certifired_img

Books and Documents

Islamic World News (24 Feb 2017 NewAgeIslam.Com)


Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia: Dialogue Needed To Demonstrate Truth of Islam



















Israel will stop issuing work visas to Human Rights Watch staff, the NGO said Friday, February 24

 

Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia: Dialogue Needed To Demonstrate Truth of Islam

Hindu Temple Defies Religious Stereotypes, Installs Statue Crafted By Muslim Artist

Israel to Stop Issuing Work Visas To Human Rights Watch Staff

French Attempts to 'De-Radicalise' Homegrown Jihadists Pronounced A 'Total Fiasco'

 ----

Arab World

Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia: Dialogue Needed To Demonstrate Truth of Islam

Over 150 Terrorists Killed, Wounded in Syrian Armed Forces' Attacks in Idlib, Hama

130 bodies recovered from mass graves in Syria’s Idlib

Syria’s warring sides meet at UN talks for first time in three years

ISIS vows more attacks on Egypt’s Christians

Sheikh Mohammed orders stunt drivers to clean Dubai streets

Iraq: US Forces Trying to Evacuate ISIL Commanders from Tal Afar

Syria: ISIL Terrorists Withdraw from More Key Positions near Ancient Palmyra

Syrian Army Continues March on ISIL near Deir Hafer

-------

India

Hindu Temple Defies Religious Stereotypes, Installs Statue Crafted By Muslim Artist

NIA in Nepal to Probe ISI Hand in Train Derailments

Hearing on Ban of Zakir Naik’s IRF to Be Held In-Camera

Punish Policemen Who Jailed Innocent Muslims: CPI-M

-------

Mideast

Israel to Stop Issuing Work Visas To Human Rights Watch Staff

Bomb Attack Kills 35 Civilians, 7 Militants near Al-Bab: Report

Turkey Urges Expats in Germany to Spy for Erdogan: Report

UAE signs arms deals worth $5bn at Abu Dhabi exhibition

Israel won't return Golan Heights to Syria, Netanyahu says

-------

Europe

French Attempts to 'De-Radicalise' Homegrown Jihadists Pronounced A 'Total Fiasco'

Poll Shows Europeans Want Muslim Migration Ban

The Trump team is dogmatic on Islam, but Russia is more pragmatic

-------

North America

New York State Unveils $25 Mln Grant to Combat Anti-Semitism, Hate

Top US General Readies ‘Full Range’ Of Options for Trump On Syria

NYPD cops forced Muslim woman to remove hijab: lawsuit

Panel about Islam in America seeks to rectify misconceptions

-------

Pakistan

Pakistan, Turkey Show Concerns over Linking Terrorism with Islam, Pledge To Combat Growing Islamophobia

Blast at Pakistan shopping centre kills 8

Karachi police kill two suspected IS-linked militants

-------

Africa

Libyan Females Barred From Traveling Abroad Unguarded

Libya PM’s convoy comes under fire in Tripoli, no one wounded

Is Bitcoin Halal? How Cryptocurrency Conforms with Islam and Sharia

-------

South Asia

10 Taliban Insurgents Killed In Kunduz Air and Ground Operations

ISIS militant shot dead before attacking Afghan forces in Nangarhar

Four star US general concerned over AQIS presence in Bangladesh

Afghanistan finalizes law to criminalize Bacha Baazi

-------

Southeast Asia

One Nation's Rising Popularity, Anti-Islam Platform A Concern For Indonesia

Rights body to help Sabah Christians with ‘Islam’ MyKads

Jakarta Police consider suspending treason suspect Firza’s detention

BNPT to Observe Indonesians Trying to Cross Turkish-Syrian Border

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL:  http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/grand-mufti-of-saudi-arabia--dialogue-needed-to-demonstrate-truth-of-islam/d/110196

-------

 

Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia: Dialogue Needed To Demonstrate Truth of Islam

24 February 2017

JEDDAH: The grand mufti of Saudi Arabia has stressed the need for further dialogue to show the truth of Islam and its usefulness for mankind, according to Asharq Al-Awsat.

Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah Al-Asheikh noted that the current conditions indicate the need for more efforts in this regard, the newspaper reported.

During a meeting with Mohammed bin Abdul Karim Al-Issa, secretary-general of the Muslim World League, accompanied by 50 senior officials, Al-Asheikh confirmed that the league needs to carry out more dialogue and intensify its efforts to demonstrate the virtues of the Islamic religion worldwide.

Al-Issa briefed the Saudi mufti on the league’s efforts, and the activation of the required information tools that serve its function.

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1058976/saudi-arabia

-------

 

Hindu temple defies religious stereotypes, installs statue crafted by Muslim artist

February 23, 2017

It's a heartwarming story of overcoming adversity and rising above religion.

A 29-year-old Muslim man hailing from the once riot-stricken Indian city of Ahmedabad, now has an idol crafted by him installed inside a Hindu temple, The Times of India reports. 

Mohsin Shaikh, who was 14 when communal strife engulfed Ahmedabad in the summer of 2002, grew up crafting chalk and graphite idols of Hindu deities. One of his idols of Lord Shiva, a popular Hindu God, has been set up in a city temple.

Some of his other works that include a statue of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (who hails from Ahmedabad coincidentally) are also displayed around the city.

Shaikh's story is significant because India has traditionally been a religion-sensitive society.

Even heavyweights like Amazon couldn't escape the wrath of its citizens when there was mass outrage over doormats with faces of Hindu Gods being sold on the platform.

There was also an outcry over British band Coldplay's Hymn for the Weekend music video that some Indians reckoned was amounting to cultural appropriation.

And of course, there was Pokémon Go, the augmented-reality game that allegedly hurt religious sentiments by showing eggs in places such as temples.

Hence, Shaikh's feat is inspiring. He surely knows how to "spread love" in times of religious intolerance.

"I do not discriminate on the basis of religion. Whether you worship in a temple or in a mosque, ultimately it is like a hunger that must be satisfied. In my case, it is hunger of art. Chalk sticks are a weapon for me to exhibit my art and to spread love," he said.

http://mashable.com/2017/02/23/hindu-temple-installs-idols-muslim-man-india/#e0k4TWKtlqqL

-------

 

Israel to stop issuing work visas to Human Rights Watch staff

Feb 24, 2017

Human Rights Watch (HRW), which has written several critical reports about Israel’s occupation of Palestinian lands, says the regime in Tel Aviv is set to stop issuing work visas to its staff.

The New-York based rights group had applied for work visas for its Israel and Palestine director, American citizen Omar Shakir, a month ago, but Tel Aviv informed the rights group on February 20 that the request was rejected, the watchdog said in a Friday statement.

HRW further said it had been informed by Tel Aviv that the request had been rejected because it is “not a real human rights group.”

Emmanuel Nahshon, spokesman for the Israeli foreign ministry, confirmed the decision, saying that HRW “demonstrated time and again it is a fundamentally biased and anti-Israeli organization with a clear hostile agenda.”

“Why should we give working visas to people whose only purpose is to besmirch us and to attack us?” the Israeli spokesman asked.

In response to Tel Aviv’s decision, Shakir said HRW is “genuinely shocked," and said, “We work in over 90 countries across the world. Many governments do not like our well-researched findings but their response is not to stifle the messenger.”

Shakir also said Israeli authorities told HRW that the visa ban was not targeting him alone, but would be applied to all foreign members of the organization.

A general view of buildings under construction in the Israeli settlement of Har Homa in the occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds on March 7, 2016 (Photo by AFP)

In 2016, HRW published a report, titled “Occupation Inc,” highlighting how international and Israeli firms in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank were involved in human rights violations.

“Settlement businesses unavoidably contribute to Israeli policies that dispossess and harshly discriminate against Palestinians, while profiting from Israel's theft of Palestinian land and other resources,” HRW director of Business and Human Rights Division, Arvind Ganesan, said at the time.

HRW has also launched a vigorous campaign aimed at expelling Israeli football clubs based in West Bank settlements by the FIFA.

Israel has been setting up settlements across the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds since occupying the Palestinian territories in 1967. The constructions have been widely condemned as an insidious push toward facilitating the annexation of the lands.

Last December, the United Nations Security Council unanimously approved a resolution declaring that settlement construction “constitutes a flagrant violation under international law.”

The Israeli Yesha Council settler group says the number of Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank had risen by 3.9 percent since 2015, twice the growth rate of the Israeli population.

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/02/24/511851/Palestine-Israel-Human-rights-watch-visa

-------

 

French attempts to 'de-radicalise' homegrown jihadists pronounced a 'total fiasco'

23 FEBRUARY 2017

France's attempts to de-radicalise homegrown Islamist extremists in the wake of terror attacks has been pronounced a "total fiasco" in need of a complete overhaul in a damning parliamentary report.

President François Hollande launched the drive to reverse radicalisation among thousands of French Muslims in the wake of terror attacks that have killed 238 people since January 2015.

However, the report, by a cross-party senate committee, was denounced as an amateurish flop this week, accusing the government of funding "pseudo-experts" who pocketed millions of euros with few tangible results.

Among the damning revelations in the report were the fact that the only de-radicalisation centre currently up and running, and fully staffed at an annual cost of €2.5 million,  is in fact empty. Among the last people it housed - supposedly non-threatening individuals tempted by radical Islam - one turned out to be on a terror watchlist and the other was caught seeking to reach Syria.

Twelve other centres slated to be set up have not been opened.

The report also found that many local associations supposed to help families deal with radicalised members are incompetent at best and many signed up simply to obtain public funding.

One supposedly groundbreaking programme to bring back radicalised inmates to the French Republican fold had to be scrapped after a prisoner duped the authorities into believing that he had reformed before seeking to murder guards.

Slamming the efforts to date, Philippe Bas, a centre-Right Republicans senator, said: "It's a total fiasco. Everything requires a total rethink. Everything must be started from scratch."

