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Islamic World News (08 Nov 2016 NewAgeIslam.Com)


Lebanese Media: Raqqa Operation Started as Obama's Gift to Clinton












From Kannada Rock to Sufi Gospel: Image credit:  Confluence Festival of India via Facebook

 

Lebanese Media: Raqqa Operation Started as Obama's Gift to Clinton

Religious Parties Protest against Arrest of Leaders from Seminaries

From Kannada Rock to Sufi Gospel: India Puts Its Soft Power on Show in Australia

Hafiz Saeed Threatens India with 'Surgical Strike' In Kashmir

'Brutal' Houthis Blocking Urgent Aid Distribution in Yemen: Al-Asiri

 

Arab World

Lebanese Media: Raqqa Operation Started as Obama's Gift to Clinton

Hundreds Forced Out Of Iraq’s Kirkuk after ISIS Attack: Amnesty

Iraqi forces unearth new mass grave near Mosul

Iraqi forces uncover Daesh prison near northern city of Mosul

Khameniei aide distorts Iraqi Kurds’ identity, rejects independence

Syria: Terrorists Pinned Down Behind Defense Lines in Northern Hama

Official: Kurdish Forces Not Counting on US Support

Sources Deny ISIL's Claims about Blocking Hama Supply Road to Aleppo

Syrian Air Force Preempts Terrorists in Southern Idlib

Syria: Terrorist Groups' Anti-Tank TOW Missile Expert Killed in Aleppo

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Pakistan

Religious Parties Protest against Arrest of Leaders from Seminaries

Britain Asks Pakistan to Bring Terrorists to Justice

Pakistani Shia Muslims Clash with Police over Arrests

202 militants surrender arms to Balochistan CM

COAS confirms death sentence to 9 terrorists

Five wanted terrorists held in Khyber

Imran mulls over Bilawal’s friendship offer on Panamagate

PHC moved against ‘demolition’ of Hindu temple

Strict action sought against Christ’s ‘blasphemers’

Pale-faced rulers have run out of words: Siraj 

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India

From Kannada Rock to Sufi Gospel: India Puts Its Soft Power on Show in Australia

Hafiz Saeed Threatens India with 'Surgical Strike' In Kashmir

India Slams UNSC for Taking Months to Sanction Terrorist Masood Azhar

United Muslim Jamathat Stage Protest against Uniform Civil Code

Now, Islamic State to be called ‘Daish’ in govt records

Terrorist killed, 2 army soldiers injured in encounter in J&K's Shopian

PM Modi, Theresa May vow to fight terror, criticize Pak failure to punish 26/11 accused

66-year-old Muslim leads drive to protect temples in West Bengal village

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Mideast

'Brutal' Houthis Blocking Urgent Aid Distribution in Yemen: Al-Asiri

Use of Kurdish Militia against Daesh ‘Naive’

Israel says ‘no’ to ME peace conference in Paris

Turkey warns US against demographic change in Raqqa

Israeli court sentences two Palestinian teenagers to 11 years in jail each

Over half of Yemen's hospitals closed, partially functioning: WHO

Commander: Hashd Al-Shaabi Trying to Lay Siege on Tal Afar Airport, Clashes with Turkish Army Likely

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South Asia

Taliban Commander Killed By Landmine Planted By Own Fighters In Kunduz

7 Top Taliban Commanders Killed In Helmand Airstrike

Winners of the 2016 Aga Khan Award for Architecture celebrate inclusivity and pluralism

UN Probes Claims US Airstrike Killed 32 Afghan Civilians

65 Bangladeshi Fortune-Seekers Rescued In Libya

EMM Worker Inspires Bangladeshi Churches to Build Bridges of Peace

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Africa

13 Football Fans Killed in S Sudan bar Shooting

UN Peacekeeper, 2 Civilians Killed In Mali Attack

Five Nigerian Men Set Free After Killing Christian Woman for 'Blasphemy'

Nigerians pay tribute to 'war king' killed by Boko Haram

Tunisia adopts strategy to fight ‘terrorism’

Fighting between rival forces kill 29 in central Somali city

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North America

FBI Interviewing Muslims over Terror Threat on Election Day

US-Backed Forces Launch Assault on Syrian IS 'Capital'

Fear for the future among New York's Muslims on eve of election

FBI conducts 'sweep' of Muslims in 8 states ahead of Election Day

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Europe

In Majority-Muslim Bosnia And Herzegovina, a Small Jewish Community Still Thrives

German Talk Show Slammed After Muslim Guest Allegedly ‘Justifies Jihad’

'French Muslims must make an effort to adapt to France'

Morocco fishmonger protests turning political

Kurds protest in Germany against Turkish government

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Southeast Asia

The Cultural Logic of Jakarta’s Riotous Protest

How Jakarta’s first Chinese Indonesian governor became an easy target for radical Islamic groups

Malaysia's Najib risks backlash at home after deals with China

5 Islamic student association members arrested over alleged attacks

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/lebanese-media--raqqa-operation-started-as-obama-s-gift-to-clinton/d/109045

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Lebanese Media: Raqqa Operation Started as Obama's Gift to Clinton

Nov 07, 2016

Al-Akhbar said in a recent issue that the start of the Kurdish forces' operations in Raqqa is certainly related to the meeting between Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford and his Turkish counterpart Hulusi Akar.

"There are two possibilities; first, the US has compelled Turkey to realize that it should accept the reality and just stand and watch the operations. Second, it has stressed Turkey's need to the operations in Raqqa, but described the assault as some type of assistance to the US democrat nominee but meantime, and has vowed to consider Ankara's concerns later.

Actually, the second option is more likely since the US has told the Kurdish forces that it will be a long battle.

The 'Angry Euphrates' operation indicates that declaring the start of the Raqqa battle has been of priority even if proper grounds were not paved for its implementation in the best way. Apparently, the US main policy is using the hostility between Turkey and the Kurds in Northern Syria.

Certain sources affiliated to the dissidents have also announced that the obstacles on the way of these operations are not limited to the Kurds' conflicts with Turkey as rifts are also possible among the Kurdish forces as well, said al-Akhbar.

"These sources say Liwa al-Sor al-Raqqa group has announced that it will not participate in the operations and will issue a statement in this regard soon," it added.

On Sunday, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) declared the start of military operation to capture ISIL's de facto capital of Raqqa.

The Raqqa operation, codenamed 'Angry Euphrates' was declared on Sunday by Kurdish commanders in a press conference in the Syrian town of Ain Issa, North of the ISIL bastion.

The Kurdish-led SDF said the US would coordinate with the Kurdish fighters to provide air cover during the Raqqa operation.

"The major battle to liberate Raqqa and its countryside has begun," a Kurdish commander said, adding that "The ground operation in Raqqa would be carried out only by the Syrian Democratic Forces".

Kurdish forces also warned Raqqa residents to stay away from the terrorists and urged all civilians to move to the territories liberated from ISIL.

Meanwhile, Kurdish forces announced that at least 30,000 fighters participate in the Raqqa offensive, stressing that Turkey would play no role in the operation.

“Our hope is that the Turkish state will not interfere in the internal affairs of Syria,” an SDF official declared at the press conference.

The operation comes amid the ongoing operation to liberate another ISIL capital, the Iraqi city of Mosul.

The Iraqi Army along with Kurdish and popular forces on October 17 started the offensive to retake the city which fell to the ISIL in 2014.

The SDF that is comprised of mainly Kurdish fighters as well as a few hundred Syrian Arab dissident forces who have received training from the US and have been provided with scanty US-coalition air support in their battles in Raqqa province in Northeastern Syria; but in Northern and Northwestern battlefronts, they have been operating alongside the YPG and received the Russian air backup in their Aleppo wars that started with the conquest of Tishrin Dam on the Euphrates early in February.

Assisted by the Syrian army - that has along with popular forces and Hezbollah conquered almost all militant-held regions in Eastern, Southern, Western and Northwestern Aleppo province - and Russian air support, the Kurdish forces fighting against the terrorists in North-Northeast Aleppo province have been making striking advances against the Al-Nusra, Ahrar al-Sham and ISIL terrorists in February.

There was no immediate comment from Damascus, Washington and Ankara on the Kurdish announcement.

In March 2013, Al-Nusra Front terrorists overran the government loyalists in the city in the Battle of Raqqa and declared it under their control after seizing the central square and pulling down the statue of the former president of Syria Hafez al-Assad.

ISIL took full control of Raqqa by 13 January 2014, and proceeded to execute Alawites and suspected supporters of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the city and destroyed the city's Shia mosques and Christian churches.

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950817000966

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Religious parties protest against arrest of leaders from seminaries

08-Nov-16

KARACHI: Activists of different religious groups blocked almost all major roads of the city on Monday to protest against the arrest of All-Pakistan Shia Action Committee (APSAC) Chief Allama Mirza Yousaf Hussain and Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) leader Taj Hanafi.

The two were detained following a resurgence of sectarian killings that claimed 13 lives in the city within a week's time.

The activists of different Shia groups began protesting early Monday morning at Malir 15 and on Shahrah-e-Pakistan against targeted killings and arrest of their leaders, demanding their immediate release.

The protesters blocked the National Highway, due to which the movement of heavy traffic leaving for upcountry came to a standstill. The entire city witnessed a massive traffic jam due to the blockage of this main artery, adding to the miseries of the masses.

The protesters were carrying placards inscribed with slogans against the arrest and killing of Shia religious leaders.

They chanted slogans, accusing the Sindh government of protecting leaders of banned outfits.

Later, when the protesters moved towards the railway track and tried to block the railway traffic, the police used tear gas and resorted to aerial firing to disperse them. The protesters reacted by pelting the police with stones. According to some television channels, protesters in some areas also fired shots in the air. At least five persons, including two women, were injured during a protest, while the Saudabad police arrested eight people attacking law enforcers.

After an initial attempt by police to disperse the crowd, the protesters regrouped at the same location. The civil administration showed its incompetence by sending police officials to talk to the protesters instead of sending some minister for negotiations.

Three rounds of negotiations took place between the police and the protesters, but in vain, as the angry protesters insisted that the law enforcers released all those arrested. However, the police said they could only be released after legal proceedings.

ASWJ leader Taj Hanafi was arrested on Sunday from the party's headquarters, while former Majlis Wahdat-e-Muslimeen (MWM) leader and top Shia cleric Mirza Yousaf Hussain was also detained hours later. On Saturday, former PPP senator Faisal Raza Abidi was arrested for his alleged involvement in cases of sectarian killings in Karachi.

