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Islamic World News (10 Oct 2016 NewAgeIslam.Com)



Baby Screaming In Pain As Man Slices Its Head Open In Shi'ite Islamic Bloodletting Ritual














Kashmiri Shiite Muslims flagellate themselves as they take part in a religious procession held on the seventh day of Islamic month of Muharram, in Srinagar


Taliban Leader, Haibatullah Akhundzada, Was Openly Teaching and Preaching In Pakistan

Muslim Americans Express Disappointment over Debate Rhetoric Tying Muslims to Terrorism

Libyan Army Kills over 70 ISIL Militants in Sirte

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India

Baby Screaming In Pain As Man Slices Its Head Open In Shi'ite Islamic Bloodletting Ritual

Objectors to Nawazuddin’s Participation in Ram Leela are Ignorant of India’s Pluralistic Traditions

Muslim Milkman Donates 60 Litres Milk to Goddess Durga for Making of Prasad during Puja

Kashmiri Youth Rescue Soldier Trapped Inside Damaged Vehicle

Burqa-Clad VHP Leader Caught Harassing Muslim Woman at Muharram Gathering

Shiv Sena advocates for Uniform Civil Code

Dussehra: Ravan’s effigies bring Hindu, Muslim artisans together

Shadow of terror - `Moideen met Islamic State module members'

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South Asia

Taliban Leader, Haibatullah Akhundzada, Was Openly Teaching and Preaching In Pakistan

US Drone Strikes Kill 8 ISIS Loyalists in East of Afghanistan

First ISIS deaths reported in Jawzjan province of Afghanistan

Taliban terrorist group’s mine making centre busted in Takhar: NDS

Dostum to launch major clearance operation in Kunduz province

Afghan army helicopter crashed due to technical issues, killing 7 on board: MoD

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North America

Muslim Americans Express Disappointment over Debate Rhetoric Tying Muslims to Terrorism

Alabama Police Chief Criticized For Perceived Anti-Muslim Facebook Posts

As Donald Trump questioned Muslims, Turnbull and Shorten did something remarkable

Event celebrates Muslim Americans

Trump Suggests US Working with Russia, Allies in Fight against ISIL

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Arab World

Libyan Army Kills over 70 ISIL Militants in Sirte

ISIL Terrorists Fleeing Nineveh to Turkey

Yemen's Supreme Council Rejects Talks with UN before Cease of 'Massacre'

Syria Condemns 'Deliberate Criminal' Saudi Attack in Yemen's Sana'a

Syrian Military Forces Continue to Hunt Terrorists in Aleppo Districts

Syrian Gov't Forces About to Win Full Control over another Key District in Aleppo

Yemen's Long-Range Ballistic Missile Hits Saudi Arabia's Airbase in Ta'if City

S. Arabia Sends National Guard Forces to Najran

Iran Asks UN Help to Send Humanitarian Aid to Yemen

Rouhani Calls for Broadening of Economic Cooperation among Asian Countries

Hamas Seeking to Strengthen Ties with Iran

Madinah to become ‘Capital of Islamic Tourism’

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Mideast

Turkey Kills 38 ISIL Militants, Rebels Advance in Syria

18 Killed In PKK Suicide Bomb Attack in Turkey’s Hakkari

ISIL drone attacks Turkish troops in Bashiqa camp

Governor’s office revises death toll in PKK suicide attack in Hakkari to 15

Israeli minister due in Turkey for first post-crisis visit: Official

Turkey probes 500,000 digital documents to find more evidence for Gülen extradition

Visa liberalization with Turkey possible after ‘dust settles’

Turkish Stream deal may be signed during Putin’s Istanbul visit: Russian minister

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Pakistan

Police Asked To Trace 102 Missing Militants

Cleric Vows to Stop WCLA from Running Badshahi Mosque

Dar has burdened country with debt: JI

Balochistan Will Be Major Beneficiary of CPEC, Says PM Nawaz

Interior minister, KP CM to be nominated in APS attack FIR

Pakistan not interested in joining talks ‘for the heck of it’, says Basit

Pak Army chief visits LoC, praises operational preparedness of troops

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Africa

PM Voices Concern over Islamic State Presence in Somalia

Muslim Extremist Jailed For Raising £3,000 for ISIS-Linked Terror Group

Germany's Merkel pledges help for 'troubled' Mali

Nigerian state orders arrest of banned Shiite group’s spokesman

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Southeast Asia

Myanmar Sends Troops into Muslim-Majority Region after Deadly Attacks

Malaysia’s secular versus religious divide

Myanmar Muslims on trial for illegally importing 90 cows for Eid al-Adha

Jakarta police probe mosque vandalism amid tension ahead of election

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Europe

Russia Plans Permanent Naval Facility in Syrian Port of Tartus

German police detain Syrian man wanted in alleged bomb plot

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Australia

An Anti-Muslim Vigilante Group Is Roaming the Melbourne CBD Pledging To “Keep Our Streets Safe”

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/baby-screaming-in-pain-as-man-slices-its-head-open-in-shi-ite-islamic-bloodletting-ritual/d/108815

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Baby Screaming In Pain As Man Slices Its Head Open In Shi'ite Islamic Bloodletting Ritual

9 October 2016

This is the moment a baby screamed out as a relative sliced its head open with a kitchen knife as part of an Islamic self-flagellation ceremony to mourn the death of the Prophet Muhammad's grandson 1,300 years ago.

Gruesome pictures show a man holding a knife to the head of a young child in Ahmadabad, India while others show boys whipping themselves with sharp blades.

In separate images, men can be seen crying out in pain as they use knives attached to chains to cut their own backs at a mosque in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Pools of blood can be seen on the floor of the building after the men performed the ritual to mark Ashura - one of the major fixtures of the Islamic calendar. 

The tradition is seen by some as a way of washing away their sins and is a national holiday in many countries with thousands taking part in the annual rituals.

A national holiday in many countries, thousands take part in the annual rituals which include people whipping and cutting themselves with chains and knives. 

Ashura mourns the death of Imam Hussein, a grandson of the Prophet Mohammed, who was killed by armies of the Yazid near Karbala in 680 AD. 

That event lies at the heart of Islam's divide into Shiite and Sunni sects.

In recent years, there have been a spate of attacks on Ashura celebrations around the region by Sunni extremist groups which regard Shiites as heretics.

Some Shi'ite leaders discourage self-mutilation and bloodletting, claiming it has no basis in early religious history.

Others say it creates a negative image, and encourage people to donate blood instead.

Thousands of men perform the same brutal practice in Lebanon, Bangladesh, Iraq, Pakistan and Myanmar and even Athens, Greece.

Source: dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3829438/Bleeding-beliefs-Afghan-Shiite-Muslims-self-flagellate-sharp-blades-mourn-death-Prophet-s-grandson-1-300-years-ago.html

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Taliban Leader, Haibatullah Akhundzada, Was Openly Teaching and Preaching In Pakistan

Mon Oct 10 2016

The new supreme leader of the Afghan Taliban Mawlavi Haibatullah Akhundzada was openly teaching and preaching in a mosque in Balochistan province of Pakistan before he was appointed to succeed Mullah Akhtar Mansoor who was killed in US drone strike in Pakistan.

The mosque, Al Haaj mosque, where Mawlavi Akhundzada was teaching and preaching is located in Kuchlak, near the city of Quetta, the associates and students of Akhundzada told Reuters.

According to Reuters, the latest disclosures regarding Akhundzada could put further pressure on Pakistan to do more to crack down on militants openly living there.

Akhundzada was appointed the supreme leader of the Taliban group in May, days after Mullah Mansoor was targeted in a US drone strike in the vicinity of Balochistan province of Afghanistan.

He is believed to be hiding after taking charge of the group with his associates and students saying “Once he became Emir, he left with his whole family.”

Hafiz Abdul Majeed, who runs the Al Haaj mosque, told Reuters that he himself studied for several years under Akhundzada.

“You can’t teach religion and run (the Taliban’s) government at the same time. And it would of course have been dangerous for us and the students and the mosque if he remained here,” he added.

This comes as the Afghan officials have long been criticizing Pakistan for remaining reckless to act against the leadership councils of the Taliban and the notorious Haqqani terrorist network based in Peshawar and Quetta cities of Pakistan.

The Afghan officials also accuse the Pakistani military, specifically the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) for supporting the Afghan militants.

Source: khaama.com/taliban-leader-was-openly-teaching-and-preaching-in-pakistan-02040

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Muslim Americans Express Disappointment Over Debate Rhetoric Tying Muslims to Terrorism

Oct 10, 2016

During Sunday night's presidential debate, Gorbah Hamed, a Muslim woman who was part of the debate's night's "uncommitted" audience, asked both presidential candidates how they would help Muslim Americans deal with the rise of Islamophobia.

"There are 3.3 million Muslims in the United States, and I'm one of them," Hamed said, addressing Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. "You've mentioned working with Muslim nations, but with Islamophobia on the rise, how will you help people like me deal with the consequences of being labeled as a threat to the country after the election is over?"

Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton (R) listen to a question from the audience during their presidential town hall debate at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., October 9, 2016. Saul Loeb/Pool / Reuters

Trump began his response by acknowledging Islamophobia, calling it "a shame," and argued that Muslims must do better to "report when they see something going on."

"When they see hatred going on, they have to report it. As an example, in San Bernardino, many people saw the bombs all over the apartment of the two people that killed 14 and wounded many, many people. Horribly wounded. They'll never be the same. Muslims have to report the problems when they see them," Trump said.

However, as NBC News reported Sunday in its live blog of the debate, there is no evidence to support the claims that Muslim neighbors of the San Bernardino couple saw and did not report explosives in their apartment.

Trump has made similar statements previously, including after the deadly mass shooting at an Orlando nightclub in June, when he told CNN, "For some reason, the Muslim community does not report people like this."

In response to those claims, FBI director James Comey commented on the agency's relationship with Muslims, saying, "They [Muslims] do not want people committing violence, either in their community or in the name of their faith, and so some of our most productive relationships are with people who see things and tell us things who happen to be Muslim."

Comey added, "It's at the heart of the FBI's effectiveness to have good relationships with these folks."

According to a Muslim Public Affairs Council policy report about post-9/11 terrorism incidents, Muslim communities helped U.S. security officials prevent nearly two out of every five al Qaeda plots threatening the U.S. since 9/11.

Clinton responded to Hamed's question by highlighting Trump's "demagogic rhetoric" toward Muslims and how it aids the recruiting efforts of ISIS.

"We are not at war with Islam. And it is a mistake and it plays into the hands of the terrorists to act as though we are. So I want a country where citizens like you and your family are just as welcome as anyone else," Clinton said.

But Clinton also echoed the need for Muslims to be part of the efforts to ensure safe communities. "We need American Muslims to be part of our eyes and ears on our front lines. I've worked with a lot of different Muslim groups around America. I've met with a lot of them, and I've heard how important it is for them to feel that they are wanted and included and part of our country, part of our homeland security, and that's what I want to see," she said.

Many Muslims were disappointed by both candidates' rhetoric towards Muslims, often regarding them as tools in the war against terrorism, and took to Twitter to share those frustrations

Source: nbcnews.com/news/asian-america/muslim-americans-express-disappointment-over-debate-rhetoric-tying-muslims-terrorism-n663431

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Libyan Army Kills over 70 ISIL Militants in Sirte

October 10, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Libyan army allied with UN-backed Government of National Accord killed more than 70 ISIL militants during an anti-terror operation in the city of Sirte, local media said.

The GNA army liberated strategic positions in Sirte's Eastern suburbs from the ISIL and killed over 70 militants in battles to liberate the areas in the city which is considered as the last stronghold of ISIL militants in Libya, LANA reported.

Local residents provided assistance to the government forces by pointing out ISIL militants shelters to the soldiers.

ISIL terrorist organization, gained a foothold in Libya during the ongoing turmoil in the North African country that erupted following the 2011 ouster of the country’s longtime leader Muammar Gaddafi.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950719000898

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India

Baby Screaming In Pain As Man Slices Its Head Open In Shi'ite Islamic Bloodletting Ritual

9 October 2016

This is the moment a baby screamed out as a relative sliced its head open with a kitchen knife as part of an Islamic self-flagellation ceremony to mourn the death of the Prophet Muhammad's grandson 1,300 years ago.

Gruesome pictures show a man holding a knife to the head of a young child in Ahmadabad, India while others show boys whipping themselves with sharp blades.

In separate images, men can be seen crying out in pain as they use knives attached to chains to cut their own backs at a mosque in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Pools of blood can be seen on the floor of the building after the men performed the ritual to mark Ashura - one of the major fixtures of the Islamic calendar. 

The tradition is seen by some as a way of washing away their sins and is a national holiday in many countries with thousands taking part in the annual rituals.

A national holiday in many countries, thousands take part in the annual rituals which include people whipping and cutting themselves with chains and knives. 

Ashura mourns the death of Imam Hussein, a grandson of the Prophet Mohammed, who was killed by armies of the Yazid near Karbala in 680 AD. 

That event lies at the heart of Islam's divide into Shiite and Sunni sects.

In recent years, there have been a spate of attacks on Ashura celebrations around the region by Sunni extremist groups which regard Shiites as heretics.

Some Shi'ite leaders discourage self-mutilation and bloodletting, claiming it has no basis in early religious history.

Others say it creates a negative image, and encourage people to donate blood instead.

Thousands of men perform the same brutal practice in Lebanon, Bangladesh, Iraq, Pakistan and Myanmar and even Athens, Greece.

Source: dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3829438/Bleeding-beliefs-Afghan-Shiite-Muslims-self-flagellate-sharp-blades-mourn-death-Prophet-s-grandson-1-300-years-ago.html

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Objectors to Nawazuddin’s Participation in Ram Leela are Ignorant of India’s Pluralistic Traditions

10/10/2016

My eighty-year-old aunt Rabab Zamin describes the famous, centuries old Ram Leela in Ramnagar, Varanasi of the 1940s in her book, From the Depths of Memory: A Family Saga.

“Going down memory lane, I see a decorated elephant standing before me. I hear the Mahaut saying, “Bibi Ko Salam Karo,” The elephant lifts its trunk, touches it forehead and kneels down. A ladder is lowered. I climb up and am comfortably seated in the howdah. The elephant ambles towards the Ram Leela grounds. I am going instead of Baba and I get all the preferential treatment Baba would have got. I get all this treatment at age six or seven.

The Maharaj is in Ajmer studying at Mayo College, the Eton of India. Baba’s rank is the highest amongst all officials of the state. Baba may not have come and in his absence his daughter has to be given the same respect…. Protocol has to be followed; my elephant pushes ahead of every other elephant. It has to be in the lead. No one can go ahead of the Dewan Saheb’s elephant. No one can leave the Ram Leela grounds until I have left…. I go there every day of the festival.”

These are the memories of a young Muslim girl dressed in her festival best, attending Ram Leela in around 75 years ago in the holiest city of India – Banares. When I called her recently to talk to her about it, she became tearful and said though she was too young to recall much, she still remembers being on the first elephant and the respect given to her by everyone there despite her tender years.

So when I read that actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui was stopped by Hindutva activists from acting as Mareech in the Ram Leela in his village because he was a Muslim, I can only bemoan the lack of understanding of a long tradition of Muslim participation in this joyous festival.

Years later in 1960s my father was posted in Varanasi and my youngest sister recalls that she went with my parents to watch the Ram Leela on the Maharaj’s invitation and their elephant was right next to his elephant. She was 7 years old and says it was great fun. This was what has been described as Ganga Jamuni Tehzeeb at its best.

Full report at:thewire.in/72070/objectors-nawazuddins-participation-ram-leela-ignorant-indias-pluralistic-traditions/

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Muslim Milkman Donates 60 Litres Milk To Goddess Durga For Making Of Prasad During Puja

October 9, 2016

Visitors arriving at the La-Touche Road Puja Sangsad (Jogendra Pathak Road) experienced the "taste" of communal amity on Saptami (the 7th day of Navratra), with puja organisers using almost 60 litres of milk supplied by a Muslim milkman to prepare the kheer (rice pudding) being offered to Goddess Durga.