The report was seized on by Marine Le Pen’s National Front as validating its call to have Islamists detained or deported.

Some 15,000 people in France are followers of radical Islam, with a further 680, including about 275 women, thought to have joined jihadist movements in Iraq and Syria, the Socialist government has estimated. There are deep concerns in the intelligence community that many French who fought in Islamist ranks abroad will now return and try to wreak violence back home.

Mr Hollande is said to have ordered military chiefs to take as few as possible French Isil fighters prisoner, which experts say implies it would be preferable to target them in bombing raids or see them detained abroad.

The programme's aim was to try and identity radicalised individuals and reinstall in them democratic and humanitarian values.

But the senators who wrote the report, Esther Benbassa, of the left-wing Ecology party, and Catherine Troendlé, from the centre-right Republicans, concluded that de-radicalisation is in fact impossible.

“We just have to admit that the most violent and dangerous people will not be [deradicalised],” Ms Troendlé said.

Ms Benbassa added: “Deradicalisation does not exist. They thought they could take someone and wash their brains. In fact, brainwashing doesn’t really work and it’s a dangerous myth. It’s understandable that the government wanted to reassure society after the terror attacks. But it started with a false premise.”

He accused the government of displaying “a good deal of amateurism, with people making it up as they went along. They really panicked."

But he added: "I think any government would have done the same in that situation.”

Ms Troendié said the efforts were more about "reassuring the population" than anything else.

The senators offered little by way of suggestions for how to proceed bar "case by case" help, "work on reinsertion" into the community and "developing prevention".

"This requires a whole network of social workers, educators, community police officers, imams and business leaders," said Ms Troendié. "There will be no miracle."

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/02/23/french-attempts-de-radicalise-homegrown-jihadists-pronounced/

-------

 

Arab World

 

Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia: Dialogue Needed To Demonstrate Truth of Islam

24 February 2017

JEDDAH: The grand mufti of Saudi Arabia has stressed the need for further dialogue to show the truth of Islam and its usefulness for mankind, according to Asharq Al-Awsat.

Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah Al-Asheikh noted that the current conditions indicate the need for more efforts in this regard, the newspaper reported.

During a meeting with Mohammed bin Abdul Karim Al-Issa, secretary-general of the Muslim World League, accompanied by 50 senior officials, Al-Asheikh confirmed that the league needs to carry out more dialogue and intensify its efforts to demonstrate the virtues of the Islamic religion worldwide.

Al-Issa briefed the Saudi mufti on the league’s efforts, and the activation of the required information tools that serve its function.

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1058976/saudi-arabia

-------

 

Over 150 Terrorists Killed, Wounded in Syrian Armed Forces' Attacks in Idlib, Hama

Feb 23, 2017

The army soldiers, backed up by warplanes, stormed terrorists' gatherings in the villages and towns of al-Zakah, Kafr Zita, al-Jaberiyeh, al-Qazal, al-Tounyeh, Latibeh, Hish, Khan Sheikhoun and Khan Sheikhoun-Sayad road, killing over 70 militants and wounding 80 others.

A field source said that a Bara'a Hallaq known as Abu al-Yazid Taftnaz, a commander and media chief of the newly-formed Tahrir al-Sham Haya'at (the Levant Liberation Board) was killed in the Syrian air raids in Hama.

Also, the Syrian fighter jets pounded Al-Nusra Front's positions in Khan Sheikhoun in Southern Idlib on Wednesday, destroying two large warehouses full of arms, ammunition and bomb-laden vehicles.

Meanwhile, the army soldiers targeted the concentration centers of terrorists in the towns of Kafr Zita, al-Latamina and in the village of al-Araba'een in Northern Hama, killing a number of terrorists, including a commander of Al-Nusra Front.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13951205000250

-------

 

130 bodies recovered from mass graves in Syria’s Idlib

Feb 23, 2017

The bodies of some 130 people, mostly anti-government militants fighting each other, have been found in mass graves in the northwestern Syrian province of Idlib.

The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a monitoring group based in Britain, said on Thursday that at least 131 bodies had been found earlier in the day and the previous day in two separate mass graves near the town of Khan Shaykhun.

Most of the bodies reportedly belonged to militants who were beheaded or shot after deadly clashes between rival groups in Idlib.

An official with the monitoring group said the slain militants were mostly affiliated to the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, al-Qaeda’s former affiliate in Syria, and allied factions who were detained by a rival group, the so-called Jund al-Aqsa, and were then executed.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the militant Jaish al-Nasr group said that 128 bodies had been found, adding that 71 of those killed were members of his group. He said that three journalists and 11 commanders were among the dead.

Another military source said the number of bodies was 128 and added that the graves were located inside a former army barracks that had been occupied by Jund al-Aqsa, believed to be close to the Daesh terrorist group.

Jund al-Aqsa’s confrontation with al-Qaeda-linked groups last week was mainly aimed at exerting control on Idlib and the neighboring Hama Province.

The victory of Syrian forces and their allies and liberation of the northern city of Aleppo in December ended in a deal for evacuation of militants and their families to Idlib.

According to the Observatory, Jund al-Aqsa has pulled back from Idlib to Hama and other areas.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/02/23/511815/Syria-mass-graces-militants-Idlib-

-------

 

Syria’s warring sides meet at UN talks for first time in three years

23 February 2017

Opposing sides in the Syrian war came face-to-face in UN peace talks for the first time in three years on Thursday, to hear UN mediator Staffan de Mistura implore them to find a way out of the almost six-year-old conflict.

“I ask you to work to work together. I know it’s not going to be easy to end this horrible conflict and lay the foundation for a country at peace with itself, sovereign and unified,” Mistura told the delegates sitting opposite each other on a raised platform in a UN assembly hall in Geneva.

After his opening address, de Mistura shook hands with both sides. It was not clear when talks would resume or if the two sides would meet for direct negotiations. At the last Geneva talks, 10 months ago, de Mistura had to shuttle between the delegations who were never together in the same room.

De Mistura said the two sides had a joint responsibility to end a conflict that had killed at least 300,000 people and displaced millions.

“The Syrian people desperately all want an end to this conflict and you all know it,” he said.

“You are the first ones to tell us it. They are waiting for a relief from their own suffering and dream of a new road out of this nightmare to a new and normal future in dignity.

Describing the negotiations as an uphill task, he said they would centre on UN Security Council resolution 2254, which calls for a new constitution, UN-supervised elections and transparent and accountable governance.

He said a shaky ceasefire brokered by Russia, Turkey and Iran had opened a window of opportunity.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2017/02/23/UN-sponsored-Syria-talks-resume-in-Geneva-after-10-months.html

-------

 

Syria’s warring sides meet at UN talks for first time in three years

23 February 2017

Opposing sides in the Syrian war came face-to-face in UN peace talks for the first time in three years on Thursday, to hear UN mediator Staffan de Mistura implore them to find a way out of the almost six-year-old conflict.

“I ask you to work to work together. I know it’s not going to be easy to end this horrible conflict and lay the foundation for a country at peace with itself, sovereign and unified,” Mistura told the delegates sitting opposite each other on a raised platform in a UN assembly hall in Geneva.

After his opening address, de Mistura shook hands with both sides. It was not clear when talks would resume or if the two sides would meet for direct negotiations. At the last Geneva talks, 10 months ago, de Mistura had to shuttle between the delegations who were never together in the same room.

De Mistura said the two sides had a joint responsibility to end a conflict that had killed at least 300,000 people and displaced millions.

“The Syrian people desperately all want an end to this conflict and you all know it,” he said.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2017/02/23/UN-sponsored-Syria-talks-resume-in-Geneva-after-10-months.html

-------

 

ISIS vows more attacks on Egypt’s Christians

20 February 2017

An ISIS affiliate in Egypt has released a new video showing the suicide bomber who attacked a church in December and vowing more attacks on the country’s Christian minority.

The 20-minute video, which emerged Monday, said Christians were the extremist group’s “favorite prey.”

It showed footage of Abu Abdullah al-Masri, who killed nearly 30 people, mainly women, when he attacked a Cairo church in December. The narrator says the attack was “only the beginning.”

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/north-africa/2017/02/20/ISIS-vows-more-attacks-on-Egypt-s-Christians.html

-------

 

Sheikh Mohammed orders stunt drivers to clean Dubai streets

24 February 2017

Authorities in control of eastern Libya on Thursday imposed foreign travel curbs on residents aged between 18 and 45, saying they would need security clearance.

“Libyan men and women aged between 18 and 45 are forbidden from leaving the country without prior security clearance from the relevant authorities,” said General Abdelrazek al-Nadhouri, military commander of forces loyal to authorities in the east of Libya.

The aim was “to put in place the necessary regulations to confront dangers from abroad which threaten national security” and not to damage the rights of Libyans, he said. The permits are to be issued by the intelligence services.

Also read: Over 700 migrants rescued off Libya: Italy coast guard

A decision announced Sunday by the same general banning women under 60 from travel abroad without a male guardian has already stirred outrage among ordinary Libyans.

Full report at :

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/north-africa/2017/02/24/Foreign-travel-curbs-on-18-45-age-group-in-East-Libya.html

-------

 

Iraq: US Forces Trying to Evacuate ISIL Commanders from Tal Afar

Feb 23, 2017

After photos surfaced in the media displaying US forces assisting ISIL terrorists, Javad al-Talaybawi said that the Americans are planning to take ISIL commanders away from Tal Afar that is under the Iraqi forces' siege.

In the meantime, member of Iraqi Parliament's Security and Defense Commission Iskandar Watut called for a probe into photos and footages displaying US planes airdropping aid packages over ISIL-held regions.

Watut further added that we have witnessed several times that US planes dropped packages of food stuff, arms and other necessary items over ISIL-held regions, and called on Iraq's air defense to watch out the US-led coalition planes.