MWM leader Allama Amin Shaheedi told journalists that the protesters would not return to their houses until the arrested leaders were released and action taken against terrorists. The protests continued until the filing of this report.

http://dailytimes.com.pk/pakistan/08-Nov-16/religious-parties-protest-against-arrest-of-leaders-from-seminaries

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From Kannada rock to Sufi gospel: India puts its soft power on show in Australia

By Neena Bhandari

08 November 2016

Cultural diplomacy is putting a positive spin on the India-Australia bilateral relationship and also enriching the Australian economy.

The first Confluence Festival of India in Australia, touted as one of the largest foreign cultural festivals to be organised in the continent country, rolled out 25 productions showcased at over 70 different events at iconic landmarks across seven cities, in 12 weeks starting from August.

For decades, India’s soft power potential has remained largely untapped, but the Narendra Modi government has been focusing on raising India’s profile in the international arena through cultural diplomacy. The Indian high commissioner to Australia, Navdeep Suri, strongly believes that “India is a super power when it comes to soft power and Prime Minister Modi has been adroit in recognising the potential of yoga and cultural diplomacy in raising India’s profile around the world”.

The country is leveraging culture as a tool of diplomacy to strengthen its reputation as an innovative, creative and culturally robust nation in this age of likes, tweets and hits.

“Public diplomacy is an essential handmaiden of traditional diplomacy and its importance will only increase in a global economy and a global media stuffed full of rapidly changing images,” said the former Australian high commissioner to India, Peter Varghese. “For our relationship with India, public diplomacy is essential if we are to build the strategic partnership which both governments desire and which our converging interests makes necessary.”

He added, “But in the end, the hard yards of public diplomacy are gained not by governments but by individuals and groups. It is the networks in the arts, in business, in education and in all the other nooks and crannies of community life that underpin a people-to-people relationship.”

All things Indian

The 12-week-long festival of all things Indian – dance, music, theatre, visual arts, cartooning, puppetry, khadi and, of course, yoga – has struck a chord that will endure long after its final act, the dance drama Jatayu Moksham from the Ramayana by The Kalakshetra Foundation in Canberra on November 8.

Sponsored by the Indian government, the Ministry of Culture and the Indian Council for Cultural Relations have pitched in more than Rs 2.5 crore while the Australian government has granted AU$250,000 (Rs 1.2 crore approximately) for the festival. In addition, there has been plenty of support in kind from state and local authorities. This includes the gala opening at the Sydney Opera House, which was supported by the New South Wales state government. Some of the venues were made available on a discounted or revenue-sharing basis and this has helped bring down costs considerably.

“The total in kind support that we received, including the media support from the ABC [Australian Broadcasting Corporation], would be worth well over a million dollars,” said Suri, who decided to use the public-private partnership model, riding high on the successful festivals he previously organised in South Africa and Egypt. It resulted in an international-class show unbridled by bureaucratic constraints.

“By supplementing government resources with private sector and local contributions, we got the flexibility to work with local groups and forge the kind of collaboration that one saw in Sydney Opera House on September 18,” Suri said. “We were also able to do special media launch events for the festival and reach out to new audiences via social media. This would be much harder if we were only reliant on government funding.”

Australian economy

In return, the festival has made a substantial contribution to the local economy. “On a conservative scale, the festival has contributed over AU$ 2 million to the Australian economy from venue hires, sale of tickets, hospitality, etc,” said Sanjoy Roy, managing director of India-based entertainment company Teamwork Arts, which was entrusted with the responsibility of organising the events.

Securing iconic venues such as the Opera House in Sydney, Federation Square in Melbourne, Queensland Performing Arts Centre in Brisbane, Festival Centre in Adelaide, the Old Parliament in Canberra and the State Theatre in Perth was a challenge.

“Once the mainstream venues understood what we wished to present, they were enthused and welcoming and created gaps in their plans to host festival programmes,” said Roy. “What helped was that we reached out to them well in time and discussed jointly what would or could work in terms of audience engagement and what would drive ticket sales.”

Teamwork Arts has been working in Australia since 2002. “The professionalism that technology and production crew displayed in their dealings with artists and my colleagues was always in keeping with best practices and Australia’s reputation of having excellent sound engineers, technicians and theatre staff,” said Roy. “We have always found that the arts-going audiences in Australia have both welcomed and celebrated the diversity and richness of Indian performing and visual arts.”

Mainstream audience

So, did the festival catch the fancy of mainstream Australians and succeed in going beyond the stereotypes – cricket, Bollywood, Kashmir, poverty?

“I feel that perceptions about India are changing anyway, thanks to the growth of the Indian economy and the impact made by Prime Minister Modi in the international arena,” said high commissioner Navdeep Suri. “But through the festival, we wanted to convey that in addition to the well-known classical arts forms, there is also a youthful and vibrant India that is comfortable in its own skin, happy to experiment with different art forms and quite unselfconscious about borrowing from others.”

The above was reflected in Raghu Dixit’s Kannada rock, in Sonam Kalra’s Sufi gospel project, in Piya Behrupiya – a uniquely Indian take on Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night – and cartoonist Ajit Ninan’s talk on political humour. While the Raghu Dixit performances were dominated by audiences from the diaspora, all the other shows had 60% to 65% mainstream audiences.

As Christopher Zinn, a consumer campaigner and former foreign correspondent residing in Sydney’s Bondi beach area, said, “While many Australians might be hard pressed to realise there was a specific festival, few might have overlooked the many and varied ways India and Indians have been active, alive and on display in our public life over the past few months. As a result, the exotic energy of India, which contrasts so sharply with average Australia, is becoming both more familiar and welcome to the mainstream.”

The Indian high commission worked with selected journalists from Australia’s main print outlets, arranging for a few to visit India before the festival to interview the artistes and capture the stories behind renowned institutions such as Nrityagram and Kalakshetra. Publicity about the festival in specialised outlets like Time Out also played a major role in driving audiences to the shows.

“Our media partnership with ABC clearly played a big role in generating so much coverage for the festival in the mainstream media,” Suri said. “I am delighted that I could persuade Michelle Guthrie, the new CEO of ABC, that our festival would fit well into her own plans to bring greater diversity into ABC content.”

The response has been gratifying even in the remote town of Alice Springs, where Confluence partnered with the Desert Song Festival, and in Perth, where Delhi-based artist Vibhor Sogani’s art installation Mahatma in Me, was showcased at Elizabeth Quay. Inspired by Mahatma Gandhi’s saying “Be the change that you wish to see in the world”, the installation has subtle images of Gandhi and some impressions of his thoughts expressed in mirror finish stainless steel. “It attracted people to see their own reflection in the image of the Mahatma, pause and possibly introspect… a moment of self-realisation and the responsibility we all carry to bring about the change,” said Sogani.

Similarly, designer Sunaina Suneja’s exhibition, Bapu: The Craftperson’s Vision, in Brisbane and her khadi fashion show at the India Australia Business and Community Awards in Sydney were warmly received. She had styled the garments for an Australian audience, for Spring-Summer 2016-’17 and beyond, enforcing the natural fibre’s versatility and global appeal.

“The architecture for Confluence to become an annual event has been put in place and I am pretty sure it will be back in 2017,” said Suri, who is moving on as the Indian ambassador to Abu Dhabi after an 18-month stint in Australia.

Neena Bhandari is president of the Foreign Correspondents’ Association (Australia & South Pacific).

scroll.in/article/820810/from-kannada-rock-to-sufi-gospel-india-puts-its-soft-power-on-show-in-australia

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Hafiz Saeed threatens India with 'surgical strike' in Kashmir

Nov 7, 2016

LAHORE: Jammat-ud-Dawah chief and Mumbai terror attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed has threatened India with a "surgical strike" by Kashmiri militants in Jammu and Kashmir+ that will long be remembered.

"(Prime Minister Narendra) Modi had done what he had to. Now it is the turn of Mujahideen to carry out a surgical strike in Kashmir," Saeed threatened while addressing a rally on Sunday in Mirpur, Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

"The surgical strike Mujahideen are going to carry out will long be remembered. Such a strike will not be like that of India's one which is not even acknowledged by the world," Saeed, the founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba, said in an aggressive tone amid chants of 'jihad...jihad' by his supporters.

Saeed, the founder of the Lashkar-e-Taiba who carries a $10-million bounty on his head, last week criticised the Nawaz Sharif government+ for giving a "cool" response to India over alleged atrocities in Kashmir, saying people in the Valley need Pakistan's "full practical support".

Soon after India's surgical strikes Saeed had warned the Modi government to get ready to face a surgical strike from the Pakistan army.

He was criticised here for issuing the statement on behalf of the army.

Stay updated on the go with Times of India News App. Click here to download it for your device.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Hafiz-Saeed-threatens-India-with-surgical-strike-in-Kashmir/articleshow/55293062.cms

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'Brutal' Houthis blocking urgent aid distribution in Yemen: Al-Asiri

8 November 2016

JEDDAH: Houthi militias have held up 34 humanitarian aid ships carrying medical and urgent assistance for more than 186 days, said Maj. Gen. Ahmed Al-Asiri, spokesman of the Arab Coalition Forces.

Houthis, who are controlling the ports, are denying entry to these ships to deliver aid, he added.

“There are currently no UN representatives in Al-Hudaida Port — which is the largest and under the control of the Houthis — to ensure the delivery of aid and medical products, and to monitor their distribution,” said Al-Asiri, adding that the aid has been held in the port for the past six months, unable to reach those in need.

Abdul Raqeeb Fatah, the Yemeni minister of local administration and president of the supreme committee of relief, accused Houthis and militias of ousted President Ali Abdullah Saleh of willfully starving the Yemeni people by detaining the 34 ships carrying relief, humanitarian and medical aid provided by GCC countries. He said that Houthi militias prevented these ships from entering seaports of Al-Hudaydah and Al-Saleef.

In a statement to the Yemeni Press Agency, he said that the Yemeni people have been deprived of 496,000 tons of foodstuff, 146,000 tons of oil and 275,000 tons of iron and cement.

The people of Al-Hudaydah, like all the regions under Houthi militia control, are in a dire humanitarian situation, starving and plagued by diseases.

Fatah also confirmed that relief and humanitarian aid has been accumulating in seaports for more than seven months as 21 million Yemenis are in urgent need of them, all because of the Houthis.

His remarks come as international authorities continue to work for a settlement to the Yemeni crisis and an end to the months-long war ravaging the country.

