The Taliban has decapitated 23 Pakistani soldiers by calling it vengeance. (Reuters)
Married Couple Stoned To Death over Illicit Affair On Order Of Two Muftis, No Funeral Prayers
Taliban behead 23 Pak soldiers, peace talks with govt collapse
Taliban’s demand of South Waziristan pullout unacceptable: Najam Sethi
Pak Army likely to launch major offensive in North Waziristan
Imran Khan wants to give high status to TTP: Aitzaz Ahsan
Taliban accusations of in custody killings baseless: security officials
FC men slain in reaction of TTP members’ killings: TTP spokesman
Take ‘final decision’ for peace, Altaf asks government
Maldives Government shuts down mosque due to congregation of “extremists”
China says religious extremists behind latest Xinjiang unrest
MPs link BNP-Jamaat with ‘Zawahiri’ statement
Jamaat-e-Islami: No link with al-Qaeda
PM Sheikh Hasina: Find those behind al-Qaeda clip
BNP criticises govt for hinting al-Qaeda link
Senior Afghan Taliban leader shot dead in Pakistan
Afghan government welcomes Taliban leader’s remarks on peace talks
Over 100 killed in Islamist attack in Nigeria: Senator
Nigeria: Police Arrest 2,000 Suspected Teenage Cult Members
Al Shabaab Militants Flee As Ethiopian Troops Advance On Hudur
Tunisia Shifts Syria Policy, Resumes Diplomatic Ties
Libya Revolution anniversary celebrations under way across the country
Zeidan calls on Libyans to cast their votes
Ethiopian plane forced to Geneva, hijacker arrested
UK upholds ban, financial freeze on 4 terror groups targeting India
Lavrov urges US to work closer with Syrian regime
Iran's largest bank files $4 bln claim against UK gov't over sanctions – court
Lanarkshire Muslim Welfare Society’s Bid to launch Muslim school
Growing violence: Saudi grand mufti’s decree sought on suicide attacks
UAE, Egypt plotting coup in Libya, say revolutionaries
9 killed in northern Iraq attacks
Hezbollah says will quit Syria if Arabs stop meddling
Bahrain Justice Min. accuses Wefaq Islamic Society of inciting violence
US created 'negative climate' in Geneva: Syria
Lebanon Salafists: we are not at war with Hezbollah
S. Arabia Attempts to Lure Arab League into Invading Syria
Saudi Arabia plans to pitch Obama for regime change in Syria
Police give final warning to critics of Jakim’s Valentine Day’s sermon
Indonesia Says Reports of Australian Spying ‘Mind-Boggling’
Iranian Speaker: Takfiri Groups’ Extremism Blemishing Real Face of Islam
Turkish PM Erdoğan defiant over attack claims on veiled women during Gezi protests
Turkey ‘cannot ignore’ Western concerns over missile deal
Abbas: Jerusalem should be open for all, capital of two states
Iranian forces may enter Pakistan to release border guards seized by rebels - Interior Ministry
At least four killed, eight injured in explosion in Israel
Iran, major powers to set agenda for continuation of nuclear talks: Zarif
Mahmoud Abbas vows not to 'drown Israel with refugees'
US religious freedom rep funded by Islamophobes
US cautious but offers to help Pakistan combat militants
US seeks new bases for targeting Al Qaeda in Pakistan
Syria's Assad looks to win on battlefield, not through talks -Kerry
Kerry slams Russia for providing weapons, aid to Syria
Senior al-Qaeda figure leaves Iran amid a series of departures by terrorist suspects: U.S.
Bhagat Singh’s house in Pakistan to get Rs 80 mn for restoration
‘Author Sushmita was killed by Pak Taliban’
ISI plotted terror strikes in India in '90s: Delhi Police
Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau
Feb 17, 2014
A mufti along with five others involved in the stoning of a couple was arrested in Loralai district of Balochistan on Monday.
A woman and a man were stoned to death on suspicion of having illicit relations. The orders were given by two muftis without holding any investigation over the matter. No funeral prayers were offered for the couple.
The district administration arrested the cleric who gave fatwa against the married couple along with the other five people involved in the incident.
Loralai DC Abdul Waheed Kakar told the media that the incident occurred four days ago, adding that the brother of the woman has also been arrested.
Balochistan home minister Sarfraz Bugti said there were two muftis who gave fatwa against the couple. One of them was arrested, he added.
The district administration has also requested for autopsy and exhumation.
Press Trust of India | Islamabad | February 17, 2014
Pakistani negotiators on Monday cancelled a scheduled meeting with the Taliban after the insurgents claimed they had killed 23 soldiers kidnapped by them in 2010, dealing a severe blow to the fledgling peace process.
State negotiators withdrew itself from the meeting that was supposed to be held on Monday 17th February, saying circumstances relating to negotiations with the Pakistani Taliban were not heading in the right direction. Irfan Siddiqui, coordinator of the government committee formed to hold peace talks with negotiators representing the outlawed Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), said after the killing of 23 Frontier Corps (FC) soldiers, holding talks with the group was a futile enterprise.