Eyewitnesses disclosed on Wednesday that the US military planes helped the ISIL terrorists in Tal Afar region West of Mosul.

"We saw several packages dropped out of a US army aircraft in the surrounding areas of the city of Tal Afar in Western Nineveh province and six people also came out of a US plane in the ISIL-controlled areas," the Arabic-language media quoted a number of eyewitnesses as saying.

Tal Afar city has been under the siege of the Iraqi volunteer forces (Hashd al-Shaabi) for about two months now and the efforts by the ISIL terrorists to help their comrades besieged in Tal Afar have failed so far.

Full report at :

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13951205000483

-------

 

Syria: ISIL Terrorists Withdraw from More Key Positions near Ancient Palmyra

Feb 23, 2017

The army soldiers engaged in an intense battle with ISIL West of Palmyra and managed to take control over the villages of Tarfeh al-Qarbi and Tarfeh al-Sharqi near al-Douh region.

Field sources said that the army men also clashed with ISIL from areas near Qasr al-Hayer al-Qarbi up to Khan al-Halabat region South of Palmyra, and could advance against terrorists.

The sources said that simultaneous with the ground forces' advances, the army aircraft launched heavy airstrikes on ISIL's movements and concentration centers in Badiyeh (desert) al-Qarbi Southwest of Palmyra, killing a number of militants and destroying their equipment.

Another field source said that ISIL has been pulling back its forces from the surrounding of Palmyra after the Syrian armed forces' large-scale operation kicked off in Eastern Homs.   

A military source said on Wednesday that the army troops were fortifying their positions around Palmyra (Tadmur) to launch a large-scale operation to free the ancient city from ISIL terrorists after arrival of more fresh recruitments.

The source said that the army fortified its positions in Badiyeh (desert) al-Qarbi of Tadmur, in al-Bayarat al-Qarbi region, al-Samamat region, the villages of Tarfeh al-Qarbi and Tarfeh al-Sharqi, the mounts of al-Tar and al-Hayal.

The source went on to say that the army reinvigorated its troops with fresh soldiers, getting ready to kick off a large-scale operation to drive ISIL out of Palmyra.

In the meantime, the army troops significantly advanced against ISIL in al-Maher oilfield and in the slopes of al-Hayal mountain, imposing control over al-Sawaqeh school Northwest of Tadmur.

Local sources reported that ISIL suffered a heavy defeat in clashes with the army men in Eastern Homs and pulled the remaining pockets of its forces towards Jazal and Jahar regions after setting fire at Hayan gas field. 

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13951205000330

-------

 

Syrian Army Continues March on ISIL near Deir Hafer

Feb 23, 2017

The army soldiers, backed up by the country's military helicopters, engaged in fierce clashes with ISIL and managed to win back the village of al-Mazwireh North of the newly-liberated town of Tayara Mazi (al-Ma'azah).

ISIL suffered heavy casualties and its equipment sustained major damage in the pro-government forces' advances.

In relevant developments in the province on Wednesday, the army troops continued their advances against ISIL terrorists in a region between Kuweires airbase and Deir Hafer town and managed to take control of two more key towns in the region.

The army soldiers, backed up by the country's fighter jets, launched their attack on ISIL's defense lines from the town of Rasm al-Kabir towards Northeast of Kuweires airbase and pushed the terrorists back from the town of Tayara Mazi.

The army men continued their anti-ISIL attack and captured the town of Rasm al-Harmal al-Imam, after inflicting major losses on terrorists.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13951205000166

-------

 

India

 

Hindu Temple Defies Religious Stereotypes, Installs Statue Crafted By Muslim Artist

February 23, 2017

It's a heartwarming story of overcoming adversity and rising above religion.

A 29-year-old Muslim man hailing from the once riot-stricken Indian city of Ahmedabad, now has an idol crafted by him installed inside a Hindu temple, The Times of India reports. 

Mohsin Shaikh, who was 14 when communal strife engulfed Ahmedabad in the summer of 2002, grew up crafting chalk and graphite idols of Hindu deities. One of his idols of Lord Shiva, a popular Hindu God, has been set up in a city temple.

Some of his other works that include a statue of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (who hails from Ahmedabad coincidentally) are also displayed around the city.

Shaikh's story is significant because India has traditionally been a religion-sensitive society.

Even heavyweights like Amazon couldn't escape the wrath of its citizens when there was mass outrage over doormats with faces of Hindu Gods being sold on the platform.

There was also an outcry over British band Coldplay's Hymn for the Weekend music video that some Indians reckoned was amounting to cultural appropriation.

And of course, there was Pokémon Go, the augmented-reality game that allegedly hurt religious sentiments by showing eggs in places such as temples.

Hence, Shaikh's feat is inspiring. He surely knows how to "spread love" in times of religious intolerance.

"I do not discriminate on the basis of religion. Whether you worship in a temple or in a mosque, ultimately it is like a hunger that must be satisfied. In my case, it is hunger of art. Chalk sticks are a weapon for me to exhibit my art and to spread love," he said.

http://mashable.com/2017/02/23/hindu-temple-installs-idols-muslim-man-india/#e0k4TWKtlqqL

-------

 

NIA in Nepal to probe ISI hand in train derailments

Feb 24, 2017

New Delhi : In what may unravel Pakistan ISI's alleged role in recent train derailments across India, a National Investigation Agency (NIA) team reached Nepal on Thursday to interrogate prime suspect Shamsul Hoda, who was arrested by the Nepal police earlier this month, and three others in custody there.

The two-member NIA team will question Hoda over the next three days in the presence of Nepalese law enforcement agencies. Dubai-based Nepalese businessman Hoda unsuccessfully contested national elections in Nepal in 2013, but later turned to smuggling fake Indian currency and allegedly working with ISI to execute its terror plans against India. Hoda is expected to throw light on how ISI, through Karachi-based handler Safi Shaikh, allegedly persuaded him to cause mass killings in India by "engineering" stampedes, derailments, riots and attacking government installations.

Though Nepal police has shared details of his interrogation with NIA, the latter is looking forward to confronting Hoda as well as three others arrested earlier, including key Nepal-based link Brij Kishore, with some exclusive facts and claims made by arrested accused in India and known only to its own sleuths. "Hoda and Brij Kishore will help us corroborate the disclosure by Indian accused Motilal Paswan regarding a sabotage angle in the November 2016 derailment of Patna-Indore Express at Kanpur. Also, Hoda may throw light on ISI's suspected plot to blast tracks to trigger train accidents here, starting with a failed attempt at Ghorasan and followed by high-casualty derailments at Kanpur and, more recently, Koneru in Vizianagaram," said an officer of the central security establishment.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/nia-in-nepal-to-probe-isi-hand-in-train-derailments/articleshow/57322547.cms

-------

 

Hearing on ban of Zakir Naik’s IRF to be held in-camera

Feb 23, 2017

Proceedings on the issue of a ban on Islamic preacher Zakir Naik’s Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) would be held in-camera in view of the allegations made against the organisation and the confidential material to be scrutinised by a tribunal.

This was decided on Thursday by Delhi high court’s Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal, who is presiding over the tribunal set up under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).

The tribunal allowed the Centre’s plea for in-camera hearing, keeping in view the scheme of the Act, the allegations against the IRF of radicalising the youth and confidentiality of the material to be scrutinised during the proceedings.

Further proceedings are expected to be held on March 17, 18 and 20 for recording of evidence.

IRF had opposed the Centre’s plea for in-camera hearing, saying it was a “garb” to deny them the material relied upon to ban the organisation

Additional solicitor general Sanjay Jain, on the other hand, had then contended that the “subject matter was sensitive” and there was a possibility that it could be disclosed during the proceedings before the tribunal.

IRF had earlier moved the tribunal against the November 17, 2016 notification of the ministry of home affairs (MHA) imposing the ban on it.

However, since the tribunal declined to hear the matter before February 6, the foundation had moved the high court challenging the ban.

Defending its decision before the high court, the government had claimed that the organisation was banned as there was an apprehension that youths could be “radicalised” to join terror groups. IRF had opposed the contention, saying no reason was given for the ban.

Full report at:

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/hearing-on-ban-of-zakir-naik-s-irf-to-be-held-in-camera/story-LNXVTXVPGmdV0WPkrtf0iK.html

-------

 

PUNISH POLICEMEN WHO JAILED INNOCENT MUSLIMS: CPI-M

February 23, 2017

New Delhi: The CPI-M has sought action against Delhi Police officers responsible for jailing two young Muslims for 12 long years after a terror attack here in 2005 killed 67 people.

“The guilty police officials in this case must be charged and prosecuted,” an editorial in the party journal “People’s Democracy” said.

“The State must provide adequate compensation and take steps for the rehabilitation of the two men who have been so unjustly treated,” said the Communist Party of India-Marxist.

It said “the sordid and shocking record of the targeting and prosecution of Muslim youth in terror related cases has once again been highlighted by the Delhi High Court’s acquittal of all three accused in the 2005 serial blasts in Delhi”.

Mohammad Hussain Fazli and Mohd Rafiq Shah were acquitted of all charges while Tariq Ahmed Dar was also found to have no role in the blasts but he was convicted for being a member of a terrorist organisation.

“It has taken 12 long years for Fazli and Rafiq Shah to gain freedom, years in which they suffered police torture and prolonged incarceration,” said the editorial.

“Behind this miscarriage of justice lies a trail of brutal police torture, concocted evidence and suppression of facts which establish the innocence of the accused.”

The CPI-M said the court judgement was an indictment of the Delhi Police Special Cell which fabricated the case.

It said judicial verdicts have shown how there was a pattern of rounding up innocent Muslim youths and charging them whenever a terrorist blast took place.

Full report at:

http://www.siasat.com/news/punish-policemen-jailed-innocent-muslims-cpi-m-1138297/

-------

 

PUNISH POLICEMEN WHO JAILED INNOCENT MUSLIMS: CPI-M

February 23, 2017

New Delhi: The CPI-M has sought action against Delhi Police officers responsible for jailing two young Muslims for 12 long years after a terror attack here in 2005 killed 67 people.