With the puja celebrations entering its 75th year, the example of communal bonhomie shown by the puja samiti is certainly a welcome sign. Organisers feel that this would certainly go a long way in strengthening the Ganga-Jamuni culture, which is synonymous with Lucknow.

According to Manoj Goswami, a senior office bearer of puja samiti, "The gesture of Daulat Ali Ghosi offering milk free of cost to prepare the kheer is certainly a good gesture, and we would treasure this moment for lifetime." He further stated that Daulat Ali Ghosi had initially agreed to supply almost 25 litres of milk, which he subsequently increased to 60 litres and was extensively used in preparing the kheer on the occasion of Mahasaptami.

General secretary of the puja committee Sudeep Sanyal along with other office bearers Dilip Chakraborty and Babul Sanyal also welcomed the gesture of Ghosi to donate 60 litres of milk on the occasion of Saptami.

Daulat Ali Ghosi, who is heading the Uttar Pradesh unit of the All India Muslim Ghosi Association (AIMGA), termed his gesture as a routine one. "I have been donating milk for different religious occasions across different religions, and this is no different. However, it is perhaps for the first time, that I am donating milk for the Durga Puja, and I am simply overwhelmed," Daulat Ali said.

He further stated that the peaceful co-existence of people from different religions is the real identity of Lucknow's culture. "If such acts could help to maintain the communal amity of the city, then I whole-heartedly support this, and feel privileged to be a part of this," Ghosi said.

Showering praises on Daulat Ali Ghosi, Bharat Singh 'Puredarbar', who heads the Mahapurush Smriti Sansthan, said, "Daulat (bhaai) Ali Ghosi has been working relentlessly to ensure that the delicate fabric of communal amity of Lucknow remains intact."

Citing an example, Bharat Singh said that in October 2015, Ali had announced the formation of Gau Seva Dal in all the districts of UP to keep a close watch on cattle which tends to go astray and accidentally falls into pits or wells.

He further added that the members of AIMGA had also urged the Uttar Pradesh government to help them in getting collective insurance of all cows in the state. "The association had already sent a letter in this regard to the state government, and is hopeful of a positive action," Singh said.

Source: indiatimes.com/news/india/muslim-milkman-donates-60-litres-milk-to-goddess-durga-for-making-prasad-during-puja-263238.html

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Kashmiri youth rescue soldier trapped inside damaged vehicle

Srinagar, Oct 9, 2016

Kashmiri youth today rescued a soldier who was trapped inside a mangled vehicle which had met an accident on Srinagar Bypass road near Lasjan area of the city, police said.

An army vehicle veered off the road after the driver lost control at Lasjan and hit a tree, a police official said.

He said one soldier was trapped inside the badly damaged vehicle and efforts of other army men to evacuate him did not fructify.

"Local Kashmiri youth rushed to the spot and managed to bring the injured army jawan out by placing a truck next to the damaged army vehicle," the official said.

Some passersby shot the entire incident on their mobile phones.

The video of the incident has been widely shared on 'youtube' and other social networking sites.

The incident comes amidst the ongoing unrest which has claimed 84 lives and thousands others injured in clashes between protestors and security forces.

In July, local residents of Bijbehara in south Kashmir Anantnag district defied curfew to rescue over 20 Amarnath pilgrims whose vehicle had met an accident during the beginning of the current unrest.

Source: deccanherald.com/content/574989/kashmiri-youth-rescue-soldier-trapped.html

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Burqa-Clad VHP Leader Caught Harassing Muslim Woman at Muharram Gathering

October 10, 2016

Allahabad, Oct 10: A Burqa-clad Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader was thrashed by locals after he was caught harassing a Muslim woman at a Milaad programme organised to commemorate Muharram. The incident took place in the trans-Ganga area of Mauaima here late on Saturday. Abhishek Yadav, said to be the office-bearer of the right-wing group VHP, was allegedly caught harassing a Muslim woman. The VHP man was wearing a Burqa (veil) when he was caught red-handed. Locals thrashed him before handing him over to the police.

A milaad programme was organised to commemorate Muharram near Imambara in Mani Umarpur village. The devotees were sitting segregated by gender and listening to the sermons of the Muslim clerics. During the gathering, a woman complained of harassment by a Burqa-clad person sitting beside her. When the locals confronted and asked the person to remove the veil, he refused to do. Other women present at the programme then took off the Burqa forcefully and found Abhishek Yadav behind it. (ALSO READ: Burqa-clad RSS activist caught throwing beef at temple? Pictures go viral on Facebook!)

According to a report of Times of India, locals who identified Abhishek Yadav as a VHP man thrashed him mercilessly. Some elderly people then intervened and rescued him. Mani Umarpur village head Imtiaz ud Din registered an FIR with Mauaima police against Abhishek Yadav. An FIR under sections 296 and 354A has been registered against Abhishek Yadav.

Abhishek Yadav was rushed to Beli (Tej Bahadur Sapru) hospital where his condition is said to be stable. Abhishek too has lodged a cross FIR against seven persons for beating him.

Source: india.com/news/india/Burqa-clad-vhp-leader-caught-harassing-muslim-woman-at-muharram-gathering-1546718/

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Shiv Sena advocates for Uniform Civil Code

October 10, 2016

Mumbai: The Shiv Sena has said that a uniform civil code needs to be introduced at the earliest to ensure justice to one and all, including Muslim women who are bedevilled by the triple talaq system. “It is very necessary that the uniform civil code is enforced in the country. This what the Shiv Sena has been demanding and this is also the demand of the BJP.

It should be introduced immediately and we want this particularly for Muslim women who have been harassed by the triple talaq system,” Shiv Sena leader Manisha Kayande told ANI.

The need to bring in the uniform civil code has been growing after women activists sought judicial intervention to ban triple talaq system and polygamy. The Law Commission on Friday has sought public opinion on the exercise of reforming family laws of all religions.

The commission has reportedly appealed to members of religious, minority and social groups, non-government organisations, to present their views through a questionnaire on a range of issues, including the practice of triple talaq, the right to property for a woman citizen and polygamy.

However, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) has been defending the triple talaq system and termed the filing of the affidavit as ‘un-islamic.’ They claim that triple talaq is a personal law and the Centre has no right to modify it.

Source: siasat.com/news/shiv-sena-advocates-uniform-civil-code-1038701/

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Dussehra: Ravan’s effigies bring Hindu, Muslim artisans together

October 10, 2016

Twenty-four artisans from Hindu and Muslim communities from Agra and Mathura work in tandem to make effigies of Ravana on Dussehra in Ahmedabad. Muslim-dominated ‘Khanwadi Muslim Basti’ in Ahmedabad’s Ramol area is the place where this team temporarily settles down for 40 days and prepares effigies of Ravana, Meghnath and Kumbhkaran for giant infrastructure companies from across the state. This year, the famous Hare Krishna temple in Wadaj on the outskirts of Ahmedabad is added to the list of “loyal parties”.

Sharafat Ali Khan (38), the second generation of a Muslim family in the business, is busy keeping a close watch over a team of men who are performing their designated tasks as if on an auto mode. Sitting outside a one-room structure on the roadside, a lean man in his forties is generously spreading a slimy off-white paste with his bare hands over sheets of brown paper, successively handing these over to another standing close by. The other man then pastes these on a near five-foot tall and three-foot wide bamboo frame, covered with newspapers on the outside. Yet another man is busy giving a long upward twirl to the mustaches of Ravan’s effigy, with sheets of black glazing paper cut into a curve.

Similarly, another team of three is busy giving finishing touches to another effigy, ensuring no inch is left without the golden hue, using shining paper sheets on a 25-foot headless structure. Next to them, in an open area right between rows of houses, are stacked more than half a dozen similar huge golden headless structures, over 50-foot tall, waiting to be dispatched to areas across the state. “The one standing out in pink is of Kumbhkaran,” Sharafat points out to the “odd man out”. Their faces are delivered separately to avoid logistic difficulties of breakage.

A few days back, disappointment loomed over the team as the city was witnessing sporadic rains and there was no space to store the already half-prepared effigies. “Places where the concealing sheets came off, we did them again, working day and night before yesterday,” said Momin Khan, a member of the team.

“We have been making effigies on orders for companies from Mundra, Dwarka, Modasa, Nadiad, Vadodara and Ahmedabad. We also make effigies for people in other states, including Rourkela in Odisha and Jodhpur in Rajasthan. My father started making Ravan effigies nearly 50 years back. I took on the legacy from him starting from the age of 15,” he said.

A resident of Kirawali in Agra district, the team that he brings along from Agra and Mathura is a mix of Hindus and Muslims. “Out of 24, 12 are Hindus and the rest are Muslims. We stay at one place, eat together and work together. Our food is cooked at one place. We pray at the same place; it does not have any boundary or demarcation,” says Jeetubhai, another member of the team, who is associated with Sharafat for the last ten years.

Sharafat’s family (his mother and elder son, who accompany him each year) says that more than Muslim festivals, they feel “attached” to Dussehra and cannot think of doing anything else. “All my four sons are into making effigies for Dussehra. This is what we are known for and identified with. This is part of our lives,” the 68-year-old mother says, refusing to share her name. “I do not want to be identified with my name, but the work we do,” she reasons.

Those accompanying Khan’s family had to leave their families behind. “Our children are small and go to schools. So, we cannot bring them along. Also, here we stay together as a family,” says Badshah Khan, one of the oldest team members from Agra.

Though the earnings, Khan says, are enough to sustain their families and provide for decent education of their children, he also has a wedding decorator business running back home.

Unsure if the legacy would be carried on after him as the eldest of his four sons, Mohsin is keen to complete his post-graduation in commerce and take up a job. “I have four sons. It is too early to predict the future of our legacy, but I am hopeful it will have a long life,” he says, even as he moves aside to attend a call fr

Source: indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/ahmedabad-dussehra-ravans-effigies-bring-hindu-muslim-artisans-together-3074465/

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Shadow of terror - `Moideen met Islamic State module members'

Oct 10, 2016

KOCHI: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has found that Thirunelveli native Subahani Haja Moideen (31) who returned to India after having fought for the Islamic State (IS) in Syria and Iraq, had met members of the Kerala module of the terror group.The meetings were held outside Kerala. NIA officers said that Moideen had met members of the Kerala module -- six of them were arrested by the agency at Kanakalamal near Panoor in Kannur on October 2 -- after he returned to India on September 22. "Mobile tower locations of some of the module members and Moideen were common on several occasions. They had come under same tower locations outside Kerala. Also, call record details of Moideen show that he had also contacted them. This means that Moideen was in the know of their plans," said an NIA officer. NIA suspects that Moideen was the common link with at least three-IS inspired modules in Kerala. After his return from Syria, Moideen had travelled to Chennai, Coimbatore and other places to meet local contacts in the conspiracy, collect money and procure explosives for terrorist acts as guided by his handlers. He had also received a payment of Rs 20,000 from the IS in Syria with which he attempted to source explosives from Sivakasi.

"We are yet to verify whether Moideen tried to procure explosives for the Kerala module for the terror strikes it had planned. Meanwhile, the six members of the module have confessed to the conspiracy to organize terror strikes in the state," added the officer.

The module had held discussions on targeting seven strategically important places and five prominent personalities -- two judges, two politicians and an IPS officer -- in the state to show its presence. It had also planned a `Nice model attack' by driving a truck into a harmony meeting organized by Jamaat-e-Islami in Kochi last month.

On Sunday , the NIA team led by DSP AP Shoukathali took Moideen to his house at Market Road near Thodupuzha in Idukki for evidence collection.

Meanwhile, a team of NIA officers is camping in Coimbatore to interrogate some youths who have suspected links with the module. One of the six arrested members of the module, Abu Basheer aka Rashid aka Buccha aka Dalpati aka Ameer (29), hailed from South Ukkadam in Coimbatore.

Source: timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kochi/Shadow-of-terror-Moideen-met-Islamic-State-module-members/articleshow/54772531.cms

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South Asia

Taliban Leader, Haibatullah Akhundzada, Was Openly Teaching and Preaching In Pakistan

Mon Oct 10 2016

The new supreme leader of the Afghan Taliban Mawlavi Haibatullah Akhundzada was openly teaching and preaching in a mosque in Balochistan province of Pakistan before he was appointed to succeed Mullah Akhtar Mansoor who was killed in US drone strike in Pakistan.

The mosque, Al Haaj mosque, where Mawlavi Akhundzada was teaching and preaching is located in Kuchlak, near the city of Quetta, the associates and students of Akhundzada told Reuters.

According to Reuters, the latest disclosures regarding Akhundzada could put further pressure on Pakistan to do more to crack down on militants openly living there.

Akhundzada was appointed the supreme leader of the Taliban group in May, days after Mullah Mansoor was targeted in a US drone strike in the vicinity of Balochistan province of Afghanistan.

He is believed to be hiding after taking charge of the group with his associates and students saying “Once he became Emir, he left with his whole family.”

Hafiz Abdul Majeed, who runs the Al Haaj mosque, told Reuters that he himself studied for several years under Akhundzada.

“You can’t teach religion and run (the Taliban’s) government at the same time. And it would of course have been dangerous for us and the students and the mosque if he remained here,” he added.

This comes as the Afghan officials have long been criticizing Pakistan for remaining reckless to act against the leadership councils of the Taliban and the notorious Haqqani terrorist network based in Peshawar and Quetta cities of Pakistan.

The Afghan officials also accuse the Pakistani military, specifically the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) for supporting the Afghan militants.

Source: khaama.com/taliban-leader-was-openly-teaching-and-preaching-in-pakistan-02040

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US drone strike kill 8 ISIS loyalists in East of Afghanistan

Mon Oct 10 2016

At least 20 loyalists of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group were killed in a drone strike in eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan.

According to the local security officials, the airstrike was carried out in Nazian and Achin districts of Nangahr.

The officiasl futher added that the first airstrike targeted the loyalists of the terror group in Nazian district, leaving at least 8 of them dead.

The second airstrike was carried out in Achin district that killed at least 12 loyalists of the terror group, the officials added.

According to the officials, the local residents in the mentioned districts did not suffere any casualties in the airstrikes.

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

This comes as at least 34 loyalists of the terror group were killed in separate airstrikes in Nazian and Haska Mina districts of Nangarhar earlier.

Nangarhar is among the relatively volatile provinces in eastern Afghanistan where both the Taliban insurgents and militants loyal to ISIS terrorist group are actively operating.

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

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

Source: khaama.com/us-drone-strike-kill-8-isis-loyalists-in-east-of-afghanistan-02042

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First ISIS deaths reported in Jawzjan province of Afghanistan

Sun Oct 09 2016

The loyalists of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group have reported suffered casualties in northern Jawzjan province, the first report emerging regarding the activities of the terror group from the province.

Provincial officials said Sunday at least 20 militants including loyalists of ISIS terrorist group were killed during the latest operations.

The officials further added at least 40 insurgents including the loyalists of the terror group were wounded during the same operations.

Provincial governor’s spokesman Mohammad Reza Ghafoori confirmed the reports and said the operations are still underway in parts of Darzab and Qoshtapa districts where the ISIS and Taliban deaths have been reported.

He said the Afghan forces have managed to control of at least one village during the clashes so far and operations are still underway in two other villages.

Ghafoori however did not disclose further information regarding the possible casualties of the Afghan security forces during the operations.

Reports regarding ISIS deaths in Jawzjan have been rare although local officials in northern provinces have confirmed the presence of the loyalists of the terror group in the past.

The acting provincial governor of Balkh province Ata Mohammad Noor earlier said ISIS loyalists are attempting to establish bases in this province in a bid to expand activities in the northern provinces.

Source: khaama.com/first-isis-deaths-reported-in-jawzjan-province-of-afghanistan-02039

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Taliban terrorist group’s mine making center busted in Takhar: NDS

Mon Oct 10 2016

The Afghan Intelligence, National Directorate of Security (NDS), said Monday a mine making center belonging to the Taliban terrorist group was busted in northeastern Takhar province of Afghanistan.

