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Islamic World News (02 Apr 2017 NewAgeIslam.Com)


200 Terrorists Killed in Iraqi Airstrikes amid ISIL Assault to Break Tal Afar Siege

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo: The Iraqi Joint Operations Room said in a statement that around 200 ISIL terrorists were killed in Iraqi air raids over the Al-Ba’aj region in Western Iraq in recent days.

 

20 People Massacred In Brutal Drugging and Stabbing At Sufi Muslim Shrine in Pakistan

Showing Nude Adam and Eve Portrait Got Teacher Nixed From Muslim School

‘Bangladesh: Imams Won’t Deliver Sermons against Law’: High Court Says

Muslims Realising Terrorism Is Attempt to Defame Islam, Says Home Minister

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Arab World

200 Terrorists Killed in Iraqi Airstrikes amid ISIL Assault to Break Tal Afar Siege

China-Saudi Arabia Militaries Agree To Promote Bilateral Ties To New Level

Hundreds of Al-Nusra Terrorists Killed in Syrian Army Operation in Hama

Islamic State Second-In-Command Killed In Airstrike, Iraqi Intelligence Says

ISIL's Long Military Column Destroyed in Syrian Army Attack in Hama

Syrian Army Units Shoot Down 2 Attack Drones of Terrorists in Lattakia

Syrian Army Shells Terrorists' Positions in Southern Outskirts of Damascus

Russian Air Force Bombs Heavily Terrorists' Positions at Syria's Border with Turkey

Syrian Soldiers Ward off Terrorists' Large-Scale Offensive in Lattakia Province

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Pakistan

20 People Massacred In Brutal Drugging and Stabbing At Sufi Muslim Shrine in Pakistan

Parachinar Attack ‘Un-Islamic’: Fazl

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif diagnosed with kidney stone

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North America

Showing Nude Adam and Eve Portrait Got Teacher Nixed From Muslim School

Trump, Sissi to Seek Closer Cooperation against Islamist Extremism

Muslim Juhel Miah's travel fears after US entry denial

Are Muslims Safe? Mosque Prepares For 'Potentially Deadly Crisis’ With Active Shooter Training

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South Asia

‘Bangladesh:  Imams Won’t Deliver Sermons against Law’: High Court Says

Over 200 Taliban insurgents join peace process in North of Afghanistan

Three killed during raid on BD militant den

Pakistan claims Kurram Agency came under rocket attack from Afghanistan

1 Pakistani insurgents killed in airstrikes in Ghazni province of Afghanistan

HIA prisoner’s release to start next week as govt waits for Hekmatyar’s return

Afghan forces and civilians suffer casualties in Khost car bombing

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India

Muslims Realising Terrorism Is Attempt to Defame Islam, Says Home Minister

Haj Subsidy Is Albatross around Our Neck, Say Muslim Leaders

Over 1.7 Lakh from India Will Perform Haj This Year

Haj Subsidy Is Albatross around Our Neck, Say Muslim Leaders

'Chaadar' Offered On PM's Behalf at Chishti's Dargah

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Europe

Birmingham's Muslims Challenge 'Jihadi Capital' Label

Prince Charles ‘Asked US to Pause Afghan War for Ramadan’

Britain Courts the Muslim World As European Ties Fray

Germany receives 262 asylum requests from Turkish diplomats and military officers

One killed in Egypt after blast claimed by Muslim Brotherhood-linked group

Community reacts to Bayezid Mosque fire in northern Greece

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Mideast

67 Israeli Settlers Break into Al-Aqsa Mosque

Envoy: Iran Seeking to Establish Islamic Coalition for Peace

Statue of Sultan Mehmed II to be erected in Istanbul’s Golden Horn

Turkish coup soldiers were ordered to shoot at will: Indictment

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Southeast Asia

Muslim NGO Urges Selangor Govt Not To Demolish Royingya School

Imam meets rabbi, extends apology for remarks on Jews and Christians

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Africa

Leader in Egyptian Islamic State Affiliate Killed In Air Raid

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/200-terrorists-killed-in-iraqi-airstrikes-amid-isil-assault-to-break-tal-afar-siege/d/110618

 

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200 Terrorists Killed in Iraqi Airstrikes amid ISIL Assault to Break Tal Afar Siege

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Iraqi Joint Operations Room said in a statement that around 200 ISIL terrorists were killed in Iraqi air raids over the Al-Ba’aj region in Western Iraq in recent days.

The statement said airstrikes were conducted in response to a large batch of ISIL reinforcements arriving in Western Nineveh from across the border, massdar news reported.

The jihadist militants were spotted mobilizing for an assault ultimately looking to lift the siege of Tal Afar city.

Iraqi ground troops stationed West of Tal Afar killed scores of ISIL terrorists upon encountering the newly arrived militants.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960113000291

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20 people massacred in brutal drugging and stabbing at Sufi Muslim shrine in Pakistan

EDITOR 02 April 2017

Twenty people have been tortured then murdered in a gruesome massacre at a Pakistani Sufi shrine in Punjab

At least four others suffered injuries in the attack at the shrine, believed to have been carried out by the custodian Abdul Waheed.

The shrine, named after the late boxer Mohammed Ali, a convert to Islam, is known in the area as a popular place of pilgrimage and healing for Sufi Muslims in a remote town, Sargodha.

Deputy police commissioner Liaqat Ali Chattha said the custodian called asked people to visit. 'As they kept arriving, they were torturing and murdering them,' he told told Geo TV.

The Mirror reported that four women were among those killed and that three suspects have been arrested, including the custodian, aged 50.

It is reported that the victims were drugged, stripped and then killed with a dagger and stick.

The custodian is reported to have confessed he did it because he feared that they had come to kill him. There are also reports of mental instability.

According to the BBC, the shrine was run by a Sufi saint, Muhammad Ali Gujjar, who was not there on the day of the murders.

'The 50-year-old shrine custodian Abdul Waheed has confessed that he killed these people because he feared that they had come to kill him,' Zulfiqar Hameed told AFP.

Pervaiz Haider, a doctor in a Sargodha hospital, said most of the dead were hit on the back of the neck. 'There are bruises and wounds inflicted by a club and dagger on the bodies of victims,' he told Reuters, who tried without success to find contact details for Waheed or any lawyer representing him.

Sufi Muslims are regarded as heretics by some hardliners because of the mystical element of the tradition. A suicide bombing by Islamic State killed more than 80 worshippers at a shrine in Lal Shahbaz Qalandar shrine in southern Sindh province. Last November, more than 50 people were killed in another Islamic State attack at a Sufi shrine in south-west Pakistan.

christiantoday.com/article/20.people.massacred.in.brutal.drugging.and.stabbing.at.sufi.muslim.shrine.in.pakistan/106594.htm

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Showing nude Adam and Eve portrait got teacher nixed from Muslim school

By Susan Edelman April 2, 2017

An argument over Adam and Eve between a city-paid teacher and third-graders at a private Muslim school has landed the instructor in pedagogical purgatory, The Post has learned.

English teacher Nina Kossman committed the sin of “telling the truth,” she said of her expulsion from the Razi School in Woodside, Queens, which uses taxpayer-funded city Department of Education teachers in a federally mandated program for poor kids.

Kossman infuriated parents by telling their children that Adam is “not real.” She noted that Judaism, Christianity and Islam share the myth, thinking it would “help build up tolerance” for other faiths. She also inadvertently showed kids a classical painting of the first couple as imagined in the Garden of Eden — nude.

A group of angry parents showed up at the school the next day to complain that she “discussed Jews with them and showed them pictures of naked people,” Kossman said Imani Al-Amin, an assistant to the principal, told her.

“The parents were in shock — in a fury,” the assistant said, according to Kossman. “You have to understand that this is a different environment.”

Last week, Kossman was cast out of Razi and exiled to a DOE “rubber room,” a Queens office used for educators facing discipline. While she does nothing but menial paperwork, taxpayers foot her $90,000 salary.

Kossman’s troubles started as her third-graders assembled.

“It was a conversation between the children, but I was right there,” she recalled. “One girl was trying to say that girls are as important as boys because without women there would not be any men.”

The Fall of Man by Peter Paul Rubens.

The girl turned to Kossman: “Teacher, all people are born from a woman’s belly, right?”

Kossman agreed, but a boy chimed in, “One person was not born from a woman’s belly — Adam!”

Kossman replied, “It’s just a story, a myth. It’s not real.”

The boy objected: “Adam is not a story! He is real!”

But Kossman said, “The story of Adam and Eve belongs to three religions — first Judaism, then Christianity, then Islam.”

She called up the Wikipedia page on Adam and Eve. Up popped the famous painting by 17th-century artist Paul Rubens of the nude couple.

“Ooh! Naked people!” kids cried. “We’re not allowed to look at naked people!”

Kossman said she covered the picture with her hands, but read from the Wikipedia entry, which says Adam and Eve is a “creation myth” of the three religions.

With kids still calling her wrong, Kossman insisted, “Well, it’s up to you to think that, but it happens to be true.”

An NYU Islamic Studies professor who did not want to be named said, “Many religious people think that someone in the scripture is actually an historical truth. To say it is a myth can be deemed offensive.”

Razi School in Woodside, Queens.Angel Chevrestt

The pre-K-to-12 Razi School charges tuition of $5,500 to $5,700 a year, yet is entitled to use several city DOE teachers because it is a “Title I” school, where at least 40 percent of students qualify for free lunch.

Razi touts a college-prep curriculum but also has a mosque where students pray about an hour a day.

Navy blue uniforms are required. Boys wear dress shoes. Girls must don white head scarfs completely covering their hair. Female staffers also wear hijabs, but Kossman was exempt. Two other DOE teachers in the school are men.

Kossman, who immigrated from Russia to the United States in 1973 and describes herself as nonreligious, said she had never before gotten into trouble. Since 1991, the DOE has sent her to about 20 religious schools, mostly Catholic but also several yeshivas and one other Muslim school. She was assigned to Razi in September 2014.

She teaches English as a Second Language to students who speak Urdu, Bengali, Farsi and Arabic at home, and she uses fairy tales and literature in lessons.

DOE teachers assigned to nonpublic schools “don’t have any specific guidelines,” Kossman said.

“It’s generally understood that we should not talk about religion to students,” she added. “I probably should have avoided talking about it.”

nypost.com/2017/04/02/showing-nude-adam-and-eve-portrait-got-teacher-nixed-from-muslim-school/

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‘Bangladesh: Imams Won’t Deliver Sermons against Law’: High Court Says

02 April 2017

Imams will not deliver such a sermon which is against the country’s existing law, the High Court said in an observation today.

“An Imam’s duty is to conduct prayers at mosque. He will deliver the right sermon in the light of Islam,” the court said while passing verdict in Blogger Ahmed Rajib Haider killing case.

If anybody makes any derogatory comment about Islam or Hazrat Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) or any other religion or make any post in Facebook, he can be put on trial under the existing law of the country, the court said.

“The incident of killing Rajib took place in a planned way,” the bench of Justice Zahangir Hossain and Md Zahangir Hossain in its judgment said.

“Nobody has the right to take the law in his own hand,” the court added.

It has been found from evidence and argument during hearing of the case that all the seven accused except for Mufti Jashim Uddin Rahmani are very meritorious students. But we could not find any reason behind their choosing of such a path, it observed.

The court said that there might be many reasons for such meritorious students to get derailed adding “the guardians have to take the responsibility to keep their children on the right track.”