Last week, the United Kingdom proposed a new draft resolution for peace in Yemen to Security Council members, which calls for a truce and renewed negotiations based on the UN’s peace plan that was proposed by United Nations Special Envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed.

The United Kingdom’s resolution is based on five points, namely respecting the terms of the agreement to cease hostilities; resuming consultations to reach a political solution based on the roadmap without preconditions and based on good intentions of a political settlement based on the roadmap provided by Ould Cheikh Ahmed; withdrawal of militias from areas under their control; handing over heavy weapons; appointing a new vice president and forming a national unity government.

In a speech delivered before a meeting he held on Monday in Riyadh with Vice President Lt. Gen. Ali Mohsen Saleh and Prime Minister Dr. Ahmed Obeid bin Dhaghr, as well as with advisers to the president and members of the government, Yemeni President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi said he rejected “the so-called roadmap presented by Ould Cheikh because it is based on the wrong premises and thus would have wrong and inadequate results”.

The Yemeni president said that the UN envoy’s roadmap sets the stage for sustained wars and does not account for the root of the problem, which is the coup. He added that the roadmap contradicts entirely the terms of reference unanimously agreed upon and approved by the Yemeni people, as well as UN Security Council Resolution 2216, and rewards the perpetrators of the coup and the rebels.

The president expressed thanks and appreciation to the Arab Coalition led by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, without whose support in the operations Decisive Storm and Restore Hope, Yemen and the Yemeni people would not have been rescued from Iran’s grip.

He addressed the international community, stating: “We do not want fragile peace, nor peace on paper nor adulterated peace. We want long lasting and comprehensive peace based on ending the coup, based on the terms of reference unanimously agreed upon by the Yemeni people and blessed by the whole world, and based on the UN Security Council Resolution 2216.”

Yemeni Foreign Minister Abdulmalek Al-Mokhalfi Friday night said the Yemeni government rejected the UN plan due to its lack of full compliance with the agreed-upon terms of reference.

He said the government is not demanding amendments to the plan, but rather a new vision that is in line with the agreed-upon agreements.

On Sunday, a Houthi militia delegation led by Mohammed Abdulsalam visited the Omani capital Muscat after meeting with the UN envoy, Ould Cheikh in Sanaa.

In a statement from Muscat, Abdulsalam said some remarks regarding the plan were presented to Ould Cheikh; they are aimed at achieving stability and peace in Yemen, as well as guaranteeing the participation of all parties in the political process.

He said Muscat is the first station to meet with international parties to discuss the roadmap, as well as the economic and humanitarian situation in the country. Hadi confirmed his commitment to peace based on the agreed terms of reference, and described the roadmap as a bomb that carries the seeds of the next war.

Saudi Ambassador the United Nations Abdullah Al-Muallimi said submitting the UK draft resolution to the Security Council was postponed pending an understanding between London and Riyadh on the roadmap.

Hadi stressed that the conflict and war experienced by the Yemeni people because of the rebel forces backed by Iran are proof of the extent of coordination between Iran and the terrorist groups it supports.

He warned about Iran’s long-term ambition of destabilizing security in the region and international navigation by controlling the Strait of Hormuz and Bab Al-Mandeb.

The UN envoy is continuing consultations in Sanaa amid reports about the complexities of synchronizing operational procedures of military and security aspects with the political steps, as per the road map.

Ould Cheikh arrived in Sanaa on Thursday to discuss his roadmap; it was his second visit to the capital in less than a week.

The envoy met with members of the diplomatic corps and other officials to discuss ways to alleviate Yemenis’ humanitarian suffering and assess the best ways to address the country’s economic crisis. However, the envoy left the Yemeni capital on Saturday without reaching any substantial results.

“Negotiating peace frameworks is a tremendous undertaking under the best of circumstances,” Ould Cheikh said prior to his visit.

“It requires an unequivocal determination of the parties to reach a negotiated settlement to put Yemen on the path to peace, and that’s what we are aiming for.”

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1007796/middle-east

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Arab World

 

Hundreds forced out of Iraq’s Kirkuk after ISIS attack: Amnesty

7 November 2016

Hundreds of families have been driven out of the Iraqi city of Kirkuk in apparent retaliation for a recent attack by ISIS, Amnesty International said on Monday.

Authorities in the Kurdish-controlled city demolished the homes of hundreds of Arab residents and ordered them to leave Kirkuk in the wake of the attack on October 21, the London-based rights group said.

Those displaced include an estimated 250 families who had fled to Kirkuk, which lies in an oil-rich area around 240 kilometers (150 miles) north of Baghdad, from other areas in Iraq.

An additional 190 families were said to have been displaced from nearby villages by Kurdish Peshmerga and Asayesh forces.

Amnesty said those forced from their homes were told to return to their places of origin or moved to camps, after being suspected of helping ISIS coordinate its attack.

Three days of clashes left at least 46 people dead, mostly members of the security forces.

The governor of Kirkuk province, Najmeddin Karim, told AFP at least 81 extremists were killed while several others were detained.

Amnesty’s report quoted residents as saying homes were demolished on October 25, a day after Karim announced the attack was over.

Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty’s deputy director for research in Beirut, said destroying homes without military necessity amounts to “a war crime.”

“Forcibly evicting and displacing Sunni Arab residents of Kirkuk is unlawful and cruel.”

“Kurdish authorities must immediately put an end to unlawful destruction of civilian property and forced displacement,” Maalouf said.

The brazen raid on Kirkuk appeared to be an attempt by ISIS to divert attention from Mosul, where a major offensive is under way to retake the city from the extremists.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2016/11/07/Hundreds-forced-out-of-Iraq-s-Kirkuk-after-ISIS-attack-Amnesty.html

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Iraqi forces unearth new mass grave near Mosul

Nov 8, 2016

Government forces in Iraq have found a mass grave containing the skeletal remains of some 100 decapitated bodies in a town recently liberated from the Daesh terrorist group near the strategic, northern city of Mosul.

Brigadier General Yahya Rasool, the spokesman for the Iraqi Joint Military Command (JOC), said Iraqi soldiers found the grave near the agricultural college of the recently-liberated town of  Hammam al-Alil, which is located about 14 kilometers to the south of Mosul, late on Monday.

Rasool added that a forensics team from Baghdad would examine the remains at the site on Tuesday.

Brigadier General Ali al-Lami, a top Iraqi security official, said the remains belonged to the civilians who refused to collaborate with the Daesh terrorist group, including members of the Iraqi security forces.

Earlier on Monday, the Iraqi army announced that it had liberated Hammam al-Alil from Daesh terrorists, and that the army was moving toward Mosul’s international airport.

Video footage broadcast by the Lebanon-based al-Mayadeen television news network showed images of soldiers raising the national Iraqi flag on a rooftop in the town.

Mosul has been under Daesh control since 2014, when the terrorist group started a terrorist blitz in Iraq.

The JOC announced in a statement on Monday that Iraqi forces had liberated 64 regions in the northern province of Nineveh — of which Mosul is the capital — and killed a total of 202 terrorists over the past five days.

The statement added that 14 car bombs had been destroyed, 12 booby-trapped hideouts blown up and a drone belonging to Daesh extremists shot down during the mentioned period.

Additionally, 12 Daesh terrorists were killed on Monday as Iraqi Air Force F16 fighter jets, based on information provided by the National Intelligence Service, carried out a precision strike against a Daesh depot of rockets and munitions on the eastern outskirts of Mosul.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) says it has set up 82 “rapid response teams” to manage potential disease outbreaks, chemical exposure and other health concerns among people fleeing Mosul.

The UN agency said internally displaced persons from Mosul could face difficulties with water distribution and sanitation as a direct result of their growing numbers, warning that the risk of food- and water-borne diseases such as cholera is high.

The WHO said the presence of children who have not been vaccinated against epidemic diseases ever since Daesh militants overran Mosul in June 2014 also adds to the health worries of the Geneva-based intergovernmental organization.

After months of preparation, Iraqi army soldiers, backed by volunteer fighters and Kurdish Peshmerga forces, launched an operation on October 17 to retake the strategic city of Mosul from the Daesh terrorists.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2016/11/08/492642/Iraq-Hammam-alAlil-mass-grave-Daesh

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Iraqi forces uncover Daesh prison near northern city of Mosul

Nov 7, 2016

Iraqi government troops have uncovered a prison used by the Daesh Takfiri terrorists to hold residents in the recently recaptured town of Hammam al-Alil, located south of the northern city of Mosul.

The Iraqi security forces discovered the makeshift prison during a search operation in the previously militant-held town on Monday.

Residents and witnesses said the site had been used by the Takfiri terrorists to lock up a large number of residents and opponents. They also recalled witnessing dozens of men being driven by the terrorist group to the prison in pickup trucks.

"This is a prison where the residents of the city who rose up against the Daesh were kept. They gathered the men who were part of the movement and others who were not, all the families, they hit them and forced them to come here, to this place," Reuters quoted Riyad Ahmad Thaer, a resident of Hammam al-Alil as saying.

The developments come a day after Iraqi forces completely retook control of the town of Hammam al-Alil.

Iraqi forces however on Monday continued to search the town for Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) and any remaining militants.

Meanwhile, residents of Mosul and nearby villages said the Daesh militant group has been using civilians as human shields against the airstrikes and military operations of the Iraqi troops.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2016/11/07/492604/Iraq-Mosul-Daesh-Hammam-alAlil-Riyad-Ahmad-Thaer

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Khameniei aide distorts Iraqi Kurds’ identity, rejects independence

8 November 2016

Major General Yahya Rahim Safavi, a top military aide to Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, reminded the Iraqi Kurds of their Aryan origin and their Iranian roots, urging them not to forget that they are indebted to Iran.

Safavi said that the Iraqi Kurds are helping the Saudi consulate in Iraq to supply weapons to Iranian anti-revolutionary forces and he warned them in this regard as they should know that they owe their existence to Iran. However, he did not present any proof about it.

He said that they should be grateful to Iran because back in the era of the Shah in the seventies, Iran has received the family of the current ruler of the Kurdistan region Massoud Barzani after signing the Algeria agreement with Former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein that led to the rupture between Tehran and the Kurds leader Mullah Mustafa Barzani.