According to a statement released by NDS, the center was busted during a special military operation conducted in Khwajah Ghar district.

The statement further added that the intelligence operatives seized 25 anti-personnel Improvised Explosive Device (IED), 2 anti-armored Improvised Explosive Device (IED), 3 magnetic bombs, 3 roadside bombs, 5 82 mm mortar fuses, 3 RPG rockets, 3 mortar rounds, 3 remote controls, 100 meters of explosives wire, 16 kgs of explosives, 1 mobile phone set for landmine detonation, 50 mortar round explosives, 12 military uniforms, 1 box of Dshk heavy machine gun ammo, and 6 explosives capsules.

NDS said the intelligence operativess thwarted numerous attacks with the confiscation of the mentioned weapons and explosives belonging to the Taliban group.

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

Takhar is among the relatively peaceful provinces in northeastern Afghanistan but the province lies close to the northern Kunduz and northeastern Badakhshan provinces where insurgency activities led by the Taliban are frequently reported.

The Taliban militants have launched numerous attacks on key northern provinces including the strategic Kunduz city during the recent months in a bid to seize the control of the key areas.

Source: khaama.com/taliban-terrorist-groups-mine-making-center-busted-in-takhar-nds-02045

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Dostum to launch major clearance operation in Kunduz province

Mon Oct 10 2016

The First Vice President General Abdul Rashid Dostum is expected to launch a major clearance operation in northern Kunduz province of Afghanistan as the Taliban group launched a coordinated attack on the strategic Kunduz city last week.

Gen. Dostum made the announcement regarding the launch of the major operation on Sunday night, emphasizing that there are still security gaps available in the ongoing operations in Kunduz.

He said the operations will be launched soon after he will visit the provnce together with the Minister of Interior and deputy intelligence chief.

The First Vice President has supervised numerous military operations in some northern provinces including Jawzjan and Faryab provinces.

He escaped numerous attacks and assassination plot as he was accompanying the Afghan security forces during the operations in northern parts of the country.

Gen. Dostum charge of the security operations in Kunduz last week through the Ministry of Defense Command and Control Center, shortly after the Taliban launched a coordinated attack on Kunduz city.

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.

Source: khaama.com/dostum-to-launch-major-clearance-operation-in-kunduz-province-02043

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Afghan army helicopter crashed due to technical issues, killing 7 on board: MoD

Sun Oct 09 2016

A helicopter of the Afghan National Army (ANA) forces crashed due to technical issues in northern Baghlan province of Afghanistan, killing all 7 on board, the Ministry of Defense of Afghanistan (MoD) said.

According to MoD, the Mi-17 helicopter crashed as it was delivering supplies of the Afghan armed forces along with another Mi-17 in Qurgahn Tapa area.

MoD further added that the helicopter was delivering supplies to the armed forces under the militants siege in Qurghan Tapa area.

The statement by MoD comes as the local officials in Baghlan province earlier said the helicopter was shot down by the Taliban militants.

The Talian group also claimed that its fighters shot down the helicopter as it was trying to air drop supplies to the Afghan security forces.

The group also shared pictures taken from long distance which purportedly showed smoke rising from the area of the incident.

The Taliban insurgents have intensified attacks on key northern provinces during the recent months as the group attempts to expand its insurgency in north of the country.

Taliban launched a coordinated attack on the strategic Kunduz city last week but the Afghan forces acted promptly to repulse the attack although sporadic clashes still continue in the outskirts of the city.

Source: khaama.com/afghan-army-helicopter-crashed-due-to-technical-issues-killing-7-on-board-mod-02038

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North America

Muslim Americans Express Disappointment Over Debate Rhetoric Tying Muslims to Terrorism

Oct 10, 2016

During Sunday night's presidential debate, Gorbah Hamed, a Muslim woman who was part of the debate's night's "uncommitted" audience, asked both presidential candidates how they would help Muslim Americans deal with the rise of Islamophobia.

"There are 3.3 million Muslims in the United States, and I'm one of them," Hamed said, addressing Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. "You've mentioned working with Muslim nations, but with Islamophobia on the rise, how will you help people like me deal with the consequences of being labeled as a threat to the country after the election is over?"

Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton (R) listen to a question from the audience during their presidential town hall debate at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., October 9, 2016. Saul Loeb/Pool / Reuters

Trump began his response by acknowledging Islamophobia, calling it "a shame," and argued that Muslims must do better to "report when they see something going on."

"When they see hatred going on, they have to report it. As an example, in San Bernardino, many people saw the bombs all over the apartment of the two people that killed 14 and wounded many, many people. Horribly wounded. They'll never be the same. Muslims have to report the problems when they see them," Trump said.

However, as NBC News reported Sunday in its live blog of the debate, there is no evidence to support the claims that Muslim neighbors of the San Bernardino couple saw and did not report explosives in their apartment.

Trump has made similar statements previously, including after the deadly mass shooting at an Orlando nightclub in June, when he told CNN, "For some reason, the Muslim community does not report people like this."

In response to those claims, FBI director James Comey commented on the agency's relationship with Muslims, saying, "They [Muslims] do not want people committing violence, either in their community or in the name of their faith, and so some of our most productive relationships are with people who see things and tell us things who happen to be Muslim."

Comey added, "It's at the heart of the FBI's effectiveness to have good relationships with these folks."

According to a Muslim Public Affairs Council policy report about post-9/11 terrorism incidents, Muslim communities helped U.S. security officials prevent nearly two out of every five al Qaeda plots threatening the U.S. since 9/11.

Clinton responded to Hamed's question by highlighting Trump's "demagogic rhetoric" toward Muslims and how it aids the recruiting efforts of ISIS.

"We are not at war with Islam. And it is a mistake and it plays into the hands of the terrorists to act as though we are. So I want a country where citizens like you and your family are just as welcome as anyone else," Clinton said.

But Clinton also echoed the need for Muslims to be part of the efforts to ensure safe communities. "We need American Muslims to be part of our eyes and ears on our front lines. I've worked with a lot of different Muslim groups around America. I've met with a lot of them, and I've heard how important it is for them to feel that they are wanted and included and part of our country, part of our homeland security, and that's what I want to see," she said.

Many Muslims were disappointed by both candidates' rhetoric towards Muslims, often regarding them as tools in the war against terrorism, and took to Twitter to share those frustrations

Source: nbcnews.com/news/asian-america/muslim-americans-express-disappointment-over-debate-rhetoric-tying-muslims-terrorism-n663431

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Alabama Police Chief Criticized For Perceived Anti-Muslim Facebook Posts

Oct 10, 2016

An Islamic American civil rights group is calling for an Alabama police chief to be investigated after he posted alleged “anti-Muslim bigotry” on his Facebook page.

On Sept. 23, Gurley Police Chief Barry Pendergraft shared a picture of a box of ammunition on his personal Facebook account with the caption: “100 more bacon grease covered bullets in the box! This relaxes me so!!”

Four days later, Pendergraft posted a short video of ammunition being picked up with a similar caption: “Happiness is a couple thousand rounds in the ammo box! Bacon grease dipped of course!!”

According to the Alabama chapter of the Council on Islamic-American Relations, the idea of bullets covered in bacon grease refers to “a theme often used by anti-Muslim bigots because they falsely believe Muslims cannot enter heaven if they are shot by such ammunition.”

“We call on state and federal authorities to investigate whether the evident anti-Muslim bigotry expressed by Chief Pendergraft is acceptable for someone in his position, who is obligated to provide all citizens, regardless of faith or ethnicity, equal and fair treatment,” CAIR-Alabama Executive Director Khaula Hadeed said in a statement. CAIR is a national advocacy group that aims to promote understanding of Islam.

Hadeed told The Washington Post that a few people alerted her last week to the Facebook posts, which at the time were publicly visible.

“It was extremely disturbing to see that. In the beginning I didn’t even believe it,” she said. “This is an intimidation tactic. It’s basically telling us ‘Buddy, I’m getting ready for something.’ What are you getting ready for? This is the scary part.”

A person who answered the phone for the Gurley Police Department on Saturday referred all questions to Pendergraft. The police chief did not respond to inquiries Saturday. As of Friday, his Facebook account was no longer publicly visible, according to Hadeed.

Located about 15 miles east of Huntsville, Ala., rural Gurley has a population of about 800 people, according to the 2010 census. Gurley Mayor Robert Sentell told AL.com on Friday that he did not know about the Facebook posts until the newspaper called that and would investigate the matter.

[Group says Muslim passenger was removed from American Airlines flight because of bias]

Hadeed said the chief’s Facebook posts reflect a rise in Islamophobia nationwide, which she attributed “at least in part to anti-Muslim bigotry expressed by Donald Trump and other public figures.” Early in his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, Trump had called for a total ban on Muslim immigrants and refugees, though it has been unclear lately whether Trump still supports such a ban.

Full report at:washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2016/10/09/bacon-grease-bullets-police-chief-criticized-for-perceived-anti-muslim-facebook-posts/

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As Donald Trump questioned Muslims, Turnbull and Shorten did something remarkable

Oct 10, 2016

Donald Trump's gloating about sexual assault wasn't the only lightning rod of Monday's fiery second presidential debate.

Muslims living in America and those seeking to come in as refugees from conflict in the Middle East also came in for a serve.

Mr Trump - who once called for a shutdown of all Muslim immigration to the US - said Islamophobia was "a shame" but that there is an undeniable problem and called on Muslims to report suspicious activity.

At the very same time, a world away, the picture couldn't have been more different as Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten rose in Parliament to back a bipartisan motion calling for a respectful and unified Australia.

It highlighted Indigenous people, refugees and Muslims, reaffirming commitment to equal rights, a non-discriminatory immigration policy, reconciliation, multiculturalism and denouncing racism.

"Accordingly, we rise in this Parliament today - as John Howard and Kim Beazley did 20 years ago - to speak on this very motion - a 20-year-old unity ticket perhaps - celebrating and reaffirming the Australian values of a fair go and mutual respect for all regardless of how they look, how they worship or where they come from," the Prime Minister told the House of Representatives.

"Australia is an immigration nation," Mr Turnbull said.

"Today, almost half of us have a parent born overseas and more than a quarter of Australians were born overseas themselves."

He said "everyone sitting in this chamber and every Australian is a beneficiary of the diversity that is at the heart of our nation", before turning to Islam specifically.

"Australia and the world faces the threat of terrorism perpetrated and promoted by extremists who claim to be fighting and killing for Islam," Mr Turnbull said, arguing terrorists "blaspheme Islam" and have been condemned by Muslims.

"Now the object of these terrorists is to divide Islam by driving a wedge of violence between Muslims, between Sunni and Shia and to turn Muslims against the West and the West against Muslims.

"The resolution of this conflict within Islam will ultimately depend on Muslims, but in the meantime the Islamist terrorists have succeeded in raising levels of anxiety about Muslim immigration, about the role of Islam itself within Australia."

A recent poll found 49 per cent of respondents supported a ban on Muslim migration to Australia, citing concerns about integration, divergent values and terrorism.

Mr Shorten recently suggested the motion for racial tolerance amid rhetoric emanating from One Nation leader Pauline Hanson and Mr Turnbull's conservative backbench, with Queensland MP George Christensen and South Australian senator Cory Bernardi calling for a curb on Muslim migration.

Mr Turnbull said Muslim Australians are an integral part of the country and that those seeking to do harm are a tiny minority.

"The terrorists want the wider Australian community to turn against Australian Muslims. Their message to Australian Muslims is 'you are not wanted here, you will never be accepted here, you cannot be Australian'," he said.

"The most effective weapon against the terrorists is an inclusive nation."

Mr Shorten said the word "tolerance" was no longer adequate and said Australians "embrace diversity".

"Diversity is not a minor inconvenience to be endured, it's not a device of political correctness … it's the collective power of our nation, of all of us," he said.

"In Australia, we are not being 'swamped' by anyone," he continued, referencing Senator Hanson's recent speech targeting Muslims.

"Migrants are not filling our dole queues, or taking our jobs, or clogging up our highways – or doing all three at the same time. Migration is not a cost, or a burden.

"It is a powerful force for our continuing economic growth and future prosperity."

Source: smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/as-donald-trump-questioned-muslims-turnbull-and-shorten-did-something-remarkable-20161010-gryqxy.html

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Event celebrates Muslim Americans

October 9, 2016

“The Other 1%: Muslims in America” will highlight the experiences of Muslim Americans 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesday evening in the University Ballroom of the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union.

Hosted by the University Board, the evening will feature a presentation by storyteller and comedian Aman Ali. It will also include a calligraphy artist, and traditional foods will be served.

The calligraphy artist will be available in the Bridge Lounge of the Union throughout the event to teach attendees how to write their names in Arabic calligraphy.

Starting at 6 p.m., Ali will give a 60-minute presentation on the challenges he and other Muslims face growing up in America.

Katie Caulkins, cultural arts coordinator for the UB, said in an email Ali is a storyteller who uses a lot of comedic elements.

“(He) also is very educational as well,” Caulkins said.

According to his website, Ali has appeared on media outlets such as ABC News, CNN and NPR “to talk about the shenanigans of being an awkward brown kid from Ohio.”

Foods traditionally found in Islamic cultures will be served by Panther Dining, including luqaimat, a sweet, crunchy fried dumpling often served during Ramadan; bourekas, pastries filled with meat or cheese; and a’tay, a hot green tea made with spearmint leaves.

The event was planned for the UB cultural events committee’s “Ideas and Issues” segment. Carolyn Davis, graduate assistant adviser for the Student Life Office, said the segment was formed to encourage discussion about hot topics going on in the student population.

Members of Eastern’s Muslim Student Association will set up a table in the University Ballroom to talk with students about Islamic culture and answer any questions they have, Caulkins said.

Davis said even though many Muslims are born and raised in the U.S., some are still treated as outsiders.

“We want to bring awareness to a rich culture that is often judged but not well understood in today’s American society,” Caulkins said.

The event is free and open to the public.

Source: dailyeasternnews.com/2016/10/09/event-celebrates-muslim-americans/

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Trump Suggests US Working with Russia, Allies in Fight against ISIL

October 10, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump said he "disagrees" with his running mate over US intervention in Syria and suggested US further cooperation with Russia, Iran and the Syrian government against ISIL.

Democratic Party vice-presidential nominee, Mike Pence had called for hitting Syrian government targets, but on Sunday the GOP nominee raised the prospect of working with Russia and its allies against terror group of ISIL, RT reported. 

“He and I haven’t spoken and I disagree,” Trump said during Sunday's presidential debate, when asked whether he agreed with Pence's calls for bombing Syria.

During presidential debates on Tuesday Pence had said that the US should be ready to strike the Syrian army if Russia continues to be involved in what he called "barbaric actions” in Aleppo.

Both Trump and Clinton were asked what they would do about the situation in Aleppo, which the question.

Clinton blamed the situation in Aleppo on the Syrian government and Russia, accusing Moscow of not paying "any attention to ISIL" but only being "interested in keeping Assad in charge."

"We need some leverage with he Russians because they’re not going to come to the negotiation table without leverage," Clinton said, repeating her calls for establishing a no-fly zone and arming the Kurds, but acknowledging that sending US troops on the ground would not work.

"I would not use American ground forces in Syria, I think that would be a very serious mistake," Clinton said.

“She talks rebels, but she doesn’t know who the rebels are.” Trump replied. “Almost everything she’s done in foreign policy, it’s been a mistake and it’s been a disaster.”

Trump took issue with Clinton's claim that Russia was not fighting ISIL and said: “Assad is killing ISIL. Russia is killing ISIL. Iran is killing ISIL. And those three have now lined up together because of our weak policy,” he said.

“I think it would be great if we got along with Russia. We could fight ISIL together,” Trump had said earlier in the evening.

What would happen if Aleppo falls, asked ABC's Martha Raddatz.

“Aleppo… I think that it basically has fallen,” Trump replied.