The parents should be cautious so that their children gets right education, the court observed.

thedailystar.net/country/imams-wont-deliver-sermons-against-law-1385155

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Muslims Realising Terrorism Is Attempt to Defame Islam, Says Home Minister

PTI | Apr 2, 2017, 05.36 PM IST

NEW DELHI: Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday said the country is united against any kind of violence and Muslims have realised that terrorism is an attempt to defame Islam.

"The whole country is united against terrorism. The Muslims have realised that terrorism is an attempt to defame Islam," he told reporters here when asked about the violence perpetrated by militants in Jammu and Kashmir.

He said the security forces were giving befitting reply to militants who are creating trouble in Kashmir Valley.

The Home Minister had on Friday said that Pakistan was using the social media to incite youths in Kashmir to storm encounter sites and help holed-up militants.

The strife-torn region had seen a "new trend" of late in which youths from nearby villages gather at the sites of encounter between security forces and terrorists and pelt stones to help the militants escape, he had said.

The Home Minister and Defence and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had also held a high-level meeting on Friday to review security situation in Jammu and Kashmir.

Director General of Jammu and Kashmir Police S P Vaid had said on Thursday that youths who storm the encounter sites in the Valley to hurl stones at security personnel are committing suicide.

Last month, Army Chief General Bipin Rawat had said that local Kashmiri people creating hurdles by throwing stones at the security personnel during anti-terror operations will be dealt as anti-nationals and will face "harsh" actions.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/muslims-realising-terrorism-is-attempt-to-defame-islam-says-rajnath-singh/articleshow/57975113.cms

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Arab World

200 Terrorists Killed in Iraqi Airstrikes amid ISIL Assault to Break Tal Afar Siege

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Iraqi Joint Operations Room said in a statement that around 200 ISIL terrorists were killed in Iraqi air raids over the Al-Ba’aj region in Western Iraq in recent days.

The statement said airstrikes were conducted in response to a large batch of ISIL reinforcements arriving in Western Nineveh from across the border, massdar news reported.

The jihadist militants were spotted mobilizing for an assault ultimately looking to lift the siege of Tal Afar city.

Iraqi ground troops stationed West of Tal Afar killed scores of ISIL terrorists upon encountering the newly arrived militants.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960113000291

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China-Saudi Arabia militaries agree to promote bilateral ties to new level

APR 02, 2017

China and Saudi Arabia have agreed to implement the consensus reached between heads of the two states and promote bilateral relations between two countries and two militaries to a new level.

Vice Chairman of China's Central Military Commission (CMC), General Xu Qiliang during his recently held meetings Saudi Arabia held talks with Saudi Arabian Second Deputy Premier and Defense Minister, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Riyadh.

He stressed to work with Saudi Arabian side to conscientiously implement the consensus and promote the bilateral relations, according to Chinese Defense Ministry sources here on Sunday.

Gen Xu Qiliang said, Saudi Arabia is a big country in the Middle East and the Islamic world, and it is China's important partner in the Middle East.

The friendship between peoples of Saudi Arabia and China enjoys a long history and despite the changeable international situations, the Chinese side has always been committed to the development of long-term friendly and cooperative relations between the two countries, Xu said.

He added that in recent years, the two militaries have witnessed constantly deepened cooperation in multiple fields including the high-level visits, personnel training and professional exchanges.

The Saudi Deputy Crown Prince said the heads of the two states made mutual visits successfully, which has promoted the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries.

He noted that Saudi Arabia and China share a wide range of common interests in various fields.

The “Vision-2030” proposed by Saudi Arabia highly accords with the strategy of “One Belt and One Road” initiative in China, he said, adding that the high-level joint committee established by both sides has strengthened pragmatic cooperation in various fields.

The Saudi Arabian side is willing to work with the Chinese side to promote the constant development of relations between the two countries and militaries, he said.

dawn.com/news/1324392/china-saudi-arabia-militaries-agree-to-promote-bilateral-ties-to-new-level

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Hundreds of Al-Nusra Terrorists Killed in Syrian Army Operation in Hama

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian Army troops have killed some 500 terrorists in their continued march on Al-Nusra Front (also known as Fatah al-Sham Front or the Levant Liberation Board) in Northern Hama, military reports said Saturday.

The army units engaged in an intense battle with Al-Nusra in Northern Hama and established full control over the towns and villages of Abu Obeida, Shliout, Hajamah, Zour al-Masagh, Taslibat Umm Hessan, killing almost 500 terrorists and destroying 3 tanks and 40 military vehicles, army reports said.

The army also established control over the Abu Ubaida and Shliout checkpoints North of Maharda.

Informed sources reported that Amin Al-Baywar, the Emir of the training camps of Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at (the Levant Liberation Board), religious leader of Tahrir al-Sham Mohammad Ahmad Julaq, leader of the Turkestani movement Abu Riaq Turkistani and Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at's Saudi fighter Abdul Rahman Abdullah Da'id are among the terrorists killed in Northern Hama. 

In relevant developments in the province on Thursday, the army helicopters targeted the movements of the Al-Nusra Front (also known as Fatah al-Sham Front or the Levant Liberation Board) terrorists and its affiliated groups in Northern Hama, destroying several heavy vehicles and inflicting a number of casualties on the militants, including several field commanders.

The sources said that the army choppers targeted the Al-Nusra positions and movements in al-Heibat town, destroying 7 command posts and reconnaissance headquarters, 15 tanks, 11 armored vehicles and killing a number of terrorists including several notorious commanders.

They added that bodies of the dead militants and wounded fighters have been transferred to the city of Idlib.

The sources further said that several commanders, including senior leader of the so-called army of pride (Jeish al-Izzah) Abdul Hamid al-Qadah, Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at (the Levant Liberation Board) commander Ahad Ahsam and Commander of the Artillery Units of Tahrir al-Sham Mohammad Jihad Qasab, are among the slain terrorists.

In the meantime, Commander of the Turkistani terrorist group Abu Obaida Turkistani and a number of other terrorist commanders from the Persian Gulf Arab states, Iraq and Egypt were killed in the attack.

Abu Fahd al-Anzi, a commander of Tahrir al-Sham, was another senior leader that was killed in the attack.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960112000431

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Islamic State second-in-command killed in airstrike, Iraqi intelligence says

Apr 2, 2017, 8:19 am

(Reuters) Ayad al-Jumaili, believed to be a deputy of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was killed in an air strike on Friday, an Iraqi intelligence spokesman said on Saturday.

The U.S.-led anti-Islamic State coalition said it was unable at the moment to confirm the information that was reported earlier in the day by Iraqi state-run TV.

Jumaili was killed with other Islamic State commanders in a strike carried out by the Iraqi air force in the region of al-Qaim, near the border with Syria, a military intelligence spokesman told Reuters.

“The air force’s planes executed with accuracy a strike on the headquarters of Daesh in al-Qaim .. resulting in the killing of Daesh’s second-in-command…Ayad al-Jumaili, alias Abu Yahya, the war minister,” state TV said earlier, citing a statement from the directorate of military intelligence.

The city of al-Qaem, Anbar (google maps)

Iraqi forces, backed by a U.S.-led coalition, have been battling since October to retake the city of Mosul, Islamic State’s last major stronghold in Iraq and the city where Baghdadi declared a caliphate nearly three years ago.

Nearly 290,000 people have fled the city to escape the fighting, according to the United Nations.

FORMER SADDAM OFFICIAL

U.S. and Iraqi officials believe Baghdadi has left operational commanders with diehard followers to fight the battle of Mosul, and is now hiding out in the desert with senior commanders.

A separate battle is in preparation in Syria to drive Islamic State from its stronghold there, the city of Raqqa.

The Iraqi state TV report is the first by an official media to announce the death of Jumaili, who was an intelligence officer under Saddam Hussein, the Iraqi president toppled in the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

Jumaili led Islamic State’s top security agency in Iraq and Syria, known as Amniya, answering directly to Baghdadi, according to experts.

Although the loss of Mosul would effectively end Islamic State’s territorial rule in Iraq, U.S. and Iraqi officials are preparing for the group to go underground and fight an insurgency like the one that followed the U.S.-led invasion.

The last official report about Baghdadi was from the Iraqi military on Feb. 13. Iraqi F-16s carried out a strike on a house where he was thought to be meeting other commanders, in western Iraq, near the Syrian border, they said in a statement.

More than 40 leading members of the group have been killed in coalition air strikes, according to experts. Baghdadi has not officially appointed a successor.

iraqinews.com/iraq-war/islamic-state-second-command-killed-airstrike-iraqi-intelligence-says/

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ISIL's Long Military Column Destroyed in Syrian Army Attack in Hama

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian Army troops ambushed a long convoy of ISIL's military vehicles along the Salamiyah-Ithriya highway, setting ablaze most of the vehicles with a large volume of arms and ammunition.

The army units carried out an ambush operation against a long convoy of ISIL's vehicles en route from Northern Hama to Raqqa.

ISIL was trying to transfer fighters from Southern Syria to Raqqa front via al-Salamiyah-Ithriya highway in order to fight off the advancing Kurdish forces, but the convoy of terrorists' vehicles came under heavy fire by the Syrian government forces.

Military sources said that the terrorist group packed several vehicles with explosives that would prove to be a fatal mistake, as a Syrian Army unit carried out a powerful ambush along the road during the night.

According to a military source in Salamiyah city, the Syrian Army rained anti-tank missiles on the convoy, causing a series of massive explosions that destroyed almost all of the transport vehicles.

A row of burning vehicles blocked the Ithriya-Salamiyah Highway, forcing the Syrian Army to once again close the highway as a result of the ISIL presence in this part of Northeastern Hama.

Military reports said Saturday that the army troops killed some 500 terrorists in their continued march on Al-Nusra Front (also known as Fatah al-Sham Front or the Levant Liberation Board) in Northern Hama.

The army units engaged in an intense battle with Al-Nusra in Northern Hama and established full control over the towns and villages of Abu Obeida, Shliout, Hajamah, Zour al-Masagh, Taslibat Umm Hessan, killing almost 500 terrorists and destroying 3 tanks and 40 military vehicles, army reports said.

The army also established control over the Abu Ubaida and Shliout checkpoints North of Maharda.

Informed sources reported that Amin Al-Baywar, the Emir of the training camps of Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at (the Levant Liberation Board), religious leader of Tahrir al-Sham Mohammad Ahmad Julaq, leader of the Turkestani movement Abu Riaq Turkistani and Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at's Saudi fighter Abdul Rahman Abdullah Da'id are among the terrorists killed in Northern Hama. 

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960113000140

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Syrian Army Units Shoot Down 2 Attack Drones of Terrorists in Lattakia

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian army forces blew up 2 explosive-laden drones flown by the terrorist groups over government-controlled regions in Northern Lattakia, military sources confirmed on Saturday.

The sources said that the army shot down two drones of the terrorists loaded with ammunition in Northern Lattakia.

The army troops, meantime, engaged in fierce clashes with the terrorists in areas surrounding the two towns of Kabani and Alsermaniya in Northern Lattakia and in Northwestern Hama province, destroying a 130mm artillery unit and killing its crew. 

Also, the Syrian Air Force carried out more than a dozen combat flights over the terrorist's positions in Northeastern Lattakia on Thursday, inflicting major losses on the militants.

The warplanes targeted the terrorists' concentration centers in Kabani town and its surroundings in the Kurds Mountain, killing and wounding a number of militants.

The fighter jets also pounded terrorists' gathering centers during heavy night raids in the villages of Tafahia and Yunesiya located on an important supply route between Idlib and Lattakia near the Turkish border North of Lattakia.

