Photo: Asghar Farhadi sent a recorded message to those watching the London screening
Syrian National Requests Fatwa Allowing Him to Marry His Wife to Friend
Last Letters: From Mosul Schoolboys to Islamic State 'Martyrs'
Militants Marry For Four Times but Use Children as Suicide Bombers: Ghani
Iranian Director Condemns Trump's 'Muslim Ban' In Powerful Oscars Acceptance Speech
Turkey Sends Address of Gülen Property In Canada To US Upon Request
Turkey’s Erdoğan ‘not welcome’ to campaign in Austria
Erdogan’s Adviser Says Turkey to Stop Operation in Syria after Capturing Manbij
Popular Forces Commander: Saudi FM in Iraq to Help ISIL
Birthday of Imam Ali to be marked with official ceremony in Ankara, Deputy PM
Historic city walls covered with roof, converted for wedding hall in Istanbul
Turkey condemns Armenian attacks against Azerbaijan
PKK militants stage bomb attack on cargo train in Turkey’s southeast
Islamic State Accused of Using Puppy as Suicide Bomber
Syria: Terrorists in Eastern Damascus Issue Distress Call to Comrades
Yemeni Army Shoots Down 2 Saudi Spy Drones over Al-Jawf, Jizan Provinces
Syrian Army Wards off Turkey-Backed Militants' Attack in Eastern Aleppo
Saudi Military Bases Destroyed in Yemeni Forces' Attacks in Najran, Jizan Provinces
German hostage beheaded by Philippine Islamists: govt
Syrian Army Deploys Forces in Heights Close to ISIL-Held Palmyra
Syrian Army Comes to Lay Siege on Turkish Soldiers in East Aleppo
Iraq Sinkhole 'mass grave' for Islamic State victims
Syria talks in Astana helped revive Geneva: Putin
Stable and Developed Afghanistan Not a Threat to Other Nations: Ghani
Senior Taliban commander killed in northern Afghanistan air strike
Life after Guantanamo: A tale of two Afghan friends
NATO reaffirms support as Afghanistan celebrates national day of defense forces
8 ISIS loyalists in separate airstrikes in East of Afghanistan
Taliban leader involved in Kunduz city attacks has been killed
ISIS Won't Be Allowed To Become a Threat to India: Home Minister
Back From ISIS Torture Cells, Doctor Can't Believe He's Alive
SIMI chief, 10 others get life sentence in sedition case
Sufism Is Our First Defence against Terrorism: Bilawal Bhutto Zardari
Islamabad, Kabul Must Find Common Ground, End Proxies, Says JI Emir
Bugti Taken 'Out of Context' On Presence Of Afghan Taliban In Baloch Seminaries: Spokesman
Pervez Musharraf launches career as TV analyst
A Month after the Shooting, We Canadian Muslims Are Still Not OK
Mahershala Ali becomes the first Muslim actor to bag the award
Muslim American activist vows to help Jewish cemetery where hundreds of headstones were vandalised
Jakarta Grand Mosque to Be Decorated With Betawi Ornaments
Indonesian collapses after caning for breaking Islamic law
Indonesian police link Bandung terror incident to Islamic State
Islamic State claims attempted bombing in Algeria -AMAQ
Students learning Turkish in Poland on the rise
Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau
27 February 2017
Mahershala Ali's Oscars acceptance speech for Best Supporting Actor
Britons stand to lose £1.1bn of loose change hoarded in piggybanks
Footballer saves opposition goalkeeper's life after horrific collision
Oscars' In Memoriam feature paid tribute to a woman who is still alive
The Iranian director of an Oscar-winning film, who refused to attend the awards ceremony, has condemned Donald Trump's "inhumane" travel ban in a powerful acceptance speech.
In the speech, read on his behalf at the awards in Los Angeles last night, filmmaker Asghar Farhadi said his absence was “out of respect" for people from Iran and the six other Muslim-majority countries affected by the president's ban, which even bars refugees from entering America.
Mr Farhadi, whose film The Salesman won the best foreign language Oscar, accused the US president of “dividing the world into the ‘us’ and ‘our enemies’ categories”.
His speech was read by Iranian-American engineer Anousheh Ansari, who became the first Iranian in space in 2006 when she paid to fly to the International Space Station.
Firouz Naderi, a former Nasa director and fellow Iranian, stood beside her in solidarity as she collected the award.
Mr Trump’s executive order on immigration, which he signed last month, barred immigrants and refugees from Iran, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen from entering the United States. The directive was halted earlier this month after a federal judge issued a temporary restraining order.
The Salesman, which premiered at Cannes last May, follows a couple in Tehran involved in an amateur dramatic production of Arthur Miller’s play of the same name, who are forced to move apartments following an earthquake.
The award last night was Mr Farhadi's second best foreign language Oscar, he also won with his film A Separation in 2012.
Here’s Mr Farhadi's speech in full: “It’s a great honour to be receiving this valuable award for the second time. I would like to thank the members of the Academy, my crew in Iran, my producer Alexandre Mallet-Guy, Cohen media, Amazon, and my fellow nominees in the foreign film category. I’m sorry I’m not with you tonight. My absence is out of respect for the people in my country and those of other six nations whom have been disrespected by the inhumane law that bans entry of immigrants to the US.
"Dividing the world into the 'us' and 'our enemies' categories creates fear, a deceitful justification for aggression and war. These wars prevent democracy and human rights in countries which have themselves been victims of aggression. Filmmakers can turn their cameras to capture shared human qualities and break stereotypes of various nationalities and religions. They create empathy between “us” and “others,” an empathy which we need today more than ever. Thank you on behalf of Mr Farhadi."
Filed on February 27, 2017
The request was made by a Syrian national living in Saudi Arabia
The imam of the Great Mosque of Makkah, Saleh Al-Humaid, recently received a strange request during a television programme.
A man living in Saudi Arabia on visit visa asked the imam to issue a fatwa that would allow him to marry his wife to a friend.
He said he wanted to do this in order to bring his wife to Saudi Arabia after all other measures had failed.
According to Al Arabiya, the man's friend has a resident status in Saudi Arabia which could ease getting a visa for his wife.
The request was made by a Syrian national living in Saudi Arabia. He said he would later divorce his wife from his friend.
The imam, however, refused to issue the fatwa, warning him of the dangerous consequences of playing such tricks. He added that such a step shall affect his relations with both his wife and friend.
Militants marry for four times but use children as suicide bombers: Ghani
By KHAAMA PRESS - Mon Feb 27 2017
President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani slammed the anti-government armed militants for their stance and their so-called holy war, saying the Afghan forces are facing enemies who are using children for suicide attacks but they themselves marry for four times.
Speaking during a gathering to mark the national day of the Afghan forces, Ghani said the insurgents are being used as tools by the foreigners to do heroin smuggling and loot the natural resources of the country.
He also added that the militants are planting roadside bombs and kill clerics, teachers, engineers, and those people who are working for the betterment of the country.
Questioning Taliban’s stance to conduct insurgency under the name of Islam, President Ghanis said “Are Taliban ready to sit with Ulemas and offer justifications? Is rebellion allowed in Islam? Is it justified to wage war in a soil where Sharia is enforced in courts or the law of Taliban and their masters are superior to Islamic law?”
The remarks by President Ghani came as the United Nations in a report earlier last year said they have recorded at 48 children recruited by the parties involved in the conflict.
The report also expressed concerns regarding the use of seminaries in the tribal regions along Durand Line for recruitment of children.
Turkey sends address of Gülen property in Canada to US upon request
Turkey has sent Washington information regarding the U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen’s property in Canada following a request from U.S. authorities, daily Yeni Şafak reported on Feb. 27.
The information sent to the U.S. includes the address of the property, when it was bought and who purchased it, the daily reported.
Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ recently said Gülen might be considering leaving the U.S. for Canada after purchasing land in the country.
The talks on Gülen’s extradition, believed to have masterminded the failed July 2016 coup, gained speed after Donald Trump was elected as U.S. president. According to the daily, because the new U.S. administration is leaning toward Gülen’s extradition more than the administration of former President Barack Obama, Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) members have bought property in Canada for Gülen.
There is no agreement between Turkey and Canada regarding the extradition of criminals, meaning that if Gülen moved to Canada from Pennsylvania, his extradition would become more difficult.
The Turkish Justice Ministry sent the files regarding Gülen’s possible escape to Canada to the U.S. on Feb. 24. The buyers of the property are Turkish citizens, but their identity remains hidden.
The extradition of Gülen remains a long-standing issue between Turkey and the U.S. Bozdağ said last week that the prolongation of Gülen’s extradition would harm relations between Washington and Ankara.
“There is strong intelligence pointing to the purchase of land in different countries, especially in Canada. We have intelligence that those activities accelerated after Trump was elected,” Bozdağ said in a televised interview with CNN Türk Feb. 23.
“We also conveyed that information to the U.S. Department of Justice,” Bozdağ said.
Bozdağ has already penned a letter to new U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who is now making “a positive assessment of the issue,” according to the Turkish minister.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is “not welcome” to hold campaign events in Austria ahead of the upcoming referendum that will decide whether the current parliamentary system should be shifted into an executive presidency, Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz said on Feb. 27.
Kurz said Erdoğan campaigning ahead of the April 16 referendum would “increase friction” in Austria and “hinder the integration” of the country’s 360,000-strong Turkish origin minority, which includes 117,000 Turkish citizens.
“Campaign events are not welcome. Of course the Turkish president, like other senior politicians, can make bilateral visits to Europe and Austria for talks with top officials. But we clearly reject bringing the Turkish campaign and polarization to Austria,” he was quoted as saying in a Foreign Ministry statement.
The statement quoted Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım, who himself held a rally in the German city of Oberhausen on Feb. 18, as saying that Erdoğan planned to campaign in a number of European Union countries.
Turkey will hold a referendum in mid-April to decide whether to change the government system into an executive presidency with vastly enhanced powers for the president or to protect the current parliamentary system.
The “yes” vote is endorsed by Erdoğan, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), while the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) are campaigning for a “no” vote.
Meanwhile, the leader of a new party set up at the end of last year by the Turkish community in Austria has said it expects to contest elections in 2019.
The center-right New Movement for the Future was established in December with Adnan Dinçer as party chairman. It aims to combat the growth of the far-right in Austria and represent migrants from around the world.
