New Age Islam
Wed Oct 21 2020, 12:35 PM

Islamic World News ( 3 Oct 2016, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Young Muslims 'Attacked, Abused, and Threatened With DEATH' For Rejecting Islamic Religion

















Young Muslims threatened with death for turning against religious life, new documentary will show

 

US ‘Ready to Ally with Terror’ to Overthrow Syrian Government

‘Turkish Pentagon’ To Be Formed In Capital Ankara: Report

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Europe

Young Muslims 'Attacked, Abused, and Threatened With DEATH' For Rejecting Islamic Religion

Hungarian Intel Analyst Says "MUSLIM ARMY" Ready To Attack from NO GO ZONES

UN General Assembly Fails Millions of Refugees by Not Taking Action

Open Mosque Day' in Berlin seeks to overcome Islamophobia as Muslims encourage dialogue

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Arab World

US ‘Ready to Ally with Terror’ to Overthrow Syrian Government

At Least 22 Killed, 33 Wounded in Suicide Bombing at Wedding in Syria's Hasaka

Syrian Gov't Forces Maintain Upper-Hand against Terrorist Groups North of Aleppo City

Iran Calls for Uprooting Terrorism, Extremism to Help Sustainable Development

Iran-Iraq Relations Not Harmful to Others

Iran Calls for UN's Effective Decolonization Measures

US Officials Believe Russia Deploys S-300 Advanced Anti-Missile System to Syria

Russia's Duma Soon to Ratify Syria Air Base Deal

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Mideast

‘Turkish Pentagon’ To Be Formed In Capital Ankara: Report

Police Apprehend Five Suspected PKK Car Bomb Plotters in Turkey’s Adana

Turkish army hits 80 ISIL targets in northern Syria

Turkey extends state of emergency for additional three months

Detainee Claims Gülenists Knew Of ISIL Train Station Attack Plot One Day Before: Sabah

Turkey expects AWACS approval by Germany after lifting İncirlik veto

Turkey’s trade to Europe see delays amid long truck queues at Kapıkule border gate

Turkish police suspends 12,801 personnel over alleged links to Gülen

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South Asia

56 ISIS Militants Killed In Nangarhar Operations, Local Officials Claim

Vice President Dostum Takes Charge of Operations In Kunduz

Taliban videos purportedly shows capture of key parts in Kunduz city

US air power in position and prepared to assist in Kunduz: NATO

Clashes underway in Helmand’s Khanshin amid reports of district fall

Bangladesh man living in US charged with supporting Islamic State group

EU to pledge $1.1 billion in aid to Afghanistan until 2020

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India

 ‘Islamic State Module’ In Kerala: Engineering Dropout, Graphic Artist Among 6

The Indian Muslim Is a Necessary Imperative in India’s Pakistan Offensive

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North America

California Gov. Signs Law to Address Muslim, Sikh, South Asian American Bullying

US Islamic school wins lengthy legal battle to set up facility in Michigan

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Southeast Asia

Singapore Warns of Rising ASEAN Terror Threat

Thailand peace talks shaky as insurgents continue to kill, detonate bombs

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Pakistan

Pakistan Hosts Third Highest Number of Refugees: Amnesty

Top civil-mil leadership stress need for better intelligence input at NAP meeting

Rally held for missing Baloch activist

Musharraf’s policy on Balochistan still being followed: leader

Parties resolve to defend every inch of country

General Raheel Sharif reviews operational preparedness of strike corps

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/young-muslims--attacked,-abused,-and-threatened-with-death--for-rejecting-islamic-religion/d/108756

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Young Muslims 'Attacked, Abused, and Threatened With DEATH' For Rejecting Islamic Religion

Tue, Oct 4, 2016

Islamic families in Britain have abused and attacked their own children for choosing to refuse the teachings of the Koran, a support group has found.

The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain revealed young people have turned to them after being hurt by their loved ones.

Cases include a former Muslim girl who was threatened with death by her own mother for rejecting Allah.

ITV will broadcast documentary ‘Exposure: Islam's Non-Believers: 'They see us trouble-makers, deviants, apostates and blasphemers’ on reprisals against apostates – those who renounce their religion – on October 13.

Maryam Namazie, Council of Ex-Muslims leader told the makers of the film: “There is nothing, nothing, more intolerant than religion.”

Former Muslim Sadia, told the documentary makers: “I remember saying to my mum, I don't believe in God any more. And her saying, 'you can't tell anybody else because they'll kill you, we are obliged to kill ex-Muslims'.

“And that it would put me at extreme risk if anybody else was to find out, so that conversation ended there.”

Campaigners claim young Muslims risk discrimination, ostracism, psychological abuse and violence if they renounce their faith.

Eid-Al-Fitr festival, marking the end of the holy Fasting month of Ramadan. Muslims around the world will celebrate tonight as Ramadam comes to an end.

In other countries apostasy has been punished with death and in England campaigners claim some young people risk self-harm or suicide over the issue.

Documentary makers allege critics of Islam have been murdered in Bangladesh and atheists in the country are under threat both from the government and from Islamist gangs.

Miss Namazie, an Iranian-born secularist activist, said: “The internet and social media are doing to Islam what the printing press did in the past to Christianity, because it is one way in which masses of people can connect with each other and can hear ideas that are taboo and forbidden.”

The Council of Ex-Muslims claim in Britain radical Islamist protesters try to shut down their meetings or events to prevent them offering support to those who reach out to them.

Islamic communities have been under scrutiny in recent years in Britain for issues like harsh Muslim schooling, sharia courts forcing women to stay with abusive husbands and honour killings.

Women in Britain have been killed for refusing arranged marriage or adhering to strict Islamic lifestyles.

The decision of an Islamic school to launch a court challenge against a critical inspectors' report – and the ruling of a judge that banned the school from being named – has led to a spotlight on the links between some schools and extremists.

A Government inquiry is under way into sharia councils, courts attached to mosques that adjudicate family disputes according to Islamic law among those who accept their authority.

The inquiry was launched by Theresa May when she was at the Home Office.

Source: express.co.uk/news/uk/717347/British-Muslims-attacked-abused-threatened-DEATH-Islam

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US ‘Ready to Ally with Terror’ to Overthrow Syrian Government

October 4, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Moscow accused Washington of sabotaging the Syria ceasefire deal, saying that the US will be responsible for any new terror attacks in Syria, as by taking no action against Fatah al-Sham (formerly known as al-Nusra Front) terrorists Washington shows its readiness “to make a deal with the devil.”

Washington “has never exerted any real pressure on al-Nusra Front, done nothing for delineation to succeed and taken no action against its militants,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement, following the US decision to suspend cooperation on Syria, RT reported.

Besides failing to deliver on its part of the deal, the US were hampering Moscow’s efforts to stop the terrorists, the Russian Foreign Ministry said, calling Washington’s decision a “reflection” of the Obama administration’s inability to meet the key condition for Russia-US cooperation on the Syrian peace process.

The way the situation has been unraveling in Syria in the past few weeks has made Moscow doubt what Washington’s real intentions are, according to the ministry.

“We are becoming more convinced that in a pursuit of a much desired regime change in Damascus, Washington is ready to ‘make a deal with the devil’,” the Foreign Ministry said. For the sake of ousting Syrian President Bashar Assad, the US appears to be ready to “forge an alliance with hardened terrorists, dreaming of turning back the course of history.”

While Fatah al-Sham Front, a designated terrorist organization, has been known as an Al-Qaeda affiliate for many years, Washington “is not in a hurry to separate US-oriented anti-government forces from it,” Moscow points out.

On the contrary, even though Fatah al-Sham has never been a part of any peace deal, Washington “covers it with the shield of opposition groups which formally confirmed their participation in the cessation of hostilities.”

Meanwhile, Russia's Permanent Representative to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, who on Monday assumed the post of the President of the UN Security Council, expressed his concerns over the halt in Russia-US cooperation in Syria.

At the same time, he insisted that the current setback in Syria will not lead to another “Cold War” between Moscow and Washington.

“I think you are dramatizing the nature of our disagreements with the US,” Churkin said, replying to a reporter at a press conference, adding that there’s still a chance to revive the cooperation.

“I hope there will not be a new Cold War,” he added.

For now, the main objective in Syria for Russia is to thwart Fatah al-Sham Front’s latest offensive in Aleppo, which has seen increasing number of terrorist attacks in the wake of the ceasefire’s collapse.

"In the process of the past few weeks, after the September 9 arrangements were reached, we have seen numerous violations by al-Nusra and others cooperating with al-Nusra of the cessation of hostilities regime”, Churkin said, adding that about 1.5 million people are currently stand the risk of being besieged by its militants south of Aleppo.

“We must make sure that al-Nusra’s influence is not going to continue to spread,” he stressed, describing the situation in Aleppo as “extremely dramatic.”

On a broader scale, Russia’s long-term aim in the region is to “throw the terrorists out” of Iraq and Syria, as it is the only way to secure the lives of civilians, living there in constant danger from terrorists.

To mitigate the impact of one of the terrorists’ most powerful weapons, propaganda, Russia has submitted a draft resolution to the UN Security Council designed “to counter terrorist ideology and the ideology of violent extremism,” Churkin said.

Meanwhile, US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland is set to visit Moscow this week. However, she is expected to discuss solely Ukraine and implementation of the Minsk agreements, according to the State Department’s press release.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950713000802

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‘Turkish Pentagon’ to be formed in capital Ankara: Report

October 4, 2016

The National Intelligence Agency (MİT), the Defense Ministry, the Turkish General Staff and other security commands will be moved to the Etimesgut district of Ankara, as a part of measures taken after the failed July 15 coup attempt, daily Habertürk reported on Oct. 4.

The move comes after the government decided to move all military units the outside central areas of cities.

The area in Etimesgut will become a “security campus” similar to the Pentagon in the U.S. and security institutions will reportedly carry out their activities from one center.

The construction of the MİT’s new building in the area is ongoing and the agency will move there from Ankara’s Yenimahalle district when construction is completed. It will be joined by the Defense Ministry, the Turkish General Staff and other military departments in the same area.

New buildings will reportedly be constructed for the Defense Ministry and the General Staff, with the Ground, Naval and Air Forces moving to those buildings.

The current buildings of the General Staff and other military departments will be protected due to their “historical characteristics,” Habertürk reported, adding that they are planned to be used by other state institutions including the Interior Ministry.

The General Staff as well as the Ground, Naval and Air Forces buildings are currently in the area where parliament is located in the Turkish capital Ankara.

“Currently, military units are still located around the parliament. This harms parliament’s civilian image. It gives the image that [parliament] is surrounded,” ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputies reportedly said in a parliamentary group meeting before the summer closure of parliament.

Some 241 people were killed by soldiers in the July 15 coup attempt, believed to have been masterminded by followers of the U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-pentagon-to-be-formed-in-capital-ankara-report.aspx?pageID=238&nID=104570&NewsCatID=338

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Europe

Young Muslims 'Attacked, Abused, and Threatened With DEATH' For Rejecting Islamic Religion

Tue, Oct 4, 2016

Islamic families in Britain have abused and attacked their own children for choosing to refuse the teachings of the Koran, a support group has found.

