They have made progress shutting down terrorist safe havens. They’ve restored government control in many parts of Pakistan that have been used as terrorist safe havens for many years. And these are important, and they’re meaningful steps for Pakistan to have made. And they’ve also come at a cost, and that cost is in – certainly in Pakistani lives.”

However, he said “At the same time – and we’ve made this point before – we’ve been very clear that Pakistan must target all militant groups, including those that target Pakistan’s neighbors, and close all safe havens. And so in this regard we certainly welcome comments by General Raheel Sharif’s – Sharif, rather, on July 6, when he directed Pakistani military commanders, intelligence agencies, and law enforcement agencies to take concrete measures to deny any militant groups safe haven or the use of Pakistani soil to launch terrorist attacks in Afghanistan.”

The remarks by Toner comes as the Afghan officials believe the leadership councils of the Afghan militant groups, including the Taliban group and the notorious Haqqani terrorist network has remained intact despite the ongoing military operations by Pakistan.

The Afghan officials have long been raising concerns regarding the presence of the Taliban group and Haqqani network leadership councils in Pakistan.

They are saying that the two groups are having leadership councils based in both Quetta and Peshawar cities of Pakistan from where they launch attacks in Afghanistan.

khaama.com/pakistan-should-target-groups-that-attack-its-neighbors-us-01490

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Pakistan

Pakistan buys bulletproof buses to woo back visiting teams

July 15, 2016

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has bought four bulletproof buses as it tries to convince other teams to shed their security apprehensions and visit the country.

Pakistan has largely been shunned by teams since 2009 when gunmen attacked a bus carrying Sri Lankan cricketers, injuring six players and killing six security personnel and two civilians.

The incident has forced Pakistan to play their 'home' matches at the United Arab Emirates and the country has since remained starved of international cricket at home, barring Zimbabwe's limited-overs tour in 2015.

"We have bought these four Coaster buses as part of our efforts to revive international cricket in the country," a PCB spokesman told ESPNcricinfo.

"There will be high expectations from teams willing to visit Pakistan and we want to ensure that we provide them with the best possible arrangements. Having these bulletproof vehicles would play a major part in convincing teams (about security arrangements)."

The spokesman said PCB wanted to host the final of the Pakistan Super League, the inaugural edition of which was held in UAE earlier this year.

"We have to have discussions with the (overseas) players about their safety and security and I think this new addition in our security facilities will definitely give us an edge," the spokesman said.

"Our ultimate goal is to revive international cricket, and we are doing our best to make sure we can."

dawn.com/news/1271003/pakistan-buys-bulletproof-buses-to-woo-back-visiting-teams

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Pak COAS condemns killing of Kasmiri youth

July 15, 2016

RAWALPINDI: Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif on Wednesday condemned, the brutal killing of Kashmiri youth by Indian authorities during the monthly Corps Commander Conference at the General Headquarters.

The army chief said that the world needs to recognise, the struggle of Kashmiri people for freedom and help resolve the long standing dispute for lasting amity in Kashmir and to promote enduring peace in the region.

The army chief also appreciated the efforts of intelligence and law enforcement agencies in enduring peace and security during Eid in the face of numerous threats.

It is the worst civilian violence to hit the restive region of Indian-held Kashmir since 2010, when mass protests broke out against Indian rule.

Wani, a 22-year-old commander of Kashmir’s largest pro-independence militant group Hizbul Mujahideen (HM), was killed along with two other separatists during a brief gun battle with Indian government forces.

Wani joined the HM group at the age of just 15, and was viewed as a hero by many in Kashmir. The state’s former chief minister Omar Abdullah tweeted after his death that he had become the “new icon of Kashmir’s disaffected”.

Witnesses said tens of thousands attended his funeral despite a curfew imposed by Indian authorities, chanting independence slogans and firing pistol shots in his honour.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had called an emergency meeting to discuss escalating violence in India-held Kashmir amid anti-India protests that have left at least 30 people dead and hundreds injured in clashes with authorities.

Pakistan’s Foreign Office has also condemned the violence in Indian-held Kashmir.

siasat.com/news/pak-coas-condemns-killing-kasmiri-youth-986247/

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Sharif regime reluctant to take strong and clear position on Kashmir, says Imran

July 14, 2016

Lahore : Using reports of the recent violence on the Indian side of Kashmir, which claimed over 30 lives, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf party chairman and former cricketer Imran Khan on Thursday said that the Nawaz Sharif regime appears reluctant to take strong and clear position on developments in that region.

In a statement issued by his office, Imran is quoted, as saying, “No strong political condemnation has come from the Prime Minister, which is shameful and exposes the reluctance of the Sharif government to take any strong and clear position on Kashmir.”

He also questioned the silence of the Parliamentary Special Committee on Kashmir headed by JUI-F’s Maulana Fazlur Rahman.

Reminding one and all that Pakistan is a party to the Kashmir issue, which is before the United Nations, Imran said that generation after generation of Kashmiris have been demanding the right to self-determination, and what was happening across the border is “a gross violation of human rights including the right of people to protest peacefully.”

Khan called upon the Pakistan government to undertake a diplomatic offensive to end the violence in Kashmir.

siasat.com/news/sharif-regime-reluctant-take-strong-clear-position-kashmir-says-imran-986028/

 

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