“We want to stand in the elections with a professional team,” Dinçer told Anadolu Agency. “We do not have to run for the 2018 legislative election, we can be prepared well and take part in the local elections that will be held in 2019 or 2020.”
TEHRAN (FNA)- An adviser to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Monday that the country will end its operation in Syria only after capturing the city of Manbij.
"Turkey is presently setting up a 90-kilometer buffer zone," he said. "Ankara is trying to regain its presence there," Ilnur Cevik said at a conference titled "Relations between Turkey and Russia: From the Period of Tension to Strengthening Cooperation" organized by the Sabah newspaper and the Press and Information Office of the Turkish government, TASS reported.
"As soon Manbij is captured, Turkey will stop its operation in Syria," Cevik said.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu earlier said that it is necessary to clean the city of Manbij from terrorists and Kurdish militants of SDF.
TEHRAN (FNA)- The military and political brass in Baghdad are showing frenzy over the Saudi Foreign Minister's visit to Iraq with a senior commander of Iraq's Hashd al-Shaabi forces saying that Adel al-Jubeir was in his war-ravaged nation to set incarcerated ISIL terrorists free.
The political circles in Iraq believe that there are many ambiguities behind the Saudi foreign minister's visit to Baghdad, calling on high-ranking officials to show utmost vigilance against Riyadh's plots, specially after it was revealed that the media weren’t informed of the trip before Jubeir's arrival at Baghdad airport.
The trip has stirred controversy, specially because it took place concurrent with ISIL's defeats in Iraq.
Javad al-Talaybawi, a commander of Asa'eb al-Haq Movement affiliated to Iraqi popular forces of Hashd al-Shaabi, downplayed the importance of the visit, and warned of Riyadh's attempts to release the Saudi terrorists imprisoned in Iraq.
"The Saudis are known for their historical hostility towards the Iraqi nation and trouble-making on the path of the political process in the country and therefore, Jubeir's visit cannot be seen in any positive respect at all," he told FNA on Monday.
Talaybawi urged the Iraqi officials to keep vigilant, and raised the possibility that Riyadh might be working on a deal over the swap of Saudi terrorists from jails in Iraq.
He also referred to the time of the trip, and said, "The timing of the visit creates many questions about the real goals behind it at a time when the ISIL has sustained heavy defeats in the Mosul operations."
Saudi Arabia's foreign minister made a rare visit to Baghdad in an attempt to mend the kingdom's tense relations with Iraq.
Jubeir's surprise trip on Saturday marked the first official visit by a Saudi foreign minister since 1990, and the first high-level visit since the 2003 US-led invasion.
Jubeir, who met his Iraqi counterpart Ibrahim al-Jaafari and Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, also announced Saudi plans to appoint a new ambassador to Iraq.
Birthday of Imam Ali to be marked with official ceremony in Ankara, Deputy PM Kurtulmuş says
The birthday of Ali ibn Abi Talib, Prophet Muhammad's cousin and son-in-law, the fourth caliph of the Islamic State and a highly revered figure for all Muslims, especially for Shiites who regard him as the first Imam, will be marked with an official ceremony on March 21 in Ankara, Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş said on Sunday.
Speaking during a visit to a cemevi - a house of worship for Turkey's Alevi community - in the Çiğli district of western İzmir province, Kurtulmuş said the ceremony, which has not been held since it was banned following the 1980 coup, will be held this year.
"This ceremony will mark the reconciliation of the state with our Alevi brothers, citizens," Kurtulmuş said.
Alevism, which combines the Shiite interpretation of Islam with the indigenous shamanism faith of Turkic peoples, is the second largest faith group in Turkey in terms of the number of adherents.
The status of cemevis and the role of Turkey's Presidency of Religious Affairs in serving the Alevi community continues to be a contentious issue in Turkey.
The Fatih Municipality of Istanbul has controversially converted historic city walls, on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites protected list, for the construction of a new wedding hall, covering them with a portable roof after receiving permission from the Provincial Board of Cultural Property Protection.
The surveying, restitution and restoration project, encompassing the historic city walls located in Fatih, was presented to the board in 2015.
After evaluating the request, the board granted permission to build a “sufficient portable cover” over the historic city walls, among the oldest structures in the entire city, in May 2016.
The Fatih Municipality’s Directorate of Parks and Recreation in September 2016 installed a three-meter-high portable roof over a site where wedding events are held, called the Topkapı Social Facility.
The municipality has issued a statement on the controversial project, saying the roof has not damaged the historic walls.
“There is no contact between the portable roof and the city walls. The project was implemented in line with the board’s decision,” said in the statement.
Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) lawmaker Fazıl Uğur Soylu admitted that the portable roof does not have contact with the walls, but described it as “ugly.”
“I’ve investigated the roof next to historic walls. It is not mounted onto the historic walls but it looks ugly. It can also be seen from outside of the walls. We will make a complaint about it,” Soylu said.
The Istanbul branch of the Archeologists Association also commented on the project, saying it “disrupted a historic structure.”
“Every project that is implemented over the historic walls should consider the identity of the walls. Projects implemented on the walls should serve the protection of cultural property. The Topkapı Social Facility, contradicting this situation, dismissed the heritage site’s identity,” said in the statement.
Turkey’s Foreign Ministry has condemned Armenia for committing “heavy weapon attacks” against Azerbaijan early on Feb. 25 in an attack that killed five Azerbaijani soldiers, according to the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry.
The ministry issued a late on Feb. 26, offering condolences to the fallen Azerbaijani soldiers’ families and the people of Azerbaijan.
“Armenia has been keeping one-fifth of Azerbaijani territory under occupation for a quarter century,” it said.
“We invite Armenia to follow the cease-fire rules and expect that heavy clashes will not occur again.”
Meanwhile, Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry said in a written statement on Feb. 27 that five of its soldiers were killed in clashes with Armenia-backed separatists along the boundary with the Nagorno-Karabakh region.
The Defense Ministry said that clashes occurred in the early hours of Feb. 25, in the remote Khojavend and Fizuli regions and that Armenia was still preventing the evacuation of five dead Azeri soldiers from the area.
It said that even though a deal was reached with the participation of representatives of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) for a cease-fire to take effect at noon on Feb. 26, this did not happen and that the deceased soldiers could not be removed from the field where they fell.
“The evacuation of bodies did not take place because the Azeri side violated agreements,” the Nagorno-Karabakh separatists said in a statement.
The breakaway region’s self-declared Defense Ministry accused the Azeri military of trying to infiltrate its territory and said there were no casualties on their side.
International mediators from the OSCE Minsk Group called on the two sides “to keep heavy military equipment in its present positions and to allow recovery of the dead.”
The Azeri Defense Ministry also said Armenian armed units broke the cease-fire with Azerbaijan a total of 117 times on Feb. 26, using 60mm mortars (15 shells), 82mm mortars (18 shells), and a D-44 gun (one shell).
According to Azeri state news agency AzerTAc, the cease-fire was violated in the Chilaburt village in Tartar district; the Shuraabad, Bah Qarvand and Yusifjanli villages in Aghdam district; the Kuropatkino village in Khojavand district; the Horadiz and Ashaghi Veysalli villages in Fuzuli district; as well as nameless hills in the Goranboy, Tartar, Aghdam, Khojavand, Fuzuli and Jabrayil districts.
Clashes in the occupied Nagorno-Karabakh region, which pro-Armenian militia occupied in 1993, occur frequently.
In April 2016, more than 270 military personnel lost their lives in the worst-ever breach of a 1994 treaty between the sides, according to the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry.
Three U.N. Security Council Resolutions (853, 874 and 884), and United Nations General Assembly Resolutions 19/13 and 57/298 refer to Karabakh as part of Azerbaijan. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe refers to the region as being occupied by Armenian forces.
The territory has officially declared its independence as the Republic of Artsakh, but it is not recognized by any other country in the world.
The clashes came on the 25th anniversary of the 1992 Khojaly massacre in Nagorno-Karabakh.
The massacre on Feb. 25-26, 1992, is regarded as one of the bloodiest and most controversial incidents of the war between Armenia and Azerbaijan for control of the Nagorno-Karabakh region.
Armenian forces took over the town of Khojaly in Karabakh on Feb. 26, 1992, after battering it with heavy artillery and tanks, assisted by an infantry regiment.
The two-hour offensive killed 613 Azeri citizens, including 116 women and 63 children and critically injured 487 others, according to Azerbaijani figures.
Outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants have detonated explosives during the passage of a cargo train in the Bağıvar neighborhood of the Sur district of the southeastern province of Diyarbakır.
The militants detonated the hand-made explosives they hid under the railway during the passage of the train, which is used for carrying crude oil from the southeastern province of Batman to Diyarbakır. Eight empty wagons were derailed after the explosion and no casualties were reported after the attack.
A number of ambulances and police teams were dispatched to the scene after the incident, but the ambulances returned after it was established that no one was killed or wounded.
An operation with aerial support was launched in order to apprehend the militants involved in the attack.
Meanwhile, Gıyasettin Gür, a PKK militant code-named “Bawer Xebat,” was killed in Turkish air strikes carried out in the Zap region of northern Iraq on Feb. 19 and 20.
Gür was arrested on April 13, 2007, while he was a student at Marmara University on charges of being a bombmaker for the PKK. He was released in September 2011 and went to the Kandil Mountains in northern Iraq, the base of the PKK’s operations.
Elsewhere, specially trained marine amphibious brigades from the Foça district of the western province of İzmir have joined security operations in the southeastern province of Hakkari. Security forces recently conducted operations against the PKK in Çukurca, Yüksekova and Hisar Mountain near the border with northern Iraq.
Security forces keep the PKK camps in the Avaşîn, Basyan and Zap regions of northern Iraq under surveillance around the clock.
Special weaponry was given to security forces in the region, with Turkey’s domestic infantry rifle (MPT-76) being used in combat for the first time in the province.
Furthermore, the Interior Ministry announced that a total of 36 PKK militants were “neutralized” in security operations in a week.
Authorities use the word “neutralized” to refer to militants who are killed, wounded or captured.
According to the ministry’s statement, a total of 18 militants were killed, two were wounded, four were captured alive and 12 others surrendered to security forces. In addition, 32 out of 321 suspects were detained on charges of aiding the PKK during the operations.