The raids resulted in the destruction of a convoy of gunmen heading towards the Lattakia countryside near the Yunesiya crossing, destroying more than 10 SUVs with heavy machine guns loaded with weapons and ammunition.

In the meantime, unofficial reports said that the terrorist groups targeted the city of Jableh in Eastern Lattakia province with several Grad missiles that were intercepted by the air defense system at the Humeimim airbase and were destroyed in the sky near the city before hitting their targets.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960112000386

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Syrian Army Shells Terrorists' Positions in Southern Outskirts of Damascus

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian Army's artillery units opened heavy fire at terrorists' positions in the Southern outskirts of Damascus city, while other army units engaged in clashes with militants in the same region.

The artillery units heavily pounded the positions of militants in the Yarmouk Refugee Camp in Southern outskirts of Damascus city, inflicting heavy losses on the terrorists.

The army soldiers also clashed with terrorists North of Yarmouk camp in an area between al-Thanavia and al-Rija neighborhoods.

In the meantime, the army closed all tunnels linking the Allah neighborhood of Barzeh district to al-Qaboun district Northeast of Damascus.

Sources in Eastern Ghouta reported that the army men engaged in heavy fighting with the terrorists in al-Qaboun, while the army carried out heavy rocket attack on the terrorists' position in the al-Qaboun.

The sources added that the army expanded its control over al-Reihan Farms in Eastern Damascus and gained control over more points and tunnel networks in the vicinity of Ibn Sina Hospital following heavy fighting with terrorist groups since yesterday afternoon, killing and wounding dozens of militants.

Relevant reports said on Saturday that Syrian military forces discovered a lengthy tunnel of the terrorists in Eastern Ghouta and destroyed it.

The army gained control over the last major tunnel of the terrorists in al-Qaboun district North-East of Damascus province.

Local sources said that the tunnel was called by the militants as the Nafaq al-Qaboun, adding that it was used for transferring militants and weapons across al-Qaboun and Arbin region.

In the meantime, the Syrian army renewed its rocket attacks on the positions of the militants on the Qaboun front lines East-Northeast of the province.

Also, the Syrian Air Force targeted the militants’ positions in the town of Douma in Eastern Ghouta.

The army's artillery also shelled the positions of the terrorist groups in Yarmouk Refugee Camp in the Southern outskirts of Damascus city.

Meantime, informed sources in the Southern province of Quneitra reported that the army targeted intensely the movements of the militants in the village of Hamidiya in response to their rocket attacks on residential areas in Baath town.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960113000376

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Russian Air Force Bombs Heavily Terrorists' Positions at Syria's Border with Turkey

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Russian fighter jets carried out several combat flights over the movements and strongholds of two terrorist groups in Northern Idlib, inflicting major losses on them, local sources said.

According to an eye witness, at least ten airstrikes were observed around midnight on Saturday as the Russian jets targeted the positions of Ahrar Al-Sham and Jeish al-Islam near the towns of al-Kafeer and Babsqa at the country's  border with Turkey.

Amid the Russian aerial bombardment, a weapons depot was blown to ashes, causing significant destruction.

In addition, Russian airstrikes targeted a military site controlled by Darayya militants who were evacuated from the Syrian capital in August, 2016.

Dozens of militants were reportedly killed by the surprise airstrikes that took the terrorists without warning due to the Russian jets attacking from an unexpected angle.

A number of pictures surfaced online showing scores of dead terrorists in the region.

Relevant reports said on Friday that the Russian Navy fired several cruise missiles off the coast of Lattakia, targeting the positions of Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at (the Levant Liberation Board) in the Northern part of Lattakia province and Southern part of Idlib province.

The Russian cruise missiles reportedly struck several sites along the Lattakia-Idlib road on Thursday, causing significant damage on the strongholds of Tahrir al-Sham near the town of Jisr Al-Shughour in Southern Idlib.

According to a local source in Lattakia, the cruise missile strikes could be heard from as far away as the provincial capital and the Southern city of Jableh, where the Russian Air Force is stationed.

This powerful attack by the Russian Navy was in response to the rocket assault on the Humeimim Military Airbase conducted by the terrorists earlier this week.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960113000201

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Syrian Soldiers Ward off Terrorists' Large-Scale Offensive in Lattakia Province

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian Army forces repelled Ahrar al-Sham's heavy attack in the mountainous regions of Northern Lattakia, killing and wounding a number of terrorists after hours of non-stop clashes, military sources reported.

The sources said that after mobilizing a significant number of militants in rural Lattakia over the past few days, Ahrar a-Sham terrorists carried out a large attack on the government forces' positions between the villages of Shahroura and Al-Shamas.

Spearheaded by Ahrar Al-Sham, the militant units stormed a nearby checkpoint held by the army troops, the sources said.

They added that the army discovered the advancing terrorists early on and advised entrenched government soldiers to set up an ambush in the Kinsibba region. While upwards of one hundred fighters advanced towards the seemingly unmanned checkpoint on the outskirts of Kinsibba, the army suddenly opened fire from two hilltops and inflicted substantial casualties on the terrorists in the process.

The sources went on to say that with dozens dead in the wake of the failed attack, terrorists quickly scattered towards militant-held positions on the provincial border between Lattakia and Idlib.

Only few corpses were retrieved by Ahrar Al-Sham amid the failed attack while many wounded fighters were left behind to be captured alive by the Syrian army, the sources further said.

Relevant reports said on Thursday that the Syrian Air Force carried out more than a dozen combat flights over terrorist groups' positions in Northeastern Lattakia, inflicting major losses on the militants.

The warplanes targeted the terrorists' concentration centers in Kabani town and its surroundings in the Kurds Mountain, killing and wounding a number of militants.

The fighter jets also pounded terrorists' gathering centers during heavy night raids in the villages of Tafahia and Yunesiya located on an important supply route between Idlib and Lattakia near the Turkish border North of Lattakia.

The raids resulted in the destruction of a convoy of gunmen heading towards the Lattakia countryside near the Yunesiya crossing, destroying more than 10 SUVs with heavy machine guns loaded with weapons and ammunition.

In the meantime, unofficial reports said that the terrorist groups targeted the city of Jableh in Eastern Lattakia province with several Grad missiles that were intercepted by the air defense system at the Humeimim airbase and were destroyed in the sky near the city before hitting their targets.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960113000271

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Pakistan

20 people massacred in brutal drugging and stabbing at Sufi Muslim shrine in Pakistan

EDITOR 02 April 2017

Twenty people have been tortured then murdered in a gruesome massacre at a Pakistani Sufi shrine in Punjab

At least four others suffered injuries in the attack at the shrine, believed to have been carried out by the custodian Abdul Waheed.

The shrine, named after the late boxer Mohammed Ali, a convert to Islam, is known in the area as a popular place of pilgrimage and healing for Sufi Muslims in a remote town, Sargodha.

Deputy police commissioner Liaqat Ali Chattha said the custodian called asked people to visit. 'As they kept arriving, they were torturing and murdering them,' he told told Geo TV.

The Mirror reported that four women were among those killed and that three suspects have been arrested, including the custodian, aged 50.

It is reported that the victims were drugged, stripped and then killed with a dagger and stick.

The custodian is reported to have confessed he did it because he feared that they had come to kill him. There are also reports of mental instability.

According to the BBC, the shrine was run by a Sufi saint, Muhammad Ali Gujjar, who was not there on the day of the murders.

'The 50-year-old shrine custodian Abdul Waheed has confessed that he killed these people because he feared that they had come to kill him,' Zulfiqar Hameed told AFP.

Pervaiz Haider, a doctor in a Sargodha hospital, said most of the dead were hit on the back of the neck. 'There are bruises and wounds inflicted by a club and dagger on the bodies of victims,' he told Reuters, who tried without success to find contact details for Waheed or any lawyer representing him.

Sufi Muslims are regarded as heretics by some hardliners because of the mystical element of the tradition. A suicide bombing by Islamic State killed more than 80 worshippers at a shrine in Lal Shahbaz Qalandar shrine in southern Sindh province. Last November, more than 50 people were killed in another Islamic State attack at a Sufi shrine in south-west Pakistan.

christiantoday.com/article/20.people.massacred.in.brutal.drugging.and.stabbing.at.sufi.muslim.shrine.in.pakistan/106594.htm

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Parachinar attack ‘un-Islamic’: Fazl

Published: April 2, 2017

PESHAWAR: Condemning Friday’s suicide bombing in Parachinar, Maulana Fazlur Rehman said Pakistani Ulema have declared terrorism and suicide attacks ‘un-Islamic’ and ‘against the Shariah’.

Maulana Fazl, who heads his own faction of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F)  was speaking to newsmen in Azakhel, Nowshera on Saturday.

Ulema from all schools of thought have declared any kind of armed struggle within Pakistan as un-Islamic, he said and added that Islam has nothing to do with terrorism and violence.

“We condemn the Parachinar attack and demand that the culprits of this barbaric act be eliminated once and for all,” he said.

He said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has asked us to give a reformed narrative to declare terrorism and suicide attacks un-Islamic.

“Let me tell him we have done it four times, therefore there is no need for another narrative,” he said.

23 killed, over 100 injured as blast rocks Parachinar

The PM had asked the Ulema to give a reformed narrative against terrorism in his speech to a gathering of minority on the occasion of Holi in Karachi.

Fazl said Ulema have already distanced themselves from militancy, terrorism and any kind of armed struggle within Pakistan.

“A congregation of hundreds of Ulema dismissed the voices that declared parliament, Constitution, judiciary and democracy un-Islamic,” he said.

Then a congregation of 25,000 Ulema in Peshawar had given another narrative that revolution through armed struggle within Pakistan and suicide attacks were against Shariah.

“Even from Wifaqul Madaris al-Arabia’s platform we have declared armed struggle, violence and every form of terrorism against Shariah,” he said.

He said these narratives come at a heavy cost as several party leaders have been killed, including Maulana Hassan Jan.

Fazl also emphasised on protecting the rights of minorities.

He said attack on life, honour and property of minorities was and always will be considered attack on JUI-F.

“Our Holy Prophet (PBUH) is a mercy for the whole mankind and there is no abhorrence in his message for anyone then how could his followers spill blood of innocent people,” he reasoned.

To a question, he said that Allama Sajid Naqvi and Parachinar Qabaili Jirga have been invited to the congregation.

“This congregation would give a message of peace, unity and religious harmony to people of Pakistan and the world as well,” he said.

Demanding the reformulation of foreign policy, he said Pakistan has been in isolation even after 70 years of independence given its important geo-strategic location.

Bomb wrecks crowded market in Parachinar

He said if Pakistan wants to get rid of this isolation, the existing foreign policy should be revisited and international interests should be taken into account.

“The state of Madinah, despite differences, had a diplomatic relationship with Rome and Persia, the two most powerful nations of their time,” he said.

Citing China-Pakistan ‘deeper than oceans’ friendship, he said that after China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, the friendship converted into economic friendship.

Terming Tajikistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (Tapi) gas pipeline as a lever of international interests he said besides national interest Pakistan should also take care of international interests.

tribune.com.pk/story/1371977/parachinar-attack-un-islamic-fazl/

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Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif diagnosed with kidney stone

PTI | Apr 2, 2017

LAHORE: Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was briefly hospitalised after he was diagnosed with a 'small stone' in his kidney.

Sharif's daughter Maryam Nawaz confirmed that he went to a private hospital here for a medical check-up, but criticised those who were spreading rumours about her father's illness.

"As opposed to the sensational news on media, PM is Alhamdolillah (by grace of Allah) fine. Diagnosed with small kidney stone that doesn't need any intervention," she tweeted.