Masoud Barzani, is an Iraqi Kurdish politician who was elected President of the Kurdistan Region in Iraq by the Kurdistan National Assembly. There are about 9 million Kurds in Iran; Iran has the second largest Kurdish community after Turkey.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2016/11/08/Khameniei-aide-distorts-Iraqi-Kurds-identity-rejects-independence.html

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Syria: Terrorists Pinned Down Behind Defense Lines in Northern Hama

Nov 07, 2016

"Army aircraft, simultaneous with artillery units, have been targeting the defense lines of Jeish al-Izzah in the village of Abluyizeh," the sources said, adding, "The warplanes also hit the gatherings and movements of Jeish al-Izzah in areas surrounding the towns of al-Lahaya, al-Latamina and their movement lines to weaken the group's strength and prevent the militants' attack on army positions and safe zones in villages in the region."

"In the meantime, the fighter jets bombed heavily the gatherings of Jeish al-Nasr terrorists in al-Latamina, killing several terrorist, including commander Hamza Zawadeh and field commander of Jeish al-Nasr-Free Syrian Army, Kheiru Mashhal,' the sources said.

"In the meantime, a unit of the army and armed forces fended off attacks of the terrorist in Northern Hama, destroying a number of their vehicles and seizing an armored vehicle equipped with landmine planting system," the sources added.

Reports said earlier today that the Syrian Army troops as well as the country's fighter jets continued liberation operation of the town of Taybat al-Imam, inflicting major damage on the militants' equipment and vehicles.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950817001333

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Official: Kurdish Forces Not Counting on US Support

Nov 07, 2016

"Any attempt by Turkey to make an aggression against Manbij will certainly impede liberation of Raqqa and we will not remain silent. Our priority is confronting Turkey's aggression against Manbij. The ball is now in the coalition's court and its seriousness will be shown in forcing the Turks to withdraw from the region," Hado said on Monday.

Certain dissident sources in Syria have also disclosed Turkey's new scenario to further expand the Euphrates Shield operation after it was excluded from the Raqqa operation under pressure from the Kurdish sides.

Meantime, the battle in al-Bab which is still under the ISIL occupation is important for the Kurdish forces.

Certain sources affiliated to the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) underlined that "we have established our position in al-Bab battle, and if Turkey continues attacks and approaches the town, we will take action".

SDF Spokesman Talal Sallo said that the coalition has not accepted to support the al-Bab military council in operations to liberate the town.

Meantime, Hado also welcomed any move by the Syrian army towards al-Bab, and expressed the hope that operations to retake Raqqa would be carried out in coordination with the Syrian army and a similar scenario like what was played in Mosul would be repeated in Raqqa.

In relevant remarks on Saturday, Sallo announced that the US-led coalition is due to play no role in the imminent operation to liberate Syria's Raqqa city from the ISIL terrorist group.

"The liberation operation of Raqqa will start soon. The US-led coalition will play no role in Raqqa operation, but they have vowed to only supply the SDF with equipment. They will also dispatch their military advisors with the combat forces for coordination and advice," the SDF spokesman said. 

The US-led coalition also said that over 40,000 SDF fighters are ready to attack ISIL positions in Raqqa.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950817001134

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Sources Deny ISIL's Claims about Blocking Hama Supply Road to Aleppo

Nov 07, 2016

The sources strongly rejected terrorist-affiliated media claim about blocking a road connecting the town of Khanasser in Southeastern Aleppo to the town of Ithriya in Hama.

"Joint units of the Syrian army soldiers and National Defense Forces, who are in charge of Ithriya-Khanasser road's security, repelled ISIL's attack to capture this road," the sources said.

"All reports published in social media networks about the blocking of this road by the ISIL terrorists are mere lies and Ithriya-Khanasser road is safe," the sources underlined.

The terrorist groups had made a similar claim on Saturday, which was also refuted by field sources.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950817001063

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Syrian Air Force Preempts Terrorists in Southern Idlib

Nov 07, 2016

Syrian fighter jets pounded terrorist groups' gatherings in the towns of Saraqib, Khan Sheikhoun and near Banish to prevent the flow of arms and fresh militants to the Western part of Aleppo city.

In the meantime, the air force fighter jets targeted the gatherings and convoys of the terrorists in Rashedeen 4 and 5 neighborhoods, the villages of Khan al-Asal, Kafr Halab and al-Mansoureh in Western and Southwestern Aleppo, leaving tens of militants dead and destroying their vehicles.

Sources have said that the Syrian fighter jets have concentrated on attacking terrorists' supply lines.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950817001167

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Syria: Terrorist Groups' Anti-Tank TOW Missile Expert Killed in Aleppo

Nov 07, 2016

"Battalion Commander of Jeish al-Mujahedeen Ahmad al-Saeed also known as Abu al-Bara'a was killed in clashes with army soldiers in Western Aleppo," the websites confirmed.

"Abu al-Bara'a was one of the most skillful operators of TOW missiles and had participated in too many clashes with the army," the website added.

"In the meantime, Commander of Maqawi al-Jabal Brigade of Faylaq al-Sham Mohammad Sobhi Qeidouh aka Abu Sobhi was also killed by the army West of Aleppo.

A field source said earlier today that terrorist groups used bomb-laden vehicles and suicide attackers in the first and second phases of Great Epic Operation to prevail over the government forces' positions in Western and Southwestern Aleppo, but the Syrian army troops fended off their attacks, destroying most of vehicles and killing tens of attackers.

"The terrorists used hundreds of suicide attackers in the Western battlefields of Aleppo city to break through the army defense lines, but units of the pro-government forces equipped with strong missiles managed to overcome the militants' main tactic," the source said.

"The terrorists, in the first stage of their attacks on the districts of Jam'iyat al-Zahar, Zahiyeh al-Assad and Assad Academy, made use of the tactic of suicide vehicles and attackers, but were defeated badly," the sources said, adding, "After failure in the first stage of their attacks, the terrorists decreased their assaults to have enough time to regroup after the arrival of fresh forces."

"The terrorists used bomb-laden vehicles and suicide attackers as well as poisonous-gas shelling in the second stage of their attacks on the district of New Aleppo, but the army prevented them from reaching its positions by the help of its anti-armor missiles," he went on to say.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950817001123

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Pakistan

 

Britain asks Pakistan to bring terrorists to justice

November 08, 2016

NEW DELHI -  Britain on Monday asked Pakistan to bring the perpetrators of the Mumbai attack and the Pathankot airbase attack earlier this year.

In a joint statement, Britain and India underlined the threat posed by “transnational” terrorism and reiterated “their call for Pakistan to bring the perpetrators of the November 2008 attacks in Mumbai and 2016 Pathankot attack to justice”. The statement came after Prime Minister Narendra Modi in bilateral talks with the UK Prime Minister Theresa Pay expressed grave concern about cross-border terrorism.

“There should be no glorification of terrorists or efforts to make a distinction between good and bad terrorists. They agreed that South Asia should be stable, prosperous and free from terror and called on all countries to work towards that goal,” the joint statement declared.

After the talks both the prime ministers held a joint press event. The Indian prime minister said that the bilateral cooperation to combat terrorism and radicalisation figured prominently in the talks. "We agreed that it is not a limited security challenge. Its arc of threat spreads across nations and regions. Terrorists move across borders with ease, and endanger the entire humanity,” Modi said.

Earlier, Theresa May said India and Pakistan should hold bilateral talks to settle the issue of Kashmir. "This is a matter for India and Pakistan to sort it out through dialogue," May told media on board the Royal Air Force Voyager, regarding Britain's stance on cross-border tension between India and Pakistan.

"This is not an issue for any other government to get involved," May said. May's three-day official visit is intended to promote Indo-British relations.

Theresa May rejected calls to relax Indian visa rules saying the UK already has a "good system" for applications. The prime minister said the UK was already able to attract "the brightest and the best" from outside the EU. "Nine out of 10 visa applications from India are already accepted," she said. But Mrs May announced the UK would make it easier for wealthy Indian business executives to come to the UK.

http://nation.com.pk/national/08-Nov-2016/britain-asks-pakistan-to-bring-terrorists-to-justice

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Pakistani Shia Muslims clash with police over arrests

07.11.2016

By Aamir Latif

KARACHI, Pakistan

Police in Karachi fired tear gas and launched baton charges as hundreds of protesters blocked the city’s main highway and rail line following the arrests of religious leaders amid a wave of sectarian killings, local media said.

Shia Muslim demonstrators hurled stones at police and broadcaster Geo TV reported two officers injured the clashes in an eastern district of Pakistan’s commercial hub and its largest city.

Full report at:

http://aa.com.tr/en/asia-pacific/pakistani-shia-muslims-clash-with-police-over-arrests/680429

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202 militants surrender arms to Balochistan CM

November 08, 2016

QUETTA -  At least 202 militants, including 75 Ferraris from Afghanistan, yesterday laid down arms in a ceremony before Balochistan Chief Minister Nawab Sanaullah Khan Zehri at the CM Secretariat.

Addressing the ceremony, the chief minister termed it a turning point in the history of Balochistan as such a large number of militants joined the national mainstream circle. He extended heartfelt congratulations to them on behalf of the masses of Balochistan, the government and security forces.

The chief minister said, “It is a good omen that more than 200 Ferraris have surrendered and we welcome them.”

He clarified those sitting in Switzerland, Afghanistan or any other country that they could not achieve their nefarious designs through disseminating fear and terrorist activities in Balochistan and Pakistan.

He asked those on mountains in Balochistan to come back and join the national mainstream,” Nawab Zehri again extended an offer of peace.

The chief minister categorically reiterated that those sitting abroad would not be spared to continue playing with lives of innocent people on the pretext of liberty, adding the anti-state elements were using the people as fuel for their personal interests.

“Your decision of joining the national mainstream will leave an encouraging impact on law and order situation in Balochistan, opined Sanauallah Khan Zehri. He added compensation will be accorded to those renouncing anti-state pathway under the ‘Peaceful Balochistan Policy’.

The Balochistan civil-military leadership welcomes those giving up arms and entering the national mainstream, he said.

“Those misguiding youth on the pretext of liberty have devastated our entire generation,” regretted Nawab Sanaullah Khan Zehri, and warned these miscreants would not be allowed to continue this bloody pathway. He went on to say that some elements were killing people and hoodwinking them for personal gains.

The militants laying down arms belong to Jalawan, Dera Bugti, Merri and other areas.

Meanwhile, Commander Southern Command Lt. General Aamir Riaz, addressing the ceremony, said the Baloch Ferraris joining the national mainstream are most welcome, adding now it is the topmost responsibility of the state and the government to ensure security to their lives and quality education to their children.