During operations conducted in eight districts of eastern and southeastern Turkey, 26 shelters and 17 improvised explosive devices were destroyed. Some 210 kilograms of explosive materials along with 87 grenades and 42 weapons were also seized during the operations.
Last letters : From Mosul schoolboys to Islamic State 'martyrs'
Reuters | Updated: Feb 27, 2017
MOSUL: "My dear family, please forgive me," reads the handwritten letter discarded in the dusty halls of an Islamic State training compound in eastern Mosul.
"Don't be sad and don't wear the black clothes (of mourning). I asked to get married and you did not marry me off. So, by God, I will marry the 72 virgins in paradise."
They were schoolboy Alaa Abd al-Akeedi's parting words before he set off from the compound to end his life in a suicide bomb attack against Iraqi security forces last year.
The letter was written on an Islamic State form marked "Soldiers' Department, Martyrs' Brigade" and in an envelope addressed to his parents' home in western Mosul.
Akeedi, aged 15 or 16 when he signed up, was one of dozens of young recruits who passed through the training facility in the past 2-1/2 years as they prepared to wage jihad. In several cases this involved carrying out suicide attacks - Islamic State's most effective weapon against a US-backed military campaign to retake the group's last major urban bastion in Iraq.
His letter never reached his family. It was left behind with a handful of other bombers' notes to relatives when Islamic State abandoned the facility in the face of an army offensive that has reclaimed more than half of the city since October.
The militants also left a handwritten registry containing the personal details of about 50 recruits. Not all entries had years of birth, and only about a dozen had photographs attached, but many recruits were in their teens or early 20s.
These documents, found by Reuters on a trip into eastern Mosul after the army recaptured that area, include some of the first first-hand accounts from Islamic State's suicide bombers to be made public and offer an insight into the mindset of young recruits prepared to die for Islamic State's ultra-hardline ideology.
Reuters interviewed relatives of three of the fighters including Akeedi to help determine where they came from and why they chose jihad. In rare testimonies by families of Islamic State suicide bombers, they told of teenagers who joined the jihadists to their dismay and bewilderment, and died within months.
Reuters could not independently verify the information about other recruits in the registry. Islamic State does not make itself available to independent media outlets so could not be contacted for comment on the letters, the registry or the phenomenon of teenage suicide bombers.
'Brother jihadi, respect quiet'
Islamic State has attracted thousands of young recruits in Mosul - by far the biggest city in the caliphate it declared in 2014 over territory it seized in Iraq and Syria. The group has carried out hundreds of suicide attacks in the Middle East and plotted or inspired dozens of attacks in the West.
The training compound visited by Reuters consisted of three villas confiscated from Mosul residents. Man-sized holes knocked through exterior walls allowed easy access between the villas.
Lower floors were littered with IS posters and pamphlets on topics ranging from religion to weaponry, as well as tests on warfare and the Koran. Green paint and bed sheets on the windows obscured the view from outside and gave the rooms an eerie glow.
Flak jackets and body-shaped shooting targets filled one room, while medicines and syringes were scattered around another that appeared to have served as a clinic.
The rooms upstairs were packed full of bunk beds with space for almost 100 people. Printed signs outlined strict house rules. One ordered: "Brother jihadi, respect quiet and cleanliness".
(An Islamic State logbook found in Mosul.)
Most of the recruits listed in the registry were Iraqi but there were a few from the United States, Iran, Morocco and India. Akeedi's entry says he pledged allegiance on December 1, 2014, a few months after the jihadists seized Mosul.
A relative told Reuters by phone that Akeedi's father was deeply distressed by his son's decision but feared punishment if he tried to remove him from Islamic State's ranks. Reuters was unable to contact his father.
Akeedi rarely visited his family after joining the jihadists. On his last trip home he told his father he was going to carry out a suicide attack in Baiji, an oil refinery town south of Mosul where the militants had been fighting off repeated offensives by the Iraqi military.
"He told his father, 'I am going to seek martyrdom,'" said the relative, who declined to be named because he feared reprisals from Islamic State or from Iraqi forces preparing to storm the area.
A few months later, Akeedi's family was told by the militants that he had succeeded.
Another recruit of the same age, Atheer Ali, is listed in the registry beside a passport-sized photo showing a boy with bushy eyebrows and large brown eyes. He wears a dark collar-less tunic, a brown head covering and a cautious smile.
His father, Abu Amir, told Reuters his son had been an outstanding student who excelled in science and was always watching the National Geographic TV channel. He loved to swim and fish in a nearby river and would help out on his uncle's vegetable farm after school.
Too young for facial hair
Ali was shy and slim, lacking a fighter's mentality or build, Abu Amir said in an interview at his eastern Mosul home, sifting through family photos.
So the father was horrified when one day in early 2015 Ali didn't come home from school but ran off with seven classmates to join Islamic State.
When Abu Amir went to the militants' offices across the city to track down his son, they threatened to jail him.
He never saw his son alive again.
A few months later, three Islamic State fighters pulled up at Abu Amir's house in a pickup truck and handed him a scrap of paper with his son's name on it. He was dead.
Abu Amir retrieved Ali's body from the morgue. His hair had grown long but he was still too young for facial hair. Shrapnel was lodged in his arms and chest.
He said the fighters told him he had been hit by an air strike on a mortar position in Bashiqa, northeast of Mosul. They described him as a "hero".
Gathered in the family sitting room, Ali's relatives said he was brainwashed. Many of his school friends fled Mosul after the militants took control and Ali fell in with a new crowd, but his family never noticed a change in his behavior.
"Even now I'm still astounded. I don't know how they convinced him to join," said Abu Amir. "I'm just glad we could bury him and put this whole thing to rest."
'His mind was fragile'
Sheet Omar was also 15 or 16 years old when he joined Islamic State in August 2014, weeks after the group captured Mosul. Next to his registry entry is the fatal addendum: "Conducted martyrdom operation".
Shalal Younis, Omar's sister's father-in-law, confirmed he had died carrying out a suicide attack, though he was uncertain about the details.
He said the teenager, from the Intisar district of eastern Mosul, had been overweight and insecure and joined the jihadists after his father's death.
"His mind was fragile and they took advantage of that, promising him virgins and lecturing him about being a good Muslim," said Younis. "If someone had tempted him with drugs and alcohol, he probably would have done that instead."
Islamic State accused of using puppy as suicide bomber
Feb 27, 2017
Iraqi militia fighters claim they have rescued a puppy rigged up in a suicide vest by Islamic State.
In a video uploaded to the militia's Twitter account on Saturday, three fighters are shown holding a small dog strapped into an assortment of bottles and wires which they say is an explosive device. They are calling the unusual form of attack "the latest from Daesh [Islamic State]".
The fighters belong to the Popular Mobilisation Units (PMU), a collection of government-sponsored militias battling to drive Islamic State out of Iraq.
"What was this animal's crime? Even animals, IS booby traps them and send them out against us," the fighters said in the video.
Iraqi PMU English @pmu_english
ISIS sends animal with bombs to Iraqi PMU position, PMU engineers save dog: youtu.be/c3A4V4F_0YI?a via @YouTube
4:59 PM - 25 Feb 2017
66 66 Retweets 34 34 likes
Questions have been raised about the authenticity of the video, given that forces on all sides of the complex conflict are prone to advancing their cause through online propaganda, emphasising their enemies' misdeeds.
However, animals have previously been used as suicide bombers. In World War II, Soviet troops attached timed explosives to dogs that had been trained to run under German tanks, while Hamas and the Taliban have been accused of strapping bombs to donkeys to target their enemies.
Suicide bomber kills 51 near Syria town taken from IS
The PMU troops say they plan to send the dog to Baghdad Zoo "for a nice break from the war zone".
As a broad coalition of anti-IS forces closes in on Mosul, IS has employed every possible tactic to hold onto its shrinking territory, including "decoy military equipment and camouflage-dressed mannequins, and lately, booby-trapped animals", Iraqi News reports.
PMU commander Mousa Hassan Jawsak recently told the media that two militia leaders have been killed by explosions in booby-trapped houses as the militia forces clear the former IS stronghold of Tal Awar, 40 miles west of Mosul, Al Masdar reports.
TEHRAN (FNA)- The Al-Nusra Front (also known as Fatah al-Sham Front) has issued distress calls to urge their peers to rush to their aid as they are being crushed by the Syrian army and popular forces in Eastern Ghouta, informed sources said.
The sources said that the army soldiers have been advancing against the Al-Nusra from the two directions of the Northeast and the Northwest towards al-Qaboun region, taking control of several positions in al-Qaboun farms.
In the meantime, the army's artillery and missile units targeted terrorists' movements and gatherings in the towns of Harasta, Douma, al-Nashbiyeh and Harazma in al-Marj region in Eastern Ghouta, killing and wounding a number of terrorists, the sources said.
They added that the army's missile units targeted a main command post of Al-Nusra along the road to the town of Harasta, destroying the post and killing or wounding tens of terrorists.
Other sources reported that terrorists deployed in Jobar, East of the capital, carried out attacks on the Syrian Army to reduce the army men's pressure on their comrades in al-Qaboun.
The sources added that the terrorists' attacks on government forces' positions in Jobar were repelled by the Syrian soldiers.
Reports said earlier today that the Syrian government forces stormed terrorists' positons in al-Qaboun region in Eastern Ghouta and managed to impose control over 90 percent of the farms.
The army men struck the defense lines of Al-Nusra Front in al-Qaboun and Barzeh regions and could drive terrorists out of over 90 percent of al-Qaboun farms, killing tens of militants.
Informed sources in Eastern Damascus said that the army's missile and artillery units targeted Al-Nusra's positions in al-Qaboun simultaneous with the ground forces' advances, destroying terrorists' command posts.
The sources added that terrorist groups in Harasta, al-Qaboun and Tishrin regions in Eastern Damascus breached ceasefire and inflicted heavy damage on public and private properties in the nearby regions, including al-Abasseen, killing also several civilians.
TEHRAN (FNA)- The Yemeni Army and popular forces shot down two Saudi spy drones flying over al-Jawf in Northern Yemen and Jizan provinces Southwest of Saudi Arabia.
The unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) were brought down after they were intercepted over the strategic regions in al-Jawf and Jizan provinces.