67-year-old Sharif underwent a Computed Tomography (CT) scan following a minor stomachache. Doctors, following the scan, confirmed presence of a stone in his left kidney.

"On Saturday morning, the premier felt pain in his kidneys and was rushed to a private hospital in Gulberg where doctors thoroughly examined him for more than half an hour. After a CT scan they detected a small stone in his left kidney," the Dawn quoted a source in the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz as saying.

After a brief stay doctors allowed Sharif to go home and suggested observing certain dietary schedule.

"In case the stone does not come out by taking water a procedure may be carried out," an official quoted a doctor as saying.

In May 2016, Sharif had undergone a successful open-heart surgery in London.

Meanwhile, Minister of State for Information Maryam Aurangzeb said Prime Minister Sharif was fine, as all medical tests were satisfactory.

"The Prime Minister has been working tirelessly as he wants to see completion of all projects by 2018, hence, he was under some stress," Aurangzeb said.

It is the second time in a year that Sharif faced health issues. Last year in May, he underwent an open-heart surgery in London.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/pakistan-prime-minister-nawaz-sharif-diagnosed-with-kidney-stone/articleshow/57971385.cms

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North America

Showing nude Adam and Eve portrait got teacher nixed from Muslim school

By Susan Edelman April 2, 2017

An argument over Adam and Eve between a city-paid teacher and third-graders at a private Muslim school has landed the instructor in pedagogical purgatory, The Post has learned.

English teacher Nina Kossman committed the sin of “telling the truth,” she said of her expulsion from the Razi School in Woodside, Queens, which uses taxpayer-funded city Department of Education teachers in a federally mandated program for poor kids.

Kossman infuriated parents by telling their children that Adam is “not real.” She noted that Judaism, Christianity and Islam share the myth, thinking it would “help build up tolerance” for other faiths. She also inadvertently showed kids a classical painting of the first couple as imagined in the Garden of Eden — nude.

A group of angry parents showed up at the school the next day to complain that she “discussed Jews with them and showed them pictures of naked people,” Kossman said Imani Al-Amin, an assistant to the principal, told her.

“The parents were in shock — in a fury,” the assistant said, according to Kossman. “You have to understand that this is a different environment.”

Last week, Kossman was cast out of Razi and exiled to a DOE “rubber room,” a Queens office used for educators facing discipline. While she does nothing but menial paperwork, taxpayers foot her $90,000 salary.

Kossman’s troubles started as her third-graders assembled.

“It was a conversation between the children, but I was right there,” she recalled. “One girl was trying to say that girls are as important as boys because without women there would not be any men.”

The Fall of Man by Peter Paul Rubens.

The girl turned to Kossman: “Teacher, all people are born from a woman’s belly, right?”

Kossman agreed, but a boy chimed in, “One person was not born from a woman’s belly — Adam!”

Kossman replied, “It’s just a story, a myth. It’s not real.”

The boy objected: “Adam is not a story! He is real!”

But Kossman said, “The story of Adam and Eve belongs to three religions — first Judaism, then Christianity, then Islam.”

She called up the Wikipedia page on Adam and Eve. Up popped the famous painting by 17th-century artist Paul Rubens of the nude couple.

“Ooh! Naked people!” kids cried. “We’re not allowed to look at naked people!”

Kossman said she covered the picture with her hands, but read from the Wikipedia entry, which says Adam and Eve is a “creation myth” of the three religions.

With kids still calling her wrong, Kossman insisted, “Well, it’s up to you to think that, but it happens to be true.”

An NYU Islamic Studies professor who did not want to be named said, “Many religious people think that someone in the scripture is actually an historical truth. To say it is a myth can be deemed offensive.”

Razi School in Woodside, Queens.Angel Chevrestt

The pre-K-to-12 Razi School charges tuition of $5,500 to $5,700 a year, yet is entitled to use several city DOE teachers because it is a “Title I” school, where at least 40 percent of students qualify for free lunch.

Razi touts a college-prep curriculum but also has a mosque where students pray about an hour a day.

Navy blue uniforms are required. Boys wear dress shoes. Girls must don white head scarfs completely covering their hair. Female staffers also wear hijabs, but Kossman was exempt. Two other DOE teachers in the school are men.

Kossman, who immigrated from Russia to the United States in 1973 and describes herself as nonreligious, said she had never before gotten into trouble. Since 1991, the DOE has sent her to about 20 religious schools, mostly Catholic but also several yeshivas and one other Muslim school. She was assigned to Razi in September 2014.

She teaches English as a Second Language to students who speak Urdu, Bengali, Farsi and Arabic at home, and she uses fairy tales and literature in lessons.

DOE teachers assigned to nonpublic schools “don’t have any specific guidelines,” Kossman said.

“It’s generally understood that we should not talk about religion to students,” she added. “I probably should have avoided talking about it.”

nypost.com/2017/04/02/showing-nude-adam-and-eve-portrait-got-teacher-nixed-from-muslim-school/

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Trump, Sissi to Seek Closer Cooperation Against Islamist Extremism

April 02, 2017

The United States and Egypt are expected to reach accord on enhanced collaboration in the fight against radical Islamist terrorism Monday when Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi comes calling on President Donald Trump at the White House.

“Both have a very deep antipathy toward political Islamism,” said H.A. Hellyer, senior fellow at the Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East at the Atlantic Council. “They both view security as very much the first, second and third priority of politics.”

A White House statement issued in advance of the visit said, “The relationship has historically been driven by security interests, and that will remain a key component of the engagement.”

The statement praised the Egyptian leader’s tough policy in battling terrorists.

“Sissi has taken bold steps on a number of sensitive issues since becoming president in 2014,” it said.

Analysts and regional experts who spoke to VOA agreed that the meeting is fated to succeed. The two were reported to have gotten along well when candidate Trump met the Egyptian leader in September on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.

Given their common emphasis on security, it should be easy to breathe new life into a relationship that was bruised and battered during the Obama presidency, analysts say.

Obama froze aid to Cairo after Egypt’s military, led by then General Sissi, overthrew Egypt’s first democratically elected president, Mohammed Morsi, in 2013. (Sissi was elected to the presidency a year later.) Obama declined to invite Sissi to the White House and was critical of the military regime’s crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood, which Morsi represented as president. Sissi regards the Brotherhood as a terrorist group.

“Obama’s administration went through the arc from (former president Hosni) Mubarak, through revolution, through the Muslim Brotherhood, through another revolution, to a military-led regime,” said Robert Satloff, director of the Washington Institute, which specializes in Middle East policy. “It was quite a tempestuous period in Egypt/U.S. relations.”

America’s Arab partner

Satloff says Trump is looking to Sissi, who has been outspoken in his condemnation of jihadism, as America’s leading Arab partner in his high-profile fight against radical Islamist extremism.

“Sissi has been very vocal about jihadist extremism, how important it is for moderate mainstream Muslim leaders to recapture the narrative from the jihadist extremists,” Satloff said in an interview.

“He’s gone to the headquarters of Muslim learning in Egypt, al Azhar, and he’s challenged the intellectual and thought leaders to recapture the high ground from the jihadists. So I don’t think Sissi is going to have a hard time with President Trump’s characterization on this issue,” Satloff said.

Muslim world watching

The Oval Office meeting is being keenly watched in Cairo, where there is intense curiosity about Trump’s intentions toward Egypt and the greater Muslim world.

“The entire region seems to be holding its breath,” says the Atlantic Council’s Hellyer. “They’re wondering, OK, Trump has just banned citizens of six Muslim majority countries, and what does that mean. And now the thing with the flights, where airports, including Cairo, you can’t take laptops on flights to the U.S. And then what’s happening with that inner circle around Trump speaking not just about Islamism, but about Islam and Muslims more generally,” Hellyer said.

Cairo’s political elites are also watching the Oval Office meeting closely for signs of Trump’s positions on a number of other important issues: will Trump’s proposed cutbacks in foreign spending translate to reductions in crucial military and financial assistance? And perhaps more importantly, will a warm Trump embrace signal a more relaxed U.S. attitude toward the Sissi administration’s much maligned human rights record?

A senior White House official Friday indicated the Trump administration would work quietly with Egypt on human rights issues.

“Our approach is to handle these types of sensitive issues in a private, more discreet way,” the official said. “We believe it’s the most effective way to advance those issues to a favorable outcome.”

Human rights on the table

Those were not the words human rights campaigners were hoping to hear. At a briefing for reporters at the Arab Center in Washington Thursday, activists expressed concern about what they see as a slide toward authoritarianism in Egypt that includes cracking down on civil society and closing political space.

“I think President Sissi looks at the White House as a big prize to legitimize his rule in Egypt,” said Moataz El Fegiery, protection coordinator for Middle East Front Line Defenders in London. “If the United States has leverage on Egypt, it is very important that human rights be on the table. Otherwise it is a green light from the White House for President Sissi to continue his massive crackdown on peaceful opposition and civil society.”

The Egyptian leader is the first of three heads of state who will be visiting Trump this week as the president continues an extended series of get-to-know-you meetings with major international players.

On Wednesday, Jordan’s King Abdullah will be a guest in the Oval Office. The following day, Trump will fly to his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida for two days of talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

voanews.com/a/trump-sissi-meet-discuss-cooperation-against-islamist-extremism/3792750.html

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Muslim Juhel Miah's travel fears after US entry denial

 

Media captionJuhel Miah, 25, posted a video of him being escorted off the plane on Snapchat

A Muslim teacher denied entry into the United States on a school trip has said he is now fearful of travelling in case the same thing happens again.

Juhel Miah was escorted off a plane bound for New York from Iceland while travelling with pupils from Llangatwg Community School in Aberdulais, Neath.

He claims a letter from the US Embassy denies he was stopped from entering or that he had applied for a visa.

Mr Miah, who has footage of him being removed, said he was "gobsmacked".

First Minister Carwyn Jones wrote to Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson for "urgent clarification" in the case and Neath Port Talbot council wrote to the US Embassy to "express its dismay" at his treatment.

But Mr Miah, 25, said he was shocked to receive a letter denying what happened in February when he has a video showing him being taken off the plane by security staff.

He said he still has his flight boarding pass and the relevant Esta documents allowing him entry to the US until January 2019, which prove he tried to travel there and had the correct paperwork.

'Joke'

"Unfortunately, when I read this I thought it was a joke at first," he told BBC Radio Wales' Sunday Supplement programme.

"This is the people I am dealing with and as to answers - I'm nowhere near."

Juhel Miah

Mr Miah, whose family's ethnic background is Bangladeshi, is British, with a British passport and does not have dual nationality.

US President Donald Trump had signed an executive order halting all refugee admissions and temporarily barring people from seven Muslim-majority countries, sparking numerous protests and legal challenges.

It was suspended by a judge but now President Trump has since proposed a revised order.

'Fight'

Mr Miah has vowed to continue to fight for answers but said it did make him worry about travelling in future.

"It was brought to my attention by my dad's friend, he said to me 'your passport is likely to be flagged' so now I'm dreading going anywhere in the world because I don't want to be treated differently to anyone else," said the maths teacher.

"The last thing I want is to be denied entry into a different country."

Mr Miah praised the support from his school and the community and said he been contacted by lots of people who had been treated the same way.

"The support has been second to none, I can't fault it, and it's made things so much easier," he said.

"However, right now my focus is to get an answer. I want this, not just for me, but for other people like me.

"What I want is for this story to make difference and for something to actually happen, because nothing has."

The US Embassy said it could not comment on individual cases.