“The guilty police officials in this case must be charged and prosecuted,” an editorial in the party journal “People’s Democracy” said.

“The State must provide adequate compensation and take steps for the rehabilitation of the two men who have been so unjustly treated,” said the Communist Party of India-Marxist.

It said “the sordid and shocking record of the targeting and prosecution of Muslim youth in terror related cases has once again been highlighted by the Delhi High Court’s acquittal of all three accused in the 2005 serial blasts in Delhi”.

Mohammad Hussain Fazli and Mohd Rafiq Shah were acquitted of all charges while Tariq Ahmed Dar was also found to have no role in the blasts but he was convicted for being a member of a terrorist organisation.

“It has taken 12 long years for Fazli and Rafiq Shah to gain freedom, years in which they suffered police torture and prolonged incarceration,” said the editorial.

“Behind this miscarriage of justice lies a trail of brutal police torture, concocted evidence and suppression of facts which establish the innocence of the accused.”

The CPI-M said the court judgement was an indictment of the Delhi Police Special Cell which fabricated the case.

It said judicial verdicts have shown how there was a pattern of rounding up innocent Muslim youths and charging them whenever a terrorist blast took place.

Full report at:

http://www.siasat.com/news/punish-policemen-jailed-innocent-muslims-cpi-m-1138297/

-------

 

Mideast

 

Israel to stop issuing work visas to Human Rights Watch staff

Feb 24, 2017

Human Rights Watch (HRW), which has written several critical reports about Israel’s occupation of Palestinian lands, says the regime in Tel Aviv is set to stop issuing work visas to its staff.

The New-York based rights group had applied for work visas for its Israel and Palestine director, American citizen Omar Shakir, a month ago, but Tel Aviv informed the rights group on February 20 that the request was rejected, the watchdog said in a Friday statement.

HRW further said it had been informed by Tel Aviv that the request had been rejected because it is “not a real human rights group.”

Emmanuel Nahshon, spokesman for the Israeli foreign ministry, confirmed the decision, saying that HRW “demonstrated time and again it is a fundamentally biased and anti-Israeli organization with a clear hostile agenda.”

“Why should we give working visas to people whose only purpose is to besmirch us and to attack us?” the Israeli spokesman asked.

In response to Tel Aviv’s decision, Shakir said HRW is “genuinely shocked," and said, “We work in over 90 countries across the world. Many governments do not like our well-researched findings but their response is not to stifle the messenger.”

Shakir also said Israeli authorities told HRW that the visa ban was not targeting him alone, but would be applied to all foreign members of the organization.

A general view of buildings under construction in the Israeli settlement of Har Homa in the occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds on March 7, 2016 (Photo by AFP)

In 2016, HRW published a report, titled “Occupation Inc,” highlighting how international and Israeli firms in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank were involved in human rights violations.

“Settlement businesses unavoidably contribute to Israeli policies that dispossess and harshly discriminate against Palestinians, while profiting from Israel's theft of Palestinian land and other resources,” HRW director of Business and Human Rights Division, Arvind Ganesan, said at the time.

HRW has also launched a vigorous campaign aimed at expelling Israeli football clubs based in West Bank settlements by the FIFA.

Israel has been setting up settlements across the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds since occupying the Palestinian territories in 1967. The constructions have been widely condemned as an insidious push toward facilitating the annexation of the lands.

Last December, the United Nations Security Council unanimously approved a resolution declaring that settlement construction “constitutes a flagrant violation under international law.”

The Israeli Yesha Council settler group says the number of Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank had risen by 3.9 percent since 2015, twice the growth rate of the Israeli population.

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/02/24/511851/Palestine-Israel-Human-rights-watch-visa

-------

 

Bomb attack kills 35 civilians, 7 militants near al-Bab: Report

Feb 24, 2017

More than 40 people have been killed and dozens more injured in a bomb attack near the Syrian border city of al-Bab, which was recently taken by Turkish forces and allied militants from Daesh terrorists.

The car bomb struck a checkpoint controlled by Turkish-backed militants in the village of Sousian about eight kilometers northwest of al-Bab on Friday, said the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Reuters cited sources in the region as saying that 35 civilians and seven militants were killed in the explosion.

The attack took place a day after Turkish Defense Minister Fikri Isik said Ankara’s forces and allied militants are almost in full control of al-Bab.

Turkey began a major military intervention in Syria in August without Damascus’ permission last year, sending tanks and warplanes across the border in a purported mission to fight Daesh.

The Syrian government has slammed the Turkish intervention as an act of aggression and violation of its sovereignty.

Turkish authorities first announced the capture of al-Bab last month. They have made similar claims at least twice since then.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/02/24/511870/Syria-alBab-Turkey

-------

 

Turkey urges expats in Germany to spy for Erdogan: Report

Feb 24, 2017

Turkey’s government has reportedly asked teachers and parents of Turkish origin in Germany to collect information on any criticism of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in German schools.

The Turkish consulate in North Rhine-Westphalia in western Germany has been holding meetings, named “information events,” during which it told the Turkish attendees that their children should film their teachers at classes, the Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung (WAZ) reported.

The report cited the Union for Education and Science (GEW) as saying that parents and teachers of Turkish origin have been asked to report any critical comments about the Turkish government.

“We have heard from various different sources that people were told to report every piece of criticism of Turkey, which had been heard at schools in North Rhine-Westphalia, to the consulate,” said GEW spokesman Sebastian Krebs.

“The consulate also encouraged parents to tell their children to film teachers and pass on the evidence to Turkish authorities,” he added.

Teachers at the meeting in Dusseldorf, the capital of North Rhine-Westphalia, refused to comply with the demand to spy on their schools, Krebs noted.

The Turkish consulate has not provided any comment with regard to the accusations, but Germany’s state security has launched a probe into the incident.

The accusations come on top of the reports in early February that imams from the Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (Ditib) in Germany spied on Turkish followers of self-exiled Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Erdogan has accused of plotting an attempted coup in Turkey last July.

This combo file photo shows Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, right, and US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen.

Also on February 14, senior Austrian opposition lawmaker Peter Pilz accused Turkey of running an informer network via its embassy in Vienna aimed at targeting the critics of Erdogan and promoting his policies.

Pilz said he had sent documents regarding the activities of the network, run by the umbrella group ATIB, to the police.

The ATIB is headed by the religious attaché at Turkey’s embassy, Fatih Mehmet Karadas, and oversees the activities of dozens of mosques across Austria.

Pilz noted that the Turkish government sends imams to work for the ATIB to collect information in particular about followers of Gulen.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/02/24/511868/Turkey-Germany-spy-school-erdogan-gulen

-------

 

UAE signs arms deals worth $5bn at Abu Dhabi exhibition

Feb 24, 2017

The United Arab Emirates, a key partner in the bloody Saudi war on Yemen, has struck arms deals worth of over five billion dollars at an international exhibition of weapons and military equipment in Abu Dhabi.

The purchases were made during the four-day biennial International Defense Exhibition and Conference (IDEX), which concluded on Thursday, the Middle East Eye news portal reported.

The deals included a $740-million one with US weapons manufacturer Raytheon.

Also starring in the show were about 100 British companies, including giants such as the BAE Systems, Raytheon’s UK chapter, and the European missile manufacturer MBDA’s British branch.

Emirati armed forces show their skills during a military show at the opening of the International Defense Exhibition and Conference (IDEX) in Abu Dhabi, February 19, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

During the event, the American and British companies displayed some of their weapons which have been used in the Saudi war on Yemen with the permission of their respective governments since March 2015.

Raytheon showcased its Paveway IV guided bombs. British Defense Secretary Michael Fallon confirmed last year that the Saudi air force had used the Scottish-built bombs and British-supplied missiles in Yemen.

The BAE Systems displayed its Hawk Advanced Trainer aircraft, 30 of which Saudi Arabia bought last February, amid reports that Riyadh widely uses the aircraft to train its pilots, who carry out sorties over Yemen.

Smoke billows behind a building following a Saudi airstrike in the Yemeni capital Sana’a, January 22, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

Among the items on display was the Eurofighter warplane, which has been jointly developed by the BAE Systems, France’s Airbus and Italian aeronautics company Alenia Aermacchi.

London sent an official to the event, sparking criticism from human rights activists and some opposition figures.

MP Tom Brake, Liberal Democrats’ foreign affairs spokesman, said, “The weapons on display at IDEX, many of which have been deployed by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen to murderous effect, must serve as a chilling reminder to the UK government of their obligation to suspend arms sales to Saudi.”

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/02/24/511850/UAE-IDEX-UK-US-Yemen-Saudi-Arabia

-------

 

Israel won't return Golan Heights to Syria, Netanyahu says

Feb 24, 2017

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says the Tel Aviv regime will never end its decades-long occupation of Syria's Golan Heights.

“I want all of you to come to Israel…. I want you to walk the streets of the Old City in Jerusalem (al-Quds), hike in the Golan Heights. By the way, the Golan will never go back to Syria. It will always be a part of Israel,” Netanyahu said during a meeting with his Australian counterpart Malcolm Turnbull in Sydney on Thursday.

The remarks came on the same day that about 1,000 protesters gathered at Sydney's Town Hall, to express their outrage at the Australian government's warm reception of the Israeli prime minister.

"He's responsible for settlement expansion which is illegal under international law, he's responsible for a lot of the wars that have been committed against the Palestinians in Gaza, and really this man should be tried in the ICC (International Criminal Court), not welcomed down in Sydney," protester Mona Abuzalaf said.

Pro-Palestinian protesters demonstrate against the visit to Australia by Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in Sydney on February 23, 2017.

Another protester, Randa Abdel-Fattah, wanted to remind Netanyahu that Palestinians had supporters.