The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain revealed young people have turned to them after being hurt by their loved ones.

Cases include a former Muslim girl who was threatened with death by her own mother for rejecting Allah.

ITV will broadcast documentary ‘Exposure: Islam's Non-Believers: 'They see us trouble-makers, deviants, apostates and blasphemers’ on reprisals against apostates – those who renounce their religion – on October 13.

Maryam Namazie, Council of Ex-Muslims leader told the makers of the film: “There is nothing, nothing, more intolerant than religion.”

Former Muslim Sadia, told the documentary makers: “I remember saying to my mum, I don't believe in God any more. And her saying, 'you can't tell anybody else because they'll kill you, we are obliged to kill ex-Muslims'.

“And that it would put me at extreme risk if anybody else was to find out, so that conversation ended there.”

Campaigners claim young Muslims risk discrimination, ostracism, psychological abuse and violence if they renounce their faith.

Eid-Al-Fitr festival, marking the end of the holy Fasting month of Ramadan. Muslims around the world will celebrate tonight as Ramadam comes to an end.

In other countries apostasy has been punished with death and in England campaigners claim some young people risk self-harm or suicide over the issue.

Documentary makers allege critics of Islam have been murdered in Bangladesh and atheists in the country are under threat both from the government and from Islamist gangs.

Miss Namazie, an Iranian-born secularist activist, said: “The internet and social media are doing to Islam what the printing press did in the past to Christianity, because it is one way in which masses of people can connect with each other and can hear ideas that are taboo and forbidden.”

The Council of Ex-Muslims claim in Britain radical Islamist protesters try to shut down their meetings or events to prevent them offering support to those who reach out to them.

Islamic communities have been under scrutiny in recent years in Britain for issues like harsh Muslim schooling, sharia courts forcing women to stay with abusive husbands and honour killings.

Women in Britain have been killed for refusing arranged marriage or adhering to strict Islamic lifestyles.

The decision of an Islamic school to launch a court challenge against a critical inspectors' report – and the ruling of a judge that banned the school from being named – has led to a spotlight on the links between some schools and extremists.

A Government inquiry is under way into sharia councils, courts attached to mosques that adjudicate family disputes according to Islamic law among those who accept their authority.

The inquiry was launched by Theresa May when she was at the Home Office.

Source: express.co.uk/news/uk/717347/British-Muslims-attacked-abused-threatened-DEATH-Islam

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Hungarian intel analyst says "MUSLIM ARMY" ready to attack from NO GO ZONES

Tue, Oct 4, 2016

Here is an astonishing interview from Hungarian TV with military analyst, László Földi - security and Intelligence expert, the ex-Director Of Operations in the Hungarian Intelligence Agency.

The entire transcript of the interview is below:

Thank you. Our guest is the intelligence service expert László Földi. Welcome, good morning.

Good morning! Is there anybody in the EU or in Europe who could tell us within plus/minus 200,000: How many migrants do we have on the continent?

I think the problem is bigger than this: Can they tell, WHO ARE the one million people? So the situation is completely catastrophic from this point of view. And the reason for this — as we mentioned it many times — is the policy of open borders when innumerable masses arrived. About a year or a year and a half ago it was a taboo topic to even mention the possibility that terrorists can be mixed in with the migrants.

There was a TV show — I will not say the name — where the reporter said it is stupid for migrants to come here on dangerous trips in inflatable boats, when terrorists can just fly here comfortably. The problem is not that. They could fly here too. But the fact is, thousands of Muslim soldiers arrived here.

This is not terrorism in its classic meaning we are talking about here, but an attack, an invasion which has two purposes:

In the first place, get as many as possible well-trained soldiers into Europe, and their primary task is to enlist the local Muslim population, those second- or third- generation Muslims who live in the “non-existent” no-go zones.

Full report at:therebel.media/watch_hungarian_intel_analyst_muslim_army_ready_to_attack_from_no_go_zones

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UN General Assembly Fails Millions of Refugees by Not Taking Action

October 4, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Head of an influential rights advocacy group said Tuesday that world leaders have failed 21.3 million refugees worldwide by refusing to take immediate action at the recent UN General Assembly.

The General Assembly held high-level plenary talks in New York on September 19 where it was agreed to push back a global action plan on refugees to 2018, Rossiya Segodnya reported.

"World leaders at the General Assembly agreed an Outcome document that said they would help, but agreed no actual plan. Empty words that change nothing," Amnesty International’s chief Salil Shetty said.

Writing in an article on the group’s website, Shetty condemned rich nations for shifting the responsibility for refugees fleeing war and poverty to the neighbor countries, which are worse-off as a rule.

The Amnesty secretary general stressed that giving poorer host countries money would not fix the problem.

Instead, all countries must take in a "fair share" of refugees determined by each country’s wealth, population and unemployment rate.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950713000915

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Open Mosque Day' in Berlin seeks to overcome Islamophobia as Muslims encourage dialogue

Tue, Oct 4, 2016

Germany's Muslim community opened the doors of its mosques to non-Muslims Monday to encourage dialogue and help overcome Islamophobia and misunderstandings about Islam.

'Open Mosque Day' in Berlin seeks to overcome Islamophobia as Muslims encourage dialogue

Nearly 1,000 mosques across Germany took part in "Open Mosque Day", an annual event organized by Islamic associations in the country.

Ahmet Fuat Candır, Turkey's religious services attaché in Berlin, said conflicts in the Middle East and terrorist attacks have sparked fears and anti-Muslim sentiments in Germany.

"The best way to dispel fears about Islam is to have more dialogue. Islam is not what they see on their televisions. Islam is a religion of peace and love," he told Anadolu Agency at Berlin's historic Şehitlik Mosque.

During the event, imams made presentations about Islamic faith and culture and answered visitors' questions.

With a population of 81.8 million, Germany has the second-largest Muslim population in Western Europe after France. Among the 4 million Muslims in the country, 3 million are of Turkish origin.

Source: dailysabah.com/europe/2016/10/03/open-mosque-day-in-berlin-seeks-to-overcome-islamophobia-as-muslims-encourage-dialogue

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Arab World

US ‘Ready to Ally with Terror’ to Overthrow Syrian Government

October 4, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Moscow accused Washington of sabotaging the Syria ceasefire deal, saying that the US will be responsible for any new terror attacks in Syria, as by taking no action against Fatah al-Sham (formerly known as al-Nusra Front) terrorists Washington shows its readiness “to make a deal with the devil.”

Washington “has never exerted any real pressure on al-Nusra Front, done nothing for delineation to succeed and taken no action against its militants,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement, following the US decision to suspend cooperation on Syria, RT reported.

Besides failing to deliver on its part of the deal, the US were hampering Moscow’s efforts to stop the terrorists, the Russian Foreign Ministry said, calling Washington’s decision a “reflection” of the Obama administration’s inability to meet the key condition for Russia-US cooperation on the Syrian peace process.

The way the situation has been unraveling in Syria in the past few weeks has made Moscow doubt what Washington’s real intentions are, according to the ministry.

“We are becoming more convinced that in a pursuit of a much desired regime change in Damascus, Washington is ready to ‘make a deal with the devil’,” the Foreign Ministry said. For the sake of ousting Syrian President Bashar Assad, the US appears to be ready to “forge an alliance with hardened terrorists, dreaming of turning back the course of history.”

While Fatah al-Sham Front, a designated terrorist organization, has been known as an Al-Qaeda affiliate for many years, Washington “is not in a hurry to separate US-oriented anti-government forces from it,” Moscow points out.

On the contrary, even though Fatah al-Sham has never been a part of any peace deal, Washington “covers it with the shield of opposition groups which formally confirmed their participation in the cessation of hostilities.”

Meanwhile, Russia's Permanent Representative to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, who on Monday assumed the post of the President of the UN Security Council, expressed his concerns over the halt in Russia-US cooperation in Syria.

At the same time, he insisted that the current setback in Syria will not lead to another “Cold War” between Moscow and Washington.

“I think you are dramatizing the nature of our disagreements with the US,” Churkin said, replying to a reporter at a press conference, adding that there’s still a chance to revive the cooperation.

“I hope there will not be a new Cold War,” he added.

For now, the main objective in Syria for Russia is to thwart Fatah al-Sham Front’s latest offensive in Aleppo, which has seen increasing number of terrorist attacks in the wake of the ceasefire’s collapse.

"In the process of the past few weeks, after the September 9 arrangements were reached, we have seen numerous violations by al-Nusra and others cooperating with al-Nusra of the cessation of hostilities regime”, Churkin said, adding that about 1.5 million people are currently stand the risk of being besieged by its militants south of Aleppo.

“We must make sure that al-Nusra’s influence is not going to continue to spread,” he stressed, describing the situation in Aleppo as “extremely dramatic.”

On a broader scale, Russia’s long-term aim in the region is to “throw the terrorists out” of Iraq and Syria, as it is the only way to secure the lives of civilians, living there in constant danger from terrorists.

To mitigate the impact of one of the terrorists’ most powerful weapons, propaganda, Russia has submitted a draft resolution to the UN Security Council designed “to counter terrorist ideology and the ideology of violent extremism,” Churkin said.

Meanwhile, US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland is set to visit Moscow this week. However, she is expected to discuss solely Ukraine and implementation of the Minsk agreements, according to the State Department’s press release.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950713000802

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At Least 22 Killed, 33 Wounded in Suicide Bombing at Wedding in Syria's Hasaka

October 4, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- A suicide bombing during the wedding in Northern Syrian city of Hasaka left at least 22 killed and 33 wounded, local reports and officials said.

According to local reports, the suicide bomber detonated his explosive belt after entering the Sanabil Wedding Hall, located in the Kurdish part of Hasaka, Al Masdar reported.

The mayor of Hasaka also confirmed that the suicide bomber blew himself up in a wedding reception hall on the outskirt of Hasaka.

The wounded were transferred to the Hasakah National Hospital, where they are currently being treated for their injuries and officials said that the death toll is likely to rise.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950713000853

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Syrian Gov't Forces Maintain Upper-Hand against Terrorist Groups North of Aleppo City

October 4, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Syrian Army soldiers and their Palestinian allies have been hitting hard Jeish al-Fatah's positions in the Northern outskirts of Aleppo city, weakening the defense abilities of the militants by heavy fire and continued attacks, military sources announced Tuesday.

"The Syrian government forces' heavy attacks on Jeish al-Fatah's strongholds in Qweijeh, al-Bakarah and Jandoul square have caused the terrorists to stay behind their defense lines without any significant movement in the battlefield," the sources said.

"The army and Liwa al-Quds, who have fire control over Jandoul square, have launched fresh attacks on Jeish al-Fatah's centers along a road to Jandoul to prevent dispatch of fresh militant fighters and ammunition to Jandoul," they added.

Reports said also on Monday that the Army soldiers and their popular forces were getting ready to storm terrorists' positions in three militant-held districts in the Northeastern part of Aleppo city.

"Syrian government forces took back a main Water Pump Station in the Eastern side of Aleppo city and are preparing to attack Jeish al-Fatah's positions in the districts of al-Heidariyeh, Masaken al-Hananou and al-Anzarat," the sources said.