Neath Port Talbot council said it was appalled by Mr Miah's treatment and said it was awaiting an explanation.

bbc.com/news/uk-wales-south-west-wales-39471326

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Are Muslims Safe? Mosque Prepares For 'Potentially Deadly Crisis’ With Active Shooter Training

BY CHRIS RIOTTA @CHRISRIOTTA ON 04/02/17

Hate in the USA: Racist, anti-Muslim and homophobic groups on the rise in America

The Islamic-American community was on high alert following the election of President Donald Trump and a surge in hate crimes against Muslims since November last year. At least 35 reported incidents targeted Islamic centers in Florida, New York, Texas, Arizona, Maryland and Georgia, among other states, since the beginning of the year, according to Dr. Zainab Chaudry, outreach manager at the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

Under Dr. Chaudry's leadership, the Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization will lead an "active-shooter community training" event Sunday at the Masjid An-Nur Foundation, a local Maryland mosque.

"We're encouraging mosque leaders to conduct a security assessment of their properties so they’re not caught off guard in a potentially deadly crisis situation," Dr. Chaudry told International Business Times in a phone interview Friday. "The training serves as a proactive measure to help local Muslims and mosque leaders prepare for any event in this political climate."

ibtimes.com/are-muslims-safe-mosque-prepares-potentially-deadly-crisis-active-shooter-training-2519058

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South Asia

‘Bangladesh: Imams Won’t Deliver Sermons against Law’: High Court Says

02 April 2017

Imams will not deliver such a sermon which is against the country’s existing law, the High Court said in an observation today.

“An Imam’s duty is to conduct prayers at mosque. He will deliver the right sermon in the light of Islam,” the court said while passing verdict in Blogger Ahmed Rajib Haider killing case.

If anybody makes any derogatory comment about Islam or Hazrat Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) or any other religion or make any post in Facebook, he can be put on trial under the existing law of the country, the court said.

“The incident of killing Rajib took place in a planned way,” the bench of Justice Zahangir Hossain and Md Zahangir Hossain in its judgment said.

“Nobody has the right to take the law in his own hand,” the court added.

It has been found from evidence and argument during hearing of the case that all the seven accused except for Mufti Jashim Uddin Rahmani are very meritorious students. But we could not find any reason behind their choosing of such a path, it observed.

The court said that there might be many reasons for such meritorious students to get derailed adding “the guardians have to take the responsibility to keep their children on the right track.”

The parents should be cautious so that their children gets right education, the court observed.

thedailystar.net/country/imams-wont-deliver-sermons-against-law-1385155

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Over 200 Taliban insurgents join peace process in North of Afghanistan

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sun Apr 02 2017

Over two hundred Taliban insurgents have joined peace process in northern Balkh province of Afghanistan.

According to the local government officials, the militants were previously conducting insurgency against the government and security forces in the vicinity of Alburz mountains.

The militants were led by Khan Mohammad Cherik and Mullah Dawan Khan and were fighting in the favor of the Taliban group.

The militants also handed over various weapons, ammunition and other military kits with them.

The provincial government media office said the militants joined peace process due to the efforts of the government officials and security institutions of the province.

Balkh is among the relatively calm provinces in north of Afghanistan but the anti-government armed militant groups have been attempting to destabilize the province.

Numerous incidents have taken place in the province including some of its key cities during the recent months.

The acting provincial governor Ata Mohammad Noor earlier had warned that the ISIS loyalists are also attempting to expand foothold in this province.

khaama.com/over-200-taliban-insurgents-join-peace-process-in-north-of-afghanistan-02486

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Three killed during raid on BD militant den

APR 02, 2017

DHAKA: Three people including a woman were killed when Bangladeshi security forces stormed an Islamist militant hideout on Saturday, police said, as the country fights to contain a wave of extremist attacks.

The incident was the latest battle against militants in recent days, which have involved hostage-taking, deadly explosions and gunfights at multiple hideouts in several locations in northeastern areas of the country.

Saturday’s assault saw a SWAT team enter a duplex in Moulvibazar town that they had surrounded since Wednesday, pitting police against what they believe is a new militant faction.

The head of the counter-terrorism unit Monirul Islam told reporters that it was not clear if the people they discovered dead inside had died from police fire, or if they had blown themselves up.

Police said those inside were from a new wing of an extremist group that the government has blamed for a wave of deadly attacks targeting foreigners and religious minorities in recent years, including an attack last year on a Dhaka cafe where 22 people, mostly foreigners, were killed by armed terrorists.

dawn.com/news/1324222/three-killed-during-raid-on-bd-militant-den

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Pakistan claims Kurram Agency came under rocket attack from Afghanistan

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sun Apr 02 2017

The Pakistani officials have claimed that the Kurram Agency in the Federally Administered Tribal Agency has came under rocket attack from the other side of the Durand Line in Afghanistan.

A spokesperson of the local administration quoted by Dawn News claimed that the attack left locals panicked but did not cause any loss of life.

However, the one missile struck a shop in the Shingak area, another landed near a mosque, and two others in a graveyard at Kachkina.

The source further added that the missiles were fired from Afghanistan’s Paktia province.

This comes as tensions remains high between Kabul and Islamabad over the cross-border incursions mainly involving the Pakistani military who are routinely firing artillery shells in the eastern provinces along the Durand Line.

The Afghan government earlier this month wrote a formal memo to the United Nations Security Council to file a complaint regarding the growing artillery shelling by the Pakistani military in eastern provinces of the country located along the Durand Line.

The Afghan government in its memo mentioned regarding the 1,266 artillery shells fired on eastern provinces since the month of January that has inflicted casualties to the residents besides causing collateral damage.

The memo also contained information regarding the displacement of more than 400 families due to the shelling.

Tensions between Kabul and Islamabad intensified following a series of deadly terrorist attacks in both the countries.

Both Afghanistan and Pakistan claim that the attacks are plotted and carried by the militants having safe havens in the two countries.

khaama.com/pakistan-claims-kurram-agency-came-under-rocket-attack-from-afghanistan-02491

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1 Pakistani insurgents killed in airstrikes in Ghazni province of Afghanistan

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sat Apr 01 2017

At least eleven Pakistani insurgents were killed in a series of airstrikes conducted in southeastern Ghazni province of Afghanistan.

The airstrikes were carried out in the vicinity of Gilan and Nawa districts of Ghazni.

The Government Media and Information Center said the airstrikes were carried out by the foreign forces on Friday.

The source further added that those killed in the airstrikes were all foreigners and were hailing from Pakistan.

The provincial officials earlier said the militants were killed in airstrikes and military operations conducted by the Afghan forces.

Ghazni is among the relatively volatile provinces connecting the central provinces with the southern Kandahar and Helmand which are among the two restive provinces in the South.

The anti-government armed militant groups are actively operating in its various districts and often carry out insurgency activities.

The latest airstrikes by the foreign forces in Ghazni came as the counter-terrorism operations by the US forces mainly involving airstrikes have been stepped up during the recent months and specifically after they were granted broader role earlier last year.

khaama.com/11-pakistani-insurgents-killed-in-airstrikes-in-ghazni-province-of-afghanistan-02485

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HIA prisoner’s release to start next week as govt waits for Hekmatyar’s return

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sun Apr 02 2017

Some of the prisoners of Hezb-e-Islami will be released next week as the Afghan government is waiting for the return of the party’s leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar.

Shah Hussain Murtazawi, a spokesman to President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, told reporters that the peace deal with Hezb-e-Islami is being implemented.

President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani chaired the National Security Council meeting late in February and instructed the relevant authorities to take immediate steps in implementation of the peace deal with Hezb-e-Islami.

It was also concluded that all provisions of the agreement, specifically the release of the prisoners must be implemented.

The peace agreement with Hezb-e-Islami was signed late in the month of September last year.

The United Nations Security Council further paved the way for the proper implementation of the peace agreement provisions by remove Gulbuddin Hekmatyar’s name from the sanctions list few weeks ago.

The peace deal was signed amid optimisms that the other insurgent groups will follow Hekmatyar in participating in an Afghan-led peace process.

However, the Taliban group, one of the main insurgent groups has so far rejected peace talks offers as the group insists on full withdrawal of the foreign forces from the country.

khaama.com/hia-prisoners-release-to-strt-next-week-as-govt-waits-for-hekmatyars-return-02489

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Afghan forces and civilians suffer casualties in Khost car bombing

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sun Apr 02 2017

A heavy explosion was reported in southeastern Khost province of Afghanistan late on Saturday leaving a number of the security forces and civilians dead or wounded.

The local officials confirmed the incident took place in the vicinity of Domand district in northern part of the province.

Provincial governor’s spokesman Mubariz Mohammad Zadran said the government has received reports regarding the six students who suffered injuries in the attack.

He said the health condition of a number of the wounded is critical but there are still no reports regarding the Afghan forces casualties.

In the meantime, another official said at least three Afghan security personnel were killed in the attack and some others were wounded.

The eyewitnesses and local residents said the explosion was powerful enough to shatter the glasses of the several houses in the area.

No group has so far claimed responsibility behind the incident.

Khost is among the relatively peaceful provinces in southeastern parts of the country but the anti-government armed militant groups have recently increased their insurgency activities in this province.

Some terrorist related activities and explosions were also reported in the provincial capital and other parts of the province last month.

khaama.com/afghan-forces-and-civilians-suffer-casualties-in-khost-car-bombing-02487

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India

Muslims Realising Terrorism Is Attempt to Defame Islam, Says Home Minister

PTI | Apr 2, 2017, 05.36 PM IST

NEW DELHI: Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday said the country is united against any kind of violence and Muslims have realised that terrorism is an attempt to defame Islam.

"The whole country is united against terrorism. The Muslims have realised that terrorism is an attempt to defame Islam," he told reporters here when asked about the violence perpetrated by militants in Jammu and Kashmir.

He said the security forces were giving befitting reply to militants who are creating trouble in Kashmir Valley.

The Home Minister had on Friday said that Pakistan was using the social media to incite youths in Kashmir to storm encounter sites and help holed-up militants.

The strife-torn region had seen a "new trend" of late in which youths from nearby villages gather at the sites of encounter between security forces and terrorists and pelt stones to help the militants escape, he had said.

The Home Minister and Defence and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had also held a high-level meeting on Friday to review security situation in Jammu and Kashmir.

Director General of Jammu and Kashmir Police S P Vaid had said on Thursday that youths who storm the encounter sites in the Valley to hurl stones at security personnel are committing suicide.

Last month, Army Chief General Bipin Rawat had said that local Kashmiri people creating hurdles by throwing stones at the security personnel during anti-terror operations will be dealt as anti-nationals and will face "harsh" actions.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/muslims-realising-terrorism-is-attempt-to-defame-islam-says-rajnath-singh/articleshow/57975113.cms

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Haj Subsidy Is Albatross around Our Neck, Say Muslim Leaders

Mohammed Wajihuddin | TNN | Updated: Apr 2, 2017

In 2016, the government gave nearly Rs 405 crore subsidy for one lakh pilgrims who travelled to Mecca through the Haj Committee of India

A committee is looking into whether subsidies have benefits and if pilgrims can travel paying less if there is no subsidy at all

Over 1.7 lakh from India will perform Haj this year Over 1.7 lakh from India will perform Haj this year

The Quran clearly commands that Haj is obligatory on those who can afford the expense. So it always rankled many Muslims that India's government subsidized their most important of pilgrimages, to Mecca. Now that newly-elected UP's Waqf and Haj minister Mohsin Raza has spoken against the "misuse" of Haj subsidy+ (earlier union minister for minority affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi called it a blot on Muslims+), the issue of Haj subsidy is back in the spotlight. Most Muslims wants to do away with the subsidy which the sangh parivar has called it a "tool of minority appeasement."