"We will not give up. We are a resilient people and our resistance will continue until we are given restitution and our human rights," she said.

Last November, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution calling on Israel to withdraw from the Golan Heights, which it has occupied since 1967.

The resolution also condemned Israel’s non-compliance with Security Council Resolution 497 since 1981, describing as null and void Tel Aviv’s decision issued on December 14, 1981 to impose its control over the occupied Golan Heights.

Israel seized the Golan Heights from Syria after the 1967 Six-Day War and later occupied it in a move that has never been recognized by the international community. The regime has built tens of illegal settlements in the area ever since and has used the region to carry out a number of military operations against the Syrian government.

This file picture shows an Israeli Merkava main battle tank (front) in the occupied Golan Heights.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/02/24/511832/Israel-Netanyahu-Golan-Heights-Syria

-------

 

Europe

 

French Attempts to 'De-Radicalise' Homegrown Jihadists Pronounced A 'Total Fiasco'

23 FEBRUARY 2017

France's attempts to de-radicalise homegrown Islamist extremists in the wake of terror attacks has been pronounced a "total fiasco" in need of a complete overhaul in a damning parliamentary report.

President François Hollande launched the drive to reverse radicalisation among thousands of French Muslims in the wake of terror attacks that have killed 238 people since January 2015.

However, the report, by a cross-party senate committee, was denounced as an amateurish flop this week, accusing the government of funding "pseudo-experts" who pocketed millions of euros with few tangible results.

Among the damning revelations in the report were the fact that the only de-radicalisation centre currently up and running, and fully staffed at an annual cost of €2.5 million,  is in fact empty. Among the last people it housed - supposedly non-threatening individuals tempted by radical Islam - one turned out to be on a terror watchlist and the other was caught seeking to reach Syria.

Twelve other centres slated to be set up have not been opened.

The report also found that many local associations supposed to help families deal with radicalised members are incompetent at best and many signed up simply to obtain public funding.

One supposedly groundbreaking programme to bring back radicalised inmates to the French Republican fold had to be scrapped after a prisoner duped the authorities into believing that he had reformed before seeking to murder guards.

Slamming the efforts to date, Philippe Bas, a centre-Right Republicans senator, said: "It's a total fiasco. Everything requires a total rethink. Everything must be started from scratch."

The report was seized on by Marine Le Pen’s National Front as validating its call to have Islamists detained or deported.

Some 15,000 people in France are followers of radical Islam, with a further 680, including about 275 women, thought to have joined jihadist movements in Iraq and Syria, the Socialist government has estimated. There are deep concerns in the intelligence community that many French who fought in Islamist ranks abroad will now return and try to wreak violence back home.

Mr Hollande is said to have ordered military chiefs to take as few as possible French Isil fighters prisoner, which experts say implies it would be preferable to target them in bombing raids or see them detained abroad.

The programme's aim was to try and identity radicalised individuals and reinstall in them democratic and humanitarian values.

But the senators who wrote the report, Esther Benbassa, of the left-wing Ecology party, and Catherine Troendlé, from the centre-right Republicans, concluded that de-radicalisation is in fact impossible.

“We just have to admit that the most violent and dangerous people will not be [deradicalised],” Ms Troendlé said.

Ms Benbassa added: “Deradicalisation does not exist. They thought they could take someone and wash their brains. In fact, brainwashing doesn’t really work and it’s a dangerous myth. It’s understandable that the government wanted to reassure society after the terror attacks. But it started with a false premise.”

He accused the government of displaying “a good deal of amateurism, with people making it up as they went along. They really panicked."

Full report at:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/02/23/french-attempts-de-radicalise-homegrown-jihadists-pronounced/

-------

 

Poll Shows Europeans Want Muslim Migration Ban

February 23, 2017

DRESDEN, GERMANY —

The furor in Europe over U.S. President Donald Trump’s travel ban on citizens from seven majority Muslim states has overshadowed what the London policy institute Chatham House calls a "reservoir of public support" on the continent for such measures, based on the findings of its latest poll.

The survey of 10,000 people found that support for ending Muslim immigration averaged 55 percent across 10 European countries, ranging from 71 percent in Poland to 41 percent in Spain.

In Germany, just more than half supported curbs on Muslim immigration. More than 1.1 million asylum seekers entered Germany in 2015, about 40 percent from Syria, according to German authorities.

Among them was Syrian national Bilal Al Nasir, who was 17 years old when he fled Damascus after his home was bombed. His face is scarred from the explosion; shrapnel is still embedded in his head.

Speaking to VOA at his refugee shelter on the outskirts of Dresden in eastern Germany, Al Nasir said he he has seen a doctor and needs to undergo surgery for the wound in his head.

“After that I will go to school to learn German, " he said. "Now I am here, it is safe and there is no war. But I worry about my mother and father still in Syria.”

Integrating migrants

While he waits for the operation, Al Nasir is receiving help in trying to find a job from a charitable network called KS24. Founder Ronny Frenzel says employment is vital if Germany is to successfully integrate the migrants.

“The federal and state governments have put in place programs to look at how Germany can benefit from the refugees, Frenzel said. "They're serving the primary needs: language classes, a roof over their heads, and food on the table. Now they need to enable engagement with the local society.”

On the surface, Al Nasir’s new hometown of Dresden doesn’t appear to welcome such engagement. It is the birthplace of the PEGIDA movement, the Patriotic Europeans Against Islamization of the West. Every Monday supporters march through the city. The guest speaker this week was Renate Sandvoss of ‘Journalist Watch,’ which claims German media is covering up immigration problems.

“'Muslim culture', and I say it in quote marks because to me it is not culture, is totally different than the German culture and simply does not fit in here,” she told VOA after the rally.

Election impact

When the PEGIDA movement was born more than two years ago in Dresden, the organizers hoped that it would spread across Germany and beyond to the rest of Europe. But that hasn’t materialized, and there’s a reason why, says Dresden University’s Professor Werner Patzelt.

Full report at:

http://www.voanews.com/a/poll-show-european-want-muslim-migration-ban/3736848.html

-------

 

The Trump team is dogmatic on Islam, but Russia is more pragmatic

Feb 23rd 2017

WITH every passing day, there seems to be fresh news about the Islamophobic sentiments harboured by people close to Donald Trump. It’s not so much that anything fresh is being said now. Rather, the ideological backgrounds of some senior individuals close to America’s new president are being studied ever more closely as they settle into power.

And at the heart of their declared ideology, it seems, is an essentialist view of Islam: in other words, a view that the religion itself, as opposed to some nasty misinterpretation, can push people to violence and is therefore to be treated as dangerous.

As one obvious example, Stephen Bannon, Mr Trump’s chief strategist, has spoken with utter contempt of the two previous occupants of the White House because of their optimistic insistence that Islam, in its heart, is a peaceful faith.

You would expect the former boss of Breitbart, a far-right news service, to be scornful of Barack Obama’s ideas about the Muslim faith. But as people are now recalling, Mr Bannon was equally dismissive of George W. Bush, who a few days after the 9/11 attacks insisted that Islam was “a religion of peace.” Such naivete, in Mr Bannon’s acerbic opinion, was to be expected from a “country-club” politician whose faint-hearted view of the world was little better than the Clintons’. In truth, Islam was a religion of submission and therefore it could not be a force for peace, he insisted.

One of Mr Bannon’s lieutenants, a former Breitbart writer who now has a job at the White House, takes a similarly Manichean view. That is Hungarian-born Sebastian Gorka, who will report to Mr Bannon as a member of his Strategic Initiatives Group. An ex-soldier and military lecturer, he was quoted by the Washington Post as saying he “completely jettisoned” the idea that the causes of terrorism were complex: on the contrary, what mainly inspired anti-American terror was the martial messages delivered in certain parts of the Koran.

To see a third strain of Islamoscepticism, take Ben Carson, an ex-presidential candidate and Mr Trump’s nominee for the job of housing secretary. A fundamentalist Christian with an apocalyptic streak, the retired neurosurgeon has espoused the view that Islam is not really a religion at all but rather a “life-organisation system”. It follows, he thinks, that no adherent of that faith should ever be president.

Whatever the intellectual merits of these arguments, one striking comparison immediately occurs. Although some of his Western admirers might be surprised to hear this, it is virtually unimaginable that Vladimir Putin or any of his well-disciplined team would allow themselves to make such a generalised critique of Islam or any other global faith.

If anything Mr Putin grows more insistent over time in following and even outdoing the Bush-Obama school: respectful of Islam as a religion, determined to give his own Muslim citizens a decent existence as long as they obey him, and open to geopolitical co-operation with Islamic countries. And in the regions of Russia where Islam prevails, loyalty to Mr Putin sits comfortably with an increasingly conservative religious culture.

In a news conference last December, Mr Putin firmly told a questioner he did not like to hear Islam “wrongly linked to terrorism”. Earlier last year, the president said that “in Russia, Islam will always find a reliable ally, prepared to cooperate in solving world problems.” Opening a mosque in Moscow in 2015, he excoriated the Islamic State terror group for “discrediting a great world religion”.

Does this mean that he or other powerful figures in Moscow have pored over the Koran and come to conclusions which are different from those of Mr Trump’s zealous advisers? Of course not. It simply means that the Russian state, like any confident geopolitical player in a diverse and volatile world, wants to keep its options open. To commit yourself unconditionally to supporting one global religion against another is an act of irrational self-limitation. Such a one-track approach would be, to use a favourite Russian word, netselesobrazno (“inexpedient”).

Full report at:

http://www.economist.com/blogs/erasmus/2017/02/telling-friend-foe

-------

 

North America

 

New York state unveils $25 mln grant to combat anti-Semitism, hate

24 February 2017

New York state took fresh steps Thursday to combat a spike in anti-Semitism and hate crimes, promising a $25 million grant to boost security and a $5,000 reward for information leading to arrests and convictions.