"The Syrian army and popular forces near al-Jandoul square have stormed the last base of the militants to access the Aleppo Central Prison," they added.

Meantime, the sources added that the Syrian fighter jets bombed Jeish al-Fatah's positions in Housing Project 1070 in the Southwestern parts of Aleppo city.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950713000729

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Iran Calls for Uprooting Terrorism, Extremism to Help Sustainable Development

October 4, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iran's Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations Gholamali Khoshrou called for collective efforts to help eradicate terrorism and extremism in the world in a bid to pave the way for sustainable development in different countries.

"Terrorism and extremism hinder sustainable development and need to be uprooted," Khoshrou said, addressing General Debate of the Second Committee of the 71st Session of the General Assembly in New York on Tuesday.

The following is the full text of Khoshrou's speech at the UN General Assembly session:

Mr. Chairman,

At the beginning, I would like to congratulate you and other members of the Bureau for your well-deserved election. You may trust on our full support during your Chairmanship. I would also like to associate myself with the statement made by the Permanent Representative of Kingdom of Thailand on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.

Mr. Chairman,

The Islamic Republic of Iran attaches great importance to the effective implementation of the 2030 Agenda at all levels. We welcome the theme of the Seventy-first General Assembly “the Sustainable Development Goals: a universal push to transform our world”. In the first year of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, several measures have been taken by the Government in advancing its goals. I would like to mention only a few of them:

The government of the Islamic Republic of Iran pursues a strategic approach towards sustainable development. The National Committee on Sustainable development has determined the responsibility of various ministries and organizations for the follow-up and reporting on SDGs and established the National Network for Sustainable Development for participation of all interested people. National priorities have been set for addressing such major issues as poverty eradication, sustainable management of water and sanitation, renewable energy resources, energy efficiency improvement, climate change, housing, combating desertification, deforestation and dust storm, ensuring health and disaster risk reduction, and management, in a way that nobody and no section of the society is left behind.

At the policy and institutional levels, there have been major actions for the implementation and follow-up of SDGs. adoption of two sets of overall policy guidelines for strengthening resilient national economy and protection of environment. The first Act improves economic growth and promotes social and environmental development. The second Act, enhances protection of environment with strong emphasis on promotion of green economy and low carbon industry; addressing climate change, desertification as well as sand and dust storms; protection of biodiversity and forests and many other issues.

Furthermore, the Sixth National Development Plan addresses implementation of the Agenda 2030 at the national level while the recently adopted country program documents with UN agencies for the period 2017-2021 are inspired by the Agenda.

As a step for the second year of implementation, we intend to submit our voluntary national report for the HLPF 2017. The Islamic Republic of Iran also plans to host an international conference on combating sand and dust storms in line with implementation of the 2030 Agenda. It is also our intention to ratify the Paris Agreement in 2017.

Mr. Chairman,

Our world is now more complex than it ever was. Extreme poverty, global warming, terrorism and extremist violence, humanitarian crisis, and many other issues call for a more effective United Nations. No single country can meet these challenges on its own. Our aim is to find effective solutions through enhanced cooperation among UN Member States. We know that some progress has been made and we should be inspired by this success. But various grave challenges remain unsolved.

To implement the Agenda 2030, our region particularly confronts severe challenges. It is not only facing common ones such as poverty, land degradation, desertification, water scarcity, hotter climate conditions and continued extensive drought, but also grappling with the scourge of terrorism and extremist violence. Their outcome while exacerbates poverty and environmental destruction, forces governments to spend their limited national resources on fighting insecurity rather than development.

Mr. Chairman,              

The implementation of the ambitious objectives of the Agenda should be facilitated by even more ambitious, fully inclusive and non-discriminatory measures. It requires more effective international support and solidarity and the full implementation of SDG 17 particularly through capacity building, technology transfer, trade facilitation and access to financial resources as well as refraining from any form of unilateral or coercive economic, financial or trade measures.

The sustainable development goals demand an integrated and coherent response from the UN system. It should play a critical, effective and coordinating role in strengthening the global partnership for sustainable development. The UN operational activities for development must be enhanced and strengthened to support Member States in their efforts to implement the 2030 Agenda.

Mr. Chairman,

I wish to conclude by expressing our sincere hope that the 2030 Agenda will be instrumental in bringing us together for furthering our collaboration and partnership towards achieving the SDGs. We are confident that, with the spirit of true partnership, cooperation and solidarity, we can transform our commitments into action.”

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950713000829

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Iran-Iraq Relations Not Harmful to Others

October 4, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Supreme Leader's top adviser for international affairs Ali Akbar Velayati underlined that the friendly relations between Tehran and Baghdad are in line with the two countries' national interests and not harmful to any third party nation.

"Enemies are trying to damage deep relations between Iran and Iraq while the two countries' close relations will not be harmful to any other country," Velayati said in a meeting with Iraqi Ambassador to Iran Rajeh al-Moussavi in Tehran on Monday.

He reiterated that Iran-Iraq relations are by no means harmful to any (other) country in the region.

Velayati underlined that the Iranian and Iraqi nations will defeat their enemies.

The Iraqi ambassador, for his part, said that if Iran had not helped Iraq against the ISIL, the terrorists would have seized not only Iraq but also the entire region.

In relevant remarks in late August, Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani renewed his country's support for the territorial integrity of Iraq.

"Iran is absolutely opposed to disintegration of Iraq, a position supported by high clerical order in Iraq," Larijani said in a meeting with Leader of Iraq's Hezbollah al-Nujaba Sheikh Akram al-Kaabi in Tehran.

Al-Kaabi, for his part, hailed Iran's support for the Iraqi government and nation, and said, “I express my humble gratitude to the Iranian people and Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution (Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei) who stand by our side."

He reiterated that Iranians have sacrificed in Iraq by fighting along their fellow Iraqi and Syrian soldiers in the battle against the terrorist groups.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950713000654

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Iran Calls for UN's Effective Decolonization Measures

October 4, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative of Iran to the United Nations Gholamhossein Dehqani urged the UN to take more effective decolonization measures.

"There are 16 self-governing territories on the UN list which is regretting," Dehqani said, addressing the UN Special Political and Decolonization Committee on the agenda items 54-58.

The following is the full text of Dehqani's speech at the UN Special Political and Decolonization Committee:

Mr. Chairman,

At the outset, I would like to congratulate you on your election as the Chair of the special political and decolonization Committee. My congratulations also go to other members of the Bureau. I am confident that under your outstanding leadership, this Committee will be able to complete its work with success.

I associate myself with the statement made by the distinguished Permanent Representative of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to the United Nations on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.

Mr. Chairman,

The Islamic Republic of Iran attaches great importance to the work of the United Nations in helping colonial countries and peoples to exercise their right to self-determination. Despite all effort exerted by the United Nations and its different organs to bring decolonization to an end, we have witnessed with regret that there are still 16 Non- Self Governing Territories on the list of the United Nations.

Mr. Chairman,

My delegation emphasizes that the existence of colonialism in any form or manifestation, including political, social, cultural and economic exploitation is incompatible with Charter of the United Nations and the Declaration of the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and People. In this regard, it is necessary that the United Nations take effective measures to speed up the process of decolonization toward the complete elimination of colonialism in accordance with the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, subsequent relevant General Assembly resolutions, and the provisions of the United Nations Charter.

Further in this regard, the Administering Powers, under the charter of the United Nations have obligations to promote the political, economic, social and educational advancement of the people of Non-Self-Governing Territories.

Mr. Chairman,

My delegation expresses its concern over any activities by the administering powers aimed at exploitation of the natural resources that are the heritage of the peoples of the Non-Self-Governing Territories. While one of their main responsibilities is to protect the human and natural resources of those Territories against possible abuses, they should also make all necessary measures in order to avoid any economic and other activities that may adversely affect the interests of the peoples of the Non-Self-Governing Territories, including their cultural, social and economic integrity.

It is also vital to note that military installations and activities of Administering Powers in some of Non-Self-Governing Territories run counter to the rights and interests of the peoples of those territories, and the impact of military activities on the environment, economic development and the health of their population, is a source of serious concern.

We call upon the administering Powers to cooperate with the Committee (C24) in the discharge of its mandate and to facilitate visiting missions of the Committee and to cooperate fully with the United Nations by receiving visiting missions in the Territories under their administration.

Iran Stresses the importance of the timely transmission by the administering Powers of adequate information under Article 73 e of the Charter, in particular in relation to the preparation by the Secretariat of the working papers on the Territories concerned.

Mr. Chairman,

The Islamic Republic of Iran reiterates its full support to the activities and the hard work of the Special Committee and continues to contribute to the efforts aiming at eradication of colonialism. We believe that the Special Committee on decolonization should enhance its efficiency in order to adopt a more effective working method, improve its interaction and cooperation with Administering Powers, and ensure the active participation of peoples of the Non-self-Governing Territories in determining their own future.

We also commend the role of the Department of Political Affairs (DPA) and the Department of Public Information (DPI) for providing the Special Committee with necessary technical and advisory services, as well as the dissemination of relevant information at the local, regional and international level on the activities of the United Nations concerning the decolonization process. We encourage them to continue to intensify their efforts in this regard.

The Islamic Republic of Iran continues to lay emphasis on political, economic, social and educational advancement of the Non-Self-Governing Territories in the decolonization process as a prerequisite for any decision taken to change the status of the None-Self-Governing Territories.

In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, I would like to assure you of my delegation’s full support to you and to the work of the committee.”

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950713000966

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US Officials Believe Russia Deploys S-300 Advanced Anti-Missile System to Syria

October 4, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Moscow for the first time deployed the S-300 (NATO reporting name SA-23 Gladiator) advanced anti-missile and anti-aircraft system to Syria, Fox News reported Tuesday, citing three unnamed US officials.

According to the Fox News broadcaster, the anti-missile system arrived at a naval base in Syria’s coastal city of Tartus over the weekend in the first foreign deployment of the S-300, Sputnik reported.

There has been no official confirmation of the move from Moscow so far. The news come a day after the United States suspended its engagement with Russia on Syria ceasefire, citing Moscow’s and the Syrian government's alleged non-compliance with the peace accords. The S-300 anti-missile and anti-aircraft system has a range of up to 150 miles.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950713000643

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Russia's Duma Soon to Ratify Syria Air Base Deal

October 4, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Russian parliament indicated that it may ratify a new agreement for the deployment of a Russian air group at Hmeimim air base by the end of the week.

"The State Duma may react with ratifying the Syrian air group agreement, and that would be the best response to US decision to suspend bilateral talks with Russia over Syria," a source said, Ria Novosti reported.

The agreement would authorize deployment of a Russian air group to the base for an unspecified period of time.

The source added that the agreement is a proper response to the US decision to suspend bilateral talks with Russia over Syria.

The Hmeimim air base agreement was signed in Damascus on August 26, 2015, and was submitted to the state duma for ratification in the beginning of August, 2016.