In 2016 the government gave nearly Rs 405 crore subsidy for one lakh pilgrims who travelled to Mecca through the Haj Committee of India. This year, after the restoration of the country's Haj quota cut by 20% by the Saudi authorities in the last couple of years, the total Indian Haj quota is 1.70 lakh (1.25 lakh through Haj Committee while 45000 through Private Tour Operators) but the Haj subsidy is bound to reduce. Why? The government is complying with the Supreme Court's 2012 order directing the government to abolish Haj subsidy over a period of 10 years.

"The subsidy amount goes to the airfare for Haj pilgrims which are much higher than the normal airfare for a return journey to Jeddah from India. Subsidy is an albatross around Muslims' neck and must end+," says Yusuf Ahmed Kherada of Al Khalid Tours and Travels. "Get a global tender for Haj travel and the airfare will reduce."

A five-member committee, headed by secretary of Parliamentary Affairs Afazl Amanullah, is looking into whether subsidies have benefits+ and if pilgrims can travel paying less if there is no subsidy at all. "It is true the Supreme Court wants subsidy to end by 2022 and we are taking a wider perspective of the Haj policy," says Kamal Farooque, a member of the panel.

Raza, many allege, was ill-informed about Haj when he said: "We will only let deserving persons who don't have means to go on their own, to go. If a person is a multi-millionaire he should not make the pilgrimage on government money." "Haj is not for those who can't afford it and multi-millionaires make the pilgrimage through Private Tour Operators where the journey is not subsidized," explains senior Shia scholar Maulana Zaheer Abbas Rizvi. "We don't want Haj subsidy. Let the government end it as per the Supreme Court (2012) order but politicians should not mislead the public."

Continuing something Allah didn't command for Muslims is anachronistic and the community Muslims justifiably doesn’t want it.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/haj-subsidy-is-albatross-around-our-neck-say-muslim-leaders/articleshow/57970189.cms

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Over 1.7 lakh from India will perform Haj this year

By Mohammed Wajihuddin, TNN | Updated: Apr 02, 2017

The Quran clearly commands that Haj is obligatory on those who can afford the expense. So it always rankled many Muslims that India's government subsidized their most important of pilgrimages, to Mecca. Now that newly-elected UP's Waqf and Haj minister Mohsin Raza has spoken against the "misuse" of Haj subsidy (earlier union minister for minority affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi called it a blot on Muslims ), the issue of Haj subsidy is back in the spotlight. Most Muslims wants to do away with the subsidy which the sangh parivar has called it a "tool of minority appeasement."

In 2016 the government gave nearly Rs 405 crore subsidy for one lakh pilgrims who travelled to Mecca through the Haj Committee of India. This year, after the restoration of the country's Haj quota cut by 20% by the Saudi authorities in the last couple of years, the total Indian Haj quota is 1.70 lakh (1.25 lakh through Haj Committee while 45000 through Private Tour Operators) but the Haj subsidy is bound to reduce. Why? The government is complying with the Supreme Court's 2012 order directing the government to abolish Haj subsidy over a period of 10 years.

"The subsidy amount goes to the airfare for Haj pilgrims which is much higher than the normal airfare for a return journey to Jeddah from India. Subsidy is an albatross around Muslims' neck and must end ," says Yusuf Ahmed Kherada of Al Khalid Tours and Travels. "Get a global tender for Haj travel and the airfare will reduce."

A five-member committee, headed by secretary of Parliamentary Affairs Afazl Amanullah, is looking into whether subsidies have benefits and if pilgrims can travel paying less if there is no subsidy at all. "It is true the Supreme Court wants subsidy to end by 2022 and we are taking a wider perspective of the Haj policy," says Kamal Farooque, a member of the panel.

Raza, many allege, was ill-informed about Haj when he said: "We will only let deserving persons who don't have means to go on their own, to go. If a person is a multi-millionaire he should not make the pilgrimage on government money." "Haj is not for those who can't afford it and multi-millionaires make the pilgrimage through Private Tour Operators where the journey is not subsidized," explains senior Shia scholar Maulana Zaheer Abbas Rizvi. "We don't want Haj subsidy. Let the government end it as per the Supreme Court (2012) order but politicians should not mislead the public."

Continuing something Allah didn't command for Muslims is anachronistic and the community Muslims justifiably don't want it.

economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/haj-subsidy-is-albatross-around-our-neck-say-muslim-leaders/articleshow/57973563.cms

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'Chaadar' offered on PM's behalf at Chishti's dargah

PTI | Apr 1, 2017

AJMER: A 'chaadar' was today offered at the dargah of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti here on behalf of Prime Minister Narendra Modi who said the service of the Sufi saint to humanity will continue to inspire generations.

Union Minister of State for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi offered the 'chaadar' (shawl) on behalf of the PM and read out his message in which Modi greeted the followers of the saint in India and abroad on the occasion of the 805th annual Urs.

"Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti is a symbol of India's great spiritual tradition," the Prime Minister said in his message.

He said the service of Garib Nawaz to humanity will continue to inspire generations. Chishti, a great 6th century Sufi saint, is also known as Gharib Nawaz (patron of the poor).

Speaking on the occasion, Naqvi said that the country is an example of social and communal harmony for the entire world and the life of 'Garib Nawaz' inspires all to strengthen it.

"This unity can defeat the forces which are engaged in a conspiracy to create divide and conflict in the society," he said.

The Minister said that development of the country and living up to the trust of the people is the only commitment of the NDA Government under the leadership of Modi.

He said Chishti's message of world peace is a strong weapon to protect human values and defeat the nefarious designs of terror forces.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/chaadar-offered-on-pms-behalf-at-chishtis-dargah/articleshow/57961634.cms

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Europe

Birmingham's Muslims challenge 'jihadi capital' label

 

Birmingham, England - A greying railway bridge serves as the entrance to the Birmingham neighbourhood of Sparkbrook, nondescript except for the quote written beneath the welcome sign bearing its name.

"If my mind can conceive it and my heart can believe it, then I can achieve it," it reads.

The quote by Muhammad Ali is one of several tributes to the legendary American boxer put up in Birmingham after his death last year.

Ali's legacy has a special resonance in the neighbourhood and not just because of his achievements as a boxer; more than 70 percent of Sparkbrook's 32,000 residents share his Islamic faith.

Together with its adjoining districts, the area houses much of Birmingham's 234,000-strong Muslim population, the largest in the UK, outside of London.

Theirs is a community that last week found itself at the centre of international media attention when it emerged that the city was the last place the Westminster attacker Adrian Elms, or Khalid Masood, had lived in before carrying out the attack that left four people dead.

Some British newspapers portrayed the attack as the latest example of extremist violence linked to the country's second largest city.

The Telegraph described Birmingham as one of "Britain's terror hotspots" and the Daily Mail asked how the city had become "the jihadi capital of Britain".

That designation has been challenged by residents of Sparkbrook.

"It comes down to us being Muslims," said engineering student Abdullah, venting frustration at the media coverage, as he and a group of friends headed from Friday prayers to one of the area's many Middle Eastern cafes.

Born in Birmingham and raised in Sparkbrook, the young man of Yemeni origin, said he was "hurt" by the reports that followed last week's attack.

"They [the media] make out that it's the community here that's responsible for this whole problem, but we've got nothing to do with it.

"It was one person who did it but we all get the blame.

"We live side by side with our neighbours, we have no problem here."

That sentiment is hardly unique among Birmingham's Muslims.

There is sadness at the fact the attack happened, frustration at the resulting media coverage, surprise at the reputation the city has attained, and fatigue at having to answer for somebody else's actions.

Birmingham is home to more than 234,000 Muslims [Shafik Mandhai/Al Jazeera]

At a Syrian cafe in nearby Moseley, Al Jazeera spoke to Belal Ballali, originally from the Scottish capital of Edinburgh, but a resident of Birmingham for the past 24 years.

In a Scottish accent with slight hints of the local West Midlands, Ballali explained that the city did have a "small number of extremists" but cautioned against thinking the city was exceptional in that regard.

"There's no hard and fast rule about who becomes a terrorist," he said, explaining those who adopted such ideas developed them in "isolation from the Muslim community" and often with contributing mental health factors or substance abuse problems.

Like Abdullah in Sparkbrook, Ballali criticised the media coverage after the Westminster attack for its focus on the Birmingham connection, which he said had exaggerated the connection Elms had to local Muslim communities.

"[Elms] lived in a flat above a takeaway on Hagley Road ... anyone who knows Birmingham knows that it's detached from Muslim communities and mainly home to students."

Ballali, who is of Libyan and Egyptian heritage, said that incidents that were criminal in nature were being spun by right-wing media outlets and think tanks to paint the entire Muslim community as problematic.

I want to ask the people who push these idea that it's so bad here: what is about you that makes you assume the worst in people you don't know?

Belal Ballali

"When you have people constantly pushing the narrative that Muslims are a problem, that they want to take over, it's no surprise that people come up on Fox News and say things like Birmingham is a Muslim no-go zone," he said, referencing an infamous incident on the American network where pundit Steve Emerson described the city as "totally Muslim, where non-Muslims just simply don't go in".

"Well look around you," Ballali said gesturing to the other, mostly white, customers in the cafe.

"How many Muslims do you see here?

"I want to ask the people who push these ideas that it's so bad here: what is about you that makes you assume the worst in people you don't know?"

'Emblematic of migration'

When it comes to the issue of security, only the police and intelligence services definitively know the scale of threats emanating from the city, said academic and Birmingham native, Kamran Khan, of Kings College London.

Khan noted that perceptions of the city have been shaped by factors that have little to do with actual security threats.

"We have a large Muslim population in the city and it's a city that has traditionally welcomed migrants," Khan said

"It's very easy to stoke up fears about a city which is so emblematic of migration. The Irish went through it for many years and now it's Muslims."

Like Ballali, he said the city's Muslim community was not a major factor in the process of radicalisation.

"There's quite a lot of literature now about online radicalisation as the space where people are taken down that path and that's, of course, open to all regardless of their city."

Birmingham's Muslim residents say the city has been unfairly associated with the Westminster attacker [Shafik Mandhai/Al Jazeera]

Whatever the origins of the notion that Birmingham is a hub for those sympathetic to violent groups, it is a reputation the city's Muslims are aware of and eager to eradicate.

At the Birmingham Central Mosque, one of the largest in the city and a short walk from Sparkbrook, congregants at Friday prayers were flanked by several posters declaring that "Islam is against terrorism".

In a font visible from across the prayer hall, the posters quoted sayings from the Prophet Muhammad where he forbids the harming of civilians.

After the prayers had concluded, hundreds of worshippers at the mosque stayed behind to listen to the area's police commissioner David Jamieson, as he offered a message of solidarity to the Muslim community in advance of an upcoming demonstration by the far-right English Defence League (EDL).

According to its promotional material on Facebook, the EDL wants to protest against the "continued increase in Islamic terrorism linked to Birmingham".

"They're coming from outside the area and will attempt to divide us by spreading a message of division and hatred," Jamieson said.

"They will not succeed in doing that, because we in Birmingham of all faiths share the British values of tolerance and mutual respect."

aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2017/04/birmingham-muslims-challenge-jihadi-capital-label-170401024520742.html

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Prince Charles ‘asked US to pause Afghan war for Ramadan’

02 April 2017

The Prince of Wales asked the US if it would be possible to pause the invasion of Afghanistan to honour Ramadan, according to Washington’s former ambassador to Britain.