The Southern Command commander noted the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) would usher in a new era of progress and prosperity in Pakistan and Balochistan, adding the Balochistan people, political parties and youth would rid the country of terrorism.

“We all will have to work with coexistence to make Pakistan an Islamic welfare state,” Lt-Gen Aamir Riaz urged the participants.

Those who attended the ceremony also included provincial ministers, MPAs, Chief Secretary Saifullah Chatta, spokesman for Balochistan government Anwarul Haq and other political and tribal elites of the province.

INP adds: An unprecedented number of Feraris laid down their arms before Balochistan Chief Minister Nawab Sanaullah Zehri and vowed to work for the integrity of the country and wellbeing of people of Balochistan.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/national/08-Nov-2016/202-militants-surrender-arms-to-balochistan-cm

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COAS confirms death sentence to 9 terrorists

November 08, 2016

ISLAMABAD -  Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif yesterday confirmed death sentences of another nine hardcore terrorists involved in different acts of terrorism.

A statement issued by the Inter Service of Public Relations (ISPR) said that these terrorists were involved in the killing of innocent civilians, slaughtering of Levies officials and attacking Armed Forces personnel in the country.

The terrorists also included those who had fired at a PIA plane landing at Peshawar Airport which resulted in the death of a lady and injuries to two other passengers. Fire-arms and explosives were also recovered from their possession. These convicts were tried by the military courts.

Among the convicts Sajid, son of Ibrahim Khan, was an active member of banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). He was involved in the Peshawar plane firing. He was also involved in killing of innocent civilians and attacking law enforcement agencies (LEAs). The convict was in possession of fire arms and explosives. He admitted his offences before a magistrate and the trial court. Javed Khan, son of Faqeer Gul was an active member of the TTP. He was involved in the killing of innocent civilians and attacking LEAs which resulted in the death of Raheem Ullah, a civilian, and army soldiers Naseer Ahmed and Bacha Hasan. He was also involved in the killing of Havaldar Hazrat Ghani. He was found in possession of fire-arms and explosives. The convict admitted his offences before the magistrate and the trial court.

Similarly, Fazl-e-Haq, son of Shahdad, was an active member of TTP. He kidnapped and cut off hands of four police officials. He was also involved in the killing of innocent civilians and attacking LEAs which resulted in the death of civilian Abdul Wahab and police constable Saifur Rehman. The convict admitted his offences before the magistrate and the trial court. Fazal Rehman, son of Fazal Karim, was an active member of TTP. He was involved in attacking LEAs which resulted in the death of Major Muhammad Ehsan, Havildar Muhammad Al Haleem, Naik Ghulam Abbas, Sepoy Tasmeur Rehman, Sepoy Muqadar Khan, Sepoy Naseem Iqbal and injures to several soldiers. He was also in possession of fire-arms. The convict admitted his offences before the magistrate and the trial court.

Zahid Khan, son of Kitab Shah, was an active member of Lashkar-e-Islam (LeI). He was involved in attacking LEAs which resulted in the death of Havaldar Noor Mast, Naik Shabir, Naik Farman, Sepoy Humayun, Seopy Fakhar Alam, Sepoy Ismail of Frontier Constabulary (FC) and injuries to several soldiers. The convict admitted his offences before the magistrate and the trial court. Umar Saeed, son of Hazrat Saeed, was an active member of TTP. He was involved in attacking LEAs which resulted in the death of Naib Subedar Hassan Faraz, Lance Naik Ruban Ali, Sepoy Badri Zaman, Seopy Gul Wazir, Assistant Sub Inspector Noor Zaman and injuries to several soldiers. He was also in possession of fire-arms and explosives. The convict admitted his offences before the magistrate and the trial court.

Another convict Rahmat, son of Ismail Khan, was an active member of LeI, who was involved in attacking LEAs which resulted in the death of Havaldar Wali, Sepoy Matti, Lance Naik Ismail and injuries to Lieutenant Abbas of FC and several other soldiers. He was also in possession of explosives. The convict admitted his offences before the magistrate and the trial court. Bakht Wali, son of Amal Khan, was an active member of LeI. He was involved in attacking LEAs which resulted in the death of Sepoy Muhammad Zeeshan. The convict admitted his offences before the magistrate and the trial court. Nazeer Ahmed, son of Allahdad, was an active member of TTP. He was involved in attacking LEAs which resulted in the death of Head Constable Muhammad Yousaf and injuries to a police official. The convict admitted his offences before the magistrate and the trial court.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/national/08-Nov-2016/coas-confirms-death-sentence-to-9-terrorists

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Five wanted terrorists held in Khyber

November 08, 2016

JAMRUD:- Law enforcement agencies (LEAs) arrested five wanted terrorists and recovered arms from their possession during a search operation here on Monday. Security sources said that LEAs continued operation against militants on second consecutive day of the attack on checkpost in different areas of tehsil Jamrud of Khyber Agency. During a search operation five terrorists involved in Takhta Baig Checkpost attack were arrested with arms and explosives.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/national/08-Nov-2016/five-wanted-terrorists-held-in-khyber

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Imran mulls over Bilawal’s friendship offer on Panamagate

ZULQERNAIN TAHIR

Nov 8, 2016

LAHORE: Pakistan Tahreek-i-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan is considering PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari’s “friendship” offer and will decide in this regard after consulting his party leaders on Tuesday (today).

“The PTI is considering Bilawal’s offer of joining hands on Panamagate and other issues, but a final decision in this regard will be taken in a meeting presided over by Mr Khan on Tuesday (today) in Islamabad,” PTI Secretary General Jehangir Tareen told Dawn on Monday.

He said the party would see the seriousness of Bilawal’s offer as on the one hand he (PPP chairman) was extending hand of friendship while on the other he was issuing statements against Mr Khan.

“Actually, we (PTI and PPP) were on the same page on Panamagate. We had jointly finalised ToR for Panama probe and the PPP even joined the PTI’s Lahore rally. But then it decided not to be part of the PTI’s Raiwind and Islamabad protests,” Mr Tareen said, adding the PTI wanted to take opposition parties along.

Mr Tareen said the PPP was keen to revive itself in Punjab and for the purpose it needed the support of other opposition parties against the PML-N.

Bilawal had recently declared that his party was ready to join hands with Imran Khan after knowing his (Mr Khan’s) ‘intentions.’ He also admitted that a ‘working relationship’ with Mr Khan could not be established.

Bilawal recently said that fighting against Nawaz Sharif was not a child’s play and in case a working relationship was developed with Imran Khan, “PPP and PTI can get Nawaz Sharif out of the ring”.

PPP Information Secretary Qamar Zaman Kaira told Dawn that the PPP wanted to take all opposition parties along, including PTI, as it believed that joint opposition could achieve its target.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1294981/imran-mulls-over-bilawals-friendship-offer-on-panamagate

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PHC moved against ‘demolition’ of Hindu temple

Nov 8, 2016

PESHAWAR: Two citizens on Monday filed a petition with the Peshawar High Court against the alleged ongoing demolition of a non-functional Hindu temple in the interior Peshawar city seeking orders for placing the old structure under the administrative control of the archeology department.

The petitioners, Muhibur Rehman and Waqif Saleem advocate, said few months ago, the issue of the alleged changes made to the said temple’s building was reported in national and international newspapers following which the KP government had sealed the temple and arrested two tenants.

They added that those elements in connivance with the evacuee trust properties department had resumed the temple’s demolition to construct a plaza there.

In the petition filed through lawyer Muazzam Butt, the respondents are deputy administrator of the Evacuee Trust Properties, federal government through interior secretary, provincial government through home secretary, archeology director, director (archives), Peshawar deputy commissioner, Kotwali and Hasthnagri police stations SHOs and minority MPAs Askar Pervez and Frederick Azeem.

The petitioners said different newspapers had reported besides publishing pictures of the Hindu temple located in Mohallah Wangrhi Garah in Karimpura localities that the ancient Hindu temple is being secretly demolished so that a commercial plaza could be constructed there.

They added that on basis of said reports, the KP government’s spokesman had categorically stated: “The government had taken step as the Constitution guarantees equal rights to the minorities and protection of their religious places. The temple is as reserved for us as for the minorities communities and we cannot tolerate its demolition.” They claimed the deputy commissioner along with archaeology director Dr. Abdul Samad Khan also visited the temple and formally sealed its premises.

The petitioners claimed it appeared that all those officials could not stop the influential elements from demolishing temples.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1295020/phc-moved-against-demolition-of-hindu-temple

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Strict action sought against Christ’s ‘blasphemers’

Nov 8, 2016

PESHAWAR: Representatives of various faiths on Monday condemned the uploading of blasphemous post on social media about Jesus Christ and his companions and demanded strict action against the culpable people.

Addressing a joint news conference at the Peshawar Press Club, leaders of various religions in Peshawar led by Bishop of Peshawar Diocese Humphrey Safaraz Peter said members of Christian community were busy in efforts for the promotion of peace and interfaith harmony in society but unfortunately their religious sentiments were hurt by blasphemous posts on social media about Christ and his companions.

Mr. Safaraz appealed to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to order inquiry into the matter for vigorous punishment of the culpable people under blasphemy law.

He said Christ and his companions preached truth, honesty, tolerance and peace but certain elements wanted to promote intolerance and chaos in society by campaigning against them.

The bishop also appealed to the Supreme Court chief justice to ensure strict action against those posting blasphemous caricatures on social media.

He warned Christian community would stage countrywide demonstrations until blasphemers were arrested and punished.

Hindu leader Haroon Sarab Diyal and Sikh elder Sardar Charanjeet Singh Sagar asked government to take steps on the issue to the satisfaction of Christian community.

They said Pakistan was the country of both local Muslims and non-Muslims and that they were committed to remaining peaceful and sincerely working for national development.

Islamic scholar Maqsood Ahmad Salafi said Muslims held all prophets in high esteem and that those involved in their blasphemy were like terrorists, who deserved no mercy.

Religious scholar Allama Kararvi demanded action against the people trying to pit the people of different religions against each other.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1295015/strict-action-sought-against-christs-blasphemers

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Pale-faced rulers have run out of words: Siraj 

08-Nov-16

LAHORE: Criticising the government for not submitting complete documents in the Supreme Court (SC) with regard to Panamagate inquiry, Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) chief Senator Sirajul Haq on Monday said that the faces of rulers had turned pale and words were not assisting them.

"The government is using dilatory tactics, and has prolonged the Panama leaks case by not filing documents in the SC. The government should present all documents in the court as per the court's orders," he said while talking to reporters.