"The first drone was downed in al-Aqaba region of al-Jawf province and the second drone was brought down as it was flying over al-Fariza military base in Jizan province on Sunday," a military source said on Monday.
The Yemeni Army and Ansarullah fighters have shot down several Saudi-owned UAVs and fighter jets across the country since the beginning of the Saudi-led invasion against the impoverished country.
In relevant remarks on Saturday, informed military sources disclosed that the Yemeni army and popular forces shot down a Saudi-led coalition fighter jet in the Kingdom's province of Najran.
"An F16 fighter jet of the Saudi-led Jordanian air force was downed by the Yemeni forces' air defense system in Najran province in Southwestern Saudi Arabia on Friday," the Arabic-language Sabanet news agency quoted a Yemeni military source as saying.
The source did not provide any further detail about the downing of Jordan's F16 fighter jet.
Also in a relevant development in late January, the Yemeni army's air defense systems downed an Apache helicopter belonging to the Saudi-led troops in the coastal city of al-Mukha in the Western part of Ta'iz province in Southwestern Yemen.
The US-made helicopter was downed in al-Mukha region contrary to Saudi regime's allegations that they have taken full control over al-Mukha's port area in the past two days.
The chopper was brought down as it was attacking the positions held by the Yemeni army and popular forces.
In mid-October, the Yemeni military forces also reported they had shot down a spy drone over Jizan province.
In late September, the Yemeni military forces also reported they shot down a spy drone over the country’s capital, Sana’a.
On Tuesday, a senior Yemeni official said the Saudi-led troops have been doing their best to take control of Bab al-Mandab, but to no avail.
"The Saudi-led troops are conducting military operations with the support of the international intelligence services because Bab al-Mandab is highly-important for the US and its regional ally Israel," a senior military official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told FNA.
He, meantime, reiterated that the Yemeni navy has threatened to drown more Saudi-led vessels in Bab al-Mandab region.
The Yemeni commander reiterated that the battle with the Saudi-led forces have intensified in Dhubab and al-Mukha regions, and said, hundreds of forces loyal to former fugitive Yemeni President Mansour Hadi who enjoyed the aerial support of the UAE and Saudi fighter jets were killed in both regions.
TEHRAN (FNA)- News websites affiliated to the terrorist groups confirmed that the Ankara-backed militants of the Euphrates Shield Operation failed in a surprise attack to surmount the government forces' positions in the newly-liberated town of Tadif in Northern Syria.
The websites said that the army soldiers repelled a heavy attack of the Turkey-led Euphrates Shield's forces in Tadif just to the South of al-Bab town.
"The Turkey-backed militants failed to capture the government-controlled town of Tadif that was captured two days ago," the opposition websites said.
The websites said that the pro-government forces are currently deployed in the Southern outskirts of Tadif and forces of the Euphrates Shield Operation are deployed in the Northern outskirts of the town, adding that there are still sporadic clashes between the two sides.
Media sources reported earlier today that clashes erupted between the Syrian Army troops and Ankara-backed militants of the Euphrates Shield Operation in the town of al-Bab East of Aleppo province.
Sham times news website reported that the army soldiers have been engaged in heavy fighting with forces of the Turkey-led Euphrates Shield Operation near the town of al-Bab on Sunday night.
Sham times added that regions between the town of Tadif that was captured by the Syrian army yesterday and the Southern outskirts of al-Bab have been witnessing a second round of fierce clashes between the army soldiers and Turkey-backed militants.
The clashes came after the army men managed to take control over the key town of Tadif South of al-Bab.
TEHRAN (FNA)- The Yemeni army and popular forces' missiles and artillery shells hit the strategic military bases of the Saudi troops in Najran and Jizan provinces in the Southern part of the kingdom, destroying a number of them.
Saudi Arabia's al-Shabakeh and al-Fawaz military bases were destroyed in the Yemeni forces' offensives.
Meantime, the Yemeni army and popular forces also hit al-Jabaneh, al-Sudanieh and al-Beit al-Abyaz military bases in Jizan province, inflicting heavy losses on the Saudi army troops.
Meantime, a Saudi border guard was also killed in al-Hanjar military base in Assir province in the Southern part of Saudi Arabia.
In a relevant development on Monday, the Yemeni Army and popular forces shot down two Saudi spy drones flying over al-Jawf in Northern Yemen and Jizan provinces Southwest of Saudi Arabia.
"The first drone was downed in al-Aqaba region of al-Jawf province and the second drone was brought down as it was flying over al-Fariza military base in Jizan province on Sunday," a military source said.
Also on Sunday, the Yemeni army and popular forces destroyed the military positions of the Saudi-led troops in Najran province in the Southern part of Saudi Arabia with a Zalzal-2 missile.
The Saudi-led forces' concentration centers in Najran province were flattened after they were hit with a Zalzal-2 missile.
The Yemeni military sources confirmed that the Zalzal-2 missile precisely hit the target, killing tens of Saudi-led troops and destroying their military equipment.
No further detail is available now.
Meantime, three Saudi troops were killed by Yemeni army and Ansarullah snipers in Assir and Jizan provinces.
Two Saudi troops were killed in the Northern part of Al-Khubeh in Jizan province, the Arabic-language media quoted local sources as saying.
The sources also said that another Saudi military force was killed by the Yemeni snipers in al-Arez military base in al-Raboua'a region in Assir province.
Another Saudi military force was also killed by the Yemeni snipers in al-Orfeh military base in Jizan province.
Updated / Monday, 27 Feb 2017 13:52
Islamic militants in the Philippines have beheaded the German hostage they were holding for ransom, the government in Manila has said.
A video posted by the extremist Abu Sayyaf group, which was monitored by intelligence group SITE, showed Jurgen Kantner being killed by a knife-wielding man.
Shortly after the video appeared, government envoy Jesus Dureza confirmed the German's death.
"We grieve as we strongly condemn the barbaric beheading of yet another kidnap victim," Mr Dureza said in a statement.
"Up to the last moment, many sectors including the Armed Forces of the Philippines exhausted all efforts to save his life. We all tried our best. But to no avail," said Mr Dureza.
Military officials in the south said they still had not yet found the German's body.
In Germany, Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said Berlin had not yet received official confirmation from Philippine authorities that the video was genuine.
"If this video is confirmed, then of course this is one of the most horrible things imaginable," Mr Gabriel said.
The Abu Sayyaf, blamed for the worst terror attacks in Philippine history, had previously demanded a ransom of 30 million pesos (€570,000) be paid by yesterday to spare the 70-year-old's life.
The group had previously released videos showing a haggard Kantner appealing for payment of the ransom.
Mr Kanter was abducted from his yacht, the Rockall, in waters off the southern Philippines last year.
The vessel was found drifting on 7 November, with the body of Mr Kantner's female companion, Sabine Merz, bearing a gunshot wound.
The couple had previously been kidnapped and held for 52 days in Somalia in 2008 before they were freed, reportedly after a huge ransom was paid, press reports said.
The Abu Sayyaf, whose leaders have pledged allegiance to the so-called Islamic State movement in the Middle East, have been kidnapping foreigners and Christians for decades, holding them for ransom in the jungles of the strife-torn southern Philippines.
They have frequently killed hostages if their demands are not met, and last year murdered two Canadians.
Aside from Mr Kanter, they are now holding at least 19 foreigners and seven Filipino hostages, military spokesman Brigadier General Restituto Padilla said.
The group, formed from seed money provided by a relative of Al-Qaeda mastermind Osama bin Laden in the 1990s, also carried out the bombing of a ferry in Manila Bay in 2004 that claimed 116 lives in the country's deadliest terror attack.
The military had been pressing an assault against the Abu Sayyaf, attacking their camps and bombing their hideouts just before Mr Kantner was killed.
TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian Army troops continued their advances against ISIL in Eastern Homs and deployed troops at strategic heights overlooking an entrance to the ancient city of Palmyra (Tadmur).
The army soldiers continued to hit ISIL's defense lines West of Palmyra and managed to take control over al-Maqaleh height and the town of al-Tamthil, deploying forces close to Jabal (mount) al-Tar overlooking the ancient city's gateway.
In the meantime, the army men could advance against ISIL from the direction of Mount al-Hayel and captured several hills overlooking the Palmyra Triangle Southwest of the city.
Elsewhere in the same province, the army's artillery units and aircraft pounded the positions of Al-Nusra Front (recently renamed to Fatah al-Sham Front) and other terrorist groups in al-Wa'er settlement in the Northwestern countryside of Homs city and in the villages and towns of al-Farhaniyeh, al-Qantou, Deir Foul and Talbiseh in Northern Homs, inflicting major losses on the terrorists.
Reports said earlier today that the army men struck ISIL's defense lines and won back al-Seyaqah School in al-Bayarat region West of Palmyra after hours of intense battle with the terrorists.
The army soldiers meantime stormed ISIL's positions Northwest of Palmyra and seized full control over al-Maqale al-Rakhamiyeh region (marble stone mines), a road connecting Wadi al-Abyadh dam and Palmyra and the entire territories surrounding al-Maher oilfield.
The army troops also drove ISIL out of Hill 5,939 that is the highest in Hayal Mountains overlooking the Triangle of Palmyra.
The army men further fortified their newly-captured positions in areas surrounding the Palmyra Triangle, al-Seyaqah School, al-Maqale al-Rakhamiyeh and Syriatel hill.
Another military source pointed out that the army's control over the road to Wadi al-Abyadh dam has cut off ISIL's communication lines to Raqqa.
TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian Army troops' advances against ISIL in Eastern Aleppo will soon end up in not just pushing the terrorist group back from the Northern parts of the country, but laying a full siege on the Turkish forces and the Ankara-backed militants that are operating under the Euphrates Shield Operation, military sources said on Monday.
The sources who requested anonymity, said that the army soldiers' control over the town of Tadif South of al-Bab has established another contact line with the forces of the Turkey-backed Euphrates Shield forces.
They added that if the Syrian government troops continue their advances against ISIL in Eastern Aleppo towards the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, the Euphrates Shield forces will be trapped in a circle of the army men in the towns of al-Bab and Baza'a.