Governor Andrew Cuomo made the announcement after meeting dozens of Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders from across the state. Hate crimes shot up in 2016 mainly against Muslims, Jews, blacks, Latinos, Asians and the LGBT community, according to New York City police.

Advocacy groups have also recorded an explosion in hate crimes since Donald Trump won the presidential election last November. “With the recent explosion of anti-Semitism and hate crimes, it is more important than ever before that we do everything in our power to ensure the safety and equal treatment of all New Yorkers,” Cuomo said.

“Any acts of bias or discrimination will be met with the full force of the law,” he added. “New York is and always has been a place that celebrates diversity and religious tolerance.”

Also read: J.K. Rowling helps Muslim fundraiser to repair Jewish cemetery raise $100k

The $25 million grant program is designed to boost safety at schools and day-care centers considered at particular risk, by funding additional security measures and training needs. The state is also expanding a toll-free hotline, set up last November, to allow people to report bias and discrimination by text message.

The authorities are also offering a $5,000 reward for any information leading to arrests and convictions for hate crimes, Cuomo’s office said. The Jewish Community Center Association of North America has recorded 69 bomb threat incidents at dozens of centers in 27 US states and one Canadian province since the start of the year.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2017/02/24/New-York-state-unveils-25-mln-grant-to-combat-anti-Semitism-hate.html

-------

 

Top US general readies ‘full range’ of options for Trump on Syria

24 February 2017

The Pentagon’s top officer on Thursday would not say if US ground forces will deploy to Syria to fight ISIS militants, observing only that he is readying a “full range of options” for President Donald Trump.

General Joe Dunford’s remarks come as the Pentagon finalizes a new plan to defeat ISIS that Trump ordered shortly after taking office. “We’ve been given a task to go to the president with options to accelerate the defeat of ISIS (and) other violent extremist groups,” Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said when asked if more US forces would go to Syria.

“We will go to (Trump) with a full range of options from which he can choose,” he said, speaking at the Brookings Institution. America has approximately 500 troops in Syria, mainly special operations commandos who are training and assisting a coalition of local fighters battling ISIS.

Combat deployments

On Wednesday, another four-star general, Joseph Votel, who heads the US military’s Central Command, told reporters that more US troops might be needed in Syria. “It could be that we take on a larger burden ourselves,” Votel said, though he stressed he did not favor large combat deployments.

Late last month, US media reported the Pentagon would be given 90 days to draw up a plan to set up “safe zones” in Syria, which could require thousands of additional troops. Trump’s new plan to quicken the anti-ISIS campaign, which began late summer 2014, needs to be carried out in coordination with the State Department and other US political agencies, Dunford said.

“This is an incredibly complex environment. Everything that we do and fail to do will have second- and third-order effects,” Dunford said. “We don’t want to bring options to (Trump) and solve one problem only to create a second problem.”

Iran’s influence

Dunford was also asked about Iran’s influence in Syria, where it is supporting the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, and in the region in general. He said he had not seen Iranian behavior change since then-national security advisor Michael Flynn put Tehran “on notice.”

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2017/02/24/Top-US-general-readies-full-range-of-Syria-options-for-Trump-.html

-------

 

NYPD cops forced Muslim woman to remove hijab: lawsuit

February 23, 2017

A Muslim woman has filed a lawsuit in a court at New York alleging that police officers forced her to remove her hijab and snapped photos of her after ‘false arrest’. Rabab Musa, 34, alleged in the Manhattan Supreme Court lawsuit that she was “unlawfully arrested” last September as she left a Starbucks in Midtown.

UP: Brooms Offered To Lord Shiva To Treat Skin Ailments On Mahashivratri

She claimed that she was paraded around a Midtown police station by police officers who snapped photos of her after ordering her to take off her hijab, according to the lawsuit.

Police took her to the Midtown South Precinct stationhouse, where she was “forced to remove the hijab in violation of her rights and the hijab was confiscated,” she said in the court papers, according to New York Daily News.

Musa was quoted as saying that she was placed in a holding cell with men.

Police officers then took Musa to a Brooklyn police station, where she claimed she was strip-searched. However, a police source told the daily that she was not strip-searched.

Police urged her to “confess to what she did”, with no further explanation, the suit alleged.

Musa said she was released after six hours without being charged.

The Law Department is reviewing the suit, the report said.

The case comes after a 38-year-old hijab-wearing police officer sued the New York Police Department (NYPD), alleging that fellow officers bullied her by calling her “terrorist, Taliban” while others tried to tear the headscarf off her head.

Full report at:

http://indianexpress.com/article/world/manhattan-supreme-court-nypd-cops-forced-muslim-woman-to-remove-hijab-lawsuit/

-------

 

Panel about Islam in America seeks to rectify misconceptions

Feb 24, 2017

The Middle East Students Association (MESA) and the Muslim Students Association (MSA) hosted a panel about Islam in America on Monday, Feb. 20 at 5 p.m. in Peirce Lounge. The panel consisted of Professor of Mathematics Nuh Aydin, Visiting Assistant Professor of Religion Professor Michael Knight and Zoe Ali ’19. The event was moderated by MESA Co-President Ghada Baqbouq ’19. 45 to 50 people attended the event.

Each panelist began with a meditation on what being Muslim in America means to them.

Ali, who is Persian and Pakistani, grew up in America and discussed the importance of her distinctly American relationship with her religion.

Aydin, who is Turkish-American and has lived in the U.S. for half of his life, expressed his desire to complicate the media’s portrayal of what it means to be Muslim. “ The image of Islam in the eyes of the average American person is largely based on lack of information and negative stereotypes,” Aydin said. “It is usually the extreme and fringe elements of the Muslim community that make the news.”

“The Islam of ISIS is a small minority in the Muslim community,” Aydin added. “It does not represent me, my family, my friends or my community.”

Aydin then highlighted three “little- known” facts about Islam. First, he defined Islam as “the next link in the Judeo-Christian tradition” in an attempt to frustrate the misconception that it is a “new or strange religion.” Second, he reminded the audience that Islamic civilizations made essential contributions to math and science — contributions that greatly in influenced the European Renaissance. Finally, he drew a distinction between religious and political motivations for disliking the West, stating that “the majority of Muslim people admire human rights, democracy and freedoms, especially in America … what they don’t like is policy, especially American foreign policy in the Middle East,” which he said is “oftentimes in sharp contrast to American values.”

Knight, a white American convert to Islam, spoke last. He acknowledged the hybridity, limitations and opportunities that define his experience as a “Muslim with blue eyes.” By Knight’s analysis, “when it comes to speaking about being a Muslim in America … there are people who aren’t Muslim … who can say more about the experience of being an American Muslim, because for whatever phenotypic reason, they’re marked as Muslim by American racism.” Knight was introduced to Islam through American hip-hop and, since then, has been able to explore the religion from a variety of perspectives. Knight told a story about facing Islamophobia while being held at the airport for hours when he was returning from Pakistan.

Full report at:

http://kenyoncollegian.com/2017/02/23/panel-about-islam-in-america-seeks-to-rectify-misconceptions/

-------

 

Pakistan

 

Pakistan, Turkey show concerns over linking terrorism with Islam, pledge to combat growing Islamophobia

February 23, 2017

ANKARA – Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said that Pakistan and Turkey have shared concern over attempts to link Islam and terrorism and pledged to intensify their joint endeavours to combat growing Islamophobia.

Nawaz Sharif said he was certain that Turkey and its leadership would defeat all threats to their security and moves to undermine the economic or designs to change perception.

The statement came during a fifth meeting of the High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council of the two countries in Ankara on Thursday. It was co-chaired by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his Turkish counterpart Binali Yildirim. Both high-ups also held a joint media briefing after the meeting.

He said that terrorism was a common enemy. Recently, in Pakistan, terrorist targeted Shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar, which is a symbol of progressive thought, peace and love, he added.

He also reaffirmed Pakistan’s abiding solidarity with Turkey, adding that Turkey’s enemies are Pakistan’s enemies.

He particularly condemned the heinous coup attempt in Turkey in July last year and lauded Turkish people for their defence of democracy.

PM Nawaz Sharif said that the two sides agreed to increase cooperation in various fields including political, economic, defence, investment, energy, development, security, communication, education, culture and tourism.

He hoped that agreements and memoranda of understanding (MoUs) signed by both countries would take the relationship to new heights.

He highlighted that the Turkish private sector would take benefit of huge opportunities in Pakistan, especially its geographical position and focus on regional connectivity, infrastructure development, industry and transport sectors, the Radio Pakistan reported.

As Pakistan and Turkey celebrate the 70th anniversary of their diplomatic relations this year, they would further enhance their people to people exchanges. He was confident that strengthened bilateral ties based on common bonds of faith, history and culture and inspired by shared commitment to democracy, peace and development would continue to grow from strength to strength.

Full report at:

https://en.dailypakistan.com.pk/headline/pakistan-turkey-concern-over-linking-terrorism-with-islam-pledge-to-combat-growing-islamophobia/

-------

 

Blast at Pakistan shopping centre kills 8

Feb 23, 2017

Explosives in a building under construction ignited Thursday, ripping through a market in an upscale neighbourhood in the eastern city of Lahore, killing eight people, officials said. It was not immediately clear whether the explosives were meant to be a bomb or were merely stored in the building.

The news came as a shock to many in this Islamic nation, where a string of brazen attacks over the past two weeks have killed more than 125 people.

Hours after the blast, the provincial Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) said it found traces of explosives at scene.

Mohammad Iqbal, spokesman for the CTD, told reporters that investigators were still trying to determine what was the purpose of storing explosive material in the building, and whether it was an improvised explosive device or remote control device.

Lahore police operations chief Haider Ashraf said the explosion took place inside a building that was under construction and where labourers were working at the time.

"Our focus at the moment is to rush the victims to hospitals and secure the scene of crime," he said.