The Republican nominee also repeated his criticism of the US military announcing an attack on ISIL in Mosul, thus sacrificing the element of surprise, ending with declaring that “Generals George Patton and Douglas McArthur are spinning in their graves at our stupidity in the Middle East.”

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950719000537

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Arab World

Libyan Army Kills over 70 ISIL Militants in Sirte

October 10, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Libyan army allied with UN-backed Government of National Accord killed more than 70 ISIL militants during an anti-terror operation in the city of Sirte, local media said.

The GNA army liberated strategic positions in Sirte's Eastern suburbs from the ISIL and killed over 70 militants in battles to liberate the areas in the city which is considered as the last stronghold of ISIL militants in Libya, LANA reported.

Local residents provided assistance to the government forces by pointing out ISIL militants shelters to the soldiers.

ISIL terrorist organization, gained a foothold in Libya during the ongoing turmoil in the North African country that erupted following the 2011 ouster of the country’s longtime leader Muammar Gaddafi.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950719000898

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ISIL Terrorists Fleeing Nineveh to Turkey

October 10, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- A media source disclosed that a group of ISIL terrorists who had been sent to Hammam al-Alil region in Southern Nineveh have fled to Turkey in anticipation of Iraqi troops' imminent massive operations to free Mosul.

According to the source, the group included 8 militants and the ISIL came to realize their disappearance after that they had fled to Gaziantep in Turkey.

The source also disclosed that 4 important ISIL security officials also plan to flee to Turkey, adding that the terrorists first escape to Mosul and then to Turkey with the help of traffickers.

Among the fugitive ISIL elements mention can be made of Mohammad Hamreh who has fled to Turkey, the source said, adding that he was responsible for detaining and executing women in Mosul and killed 48 Iraqi female prisoners.

The ISIL executes all members who refuse to fight against the military and popular forces in Iraq and Syria.

In a relevant development in May, the ISIL terrorist group executed five of its own fighters for escaping the battlefront in Fallujah, local activists said.

“They have left their post at the battlefront in the Northeastern suburb of Fallujah without permission from their leadership, which ISIL deems as a treason,” media activist Salwan Rashidi said at the time.

The five fighters were arrested inside the city of Fallujah, and the Sharia Court decided to execute them publicly on charges of “high treason”.

“They were shot dead in Central Fallujah after an ISIL officer read a statement, vowing that any fighter who would desert his fighting position will face the same punishment,” the source reported.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950719000787

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Yemen's Supreme Council Rejects Talks with UN before Cease of 'Massacre'

October 10, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- A member of Yemen's Supreme Political Council said the war-torn country is under the siege "from land, air and sea" while the United Nations is failing to address the situation, and the council will not participate in any talks with UN until the ongoing violence ends.

"Ansarullah refuses to take part in any negotiation process under the auspices of the United Nations until the ongoing massacre in Yemen stops," said  the member of Yemen's Supreme Political Council Khaled Saeed, Sputnik reported.

"We will not have a dialogue while our people are being killed, we will not have a dialogue with the UN special envoy for Yemen while the massacre continues,” Saeed said.

The official referred to the weekend's Saudi-led airstrike that hit a funeral ceremony in Sana'a on Saturday. More than 213 people were killed and over 534 wounded in the attack, when the Saudi warplnes hit a community hall in Southern Sana’a, where a funeral for the father of Interior Minister Jalal al-Roweishan was being held.

The Saudi missiles tore through the hall with hundreds of body parts left strewn in and outside the building.

The death toll was one of the largest in a single incident since March 2015, when the Riyadh regime began its deadly campaign against Yemen.

Sana’a Mayor Abdel Qader Hilal was reported to be among the victims of Saturday’s assault.

According to Saeed, the airstrike “crossed the boundaries of morality and humanity.”

Yemen is under the siege "from land, air and sea" while the United Nations is failing to address the situation, he noted.

Last peace talks between the Ansarullah and Saudi-backed delegation, which took place in Kuwait in August, failed.

The delegation of Ansarullah has been stuck since then in Oman after the Saudi-led coalition blocked the aircraft with the delegation trying to return to Yemen.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950719000650

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Syria Condemns 'Deliberate Criminal' Saudi Attack in Yemen's Sana'a

October 10, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Syria condemned in the strongest terms the criminal attack carried out by the Saudi killing machine which deliberately targeted a funeral gathering in the Yemeni capital, Sana'a.

An official source at the Foreign and Expatriates Ministry said in a statement that this heinous crime represents the destructive role of the Saudi regime against the Yemeni nation, as well as in Iraq, Syria and other areas with the aim of weakening them and destroying the Arab countries to serve the US-Israeli scheme to impose hegemony on the region, SANA reported.

The source also offered Damascus' condolence to the families of the attack's victims and expressed Syria’s full solidarity with the people of Yemen.

"Syria reiterates that the aggression will vanish and the steadfast people of Syria and Yemen will triumph over the powers of hegemony and conspiracy and their tools as the Saud regime," the source concluded.

Over 700 people were killed or wounded in Saturday's massive air raids by the Saudi-led coalition warplanes over Yemeni Capital, Sana'a. The airstrikes targeted a hall where people were paying their last respects to the father of Yemen's Interior Minister Jalal Al-Rouyshan who is also the chief of staff of former President Ali Abdullah Salih.

A second strike hit exactly the same region as people rushed to aid those injured in the first round of air assault.

Also, the Saudi warplanes staged massive airstrikes on a ceremony on the house of Sheikh Abu Shwareb, inflicting tens of casualties on the civilians who had gathered for a ceremony at his residence.

The airstrikes killed at least 213 people, and wounded 534.

Saudi Arabia has been striking Yemen since March 2015 to restore power to fugitive president Mansour Hadi, a close ally of Riyadh. The Saudi-led aggression has so far killed at least 11,300 Yemenis, including hundreds of women and children.

Despite Riyadh's claims that it is bombing the positions of the Ansarullah fighters, Saudi bombers are flattening residential areas and civilian infrastructures.

According to reports, the Saudi-led air campaign against Yemen has drove the impoverished country towards humanitarian disaster.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950719000707

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Syrian Military Forces Continue to Hunt Terrorists in Aleppo Districts

October 10, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The latest reports from Northern Syria said on Monday that Army troops and popular forces continue to inflict major casualties on Jeish al-Fatah, beating back the terrorist group from the Northeastern and Southwestern districts of Aleppo.

After hours of fierce clashes with Sultan Murad and Faylaq al-Sham terrorist groups, the Syrian government forces captured fresh building blocks in Bostan al-Pasha, bringing under their control over half of the district.

City sources said that the Syrian army is resolved to seize al-Sakhour square from Fatah al-Sham Front (the newly-formed al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist group previously known as the al-Nusra Front).

"More buildings near Khalid Bin Walid in Salahuddin district in Southwestern Aleppo have been captured by the Syrian army," the sources said, adding, "Army soldiers have intensified their attacks on terrorists' centers in Ba'aeidin square from al-Oweijeh neighborhood."

Reports said on Sunday that Syrian soldiers and popular forces continue to advance from the Northern districts of Aleppo towards the Eastern and Northeastern neighborhoods, driving Jeish al-Fatah out of the city position by position.

"Liberation of al-Oweijeh in the Northern outskirt of Aleppo city has paved the way for the government forces to move faster towards Bostan al-Pasha from its Northern side," the sources said.

"After seizing back a chunk of the highway in the Northern part of Aleppo city, the Syrian army soldiers and popular fighters have come much close to the Eastern neighborhoods of Aleppo," they added.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950719000894

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Syrian Gov't Forces About to Win Full Control over Another Key District in Aleppo

October 10, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Syrian Army troops and their Iraqi allies are engaged in tough street-battle with Nouralddeen al-Zinki and Fatah al-Sham Front (the al-Nusra Front) in the Southern neighborhoods of Aleppo city and are very close to wining back the entire district, field sources said.

"Nouralddeen al-Zinki and Fatah al-Sham Front have suffered a heavy death toll in clashes with the Syrian soldiers and the Iraqi al-Nujaba movement in and outside Sheikh Saeed districts," the sources said.

"Syrian government forces have gained the upper-hand in Sheikh Saeed and are pushing back the terrorists out of the district," they added.

"Eight terrorists have been captured and more than 30 militants have been killed in al-Nujaba's attacks on terrorists' centers in Sheikh Saeed," the sources went on to say.

Sheikh Saeed heights overlook al-Ameriyeh and al-Sakariyeh regions North of Aleppo cement factory.

Yesterday, Syrian and Russian warplanes carried out over 35 combat flights over the concentration centers of Jeish al-Fatah in the Southern districts of Aleppo, inflicting major loss and heavy casualties on the militants.

Syrian and Russian fighter jets, in over 35 airstrikes, bombed heavily terrorist targets in Sheikh Saeed and Housing Project 1070, killing at least 14 Takfiri militants in Project 1070 and destroying an arms depot in Sheikh Saeed.

The air raids paved the ground for the Syrian army troops to continue advance in Sheikh Saeed district and recapture the remaining building blocks in Project 1070.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950719000853

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Yemen's Long-Range Ballistic Missile Hits Saudi Arabia's Airbase in Ta'if City

October 10, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Yemeni army and popular forces pounded a Saudi airbase in the Southern part of the kingdom with a ballistic missile on Monday, inflicting heavy losses on Riyadh government troops.

Saudi Arabia's King Fahad Airbase in the city of Ta'if in Southern Saudi Arabia was hit by Yemen's Borkan-1 (Volcano-1) ballistic missile.

There is still no report on the number of casualties, but Yemen's missile attacks usually inflict large casualties on the Saudis.

The Yemeni attacks came in response to Saudi Arabia's continued air raids on the civilian population across the impoverished nation.

Borkan-1 has a range of 800 kilometers and is a new generation of Yemen's domestically-made missiles.

The warhead of Borkan-1 missile has been designed to destroy the Saudi military base structure with respect to the materials used in their construction.

In early September, the Yemeni army and popular forces pounded an industrial zone in the Southern part of Saudi Arabia with as a scud missile.

The Saudi industrial area comprising a power plant and a desalination plant in al-Shaqiq region of Jizan province came under Yemen's Scud missile attack.

The Yemeni ballistic missile precisely hit its target in Jizan Industrial zone, the army reported.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950719000812

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S. Arabia Sends National Guard Forces to Najran

October 10, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Saudi National Guard troops arrived in the province of Najran on Monday to secure the Kingdom’s borders against Yemen's retaliatory attacks after Riyadh killed hundreds of civilians in airstrikes on Sana'a two days ago.

Saudi Arabia's al-Akhbariah news channel broadcasted the footages of military equipment sent to the country's forces in Najran, and reported that fresh military units of the Saudi National Guard have arrived in the province.

"These forces are equipped with state-of-the-art weapons and they have been sent to support the Saudi border guards," it added.

Reports from Yemen's capital said on Saturday that over 700 people were killed or wounded in massive air raids by the Saudi-led coalition warplanes.

The airstrikes targeted a hall where people were paying their last respects to the father of Yemen's Interior Minister Jalal Al-Rouyshan who is also the chief of staff of former President Ali Abdullah Salih.

A second strike hit exactly the same region as people rushed to aid those injured in the first round of air assault.

Also, the Saudi warplanes staged massive airstrikes on a ceremony on the house of Sheikh Abu Shwareb, inflicting tens of casualties on the civilians who had gathered for a ceremony at his residence.

The airstrikes killed at least 213 people, and wounded 534.

Saudi Arabia has been striking Yemen since March 2015 to restore power to fugitive president Mansour Hadi, a close ally of Riyadh. The Saudi-led aggression has so far killed at least 11,300 Yemenis, including hundreds of women and children.

Despite Riyadh's claims that it is bombing the positions of the Ansarullah fighters, Saudi bombers are flattening residential areas and civilian infrastructures.

According to several reports, the Saudi-led air campaign against Yemen has driven the impoverished country towards humanitarian disaster.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950719000603

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Iran Asks UN Help to Send Humanitarian Aid to Yemen

October 10, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal and International Affairs Seyed Abbas Araqchi called for the United Nation's assistance to facilitate dispatch of humanitarian aid to the Yemeni people, specially following the massacre of mourning civilians by the Saudi warplanes in Sana'a.

"The UN Secretary-General should facilitate this task and guarantee its security," Araqchi said on Monday.

He condemned the Saudi fighter jets' airstrikes against civilian targets in Sana'a, and underlined Iran's preparedness to send humanitarian aid and medicine to the Yemeni people.

Araqchi also said that Iran is ready to transfer the wounded Yemeni people to the country's hospitals for treatment.

Also, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi on Sunday called for putting an immediate end the siege of Yemen and opening of a safe air corridor for sending relief aid to the injured civilians of the Saturday Saudi airstrikes on mourners in the Yemeni capital of Sana'a.

"We demand the removal of the air siege imposed on Sana'a and supply of immediate aid to the people wounded in Saudi Arabia's inhumane crimes in Sana'a," Qassemi said.

He reiterated that Iran is ready to send humanitarian aid, including medical team, food and medicine to those injured in the incident.

Reports from Yemen's capital said on Saturday that over 700 people were killed or wounded in massive air raids by the Saudi-led coalition warplanes.

The airstrikes targeted a hall where people were paying their last respects to the father of Yemen's Interior Minister Jalal Al-Rouyshan who is also the chief of staff of former President Ali Abdullah Salih.

A second strike hit exactly the same region as people rushed to aid those injured in the first round of air assault.

Also, the Saudi warplanes staged massive airstrikes on a ceremony on the house of Sheikh Abu Shwareb, inflicting tens of casualties on the civilians who had gathered for a ceremony at his residence.

The airstrikes killed at least 213 people, and wounded more than 534.

Saudi Arabia has been striking Yemen since March 2015 to restore power to fugitive president Mansour Hadi, a close ally of Riyadh. The Saudi-led aggression has so far killed at least 11,300 Yemenis, including hundreds of women and children.

Despite Riyadh's claims that it is bombing the positions of the Ansarullah fighters, Saudi bombers are flattening residential areas and civilian infrastructures.

According to several reports, the Saudi-led air campaign against Yemen has driven the impoverished country towards humanitarian disaster.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950719000239

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Rouhani Calls for Broadening of Economic Cooperation among Asian Countries

October 10, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian President Hassan Rouhani called for the further expansion of economic and trade cooperation among the Asian states.

"We must open our Markets, engage in greater economic interaction, start domestic structural reform and move towards greater transparency in a bid to take long strides to improve the quality of life for out citizens and uphold the Asia's status in the world," President Rouhani said, addressing the Second Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) on Monday.

He reiterated that the global issues need close cooperation of the Asian states.

"Asia plays a pivotal role in global efforts aimed at resolving such major issues as climate change, environmental crisis, social problems, including refugees, illiteracy and poverty; and the role of Asian states in promoting collective security is indispensable," the Iranian President said.

The following is the full text of President Rouhani's speech in the Second Asia Cooperation Dialogue:

Your Excellency, Mr. Prayut Chan-o-cha,

Distinguished Prime Minster of the Kingdom of Thailand

Distinguished Heads of State or Government

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

At the outset, I would like to thank the Government of the Kingdom of Thailand for hosting the Second Summit of the Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) as well as for the warm and cordial hospitality extended to my delegation and me. I hope that our constructive discussions and exchange of views could lead to further strengthening and promotion of this forum as one of the most important Asian fora.

I am pleased to speak in a forum, which is able to put our ancient continent on a path of increased success under the theme, “One Asia, Diverse Strengths” and work towards building an Asian community on the basis of the ACD Vision for Asia Cooperation 2030 as the common goal of all its members. It will be able to achieve this goal by collectively pursuing its overarching objectives of dialogue for cooperation in Asia, empowering communities through enhancing security, expanding education, reducing poverty, decreasing inflation, promoting the role of women in managerial positions and addressing environmental issues throughout Asia in an effective and extensive manner.

Today, all acknowledge that no global issues could be addressed without close cooperation of Asian powers. Asia plays a pivotal role in global efforts aimed at resolving such major issues as climate change, environmental crisis, social problems, including refugees, illiteracy and poverty; and the role of Asian states in promoting collective security is indispensable.