The sources went on to say that if the Syrian army forces manage to reach the SDF positions, the Manbij road will be cut off and the Euphrates Shield forces will have no way out to march in Northern Syrian any further, but to engage in clashes with the Syrian soldiers or Kurdish fighters.
The sources said that the Syrian soldiers are now in areas only 13km away from SDF positions after their recent advances in lands Southeast of Tadif and their control over Khan Qayar and Abu Jabbar.
"The Syrian army has reached areas 26km in distance from the Assad Lake after taking control over the strategic Salim Mountain and its advances in Shahnaseh, al-Shami and Roweideh al-Bab."
"In the meantime, the Syrian soldiers are just 4km away from the town of Deir Hafer that will be the government troops' platform for a fresh operation towards Maskana that is considered as the entrance of Raqqa province," the sources underscored.
The clashes came after the army men managed to take control over the key town of Tadif South of al-Bab.
Monday 27 February 2017
A sinkhole - once a local curiosity in Iraq - has reportedly been turned into a mass grave for up to 4,000 victims of Islamic State killers.
Local residents living near the Khasfah - the Arabic word for a sinkhole - have described how IS transformed the area into a "place of death" after capturing it in 2014.
Villagers say the sinkhole, outside Mosul, was used as an execution site and a mass grave where bodies were dumped.
"The Khasfah would be in front of them, they would make them kneel down, shoot them in the head and push them in.
"People became afraid of the place, it became a place of death, a place where you'd be executed."
Mr Yassin said he saw executions take place there on at least six occasions, and most of those killed were police officers, soldiers or government workers.
Hussein Khalaf Hilal said IS took him to the site to frighten him
Hussein Khalaf Hilal, 73, said he was taken to the site by IS fighters who accused him of breaking their religious rules.
"They came to the house, they blindfolded me, tied my hands behind my back and took me away in a car with blacked out windows," he said.
"They took me there because they wanted me to pledge allegiance, to frighten me."
He said IS fighters marched people into the pit after forcing them to take pills.
Iraqi forces are battling to retake Mosul from Islamic State
"They would line them up, 10 by 10, 15 by 15," he said.
He was eventually spared and taken to prison instead.
Belkis Wille, senior Iraq researcher for Human Rights Watch (HRW), said she heard about the site being used for mass killings about a year ago.
Prisoners had said their IS guards told them they were taking detainees to the Khasfah to be killed.
Iraqi soldiers continue the advance into western Mosul
HRW examined satellite imagery that suggested the sinkhole was filling up, and local residents said IS had piled rusted car parts and shipping containers into it, before bulldozing earth on top.
Ms Wille said it was impossible at this stage to know how many bodies were buried there.
"The figure that we hear over and over again in interviews is 4,000," she said.
Iraqi security forces fighting to recapture the western half of Mosul have now retaken control of the area containing the sinkhole.
Displaced Iraqis escape the fighting in Mosul
Their advance is continuing with Iraqi forces saying they have reached the city's southernmost bridge, a key step in efforts to defeat IS.
"The Rapid Response force and the federal police have liberated Jawsaq neighbourhood and now control the western end of the fourth bridge," said Brigadier General Yahya Rasoo.
According to United Nations figures, about 750,000 civilians are believed to be trapped in their houses in the west of the city.
February 27, 2017 - 4:40 PMabna.cc/7wN9
News Code : 814458Source : belgium sun, Reuters
Talks on consolidating the Syrian ceasefire held in Kazakhstan this year helped jumpstart the United Nations-led peace negotiations in Geneva, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Monday, February 27.
(AhlulBayt News Agency) - Talks on consolidating the Syrian ceasefire held in Kazakhstan this year helped jumpstart the United Nations-led peace negotiations in Geneva, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Monday, February 27.
At the first round of the talks in the Kazakh capital Astana in January, Russia and Iran, allies of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and Turkey, an Assad opponent, reaffirmed a shaky ceasefire between insurgents and the Syrian government.
"A mechanism to control the ceasefire has been created, which is the most important thing," Putin told reporters during a visit to Kazakhstan.
"This is the foundation that has allowed the Geneva negotiations to resume."
Stable and developed Afghanistan not a threat to other nations: Ghani
President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani has said a stable and developed Afghanistan will not be a threat to the other nations.
President Ghani made the remarks during a ceremony to mark the first national day of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces.
He said those thinking to turn Afghanistan into their battleground will only take their dreams with them to grave, apparently gesturing towards those attempting to expand their proxy war in the country.
President Ghani particularly pointed towards the killing of Mullah Abdul Salam, the shadow governor of Taliban group for Kunduz who was killed in a counter-terrorism operation.
He said Mullah Salam was eliminated with his whole group and the group will no more pose threats to Kunduz and other northeastern parts of the country.
Hailing the nationwide support to Afghan forces in a one voice, President Ghani hoped that the 100th independence day of the country will be celebrated in the historic Dar-ul-Aman Palace which is under restoration by the government.
This is the first Afghanistan is celebrating the national day of the defense and security forces which comes as the Afghan forces are busy confronting devastating insurgency led by the Taliban group and other insurgent groups.
February 27th, 2017
After having been declared dead several times in the past, a senior Taliban commander has been killed in an air strike in northern Afghanistan, officials of the militant group confirmed on Monday.
Mullah Abdul Salam Akhund, who commanded Taliban forces in Kunduz, was one of three fighters killed in a weekend strike by an unmanned aircraft, a senior Taliban official in the province told Reuters, on condition of anonymity to ensure his safety.
"He was on a journey a few days ago and stopped at a house at Dashte Archi town when the drone fired missiles," said the official.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid confirmed Akhund's death in a statement.
A US military spokesman said an American warplane had conducted a strike in Kunduz on Sunday, but the command did "not have confirmation of the results".
The strike killed Akhund and eight other Taliban, said Sher Aziz Kamawal, a senior police commander in northern Afghanistan.
Akhund, who oversaw the Taliban offensive that briefly seized Kunduz city in 2015, had previously been reported dead several times by Afghan officials.
This time however, his apparent death was confirmed by top Taliban officials, including a commander in the eastern province of Khost.
"It's part of our life," the commander told Reuters. "We are proud to confirm that he was martyred for a cause."
AFPPUBLISHED ABOUT 6 HOURS AGO
Two Afghan friends were incarcerated together at Guantanamo Bay, but they chose starkly divergent paths after release ─ one became a member of the militant Islamic State (IS) group, the other joined the US-led government fight to crush the group.
Haji Ghalib and Abdul Rahim Muslim Dost, whose friendship coalesced around a shared love for poetry, were scooped up in the post-9/11 American dragnet and shipped off to the prison camp in Cuba.
Their journey encapsulates Guantanamo's failed legacy in the fight to expunge radicalism, as President Donald Trump appears set to reverse previous US efforts to scale it back.
Afghan governor of Bati Kot District of Nangarhar Province Haji Ghalib who was imprisoned for five years at Guantanamo Bay, inspects security outposts in Bati Kot. ─AFP
“Guantanamo is the worst place on Earth,” said Ghalib, who estimates he is 49, deep creases lining his gaunt face.
“Every day I ask myself the same questions: 'Why was I taken? Why did they ruin five years of my life? Why is there no justice, no compensation?'”
After burnishing his reputation as a fearsome commander against the Soviets and the Taliban, Ghalib was serving in the Afghan police in 2003 when he was unexpectedly accused of insurgent links.
Authorities ignominiously stripped him of his post, tore his uniform off publicly, and sent him to Guantanamo until the American military concluded in 2007 that he was “not assessed as being a member of Al Qaeda or the Taliban”.
When freed, Ghalib channelled his resentment to fight not the Americans but those he calls the “real enemies of Afghanistan” ─ the Taliban and, recently, IS militants, who are making inroads into the country.
That includes his former friend Muslim Dost, who Western and Afghan officials describe as a top IS commander in eastern Nangarhar province, and who was released from Guantanamo two years before Ghalib.
'Seedbed of terrorism'
A gifted demagogue, Muslim Dost spent his time inside Guantanamo praying and preaching to other inmates about jihad alongside 9/11 accused Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.
“When he preached the inmates wept,” Ghalib recalled.
“They were left shaken by his loud, mesmerising voice.”
Muslim Dost scribbled poems on drinking cups for lack of writing material.
One verse published in the book “Poems of Guantanamo” by US law professor Marc Falkoff reads: "Consider what might compel a man to kill himself, or another".
"Does oppression not demand some reaction against the oppressor?”
“Guantanamo is a seedbed of terrorism,” said Kako, 35, who was imprisoned along with his cousin Ghalib and returned to be a corn farmer.
“It gave legitimacy to fanatics like Muslim Dost.”
Guantanamo, opened in 2002, remains a lightning rod for anti-American sentiment.
Nearly a quarter of the total number of detainees were Afghans, most later found to be noncombatants who were mistakenly apprehended or wrongfully turned over by local bounty-hunters or personal rivals.
“Arbitrary detention was a powerful factor driving some Afghans to insurgency, helping spark a new phase in a long and bitter conflict,” said “Kafka in Cuba”, a recent report from the Afghanistan Analysts Network.
The report by AAN analyst Kate Clark revealed that eight of the longest-serving Afghan detainees were held on “vague accusations, rife with hearsay, gross errors of fact and testimony obtained under duress and torture”.
“It is now 16 years since the US began its intervention in Afghanistan and 15 years since it sent the first Afghans to Cuba. Yet the conflict, like America's dilemma of what to do with its legacy of war on terror detainees, shows no sign of ending.”
'Won't let him go alive'
Barack Obama, who sought to shut down Guantanamo, shipped detainees out until the last days of his presidency. But Trump may be set to bar the transfers and bring in new detainees, US media have said, citing a draft executive order.
“America may consider Guantanamo a necessity, but they need to differentiate between fundamentalists and patriots,” Ghalib said.
Ghalib, seen as a loyal US ally, is the district chief of Bati Kot in Nangarhar, a patchwork of rolling hills and orange and melon farms sandwiched between Taliban and IS bastions.
His loyalty is undergirded partly by personal tragedy. In 2013, the Taliban killed his brother guarding a highway project in Nangarhar.
Just weeks later, the Taliban dug explosives at the grave site where Ghalib's extended family had gathered to mourn, killing 18 people including his two wives and grandchildren.