Russia began its air campaign against the terrorist group ISIL in Syria on September 30, 2015, at the request of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950713000726

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Mideast

‘Turkish Pentagon’ to be formed in capital Ankara: Report

October 4, 2016

The National Intelligence Agency (MİT), the Defense Ministry, the Turkish General Staff and other security commands will be moved to the Etimesgut district of Ankara, as a part of measures taken after the failed July 15 coup attempt, daily Habertürk reported on Oct. 4.

The move comes after the government decided to move all military units the outside central areas of cities.

The area in Etimesgut will become a “security campus” similar to the Pentagon in the U.S. and security institutions will reportedly carry out their activities from one center.

The construction of the MİT’s new building in the area is ongoing and the agency will move there from Ankara’s Yenimahalle district when construction is completed. It will be joined by the Defense Ministry, the Turkish General Staff and other military departments in the same area.

New buildings will reportedly be constructed for the Defense Ministry and the General Staff, with the Ground, Naval and Air Forces moving to those buildings.

The current buildings of the General Staff and other military departments will be protected due to their “historical characteristics,” Habertürk reported, adding that they are planned to be used by other state institutions including the Interior Ministry.

The General Staff as well as the Ground, Naval and Air Forces buildings are currently in the area where parliament is located in the Turkish capital Ankara.

“Currently, military units are still located around the parliament. This harms parliament’s civilian image. It gives the image that [parliament] is surrounded,” ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputies reportedly said in a parliamentary group meeting before the summer closure of parliament.

Some 241 people were killed by soldiers in the July 15 coup attempt, believed to have been masterminded by followers of the U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-pentagon-to-be-formed-in-capital-ankara-report.aspx?pageID=238&nID=104570&NewsCatID=338

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Police apprehend five suspected PKK car bomb plotters in Turkey’s Adana

October 4, 2016

Police in the southern province of Adana apprehended five outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) suspects on Oct. 4 as they were allegedly preparing to stage simultaneous car bomb attacks, Doğan News Agency has reported.

The suspects had planned to stage attacks at Adana Airport, the Ceyhan District Governor’s Office, the Adana courthouse and police stations in a potential plot with seven bomb-laden vehicles, the agency said.

Counter-terrorism police raided a junk store in the Ova neighborhood as the suspects were in the final stage of preparation for the attack, seizing 21 kilograms of TNT, one kilogram of C4, two hand grenades, a machine gun and seven capsules.

One of the suspects was identified as İhsan O., a university student in Diyarbakır who arrived in the province two months ago after receiving bomb training, allegedly in Syria.

Another was identified as Mahmut B., a local shopkeeper in the neighborhood.

The two suspects were allegedly scouting potential sites in the city. They had also reportedly received explosives on Sept. 23 to prepare the bomb at the junk store.

Police also detained the other suspects, identified as A.B., Ö.B. and A.B., in the operation before a local court ordered the arrest of all five suspects.

In a separate operation in the Aegean province of İzmir on Oct. 3, police caught one of two fleeing suspects who was being sought over a potential bomb attack in the country’s third largest city.

The fleeing suspect, Ahmet Dündar, was caught in the Karabağlar district on Oct. 3, bringing the number of detained suspects in the operation to nine.

The other suspect was caught in a police operation conducted in a forested area late on Oct. 2.

The suspects had arrived in the province three days ago, allegedly to stage a bomb attack.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/police-apprehend-five-suspected-pkk-car-bomb-plotters-in-turkeys-adana.aspx?pageID=238&nID=104565&NewsCatID=509

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Turkish army hits 80 ISIL targets in northern Syria

October 4, 2016

The Turkish military hit at least 80 Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) targets in northern Syria on Oct. 4 as part of the ongoing Euphrates Shield operation, according to a military source.

In a statement, the Turkish General Staff said 80 ISIL targets had been hit with 199 rounds of Fırtına howitzer fire and 20 rounds of multiple rocket launchers.       

In addition, coalition forces carried out nine airstrikes in the Güzel Mezra, Turkman Bareh and Aktarin regions. Twelve ISIL militants were killed and two buildings were destroyed during the operations.       

The statement added that Turkish Armed Forces had taken all measures to protect civilians in the regions.       

Turkey has said Operation Euphrates Shield, which was launched on Aug. 24, is aimed at bolstering border security, supporting coalition forces and eliminating the threat posed by terrorist organizations, especially ISIL.       

Turkish officials have said the operation is being conducted in line with the country’s right to self-defense borne out of international treaties and a mandate first given to Turkey’s armed forces by its parliament in 2014. The mandate was most recently extended earlier this week for another year.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-army-hits-80-isil-targets-in-northern-syria.aspx?pageID=238&nID=104564&NewsCatID=352

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Turkey extends state of emergency for additional three months

October 4, 2016

The Turkish government has extended the state of emergency, first implemented in the aftermath of the July 15 coup attempt, for an additional three-month period, Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş announced on Oct. 3.

“One of the decisions taken by the cabinet is an extension of the 90-day state of emergency and its renewal from 1 a.m. on Oct. 19,” Kurtulmuş told reporters after the weekly cabinet meeting in Ankara.

The Turkish constitution authorizes parliament with the right to extend the duration of a state of emergency by a maximum period of four months, each time at the request of the cabinet.

The extension of the state of emergency comes four days after the National Security Council (MGK), convened under President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, recommended its prolongation.

A number of political figures had already voiced their support for an extension of the state of emergency.

Addressing neighborhood heads in Ankara on Sept. 29, Erdoğan said Turkey’s fight with terror needed more time as it is so “deep” that it could not be solved in just three months.

The Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) also expressed its support for the extension, saying the fight against those behind the July 15 coup attempt was continuing at all levels and that this was “natural and right.”

However, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) head Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu objected to the extension period, voicing concerns over the growing number of complaints of “reckless measures” resulting from decree laws under the state of emergency.

After the failed coup attempt, which killed more than 240 people and injured nearly 2,200, the government declared the state of emergency for three months on July 21 in a bid to target the Gülenist network and its undercover members within the state.

According to the Turkish Constitution, a state of emergency can be declared for a maximum period of six months.       

To enact the state of emergency, the government must see serious indications of widespread violence that could interfere with Turkey’s democratic environment or its citizens’ basic rights and freedoms as established by the constitution.

Source:hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-extends-state-of-emergency-for-additional-three-months.aspx?pageID=238&nID=104549&NewsCatID=338

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Detainee claims Gülenists knew of ISIL train station attack plot one day before: Sabah

October 4, 2016

Pro-government daily Sabah claimed on Oct. 4 that a detainee with alleged links to the Gülen movement has testified that Gülenists were informed through a mobile chat system about the deadly Ankara train station attack of Oct. 10, 2016, one day before it was carried out.

The detainee, code-named “Merve,” reportedly said that the day before the attack targeting a political rally in the capital Ankara - the deadliest terror attack in modern Turkish history - group members, including herself, received a message through the ByLock messaging app saying there would be a terror attack the following day.

“I informed people who I know in Ankara, including my relatives and friends, about the plot. I did not go out either. The following day I learned about the terror attack in front of the Ankara train station on the TV. I was very saddened to see dozens of people lose their lives,” said the suspect, detained in the western province of İzmir as part of the probe into the Fethullah Terror Organization (FETÖ), suspected of orchestrating Turkey’s July 15 coup attempt.

The attack carried out by two suspected Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants killed 102 people and wounded more than 300 during an opposition rally.

Police have seized the cell phone of the suspect “Merve” and launched an inspection to identify the related messages sent through the ByLock app.  

Investigators have reportedly identified 40,000 members of the organization so far through the ByLock program, which was allegedly used by Gülenists on the night of the coup attempt for communication.

During her testimony, the suspect also disclosed how she first became involved with the Gülenists, saying she was introduced to the movement at high school and later stayed at one of the group’s community houses after moving to Ankara to pursue her university education.

“When the Dec. 17/25, 2015 coup attempt failed, we started to use ByLock program with instructions given by the organization’s high-ranking members. We were instructed to communicate through this program,” said the suspect, referring to the massive corruption probes launched against government officials, including a number of ministers, which were later quashed by the government.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/detainee-claims-gulenists-knew-of-isil-train-station-attack-plot-one-day-before-sabah-.aspx?pageID=238&nID=104567&NewsCatID=509

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Turkey expects AWACS approval by Germany after lifting İncirlik veto

October 4, 2016

Turkey is expecting Germany’s parliament to approve the deployment of surveillance aircraft to support an international coalition’s fight against jihadists in Syria following the resolution of a months-long crisis between Ankara and Berlin over the latter’s request to let its lawmakers visit German troops at İncirlik Air Base.

A team consisting of six members of the Bundestag’s Defense Committee will pay a two-day visit to Turkey and hold talks with their counterparts at the Turkish Parliament’s Defense Committee on Oct. 4 before flying to İncirlik, which currently hosts 300 German soldiers, six Tornado surveillance aircraft and one tanker aircraft.

“The visit of German authorities to İncirlik is within the framework of inspecting German troops stationed at the base,” Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş told reporters following a cabinet meeting on Oct. 3.

“The decision for their visit was made in line with our bilateral agreements with Germany,” Kurtulmuş said.

German Ambassador Martin Erdmann confirmed the visit of German lawmakers to İncirlik Base in an interview with NTV on Oct. 3. 

Turkey blocked Germany’s request for a visit to İncirlik after the Bundestag recognized the killings of Armenians at the hands of Ottoman Empire in 1915 as genocide in early June. The problem could only be resolved after the German government said the decision taken by the parliament was not binding.

A meeting between President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in early September in China on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit constituted the key venue in removing the obstacles between the two sides.

Ball now in Germany’s court

However, having lifted its blockage on German lawmakers’ visit to İncirlik, Turkey expects two key decisions from the Bundestag. The first one is the extension of the mandate of German surveillance jets and its troops in İncirlik. It’s believed that Germany will issue a 14-month-long extension to the mandate which will also include the construction of military facilities for German troops that will cost 58 million euros.

The second approval expected from Germany’s parliament is the deployment of NATO’s Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) surveillance aircraft to Turkey under a NATO decision to support the United States-led international coalition fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Syria and Iraq.

AWACS aircraft will be provided to Turkey by Germany, although the deployment requires clearance from the German parliament. NATO Deputy Secretary-General Alexander Vershbow said last week that he hoped the AWACS operation would begin before a NATO defense ministers’ meeting in late October.

“We hope the necessary approval will be given by the German parliament before this meeting. The ball is in Germany’s court,” a Turkish diplomatic source told the Hürriyet Daily News.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-expects-awacs-approval-by-germany-after-lifting-incirlik-veto.aspx?pageID=238&nID=104558&NewsCatID=351

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Turkey’s trade to Europe see delays amid long truck queues at Kapıkule border gate

October 4, 2016

Turkey’s trade to Europe has been slowed down with more than 1,250 trucks waiting for days to cross through the Kapıkule Border Gate with Bulgaria to European markets. The delays are reportedly caused by an ongoing bribery operation carried out by Bulgarian police, tightening controls by the EU to prevent human trafficking by land, and construction works at the gate.

Some trucks in line have been waiting at the border gate since Sept. 30, with the transport companies saying they are carrying goods worth more than $100 million.