In a statement, Siddiqui said an emergency meeting of government dialogue committee has been summoned tomorrow. He said the meeting will discuss the current situation and future course of action. Siddiqui said the committee has deplored and condemned the killing of FC personnel saying such incidents will hamper the process of serious and result-oriented negotiations.
In a video statement sent to media last night, Mohmand Agency Taliban chief Umar Khalid Khurasani said that they killed the FC soldiers on Sunday to avenge what he said was the custodial killing of Taliban fighters in Pakistan. The soldiers were kidnapped in 2010 from Shongari checkpost in Mohmand Agency.
The TTP statement lamented that on the one hand the government has initiated the process of talks, on the other it continues to target TTP members. “The killing of FC personnel is the revenge for the blood of our associates,” it said. “We want to make it clear to the government that we know very well how to avenge the killings of our members,” the statement said, warning “if the government did not change its trend, our reaction will be more severe in future”.
The group also stressed that they will soon release another video showing the killing. The video emerged hours after local media reports said the TTP was ready for a ceasefire, which they said would be announced within 24 hours. The Pakistan government and the Taliban are engaged in peace talks in a bid to end the decade-long insurgency that has gripped the country.
Meanwhile, Maulana Yousuf Shah, who acts as contact person for the TTP, said news of the attack on FC personnel had given Maulana Samiul Haq, chief of the Taliban negotiating team, a “sleepless night”. He deplored the incident and said the sentiments of the TTP committee over the issue were no different from those of the government committee.
Shah added that Haq would soon hold a meeting with the top leadership of the TTP and that the Taliban negotiating committee would soon issue a statement over the attack. Shah expressed his disappointment over the government committee’s decision to postpone today’s meeting with Taliban negotiators.
LAHORE: Senior analyst Najam Sethi said on Sunday the Taliban demand of the military pullout from South Waziristan could not be accepted as it was a huge conspiracy to form a base area in Pakistan.
Speaking in Geo News programme ‘Aapas Ki Baat,’ Sethi said the Taliban would eliminate small groups and set up a base area in South Waziristan after the pullout and then they would demand Swat, Dir and other areas. Talking about 40 percent chances of success in a military operation against the Taliban, cited by Imran Khan quoting former Army Chief Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, the senior analyst said it meant the operation in Waziristan would eliminate terror by 40pc as terrorism would continue in other parts of the country including Karachi and Punjab. “The former army chief was talking about Fata and it meant it housed 40pc of centres of terrorism in the country and we will have to form a policy for the whole country,” he added.
To a question about Imran’s allegation that Sethi had phoned Nawaz Sharif on the Election Day and informed him about mending 35 ‘punctures’, the senior analyst demanded proof. To another question that Imran would bring proof after the verification of thumbprints in four constituencies, Sethi said Imran should contact Nadra or the election commission.
“I have nothing to do with the 35 punctures. Imran’s favourite Shafqat Mehmood was talking about 35 districts in a TV programme while Imran demanded verification on 35 seats. Thirty-five districts mean the whole of Punjab,” he added.
To a question about allegations that he was rewarded with the PCB post for his favours, Sethi said he did not receive money from the PCB. “I challenge Imran to bring proof and do not level baseless allegations.” Talking about tax paid by parliamentarians, he said Imran had paid less than Rs 0.2m which meant he earned Rs 0.8m annually which was unbelievable keeping in view his lavish lifestyle, a palatial house and foreign trips. “He should explain it,” he demanded.
The government authorities have decided in principle to launch the offensive against terrorists in North Waziristan, a private news channel reported on Monday.
Army has been asked to be prepared for any action that may be directed.
Sources cited government authorities as saying that every possible step will be taken to ensure peace ranging from launching air offensive to surgical strikes to eliminate terrorists from the region.
They said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had also directed that no compromise be made on national security.
February 17, 2014
LAHORE: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chairperson Imran Khan wants to give a high status to the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), stated senior Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader Aitzaz Ahsan while talking to the media in Lahore, Express News reported on Monday.
He said that the government accepted TTP as a stakeholder when it decided to negotiate with them but the PTI chief wants to give an even greater position to the TTP.
The senior PPP leader added that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif as well as Imran should rethink their stance on peace negotiations after TTP claimed responsibility for killing 23 FC men.
Talking about PPP’s standpoint, Ahsan said that his party did not expect anything from the peace talks since the first day.
KARACHI: Security officials have termed Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) accusations of their members being killed in custody as baseless.
In a statement TTP spokesman Shahidullah Shahid claimed the killing of 23 FC personnel was in reaction to the killing of Taliban members in custody of security forces. The spokesman claimed 15 Taliban members had been killed in Nowshera and 7 in Karachi.
According to security officials, accusations by the Taliban were propaganda to justify their killings.
Security officials said the killing of the FC personnel in Mohmand Agency and 13 policemen in Karachi were acts of terrorism.