His eldest son brought more sobering news, a walkie talkie snatched from the Taliban dangling from his chest, as Ghalib spoke to AFP inside his fortified base.
A close relative, who had poured him tea just minutes earlier, had been killed in a hit-and-run shooting as he stepped out of the base.
Ghalib turned pensive, his face dropping into his hands.
“People like Muslim Dost are fighting foreigners but mostly killing Afghans,” he said as he composed himself. “If I ever see him on the frontline I won't let him go alive. “
By KHAAMA PRESS - Mon Feb 27 2017,
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) led Resolute Support Mission reaffirmed continued support to Afghanistan and the Afghan national defense and security forces.
The commander of the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission and US forces commander in Afghanistan Gen. John Nicholson reaffirmed the commitment by issuing a statement as the country marked its first national day of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces.
“On ANDSF day we remember the many Afghan security forces who have been martyred or injured for their country,” Gen. Nicholson said.
He added that Resolute Support trains, advises, and assists Afghan forces so they can protect their country.
Gen. Nicholson further added “Those Afghans are our valuable friends and partners. Afghanistan can be proud of her sons and daughters who serve in uniform.”
“NATO is committed to a peaceful, prosperous, and stable Afghanistan and is committed to Afghanistan because we know we have enduring partners in the Government, security forces and people,” he added.
A ceremony was organized in Kabul today to mark the first national day of the security and defense forces, attended by President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani and other high level government officials.
At least eight loyalists of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group were killed in separate airstrikes in eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan.
According to the local security officials, the militants were killed on Saturday and Sunday in the vicinity of Achin district.
The officials further added that the airstrikes were conducted in Dap and Momand areas of Achin district.
No further details were given regarding the airstrike and it is yet not clear if the raids were conducted by the Afghan forces or the US forces based in Afghanistan.
In the meantime, the officials said the militants killed during the airstrikes are all foreigners.
Nangarhar is among the relatively calm provinces in eastern Afghanistan but the anti-government armed militant groups are attempting to expand their foothold in this province, including the loyalists of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
The attempts by militant groups forced the Afghan forces to launch a major operation, Shaheen-25 operations, to suppress their activities.
The US forces based in Afghanistan also conduct airstrikes occasionally in this province under a broader role which was granted to them by Obama administration earlier last year.
A top Taliban leader who was involved in major attacks on the strategic Kunduz city has been killed, the local security officials said Sunday.
According to the local security officials, Mullah Abdul Salam was killed along with his eleven fighters in an airstrike conducted by the foreign forces in Dasht-e-Archi district.
A spokesman for Afghan National Police’s 808th Spinzar Zone in northeastern parts of the country, Mahfoozullah Akbari, confirmed the death of Mullah Abdul Salam and the other insurgents.
He said another senior Taliban leader Qari Amin who was appointed as district chief by the group was also among those killed.
The officials are saying that Mullah Abdul Salam had a key role in the collapse of Kunduz city besides he plotted numerous other attacks in this province.
This is not the first time reports regarding the death of Mullah Abdul Salam have emerged.
The Taliban group has continuously rejected reports in the past suggesting that Mullah Abdul Salam was killed or critically wounded during the operations.
However, the group has not commented regarding the latest report so far.
ISIS Won't Be Allowed To Become a Threat To India: Home Minister
Binay Singh | TNN | Feb 27, 2017, 05.44 PM IST
VARANASI: Union home minister Rajnath Singh said that the ISIS won't be allowed to become a threat to India. "The government has kept an eye on the ISIS, and that won't be allowed to become a major challenge for the country", said Singh while talking to reporters here on Monday.
Replying a query on the arrest of two suspected ISIS men on Sunday in Gujarat, he said that the ISIS would fail to influence Indian youth, as the people are alert and supportive to the government. "In fact the parents of some misguided youths contacted me and informed about their concerns," he said adding that the government is keeping eyes on them.
It's worth mentioning Gujarat Anti-Terrorism Squad arrested two ISIS suspects, who were allegedly planning to carry out serial blasts in Gujarat, from Rajkot and Bhavnagar on Sunday
Targeting UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, Singh said that the CM should think seriously before leveling allegations on Prime Minister Narendra Modi. "In a press conference the CM said that the PM while addressing rallies should point out the works he has done for the development.
I want to tell him (CM) that he must have knowledge of the functioning of federal structure in a democracy. In federal structure over 80% development works are done through states, and he should not forget that for the first time UP was given 42% central revenue, which earlier used to be 32%", he said adding that there is a long list of works done by the BJP-led central government that included LPG connections under Ujjwala Yojana, availability of cardiac stents at controlled price, over 9 lakh power connections in 1464 villages, over three crore banks accounts under PM Jan Dhan Yojna, benefits under Mudra Yojna, Atal Pension Yojna, construction of eight modern highways of 865km in length at the cost of Rs. 6218 crore.
Mocking at Akhilesh for highlighting metro rail, he said, "Lucknow Metro ki bahut charcha ho rahi hai. One should know that 80% contribution to metro rail projects comes from Centre". He further said that the central government worked for the revival of closed urea factory at Gorakhpur. "Political analysts world over appreciate the good governance of BJP, which has emerged as a credible political party. "We have not gone for apprenticeship after forming government like UP CM. We are in fray not only to form a government, but to build UP," he said.
"Ashcharya hota hai sunkar ki Kaam bol raha hai, dharatal par kaam dikhna bhi chahiye" (It is surprising to hear that that works are speaking, the works should also be visible on ground), he said alleging that no specific steps were taken for controlling deadly Japanese encephalitis that claimed 615 lives in UP in 2016. There are 30 sugar mills in the state, and today hardly only three are functioning, he said and added that nothing was done by the SP and BSP governments for industrial revival of Mau, which known as Manchester of Purvanchal. These government also did nothing to check erosion by rivers that displaced over one lakh families from 5000 villages of this region.
He said that efficient law and order is the first condition for development. "I won't blame the police for poor law and order, it's solely depends on the ability and temperament of the CM. It is the same police that successfully eliminated the Maoist menace from the state during my regime," he said.
Taking a potshot on SP-Congress alliance in UP, he said, "A senior Congress leader, who was a CM nominee in UP, terms the young leader as immature. She knows him better. Here in UP the CM himself admits that he is an apprentice. I wish he should qualify the apprenticeship and get a certificate to prove that now he is well qualified".
Expressing his concern over mudslinging in poll campaign, he said that one should have control on language. It is unfortunate to see the use of unfair words against the PM, who is not an individual but an institution whose dignity should not be lowered down. Replying a query regarding unrest in Ramjas College, he said that Delhi police commissioner has been asked to take sensible steps in this regard.
Back from ISIS torture cells, doctor can't believe he's alive
TNN | Updated: Feb 27, 2017, 01.52 PM IST
VIJAYAWADA: Sixty-two-year-old physician Dr Ramamurthy Kosanam breathed freedom+ as he touched down at Vijayawada airport on Sunday after 17 months of trauma and torture in ISIS captivity in Libya. "Thank God. I am free. I cannot believe, I would meet my family in India. I suffered multiple injuries as abductors shuttled me through dungeons in the line of fire," he said.
Dr Ramamurthy's wife, Anna Bhavani, and children welcomed him at the airport even as a battery of officials, politicians and journalists lined up for their turn. Heart-rending scenes were witnessed as tears welled in eyes of his kin. The physician could barely walk due to bullet injuries in legs. He cannot move his left wrist as a bullet lies embedded. Doctors at Andhra Hospital said Dr Ramamurthy would need at least four months to recover from mental shock and physical wounds. The doctor was one of the nine health professionals abducted by ISIS militants for treatment of injured colleagues.
Dr Ramamurthy said he was taken to the battlelines to treat wounded jihadis. "I had to treat my own injuries and also cater to the terrorists," he said.
IS militants had laid siege to Sina Hospital at Sirte in Libya on September 8, 2015, and abducted Ramamurthy , another Indian, Samal Pravash Ranjan, and seven nurses from the Philippines. After being held captive for 17 months, the doctor was freed on February 22 after high-level diplomatic intervention from India. Ramamurthy was flown to Turkey and then brought to Delhi.
He thanked the Indian government and national security advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval for rescuing him. Ramamurthy was forced to provide medical help for injured IS militants in war-torn Libya. He said his captors were a group of well-educated youngsters, who are well aware of socio-economic and political conditions in India. "They have members in the age-group of 10 and 65. All of them were trained to fight the war in Libya," he said.
After rigorous negotiations by the Indian government, which was personally overseen by external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, Ramamurthy was finally freed. Dr Ramamurthy joined Ibn-e-Sina Hospital as a physician in 1999. Trouble began after ISIS gained control of Sirte in 2014.
"Very happy to see him again, but concerned over his health", says Anna Bhavani. Virtually living without correspondence for several months, Anna said she wondered whether she would ever see him again. Bhavani broke down when she caught a glimpse of him, two years after he left for Libya.
PTI | Updated: Feb 27, 2017, 05.59 PM IST
INDORE: A special court here on Monday awarded life imprisonment to SIMI chief Safdar Hussain Nagori and 10 other activists of the banned group after convicting them in a 2008 case of sedition.
On a plea of 10 of the accused lodged in Ahmedabad's Sabarmati Central Jail, they were informed about the court's judgement through video-conferencing.
Special Additional Sessions Judge B K Paloda pronounced all the 11 activists of Students' Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) guilty under IPC sections 124(A) (sedition) and 153 (A) (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion), and also under relevant provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
Besides 45-year-old Nagori (45), the others convicted are Hafiz Hussain (35), Aamil Parvaz (40), Shivli (38), Qamruddin (42), Shahduli (32), Qamran (40), Ansar (35), Ahmed Baig (32), Yasin (35) and Munroz (40).
Nagori, Parvaz, Qamruddin, Qamran, Shivli and Ahmed Baig and Hussain were also convicted under IPC section 122 (collecting arms, etc, with intention of waging war against the government of India).
Government advocate Vimal Mishra told reporters that apart from Munroz, the other 10 accused are lodged in Ahmedabad's Sabarmati jail.
During last hearing in the case, they had appealed to the court that they should not be brought to Indore during the pronouncement of the judgement and that they should be informed about the order through video-conferencing facility. Their plea was accepted by the court.