Asia’s power is dependent on self-confidence and a shared will for convergence. We must open our markets, engage in greater economic interaction, start domestic structural reform, move towards greater transparency and engage in extensive coordination on setting policy; and by doing so, take long strides to improve the quality of life for our citizens and elevate the standing of Asia on the world stage.

Full report at:en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950719000631

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Hamas Seeking to Strengthen Ties with Iran

October 10, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Senior Hamas official Mahmoud al-Zahar underlined that the Palestinian resistance group is seeking to reinvigorate relations with Iran.

"Relations with Iran are acceptable but they should further enhance and develop," al-Zahar told FNA on Monday.

Elsewhere, he referred to Israel's recent aggression against the Gaza Strip, and said, "If the regime is after a new war against the region, (it should know that) the Palestinian resistance, more than what they imagine, is ready to enter a real battle and the Zionists have understood this reality well."

In relevant remarks in March, al-Zahar underlined that the Palestinian resistance movement is determined to continue its good relations with Iran.

"The movement is trying to improve its relations with Iran," the Arabic-language Al-Arabi TV quoted Al-Zahar as saying.

Also, in February 2015, senior Hamas official Osama Hamdan stressed that the Palestinian movement would growingly cement ties with Iran.

"Hamas is looking for the expansion of mutual cooperation with Arab and Muslims states as well as those interested in the Palestinian cause across the world, including Iran," Palestine Online news website quoted Hamdan who is in charge of Hamas foreign relations as saying.

He noted that Hamas was trying to improve its relations with Iran, and said, "Hamas has age-old relations with Iran and we want to have constant bilateral ties with Tehran."

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950719000289

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Madinah to become ‘Capital of Islamic Tourism’

09/10/2016

Madinah is witnessing a flurry of activities in preparation for hosting the most important event at the beginning of the next year, “Madinah, the capital of Islamic Tourism 2017”.

Madinah was selected for the honor at the end of a meeting held by tourism ministers of the member countries of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation on Dec. 23, 2015, in the Niger capital of Niamey.

Madinah is home to more than 200 sites and tourist places, including historical buildings and archaeological sites of religious importance, such as the Prophet’s Mosque and mosques from the time of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), as well as historic buildings such as Urwah ibn Zubayr Palace, Castle of Quba and the Hejaz Railway Museum.

Specialized committees were formed to decide on the activities. They are still working to develop ideas to be implemented on the ground.

The Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTNH) announced Thursday that it will launch a program on Monday to look after the historic mosques, together with the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Call and Guidance and Al-Turath Charity Foundation.

Prince Sultan bin Salman, president of the SCTNH, and Madinah Gov. Prince Faisal bin Salman are supporting the program. The governor has approved the plan for “Madinah, the Capital of Islamic Tourism 2017”.

The SCTNH said that the aim of the program, which will be launched next week at Sultana Palace, is to preserve, restore and rehabilitate the historic mosques in the Kingdom.

Local media reported that more than 300 events will be held at over 40 destinations, presenting interesting and attractive cultural and tourist programs.

The activities were planned by the supreme committee and they are expected to enable people to get acquainted with Islamic and tourist sites in the city of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

The activities are also aimed at presenting cultural and archaeological treasures, and highlight religious landmarks through cultural programs.

They will also shed light on Madinah through cultural activities that will continue throughout the year to justify the choice of Madinah for this title.

Madinah will be the “Capital of Islamic Tourism” for 2017. The Iranian city of Tabriz will be bestowed the honor in 2018, as per the decision of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

Cities that vied for the title for 2017 were Madinah (Saudi Arabia), Tabriz and Yazd (Iran), Taiping (Malaysia), Sylhet (Bangladesh) and Mardin (Turkey).http://theindianawaaz.com/madinah-to-become-capital-of-islamic-tourism/

Source: theindianawaaz.com/madinah-to-become-capital-of-islamic-tourism/

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Mideast

Turkey kills 38 ISIL militants, rebels advance in Syria

October 10, 2016

Some 38 Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants were killed in northern Syria over the last 24 hours, the Turkish military said on Oct. 9, marking an escalation of conflict in the area where Syrian rebels, backed by Ankara, are fighting the jihadists.

Supported by Turkish tanks and air strikes, rebels have been pushing towards the Islamic State (IS) stronghold of Dabiq in an operation launched in late August.

Fourteen of the ISIL militants were killed as they attempted to enter the rebel-controlled villages of Akhtarin and Turkmen Bareh, three kilometers east of Dabiq, a key target of Turkey’s Euphrates Operaiton, the Turkish military said in a statement.

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Octb 8 that ISIL fighters had captured those villages in a counter attack near the Turkish border, but the Turkish military statement contradicted this account.

Another 17 ISIL militants were killed in air strikes by U.S.-led coalition warplanes in the same areas, the military said in its daily round-up on the Euphrates Shield.

Turkish warplanes later launched their own air strikes against ISIL targets in northern Syria on Sunday morning, killing seven militants and destroying five buildings which they were using, the army said in a subsequent statement.

The military also said two Syrian rebels had been killed and 19 wounded in the latest fighting against ISIL.

The operation has also targeted a Kurdish militia whose presence along its border Turkey sees as a threat.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-kills-38-isil-militants-rebels-advance-in-syria.aspx?pageID=238&nID=104776&NewsCatID=352

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18 killed in PKK suicide bomb attack in Turkey’s Hakkari

October 10, 2016

Ten soldiers and eight civilians were killed on Oct. 9 in an outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) suicide bomb attack targeting a military road checkpoint in the Şemdinli district of the eastern province of Hakkari, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım has announced.

Speaking ahead of a ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) consultation meeting in Istanbul, Yıldırım said 10 soldiers and eight civilians were killed in the suicide attack when a PKK bomber blew himself up inside a bomb-laden pickup that drove into the Durak gendarmerie road checkpoint in the district.

Yıldırım said five tons of explosives were used in the attack, which created a six-meter deep hole at the scene and damaged buildings nearby.

Two of the killed soldiers were identified as Pvt. Eyüp Hacıoğlu and Gendarmerie Specialized Sgt. Hasan Aydoğdu.

In addition, the Hakkari Governor’s Office also stated that 27 people, including 11 soldiers, were wounded in the attack and were transferred to hospitals with a military helicopter.

It detailed that the bomb-laden pickup disobeyed stop warnings while other PKK militants opened harassment fire to distract attention. The pickup was later detonated.

Meanwhile, the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) announced that a wide-scale air-supported operation was being conducted in the region.

Turkey’s media watchdog, RTÜK, also imposed a customary gag order following the attack.

The latest series of security operations in rural areas of the region had seriously limited the power and abilities of the PKK, making them attempt to stage suicide attacks, according to Yıldırım.

The premier voiced determination in the country’s fight against the PKK, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) jihadist group and all kinds of terror organizations.

The attack on Oct. 9 also drew condemnations from a number of political figures and leaders from around the world.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan strongly condemned the attack in a written statement, saying the government was determined to obstruct PKK attacks together with the nation and take all kinds of political, diplomatic and military precautions both at home and abroad in the interests of a more secure and peaceful future.

Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş said in a tweet that the country would never surrender to terror organizations, vowing that all who conducted such attacks would pay the price.

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu also condemned the attack, saying the executive authorities should act with prudence and responsibility to ease the nation’s pain and achieve peace.

The CHP leader said the country’s rulers should not forget that they hold the power to solve problems and should not be complaining.

Development Minister Lütfi Elvan also said security forces’ latest operations had disturbed the organization, while vowing to root out all terror organizations.

Meanwhile, the U.S. also condemned the attack “in the strongest terms.”       

National Security Council spokesman Ned Price said in a statement that the attack on military checkpoint is the latest “in the deeply concerning trend of increasing violence by the PKK.”       

“We also condemn the senseless motorcycle bomb attack near a police station in Istanbul on Thursday that was claimed by the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons [TAK], the PKK's urban terrorist unit,” the spokesman added.       

Price reiterated Washington's commitment to Turkey “to defeat all forms of terrorism.”       

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini condemned the attack and said in a statement that the EU and Turkey stood "united" against all kinds of terrorism.       

"The dangerous spiral of violence in the southeast of Turkey must come to an end, arms must be laid down and a political process based on a genuine dialogue needs to start. The EU is ready to accompany this process," the statement said.       

President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe Pedro Agramunt expressed solidarity with the Turkish people after the attack. 

“Once again, it appears that terrorism strikes one of our member states Turkey. I strongly condemn the car bomb attack," the president said.        

In addition, the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) also announced that a total of 387 PKK militants have been killed in operations in the province since Aug. 4.

Turkish warplanes conducted an air operation in the rural areas of Çukurca district, killing one PKK militant and destroying gun positions belonging to the organization.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/18-killed-in-pkk-suicide-bomb-attack-in-turkeys-hakkari.aspx?pageID=238&nID=104752&NewsCatID=341

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ISIL drone attacks Turkish troops in Bashiqa camp

October 10, 2016

Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants attacked Turkish troops in the Bashiqa military camp in northern Iraq with artillery fire and an unmanned drone on Oct. 9.

Turkish howitzers responded to the attack with fire and destroyed ISIL targets, while the drone was downed with a Stringer rocket.

ISIL seized the drone from the Iraqi military, security officials speaking anonymously told daily Hürriyet.

Meanwhile, in the first stage Ankara is reportedly not considering a land operation into Mosul as part of a planned offensive against ISIL, instead preparing to open its airbases to coalition forces and providing support with the Turkish Air Forces.

Turkish troops in the Bashiqa camp could lend support to the Mosul offensive with Fırtına howitzers, sources said, adding that the U.S. did not object to artillery support by Turkish troops in Bashiqa.

After the liberation of Mosul, the closure of the Bashiqa military camp is an option, they said, adding that Ankara is pushing for the nearly 3,000 Sunni fighters trained in the Bashiqa camp to take part in the offensive. Talks on a military operation in Tel Afar are still ongoing, sources said.

An unspecified number of Turkish troops in the Bashiqa camp outside ISIL-controlled Mosul in northern Iraq are involved in training Iraqi fighters who plan to recapture the city.    

Baghdad has demanded the immediate withdrawal of the forces, which it said Turkey had “illegally” sent into Iraq

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/isil-drone-attacks-turkish-troops-in-bashiqa-camp.aspx?pageID=238&nID=104760&NewsCatID=352

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Governor’s office revises death toll in PKK suicide attack in Hakkari to 15

October 10, 2016

Ten soldiers and five civilians were killed on Oct. 9 in an outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) suicide bomb attack targeting a military road checkpoint in the Şemdinli district of the eastern province of Hakkari, the Hakkari Governor’s Office has announced, revising the previous civilian death toll to five.

The governor’s office stated that Infantry Lt. Ömer Baydıllı, Gendarmerie Specialized Sgt. Mustafa Bodur, Gendarmerie Specialized Sgt. Ertan Bayraktar, Gendarmerie Specialized Sgt. Bayram Aksu, Gendarmerie Pvt. Evren Kara, Gendarmerie Pvt. Eyüp Hacıoğlu, Gendarmerie Pvt. Erkan Özdemir, Gendarmerie Pvt. Latif Aşik Muslu, Infantry Pvt. Hasan Aydoğdu and Infantry Pvt. Özkan Altınoku were killed in the attack.

It added that according to initial examinations, eight civilians had been killed in the suicide attack but revised the civilian death toll to five, including an Iranian citizen, after scanning records in hospitals.

The office said Iranian citizen Shemsettin Resai, born in 1966; Bahri Fırat, born in 1987; Oğuz Uysal, born in 1992; Sinan Erbaş, born in 2000; and Selami Çevik, born in 1985, were killed in the attack.

According to the statement, the treatment of eight soldiers and 12 civilians is continuing, with one in critical condition, in hospitals in Hakkari and Van.

Five soldiers and one civilian have been discharged from hospital, it added.

Earlier, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım had stated that 10 soldiers and eight civilians were killed in the attack in which a PKK bomber blew himself up inside a bomb-laden pickup that drove into the Durak gendarmerie road checkpoint in the district.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/governors-office-revises-death-toll-in-pkk-suicide-attack-in-hakkari-to-15.aspx?pageID=238&nID=104781&NewsCatID=341

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Israeli minister due in Turkey for first post-crisis visit: Official

October 10, 2016

A senior Israeli government minister is due to visit Turkey this week in the first such trip since the the two countries normalized relations after a six-year crisis over Israel’s deadly storming of a Gaza-bound ship, an official said.

Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz will attend the World Energy Congress in Istanbul on Oct. 13, an official from the Israeli embassy told AFP on Oct. 10.

The official said it was “not certain” yet if the Israeli minister would meet with his Turkish counterpart, Berat Albayrak, on the sidelines of the congress.

Israel and Turkey signed a deal in June to restore ties which hit an all-time low after the 2010 raid by Israeli commandos on a Gaza-bound aid ship that killed 10 Turks. 

Israel has paid Turkey $20 million in compensation for the deadly storming - an amount which Turkish authorities said has been transferred to the account of the Justice Ministry. The Turkish government was due to pass on the money to the victims’ families who lodged cases at Turkish court. 

In addition to the compensation, Israel has also made an apology and agreed to ease the blockade on the Gaza Strip. 

The blockade remains in place but Israel has allowed Turkish aid to reach Gaza through Israeli ports under the deal. 

Turkey and Israel are now set to restore full diplomatic relations, including the exchange of ambassadors who were pulled out in respective capitals after the crisis.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/israeli-minister-due-in-turkey-for-first-post-crisis-visit-official-.aspx?pageID=238&nID=104783&NewsCatID=352

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Turkey probes 500,000 digital documents to find more evidence for Gülen extradition

October 10, 2016

Turkey is in the process of probing and analyzing around half a million digital documents seized during the July 15 coup investigation, the justice minister has said, emphasizing that the inquiry would leave no doubts that the putsch was carried out under Fethullah Gülen’s direction.

According to Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ, who will meet with United States Attorney General Loretta Lynch on Oct. 26 and 27, Washington has not yet positively or negatively responded to a Turkish request for the temporary arrest of Fethullah Gülen even though the dossier was sent on Sept. 10.

“There are around 500,000 digital documents: Computer records, flash drives, smart phone records, camera records as well as countless written documents that were seized during the operations [against Gülenists]. I know so many questions will find answers after all these documents are analyzed and assessed,” Bozdağ told a small group of Ankara bureau chiefs on Oct. 9 in Ankara.

The Justice Ministry is in the process of increasing its capacity to better probe digital documents, with some technical assistance to also be used while analyzing the documents, Bozdağ said. “I am sure many things will be revealed out of this probe. We perfectly know that the extradition process is a legal one, something we also abide by on extradition requests made by other countries. Even the current content of the dossier we have sent to the U.S. leaves no doubt in mind that this coup attempt was planned and carried out by Fethullah Gülen.”

Noting that there was a comprehensive meeting between Turkish and U.S. officials on Gülen’s case in mid-September, Bozdağ said, “We made it clear that the future of the relationship between Turkey and the United States will be shaped by their decision on Gülen’s extradition.”

‘Nothing will be the same’

Bozdağ said his demand for an appointment from his counterpart in the U.S. had received a positive response.

“Most probably, we’ll go to the U.S. at the end of October to talk about FETÖ [Fethullahist Terror Organization].”

One of the issues the justice minister will raise to his counterpart is Ankara’s disturbance at the U.S. reluctance to implement a bilateral judicial cooperation agreement that stipulates the temporary detention of persons of interest.

“We have an agreement on extraditions. The ninth article of it requires the detention of the person as soon as necessary documents have been sent to the other party. They cite Article 7 of the agreement but this article is not a pre-condition for the implementation of Article 9,” Bozdağ said. “Thank God, we can understand what we read.”

Article 7 of the agreement obliges Turkey to provide necessary evidence on the person whose extradition is sought from the U.S. “We sent our request for the detention on Sept. 10. Since then, we have not received any response, either positive or negative.”

Gülen’s or Turkey’s friendship?