FC men slain in reaction of TTP members killings: TTP spokesman Shahidullah
ISLAMABAD: Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) spokesman Shahidullah Shahid said the killing of FC personnel by the Mohmand Agency Taliban was in reaction to the execution of Taliban members.
The TTP spokesman alleged their under custody members were being killed in name of the operation. He added that 23 Taliban members had been killed during the ongoing dialogue process. Shahidullah Shahid said 15 Taliban members had been killed in Nowshera and 7 in Karachi.
Shahidullah Shahid said that such actions by the government during talks were unbearable and harming the dialogue process. He said the government was making the dialogue process cumbersome, while he claimed that TTP was serious and sincere in holding talks.
According to the TTP spokesman, they have been thinking about the declaration of ceasefire for making the dialogue a success, but we are reluctant because of the government’s actions.
LONDON: Muttahida Qaumi Movement Chief Altaf Hussain has strongly condemned the killing of 23 FC personnel by the Taliban in their custody.
Reacting over a letter by Mohmand Agency Taliban chief, which claimed that TTP has killed the FC soldiers to avenge the killing of Taliban fighter, Altaf Hussain said that the Taliban through bombings and suicide attacks have killed hundreds of people including soldiers and police personnel.
"With regard to negotiations with TTP, I have been demanding that if the government has to negotiate with TTP, then there should be no further delay in holding talks. The TTP, however, has turned the talks into a joke and has killed hundreds of Pakistan army soldiers, personnel of paramilitary forces and civilians in dozens of suicide attacks and bombings."
The MQM chief urged the prime mister and the army chief to come up with a joint strategy and take the nation into confidence over the situation.
Full report at:
By Ahmed Rilwan
Malé City Council has shut down the Dharumavantha Rasgefaanu mosque to stop unauthorised Friday prayers by a group described as “extremists” by the Minister of Islamic Affairs Sheikh Mohamed Shaheem Ali.
A City Council notice posted at the mosque said that on the Ministry of Home Affairs’ request it was to be temporarily shutdown following yesterday’s morning prayers.
Minivan News observed at the time of A’sr prayers that the mosque did not have any group congregation, however the notice posted at the mosque was no longer visible. Only a few individuals worshippers were present.
A copy of the Home Ministry letter signed by Minister Umar Naseer - posted along with the notice – requested the shutdown “as a first step” against unauthorised Friday prayers performed in the mosque.
Mon, 17 Feb 2014
BEIJING, Feb 17 (Reuters) - Religious extremists were responsible for a "terrorist assault" on Friday in China's far western region of Xinjiang that left 11 people dead, state media said, adding details about the latest violence to hit the restive area with a large Muslim population.
Xinjiang has been convulsed for years by violence that Beijing blames on Islamist militants and separatists who want to establish an independent state called East Turkestan.
But exiles and many rights groups trace the cause to China's policies, including curbs on Islam and the Uighur people's culture and language, charges the government denies.
An investigation showed the attack in Wushi county, close to China's border with Kyrgyzstan, was an "organized, premeditated terrorist assault targeting the police," state news agency Xinhua said late on Sunday, citing Xinjiang police.
Government observed that the statement was similar to recent statements of BNP chief Khaleda Zia, Jamaat and Islamic group Hefazat-e-Islam
Senior MPs yesterday linked the BNP and Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami with al-Qaeda and urged the government to find out those who translated the audio message reportedly from top al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri published in the media on Saturday.
They observed that the statement asking Muslims to wage a jihad against the “massacres” in Bangladesh was similar to recent statements of BNP chief Khaleda Zia, Jamaat and Islamic group Hefazat-e-Islam.
Jamaat believes the circulated 'al-Qaeda clip' is a conspiracy against Islamists
The Jamaat-e-Islami has denounced any link with the al-Qaeda and claim that the latest audio clip said to have originated from the terrorist organisation was a conspiracy.
The declaration was made in a press statement on Sunday soon after Hefazat-e Islam refused any link with the Afghanistan-based militant organisation.
“Jamaat and Islami Chhatra Shibir does not have any affiliation with terrorism, militancy or irregular activities,” the statement read.
“We fear the so-called al-Qaeda clip is a new conspiracy against the religious people of Bangladesh. Those who want to fish in troubled waters are the ones usually oppressing Islamists speaking of militancy and terrorism.”
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has asked the ministers and officials concerned to investigate and find out the individuals behind the al-Qaeda audio message.
Expressing concern, the premier said it is too embarrassing for the government.
“The ones behind the video tape must be identified soon as it may create new pressure on the government,” Hasina added.
The PM has given the directives in the cabinet meeting held at secretariat on Monday, several ministers attended the meeting told the Dhaka Tribune.
BNP has criticised the government for affiliating them with al-Qaeda and said such attempts are baseless and politically motivated.
“BNP never encourages terrorism,” BNP acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said during a press conference at the party’s Nayapaltan headquarters in the capital on Monday.
“Our party is strongly against terrorism,” he added. “The al-Qaeda issue has been raised to divert the flow of international opinion.”