Military neighbourhood

Earlier, live local TV footage showed smoke rising from a part of a restaurant that was under construction. The explosion was so powerful it littered the parking area outside the building with broken glass and debris. Dust and smoke covered dozens of cars parked outside, their windscreens and rear windows shattered.

The restaurant is located in a neighbourhood called Defense Housing Authority, which includes several marketplaces and shopping areas. The area is under control of the military-backed department — a common practice across Pakistan in better-off residential areas — and housing is mainly given to people working for the armed forces, though civilians can also buy plots and build homes.

Recent attacks across Pakistan have been claimed by an array of militant groups, including ISIS and a splinter Taliban faction, and have prompted a countrywide crackdown on militants.

Full report at:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/lahore-pakistan-bombing-1.3995383

-------

 

Karachi police kill two suspected IS-linked militants

IMTIAZ ALI

Police in Karachi on Thursday night claimed to have killed two suspected militants linked with the militant Islamic State (IS).

The suspected militants were allegedly involved in the killing of a senior police official last year in the metropolis.

“Intelligence agencies provided us information that some militants belonging to IS were present in the Ghazi Goth area of Manghopir,” said Karachi-West SSP Nasir Aftab.

Police officials said the suspected militants opened fire on the police raiding party after their hideout was surrounded and injured a constable. They added that two suspects were killed while others managed to escape.

“The killed militants were involved in the killing of DSP Faiz Ali Shigri,” said Aftab.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1316547/karachi-police-kill-two-suspected-is-linked-militants

-------

 

Africa

 

Libyan females barred from traveling abroad unguarded

20 February 2017

Military ruler for the region of eastern Libya, General Abdul Razek al-Nazouri, announced his decision to bar Libyan women from leaving the country unguarded by a male.

The region of eastern Libya is managed by the internationally recognized government and parliament based in Tobroq, which is fighting for complete rule of Libya against another cabinet in Tripoli, west of Libya.

According to Al-Nazouri’s decision, Libyan females under the age of 60 are not allowed to travel abroad on their own or with other Libyan females.

The decision is already under execution at the Tobrok airport.

It was strongly condemned by Head of the Libyan Minbar Organization for women rights.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/north-africa/2017/02/20/Libyan-females-barred-from-traveling-abroad-unguarded-.html

-------

 

Libya PM’s convoy comes under fire in Tripoli, no one wounded

20 February 2017

A convoy carrying Libya’s contested unity government chief, Fayez al-Sarraj, and other top officials came under heavy gunfire Monday in Tripoli, but they survived unharmed, spokesmen for his administration said.

“The convoy of GNA (Government of National Accord) chief Fayez al-Sarraj... came under fire as it passed near the Abu Slim sector of Tripoli,” said spokesman Ashraf al-Thulthi.

“All the cars were armored-plated, and there were no injuries,” he told AFP, adding an investigation was underway to identify the assailants.

Mohamed Salem, a spokesman for the supreme state council, said its head, Abdel Rahman al-Swehli, was also in the convoy as well as presidential guards chief, Najmi al-Nakou.

The convoy came under “intensive gunfire” in eastern Tripoli and two guards were wounded, according to Salem.

Libya has been submerged in chaos since the fall and slaying of longtime dictator Muammar Qaddafi in a NATO-backed 2011 armed uprising.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/north-africa/2017/02/20/Libya-PM-s-convoy-comes-under-fire-in-Tripoli-no-one-wounded.html

-------

 

Is Bitcoin Halal? How Cryptocurrency Conforms with Islam and Sharia

February 24, 2017

Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world, according to Pew Research Center, there are about 1.6 bln Muslims in the world and they make up roughly 23 percent of the world’s population.

The majority of the world’s Muslims live in Asia Pacific in countries like Indonesia and India even though traditionally areas of the Middle East and Northern Africa are traditionally associated with Islam.

Fintech according to Sharia

There are unique needs of Muslims when it comes to banking and finance.

The Islamic Canonical Law, popularly known as Sharia is based on the teachings of the Quran and prohibits certain activities such as acceptance of specific interest which is considered usury (Riba) or investments in businesses which are contrary to Islamic acceptance for example alcohol.

Recent interest in Islamic banking has risen with even the International Monetary Fund’s executive board holding the first ever discussion on Islamic Banking.

Fintech and developments around Blockchain have been taking the world by the storm. The rise of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and developments in Blockchain have also touched the Islamic world.

In fact, the UAE has already got a Bitcoin exchange by the name of BitOasis and they also offer services like a Bitcoin Wallet. BitOasis also offers services in Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. There are also services in the APAC region like Bitcoin Indonesia and Coinbox in Malaysia that offer Bitcoin-related services.

What does Islam think about Bitcoin

According to the paper “Bitcoin in Islamic Banking and Finance” by Charles W. Evans,

“The relationship between a distributed, autonomous Blockchain management systems (BMS) like Bitcoin—also referred to as a 'virtual currency'—and Islamic Banking and Finance (IBF). It shows that a BMS can conform with the prohibition of riba (usury)—as Bitcoin does—and incorporate the principles of maslaha (social benefits of positive externalities) and mutual risk-sharing (as opposed to risk-shifting). With regard to maslaha, the world's unbanked number in the billions and represent the majority of the world's adults.”

Is Bitcoin Halal? Yes but modern currencies are not

In order to deeply understand this topic, we talked with Matthew J. Martin of Blossom Finance, a fintech startup based in Indonesia.

Blossom Finance offers microfinance services that help entrepreneurs and small businesses. Matthew is a Muslim American based out of Indonesia and has worked with fintech startups like Boku and Xoom in the past. He told us that Bitcoin can be considered both a currency and a payment network and this distinction is important because the Sharia principles that apply vary.

Matthew explains,

“As a payment network, Bitcoin is halal. In fact, Bitcoin goes beyond what more conventional closed banking networks offer. Unlike conventional bank networks which use private ledgers where there's no guarantee that the originator actually owns the underlying assets, Bitcoin guarantees with mathematical certainty that the originator of the transfer owns the underlying assets. Conventional banks operate using the principle of fractional reserve, which is prohibited in Islam.”

What is more Bitcoin may be more Halal than modern fiat money. Matthew puts it quite clearly as he remarks, “Bitcoin is more halal than any currency in wide circulation today but probably still falls short of the strict and narrow definition of money in Islam. Modern sovereign currencies are based on debt with usury - this is strictly prohibited in Islam. Therefore, all modern money is not halal. Bitcoin, on the other hand, is not based on debt - it's based on a proof of work - and this is at least not haram (impermissible).”

Bitcoin’s new stability works in its favor

In understanding how Sharia looks at money, we are told by Matthew that there is a concept of Gharar (uncertainty) and contracts shouldn’t be unnecessarily uncertain. While Bitcoin was rather volatile in the past, there is stability now seen in Bitcoin over the last few years.

There are also possibilities in Islamic Banking that may work in favor of Bitcoin as well. In the case of Bitcoin, there are two benefits that are clearly visible.

If Bitcoin is indeed more halal and fiat currencies are haram due to the way they originate, then creating settlement systems in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin could make a great deal of sense.

Full report at:

https://cointelegraph.com/news/is-bitcoin-halal-how-cryptocurrency-conforms-with-islam-and-sharia

-------

 

South Asia

 

10 Taliban insurgents killed in Kunduz air and ground operations

Feb 23 2017

At least ten Taliban insurgents were killed in a series of air and ground operations conducted in northern Kunduz province of Afghanistan.

According to the security officials North of Afghanistan, the operations in the outskirts of Kunduz started late on Wednesday and are underway in other districts.

A spokesman for the 20th Pamir Division in the North, Ghulam Hazarat Karimi, said at least three militants were also wounded during the operations.

He said the Afghan air and ground forces started the operations from Kanok area of Kunduz city and large swaths Imam Sahib district was also cleared by the security forces.

Karimi further added that some weapons, ammunition, and explosives of the militants were also destroyed during the operations.

The Taliban insurgents group has not commented regarding the report so far.

Kunduz is among the relatively volatile provinces in northern Afghanistan where the Taliban insurgents are actively operating in a number of its remote districts.

Taliban launched numerous attacks on Kunduz city since they announced their spring offensive earlier last year.

Full report at:

http://www.khaama.com/10-taliban-insurgents-killed-in-kunduz-air-and-ground-operations-02965

-------

 

ISIS militant shot dead before attacking Afghan forces in Nangarhar

Feb 24 2017

A militant affiliated with the loyalists of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group was killed before attacking the Afghan forces in eastern Nangarhar province.

The provincial police commandment said the incident took place in Abdul Khel area of Achin district as the Afghan forces were busy checking the traffic in a check post.

The ISIS militant attempted to open fire on the security forces after coming out of a vehicle but was shot dead by the security forces, the local officials said.

The anti-government armed militant groups including the loyalists of ISIS terrorist group have not commented regarding the report so far.

This comes as the Afghan forces are busy conducting the Shaheen-25 clearance operations to root out the presence of the loyalists of the terror group from the restive Nangarhar province.

The local officials said Thursday at least 18 foreign insurgents belonging to ISIS terrorist group were killed in a series of air and ground operations in this province in the past 24 hours.

Full report at:

https://www.khaama.com/militants-arrested-before-poisoning-food-of-18-afghan-policemen-02160

-------

 

ISIS militant shot dead before attacking Afghan forces in Nangarhar

Feb 24 2017

A militant affiliated with the loyalists of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group was killed before attacking the Afghan forces in eastern Nangarhar province.

The provincial police commandment said the incident took place in Abdul Khel area of Achin district as the Afghan forces were busy checking the traffic in a check post.

The ISIS militant attempted to open fire on the security forces after coming out of a vehicle but was shot dead by the security forces, the local officials said.

The anti-government armed militant groups including the loyalists of ISIS terrorist group have not commented regarding the report so far.