Hinting that the U.S. seems reluctant to hand over Gülen to Turkey, Bozdağ said turning down Turkey’s request would mean that Washington favored the self-exiled cleric’s friendship to that of its longstanding NATO ally.

In the event of a negative response to Turkey’s demand, the ties between the two countries will be severely affected, Bozdağ said. “I cannot say what exactly we’ll do, but it’s pretty sure that nothing will be same in our ties. This is very clear. Whatever al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden means for the American people, Fethullah Gülen means the same for the Turkish people. Everybody should understand this.”

Bozdağ stressed that extradition issues were very sensitive cases and that courts act in line with the political will in many parts of the world, including the United States and Europe. “There will be no negative decision from the court if the U.S. administration displays its will for an extradition. This also applies to Europe. Otherwise, I don’t know anything,” he said.

Turkey to hold international law conference

In an effort to inform international legal circles on the Gülenist network and seek further cooperation with them, Turkey will hold an international conference in Istanbul between Oct. 17 and 19, Bozdağ said.

“This conference will set an important venue to discuss differences between the legal systems of countries and to ensure the better implementation of judicial cooperation between our countries,” Bozdağ said, referring to a campaign launched by Turkey against the Gülenist presence in more than 170 countries in the world.

Some 171 participants from 51 countries will be present at the conference that will include justice ministers from 15 countries and presidents of constitutional courts from 16, Bozdağ said.

The conference will be opened by a speech of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and will be held at Çırağan Palace.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-probes-500000-digital-documents-to-find-more-evidence-for-gulen-extradition.aspx?pageID=238&nID=104773&NewsCatID=338

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Visa liberalization with Turkey possible after ‘dust settles’

October 10, 2016

There is no chance of Turkey being granted visa-free access to the EU before the end of the month, but liberalization could come when the present storm in the country calms down, according to an adviser to the EU’s foreign policy chief. Turks might be able to travel by early 2017, Nathalie Tocci says.

The current political climate in Turkey precludes any visa liberalization for citizens wishing to travel to the Schengen Zone, but it could occur by January 2017 when the “dust settles” in the wake of the July 15 coup attempt, according to special EU foreign adviser Nathalie Tocci.

“There is nothing that doesn’t make me think that if the storm calms down and if Turkey does not continue excesses in terms of the way it is carrying out the purge, nothing makes me think that visa liberalization will not be given in January or early next year,” she recently told the Hürriyet Daily News.

Where are we currently in terms of the European Union’s approach to the coup and the aftermath of the coup?

The very first reaction that night and a few days afterwards was a lot of skepticism.  I don’t think the depth of the crisis was appreciated in Europe. There were assumptions that this was a scam and immediately, the focus was on the reaction of the government, the suspension of academics and the journalists in jail.

The mood started to change when there was a mass demonstration in Istanbul with over 1 million, including members of the opposition parties.

At that point, many in Europe started to think, maybe there is something here. From the end of July through to mid-September, there was the general sense of “we have to do something to patch up the relationship and maybe we messed up a bit by not going immediately.”

Now what you are seeing is a gradual switch back into saying “Obviously there was a real problem to be dealt with. But isn’t the government overreaching now? Isn’t the government using it basically to fight all political opponents?”

So there were three phases; we are at a stage in which there is appreciation of the depth of the problem that needs to be resolved but growing skepticism on the way it is being handled.

How do you think Europe should approach Turkey?

The EU’s line has to be, on the one hand, deep empathy for Turkey for what it went through and support in trying to help Turkey get out of it. Basically [it needs to] appreciate that there is an existential threat to Turkish democracy which has to be eradicated somehow.

But on the other hand, [it has to] remain firm on the fact that this has to take place within the compliance of the law. The question is how you make sure that this position has an effect.

Full report at:hurriyetdailynews.com/visa-liberalization-with-turkey-possible-after-dust-settles.aspx?pageID=238&nID=104768&NewsCatID=351

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Turkish Stream deal may be signed during Putin’s Istanbul visit: Russian minister

October 10, 2016

Turkey and Russia may sign a final agreement for the Turkish Stream project during Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Istanbul on Oct. 10, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak has signaled.

Putin will be in Istanbul to attend the 23rd World Energy Congress upon the invitation of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The two leaders will hold a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the congress with the participation of related ministers.

Questioned whether there is a possibility of signing the main Turkish Stream deal during Putin’s visit, Novak said:  “The project is at a high degree of readiness inter-governmentally. Of course, we are making every effort in the remaining time to carry out all the necessary procedures, both in Russia and Turkey, to sign the agreement in the near future. I think there is such a possibility,” he added.

Russia’s Gazprom and Turkey’s BOTAŞ in 2014 signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the construction of the Turkish Stream gas pipeline, with a capacity of 63 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas per year from Russia to Turkey across the Black Sea.

Novak noted that the Turkish Stream and the Akkuyu nuclear power plant, which will be Turkey’s first, are key to further reviving the countries’ bilateral ties in a normalization process after the jet crisis.

“Turkey is our neighbor and a partner that is important to us. Our trade volume surged to $35 billion in 2014, but it decreased almost 40 percent in the first eight months of 2016 compared to the same period of 2015 due to the diplomatic crisis … In the normalization process, energy is one of the key areas. Both the Turkish Stream and the Akkuyu power plant are crucial projects that will revive our ties,” he said.

“If we want to boost our trade and economic ties, both of these projects need to be completed and become operational,” he added.

Novak said that the first phase of the Turkish Stream, which is based on the build-operate-transfer (BOT) model, is comprised of the paving of two pipes.

Some 15.75 bcm of Turkey’s annual gas needs will be met through the first of these pipes, while the same amount of gas will be carried to Europe via the second pipe, Novak said. He added that both the Russian and Turkish energy ministries had established working groups to give a final form to the intergovernmental agreement for the Turkish Stream.

“Turkey has even made some changes in its laws to enable the construction to start immediately. As soon as the project is completed it will add value to the Turkish economy,” said Novak, adding that for this reason Turkey is doing its best to accelerate the Akkuyu power plant project.

He also said negotiations over gas prices have resumed.

“I believe both sides will find a common path. There is, however, a reality here: Turkey’s BOTAŞ has taken the issue to the arbitration court and the first trial is due in 2017. I think that Russia’s Gazprom Export and BOTAŞ can resolve the issue before this date,” Novak said.

Gazprom Export sells gas to a number of private players in Turkey, which makes setting gas prices particularly complicated, he added.

“All parts of the issue must be taken into consideration in an integrated approach while seeking a resolution,” Novak said.

Full report at:hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-stream-deal-may-be-signed-during-putins-istanbul-visit-russian-minister.aspx?pageID=238&nID=104756&NewsCatID=348

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Pakistan

Police asked to trace 102 missing militants

Oct 10, 2016

RAWALPINDI: Expressing concerns over the disappearance of over 100 militants placed on the watch list and the possibility of their joining disruptive activities in Muharram, the Punjab home department has directed the police across the province to make arrangements to avoid the repeat of the 2013 Ashura violence in Raja Bazaar in which 13 people were killed.

“As many as 102 militants placed on the Fourth Schedule of the Anti-Terrorism Act have been missing from their homes. They mostly belonged to Bahawalpur, Faisalabad, Multan, Rawalpindi and Dera Ghazi Khan Divisions. The possibility of their taking part in disruptive activities in Muharram cannot be ruled out,” the directive issued to the police stated.

The home department also directed the law enforcement agencies to trace the missing militants besides keeping an eye on elements recently released from jails and obtain surety bonds from them.

Home dept fears that fourth schedulers may take part in disruptive activities during Muharram

The law authorities concerned were also directed to beef up security around high-profile detainees in various jails and monitor the movement of those placed on the Fourth Schedule and activists of the defunct banned organisations.

When asked if there was any specific terror threat to Rawalpindi and what steps were being taken to avoid the repeat of Ashura 2013 violence, City Police Officer (CPO) Israr Ahmed Abbasi told Dawn: “At the moment there is no specific terror threat to Rawalpindi from any militant group but we are taking no chances.”

He added: “However, we have learnt a lesson from the Raja Bazaar sectarian violence of 2013 and mistakes committed by the then administration and police command will not be repeated.”

The CPO said all the mistakes committed by the then police command were kept in mind while chalking out a security plan for Muharram this year.

He said it would be ensured that all the senior police officers remained on duty to command the force and the ban on the use of loudspeaker is strictly implemented. Besides, Rangers and elite force personnel would be deployed at all the sensitive places, he added.

Based on past experience and intelligence reports, the home department has asked the divisional police chiefs to strictly enforce the SOP of security to avoid the repeat of the sectarian violence in Rawalpindi.

On the basis of intelligence reports, more than 60 vulnerable points have been identified in Rawalpindi, the second highest on the list of sensitive regions after Faisalabad where 69 points were declared as vulnerable.

Besides, banning the inter-district movement of some activists, speakers and gagging of several others had been suggested.

Full report at:dawn.com/news/1289135/police-asked-to-trace-102-missing-militants

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Cleric vows to stop WCLA from running Badshahi Mosque

Oct 10, 2016

LAHORE: If the government hands over administrative and building control of the Badshahi Mosque to the Walled City of Lahore Authority (WCLA), mosque’s caretaker Maulana Abdul Khabir Azad says he along with his colleagues will resist it.

He was reacting to government’s reported plans to handover administrative and conservation control of the mosque to the WCLA. The authority is already looking after tourism, conservation and administration of the Walled City, Lahore Fort and food streets.

A government committee is in talks with mosque’s administration, headed by Maulana Azad and supervised by the Auqaf and Religious Affairs Department.

Official sources say that in a recent meeting of the committee, Mr Azad warned WCLA Director General Kamran Lashari that they would not accept any such decision.

“Finally, he (Maulana) left the meeting,” said a senior official quoting one of the participants in the meeting.

The official, who preferred anonymity, said the the WCLA and the mosque administration had been sticking to their stance.

A senior WCLA official told Dawn the government would soon hand over mosque’s tourism and conservation control to the authority.

“The WCLA will also have a role in the control of a museum being constructed in the Greater Iqbal Park Project. So, how can the Badshahi Mosque be left with the existing custodians since the WCLA is being empowered to deal with such issues?” the official said.

He said the administrative or functional control of the mosque would remain with the Maulana-led administration while the WCLA would be responsible for mosque’s conservation, maintenance, cleanliness and tourism.

Maulana Azad said he would only allow the WCLA to repair, maintain and conserve the mosque.

“(Giving) tourism control to the authority means handing over administrative control to the WCLA,” he told Dawn.

He said the existing set up had been performing tourism functions without any complaint. Whenever national and international dignitaries visited the mosque, we provided them tourism facilities, he added.

He said he had clearly told Mr Lashari that he along with his colleagues would never hand over mosque’s control to the WCLA.

“We will resist if the government takes any such decision,” he warned.

Full report at:dawn.com/news/1289219/cleric-vows-to-stop-wcla-from-running-badshahi-mosque

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Dar has burdened country with debt: JI

Oct 10, 2016

LAHORE: Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) chief Sirajul Haq said Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has been declared most successful finance minister of Asia while ‘burdening his country with mountains of debt’.

Addressing the central executive board of the Pakistan Engineering Forum at Mansoora here on Sunday, he said in spite of vast resources the country had been burdened under huge foreign and domestic loans.

The meeting urged the government to ensure jobs for young engineers and approve service structure and special allowances for them.

Haq claimed every Pakistani was under a debt of Rs100,000. He said the government’s activities had created doubts regarding the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor as there were contradictions in the statements and actions of rulers.

He also said the JI’s drive against corruption would continue and the judiciary hold the rulers accountable and recover looted money from them.

JI Secretary General Liaquat Baloch said the absence of the prime minister and most federal ministers as well as the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s boycott from the joint session of parliament convened to discuss Kashmir showed a “non-serious attitude”.

He said the situation in Kashmir called for practical measures not mere speeches and resolutions.

Full report at:dawn.com/news/1289212/dar-has-burdened-country-with-debt-ji

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Balochistan will be major beneficiary of CPEC, says PM Nawaz

Oct 10, 2016

ISLAMABAD: In what appeared to be an attempt to set aside reservations of smaller provinces over the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Monday said Balochistan would be a major beneficiary of the $51.5 billion, Radio Pakistan reported.

Chairing a meeting of PML-N's central executive committee in he capital, the premier said that the government was striving hard to overcome all challenges including terrorism and energy shortfall.

The PM's statements come days after opposition lawmakers raised concerns that smaller provinces were being neglected under the CPEC during a joint session of parliament.

The premier claimed that more than 10,000 MegaWatt (MW) of electricity would be added to the national grid by 2018 and briefed the meeting on various power initiatives being undertaken.

He said that land had been acquired for the Diamer-Bhasha dam, a power project that has been 30 years in the making. The government, he said, has also started working on the development of coal-fired power in Thar. "Mining has started in Thar and coal-based power plants are being installed there."

A subsidy would be provided for the installation of solar tubewells in Balochistan, the prime minister told the meeting, adding that the government would compensate farmers for losses they have suffered due to the low price of agricultural goods in the international market.

The PM also announced that motorways and highways worth Rs1 trillion are being constructed in the country. "We are also working on social sector development, and hospitals in different cities will be built within the next 18 months," he said.

The prime minister added that economy has been strengthened because of effective policies.

He added that the Karachi operation was initiated with the consultation of all the stakeholders and is yielding positive results.

Nawaz Sharif said Pakistan is committed to the Kashmir cause. "No power in the world can stop us from supporting the freedom struggle of Kashmiris," he said."India is mistaken if it considers that a freedom fight can be equated with terrorism."

Full report at:dawn.com/news/1289249/balochistan-will-be-major-beneficiary-of-cpec-says-pm-nawaz

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Interior minister, KP CM to be nominated in APS attack FIR

Oct 10, 2016

ISLAMABAD: Parents of the children who were killed in the attack on Army Public School (APS) Peshawar will be filing an application with the police in order to amend in the FIR for the incident.

Just after the attack on the school, conducted by the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) on December 16, 2014, in which 150 people, including 132 students were killed, an FIR was registered in the Gharbi police station in Peshawar, in which no one was nominated.

“Parents of the children who were killed in the attack met on Friday, October 7 and decided on filing an application to amend the FIR in order to nominate some people, including Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervez Khattak, school administration and concerned KP ministers,” said Sher Nawaz, the father of Yasir Iqbal, a second year student killed in the attack.

Parents of the children who were killed have been demanding that a judicial commission be formed to fix responsibility and punishing concerned officials.

“We have been demanding action against those responsible, but no one has bothered to do anything, which is why we will be going to Islamabad again on October 17,” Mr Nawaz said.

About 60 family members of the slain children had come to Islamabad on Sept 1 this year, demanding to meet with the prime minister, but were not allowed to enter the Red Zone. They had said they would hold a sit-in in front of Prime Minister House if they were not allowed to meet the prime minister.

Federal Minister for the Capital Administration and Development Division Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhry had then assured them that he would arrange a meeting of them with the prime minister in a week, a promise that has not been fulfilled over a month later.

The parents have not been contacted by anyone in Islamabad in the month since, said Ajoon Khan, the father of Asfand Khan, who was also killed in the APS attack.

“No one has even bothered to make a telephone call. We don’t have any other option and have to hold a sit-in in Islamabad. My son and I were very close because he was my eldest. Instead of taking action against those responsible, the government has just named a school in Islamabad after him,” he said.

An advocate of the Supreme Court who specializes in criminal cases, Riasat Ali Azad told Dawn the FIR cannot be amended via an application.

“However, the parents can file a ‘Subsequent Statement’ in which they can nominate the suspects, saying that they have come to know that the suspects were responsible and should be investigated. The police will attach the statement with the FIR and the suspects can be arrested on the basis of this statement,” he explained.

Advocate Azad said that previous judgments – including those of Supreme Court justices Deedar Hussein and Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, and Islamabad High Court justices Shahid Hameed Dar and Shaukat Siddiqui – have maintained that the ‘Subsequent Statements’ prove police incompetence.