He went on to say that the people wanted the petitioners to win this legal fight against corruption. "It is the voice of their hearts that corrupt elements be brought to justice," he added.

Full report at:

http://dailytimes.com.pk/punjab/08-Nov-16/pale-faced-rulers-have-run-out-of-words-siraj

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India

 

India slams UNSC for taking months to sanction terrorist Masood Azhar

Nov 8, 2016

UNITED NATIONS: India has strongly criticised the Security Council for taking months to consider sanctioning leaders of groups it has itself designated as terror entities, in an obvious reference to the "technical hold" on India's bid to get JeM chief Masood Azhar banned by the UN.

Asserting that the Security Council is stuck in its own "time warp and politics", India's Permanent Representative to the UN ambassador Syed Akbaruddin on Sunday slammed the Council's inability to sanction the leaders of terrorist organisations.

"While our collective conscience is ravaged everyday by terrorists in some region or another, the Security Council gives itself 9 months to consider whether to sanction leaders of organisations it has itself designated as terrorist entities," Akbaruddin said at a session on equitable representation and increase in the membership of the Security Council here.

Earlier this year, China had extended the "technical hold" on India's move to get Azhar designated as a terrorist by the UN. The six-month validity of the technical hold lapsed in late September and China sought another three-month extension on India's bid.

He lamented that the snail-paced and "never-ending carousel of discussions" on United Nations Security Council (UNSC) reforms, saying "it is time to break the impasse" to urgently reform the body that is "unresponsive" to the current global situation.

The inability to respond to humanitarian situations, terrorist threats and peacekeeping vulnerabilities during this year itself are part of the price that is being paid for the international community's lack of progress on the critical matter, he noted.

"On issues pivotal to international security such as Syria, there is inaction, and on other situations like dealing with the peacekeeping crisis in South Sudan we see fragmented action which is not implemented even months after being agreed upon," Akbaruddin said.

"The Security Council, stuck in its own time warp and politics, can only be described as working randomly on the basis of a mix of ad-hocism, scrambling and political paralysis. Need one say more about the urgency of the need for reform of this relic which has long been unresponsive to the needs of our time," he said.

Akbaruddin said the never-ending carousel of discussions on UNSC reforms leaves many in the international community perplexed as the crucial reform of the Security Council has been delayed despite both its importance and its urgency.

He pointed out that the Council's global governance structure does not cease to surprise the international community with its persistent inability to even effectively engage with the tasks at hand.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/India-slams-UNSC-for-taking-months-to-consider-Masood-Azhar-issue/articleshow/55305489.cms

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United Muslim Jamathat Stage Protest against Uniform Civil Code

Nov 8, 2016

MADURAI: Registering their protest against the uniform civil code, Muslims from various organisations took out a massive demonstration at Opula Padithurai in the city on Monday. The demonstration was called by the United Muslim Jamathat. Hundreds of men and women from Madurai and neighbouring districts participated.

The demonstration started by 10am and lasted till 12noon. Participants raised slogans against the central government's proposal to implement the uniform civil code. The uniform civil code violates religious freedom granted by the Indian Constitution, a speaker said. "It is against secularism and diversity of India," he said.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/madurai/Muslims-stage-protest-against-uniform-civil-code/articleshow/55305507.cms

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Now, Islamic State to be called ‘Daish’ in govt records

Nov 8, 2016

NEW DELHI: The Union home ministry intends to replace the nomenclature "Islamic State" with "Daish" in all official communications pertaining to the global terrorist organisation.

The reason cited by a senior home ministry official is that calling the dreaded jihadi outfit 'Islamic State' is like giving legitimacy to its claim of representing a "borderless Islamic State" encompassing Muslims across the world.

Daish is the Arab acronym for Al-Dawlah Al-Islamiyah fe Al-Iraq wa Al-Sham (the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or Sham), for which the acronym ISIL or ISIS was originally used by the group. However, the outfit now prefers to be called Islamic State (IS). Many believe that this is to ensure that IS is not recognised as a state limited by physical boundaries.

However, counter-terror experts insist that IS is neither Islamic not a state, but only a banned terrorist entity.

Incidentally, the government of India notification banning IS as a terror outfit under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) names IS by all its known nomenclatures including ISIS, ISIL and Daish.

TOI has learnt that the Union home secretary may verbally ask its departments, particularly the internal security division that deals with matters relating to terrorism, intelligence agencies and investigative agencies like NIA to ensure that only the name 'Daish' is used in all official communication while referring to IS. If need be, an office memorandum in this regard may also be circulated. Also, an advisory on this lines may also be sent to all state governments.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Now-Islamic-State-to-be-called-Daish-in-govt-records/articleshow/55302126.cms

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Terrorist killed, 2 army soldiers injured in encounter in J&K's Shopian

Nov 7, 2016

SRINAGAR: A massive gunfight broke out in Shopian, Jammu and Kashmir on Monday in which a terrorist was neutralised and an Army personnel sustained injuries.

A joint team of 62 Rashtriya Rifles and the J&K Police launched an operation last night after receiving specific information about untoward elements.

One AK 47 rifle along with other ammunition and warlike stores were also recovered.

A total of two Army soldiers were injured in the overnight operation and were immediately evacuated and are stable now.

Yesterday, an Army jawan was killed in a ceasefire violation in Poonch district.

The firing from Pakistan came hours after an Indian soldier was killed and a civilian was injured at the RS Pura Sector.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Terrorist-killed-2-army-soldiers-injured-in-encounter-in-JKs-Shopian/articleshow/55284422.cms

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PM Modi, Theresa May vow to fight terror, criticize Pak failure to punish 26/11 accused

Nov 8, 2016

NEW DELHI: India and the UK took a strong joint stance on terrorism and security issues after the first summit meeting between prime ministers Narendra Modi and Theresa May+ here on Monday.

With India and the UK exchanging lists of suspects they want extradited from each other's countries, there is expectation that Vijay Mallya+ , Lalit Modi and Christian Michel might face Indian justice soon. The two countries agreed not to allow fugitives and criminals to escape the law and resolved to facilitate outstanding extradition requests.

Government sources said India handed over names of 57 suspects and UK gave a list of 17 they want extradited by India.

The joint statement said "the fight against terrorism should not only seek to disrupt and bring to justice terrorists, terror organisations and networks, but should also identify, hold accountable and take strong measures against all those who encourage, support and finance terrorism, provide sanctuary to terrorists and terror groups, and falsely extol their virtues.

There should be no glorification of terrorists or efforts to make a distinction between good and bad terrorists. They agreed that South Asia should be stable, prosperous and free from terror and called on all countries to work towards that goal." Pakistan was also called out for its failure to take action against the accused in the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

Sources said the specific issue of Mallya's extradition had figured in the talks between officials of the two sides in the run-up to the meeting between Modi and May. Both Mallya and Modi, who have made the UK their home, are wanted by the ED in money laundering cases.

"The two leaders expressed their strong commitment to facilitate outstanding extradition requests from both sides. In this context, they directed that officials dealing with extradition matters from both sides should meet at the earliest to develop better understanding of each countries' legal processes and requirements; share best practices, and identify the causes of delays and expedite pending requests," the statement said.

This was May's first bilateral visit outside the EU, largely intended to reaffirm UK's continued international relevance post Brexit. For India, the visit served to take forward the decisions taken during Modi's visit to the UK in 2015. India and UK have also started the initial talks on a free trade agreement+ that UK would only be able to negotiate after it completes its exit from the European Union.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Modi-May-vow-to-fight-terror-criticize-pak-failure-to-punish-26/11-accused/articleshow/55301552.cms

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66-year-old Muslim leads drive to protect temples in West Bengal village

Nov 08, 2016

At a time when instances of religious intolerance are reported from different parts of the country, a 66-year-old Muslim is championing the cause of communal harmony by leading a movement to preserve temples.

Retired school peon Yasin Pathan started the ‘Save the Temples’ initiative in the 1970s with an aim to protect the 18th century Shiva and Vishnu temples in West Bengal’s Pathra village.

“The temples form a part of our heritage, and I am just doing my small bit to protect them for the next generation,” Pathan, who is mostly confined to his house due to poor health, said.

Full report at:

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/66-year-old-muslim-leads-drive-to-protect-temples-in-west-bengal-village/story-9lVDcqLXiJUAEkbFbBVZAN.html

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Mideast

 

Use of Kurdish militia against Daesh ‘naive’

8 November 2016

ANKARA: Turkish president has reiterated the country’s opposition to the use of Syrian Kurdish fighters in the fight against Daesh.

Turkey considers US-backed Syrian Kurdish militia, the People’s Protection Units, or YPG, and its political wing as terror organizations.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Monday “no one in the world will buy this naïve attitude (attacking) Daesh with another terror organization.”

Erdogan did not make a direct reference to the ongoing operation to free the Daesh stronghold of Raqqa, although Turkish officials have in the past spoken out against the use of Syrian Kurdish fighters in the offensive.

Erdogan called the Syrian Kurdish groups “a side branch” of Turkey’s outlawed Kurdish rebel group which has waged a three-decade insurgency against the Turkish state.

The Kurdish-led Syrian fighters clashed on Monday with Daesh militants north of Raqqa as they pushed ahead in their offensive aiming to retake the city that has been the de facto capital of the extremist group since 2014.

Members of a coalition of Kurdish and Arab fighters known as the Syria Democratic Forces (SDF) have been on the offensive in the area since late Saturday, aiming to initially isolate and encircle Raqqa. The US, France and Britain said they would provide air support for the offensive, which was announced at a news conference on Sunday in Ein Issa, north of Raqqa.

But the announcement lacked details on how the SDF, dominated by Kurds, plans to oust the militants from the city.

The battle of Raqqa could be long and costly; Daesh fighters are expected to fight until the end since its loss could be an existential threat. It would mean the extremist group would have no full control of any large cities in Syria, just as Iraqi forces are pushing forward against Daesh-held Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city.

Earlier this year, it took SDF fighters more than two months to capture the Syrian town of Manbij, which is far smaller than Raqqa.

Raqqa has been under Daesh control since early 2014; it is home to some of the group’s top leaders and is seen as the key to defeating the group militarily.

It has been the extremists’ de facto capital since they declared a caliphate in areas they control in Iraq and Syria in June 2014.

The US commander of coalition forces fighting the Daesh group said the operation to take Raqqa aims at eventually cutting off the extremists from Mosul, where US-backed Iraqi forces have entered the city’s eastern outskirts amid fierce resistance.