While Turkish trucks previously crossed to Bulgaria via two platforms, they can now do so only via one platform, as the Bulgarian authorities say newly-laid concrete has not yet dried on one of them.

In addition, police in other EU countries have recently tightened measures against human trafficking at borders, further exacerbating delays.

An ongoing bribery operation conducted by the Bulgarian police against customs officers has also slowed down border passes, according to senior representatives from the Istanbul-based International Transporters Association (UND).

“Although no human trafficking case has been seen in the last two months, with the Turkish police making regular controls, police officers from the EU countries have also tightened their measures, which has created long queues at the border,” said UND Executive Board Chair Fatih Şener.

18 vehicles per hour

Şener added that the Bulgarian side now accepts around 18 vehicles per hour, down from around 60 vehicles in the past.

“While up to 900 vehicles were previously able to pass through the Kapıkule Border Gate per day, this figure has dropped to less than 600. This is the same at the Hamzabeyli Gate, another border gate opening to Bulgaria. We here call for help and support from Turkish officials,” he said.

Şener claimed that the daily passage capacity through the Kapıkule Border Gate could be increased to 3,000 vehicles, as the current capacity is not enough to meet the demands of either exporters and importers. 

One truck driver who has been waiting at the border gate since Oct. 1 said both he and his company were now “in big trouble.”

“I have had to park my truck by the roadside since last Saturday … There is almost nowhere to eat here. Both me and my company are in big trouble,” he said.

Şener also said many tons of products with limited shelf life were set to spoil due to the delays.

“Transporters who submit their goods late to their customers in Europe need to pay compensation for such delays. As we cannot offer a 5-day delivery guarantee to our European customers, some of them have started to opt for other suppliers,” he added.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/turkeys-trade-to-europe-see-delays-amid-long-truck-queues-at-kapikule-border-gate.aspx?pageID=238&nID=104566&NewsCatID=345

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Turkish police suspends 12,801 personnel over alleged links to Gülen

October 4, 2016

Turkish authorities have suspended 12,801 police officers from duty, police headquarters said on Oct. 4 over their suspected links with U.S.-based preacher Fethullah Gülen and his network, blamed by Ankara for orchestrating a failed coup attempt in July. 

The move came after the Interior Ministry launched an investigation into the police force, broadcaster CNN Türk reported, and a day after the Turkish government extended a state of emergency for another three months.

Of the total number of police suspended across the country, 2,523 were police chiefs, the statement said. Turkey's total police force numbers about 250,000.

About 100,000 people in the military, civil service, police and judiciary have already been sacked or suspended in a post-coup crackdown, and some 32,000 people have been arrested for their alleged role in the failed bid.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-police-suspends-12801-personnel-over-alleged-links-to-gulen.aspx?pageID=238&nID=104563&NewsCatID=509

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South Asia

56 ISIS Militants Killed In Nangarhar Operations, Local Officials Claim

Tue Oct 04 2016

At least 56 loyalists of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group were killed in the latest operations conducted in eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan, local officials said Tuesday.

The provincial police commandment in a statement said the militants were killed as a result of the joint operations conducted in Achin district.

The statement further added that the operations were conducted with the support of air power as well as the ground forces targeting the militants of the terror group in Pekha district.

Several foreign insurgents were also among those killed, the statement said, adding that some weapons and ammunitions along with explosives were seized during the operations.

The loyalists of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group have not commented regarding the report so far.

The Afghan forces as well as the US forces based in Afghanistan are regularly conducting counter-terrorism operations to root out the loyalists of the terror group who are attempting to expand foothold in the country.

Source: khaama.com/65-isis-militants-killed-in-nangarhar-operations-local-officials-claim-02006

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Vice President Dostum takes charge of operations in Kunduz

Tue Oct 04 2016

The First Vice President General Abdul Rashid Dostum has taken charge of the operations in the northern Kunduz province of Afghanistan hours after the Taliban militants launched a coordinated attack on the strategic Kunduz city.

Gen. Dostum organized a meeting in the Command and Control Center of the Ministry of Defense on Monday evening as Taliban intensified attacks on the city, the Office of the First Vice President said in a statement.

The meeting also focused on other provinces under the Taliban threat including the southern Helmand province and Uruzgan province.

Officials in ARG Palace have also confirmed that Gen. Dostum is the Command and Control Center of the Ministry of Defense to coordinate operations with deputy chief of staff of Afghan army General Murad Ali Murad who is Kunduz province.

In the meantime, the officials in the Ministry of Interior have confirmed that several key districts in Kunduz city have been cleared of the militants presence.

The cleared areas include the first police district, second and third police districts of the city as heavy casualties have been incurred to the Taliban insurgents, a source in the ministry said.

The source further added that the operations are currently being implemented in Zakhil, Ali Khel, Bagh Sherkat, Charkhab, and Alchin districts.

Source: khaama.com/vice-president-dostum-takes-charge-of-operations-in-kunduz-02007

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Taliban videos purportedly shows capture of key parts in Kunduz city

Mon Oct 03 2016

The Taliban militants group has released numerous videos earlier this evening which purportedly shows the capture of the strategic Kunduz city in north of Afghanistan.

The authenticity of the videos which can not be independently verified shows the Taliban group moving towards the main square which was captured by the group last year.

The group has also released several other videos which purportedly shows the militants of Taliban moving in parts of the city as they hang around the public places in the city.

However the officials in the Ministry of Defense have rejected the fall of the city to Taliban as baseless.

The Ministry of Defense (MoD) said the Taliban militants launched an attack from the west part of the 3rd police district of the earlier today but the attack was repulsed.

MoD further added that additional forces have been deployed and more troops are on the way to repulse the Taliban attack.

Earlier, reports suggested that the militants of the group have started taking positions in the residential areas as they attempt to avoid airstrikes and ground operations by the Afghan forces.

The Taliban group launched a coordinated attack on Kunduz city earlier today, almost a year after the group captured the control of the city and coicides with a deadly airstrike carried out on MSF hospital in the city.

Source: khaama.com/taliban-videos-purportedly-shows-capture-of-key-parts-in-kunduz-city-02004

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US air power in position and prepared to assist in Kunduz: NATO

Mon Oct 03 2016

The NATO-led Resolute Support (RS) mission in Afghanistan has said the US enablers including the air power are in position to assist in Kunduz amid reports that the Taliban insurgents have launched a coordinated attack on the strategic Kunduz city.

“Resolute Support & USFOR-A forces continue to support ANDSF through training, advising & assisting as well as strategic enabler support,” the alliance said in a statement.

The statement further added that ” U.S. enablers, including air power, are in position and prepared to assist in Kunduz as neededږ؛

According to RS, the alliance is not observing evidence to support reports that Kunduz is under significant attack, citing its internal means.

The local officials in Kunduz earlier said sporadic clashes are underway following a coordinated attack launched by the Taliban militants on the provincial capital earlier today.

The officials later said the Taliban militants have taken positions in the residential areas as the Afghan forces and Air Force have launched counter attacks against the militants.

The Taliban militants have launched numerous attacks on Kunduz city since it was retaken by the Afghan Special Operations Forces earlier in the month of October.

The Taliban insurgents were accused of horrific criminal activities after they seized control of the city, including target killings, rape, kidnappings, use of civilians as shields, looting of public and private properties.

The Independent Human Rights Commission of Afghanistan said at least 50 civilians were killed and over 350 others were wounded.

However, the rights organization said the number could be relatively higher as AIHRC said their statistics was based on hospital reports and several others had not been taken to hospital after they were killed or injured.

Source: khaama.com/us-air-power-in-position-and-prepared-to-assist-in-kunduz-nato-02003

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Clashes underway in Helmand’s Khanshin amid reports of district fall

Tue Oct 04 2016

Heavy clashes are underway in Khanshin district of southern Helmand province amid reports the control of the district has fallen to the Taliban insurgents.

A local official in Khanshin said the Taliban insurgents have captured some parts of the district during the clashes in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

A provincial council official also confirmed that most parts of the district have fallen to the control fo the Taliban insurgents.

The official further added that the Taliban insurgents are close to capture the control of the district administrative compound.

The Taliban insurgents launched a similar attack on Khanshin district late in the month of July this year which forced the Afghan forces to deploy more forces to repulse the Taliban attack.

The Taliban insurgents have long been attempting to seize full control of Helmand province as the Afghan officials are saying that the group is attempting to turn the province into its strategic compound.

The officials were earlier saying that the Taliban group is looking to shift the group’s leadership currently based in Quetta city of Balochistan province of Pakistan.

The Afghan officials have long been criticizing Pakistan for allowing the Afghan militant groups, including the notorious Haqqani terrorist network to use its soil for plotting and coordinating attacks in Afghanistan.

According to the Afghan officials, the leadership councils of both the Taliban and the Haqqani network are based in Quetta and Peshawar cities of Pakistan.

Source: khaama.com/clashes-underway-in-helmands-khanshin-amid-reports-of-district-fall-02008

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Bangladesh man living in US charged with supporting Islamic State group

October 4, 2016

A citizen of Bangladesh who was living in Maryland has been charged with attempting to provide material support and resources to the Islamic State group. A court document says that 24-year-old Nelash Mohamed Das of Hyattsville was ready to carry out what he thought was an attack on a member of the US military when he was arrested Friday. The supposed attack was set up by a confidential informant for the FBI.

Das, a legal permanent resident of the United States, made his first appearance in federal court Monday. He has been ordered held until a detention hearing Thursday. Online court records did not list an attorney for him, though a spokeswoman for the United States Attorney for the District of Maryland said Das had been assigned a public defender. An attempt by The Associated Press to reach the attorney Monday evening by phone for comment was unsuccessful.

If convicted, Das faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. Das voiced support on his social media accounts for the Islamic State group from late 2015 to early 2016, including support for attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California, and had taken a class and submitted fingerprints in order to get a handgun permit, according to court documents filed in his case. He told a confidential informant for the FBI that he wanted to kill U.S military personnel, the court documents say.

Conducting an attack is “like my goal in life,” Das allegedly told the informant.  Das met the FBI’s confidential informant in May 2016 and thought he was a like-minded supporter of the Islamic State group, the court documents say.

The confidential informant told Das he had gotten information about a target, member of the US military, from an Islamic State group contact in Iraq. Das allegedly said he wanted to help carry out an attack on the person and bought ammunition for it. Das believed that the confidential informant’s contact in Iraq would pay $80,000 in exchange for the attack, the court documents say.

Das was arrested after loading a gun and traveling with the informant to a location where he believed they would conduct the attack, the court documents say.

Source: indianexpress.com/article/world/world-news/bangladesh-man-living-in-us-charged-for-alleged-links-with-is-3064383/

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EU to pledge $1.1 billion in aid to Afghanistan until 2020

Tue Oct 04 2016

The European Union (EU) is expected to pledge an aid package of $1.1 billion in annual aid to Afghanistan until 2020 as a major conference is due to kick off on Afghanistan in Brussels today.

A head of the summit, the European Commission said it would commit an extra 200 million euros ($224 million) a year to strengthen state structures in the war-ravaged country, according to Germany’s international broadcaster, Deutsche Welle.