“The judgments also say that the police use these statements to make arrests and that therefore, they do not have any value,” he added.

Full report at:dawn.com/news/1289124/interior-minister-kp-cm-to-be-nominated-in-aps-attack-fir

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Pakistan not interested in joining talks ‘for the heck of it’, says Basit

Oct 10, 2016

NEW DELHI: Even as he underlined the significance of talks with India, Pakis­tan’s High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit has said Islamabad doesn’t want dialogue with New Delhi “just for the heck of it”.

He said it was high time the two countries moved from symbolism to substance.

In an interview to the Times of India, he also said that while Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was firmly in charge, the Pakistan Army had an important role to play in Islamabad’s India policy. In response to a question about an impasse in talks between Pakistan and India, Mr Basit said: “We do not have any impasse as far as the framework for dialogue is concerned.

“The two countries agreed in December 2015, when Sushma Swaraj sahiba travelled to Islamabad for the Heart of Asia conference, on the framework. That is a balanced and comprehensive framework.... Now the question is how to start the process.

“Whenever that dialogue process begins, it has to be on the basis of the agreement we were able to have in December last year.”

See: Pakistan and India's 2015 journey: From nightmare to 'breakthrough'

Mr Basit said that in matters concerning India, Afghanistan and other security-related issues “obviously our army or military has an important role to play. It has important inputs to give”.

“So to expect that it will not have any role in Pakistan’s India policy or Afghanistan policy and other such issues is incorrect,” he said. “The fact of the matter is that PM Nawaz Sharif is the elected head of the government. Period. He is in the driving seat. The rest is our decision-making process.

“Do you believe India can have a Pakistan policy without consulting its armed forces or the US can have a Pakistan or Afghanistan policy without consulting Pentagon?”

Asked if Pakistan and India were moving towards a full-blown conflict, the diplomat said he would not like to think along those lines.... “I would never entertain such thoughts.”

In reply to a question about the “surgical strikes” that the Indian forces claimed to have carried out in Azad Kashmir, he denied them and said: “I can assure you that had there been any surgical strike, Pakistan would have responded immediately and proportionately. And we do not need time for preparation.”

But he said he tended to agree with the analysts who were asking for “such serious terms to be not used so loosely because of the inherent dangers in doing that”.

Asked why Pakistan was “reluctant” to investigate the evidence on the Uri attack in India-held Kashmir that New Delhi was willing to provide to Islamabad, Mr Basit said: “We have already suggested an international probe to ensure we have conclusive and irrefutable findings. Our offer is still there... because we need to get out of this blame game.”

When he was asked to name the reasons why Prime Minister Sharif called militant leader Burhan Wani a martyr, Mr Basit said: “Are you suggesting that the hundreds of thousands who came out for his funeral were supporting a terrorist? Over 100 people have been killed, more than 14,000 injured since July 9. Were they also terrorists?

“If you look at the Kashmiri struggle through the prism of terrorism, you would arrive at the wrong conclusion. Do you want to declare all people of J&K terrorists? This is an indigenous movement as has been proved time and again.

"Both the countries have agreed since 1947... from the UN resolutions to December 2015 joint statement, that this is a dispute, or core dispute, which needs to be resolved.”

He said Pakistan found it difficult to understand why India was not serious in addressing the dispute. “Even the Simla Agreement mentions that this dispute has to be resolved. But how can we resolve the issue without talking?”

Full report at:dawn.com/news/1289198/pakistan-not-interested-in-joining-talks-for-the-heck-of-it-says-basit

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Pak Army chief visits LoC, praises operational preparedness of troops

October 9, 2016

Islamabad [Pakistan]: Pakistan Army Chief General Raheel Sharif visited the Haji Pir sector of the Line of Control (LoC) on Sunday and interacted with the troops deployed there, lauding them for their vigilance and preparedness.

The Express Tribune quoted the military’s media wing as saying that Chief of Staff expressed his complete satisfaction over high state of morale, operational preparedness and vigil being maintained by Pakistan Army personnel along the LoC.

Detailed briefing was given to the Army chief by the local formation commander on operational preparedness of the units and formation of the troops, the statement added.

Full report at:siasat.com/news/pak-army-chief-visits-loc-praises-operational-preparedness-troops-1038426/

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Africa

PM Voices Concern Over Islamic State Presence in Somalia

Monday 10 October 2016

Somalia is due to hold elections in October and November that are seen as a vital stepping stone in restoring governance and rebuilding a state plagued by war and insurgency for 25 years. Twelve years after the formation of its current transitional federal government, and 25 years after the overthrow of Siad Barre plunged the country into chaos, Somalia is holding limited elections, which have been delayed several times.

An electorate of around 14,000 selected by tribal elders will choose MPs who will in turn select a president to lead the country until 2020. Ahead of the elections, Newsweek spoke exclusively with Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke, Somalia's current prime minister and a presidential candidate, about why he wants to lead the country.

Why do you want to be president of Somalia?

I have twice been the prime minister of this country [from 2009-2010 and December 2014-present]. I have a lot of experience and knowledge of what this country is going through and exactly the issues that we need to deal with and deal with quickly in the next Somalia.

This country needs reconciliation, the people must get out of the experience that the country has gone through in the last 20 or so years of internal conflict. We need to build the trust and interdependency of our society and the relation between the states and the center.

There's a lot of things that we were not able to finish in this year-and-a-half that I was prime minister. So I think that I provide political stability that will be key to have a working security sector, to have a regional interdependency that is really advancing and an economy that can sustain a large sector of our youth who are now unemployed and wary about their futures.

Do you think that Al-Shabab will try to disrupt the elections?

I'm very confident that the elections will move forward safely. Definitely, we will keep an eye on the attempts that Al-Shabab will make [to disrupt] the status quo [and cause] chaos. But we plan to have a very secure environment in which elections can take place.

We are going for Al-Shabab in their own heart. We have eliminated most of their leadership. We are continuing to go after them in any areas that we think they are assembling or coming together. But nonetheless, although we are doing all these kind of [efforts] containing and defeating Al-Shabab, often whenever we defeat them conventionally, they resort to an act of terrorism, targeting innocent civilian and soft targets. We keep preventing a lot of things every day but nonetheless we accept that they are going to try and disrupt, [but] it will not be feasible to do so.

What would you do to tackle Al-Shabab, if you were elected?

The important thing is to take care of our own security. It is not only Al-Shabab that is the problem. I think Al-Shabab is going to be defeated eventually. Now, Al-Shabab controls only one autonomous region's capital [out of 18 regions in Somalia] in the Lower Juba area, and we are preparing Operation Juba Corridor that we hope will [remove it from] their hands.

We need to have an integrated national force that can really build the confidence and trust of our society. So that is the main priority, to make sure that there is no vacuum, not only for Al-Shabab. There is a lot happening in our neighborhood--there is the Yemen conflict going on, ISIS, Al-Qaeda--everybody will be eyeing Somalia in case there is a vacuum here, so we really want to close all these vacuums before these guys come or try to enter Somalia.

How much of a threat does ISIS pose to Somalia? Some factions of Al-Shabab have reportedly pledged allegiance to ISIS.

If it's not dealt with, it's the tip that will be the reality of tomorrow... We keep an eye on that end, these small factions [of Al-Shabab] that have pledged allegiance to ISIS, they are now in the upper north [of Somalia], in the Golis mountains in Puntland state. [Al-Shabab is traditionally aligned with Al-Qaeda.] We are trying to make sure that these guys are taken care of and totally defeated.

How can Somalia accommodate hundreds of thousands of returning refugees from the Dadaab camps in Kenya?

I want to make it clear that we want our people back; how [they should return] is the issue that we are discussing now.

We really want to bring our refugees back to their areas of origin or to a place they choose in which they feel they can have a more productive life. We believe that they are going to really enhance our economy, but also they are going to enhance their own political situation.

Most of these refugees have been staying there for 25 years or so, their kids have all grown up there, have studied, some of them are teachers. I think they can really make a huge contribution in their own country, but nonetheless we have to be careful of forcing them to be dumped on the Somali side. That will create a lot of discontent.

Full report at:allafrica.com/stories/201610100329.html

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Muslim extremist jailed for raising £3,000 for ISIS-linked terror group 'QUITS job as a Sainsbury's delivery driver after failing to disclose conviction'

9 October 2016

An extremist jailed for raising thousands of pounds to help an ISIS-linked terror group train jihadis with AK-47s has left his job as a Sainsbury's delivery driver hours after his previous conviction was revealed.

Father-of-three Mohammed Shabir Ali, 29, of Tower Hamlets, east London, was jailed for three years in 2012 after raising £3,000 for al-Shabaab training camps in Somalia.

Since being freed from jail, he landed himself a job working as a home delivery driver for Sainsbury's – working out of a depot in east London and dropping off online food orders to customers' homes while unsupervised.

It is believed he did not disclose his previous conviction when applying for the job.

According to Sainsbury's policy, anyone with a previous conviction must declare it on their application form, and if a terrorism-related offence was disclosed that would end the application process instantly.

Sainsbury's said it does not comment on individual employees but confirmed Shabir no longer worked for the company and it is understood he quit the firm.

A spokesman confirmed the supermarket chain has launched an internal investigation into the case, including a review of CRB checks that all delivery drivers undergo.

Shabir, along with his identical twin brother Shafiq Ali, posed as charity collectors to raise the money which they funnelled back to the al-Qaeda-affiliated group.

As a result of their crimes, he was placed on a terror watchlist for 10 years and sent to Belmarsh prison.

A reporter for MailOnline attended what is believed to be Shabir's home address today and approached his family but was threatened.

A woman said: 'Just f*** off, all you are doing is writing lies', before she was heard shouting 'aggressively' in a foreign language.

His employment outraged MPs and shoppers, who claim it is 'scandalous' he is working in a one-to-one customer role, which sees him take groceries inside homes.

One Sainsbury's customer told The Sun: 'He's a convicted terrorist. How can Sainsbury's let him do this?

'He is entering people's homes, sometimes vulnerable people of different faiths.'

Tory MP Andrew Rosindell added: 'If someone has been convicted for funding terrorism the employer and more importantly the customers should be made aware.'

Shabir's trial in August 2012 heard how he and his brother imitated legitimate fundraisers on street stalls collecting money for Palestinians and the world's poor.

But instead of giving the cash to good causes, they wired it to their elder brother Shamim, then aged 29, after he travelled to Somalia to join the Islamic insurgency.

Shamim had flown to Somalia via Nairobi and Dubai in August 2008 to train alongside other jihadists in weapons, combat and survival.

Several weeks later he boasted in a telephone call about how he was prepared to die.

Mohammed Shabir Ali, along with his identical twin brother Shafiq Ali (pictured), posed as a charity collector to raise cash which they funnelled back to help jihadis

The brothers kept the phone conversation as a final memento of their elder sibling but it led to their arrest after counter terrorism police raided their home and discovered the digital recording.

Officers also uncovered extremist literature at the property, including a pamphlet by Anwar Al-Awlaki, entitled '44 Ways To Support Jihad.'

Sentencing them at the Old Bailey to three years in prison, Mr Justice Fulford said the men sent at least £3,000 to the Horn of Africa.

He said their brother was determined to sacrifice his life alongside others fighting to create an 'Islamic Emirate of Somalia'.

The brothers had been inspired by Al-Qaeda hate preacher Al-Awlaki, the mastermind behind a series of bombings before he was killed in a drone strike.

The judge added: 'Both defendants worked to help somebody who was contributing to terrorist activities in a war-torn country in Africa.

'The court must reflect the seriousness of offences of this kind in sentences given that they were intended to support terrorism.'

Shamim, who left Britain with two other men, has not been heard from since and the return parts of the trio's air tickets have never been used.

Shabir's wife said Sainsbury's was well aware of her husband's past, claiming 'they know all about what happened'.

Full report at:dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3829882/Al-shabaab-carry-Muslim-extremist-jailed-raising-3-000-ISIS-linked-terror-group-works-Sainsbury-s-delivery-driver.html

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Germany's Merkel pledges help for 'troubled' Mali

10 October 2016

The German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, on her first visit to Mali, has pledged to help the country fight terrorism, saying the situation there is still troubled.

She said Germany is concerned that a peace deal signed between the government of Mali and armed factions in the north of the country is yet to be fully implemented.

Germany currently has 430 military personnel in the country as part of the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali (MINUSMA).

Mrs Merkel said her country will further support Mali on security, the fight against terrorism and the control of illegal migration.

The German chancellor arrived in Niger this morning on the second leg of her three-country tour, which she finish in Ethiopia, where a six-month state of emergency has just been declared.

Full report at:bbc.com/news/live/world-africa-37390807

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Nigerian state orders arrest of banned Shiite group’s spokesman

Monday 10 October 2016

KANO – A northern Nigerian state on Sunday ordered the arrest of a spokesman of a pro-Iran Shiite group banned two days ago as a security threat.

Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) spokesman Ibrahim Musa "owned up to being the spokesperson of an unlawful society", the governor of Kaduna state said in a statement.

"This is deemed as a deliberate and determined affront... and the law has to take its course," it said, calling for security forces to work "vigorously" to arrest Musa. 

Kaduna governor Nasir El-Rufai had on Friday banned the IMN, saying it was a threat to Nigeria and warned that members of the group could face up to seven years in jail for violating the ban. 

But Musa had dismissed the ban as illegal, vowing the group would challenge it through all "legitimate means".

Musa told AFP he is "in touch with his lawyers" about the arrest order.

"Meanwhile I'll not submit myself to the authorities as they requested," he said.

Clashes between the Nigerian military and IMN supporters led to over 300 deaths in December last year.

Two days of violence began on December 12, when supporters of the pro-Iranian cleric and IMN head, Ibrahim Zakzaky, refused to allow the chief of army staff's convoy to pass through the northern city of Zaria in Kaduna state.

Rights group Amnesty International later accused Nigeria's military of shooting dead more than 300 Shiite Muslims, burying them in mass graves and destroying evidence of the crime.

IMN leader Zakzaky, who lost an eye and was left partly paralysed in the violence, has been held in custody since December, with fears the military crackdown could result in a violent uprising similar to the devastating Boko Haram insurgency.

Full report at:enca.com/africa/nigerian-state-orders-arrest-of-banned-shiite-group%E2%80%99s-spokesman

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Southeast Asia

Myanmar sends troops into Muslim-majority region after deadly attacks

10 October 2016

YANGON, Oct 10 (Reuters) - Myanmar has stepped up security in a Muslim-majority region near its border with Bangladesh, officials said on Monday, as authorities hunt for attackers who killed at least nine police officers.

Officials believe that members of the Muslim Rohingya ethnic minority launched three separate attacks in the early hours of Sunday, in which dozens of weapons and more than 10,000 rounds of ammunition were seized from border police.

Nine policemen were killed, one was missing and five were wounded. Eight attackers were killed and two captured, police said.

The Rohingya, who are mostly stateless and are subject to severe restrictions on their movements, make up the majority of the population in the northern part of Rakhine State.

Authorities in the township of Maungdaw on Sunday announced the extension of an existing order banning gatherings of five or more people and imposing a 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew.

State media said the military - known as the Tatmadaw - had moved troops into the area by helicopter. Photographs on social media showed trucks full of infantry purportedly being deployed in the area.

No detailed information has been released about the operation in the area near a border guard office at Kyiganbyin village, where as many as 90 assailants seized weapons and fled into the hills.

"The Tatmadaw, the police force and the Ministry of Border Affairs are working together to ensure security and restore law and order," said Min Aung, a minister in the Rakhine State government, who declined to disclose the size of the force sent to the area.

Human rights advocates raised concerns that civilians may be caught up in the sweep. Unverified reports posted online by advocates for the Rohingya suggested that a violent crackdown may be underway.

Ye Htut, administrator for Maungdaw, said he was not aware of the situation around Kyiganbyin village, which is under the control of security forces.

Muslim residents of Maungdaw town closed their shops amid the heightened security presence, he said.

"All of the security forces are deployed in Maungdaw, so we are not worried about security. Everything is fine," Ye Htut said.