Mishra said Munroz was on bail since a long time. He appeared in the court during the pronouncement of the judgement today. After being pronounced guilty, he was taken to the Indore Centre Jail from the court.
The 11 SIMI activists were arrested from Indore on the intervening night of May 26-27, 2008, and pistols, cartridges, veils and inflammatory literature were seized from them.
On their information, a large cache of explosive material was also recovered.
Sufism is our first defence against terrorism: Bilawal Bhutto Zardari
PPP Chairmain Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Monday said that sufism is the country's first line of defence against terrorism.
He was addressing the inaugural session of the Jhirk Mullan Katyar bridge, which connects Tando Mohammad Khan to Thatta.
"Our first line of defence against extremism is sufism and its message of peace, and it will be beneficial for us if we were to add its message to our curriculum," Bilawal said in answer to a question about adding Lal Shahbaz Qalandar's ideology to the Sindh curriculum.
On his hopes regarding the result of the Panamagate case, Bilawal said, "History tells us that there has never been a court verdict against the Sharifs before, which tells us that we should not be too hopeful, but we are waiting for it nonetheless."
On a question about Asif Ali Zardari's announcement that both him and Bilawal would join Parliament soon, Bilawal said, "We are waiting for the Supreme Court's verdict [regarding Panamagate] and then our political strategy would also be announced."
The longest bridge built on the Indus
Built at a cost of Rs4.02 billion, Jhirk Mullan Katyar is the longest bridge to be built over the Indus river.
It is the second project completed under a public-private partnership, while the Hyderabad-Mirpur Khas road was the first.
Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, who was also present at the inauguration, said, "We have associated the bridge with Sir Aga Khan because the first jamaat khana was created in Jhirk city."
"The Sindh government is working to create a sustainable infrastructure in the province as well as provide proper employment and schools for the people of the province," the CM told the attendees of the inaugural session.
Islamabad, Kabul must find common ground, end proxies, says JI emir
HYDERABAD: Jamaat-i-Islam emir Sirajul Haq has said that Islamabad and Kabul must find common ground to create mutual harmony and bring an end to all kinds of proxies because only India benefits from strained relations between the two countries.
Mr Haq said at a ‘meet the press’ at the Hyderabad Press Club on Saturday evening that the neighbours had no other option but peace.
About the fate of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata), the JI senator said that his party wanted the government to implement recommendations of Sartaj Aziz-led committee, which proposed the tribal region’s merger with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa instead of ruling it through political agents thrust on them by Peshawar and Islamabad.
JI wants merger of FATA with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, opposes ruling tribal areas through political agents
He said that political parties were working in Fata and they made their own alliances. The JI supported the demand of Fata’s elected representatives that Frontier Crimes Regulation should be abolished.
He advised the federal government to reach out to Baloch people to allay their reservations on census and embrace them and their leadership. JI believed that use of force never resolved any problem and negotiations should always be given preference over use of force, he said.
Mr Haq condemned suicide blast at the Lal Shahbaz Qalandar shrine and said that terrorism and corruption went hand in hand and economic terrorism always bred armed terrorism.
He said the credibility of the institutions that were created to curb corruption had been thrown into question. Despite the fact that of billions of rupees of public money were spent on salaries and privileges of officials, their performance remained dismal because they were loyal to rulers, he said.
He said the JI had requested the government to legislate over Panama issue but it disagreed since rulers themselves were involved in the financial scam.
Mr Haq said that he was witnessing the longest ever case of his life in the Supreme Court but he was confident the apex court would rule against corruption. JI wanted accountability of all present and past thieves of public money, he said.
He said that JI had proposed that authority to appoint chairman of NAB should rest with leaders of the house and the provision for plea bargain in NAB law should be struck off but the government did not agree to it.
He said that it was not a bad bargain if 5000 to 6000 people had to be sent to jail to secure future of 200 million people and called for strengthening civil courts and security of judges and overcoming flaws in law.
The senator said that a fresh mandate for military courts required consensus among all political parties and the government should take initiative to address their reservations.
He urged the centre and provincial government not to indulge in blame game over the Qalandar blast and come up with an effective security plan.
JI leaders Asadullah Bhutto, Abdul Waheed Qureshi, Dr Mairajul Huda were also present at the ‘meet the press’.
Bugti taken 'out of context' on presence of Afghan Taliban in Baloch seminaries: spokesman
SYED ALI SHAH — PUBLISHED 42 minutes ago
Balochistan government spokesperson Anwarul Haq Kakar on Monday said that the provincial home minister's comments about Afghan Taliban studying in seminaries across the province to the Voice of America (VOA) radio were quoted out of context.
Sarfaraz Bugti, Balochistan's minister for home and tribal affairs, had earlier told VOA's Deewa Afghan service, "There are many seminaries where Afghan Taliban are studying, and many are owned by the Afghan Taliban group."
The report claimed that Pakistan had more than 30,000 madressahs, most of them legal, and adhering strictly to religious teaching. But thousands of them were not registered with the government and these were the “teaching grounds and recruiting points for militants and Taliban”.
Kakar told Dawn.com that Bugti had actually been referring to Afghans living in the province.
He said that the Balochistan government has successfully registered around 70 per cent of religious seminaries operating across the province under the National Action Plan (NAP), adding that teachers and students studying in around 6,000 madressahs in the province had also been profiled.
The provincial government has already formed a committee comprising top officials, including secretaries of various departments such as home, education, social welfare and industries to ensure all seminaries in the province are registered.
"We want to bring madressahs in the mainstream", the spokesperson said.
Kakar also rubbished allegations put forth by the Afghan Ministry of Interior to VOA, where Sediq Seddiqi, the government's spokesperson, had claimed that last month's terrorist attack in Kandahar which killed five United Arab Emirates diplomats was planned in Mawlawi Ahmad Madressah in Chaman.
Kakar claimed that the Afghan government has little to no presence in "70 per cent" of its own territory, so how could it claim the attack was planned on Pakistani soil.
"Afghans have been trying to make Pakistan a scapegoat for their weaknesses," he said. Kakar alleged that most of Afghanistan is under the control of Taliban.
"Therefore, it is crystal clear that the planning for the suicide attack was done in Afghanistan," he alleged.
He reiterated that border management at the porous Pak-Afghan border needs to improve.
"We want to fence and manage the border to stop illegal movement," he asserted.
In its report, the VOA said that it collected these statistics from Pakistani and Afghan intelligence officials and experts who told its correspondents that the abundance of unregistered madressahs across the country had led to an increase in militancy in the Afghan-Pakistan region.
"The schools nurture militants’ ideology and provide foot soldiers for the Taliban, who have been engaged in a bloody insurgency with the US-backed Afghan government for more than a decade," the report claimed.
According to the report, much of the militant activity was centred in Balochistan, where it said 5,500 madressahs operate as boarding schools.
"Many of them are kept from government scrutiny and are breeding points for terror," the report had claimed.
DAWN.COM — PUBLISHED about 2 hours ago
A retired general and former president of Pakistan, Pervez Musharraf seems to have chosen mainstream media as his career of choice post retirement, with Bol TV billing him as the main attraction of a weekly TV programme in a Sunday evening post on the channel's Facebook page.
According to the promotional video aired by Bol TV, the weekly show is called 'Sab Se Pehle Pakistan with President Musharraf' and will be aired every Sunday 8pm.
The first episode, which aired on Sunday, February 26, saw Musharraf responding to an anchor's questions from Dubai — where he is currently living in self-exile.
'Missing in action'
The incumbent government had in March 2016 allowed Musharraf to travel abroad to seek medical attention after the Supreme Court lifted a ban on his travel abroad.
This had stirred a controversy, as Musharraf had been facing a treason case for abrogating the Constitution and imposing an emergency in 2007.
An anti-terrorism court (ATC) had on Dec 8, 2016 given a month’s deadline to Musharraf to surrender in the judges’ detention case, which relates to the detainment of over 60 judges of the superior courts after Musharraf declared an emergency in the country in Nov 2007.
The court had warned that the former military ruler would be declared a proclaimed offender if he failed to comply with the deadline.
However, Musharraf's counsel had on Jan 13 filed an application with the ATC seeking "foolproof security" in order to be able to return to Pakistan and appear in court.
Until such security measures are taken, the application said, Musharraf should be exempted from appearing in the court.
Earlier this month, an ATC in Islamabad had issued perpetual arrest warrants for Musharraf in the same case.
Mired in controversy
Bol TV has recently been mired in a tussle with Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) over 'hate speech' aired from its platform.
Last month, Pemra had issued a show-cause notice to Labbaik Pvt Ltd (Bol News channel) for defying an order to discontinue the Aisay Nahi Chalay Ga programme, and to keep its host, Amir Liaquat, off the air.
The regulator had taken exception to the programme over its “controversial and hate-based contents” and barred Liaquat from appearing on any TV screen.
Earlier this month, a three-member bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Justice Amir Hani Muslim, had directed Bol News to immediately cease airing all 'hateful content' or face contempt of court charges.
During the hearing, the apex court had addressed the TV channel's director of operations, directing him to submit an assurance "within half an hour" that the channel would not air any content that incites hatred.
Bol News, in response, had submitted a signed undertaking in the Supreme Court, vowing to refrain from airing the 'Aisa Nahi Chalay Ga' programme hosted by Aamir Liaquat until further notification by the apex court.
A Month After The Shooting, We Canadian Muslims Are Still Not OK
On Sunday, January 29, before I could wrap my own head around the details of the murders that took place at a Quebec City mosque, I had received a text from a friend expressing how she was afraid for me and her Muslim friends: that we were in her heart and prayers.
On Monday I expected more of the same -- an overflow of sentiments expressed by concerned colleagues and friends -- sentiments of sympathy and of assurance that the views of the killer are not theirs or of their country's. But none came. Not a single person mentioned or acknowledged, let alone asked how I might be feeling as a Muslim man the day after six males were gunned down while praying.
prayer canadian mosque
People pray during funeral services for three of the victims of the deadly shooting at the Quebec Islamic Cultural Centre, Feb. 3, 2017. (Photo: Paul Chiasson/AFP/Getty Images)
That Friday also happened to be the first time (in a long while) that I had a day off, so I went to Friday prayers. I was running slightly late when I ran into a familiar face outside the doors. Thinking he was also late and entering behind me, I quickly said my salam and went into the prayer hall. It wasn't until afterwards, when we had finished and the hall was emptying, that I saw him in the back corner praying by himself. That's when I realized. He wasn't late. He was keeping guard at the door while we were inside.