The commission in a statement said the funds could be used by the Kabul government “to finance their own strategic development priorities.”

Dozens of other countries – including the US, Russia, China and India – are also expected to increase their aid commitment to Afghanistan, which is not able to fully support itself after four decades of conflict, and amid a resurgence of the Taliban.

This comes as the United States earlier said it expects the upcoming international conference will bring pledges of over $3 billion a year to Afghanistan for development support.

“We expect strong pledges of renewed support to be announced next week, collectively totaling over $3 billion a year in development support through 2020,” the US Special Envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Olson said.

Olson further added that the aid would be dependent on Afghan progress in implementing reforms including countering corruption.

He said he expects the Afghan government to announce “ambitious” medium-term plans to wean itself of donor support and stimulate economic growth.

The conference in Brussels will be hosted by the European Union and Afghanistan on 4th and 5th of October and some 70 countries and 30 international organizations and agencies will participate.

Source: khaama.com/eu-to-pledge-1-1-billion-in-aid-to-afghanistan-until-2020-02009

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India

‘Islamic State module’ in Kerala: Engineering dropout, graphic artist among 6

October 4, 2016

A GRAPHIC artist with a right-wing local newspaper, a Malayalee working in Oman for the last five years and an engineering student who dropped out are among the six members of the alleged Islamic State (IS) module busted in Kerala on Sunday, who are suspected to have been engaged in propagating the terror group’s ideology, according to NIA.

The six were produced before a special court in Kochi on Monday and sent to the NIA’s custody until October 12.

NIA sources said the suspects have been active on social media using fake identities and profiles. “They used to frequently change names of social media groups to escape attention of security agencies,” a source said. “In Telegram messenger, the latest name adopted by the group was ‘kudumbam’ (family).”

Among the arrested, P Safwan, 30, was a graphic designer with Malayalam daily Thejas, the mouthpiece of right-wing Muslim outfit Popular Front of India (PFI).

Last year, security agencies had found that Abu Thahir, one of the 17 Indians suspected to have joined the IS, had also worked with Thejas in Palakkad for a short period before moving to the Gulf.

According to information, Safwan lived with his wife, two children and mother Kunhili at Ponmudam in Malappuram. Local people said he was active in SDPI, the political arm of PFI. Reacting to her son’s arrest, Kunhili said she has left everything to God.

NIA sources said Manseed, 30, who hails from Panur, where the meeting was held, was known as the group’s leader. Manseed, who worked as an office assistant in Qatar, came home on leave on Friday and reportedly organised Sunday’s meeting.

“Manseed came from a lower-middle class family and had led a quiet life in his village. His father is a hotel employee in Bengaluru. He went to West Asia some five years ago and had never shown any political affiliation…we are all shocked,’’ said a local leader, P Hareendran.

Two other suspects — Jassim N K and Ramshad N K — hail from Kuttiadi in Kozhikode and are cousins. An engineering dropout from Cochin University of Science and Technology, Jassim subsequently went to Bengaluru and reportedly attended multiple coaching classes to take different examinations. NIA officials said he reached home Saturday morning to attend the meeting.

Ramshad, a BCom graduate, is engaged in odd jobs at Kuttiadi. He hadn’t taken part in the “secret meeting” and was arrested from his home based on information gathered from the others.

The fifth person, Swalih Muhammed has been settled in Chennai for several years and worked with a private firm, said NIA

sources. He hails from Chelakkara in Thrissur district, where residents said Swalih had left after Class XII and frequently visited his family in Kerala.

The sixth accused, Abu Basheer, is from Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu.

Source: indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/kerala-islamic-state-isis-muslim-extremists-nia-3064235/

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The Indian Muslim is a necessary imperative in India’s Pakistan offensive

October 4, 2016

The Indian Muslim has emerged as a silent but necessary imperative in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Pakistan offensive. This is, perhaps, the first time in the last two years that the Muslim question has stared back at the government in such a here-and-now fashion. But how? And why?

Having made the cold and calculated move to officially claim that Indian troops had crossed the Line of Control (LoC) to destroy terrorist launch pads in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (POK), the ball is now in Pakistan’s court.

There is a cacophony of different lines and narratives on the other side, ranging from India fibbing on the surgical strikes to the Hafiz Saeed type sloganeering of ‘Give India a befitting reply!’ Result: a tense, nervous environment with New Delhi gaming all possible retaliatory scenarios and securing its civilian population accordingly.

Historically, Pakistan’s fifth columnist strategy in such situations tends to target young Indian Muslims. The use of the Muslim underworld in the 1990s through Dawood Ibrahim for staging the first Mumbai serial blasts and, later, the creation of the Indian Mujahideen (IM) are prominent pointers to that strategy. At this juncture, the threat really is the possibility of targeting minority insecurity arising from jingoism hitting the streets due to this action.

This is where the PM has a delicate line to tread. Because this is also trickiest piece in the government’s larger effort to script a game-changing narrative on India’s approach to Pakistan. To get the bigger picture, it is important to revisit the beginning. Conventional Indo-Pak expert wisdom has been that it is easier for a right-wing Indian PM to strike a Kashmir deal with Pakistan. The logic being that such a leader will have more political capital to deal with the nationalist argument of bartering sovereignty or indulging in any cartographic readjustment.

At least so went the theory about why a Manmohan Singh would never have been able to travel the last mile on any such agreement. It was also deployed to explain why a moderate BJP face like Atal Bihari Vajpayee was always cramped for political space, beyond a point, when it came to making peace with Pakistan.

Modi was different from his predecessors. He was the quintessential right, the face and mask, all rolled in one. The first RSS pracharak to become prime minister of India and that, too, with a handsome mandate. So, when he reached out to Pakistan even before his swearing-in ceremony, it carried weight.

In the debate between Islamabad and Rawalpindi on whether Nawaz Sharif should attend the ceremony, this was a crucial clinching point. Here was a right-wing leader turning left, the best opportunity for Pakistan to strike a deal.

Two years later, if one were to map all that has happened, Modi had managed to tick all the boxes on his leftward turn even though there could be no substantive progress. He visited Pakistan, met Sharif several times and also shared emotional moments, mothers, marriages and customary greetings. And then came the point when the prime minister could actually say, “Bomb ke dhamakon mein baatcheet ki awaz sunai nahin deti. (You can’t hear the voice in talks amid explosions of bombs.)”

The bottomline is that by the time Uri happened, the Modi government had done the entire routine of talks and bonhomie, including failed joint investigations post-Pathankot. In other words, Modi had turned so much to the left that turning right had become easier. It was almost as if India had completed the checklist to make the point that it had left no stone unturned in reaching out to Pakistan.

Also, by then, the US was deeply engaged on climate change, defence and nuclear commerce; key West Asian countries like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were on the same page on terror; while Afghanistan and Bangladesh had emerged as principal allies in the neighbourhood against Pakistan-sponsored terrorism.

So, the decision to turn aggressive on Pakistan appeared justified with no stakeholder at any point raising a question on Modi’s politics or his intentions. Then to announce the ratification of the Paris climate change treaty in the run-up to the Uri response and follow it up by formalising the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi as the Republic Day chief guest just cased the whole cross-LoC action well enough on the global stage.

No Aye for an Eye

But, as always, the challenge is internal. The immediate problem may be the threat of unrest in Kashmir. But the larger issue is of coping with fear from Hindu nationalistic jingoism on the ground. The jaw-for-tooth kind of lines are exactly the ones that set off these insecurities. By all accounts, credible indications are that the prime minister has signalled loud and clear that there should be no big-bang statements and claims.

Creditable as this may be, the real test would be in establishing a new, positive chemistry with the Muslim community. If the government can get Riyadh, Dubai, Kabul and Dhaka on the same page, it surely can craft a successful domestic outreach. The truth is, the Indian Muslim has been the strongest asset India has ever had in this war on terror. To keep it that way, regardless of which way rightwing politics takes him, is the PM’s real challenge — and opportunity.

Source: blogs.economictimes.indiatimes.com/et-commentary/the-indian-muslim-is-a-necessary-imperative-in-indias-pakistan-offensive/

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North America

California Gov. Signs Law to Address Muslim, Sikh, South Asian American Bullying

Tue, Oct 4, 2016

Bill AB-2845, also known as the "Safe Place to Learn Act," seeks to address bullying of South Asian, Muslim-, and Sikh-American students as well as those mistaken to belong to those groups by providing school staff with school-site and community resources as well as require the superintendent of public instruction to publish anti-bullying resources related to religious and perceived religious affiliation on its website, according to Asian-Americans Advancing Justice — California (AAAJ-CA), one of the organizations behind the law.

The law was sponsored by Assemblymember Das Williams (D-37) and developed in collaboration with The Sikh Coalition, the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF), AAAJ-CA, and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

"This is a landmark bill for California that will curb bullying and discrimination in the classroom," Harjit Kaur, community development manager for The Sikh Coalition, told NBC News. "AB 2845 ensures the right of every child to practice his/her faith freely in public schools. We look forward to implementing this bill and engaging with communities and schools across California to address bullying and discrimination in the classroom."

"[This bill] is very important to Muslim and Sikh children because both of our communities have seen a huge rise in the bullying of Muslim and perceived to be Muslim students," Saad Sweilem, civil rights attorney at CAIR-Sacramento Valley (CAIR-SV), told NBC News. "Students from both communities played an instrumental role in getting this bill passed by testifying in front of Assemblymembers about their own personal experiences being bullied. Our hope is that this bill provides our schools the resources they need so that they are prepared to handle these types of situations. Because of our current social and political climate, this issue is a major one and we're very hopeful that this bill will tackle it head on."

RELATED: Anti-Bullying Campaign Asks Students to 'Know Your Classmate'

According to CAIR, 55 percent of Muslim-American students attending California public schools surveyed experience bullying based on their religious identity, twice the national average for bullying in school. According to The Sikh Coalition, 50 percent of Sikh students and 67 percent of turbaned Sikh-American students nationally have experienced school bullying.

The bill passed unanimously in the California Assembly 79 to 0 and passed 34 to 3 in the California Senate.

Source: nbcnews.com/news/asian-america/california-gov-signs-law-address-muslim-sikh-south-asian-american-n658486

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US Islamic school wins lengthy legal battle to set up facility in Michigan

Monday 3 October 2016

An Islamic school in Michigan has been awarded $1.7m after settling its lawsuit for the right to build a new facility, following a five-year legal battle that those involved say paves the way for Muslim-Americans across the country to protect their rights.

The Michigan Islamic Academy (MIA) brought a lawsuit against Pittsfield Township, in the midwestern US state of Michigan, arguing that it was unlawfully denied the right to build a school on its property.

The school used the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), which protects individuals and religious institutions against discrimination in zoning, and the Establishment and Equal Protection Clauses of the United States Constitution.

Last week, the MIA announced the township agreed to settle the lawsuit for $1.7m. The academy also has the green light to build a 70,000-square-foot facility, a residential development consisting of 22 duplex units and three single-family homes, and a park.

“The community in general is elated by the settlement,” said Dawud Walid, executive director at the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MI), which brought the lawsuit.