BANGLADESH DEPLOYS BORDER GUARDS

Matthew Smith, founder of campaign group Fortify Rights, said restrictions on the Muslim population already in place made northern Rakhine State "a police state, an apartheid state".

"Human rights violations in the context of counterinsurgency in northern Rakhine State are not new," Smith said.

"The authorities routinely accuse average Rohingya of involvement with armed extremists."

Authorities routinely dismiss accusations of rights abuses.

Sunday was the bloodiest day in the state since 2012, when more than 100 people were killed in clashes between Rohingya and ethnic Rakhine Buddhists. Some 125,000 people, the majority Rohingya, remain displaced.

Myanmar's state counsellor and foreign minister Aung San Suu Kyi - who in August appointed former U.N. chief Kofi Annan to head an advisory commission into the situation in Rakhine State - discussed the attacks with security officials in an emergency meeting on Sunday, said foreign ministry official Kyaw Tin.

"The state counsellor instructed us to handle this issue cautiously in accordance with the law," Kyaw Tin told reporters.

Officials in Bangladesh said Myanmar had closed the border after the attacks.

Bangladesh deployed additional border guards, said Mohammad Tanvir Alam Khan, a Border Guard Bangladesh commander.

Myanmar police chief Zaw Win has said his force was investigating possible links between the attackers and rebel groups.

Full report at:dailymail.co.uk/wires/reuters/article-3830482/Myanmar-sends-troops-Muslim-majority-region-deadly-attacks.html

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Malaysia’s secular versus religious divide

10 OCTOBER 2016

The uneasy co-existence of civil and Shariah law in Malaysia and the polarising ethnic and religious divides within its population could be improved by establishing an independent mediation committee, Saleena Saleem writes.

In late August Prime Minister Najib Razak announced a proposed amendment to Malaysia’s Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976. The proposal is an attempt to resolve the recurring problem of highly-publicised custody battles over unilateral conversions of children by spouses who converted to Islam. Several such court disputes, framed around religious freedom, have been pursued in Malaysia’s dual-track legal system of civil and Shariah (Islamic law) courts in the past decade.

Amid the growing religiosity of the majority ethnic group, the Malays, who increasingly choose to identify themselves by religion and are calling for wider implementation of Islamic codes and laws, laws that negatively and disproportionately affect non-Muslims serve as ominous evidence of how secularity is being eroded within the Malaysian polity, especially for non-Muslims.

This dynamic not only leads to increased inter-ethnic tension between the Malay Muslim-majority and the non-Muslim minorities, it also creates tension between the religious and the areligious within the ethnic Malay majority populace. Increasingly, we see societal tensions in Malaysia being expressed in a polarising socio-political discourse that pits the secular against the religious.

However, Najib’s amendments, if enacted (a similar governmental proposal in 2009 was stymied by the Malaysian Conference of Rulers), will not resolve all the outstanding jurisdictional questions because existing Shariah enactments in various states allow for unilateral conversions by one Muslim parent.

Two factors, acting in concert to contribute to the secular-versus-religious divide in Malaysian society today, will make it exceedingly difficult for the problematic Shariah enactments to be modified anytime soon.

The first is the rise, since the late 1990s, of ‘new politics’ – an attempt to transcend the ethnic politics of the past, but one that has presented fresh electoral challenges for the ruling UMNO party. This has been aggravated by an accompanying spread of pro-democracy ideals promoted by opposition political parties and secular-oriented civil society organisations.

More on this:Religion China How religion is unofficially influencing China

The discernable shift of non-Malay voters to opposition parties in the 2008 and 2013 general elections feeds into the perception that the UMNO-led government’s political compact with minority ethnic-based political parties, of which ketuanan Melayu (Malay dominance) is a central component, is being threatened by the advance of ‘new politics’. Najib has warned that any failure by Malays to support the UMNO at the next general election would place the country’s Malays and Muslims in the hands of a Chinese-dominated opposition coalition that is ‘anti-Islam and anti-Malay’. This perpetuates the undercurrent of inter-ethnic (Malay versus non-Malay) tension in society.

The second is the government’s promotion of Islam since the 1970s, which has strengthened the influence of state religious officials, expanded state-led religious administration and given greater autonomy to Islamic courts. However, the increase in contentious court disputes over religious freedoms in the last decade, together with secular-liberal activists’ high-profile responses to Shariah court judgments that occurred in tandem with the UMNO’s electoral struggles, reinforce the perception among Islamic conservative forces that the position of Malays, and by extension Islam’s position, is under threat from the spread of secular-liberal values in society. These Islamic conservatives, including state religious officials, religious leaders within the UMNO and PAS, and Islamic-oriented civil society organisations, have coalesced to defend the autonomy of the Shariah courts from outside interference.

While there is little incentive on the political front to confront such issues in a substantive way, continued inaction will only deepen the polarising division and risk the public debate being dominated by extreme groups on both sides of the secular-religious divide. One possible method to build consensus between political, religious and civil society actors on a mediating discourse could be to explore alternative mechanisms for managing tensions in the body politic caused by jurisdictional conflicts.

An independent mediation committee set up in the Federation’s different states might be helpful in this regard. In legal terms, mediation is a voluntary and non-binding process to handle a dispute before it enters the court system. Mediation involves a mediator (or group of mediators) who would help facilitate communication between the disputing parties, with the aim of reaching a mutually amicable settlement.

The main rationale for mediation is to de-escalate disputes that are known to cause societal tensions and contribute to the secular-versus-religious polarising dynamic. It should be emphasised to the parties in a dispute that participation is voluntary. The mediators who perform these duties should also do so without any vested interest in the outcome. The independent mediation committee could ideally comprise a multitude of professionals from the secular and religious fields, such as counsellors, lawyers and inter-faith religious scholars with the goal of dispute resolution.

The mediation process could help provide an educative function for Malaysian society too. Positive resolutions from such an arrangement could do much to promote a broader mediating socio-political discourse – one that is based on fairness, justice, equality and harmony. This would be a step in the right direction enabling the state to build on the political and social will generated to address fundamental conflicts between the two court jurisdictions in a meaningful manner.

Full report at:policyforum.net/malaysias-secular-versus-religious-divide/

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Myanmar Muslims on trial for illegally importing 90 cows for Eid al-Adha

October 10, 2016

Yangon: Three Muslim men went on trial in Myanmar Monday for illegally importing nearly 100 cows that have spent the last month under police protection, in a case Islamic leaders say targets their religion.

The cows were intended to be ritually slaughtered for the Islamic festival of Eid al-Adha last month, an event that has become a flashpoint for Myanmar’s Buddhist nationalists.

Hardline monks, including firebrand Wirathu from the Ma Ba Tha movement, have railed against the practice and pressured local authorities to ban it.

Police took possession of 92 cattle last month when a local monk, Pa Mouk Kha, complained they had been brought into the country illegally.

They have been keeping the animals in a football ground north of Yangon for just under a month at a cost of some $300 a day — spending more than $8,000 so far. Two cows have since died.

The monks have drawn derision from social media users, who have called the case a waste of public resources in a country where one in four lives below the poverty line.

On Monday, the three defendants appeared before the court, charged with illegal trading for allegedly importing the cows without the proper paperwork.

One of them, Myo Myint, in his 60s, has heart disease and had to be supported by police as he approached the courtroom.

His son, Ye Zarni Tun We, said he was “sure” the animals were bought in Myanmar, adding: “We have documents for purchasing the cows.”

The men were remanded in custody until their next hearing, while police are still looking for more than 30 other people linked to the case. The cows will soon be auctioned off.

Kyaw Nyein, leader of local Muslim group Ulama Islam, said the case amounted to religious persecution.

“They did not act illegally,” he said. “I am not sure whether they technically broke the rules or not, but I think this case is concerned with religious affairs.”

Islamophobic sentiment has grown in Myanmar, especially since deadly communal violence erupted between Buddhists and stateless Rohingya Muslims in western Rakhine state in 2012.

Tensions flared on Sunday when nine police officers were killed in a series of attacks on three border posts, which local officials said were carried out by Rohingya.

Burmese Muslims also complain of being treated as second-class citizens in their own country, told they are foreigners and legally restricted from marrying Buddhist women.

While Ma Ba Tha has lost prominence since Aung San Suu Kyi’s democratically elected party took power in March, it remains a powerful political force among Myanmar’s devout Buddhists.

Full report at:siasat.com/news/myanmar-muslims-trial-illegally-importing-90-cows-eid-al-adha-1038745/

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Jakarta police probe mosque vandalism amid tension ahead of election

10 October, 2016

Indonesian police on Monday urged Muslims to stay calm and not be "provoked" by the vandalism of a mosque in the capital, aiming to dispel fears of growing ethnic tension in the run-up to next year's election for the governor of Jakarta.

Over the weekend, white Christian crosses were found spray-painted at several locations, including on the green gates of the Al Falah Mosque in Jakarta, the largest city in the world's most populous Muslim-majority nation.

The incident risks fueling already simmering tension ahead of February's election, which pits the Christian and ethnic Chinese incumbent, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, against Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono, a son of former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, and the previous education minister, Anies Baswedan.

Yudhoyono and Baswedan are both Muslim in a nation where about 90 percent of the 250-million population follows Islam.

Indonesia also has a sizeable ethnic Chinese minority, many of whom are Buddhist. The country has a history of anti-Chinese violence, most sharply in the late 1990s amid the political and economic crisis that brought down authoritarian ruler Suharto.

Police were still looking for the vandal, Jakarta police spokesman Awi Setiyono said, adding that it was uncertain whether the act was linked to the election. "We urge the public not to be influenced and to control themselves."

Purnama, better known by his nickname "Ahok", became Jakarta's first ethnic Chinese governor in 2014, after then-governor Joko Widodo stepped down to successfully run for president.

Hardline Muslim groups had opposed his rise to power.

Purnama has a reputation as a tough reformer, but he has recently come under attack from several Muslim groups for allegedly insulting the religion's holy book, the Koran.

Muhammadiyah, one of the country's biggest Muslim organizations, had asked the police to investigate Purnama for alleged religious defamation.

During a visit to an Indonesian island last month, Purnama referred to a verse from the Koran that seemed to suggest it was unIslamic to vote for a leader of a different religion, according to a video circulated on social media.

"Insulting a religion and spreading hatred among Muslims is a criminal case," Pedri Kasman, an official at Muhammadiyah's youth wing, which filed the police report, told Reuters.

Purnama's words were taken out of context and incorrectly linked to religious defamation, said Mohamad Guntur Romli, an official of his election campaign. Political opponents had been fanning tension ahead of the election, he added.

While most Indonesians are rational and will choose a leader based on merit, some camps would still vote along racial or religious lines, said Irine Gayatri, a political analyst at government body the Indonesian Institute of Sciences.

"Race and religion are a convenient tool that can easily be exploited by political opponents," she added.

Full report at:in.reuters.com/article/indonesia-crime-election-idINKCN12A10B

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Europe

Russia Plans Permanent Naval Facility in Syrian Port of Tartus

October 10, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Russia's deputy defense minister said the Russian military plans to expand its supply base in Syrian port of Tartus into a fully-fledged permanent naval base.

“We are going to have a permanent Navy base in Tartus. We have prepared the paperwork, which is now being reviewed by other government agencies. The documents are pretty much ready, so we hope to submit them to you for ratification soon,” General Nikolay Pankov, deputy defense minister responsible for communication with other parts of the Russian government, told the Russia's Federation Council, RT reported.

The Russian facility in Tartus has long been used to resupply Russian warships during Mediterranean Sea missions. The facility has been in place since 1977, and after the collapse of the Soviet Union it was used to resupply and repair Russian warships deployed to missions in the Mediterranean Sea, but did not serve as a permanent base for any of them.

Last week Russia confirmed delivery of an advanced anti-aircraft missile system to Tartus to protect the port facility and mooring warships from potential airstrikes and missile attacks.

The delivery came amid media reports that the Pentagon planned a massive cruise missile attack on Syrian airfields, which would dismantle Damascus’ aerial capabilities.

The US accuses Syria and Russia of perpetrating war crimes in Syria over the offensive operation against militant forces in Eastern Aleppo.

Russia says the operation followed US failure to deliver on its promise to separate the so-called militants form terrorist groups in Aleppo and that Washington is playing the blame game to draw attention away from its failures.

Full report at:en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950719000759

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German police detain Syrian man wanted in alleged bomb plot

October 10, 2016

BERLIN — German police said early Monday that they have detained a 22-year-old Syrian man who was the subject of a nationwide hunt and is believed to have been preparing a bomb attack.

Jaber Albakr was detained overnight in the eastern city of Leipzig, police in the eastern state of Saxony tweeted. They were not immediately reachable for further details.

Albakr, from the Damascus area of Syria, escaped the authorities Saturday during a raid of his apartment in nearby Chemnitz. Investigators said they found "several hundred grams" of a volatile explosive hidden in the apartment, enough to cause significant damage.

The weekend raid came after Saxony police were given a tip from Germany's domestic intelligence service that Albakr may be planning an attack. He had been on the agency's radar, but police said over the weekend that it was not clear for how long.

On Saturday morning, as police prepared to raid the apartment building, Albakr was observed leaving the premises. Police fired a warning shot but were unable to stop him.

Experts are trying to determine whether the explosives they found in the apartment were the same ones used in the deadly Nov. 13 attacks in Paris and the March 22 attacks in Brussels. The explosives used in those attacks are known as TATP, or triacetone triperoxide.

TATP has been used in many attacks over the years, and is favored by violent extremists because it's fairly easy to make and detonate.

The explosives were destroyed Saturday in a controlled detonation by bomb squad experts in a pit dug outside the five-story apartment building because they were considered too dangerous to transport.

German media have reported that Albakr is believed to be connected to Islamic extremist groups, but Saxony police have not commented on his possible motive or the bomb plot's target.

Germany has been on edge since two attacks this summer claimed by the Islamic State group in which multiple people were injured and both assailants died. Two other attacks unrelated to Islamic extremism, including a deadly mall shooting in Munich, have also contributed to fears.

During the manhunt, federal police had increased security around the country, particularly around "critical infrastructure" like train stations and airports.

The authorities said that Albakr had come to Germany in the flood of 890,000 migrants who entered the country in 2015 and had been granted asylum.

Source: stripes.com/news/europe/german-police-detain-syrian-man-wanted-in-alleged-bomb-plot-1.433395

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Australia

An Anti-Muslim Vigilante Group Is Roaming The Melbourne CBD Pledging To “Keep Our Streets Safe”

10/10/2016

A pack of anti-Islam, anti-immigration “patriots” are operating “safety patrols” in inner-city Melbourne, in response to a perceived uptick in violent gang-related crime. But despite being motivated by race, they’re totally not racists you guys. No way, no how.

Soldiers of Odin Australia is an offshoot of the far-right Finnish organisation of the same name. According to their Melbourne Facebook page, which is riddled with nauseating memes and Islamophobic rhetoric including a video that refers to gangs of Muslims who “systematically raped and abused thousands of young girls” in Europe, the group is opposed to “mass uncivilised immigration” and stands for “mateship and community”.

The page also insists that the Soldiers of Odin is definitely not “a racist group”, “a National Socialist group”, “a drug gang” or “a criminal organisation”. How very reassuring. “We’re fed up and our communities are fed up,” national president Jay B Moore told The Age. “We’re going where Apex and other gangs are popping up and causing trouble.”

“Our main goal is to make and keep our streets safe,” he said, adding that the group believes in “old-school Aussie values.”

Members of the Solider of Odin wear leather jackets emblazoned with a Viking helmet and an Australian flag. They are reportedly patrolling the area around Federation Square, Birrarung Marr and Bourke Street Mall in the Melbourne CBD, as well as outer suburbs including Werribee, Ringwood and Frankston.

The group claims to have more than 100 members around the country, with divisions operating in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide. The Age reports that they prefer the description “patriotic social club” to “vigilantes”.

Source: junkee.com/anti-muslim-vigilante-group-roaming-melbourne-cbd-pledging-keep-streets-safe/86972

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