I looked around me as people hurried back to their cars. In them, I saw the faces of the victims. Fathers. Professionals. Community members. Sons.
As I sat around my apartment the weekend after Friday prayers I thought about how within a week most of the discussion and mention of the incident in popular media had subsided, and completely disappeared from conversations around work and my inner circle -- not that they were prevalent to begin with.
We don't know that you're thinking about us - we don't know that you care.
It's been a month since the massacre now and I realize how angry this makes me. How sad I feel.
I'm angry, but I know I can't let it consume me. There are demons the killer himself was facing, and hating him and his actions and the things he represents is not rising above but dropping down to the same level. After all, he himself is a victim of Quebec's political and social discourse, as it was elegantly said (more elegantly than I could ever put it), by Imam Hassan Guillet at the funeral service for three of the deceased.
I'm sad, and I know this is more difficult to overcome. Where is the continued outcry? Where are the vigils and marches? Where are the protesters demanding something concrete be done to make a whole segment of the population of this country feel safe? Where are the interviews and coverage of the family and friends affected by the murders? Where is the outrage against politicians who fuelled the flames of this hatred in Quebec over the years, and as recently as the last national election in the rest of Canada?
WHERE ARE THE PEOPLE?
A woman holds a sign reading "everyone united / love will conquer" as people attend a vigil in support of the Muslim community in Montreal, Quebec, Jan. 30, 2017. (Photo: Dario Ayala/Reuters)
I'm saddened because I realized that they're all online, sharing articles, liking posts, sending tweets and showing sympathy with pictures and updates; and there is nothing wrong with this. I understand that we live in a digital world and it's how we organize and create change. I myself have participated in marches and protests, read articles and shared information that I otherwise would have no idea existed.
However uncomfortable you think you are feeling, it's not as bad as the sadness we feel from your real-life silence.
But I'm saddened about this, because I've realized that it's also created a situation in which we are unable to say anything to the actual people in our lives, in this case Muslims. I'm saddened because outside of the online bubble, no one is able to reach out and express sentiment, emotion, feeling or solidarity. If it's not through a like or a sharing of an article or a follow: we don't know how to express it. No one is saying hi to the person that just got on the bus with them or to the table next to them at the restaurant. Our sympathy, just as our joy, is limited to being expressed online. In real life, are we really connected to the people that are different from us?
I'm saddened because we (Muslims) are still not OK.
So, unless you're Facebook friends with all the Muslims in this country: we don't know that you're thinking about us -- we don't know that you care. Next time, speak to the girl wearing a hijab and sitting next to you in class. Talk to the Muslim guy at your work and tell him you are with him, regardless of how uncomfortable it might make you feel. Because however uncomfortable you think you are feeling, it's not as bad as the sadness we feel from your real-life silence.
Feb 27, 2017, 07.56 AM IST
Many in India may be disappointed that Dev Patel lost out on the coveted gold statuette at the ongoing 89th Academy Awards. But the Oscars found itself adding another chapter to history today. Mahershala Ali, who bagged the award for the Best Actor In a Supporting Role for his performance in 'Moonlight', became the first Muslim actor to win an Oscar.
Ali gave a humble speech, thanking all the important people in his life. "I want to thank my teachers, my professors... One thing they consistently told me... was that it wasn't about you. It's not about you, it's about these characters, you are a servant. You're in service to these stories and these characters," he said.
Ali thanked 'Moonlight' director Barry Jenkins and the film's cast and crew. He also thanked his wife and four-day-old daughter.
Shehab Khan @shehabkhan Monday 27 February 2017 12:17 GMT
Moonlight team give humble and inspiring speech after La La Land mixup
'Whatever the extremists and haters are trying to destroy, we will go in and try to build'
A Muslim American activist has vowed to help a Jewish cemetery where hundreds of headstones were vandalised.
Approximately 500 tombstones were targeted in an attack at the Mt Carmel Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia.
Tarek-El-Messidi, who is from the state, had previously worked with Linda Sarsour, a Palestinian-American to raise money to pay for repairs at a Jewish cemetery in St Louis when 150 headstones were toppled or damaged.
Jakarta Grand Mosque to be decorated with Betawi ornaments
Jakarta | Mon, February 27, 2017
The Jakarta Grand Mosque, located on Jl. Daan Mogot in West Jakarta, will be decorated with traditional Betawi ornamentation before its scheduled completion in March.
Gigi Balang, a traditional Betawi pattern, will be carved in wood and installed on the mosque’s roof and fences, according to Jakarta Housing and Residence Agency head Arifin.
“The mosque will have five minarets to symbolize the five main principles of Islam,” he said as quoted by beritajakarta.com on Monday.
The mosque’s construction progress has reached 80 percent, he said.
The mosque will also have supporting facilities, such as office spaces to be used by the mosque organizers, a function hall with capacity for 1,000 people and a room for educational purposes.
“The concept of this mosque is not just for prayers, but also for multiple purposes, ” Arifin said.
The mosque itself will be able to accommodate 12,500 people.
Deputy Governor Djarot Saiful Hidayat said earlier that President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo would officially open the mosque. (dea/yan)
LISTEN | PRINT
By AFP 2 hours ago in World
An Indonesian man collapsed while being publicly caned Monday for spending time with a woman who is not his wife in contravention of strict Islamic laws in a staunchly Muslim part of the country.
Herizal bin Yunus, 27, fainted after being caned eight times in front of a crowd in Aceh, the only province of the world's most populous Muslim-majority country that imposes sharia law.
Officials carried him off stage after he collapsed during the punishment outside a mosque in the provincial capital Banda Aceh, which was carried out by a religious official dressed in an all-encompassing, hooded cloak.
But once he came to, a doctor examined him and said he was in good health, and he was taken back up on stage to be flogged another 14 times. A local religious court had sentenced him to be caned a total of 22 times.
The man had broken Islamic laws that forbid people in Aceh from spending time in close proximity with members of the opposite sex who are not their husband or wife.
He was one of eight people publicly caned on Monday for breaking the province's Islamic regulations.
Public canings take place regularly in Aceh, and people can be punished for offences ranging from gambling, to drinking alcohol, to gay sex. However it is rare for someone to collapse.
Aceh, on Sumatra island, began implementing sharia law after being granted special autonomy in 2001, an attempt by the central government in Jakarta to quell a long-running separatist insurgency.
Islamic laws have been strengthened since the province struck a peace deal with Jakarta in 2005.
Attacker connected to Jakarta terror attack in January 2016
Police outside a local government office in Cicendo district, Bandung, after fatally shooting a suspected bomber. (Photo by Antara Foto/Novrian Arbi) © Reuters
JAKARTA -- A man killed on Monday after detonating an explosive device in a park in the city of Bandung, West Java Province, belonged to a local terror cell known to support the extremist group Islamic State in Syria.
Police said the dead man was a member of Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD), a local group involved in a terror attack in Jakarta in January last year that left eight people dead, including four attackers.
"We've confirmed that he is a member of JAD, a main supporter of ISIS," said Tito Karnavian, the national police chief, using a common acronym for Islamic State. "We don't know what his motive is yet. From his words, he wanted Densus to free his peers."
Densus 88 is a special police anti-terror unit responsible for the arrest of dozens of terror suspects over the years. The unit claims to have foiled numerous terror plots.
Nobody else was hurt or killed following Monday's incident in Bandung's Pendawa Park. The suspect fled to a local government office after reportedly detonating the small explosive inside a pressure cooker not far from a group of students. The Arjuna subdistrict office in Cicendo emptied after the suspect barged in brandishing a knife and shouting for the release of some detainees.
Police shot the man after he tried to set the building on fire and refused to surrender. Dead on arrival at hospital, the man was later identified from an identity card found on an abandoned motorbike as Yayat Cahdiyat, 41, a resident of a neighboring town. Cahdiyat had spent three years in jail after being sentenced in 2012 for his involvement in militant training activities in Aceh some years before.
Police said they are looking for another man who was seen with Cahdiyat when he detonated the device.
While far less deadly than terror attacks carried out up until 2009 by another regional group, Jemaah Islamiyah, sporadic attacks by IS-affiliated local terror cells have kept security officials on their toes. This led to a string of raids and arrests last year.
February 27, 2017
CAIRO, Feb 27 (Reuters) - Islamic State claimed
responsibility on Monday for a foiled bomb attack on an Algerian
police station one day earlier, the group's AMAQ news agency
"An operation of martyrdom using an explosive in a bag by an
Islamic State fighter yesterday targeted an Algerian police
station in the Constantine city centre," AMAQ said.
The militant was shot before he could enter the station,
state news reported. [nL5N1GB0V5]
(Reporting by Ali Abdelaty; Writing by Eric Knecht; Editing by
Polish students learning Turkish as a second language through the Yunus Emre Institute in Poland are on the rise, according to the chairman of the institute’s Warsaw office.
Since it was established in 2013, the institute’s Turkish Cultural Centre has taught hundreds of people Turkish in Poland, Öztürk Emiroğlu told Anadolu Agency in an interview.
More than 600 Poles have so far qualified for their certificates, Emiroğlu said.
He said people in Poland were coming to their institute to learn Turkish for various reasons.
“First, most students come to learn Turkish because they have Turkish friends. Second, some people who vacationed in Turkey say they now want to learn the language. Third, people want to learn Turkish to gain the advantage of knowing an uncommon language,” he said.
Agnieszka Lesiczka, a student doing her Ph.D in Turkish language and who has been lecturing at the institute for three years, said the number of students were increasing at the institute with each passing year.
“At first, we had fewer students. However, when the students told their friends: ‘Turkish is more logical and mathematical, and easier compared to English,’ the number of course attendees increased,” Lesiczka said.
Emiroğlu said the institute works in coordination with universities teaching Turkish to promote the language around the world.
Apart from teaching the language, the institute provides workshops and courses in the arts, including silk painting, photography and traditional Turkish music, he said.
The Yunus Emre Institute is Turkish government’s non-profit organization named after the famous Turkish poet. It has taught Turkish language and culture to thousands of people across the world in 36 countries since its inception in 2009.
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