William Farish said Charles asked if his request for the holy month to be considered as part of the battle plans could be passed on to the then president George W Bush.

The former diplomat recalled the alleged conversation, said to have taken place by phone around a month into the operation, for a new biography of Charles.

“Prince Charles asked me if it would be possible to stop the invasion to honour Ramadan, and if I could convey that request to President Bush,” said Farish.

When it was explained that it would be difficult to halt the military operation already under way, Charles allegedly replied: “But Americans can do anything!”

Farish, 78, served as US ambassador to the UK between 2001 and 2004 and appeared alongside Bush, sen, Tony Blair and the Queen at a service to remember the victims of the 9/11 attacks.

scotsman.com/news/world/prince-charles-asked-us-to-pause-afghan-war-for-ramadan-1-4409900

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Britain courts the Muslim world as European ties fray

Apr 1st 2017

GOVERNING a country polarised, uncertain and isolated from Europe, its female leader seeks salvation in faraway lands. Cutting loose from Europe, she hosts Middle-Eastern sheikhs in Westminster anxious to secure foreign markets and investment, and courts Turkey’s leader to shore up exports with arms sales. Sound familiar? If so, it is. For when she travels to Ankara and Bahrain, and hosts Emirati and Qatari financiers on the eve of giving Brussels notice, Britain’s prime minister, Theresa May, is retracing a path first taken by Queen Elizabeth I when she left the European Union’s spiritual antecedent, the Catholic church, 450 years ago.

Back then, the consequences of Brexit looked even more dire than they do now. In 1570 Pope Pius V excommunicated “the pretended Queen of England and the servant of crime”, and called on her subjects to rebel. His marriage proposals declined, a furious Philip II, king of Spain and lord of extensive Hapsburg lands, barred Britain from access to Europe’s wool markets, and built an armada to invade. The Scots, then as now, sided with the continent.

Bereft of European allies, the head of the newly-formed Church of England reached out to the Muslim powers beyond Europe’s rim. She wooed Morocco’s Sultans, Persia’s Shahs and above all the Ottoman caliph, who from his seat of Constantinople seemed best able to contend with the might of the Catholic Church. To replace the wool trade, she launched Britain’s arms trade. The royal court not only dissolved Catholic monasteries but also melted down the lead from their roofs and turned it into bullets for sale to Moors and Turks. A papal bull against Christians selling arms to Muslims created fresh opportunities. Cut off from Europe’s common market, Elizabeth dispatched hundreds of envoys with presents to negotiate free-trade agreements with Suleiman the Magnificent, and gain access to the silk road in Aleppo.

What began as a nationalist enterprise (there were anti-immigrant riots in London in the early 16th century) yielded surprisingly multi-cultural results. Denounced by the Catholic church as common heretical rogues, the head of a church cleansed of graven images and the caliph united against idol-worshipping Rome. In an exchange of letters, the Ottoman caliph, Murad III, praised Protestantism as “the most sound religion”. Morocco’s Commander of the Faithful declared the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588 to be a sign of divine intervention, and sent an envoy to London to beseech Elizabeth’s help in recovering al-Andalus, lost by Islam a century earlier, for Islam. Ottoman terms for such luxuries as sugar, crimson and turquoise entered the English lexicon. Ironically, a policy born of resentment of foreigners served only to increase their influence.

economist.com/news/21719951-history-repeats-itself-britain-courts-muslim-world-european-ties-fray

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Germany receives 262 asylum requests from Turkish diplomats and military officers

April/02/2017

Germany receives 262 asylum requests from Turkish diplomats and military officers

A total of 262 asylum requests from Turkish citizens who have worked as diplomats or soldiers are currently being reviewed by Germany’s Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF), Der Spiegel reported on April 1.

According to Der Spiegel, the BAMF had not yet made a decision on any of the cases.

Based on an assessment from the German Foreign Ministry, the BAMF is currently reworking its guidelines for Turkey, and the ratio of granted asylum requests from Turkey in Germany could soon rise because of this.

The foreign ministry found that there are “clear indicators that there is a systematic persecution of alleged members of the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ)” and that Ankara has made “excessive terrorism accusations.”

Following the failed July 15, 2016 coup attempt, followers of the U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen applied for asylum in several countries.

Turkey has officially been in a “state of emergency” since a week after coup attempt.

When German media reported on Turkish military officers who had sought asylum in Germany earlier this year, one of the soldiers accused President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of “attempting to eliminate pro-Western soldiers from the armed forces.”

Tensions are running high between the two NATO allies ahead of a referendum in Turkey on April 16 that will decide whether the current parliamentary system should be shifted to an executive presidency. Berlin infuriated Ankara by canceling several campaign rallies by Turkish ministers on German soil, drawing accusations from Turkey of “Nazi” tactics.

The tension continued to rise after Süddeutsche Zeitung, NDR and WDR on March 28 said Turkey’s National Intelligence Agency (MİT) had carried out spying activities and presented the information it gathered to German Federal Intelligence Service (BND) at the Munich Security Conference in 2016.

According to the reports, some 300 Gülenists living in Germany and nearly 200 schools and similar institutions affiliated to the group were on MİT’s list. The list allegedly included the addresses, mobile and landline numbers, and secretly taken photos of those suspected of being Gülenists.

hurriyetdailynews.com/germany-receives-262-asylum-requests-from-turkish-diplomats-and-military-officers.aspx?pageID=238&nID=111508&NewsCatID=351

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One killed in Egypt after blast claimed by Muslim Brotherhood-linked group

April 2nd, 2017

One policeman was killed and 15 others were injured on Saturday after a motorcycle rigged with an explosive device went off near a police training centre in the Egyptian Nile Delta city of Tanta, state television reported.

Four of the injured are in critical condition, according to the report.

Earlier Saturday, the Interior Ministry said that 16 people, including 13 policemen and three civilians, were injured in the blast.

An obscure group, calling itself the Brigade of the Revolution, claimed responsibility for the attack.

The online claim could not be independently verified.

Authorities had previously linked the group to the now-outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.

Egypt has seen a series of attacks mainly against security forces since the army's 2013 overthrow of Islamist president Mohammed Morsi, a senior Brotherhood official, following mass protests against his rule.

Most attacks have taken place in the Sinai Peninsula that borders the Palestinian Gaza Strip and Israel.

A group loyal to the Islamic State radical militia has taken credit for several of these attacks.

albawaba.com/news/one-killed-egypt-after-blast-claimed-muslim-brotherhood-linked-group-957444

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Community reacts to Bayezid Mosque fire in northern Greece

April 02, 2017

Restoration work on the historic Bayezid Mosque in Didymoteicho is expected to start soon. The mosque suffered serious damage in a catastrophic fire last Wednesday. Most members of the local community consider the Ottoman monument an important tourist attraction.

Hamzi Osman, a mufti who is the mosque’s caretaker, says there is a general sense of relief that this “painful incident,” as he describes it, hasn’t ignited intercommunal tensions. The truth is that the minds of many, upon hearing about the fire, went straight to Erdogan and how he might use it in the Turkish referendum campaign to fuel tensions between Greece and Turkey.

The Turkish response came in the form of a mild statement from the country’s Foreign Ministry, which stated that Ankara is awaiting the findings of an investigation by Greek authorities regarding the cause of the fire. It described the mosque as “one of the starkest examples of our shared cultural heritage with Greece.” The statement also repeated Turkey’s shared intent with Greece to mutually maintain cultural monuments which are important to both countries, as reflected in agreements signed by Athens and Ankara.

The response from the religious leadership and political party (DEB) of Greece’s Muslim minority was also calm. The vice president of DEB, Ozan Ahmetoglu, spoke to Kathimerini about the historic and religious importance of the mosque. He also expressed hope that repairs will happen quickly.

There were, however, those who quickly expressed objection to the restoration of the mosque. The Ministry of Culture had already begun renovations several years ago, but the work accelerated after 2011, when the project was approved for European Union funding under the National Strategic Reference Framework (ESPA). On May 23, 2016, members of the Muslim minority drafted a statement addressed to the mayor of Didymoteicho, then-culture minister Aristides Baltas and the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), warning that the restoration works “don’t conform to the procedures described in UNESCO’s rules on physical protection of historic monuments.”

The mosque of Sultan Mehmed Celebi was built in 1420 and covers 900 square meters. It is the oldest mosque in Europe. Aside from traditional Ottoman architecture, the mosque also has unique characteristics that make it the only one of its kind in the world.

The three inscriptions that can be seen in the entrance reflect the characteristics of Islamic calligraphy before the year 1500. These inscriptions are very important to the history of calligraphy and must be protected with great care.

The wooden ceiling was built using a technique seen in no other mosque either in the period of the Seljuk Turks or the Ottoman era. The carpentry reflected the uniqueness of the style. For these reasons, the wooden ceiling and the decorative elements must be repaired with the appropriate materials and the required knowledge.

Specialists with knowledge of the restoration process pointed out to Kathimerini the lack of oversight by engineers working on the project, although when asked about this by Kathimerini, the general secretary of the Culture Ministry, Maria Andreadaki Vlazaki, denied such claims. She also said that the site has never had to be guarded. As they await the final report from the fire service, members of the local community expressed concerns about the future of the monument, though nobody suspects sabotage.

“We were waiting for it to open for tourists. We are disappointed. The repairs must happen fast,” said Kostas, who owns a fast-food restaurant along the pedestrian walk. The majority of the residents of Didymoteicho regard the mosque as a major part of the town’s cultural identity. Along with the Byzantine walls, they hope it will bring money into the local economy. Not everyone thinks that way. Some believe its restoration will make the mosque a point of reference for Muslims around the world, something they don’t want.

Most of the Muslims in the area of Didymoteicho, who number around 5,000, are Roma. They don’t have any particular desire to see the mosque restored so that it can be used as a place of worship. “We don’t go to that mosque, it is only there for historic purposes. We have our own little one to pray at,” says Ibrahim Omerlou. As we approached Didymoteicho, our eyes were drawn to two structures. One was the Bayezid Mosque, which is now a black, burned-out carcass. The minaret looks as if it will fall at any moment. The other is a brand-new Christian Orthodox cathedral, well-kept and with a Greek flag on the front of it.

The monuments symbolize the two religious communities and can be seen from afar. As in other parts of Thrace, they give the impression that they “rise in one symbolic fight” as the two communities live together in harmony. After the mosque fire, the local metropolitan expressed sympathy with the Muslim community.

ekathimerini.com/217321/article/ekathimerini/community/community-reacts-to-bayezid-mosque-fire-in-northern-greece

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Mideast

67 Israeli Settlers Break into Al-Aqsa Mosque

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- 67 Israeli settlers on Sunday morning broke into al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem under the protection of Israeli police, local sources said

WAFA correspondent said that the settlers, divided in groups, forced their way into al-Aqsa Mosque through the Chain Gate (Bab al-Silsileh) under heavy protection of the Israeli police, and provocatively toured around the holy site.

He said that the Jewish settlers practiced Talmudic rituals at the Islamic Holy site while Israeli police provided protection for them. Muslim worshipers present at the site, meanwhile, chanted religious slogans to protest the settlers’ entry.

Israeli Jewish settlers organize provocative visits to the Islamic holy site almost on a daily basis.

According to statistics released by the Jordan-run Islamic Awqaf Department, 14,806 Israeli Jewish settlers broke into al-Aqsa mosque in 2016 alone.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960113000398

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Envoy: Iran Seeking to Establish Islamic Coalition for Peace

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Ambassador to Islamabad Mehdi Honardoust underlined that Iran strongly believes that all important Muslim countries should join hands to fight terrorism and restore peace to the region.