Fakhrul slammed Awami League lawmakers Matia Chowdhury and Sheikh Selim for their comments regarding the BNP's affiliation with al-Qaeda.
Feb 17 2014
According to reports, a senior Afghan Taliban leader was shot dead by unknown gunmen in Peshawar city of Pakistan on Monday.
The Taliban leader Mawlavi Abdul Raqib was reportedly shot dead by unknown gunmen while he was leaving his house.
Unconfirmed reports suggest that Mawlavi Abdul Raqib was one of the Taliban leaders who had raised his voice for peace talks with the Afghan government.
He was from northeastern Takhar province of Afghanistan. No group has so far claimed responsibility behind the incident.
Karzai orders changes to new draft law protecting women abusers
Afghan president Hamid Karzai on Monday ordered to amend the draft of new Afghan criminal prosecution code, officials in presidential palace said.
This comes as the parliament of Afghanistan passed a new criminal prosecution code that would protect perpetrators of domestic violence, child abuse, forced marriages and marital rape.
AFP | Feb 17, 2014
KANO, Nigeria: Suspected Boko Haram Islamists have killed more than 100 people in an attack on a village in Nigeria, a local senator said.
The attackers stormed the village in Nigeria's restive northeastern Borno state on Saturday, slaughtering scores of civilians and sending many others fleeing.
"A hundred and six people, including an old woman, have been killed by the attackers, suspected to be Boko Haram gunmen," senator Ali Ndume told AFP.
"Sixty of the dead have been buried while the rest are awaiting burial," he said, adding the attacks in the area were becoming "deadlier and more frequent by the day."
The raid took place on Saturday in the mostly Christian village of Izghe in Borno, which has been under emergency rule since May last year in a bid to stop an Islamist rebellion that has claimed thousands of lives since 2009.
Expectedly, cult related war activities across Delta State have horrendously threatened the relative peace existing in the state, especially with the new dimension of teenagers who have taken to various cult groups with the aim of stealing, raping and unleashing mayhem on unsuspecting members of the public.
Police, yesterday, arrested no fewer than 2000 teenage cultists in Asaba and its environs.
But the police commissioner in the state, Mr Ikechukwu Aduba, said that these cult groups would perform their wicked roles as training grounds for armed robbers, and kidnappers will not have blissful atmosphere of operation as the police are poised to rid off all forms of criminality in the state.
Hudur — Somalia's Al Qaeda linked Al Shabaab fighters began to flee Bakool regional capital of Hudur of southwestern Somalia as battalions from Ethiopian Defence Forces have crossed the border into Somalia, Garowe online reports.
Witnesses in El-Barde town confirmed to Garowe Online News Agency that Ethiopian soldiers in battle tanks and artillery trucks are advancing towards Hudur where they vacated in March 2013.
Tunisia is going to resume its diplomatic relations with Syria and reopen its consulate in Damascus, Tunisian Foreign Minister Mongi Hamdi announced.
On Sunday, Hamdi said there were serious consultations with Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki to reopen the Tunisian consulate in Syria’s capital Damascus, Al-Alam reported.
He said a preliminary agreement has been made to reopen the consulate and to move a number of Tunisian diplomats from the Lebanese capital Beirut to Damascus.
Celebrations marking the 3rd anniversary of the 2011 17 February Revolution started across the country last night beginning in Tripoli with an impressive massive fireworks display.
Further massive fireworks are expected over the next two days, which will include performances by live bands on a custom-built stage in Tripoli’s Martyrs’ Square.
Major concerns that this year’s celebrations would be marred by huge dissatisfaction with both the government and the General National Congress (GNC) turned out to be somewhat wide of the mark. Stalls selling flags, scarves and fireworks appeared overnight with independence bunting decorating even smaller streets.
Prime Minister Ali Zeidan has urged Libyans to participate in elections for the constitutional drafting committee saying that the vote on 20 February would deliver one of the goals of the revolution.
Speaking at a press conference at the High National Elections Commission (HNEC) Headquarters yesterday, Zeidan said that the government had begun securing polling stations and was taking all possible steps to ensure successful elections, offering its full support to HNEC. He added that the Ministry of Interior had been tasked with maintaining voters’ safety on polling day.
GENEVA: An Ethiopian Airlines flight en route to Rome was hijacked on Monday and forced to land in Geneva, where the hijacker has been arrested, police said.
Flight ET-702 from Addis Ababa to Rome "was hijacked... it landed in Geneva at 6:00 am (0500 GMT)," Geneva police spokesman Christophe Fortis told AFP, adding that the alleged hijacker "has been arrested."
"The situation is under control... Police intervened and arrested the hijacker," said a spokesman for the airport, which was briefly closed.
Kounteya Sinha,TNN | Feb 17, 2014
LONDON: Britain has upheld financial sanctions and has decided to continue its ban of four Indian terrorist groups.
UK, in its most recent consolidated list of organisations involved in terror activities or terror financing brought out on February 14 has named International Sikh Youth Federation, Hizbul Mujahideen, Babbar Khalsa and Khalistan Zindabad as organisations that requires total financial sanctions.