Walid told Middle East Eye the local Muslim community has grown substantially in the last 25 years, and the current MIA facility is overcrowded and does not meet the community’s current needs.

“That was the whole purpose of buying the property to establish a new school because the current location is simply too small for the current needs of the community, much less the expected growth of Muslims in that part of Michigan,” he said.

Gadeir Abbas, co-counsel for the school, explained that the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act was passed in 2000, after mainly Christian groups sought to prevent religious-based discrimination in land usage policies.

“It bodes well for religious diversity in America that Muslims are benefiting from a law that was born out of the experience of other groups’ confrontations with discrimination,” Abbas told MEE.

And MIA’s success sends a clear message on the ability of other Muslim communities across the US to have their rights respected under the law. “We think that MIA’s five-year battle with the township bodes well for the ability of other Muslim communities to have their rights respected,” he said.

According to a 2010 report put out by the US Department of Justice on the 10-year anniversary of RLUIPA, “animus-based discrimination remains a priority”.

“Jewish synagogues and schools, African- American churches, and, increasingly, Muslim mosques and schools are particularly vulnerable to discriminatory zoning actions taken by local officials, often under community pressure,” the report found.

A more recent report released by the department in July 2016 described a “sharp increase” in RLUIPA cases involving mosques and Islamic schools, and most have included allegations of intentional religious-based discrimination.

Only 20 percent of cases involving mosques and Islamic schools are resolved successfully without the US government or private parties filing a lawsuit, compared to 84 percent for non-Muslim investigations, the report found.

"Jewish synagogues and schools, African- American churches, and, increasingly, Muslim mosques and schools are particularly vulnerable to discriminatory zoning actions taken by local officials." - Department of Justice report

The US Department of Justice intervened in the MIA lawsuit in Michigan last year.

“Not only is it happening more to Muslim communities, when it does happen, the opposition to Islamic land uses is clearly more entrenched,” Abbas said.

“Islamic schools and houses of worship across the country have confronted discriminatory zoning practices and it’s just a sign of the times that Muslim communities across the country have had to press for their rights to be respected in a way that other communities haven’t.”

Denying wrongdoing

Officials in Pittsfield Township “emphatically deny any wrongdoing, discrimination or violation of law," Pittsfield Supervisor Mandy Grewal said in a written statement to The Ann Arbor News following the settlement announcement.

The township rejected the MIA project proposal because it called for “high-volume, multi-use facilities with little to no buffering” between the new project and an existing subdivision, Grewal said. The township also had feared an increase in traffic and noise.

"The Township's position from the beginning was and continues to be about protecting existing residents in this region from land uses that were not originally envisioned when they purchased their homes,” the statement read.

But noise and light were not an issue since the school would operate during the day, not during sleeping hours, according to an Expert Opinion Report written by Jaques Gourguechon.

“[T]he Planning Commission’s fear that noise would be a factor is ungrounded and against common sense... The activities of a small scale school simply do not produce noise that will unsettle a residential neighborhood,” Gourguechon wrote, according to a brief filed by MIA in US District Court.

The brief also cited the MIA site planner, Dave Kubiske, who testified that the Pittsfield Township planning commission “didn’t want the project to go, period, from the day we walked in the door”.

“They didn’t even want to look at it. They were already ready to vote 'no', and they didn’t even know the facts,” Kubiske said, adding that he had never run into a situation like this in a professional career that spans over 30 years.

Coded language

According to Walid, zoning board members in these types of cases “aren’t blatantly saying, ‘We hate Muslims,’ or ‘We don’t want Muslims here.’”

Instead, they are employing coded language that has a long – and racially-biased – history in the US, like saying a project would change “the complexion of a neighbourhood,” he said.

“We all know what that code language means, and I specifically know what it means, not just as a Muslim civil rights activist, but as an African-American. That’s old code language in America of how people with racism want to exclude whom they consider to be the other,” Walid said.

“They didn’t even want to look at it. They were already ready to vote no, and they didn’t even know the facts” - Dave Kubiske, MIA site planner

He said that Muslim community groups in the past have picked up and moved elsewhere when they encountered zoning disputes over Islamic schools, mosques and other religious institutions.

“But that’s old business,” he said. “The new paradigm is our community is not going to relinquish its rights and move to other areas just because of a de facto type of neo-Jim Crow mentality.

“We’re not going to be a passive community and relinquish our rights. We’re going to have our rights respected like all other Americans.”

Source: middleeasteye.net/news/us-islamic-school-wins-multi-year-legal-battle-set-facility-michigan-1356309273

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Southeast Asia

Singapore Warns of Rising ASEAN Terror Threat

October 04, 2016

This weekend, Singapore’s defense minister again issued an ominous warning about the rising threat from terrorism in Southeast Asia.

Ng Eng Hen told reporters following the U.S.-ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Informal Meeting in Hawaii that the threat that violent extremist groups pose to the region continues to grow each year.

“Every year we meet, the situation and threat from extremist terrorism rises,” Ng said. “And by that I mean, compared to, say, a year or even two years ago, they are more organized… they are more networked, they are clearer in their articulation of what they want to achieve.”

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Ng’s remarks were just the latest in a string of comments from Singaporean officials on the rising terrorism threat. At last year’s Shangri-La Dialogue, Asia’s premier security summit, Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had raised the prospect of the Islamic State (IS) establishing a base somewhere in Southeast Asia (See: “Singapore Warns of Islamic State Base in Southeast Asia”).

Last December, during a trip to the United States, Ng himself warned of a nexus between the Islamic State and other local terror groups (See: “Singapore Warns of Islamic State Terror Nexus in Southeast Asia”) as fighters return home to Southeast Asia.

This year, the warnings by Singaporean officials have gotten even more serious. Several officials including Minister for Law and Home Affairs K Shanmugam and Senior Minister of State for Defense and Foreign Affairs Mohamad Maliki Osman have warned that terrorism poses a threat not only to the safety of some Singaporeans, but the country’s harmonious, multi-racial society.

That is not without reason. The Jakarta bombings in January 2016 signaled the growing reach of IS into Southeast Asia, while the foiling of a plot by Indonesian authorities in August of terror suspects planning an attack on Singapore’s Marina Bay revealed the extent to which the city-state itself could be under threat (See: “Islamic State Attack in Indonesia? A Look at the Jakarta Bombings”).

In his remarks to reporters, Ng again referenced the foiled plot and said that it was a clear example of IS moving beyond networks to push funds and weapons to planning attacks.

“It is uppermost in all our minds, ASEAN states, and there are good reasons for it,” he said.

Singapore’s response to this rising threat is already quite robust. At home, it is undertaking a series of initiatives including arresting suspects, tightening security checks, and raising public awareness to fight the extremist narrative. Beyond this, recognizing that it cannot combat this alone, Singapore has also stepped up cooperation with other intelligence agencies, convened conferences to share best practices, and even joined and contributed to the U.S.-led Global Coalition Against ISIL.

But the city-state continues to look for opportunities to do even more. When Lee visited the United States last month, he said Singapore would deploy a medical team to Iraq for around three months in 2017 as part of its deepening contribution to the fight against IS (See: “Strengthening US-Singapore Strategic Partnership”).

Singapore has also offered for its Information Fusion Center (IFC) to support information-sharing in support of the Sulu Sea trilateral patrols that Malaysia, the Philippines and Indonesia have agreed to (See: “Confronting Threats in the Sulu-Sulawesi Seas: Opportunities and Challenges”).

Source: thediplomat.com/2016/10/singapore-warns-of-rising-asean-terror-threat/

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Thailand peace talks shaky as insurgents continue to kill, detonate bombs

October 04, 2016

"My role as a logistics officer was to find food, ammunition and bomb supplies," he told the ABC, in an exclusive interview in Thailand's troubled Narathiwat province.

The 28-year-old says he joined the secretive insurgent group when he was a teenager and rose through the ranks before quitting this year.

"I was proud to be with the BRN," he said, on condition of anonymity, fearing reprisals for speaking without authority.

BRN is the Malay language acronym for the National Revolutionary Front, considered the most active of the Muslim separatist insurgent groups in southern Thailand.

It is thought to have about 3,000 trained fighters, and carries out bombings and shootings on an almost daily basis, although it rarely claims responsibility.

Two incidents on Thursday show the BRN's main tactics.

Suspected insurgents shot dead a female petrol station worker in Pattani province, and when security forces responded, two bombs were detonated, causing further injuries.

In a separate attack in neighbouring Narathiwat province, 10 insurgents fired on a group of volunteer militia, killing one man and stealing three assault rifles.

Violence like this — as well as killings by the security forces — has claimed more than 6,500 lives since the conflict intensified in 2004.

Thai security forces patrol jungle near the Malaysian border, holding guns and looking into the trees.

The unrest is usually contained to what is known as the "deep south" of Thailand, but a recent string of coordinated bomb and arson attacks targeted the "upper south", including places popular with Australians, such as Phuket and Hua Hin.

Four Thais died and several foreigners were among the injured in the latest attack, which is being seen by some analysts as an expansion of insurgent operations.

The former insurgent who spoke to the ABC said he was not involved in the August attack but said it had all the hall marks of the BRN.

"If innocent people are injured, well, I don't want that but I had no choice," he said.

"It was our job to plant the bombs in certain areas to resist the Government."

While most of Thailand is Buddhist, the southernmost provinces bordering Malaysia are 80 per cent Malay-speaking Muslims — the result of Britain redrawing the map a century ago.

Teachers, government officials and monks are targeted by the insurgents as symbols of the Thai state, but most of the victims are civilians.

The army is accused of torturing suspects, including recent accounts of waterboarding.

"They would put a towel on my face and tie it behind my head, then pure water on the towel until it went in my nose and I would choke," said a man identifying himself only as Rutkee, according to an Amnesty International report released this week.

He told Amnesty that after being detained by soldiers last year, he was suffocated with plastic bags, beaten, threatened with guns and grenades, deprived of sleep and exposed to extreme cold.

The Thai Government denies all allegations of torture and shut down the official launch of Amnesty's report on Wednesday.

There are peace talks underway but they remain stuck at a preliminary, unofficial stage.

"A pernicious stalemate prevails, with both state and militants preferring hostilities to compromise," said a report released last week by the International Crisis Group.

The ICG said part of the problem was that the main fighting group boycotted the talks and the umbrella group of Malaysia-based insurgent leaders set up for the talks (MARA Patani) does not really speak for those carrying out attacks.

That factional divide was confirmed by the former insurgent who spoke to the ABC.

"We used to be like neighbours, walking in the same direction, but now we are separate," he said.

Meanwhile Thailand's military Government, which seized power in a 2014 coup, is accused of not being serious about engaging with the separatists.

"[The junta] professes to support dialogue to end the insurgency but avoids commitment, and the Prime Minister has questioned the talks," the ICG report said.

"The bombings in the upper south should encourage the Government to seek talks for a comprehensive settlement."

After the most recent peace talks on September 2, a car bomb was found and disarmed on the Thai-Malaysian border, widely seen as a sign of opposition to the meeting in Kuala Lumpur.

Days later, a motorcycle bomb placed outside a kindergarten killed a four-year-old girl, her father and a bystander.