This comes as the Afghan forces are busy conducting the Shaheen-25 clearance operations to root out the presence of the loyalists of the terror group from the restive Nangarhar province.

The local officials said Thursday at least 18 foreign insurgents belonging to ISIS terrorist group were killed in a series of air and ground operations in this province in the past 24 hours.

Full report at:

https://www.khaama.com/militants-arrested-before-poisoning-food-of-18-afghan-policemen-02160

-------

 

Four star US general concerned over AQIS presence in Bangladesh

February 23, 2017

AQIS involvement in Bangladesh is concerning to US Forces because of the instability created in the region.

Former Nato Allied Land Command leader General John W Nicholson expressed growing concerns regarding al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) activities in Bangladesh.

In a February 22 interview with Combating Terrorism Center’s (CTC) magazine Sentinel, the Commander of Resolute Support and US Forces-Afghanistan said: “With our growing relationship with India, we are concerned about the instability in Bangladesh, and we have seen a lot of AQIS interference in Bangladesh.”

Since al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri’s announcement in September 2014 regarding the formation of AQIS to move the group’s activities into India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, the governments of Bangladesh and the US refused to admit their presence.

On June 30 last year, however, the US government issued a statement blacklisting AQIS as a “foreign terrorist organisation” and its leader, Indian-born Asim Umar, a “specially designated global terrorist.”

AQIS involvement in Bangladesh surfaced through Dawahilallah, a forum of AQIS or local al-Qaeda representatives Ansar al-Islam.

In October last year, forum members instigated attacks on the Hindus of Nasirnagar when the local Muslim hardliners attacked the area, protesting an allegedly blasphemous Facebook post by a Hindu youth.

Subsequently, in December 15, al-Qaeda published a public statement urging the Muslim youths of Bangladesh to join the fight to avenge the persecution against the Rohingyas.

Speaking of a US Forces raid in Shorabak district of Kandahar in October 2015, Nicholson claimed they had found congratulatory notes going back and forth between AQIS and al-Qaeda about some of their activities in Bangladesh.

Though he did not specify the exact contents of the notes, it is highly possible it was in reference to the militant activities carried out in Bangladesh in the October-December period last year.

Full report at:

http://www.dhakatribune.com/world/north-america/2017/02/23/four-star-us-general-concerned-aqis-presence-bangladesh/

-------

 

Afghanistan finalizes law to criminalize Bacha Baazi

Feb 23 2017

The Afghan government for the first time has finalized a law to criminalize the bullying and sexual abuse of children (Bacha Baazi).

Officials in the ministry of justice of Afghanistan have said the draft law finalized by the government criminalizes the abuse of children.

A spokesman for the ministry of justice Aman Riazat told BBC’s Afghanistan service that the draft law has been approved by the cabinet of ministers.

He said the abuse of children has been criminalized in the draft law and the perpetrators will face prosecution by the government.

The latest step by the government to finalize the draft law prohibiting Bacha Baazi comes as numerous reports emerged during the recent years regarding the worsening situation of the children subjected to abuse and bullying.

The issue attracted attention of the global human rights activists as there are concerns regarding the health and mental condition of the victims of the stigma.

The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission also expressed concerns regarding the mental situation of the victims, saying the majority of the children kept as slave are repeatedly raped.

Full report at:

http://www.khaama.com/afghanistan-finalizes-law-to-criminalize-bacha-baazi-02966

-------

 

Southeast Asia

 

One Nation's rising popularity, anti-Islam platform a concern for Indonesia

February 23rd, 2017

Indonesia has expressed concern over the rising popularity of Pauline Hanson's One Nation party in Australia, ahead of President Joko Widodo's visit this weekend.

Asked about the increasing popularity of One Nation and its anti-Islam platform, Indonesia's top Foreign Ministry spokesman Arrmanatha Nasir said radicalism was a concern for both countries.

"I think it's a concern for any country," Mr Nasir said.

"It's a concern for Indonesia when it happens in Indonesia. I'm sure it's a concern for Australia when it happens in Australia.

"It's important for both Indonesia and Australia to intensify people-to-people contact so they get a better understanding of what Islam is all about.

"There is cooperation done and continuing to be done to share our culture, Islamic culture, because as you can see in Indonesia, Islam can go perfectly hand-in-hand with the modern world, with democracy, with other religions.

Full report at:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-02-23/indonesia-concerned-over-one-nations-rising-popularity/8298662

-------

 

Rights body to help Sabah Christians with ‘Islam’ MyKads

Joe Fernandez

February 24, 2017

KOTA KINABALU: A human rights advocate said today that many Christians in Sabah were holding MyKads which listed them as Muslim.

Daniel John Jambun, who heads the UK-based Borneo’s Plight in Malaysia Foundation (Bopim), said his organisation planned to help these people.

Jambun cited the latest example of Julitah Bahiau who is trying to get the National Registration Department (JPN) to change her son’s religion from Islam to Christian on the birth certificate.

She told local media that she had applied for her son Aryton Verlando’s birth certificate on time in 2010 but when she received the birth certificate it identified him as a Muslim.

When she queried, she was told it was because she had the word “Islam” on her MyKad.

“I explained that I am not a Muslim and produced my baptism certificate. JPN then directed me to get an order of release from Islam from the Sabah Islamic Affairs Department to enable them to delete the word Islam on my MyKad and subsequently do the correction on my son’s birth certificate,” she was quoted as saying by The Borneo Post.

“Now that my son is seven years old, I am unable to register my son at any school as he has no birth certificate. I have been pushed around by JPN and am fed up!” said Julitah.

Jambun said in an interview today that the boy needed a birth certificate to be in school.

Jambun said non-Muslims with the word “Islam” in their MyKads should not be told by the JPN to go through the Shariah Court to get the matter rectified.

“Julitah’s is not a case of a Muslim wishing to renounce Islam,” he said. “It’s a matter of a non-Muslim having the word ‘Islam’ in her MyKad.”

He said Orang Asal Christians in Sabah were routinely given “Islam” MyKads when their religious particulars were “not available”.

Besides religion, he said, many people in Sabah and Sarawak were also given the wrong “ethnic” classification.

Full report at:

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2017/02/24/rights-body-to-help-sabah-christians-with-islam-mykads/

-------

 

Jakarta Police consider suspending treason suspect Firza’s detention

February 24, 2017

The Jakarta Police are considering a proposal to suspend the detention of treason suspect Firza Husein due to reports her health has worsened while in custody at the Kelapa Dua detention center in Depok, West Java.

“We are thinking about it. If we are to suspend the detention, it should be based on humanitarian considerations. We are monitoring the development [of her health],” Jakarta Police chief Insp. Gen. Mochamad Iriawan said on Wednesday.

In a proposal filed for her release, one of Firza’s lawyers said his client had been sick since she was arrested in late January.

Firza was arrested for alleged treason on the morning of Dec. 2, 2016, several hours before the start of a large-scale rally to demand the arrest of Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama for suspected blasphemy. 

Police released her before she was arrested again in January for allegedly “not cooperating” with the police in their investigation of the treason case.

Firza and several others are suspected of planning to use the rally to launch an attempt to overthrow the government.

Iriawan denied that the police had neglected concerns about Firza's health, saying that all sick detainees received appropriate medical treatment.

Full report at:

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2017/02/24/jakarta-police-consider-suspending-treason-suspect-firzas-detention.html

-------

 

BNPT to Observe Indonesians Trying to Cross Turkish-Syrian Border

February 23rd, 2017

Jakarta. Indonesia's ambassador to Turkey met with the head of the National Counterterrorism Agency, or BNPT, in Jakarta on Wednesday (22/07) to discuss the latest situation on the Syrian border, where dozens of Indonesians have already been arrested while trying to join the radical Islamic State movement.

During a meeting with BNPT chief Comr. Gen. Suhardi Alius, Ambassador Wardana said the Turkish government will deport Indonesian citizens arrested while trying to cross the border.

"[Wardana] asked to meet with BNPT officials to inform them of the latest developments in Turkey, which directly borders conflict-prone Syria," Suhardi said.

"Reports have stated that there were many foreign nationals, including Indonesians, trying to enter [Syria]. There were also reports of people leaving Syria through the border, including Indonesians," he added.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs requested assistance from the BNPT following the recent arrest of several Indonesians at four border crossings between Turkey and Syria.

"The Foreign Ministry has asked us to send a team there, to witness the traffic directly. With what is going on in Syria, especially now that the Islamic State is being pinned down, there is no other option for people but to flee," Suhardi said.

He added that people fleeing Syria may head to neighboring countries or return to their homelands.

"We have agreed to go to Turkey and observe the situation. We will also meet with the Turkish authorities, maybe next month, accompanied by the Indonesian ambassador," Suhardi said.

He said any Indonesian citizens arrested by the Turkish authorities at the border will be prosecuted if they are found to have links with Islamic State.

"If during the process, it is found that our citizens were not involved with Islamic State, they will be deported directly. However, if they are found to have been involved with the Islamic State network, then they will go on trial," Suhardi said.

Full report at:

http://jakartaglobe.id/news/bnpt-to-observe-indonesians-trying-to-cross-turkish-syrian-border/

-------

URL:  http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/grand-mufti-of-saudi-arabia--dialogue-needed-to-demonstrate-truth-of-islam/d/110196


New Age IslamIslam OnlineIslamic WebsiteAfrican Muslim NewsArab World NewsSouth Asia NewsIndian Muslim NewsWorld Muslim NewsWomens in IslamIslamic FeminismArab WomenWomens In ArabIslamphobia in AmericaMuslim Women in WestIslam Women and Feminism, Moderate IslamModerate MuslimsProgressive IslamProgressive MuslimsLiberal Islam

 




TOTAL COMMENTS:-    


Compose Your Comments here:
Name
Email (Not to be published)
Comments
Fill the text
 
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the articles and comments are the opinions of the authors and do not necessarily reflect that of NewAgeIslam.com.

Content