These organizations are among other global threats like the Sri Lankan LTTE which came up for a review under the Terrorist Asset Freezing Act 2010. The Treasury unanimously decided these organizations need to be subject to the financial sanctions imposed by the Act.
The ghost of Khalistan—the demand for a separate Sikh state—is back to haunt India as UK has recently seen a spate of anti-India rallies by pro-Khalistan Sikhs, some of which have ended up in violence.
Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has urged Washington to establish its own contact with the Syrian government instead of constantly goading Moscow into mounting pressure on the Assad regime.
“As for the reports that the United States is allegedly going to pile more pressure on Damascus, if political pressure is what they mean, then we’ve long been telling the US to work directly with Syrian authorities,” Lavrov said on the heels of Monday talks with his Eritrea counterpart, Osman Saleh.
“That’s what I’ve been telling [US Secretary of State] John Kerry every time he has pushed for sanctions against the regime – that he must act reasonably,” the Russian foreign policy vet added.
Iran's largest bank files $4 bln claim against UK gov't over sanctions - court
February 17, 2014
Iran's largest private bank is suing the British government for almost $4 billion in damages after the Supreme Court quashed sanctions imposed against it over alleged links to Tehran's nuclear programme.
Bank Mellat wants compensation for the "significant pecuniary loss" it sustained as a result of the sanctions, according to a claim filed in London's High Court.
Britain's Supreme Court ruled last June that the government was wrong to have imposed sanctions in 2009, arguing that the government had been "irrational" to single out Bank Mellat.
Voice of Russia, Reuters
Lanarkshire Muslim Welfare Society has launched a far-reaching bid to create the area’s first fully-fledged Islamic school at Mossend.
To be created on waste ground beside the Lanarkshire mosque it could be up and running in just over a year.
And while the initial intake would be just 50 pupils the plan is to steadily expand it to cater for at least 400 students.
Ghulam Siddiquie MBE, general secretary of Lanarkshire Muslim Welfare Society, stressed the school would be open to applicants of any faith.
February 17, 2014
ISLAMABAD: Imam-e-Kaaba Sheikh Abdul Rahman Ibne Abdul Aziz al Sudais is likely to visit Pakistan at the government’s request to issue a religious decree (Fatwa] against suicide bombings and urge militants to shun violence, officials told The Express Tribune on Sunday.
The visit, which according to a senior official would take place at an ‘appropriate time,’ is part of the government’s multi-pronged strategy to deal with the growing threat of extremism in the country.
The government has already obtained a Fatwa from one of the country’s most prominent clerics, Maulana Taqi Usmani, who declared that the Constitution of Pakistan is in accordance with Islam. The move was aimed at preempting any demand for the enforcement of Sharia the Taliban may voice during peace talks.
The Libyan "Revolutionaries Operations Room" (ROR) said that it acquired "documented information" regarding plots by the UAE and Egyptian military-led authorities to meddle in Libyan affairs and to abort the Libyan revolution.
According to the Middle East Monitor, in a Facebook statement the ROR claimed that UAE's security agencies has recently formed two "cells" to circumvent the Libyan revolution and to stop Libyan oil exports.
The statement read: "We received information that UAE's security apparatus has formed two high level cells. The first aims at overthrowing the new Libyan regime, the Libyan National Congress, and confronting the rise of Islamists. The second cell is a specialized media one based in Amman, Jordan."
World Bulletin / News Desk
Feb 17, 2014
At least nine people, including soldiers and pro-government militiamen, were killed in three separate incidents in northern Iraq, security officials said Monday.
A group of unidentified gunmen attacked an army checkpoint in Safra village in the southwestern Kirkuk province, killing three soldiers and injuring five others, a security source told Anadolu Agency.
Elsewhere in the province, unidentified gunmen gunned down two members of the pro-government Al-Sahwa militia near the village of Shamsiya in southern Kirkuk, the source said.
Southern and southwestern Kirkuk have recently been plagued by attacks on security personnel by groups.
(Reuters) - Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah called on Sunday for Arab political forces to "stop the war on Syria," promising that if they left the country alone, his Lebanese Shi'ite group would also withdraw.
The three-year-old conflict in Syria has fuelled Sunni-Shi'ite tensions in neighbouring Lebanon and across the wider Arab world. It has drawn in militants who fight on both sides and receive funding and arms from rival regional powers.
"If you want to prevent this region from falling into chaos that will not end for decades, stop the war on Syria," Nasrallah said, addressing all political forces in the Arab world.
"Get the fighters out of Syria, let the Syrians reconcile," the leader of the Iranian-backed movement said. "Of course if that happened, we would not remain in Syria either."
Minister of Justice Sheikh Khaled bin Ali Al-Khalifa accused Al-Wefaq Islamic Society Saturday of inciting violence, and "harboring saboteurs and terrorists." Sheikh Khaled, also Minister of Islamic Affairs and Endowment, said leaders of the Society were playing a detrimental role in fuelling violence in Bahrain.