Signs of the conflict are everywhere in the Thailand's deep south, from military checkpoints to concrete barriers on the footpath to minimise damage from car bombs.

A Government program brings monks to the region for short stints to bolster the Buddhist presence, but on their daily alms rounds they are shadowed by black-clad commandos with M-16s.

The area remains under-developed and locals do their best to live normal lives amidst the bloodshed and fear.

At an Islamic school, a group of schoolgirls in brightly coloured headscarves sat under a tree doing their homework.

Surufah Baka, 12, told the ABC her cousin was shot dead, although she doesn't know why.

"I beg for an end to the shooting, hurting people, killing people — we lost so many people already," she said.

Source: abc.net.au/news/2016-10-04/thailand-peace-talks-shaky-as-insurgents-continue-to-kill/7893980

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Pakistan

Pakistan hosts third highest number of refugees: Amnesty

October 4, 2016

LONDON: Pakistan hosts the third highest number of refugees in the world, according to a report released by rights group Amnesty International.

Home to 1.6 million refugees, Pakistan is third in line behind Jordan (over 2.7m refugees) and Turkey (over 2.5m refugees).

In a report on the plight faced by the world's 21 million refugees, the London-based human rights body said that 10 countries accounting for 2.5 per cent of world's GDP host more than half the world's refugees and slammed what it called the selfishness of wealthy nations. Many of the world's wealthiest nations “host the fewest and do the least”, it said.

Amnesty lamented that countries immediately neighbouring crisis zones bear the brunt of the global refugee problem.

56pc of refugees are being sheltered in 10 countries, according to the report, in which Amnesty proposed a solution whereby the world's countries find a home for 10pc of the planet's refugees every year.

"A small number of countries have been left to do far too much just because they are neighbours to a crisis," said Amnesty secretary general Salil Shetty, presenting the report entitled "Tackling the global refugee crisis: from shirking to sharing responsibility".

“It is not simply a matter of sending aid money. Rich countries cannot pay to keep people 'over there',” it said.

The “self-interest” of such countries meant the international refugee crisis was set to get worse, not better, Amnesty claimed.

“If every one of the wealthiest countries in the world were to take in refugees in proportion to their size, wealth and unemployment rate, finding a home for more of the world's refugees would be an eminently solvable challenge,” said Shetty.

"That situation is inherently unsustainable, exposing the millions fleeing war and persecution in countries like Syria, South Sudan, Afghanistan, and Iraq to intolerable misery and suffering.

"It is time for leaders to enter into a serious, constructive debate about how our societies are going to help people forced to leave their homes by war and persecution."

Top 10 countries hosting refugees worldwide

Jordan: over 2.7m refugees

Turkey: over 2.5m refugees

Pakistan: 1.6m refugees

Lebanon: over 1.5m refugees

Iran: 979,400 refugees

Ethiopia: 736,100 refugees

Kenya: 553,900 refugees

Uganda: 477,200 refugees

Democratic Republic of Congo: 383,100 refugees

Chad: 369,500 refugees

The statistics are based on figures from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

Source: dawn.com/news/1287961/pakistan-hosts-third-highest-number-of-refugees-amnesty

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Top civil-mil leadership stress need for better intelligence input at NAP meeting

October 4, 2016

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is chairing two meetings of top civil and military leadership on the National Action Plan (NAP) and national security on Tuesday, with a special focus on the situation on the Line of Control (LoC) and held Kashmir.

National Security Adviser (NSA) retired Lt Gen Nasser Janjua briefed participants of a meeting on the implementation status of NAP in which each item of the anti-terrorism plan was discussed separately, a statement released after the meeting said.

It was agreed that there is a need to further improve collection, collation, analysis and use of intelligence input to defeat 'enemy designs'.

Participants of the meeting agreed that collective efforts at the national level and specific efforts at a provincial level were required to consolidate the gains made so far in NAP and move further in areas where progress had been unsatisfactory. The NSA stressed the crucial role of provincial governments in the implementation of NAP.

The meeting also agreed on a future course of action in terms of milestones and timelines for different components of NAP.

The secretary to the prime minister made a presentation on certain aspects of reform in the criminal justice system during the meeting. Proposals for reform in laws dealing with investigation, prosecution and judicial apparatus dealing with terrorism cases were presented to participants to evolve consensus on a future course of action.

Addressing the meeting, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif claimed there had been a significant improvement in security in Pakistan. "We are fighting a war on terrorism and our fight against violent extremism as a national policy imperative," he said.

"The nation expects us to rid the society of these evils for all times and we will not fail them under any circumstances," the premier said.

A National Security Committee meeting on the situation at the Line of Control will follow the meeting on NAP. A focal point of the meeting will be Indian atrocities in held Kashmir.

Today's meetings come a day after political leaders during an 'All Parties Conference' resolved to raise the Kashmir issue at various international fora and said they stood united against Indian 'aggression' and violation of human rights in India-held Kashmir (IHK).

Tensions have simmered between Pakistan and India since an Indian crackdown on dissent in IHK following the killing by Indian forces of Burhan Wani, a separatist leader, in July.

Pakistan has strongly condemned Indian atrocities against the people of IHK. The use of pellet guns by Indian troops in the region have blinded over 700 Kashmiris, while more than 100 people have been killed.

Those attending today's meetings include all provincial chief ministers, along with Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar, Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Tariq Fatemi, Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry, Chief of Army Staff Gen Raheel Sharif, Lt Gen (r) Nasser Janjua, Director General Inter Services Intelligence Lt Gen Rizwan Akhtar, Direction General Intelligence Bureau Aftab Sultan, Director General Military Operations Maj Gen Sahir Shamshad Mirza, Director General of Military Intelligence Maj Gen Nadeem Zaki Manj, Director General Counter Terrorism Maj Gen Tariq Qaddus.

Source: dawn.com/news/1287954/top-civil-mil-leadership-stress-need-for-better-intelligence-input-at-nap-meeting

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Rally held for missing Baloch activist

October 4, 2016

KARACHI: A rally was taken out here on Monday to protest against the alleged enforced disappearance of writer and activist Abdul Wahid Baloch by human and civil rights activists in a joint collaboration with the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP).

The rally began from Regal Chowk and ended at the Karachi Press Club. Activists belonging from the Pakistan FisherFolk Forum as well as labour and trade unions, among others, participated in the rally as well. The rally also included the two daughters of the activist, Hani and Maheen Wahid.

A telephone operator at the Civil Hospital, Abdul Wahid was allegedly asked to step down from a local van at the Superhighway toll plaza, where one of the men, dressed in civvies, checked his identity on his phone.

Filing of a petition in the Sindh High Court on Aug 2 and formation of a fact-finding mission by the HRCP on Aug 3 brought the case out in the open.

Source: dawn.com/news/1287842/rally-held-for-missing-baloch-activist

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Musharraf’s policy on Balochistan still being followed: leader

October 4, 2016

QUETTA: Former federal minister and head of the Baloch Rabita Ittifaq Tehreek (BRIT) Prince Mohyuddin Baloch has claimed that the policy of former military ruler retired Gen Pervez Musharraf on Balochistan has still been continuing and force is still being used against the people of the province.

He was talking to media personnel here on Monday.

Prince Mohyuddin, who is a son of the late Khan of Kalat, Mir Ahmad Yar Khan, said that if the government continued to use force against the Baloch people and did not offer them talks for the solution of problems they could receive offers of support or weapons from what he called ‘outside’.

He stressed the need for initiating a process of negotiation with Baloch leaders on the pattern of the 1976’s talks between the then government and the Baloch leadership. He said his father as governor of the province facilitated those talks which had brought peace to Balochistan. As a result of those talks the slogan of an independent Balochistan or even the call for provincial autonomy had died down for 23 years, he added.

He said that during the 1976 negotiation process even people hiding in mountains and fighting against the state were persuaded to become part of the mainstream.

Prince Mohyuddin alleged that the Musharraf government had unleashed a reign of terror against the Baloch people and added that Islamabad had still been following the policies of the military government.

He said all international players, including European countries, took interest in Balochistan because the province was rich with natural resources.

The BRIT chief said the federal government needed to change its policy for the resolution of issues in Balochistan and form what he called an ‘emergency set-up for two years by declaring the province a special territory’. There was an urgent need to take the situation in Balochistan under control so that it could not turn into the 1971-like situation in the country, he added.

Prince Mohyuddin alleged that the elected representatives of Balochistan had never paid attention to real issues of the province. He accused many of them of being involved in corruption.

He said economic managers of the federal government should tell Baloch people what benefits they would get from the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and Gwadar port projects.

He said according to a World Bank survey the worth of assets in Reko Diq was around $500 billion while the CPEC-related Chinese investment in Balochistan was hardly around $1 billion. He expressed the fear that China would take away the assets of Reko Diq.

He praised Dr Abdul Malik Baloch for his statement as chief minister that Balochistan had got nothing from the China-run Saindak Copper-Gold project as all earning from it had been divided equally between the federal government and China.

Prince Mohyuddin said the overall situation in the country was not satisfactory as insurgency was still going on in thre province and a tense situation prevailed on borders with three neighbouring countries.

Source: dawn.com/news/1287862/musharrafs-policy-on-balochistan-still-being-followed-leader

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Parties resolve to defend every inch of country

October 4, 2016

KARACHI: Leaders from different political and religious parties on Monday showed their resolve to defend every inch of the country in case of India or any external force attempted to violate its sovereignty.

At an ‘all parties conference’ organised by the Majlis-i-Wehdatul Muslimeen (MWM), leaders from the MWM, Sunni Tehreek, Jamiat Ulema-i-Pakistan, Jamaat-i-Islami Pakistan, Tehreek-i-Insaf, Pakistan Awami Tehreek and other parties and students organisations at the Karachi Press Club shared their thoughts about the ongoing aggression showed by the Indian army at the line of control.

“Accusing Pakistan of any terror activity, India reflects the Indian government’s anti-Pakistan approach. India never wants peace in the region,” said a joint statement issued after the conference. “India’s real concern is the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which is a beginning for development and prosperity of Pakistan. The CPEC is the key project for the future of Pakistan’s economy and its people and its security cannot be compromised.”

The conference also passed resolutions demanding a ban on Indian content on Pakistani channels and strong response from the government at every international and diplomatic forum to expose atrocities of the Indian forces in the occupied Kashmir.

Source: dawn.com/news/1287843/parties-resolve-to-defend-every-inch-of-country

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General Raheel Sharif reviews operational preparedness of strike corps

October 4, 2016

Islamabad [Pakistan]: Pakistan Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif on Monday visited headquarters of Strike Corps in Mangla to review the operational preparedness.

He was accompanied by the DG Military Operations, reports Radio Pakistan.

The Army Chief’s visit coincides with Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif chairing a meeting of parliamentary leaders today to discuss the security situation amid growing tensions with the Indian side and increased ceasefire violations along the Line of Control (LoC).

Addressing the leaders at the meeting, Sharif said the session was very important because a unified message from the political leadership of Pakistan would be sent out.

Source: siasat.com/news/general-raheel-sharif-reviews-operational-preparedness-strike-corps-1033903/

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