"The coalition of peace has more priority and importance than any other problemfor Iran," Honardoust said.

The Iranian ambassador reiterated that all important countries of the Muslim world should come together to form a coalition of peace to resolve their issues.

"Iran firmly believes that all the tensions which the Islamic world is facing can be resolved mutually," Honardoust added.

In relevant remarks on Tuesday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani called on all the world countries to join hands to help uproot the terrorist groups.

"Today humans need a world without terrorism and nations who do not confront each other," President Rouhani said, addressing a group of Russian academicians in Moscow.

He reiterated that resolving the world's current problems needs cooperation of all government and academicians, and said, "Islamophobia and Takfirism have commonalities."

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960113000355

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Statue of Sultan Mehmed II to be erected in Istanbul’s Golden Horn

April/02/2017

A statue of 16th century Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II (Mehmed the Conqueror) will be erected in Istanbul’s Golden Horn, Istanbul Mayor Kadir Topbaş announced on April 1.

“We will erect a statue showing Sultan Mehmed II on a horse in the sea in the Golden Horn. Tourists passing from here will be able to see his statue and take a photo of it,” Topbaş said during a ceremony in Istanbul’s Kasımpaşa district with the participation of Beyoğlu Mayor Ahmet Misbah Demircan, commenting on upcoming projects regarding the Golden Horn.

“We removed the previous Galata Bridge and we are building an ecological bridge, which people will be able to cross [to Feshane] between meadows and roses. Then from in front of Feshane they will be able to walk to two islands in the Golden Horn, crossing using the ‘Leonardo Bridge.’ Leonardo da Vinci made a sketch during the era of Süleyman the Magnificent, which we have developed and will build,” he added.

Saying investments worth 2.6 billion Turkish Liras had been made for Beyoğlu, Topbaş also noted that a 10 meter-wide “floating road” will be constructed on the sea between Karaköy and Koç Museum, which will feature bicycle and pedestrian roads.

The Istanbul mayor also praised President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for his efforts regarding the cleaning of the Golden Horn.

“Our president cleaned up the Golden Horn, in which fish used to be killed due to dirt. We brought fresh water to the Golden Horn by opening a tunnel from the Bosphorus Strait and Baltalimanı. A total of 265,000 cubic meters of clean water now enter the Golden Horn every day. Now, we will also take the Unkapanı Bridge underwater in order to enhance the traffic flow, and we are in the tender stage for this project,” he said.

Topbaş also said they solved the water shortage issue that Istanbul experienced in the past, with dams for the city now 90 percent full.

“During my 13-year term as Istanbul mayor, we have made investments worth 98 billion liras. Our budget for investments this year is 16.5 billion liras. We owe no financial institution and we have money in our case,” he said.

He also claimed that the controversial “seagull-shaped” travel transfer center currently under construction in Kabataş will be “magnificent.”

“The funicular will be connected to there. The metro from Mahmutbey and Beşiktaş will reach there. After Kabataş, we will lengthen that subway line to Şişhane. It will be connected to Şişhane metro line via a walking tunnel. What’s more, people will be able walk to Üsküdar from Kabataş if they wish,” Topbaş said.

hurriyetdailynews.com/statue-of-sultan-mehmed-ii-to-be-erected-in-istanbuls-golden-horn-.aspx?pageID=238&nID=111502&NewsCatID=341

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Turkish coup soldiers were ordered to shoot at will: Indictment

April/02/2017

The soldiers who participated in the July 15, 2016, failed coup attempt were ordered to shoot at will, according to an indictment prepared by Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office regarding coup activities at the Akıncı Air Base.

The 4,658-page indictment, which includes a total of 481 suspects, was sent to court on March 31.

The Akıncı Air Base was used as the center of the failed coup attempt on the night of the foiled coup. Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar and force commanders were taken to the base and held captive by pro-coup soldiers. However, they were all later freed in a special forces operation in the early hours of July 16, 2016. Its runways were also bombed to prevent F-16s used by the coup plotters from taking off.

The indictment included conversations between jet pilots and the air base during the thwarted coup, widely believed to have been masterminded by the U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen.

According to the indictment, pilots received orders from Ahmet Tosun with the 141st fleet of Akıncı Air Base. When he was informed that a vehicle was driving slowly, Tosun told the pilot to shoot.

“We are hitting moving targets, you can fire at will,” Tosun said.

Tosun also ordered the bombing of the Gölbaşı Special Forces Command in Ankara. In the same conversation regarding the special forces command, Tosun ordered the shooting of another helicopter after the pilot informed him of its presence.

The indictment also said Tosun ordered suspects Oğuz Alper Emrah and İlker Hazinedar to determine the plane of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and take action against it.

“The plane you are going to prevent is probably a presidential plane, it will have force. It’s a giant plane that has presidential force,” Tosun told Emrah.

Furthermore, Tosun, who ordered the Air and Naval Forces commands to be bombed, also said that 10 bombs could be dropped in the green area of the Turkish parliament.

“It’s not important whether there is anybody in the green area; you are free to open fire,” Tosun said.

Asked by pilot Uğur Uzunoğlu as to whether he should drop a bomb in front of the parliament, Tosun ordered him to only conduct a “MACH passage.”

Tosun also asked for all windows to be broken by flying low on the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) headquarters and the Presidential Palace in Beştepe.

According to the indictment, suspect Harun Biniş was ordered to be one of the civilian organizers of the coup attempt after the election results of Nov. 1, 2015, general elections became certain. The indictment said Biniş was apprehended at the Akıncı Air Base and conveyed the decisions taken at the base to coup soldiers all over Turkey with a WhatsApp group called “Peace at Home.”

Moreover, Biniş was among those who ordered the parliament, Köprülü intersection near the presidential palace, Ankara police headquarters, Aviation Department, the Special Operations Department and the TÜRKSAT building to be bombed, according to the indictment.

Meanwhile, the indictment said two sons of Hasan Balcı, who was in the Akıncı Air Base during the foiled coup and who was arrested three months after the coup attempt, also participated in the coup attempt. The brother of one of the civilian managers of the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), Hasan Çiçek, was at the air base, it also said.

Upon seeing the footage of himself in the 143rd fleet of the air base, Balcı denied charges against him.

“I don’t accept that I was in the Akıncı Air Base on the night of coup,” he said, while it was determined that Adil Öksüz, the “Air Force imam” of FETÖ, talked to Balcı three times on the phone on July 17, 2016.

According to the indictment, one of Balcı’s sons, Halil Burak Balcı, arrived at the air base, while his other son, Gökhan Balcı, participated in the coup in civilian clothes at the General Staff Headquarters. A photo of him in civilian clothes while holding a weapon was included in the indictment.

Furthermore, the indictment said Gülen planned to arrive in Turkey on July 25, 2016, if the coup had been successful and planned to stay at a building in the Akıncı Air Base.

The indictment consisting of 570 files named Gülen as the prime suspect and Öksüz and Kemal Batmaz as the second and third suspects, respectively. 

The prosecutor has sought a total of 303 aggravated life sentences for 45 figures that were listed as leaders of FETÖ, including Öksüz.

hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-coup-soldiers-were-ordered-to-shoot-at-will-indictment-.aspx?pageID=238&nID=111505&NewsCatID=341

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Southeast Asia

Muslim NGO urges Selangor govt not to demolish Royingya school

April 2, 2017

Serantau Muslim chairman Raja Ahmad Iskandar Raja Yaacob with Rohingya children are appealing to Selangor government not to demolish the school in Sri Serdang. Pix by MUHD ZAABA ZAKERIA.

SERDANG: Serantau Muslim, a non-governmental organisation, is appealing to the Selangor state government to halt a plan to demolish a school for the Rohingyas here.

Its chairman Raja Ahmad Iskandar Raja Yaacob, during a press conference at the school today, said the school administrator has been given two notices from the state authority to relocate to another area.

In the notice, he said teachers and students were told to move out of the area within 14 days from the date of the issuance of the letters (Dec 29 and Mac 14), to make way for a flood mitigation project.

“The school was not given any choice or alternative by the state government to relocate to another location. Where would they go?

“Only notices were given to remind the school management to move out from this area or the Selangor authorities will not hesitate to demolish the buildings.

“On behalf of the children and as an organisation that has helped these refugees, we would like to appeal to the Selangor government not to demolish the buildings as this the only place these children can get their education,” Raja Ahmad Iskandar said.

The school, which was built on a government land in Sri Serdang since 2013, has a total of 37 Rohingya pupils from Year One to Six.

Some of the pupils were also orphans and sought shelter at the school.

nst.com.my/news/2017/04/226456/muslim-ngo-urges-selangor-govt-not-demolish-royingya-school

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Imam meets rabbi, extends apology for remarks on Jews and Christians

02 Apr 2017

Imam Abdul Jameel Abdul Malik meets with Rabbi Moderchai Abergel at the Maghain Aboth Synagogue. (Photo: WISE SG)

SINGAPORE: Imam Nalla Mohamed Abdul Jameel Abdul Malik visited Rabbi Moderchai Abergel at the Maghain Aboth Synagogue on Sunday (Apr 2) morning and extended his unconditional apology for his earlier act of indiscretion that may have offended Jews and Christians.

In January and February 2017, the imam had made supplications at Friday prayers where he recited an old Arabic text which originated from his village in India.  The text read: “God help us against Jews and Christians”, which is not an extract from the Holy Quran.

The visit to the Synagogue at Waterloo Street was joined by religious leaders from the Buddhist and Sikh faiths.

Imam Nalla Mohamed also presented Rabbi Mordechai with a copy of the open statement of apology which he made on Friday at the Harmony in Diversity Gallery, attended by several interfaith leaders, including Bishop Terry Kee representing the Christian faith, along with members of the Federation of Indian Muslims.

The imam sought pardon from, and apologised to, all Singaporeans, and acknowledged that he must bear full responsibility for his actions as part of his duty to all Singaporeans.

On behalf of the Jewish community in Singapore, Rabbi Mordechai accepted the imam's apology and emphasised the need to be constantly conscious of Singapore's delicate harmonious co-existence, given its diversity.

- CNA/rw

channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/imam-meets-rabbi-extends-apology-for-remarks-on-jews-and/3645520.html

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Africa

LEADER IN EGYPTIAN ISLAMIC STATE AFFILIATE KILLED IN AIR RAID

BYREUTERS   APRIL 2, 2017 15:07 

CAIRO  - A leader in Islamic State's Egyptian affiliate was killed in an air raid last month, the Egyptian military said on Sunday.

"Following the results of the air raid on March 18... and upon the security apparatus's investigation, it was revealed that Salem Salmy al-Hamadeen, Aka Abu Anas al-Ansari, was killed," the military spokesman said in a statement.

Hamadeen was one of the founders of the group which was formerly called Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, now called Egypt's Sinai Province, and was responsible for arming and training militants. He died after being wounded in the air raid, the statement said.

The group announced in their latest weekly newsletter that he was killed by shrapnel from a missile that fell beside him.

The militant group staging the insurgency pledged allegiance to Islamic State in 2014 and adopted the name Sinai Province. It is blamed for killing hundreds of Egyptian soldiers and police since then.

jpost.com/Breaking-News/Leader-in-Egyptian-Islamic-State-affiliate-killed-in-air-raid-485859

 

URL: http://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/200-terrorists-killed-in-iraqi-airstrikes-amid-isil-assault-to-break-tal-afar-siege/d/110618

 

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