"Al-Wefaq leaders condone terrorist groups which advocate violence as their mantra in words and acts," he said in a statement.
He recalled that Al-Wefaq secretary general had said that "complementary revolutionary work is worth praising, appreciating and commending." Sheikh Khaled slammed Al-Wefaq leaders for "failing, once more, to condemn violence unequivocally, thus condoning terror, as usual, through the use of the false slogans in which they profess peacefulness and reform.
AP | Feb 17, 2014
BEIRUT: Syria's foreign minister accused the United States of trying to create a "negative climate" for dialogue at the second round of peace talks in Geneva, while secretary of state John Kerry blamed "the Assad regime's obstruction" for making the tense talks even more difficult.
The comments by Walid al-Moallem on Sunday came a day after the meetings between Syrian President Bashar Assad's government and the opposition seeking his ouster ended without finding a way of breaking the impasse in the nearly three-year-old conflict.
Al-Moallem spoke to the state news service about the talks as the Syrian delegation was returning from Switzerland to Damascus. He said the US tried to "create a very negative climate for dialogue in Geneva".
Salafists realize the seriousness of the stage that Lebanon is currently going through, especially since suicide attacks started taking numerous forms. These attacks affect innocent people and threaten to spread to other areas. Some religious sheikhs also realize that the sectarian ferment ensuing from the Syrian war has reached its peak. This made them lose control over numerous groups inclined toward extremism. These groups have entered Syria to support Islamist militant organizations and are carrying out suicide operations. For a while now, they have been continuously attacking sheikhs and accusing them of negligence and even of apostasy.
After its failure in coaxing the US into war on Syria, Saudi Arabia is now attempting to persuade the Arab League (AL) to issue permission for military attack against the crisis-hit country, Arab media reports said.
“The Saudi regime is now making extensive contacts with a number of Arab governments to call for an Arab League ministerial meeting in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, on Syria,” sources told the Palestinian al-Manar weekly.
According to the sources, Riyadh is seeking to persuade the League to approve a resolution which would call on the UN Security Council to use Chapter 7 of the UN Charter to launch a military attack on Syria to be led by the US and France in partnership with certain regional states and Israel as well as Saudi Arabia’s financial support.
Saudi Arabia is belatedly taking steps to discourage Saudi citizens from traveling to Syria to join al-Qaeda in the war against Bashar al-Assad’s regime. King Abdullah this month issued a royal decree banning travel abroad to join jihadist movements, and imposing jail terms of up to 20 years for violating the decree.
Estimates of the number of Saudis fighting in Syria range as high as 2,500. Some are hardened veterans of earlier jihads in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Iraq. A few are compatriots of Osama bin Laden. Others traveled to Syria from the kingdom, despite individual travel bans imposed for dissident activities at home. Some traveled directly through major Saudi airports, leading many observers to conclude they were encouraged by the authorities to leave the kingdom and go fight Assad. For over two years, the Saudi government seemed to turn a blind eye to travel by its citizens — even political dissidents — to Syria.
Police have issued a "final warning" to critics of last week's Friday sermon issued by the Department of Islamic Development, or Jakim, warning Muslims against celebrating Valentine's Day because it is "associated with elements of Christianity and vices that are prohibited in Islam”.
Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar (pic) said criticising the sermon could incite public anger.
Khalid added that non-Muslims have no right to comment on the sermon which was meant only for Muslims.
"I give the final warning and reminder to those who try to cause public anger, because that matter can threaten their safety," he was quoted by Utusan Malaysia, adding that police would take stern action against critics of the sermon.
Jakarta. Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said Monday that reports of Australian spies targeting Indonesian officials during a trade dispute with the United States were “mind-boggling.”
Indonesia has been embroiled in trade disputes with the US over its exports of clove cigarettes and shrimp in recent years, and has lashed out at Canberra over previous allegations that it spied on the Indonesian president and other top officials.
“I find that a bit mind-boggling and a bit difficult how I can connect or reconcile discussion about shrimps and how it impacts on Australia’s security,” Marty told reporters, referring to claims made in a weekend report by the New York Times.
The report said Australia offered intelligence to the US National Security Agency (NSA) to give Washington leverage during a trade dispute with Jakarta.
Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani condemned the crimes committed by Takfiri and Salafi groups in different regional states, specially in Syria, and said they have scratched the beautiful face of Islam.
“The extremism of the Takfiri groups has damaged the real face of Islam and the support of the world Zionism has paved the ground for their activities and operations,” Larijani said in a meeting with Sudanese National Assembly Speaker Al-Fateh Ezzeddine Al-Mansour in Tehran on Sunday afternoon.
“Fighting this extremism needs consultation among political leaders, emphasis on the Muslim countries’ commonalities and unity among religious leaders,” he added.