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1007786/middle-east

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Israel says ‘no’ to ME peace conference in Paris

November 08, 2016

JERUSALEM - Israel on Monday formally rejected France's invitation to take part in a Middle East peace conference in Paris later this year, saying it was a distraction from the goal of direct negotiations with the Palestinians.

At a meeting in Jerusalem with Israel's acting national security adviser and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's diplomatic adviser, French envoy Pierre Vimont was informed that Israel wanted nothing to do with the effort to revive talks that last broke down in 2014.

"(They) told the French envoy in a clear and unequivocal manner that Israel's position to promote the peace process and reach an agreement will only come through direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority," Netanyahu's office said in a statement.

There was no immediate comment from Vimont but the French foreign ministry said it still planned to hold the conference before the end of the year.

France has repeatedly tried to breathe new life into the peace process this year, holding a preliminary conference in June where the United Nations, European Union, United States and major Arab countries gathered to discuss proposals without the Israelis or Palestinians present.

The plan was to hold a follow-up conference before year-end with the Israelis and Palestinians involved and see whether the two sides could be brought back to negotiations. The last, US-backed talks ended in failure in April 2014.

The Palestinians have said they will attend the Paris conference if it goes ahead. Israel, which regards the United States as the chief broker in the Middle East, has long maintained that only direct negotiations with the Palestinians can lead to peace and sees France's efforts as a diversion.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/international/08-Nov-2016/israel-says-no-to-me-peace-conference-in-paris

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Turkey warns US against demographic change in Raqqa

7 November 2016

Turkey on Monday warned the United States not to allow demographic changes in the Syrian city of Raqqa after Kurdish-Arab forces launched a US-backed operation to capture the extremist bastion.

Turkish forces are conspicuously absent from the operation, even though they are present in northern Syria in their own incursion in support of pro-Ankara Syrian rebels against ISIS extremists.

Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said Raqqa - like Aleppo, the divided main city of northern Syria, and Mosul in Iraq “belonged to the people” who lived there before conflict erupted.

“Changing the demographic structure will in no way make any contribution to making peace,” he told reporters in televised comments.

Ankara had previously expressed alarm that the Kurdish-Arab Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) leading the offensive were dominated by the Kurdish Peoples’ Protection Units (YPG) militia.

It considers the YPG to be an offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) which has waged an insurgency against Ankara for more than three decades. Turkey has said it would stay out of any operation involving the YPG.

Turkey fears an influx of Kurds to Raqqa will change the ethnic composition of the Arab-majority area close to its border.

Ankara also largely looked on from the sidelines at the US-backed Iraqi operation to retake Mosul from the extremists, expressing alarm over the potential roles of anti-Ankara Kurdish fighters and Shiite militia.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2016/11/07/Turkey-warns-US-against-demographic-change-in-Raqqa.html

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Israeli court sentences two Palestinian teenagers to 11 years in jail each

Nov 8, 2016

An Israeli court has sentenced two Palestinian teenage boys to nearly a dozen years in prison each amid ongoing repression against Palestinians.

Lawyer Mufeed al-Haj, a member of the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS), said the Jerusalem al-Quds District Court handed down 11-year jail terms to both 15-year-old Mondher Khalil Abu Mayaleh and Mohamed Taha, 16, on Monday.

The two were accused of having conducted an attempted stabbing attack near the Damascus Gate of the Old City of Jerusalem al-Quds earlier this year.

The court also ordered each of the teenagers, who have been held in Israeli custody since January 30, to pay 50,000 Israeli shekels ($13,110) in “compensation.”

Earlier on Monday, the same court had sentenced 14-year-old Ahmad Saleh Manasra to 12 years in jail on the charge of attempting to murder a 20-year-old man and a 12-year-old boy in the illegal Israeli settlement of Pisgat Zeev in East Jerusalem al-Quds on October 12, 2015.

Manasra was also ordered to pay 80,000 shekels ($21,000) in compensation to the Israeli man and 100,000 shekels ($26,260) to the Israeli boy.

This file photo shows teenage Palestinian prisoner Ahmad Saleh Manasra (C).

The Palestinian teenager was accused of carrying out the assault along with his 15-year-old cousin Hassan, who was fatally shot by Israeli forces.

Video footage released on social media networks in the wake of the attack showed Manasra bleeding heavily on the ground as some Israeli bystanders shouted a mixed of Arabic and Hebrew obscenities at him.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2016/11/08/492656/Palestine-Israeli-court-Mondher-Khalil-Abu-Mayaleh-Mohamed-Taha

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Over half of Yemen's hospitals closed, partially functioning: WHO

Nov 7, 2016

The World Health Organization (WHO) says more than half of hospitals and clinics in Yemen are closed or only partially functioning, warning that the beleaguered Arab country is at a high risk of disease outbreaks due to inadequate health services.

The UN's health agency said in a statement on Monday that its staffers have surveyed 3,507 medical facilities in Yemen and discovered that only 45 percent of them were fully functional and accessible.

The statement added that more than 40 percent of Yemeni districts were suffering from severe shortage of doctors.

While there were only two doctors or less in 42 percent of 276 districts surveyed by the agency, there were none in nearly one-fifth of districts.

“These critical shortages in health services mean that more people are deprived of access to life-saving interventions. Absence of adequate communicable diseases management increases the risk of outbreaks such as cholera, measles, malaria and other endemic diseases,” the WHO stated.

The World Health Organization further noted that Yemeni mothers and their newborn babies lack essential antenatal care and immunization services, adding that people suffering from acute and chronic diseases either have to spend more time on treatment or skip it.

It said Yemen's conflict has affected the lives of more than 21 million Yemenis out of the country's population of 26 million.

Meanwhile, the United Nations International Children's Fund (UNICEF) says 7.4 million Yemeni children are in dire need of medical help, and 370,000 run the risk of severe acute malnutrition.

On October 28, World Food Program spokeswoman, Bettina Luescher, urged Yemen’s warring sides to allow access to affected areas, arguing that the Rome-based humanitarian agency felt constrained to provide more food to Yemenis due to a lack of funding and free movement.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2016/11/07/492586/Yemen-WHO-hospitals-Saudi-war-

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Commander: Hashd Al-Shaabi Trying to Lay Siege on Tal Afar Airport, Clashes with Turkish Army Likely

Nov 07, 2016

"Hashd al-Shaabi forces started the second round of their mop-up operation mission at Tal Afar airport; the airport is located 8 kilometers from Tal Afar city and Hashd al-Shaabi forces are advancing cautiously due to the possibility of clashes with the Turkish army," Hassab Abdel Hadi said on Monday.

He noted that the Turkish forces are in the surrounding areas of Tal Afar, but some of them have entered the city in plainclothes "because Hashd al-Shaabi is advancing towards Tal Afar and al-Mahlabieh and has, hence, cut the (ISIL's) aid route to Raqqa" in Syria.

Abdel Hadi pointed to the Turkish army's movements in Northern Mosul, and said "the Iraqi government has already warned Turkey to leave the region", but they don't because the latter considers "Mosul as a province of the Ottoman Empire".

On Sunday, Deputy Chief of the Nineveh Provincial Council Noureddin Qablan announced that the ISIL terrorist group has arrested thousands of civilians in Tal Afar city to use them as human shield.

"A sum of 20,000 citizens of Tal Afar, specially Abata Hill (Tal Abata) and Mahlabieh districts, have been detained by the ISIL terrorist group to be used as human shields," Qablan said.

He noted that the ISIL also forced hundreds of families of Tal Afar city to leave their homes and move to al-Ba'aj region and the Syrian territories.

"The intelligence obtained from the ISIL terrorists in Tal Afar confirms that most of the ISIL terrorists of Tal Afar are foreigners and only some of them are Iraqis," Qablan added.

On Friday, the Iraqi popular forces said that they have thus far liberated over 45 villages West of Mosul as they continue their offensive against ISIL's positions towards the town of Tal Afar.

Mohammad al-Basri, one of the field commanders of Iraqi popular forces told FNA that over 45 villages have been liberated and the volunteer forces have captured over 350 sq/km of territories West of Mosul towards Tal Afar.

"Based on the previously agreed plan between Baghdad and Damascus, the ISIL terrorists fleeing Mosul can be pursued in Syria," he further added.

"The large population in some villages has slowed down our forces' operation. ISIL is using civilians as human shield in Mosul and other regions."

He called on Mosul's civilians to leave the city via the security corridors established by Iraqi security forces.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950817001546

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South Asia

 

Taliban commander killed by landmine planted by own fighters in Kunduz

By KHAAMA PRESS - Tue Nov 08 2016

A Taliban group commander was killed in an explosion triggered by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) planted by the group’s own fighters in northern Kunduz province of Afghanistan.

The Ministry of Defense (MoD) said the incident took place in Dasht-e-Archi district, leaving 4 Taliban group members dead, including a commander of the group.

MoD further added that the slain Taliban commander has been identified as Tofan who was killed along with three other Taliban fighters.

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

The Taliban insurgents and militants belonging to the other insurgent groups frequently use Improvised Explosive Device (IED) as the weapon of their choice to target the Afghan forces and government officials.

The Afghan officials also criticize the Taliban group for using the ordinary civilians as human shield to counter the operations led by the Afghan forces.

Blaming the Taliban group for the recent civilian casualties in Kudnuz, MoD spokesman, Gen. Dawlat Waziri said the group continues to use the civilians as human shield and the leaders of Taliban are even reckless regarding their own family members.

According to Waziri, several family members of the Taliban group leaders were among those killed as the Afghan forces called for air support amid fierce clash in Kunduz last week.

The operation on Thursday was launched as the Taliban group leaders had gathered for a meeting to launch a fresh attack on Kunduz city.

http://www.khaama.com/taliban-commander-killed-by-landmine-planted-by-own-fighters-in-kunduz-02230

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7 top Taliban commanders killed in Helmand airstrike

Nov 08 2016

At least 7 top commanders of the Taliban group were killed in an airstrike in southern Helmand province of Afghanistan, the Ministry of Defense (MoD) said Tuesday.

MoD further added that the airstrike was carried out in Garamser district, leaving 7 Taliban commanders dead and 7 fighters of the group wounded.

According to MoD, Mullah Mujahid, Mullah Agha Mohammad also famous as Mullah Mashar, the former shadow district chief of the group, Mawlavi Mustafa and Mawlavi Hedayat were among those killed.