The Iranian speaker said the 9th Inter-Parliamentary Union meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) underway in Tehran provides an appropriate ground and a good opportunity for raising and studying the Muslim world problems and find ways for convergence and reinvigoration of unity and solidarity among Islamic countries.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was defiant Feb. 16 over his claims that a veiled woman was attacked in front of Istanbul’s Kabataş docks by Gezi protesters at the high-time of the anti-government protests.
“The media, with the support of some capital circles, is imposing their agenda on us,” Erdoğan said at a ceremony in Istanbul to mark the start of the construction of a new hospital. “By releasing the Kabataş footage months after the incident, they are trying to cover it up,” he said. “They did not see the attacks on veiled women all around the country during the Gezi protest. They do not recognize the forensic medicine reports, they do not recognize the testimony of the victim.”
Murad Bayar, the head of Turkey’s defense procurement agency, has dismissed claims that his organization has ignored Western concerns regarding a controversial air and missile defense system Turkey intends to buy from a Chinese manufacturer.
“Absolutely, there are some concerns that we can accept,” said Bayar, head of the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries (SSM), pointing to “information security” and “interworking.”
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas asserted on Sunday that Al-Quds should remain open to the followers of all faiths and become the capital of Palestine and Israel.
"We do not want Al-Quds to be divided; we want it an open city where Jews coexist side by side with the Palestinians," Abbas told a delegation of 170 Israeli youths who visited him at his office in the West Bank city of Ramallah.
The Palestinian leader criticized, meanwhile, Israel's continued settlement building.
"We will not recognize a Jewish state and will not accept the presence of Israeli soldiers on Palestinian territories," he insisted.
Iranian forces may enter Pakistan to release border guards seized by rebels - Interior MinistryFeb 17, 2014
Tehran's Interior Minister has warned Pakistan that Iranian forces may enter Pakistani and Afghan territory to release border guards seized by a rebel group.
Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli's remarks on state TV come a week after the little-known Jaish al-Adl posted photos on Twitter of five men it claims are border guards it seized near Pakistan.
He said Iran had asked Pakistan to treat the case "strongly and seriously" or allow Iran to secure the remote region "deep on Afghanistan and Pakistan soil."
"Otherwise we do consider it our own right to intervene and create a new security sphere for our safety," he added.
Voice of Russia, AP
At least four people were killed and eight injured in an explosion Monday at a residential building in the northern Israeli coastal city of Acre, police said.
Two bodies were found amid the rubble of the three-storey building. At least one other person was listed as missing.
Spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said police initially believed the blast was an accident, caused by a gas leak.
TEHRAN – Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Saturday that Tehran and major powers will try to set an agenda for the continuation of nuclear talks during their meeting in Vienna, which is scheduled to begin on Tuesday.
Iran and the 5+1 group (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) clinched an interim deal in Geneva on November 24, 2013 according to which Iran agreed not to expand its nuclear program for six months in exchange for limited sanctions relief.
Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian leader, appeared to extend an olive branch in on-going peace talks with Israel on Sunday by saying he had no wish to alter the country's Jewish character by "drowning" it with refugees.
Speaking to around 300 young Israelis visiting the West Bank city of Ramallah, Mr Abbas - the Palestinian Authority (PA) president - said he would not "drown Israel with millions of (Palestinian) refugees to change its nature", AP reported.
His comments seemed to signal a significant concession on the so-called right of return - the Palestinian demand that several million descendants of 700,000 refugees expelled during Israel's 1948 war of independence be allowed to go back to their homes.
Israel has consistently rejected the demand on the grounds that it would overwhelm the Jewish make-up of the state.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the US's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, repeated its request to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) to investigate one of its own members, this time for being funded by the same group that backs a notorious Islamophobe.
Earlier this year, CAIR asked for an investigation of USCIRF Vice Chair Zuhdi Jasser for apparently seeking to deny religious rights to Muslim military personnel.
In a letter sent to USCIRF Chairman Dr. Robert P. George, Corey Saylor, director of CAIR's Department to Monitor and Combat Islamophobia, wrote in part:
"We are writing today to expand upon the concerns regarding Dr. Zuhdi Jasser that were expressed on our letter to you dated January 24, 2014. Additional information has come to light regarding the financial dependence of Dr. Jasser's American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD) on groups known for promoting Islamophobia in the United States.
WASHINGTON: The United States has reminded Pakistan that fighting terrorists and protecting its citizens is its own responsibility, although others could help build its capacity to do so.
The comments, given at a State Department briefing during the weekend, reflect a growing confusion in Washington about Islamabad’s strategy for dealing with terrorism that the US says has become “an existential threat” to the Pakistani state.
The department’s spokesperson, Marie Harf, however, also acknowledged that Pakistan was aware of the threat and of its responsibilities to deal with it.
“We’re still concerned about the terrorist threat in Pakistan, as is the Pakistani government,” Ms Harf said.
WASHINGTON: The United States is seeking new bases in Central Asia for launching drone strikes at suspected Al Qaeda targets inside Pakistan after 2014, the Los Angeles Times reported on Sunday.
The bases will be used only if the United States fails to sign a bilateral security deal with Afghanistan and is forced to withdraw all its forces from that country after 2014.
A new jet-powered drone, called the Predator C, or Avenger, could be used for attacking targets inside Pakistan if the bases were moved to Central Asia, the report said.
The Avenger could “get to ‘hot’ targets in Pakistan much faster and might solve some of these logistic problems posed by the slower-moving propeller-driven Predator and Reaper drones.
JAKARTA, Feb 17 (Reuters) - Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is still trying to win on the battlefield rather than find a solution through peace talks, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Monday.
A second round of Syria peace talks ended with little progress at the weekend, and Kerry said Russia needed to be part of the solution to finding peace in Syria rather than supporting the Assad government.
"It is very clear that Bashar al-Assad is continuing to try to win this (on) the battlefield rather than to (go) to the negotiating table (with) good faith," said Kerry, speaking in the Indonesian capital during a trip to Asia and the Middle East. (Reporting by Arshad Mohammed; Writing by Michael Taylor; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)
Press Trust of India | Jakarta | February 17, 2014
US Secretary of State John Kerry slammed Russia on Monday for “enabling” Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad to stay in power in the war-torn country, after Geneva peace talks broke down without any result last weekend. “The regime stonewalled, they did nothing except continue to drop barrel bombs on their own people and continue to destroy their own country. And I regret to say they’re doing so with increased support from Iran, from Hezbollah and from Russia,” Kerry told reporters in the Indonesian capital Jakarta.
A senior al-Qaeda figure with close ties to the terrorist group’s current leader has left Iran, where he had lived for years after fleeing American forces in Afghanistan in 2001, according to former and current U.S. intelligence officials.
Thirwat Shihata is the latest terrorist suspect to leave Iran, raising questions about the country’s motives for allowing or forcing the departure of a string of al-Qaeda members that it had sheltered over the past decade.
U.S. officials said that Shihata, a 53-year-old Egyptian, was the deputy of Ayman al-Zawahiri, al-Qaeda’s current leader, when he ran Egyptian Islamic Jihad before it formally joined forces with Osama bin Laden in 1998.
“Shihata is among the few remaining members of al-Qaeda’s old guard,” said a U.S. counterterrorism official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of not having authorization to talk publicly about the movements of the al-Qaeda figures. “His ties to Zawahiri extend back decades, as both men cut their teeth in the Egyptian Islamic Jihad. . . . Shihata has kept a low profile in recent years, but there’s no question that he’s one of the more seasoned terrorists at large today.”
Press Trust of India | Lahore | February 17, 2014
Legendary Indian freedom fighter Bhagat Singh’s ancestral house, school and his village in Punjab Province in Pakistan will be restored for Rs 80 million. “We have allocated Rs 80 million for restoration of the house and school of Indian Independence war hero Bhagat Singh. The amount will also be spent for the upliftment of Singh’s village, where clean drinking water is not available and drainage system is in a bad shape,” Faisalabad District Coordination Officer Noorul Amin Mengal told PTI.
Mengal said that people in Faisalabad “take pride in the fact that Bhagat Singh was the son of their soil” and want the place to be known as “the town of Bhagat Singh”. The celebrated revolutionary was born September 28, 1907 at Bangay village, Jaranwala Tehsil in the Faisalabad (then Lyallpur) district of the Province. Singh’s village, Bangay, some 150 kilometres from Lahore, would also become a tourist attraction for people, especially Indians, once his house is restored by this year end, he added.
‘Author Sushmita was killed by Pak Taliban’
The organisation of expatriate Afghans in Kolkata — Pashtun Zirga-e-Hind — Sunday claimed that it was actually the Pakistan Taliban which killed city-based author Sushmita Banerjee.
Banerjee, 49, whose book Kabuliwalar Bangali Bou (A Kabuliwala’s Bengali Wife), which was based on her experience of marrying an Afghan during the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, had stirred up a hornet’s nest, especially among the Muslim fundamentalists. She was killed on September 4, 2013 at her in-laws’ house in Afghanistan’s Paktika province. Though the Taliban in Afghanistan had initially denied its involvement, a splinter group later claimed the responsibility.
Neeraj Chauhan,TNN | Feb 17, 2014
NEW DELHI: Indicting Lashkar-e-Taiba's one-armed bomber Abdul Karim Tunda for the terror strikes in Indian cities between 1994 and 1998, the Delhi Police has blamed Pakistan's ISI for masterminding the attacks.
The chargesheet, filed on February 11 and a copy of which has been accessed by TOI, gives a detailed list of LeT's hierarchy apart from details of ISI officers and Dawood Ibrahim with whom Tunda had close relations. The chargesheet also gives details of other terror outfits like Jaish-e-Mohammad, Indian Mujahideen and Babbar Khalsa International.
It says that in 2010, Colonel Imtiaz of ISI and Iqbal Kana had assigned Tunda the task of sending RDX to India via Bangladesh, to be used by BKI terrorists to target the Commonwealth Games in the national capital.
"Pak Army likely to launch major offensive in North Waziristan". - -