Full report at:

http://www.khaama.com/7-top-taliban-commanders-killed-in-helmand-airstrike-02231

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Winners of the 2016 Aga Khan Award for Architecture celebrate inclusivity and pluralism

Nov 08 2016

Al-Ain, UAE, 6 November 2016 – The winners of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture were celebrated in a glittering tribute at the Al Jahili fort in Al-Ain, UAE, in the presence of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE, Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan, Chairman of the Award, and various dignitaries from the United Arab Emirates and abroad.

The Aga Khan Award for Architecture is one of the oldest and most prestigious awards in architecture.  It was established by His Highness the Aga Khan in 1977 to identify and encourage building concepts that successfully address the needs and aspirations of communities in which Muslims have a significant presence.

In the speech he delivered at the ceremony, His Highness the Aga Khan said that “the spirit of the Award has been an inclusive one, valuing all manner of buildings and spaces, from skyscrapers to mud huts, from residences to work and gathering spaces, from reforestation and financing projects to cemeteries, bridges and parks, from the accomplishments of signature architects to those of anonymous craftsmen. This pluralistic approach may not echo the usual definition of the word ‘architecture’, but it is the closest we can get to the central inclusive message we want this Award to convey.”  He also reaffirmed his belief that “the spirit of pluralism has been central to the great achievements of past Islamic cultures – and it remains a central principle for these Awards.”

The winners of the 2016 Aga Khan Award for Architecture, which were first announced on 3 October 2016 at the Al Jahili fort in Al Ain, are:

BANGLADESH

Bait Ur Rouf Mosque, Dhaka (Architect: Marina Tabassum):  A refuge for spirituality in urban Dhaka, selected for its beautiful use of natural light.

Friendship Centre, Gaibandha (Architect: Kashef Chowdhury / URBANA): A community centre which makes a virtue of an area susceptible to flooding in rural Bangladesh.

CHINA

Micro Yuan’er Children’s Library and Art Centre, Beijing (Architect: ZAO / standardarchitecture, Zhang Ke): A children’s library selected for its embodiment of contemporary life in the traditional courtyard residences of Beijing’s Hutongs.

DENMARK

Superkilen, Copenhagen (Architects: BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group, Topotek 1 and Superflex): A public space promoting integration across lines of ethnicity, religion and culture.

IRAN

Tabiat Pedestrian Bridge, Tehran (Architect: Diba Tensile Architecture / Leila Araghian, Alireza Behzadi): A multi-level bridge spanning a busy motorway has created a dynamic new urban space.

LEBANON

Issam Fares Institute, Beirut (Architect: Zaha Hadid Architects): A new building for the American University of Beirut’s campus, radical in composition but respectful of its traditional context.

Full report at:

http://www.khaama.com/winners-of-the-2016-aga-khan-award-for-architecture-celebrate-inclusivity-and-pluralism-02229

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UN probes claims US airstrike killed 32 Afghan civilians

November 08, 2016

KABUL - The United Nations is investigating claims that up to 32 civilians were killed in a US airstrike in the volatile Afghan province of Kunduz last week, calling any loss of civilian life "unacceptable".

The strike early last Thursday triggered angry protests in Kunduz, with local officials saying at least 30 people had been killed, many of them children whose mutilated bodies were paraded through the streets by grieving relatives.

Civilian casualties caused by NATO forces have been one of the most contentious issues in the 15-year campaign against the insurgents, prompting strong public and government criticism.

US forces have conceded that the strike "very likely" resulted in civilian casualties and pledged a full investigation into the incident. A State Department spokesman called it a "terrible event".

The killings came just days before the US presidential election, in which Afghanistan has received scarcely a passing mention - even though the situation there will be an urgent matter for the new president. Either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton will inherit America's longest war with no end in sight. It was also the second time in just over a year that a US airstrike has gone wrong in Kunduz.

Last year, a US air strike during fighting hit a hospital operated by Medecins Sans Frontieres on October 3, killing 42 people and sparking international outrage.

Late Sunday the UN's mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) announced it is investigating the allegations surrounding Thursday's strike.

"Preliminary findings indicate that the aerial operation killed at least 32 civilians and injured an additional 19 civilians, the vast majority of whom were women and children," a UNAMA statement said.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/international/08-Nov-2016/un-probes-claims-us-airstrike-killed-32-afghan-civilians

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65 Bangladeshi fortune-seekers rescued in Libya

November 07, 2016

At least 65 Bangladeshi fortune-seekers have been rescued from the traffickers’ den in the remote area of Tripoli, the capital city of the war-torn Libya.

Libyan police also arrested four Bangladeshi human traffickers for their alleged involvement in abducting these 65 jobseekers and realising ransoms from the victim families.

The traffickers were identified as Waliur Rahman, Suman Shariff, Hafizul Sheikh and Rana Bhattacharya, Labour Counsellor ASM Ashraful Islam, at Bangladesh embassy in Tripoli, today confirmed The Daily Star over phone.

Traffickers brought the workers in promise of giving them lucrative jobs under some Libyan companies and then confined them to a den to realise the ransoms, he said.

“On information, Libyan police arrested the traffickers about three weeks ago but informed us recently. Now, the traffickers are being tried under the Libyan laws,” he added.

Replying to a query, Ashraful said the Libyan police released the rescued 65 Bangladeshis from their custody and allow them to work in Libya.

Full report at:

http://www.thedailystar.net/country/65-bangladeshi-fortune-seekers-rescued-libya-1310929

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EMM worker inspires Bangladeshi churches to build bridges of peace

Nov 7, 2016

Assemblies of God churches in Bangladesh have a profound commitment to peacemaking. Five Bangladeshi church districts welcomed Eastern Mennonite Missions global consultant David W. Shenk recently to visit, teach and encourage their congregations to become even more deeply rooted in Jesus’ way of peace.

Church members were encouraged to continue breaking down barriers between people by building bridges of dialogue and friendship.

Shenk’s Aug. 29-Sept. 10 seminars were organized by Bangla­deshi Assemblies of God pastor Proshanta Roy. Roy was involved in creating a similar schedule of seminars for Shenk five years ago after hearing him speak on Christian-Muslim relations at an Assemblies of God mission conference in Kenya.

“The peace of the gospel is needed so badly in our country,” he said. “Pray for Bangladesh and our churches.”

Roy’s son Timothy Roy, an intern with EMM’s Christian/Muslim Relations Team, acted as Shenk’s translator along with his father. Timothy Roy is a student at Lithuania Christian College and arranged to arrive there two weeks late to accompany Shenk.

Shenk’s peacemaking seminars focused on Christian-Muslim relations, his main area of specialty. The government welcomed his talks as a contribution to the Bangladeshi spirit of religious tolerance.

Some members of Shenk’s audiences were new believers from various backgrounds. Many more were pastors and church leaders. Some traveled long distances despite transportation problems caused by flooding rivers and Eid al-Adha festival traffic. Five seminars were held at Assemblies of God churches in Faridpur, Gopalgonj, Khulna and Rangpur.

Muslims’ questions

Most seminars lasted for two days. On the first day, Shenk covered answers to questions Muslims ask about Christianity.

“Many misunderstandings happen because of inadequate answers to the questions,” he said.

Shenk said the most common questions Muslims ask Christians include: What is the meaning of the Trinity? What are your beliefs about the identity and character of Jesus? How could Christ, as the Messiah, be crucified? Has the Bible been corrupted?

On the seminars’ second day, Shenk facilitated group discussions of four pillars of Christian peacemaking: witness, dialogue, suffering and hospitality.

Thirty to 45 people attended each seminar. Shenk heard from multiple seminar attendees who felt his visits had encouraged them as peacemakers.

Full report at:

http://mennoworld.org/2016/11/07/news/emm%E2%80%88worker-inspires-bangladeshi-churches-to-build-bridges-of-peace/

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Africa

 

13 football fans killed in S Sudan bar shooting

November 08, 2016

JUBA - At least 13 people were killed when an angry football fan fired on others watching a match in a bar in South Sudan's capital Juba at the weekend, police said Monday.

Deputy police spokesman Kwacijwok Dominic Amondoc said the death toll had risen to 13 after some who were injured in the shooting during an English Premier League match on Saturday night died of their wounds.

Amondoc said 10 others were still being treated in hospital.

Among the injured was Wani Patrick, recovering from a bullet wound to his hand. "When I was shot I fell down and some youths fell on me. I was unable to stand up until he finished shooting all his bullets," he said. "Many people were shot, many people died."

The gunman, who appeared drunk, grew angry after being refused free entry to the bar where patrons had paid roughly $0.50 each to watch the Chelsea vs. Everton match on television.

The man stormed off, "but when he came back he was carrying a gun and just started shooting randomly," said Amondoc.

The incident happened at around 9:00 pm (1800 GMT) in Gure, a poor suburb in Juba's southwest.

The whereabouts of the shooter are unclear with "investigations underway", according to deputy government spokesman Paul Akol Kordit. "It's very unfortunate and we as a government condemn this in the very strongest terms possible," said Kordit.

He pledged that the government would "pledge that we will do what we can to protect our people and bringing to book such people who are killing innocent lives with no... reason at all".

Insecurity in Juba has worsened since the start of a civil war nearly three years ago, with the widespread fighting leading to an increase in criminality and armed violence of all kinds.

In July the capital became a battleground as forces loyal to President Salva Kiir clashed with those of his former deputy turned rebel leader Riek Machar, forcing Machar to flee.

Successive rounds of internationally-backed peace talks and agreements have so far failed to bring peace to the world's newest nation, which won independence from Sudan in 2011.

http://nation.com.pk/international/08-Nov-2016/13-football-fans-killed-in-s-sudan-bar-shooting

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UN peacekeeper, 2 civilians killed in Mali attack

November 08, 2016

BAMAKO - A peacekeeper from Togo and two Malian civilians were killed in an attack on a military convoy in Mali, rounding off a bloody week for foreign forces stationed there, a UN statement said.

Seven other peacekeepers, also from Togo, were wounded in the attack in the central Mopti region on Sunday, according to the statement by the UN mission, known by the acronym MINUSMA. After a mine or improvised explosive device was detonated, attackers opened fire on the convoy, the UN said, without identifying the assailants.

A MINUSMA spokesman said Malian police would investigate the death of the two civilians, who were following the convoy.

More than 11,000 UN police and military are currently serving in Mali, attempting to guarantee security in lawless swathes of the vast Sahel nation.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon condemned the killings "in the strongest terms" and warned that "attacks targeting United Nations peacekeepers may constitute war crimes under international law."

"Attacks against MINUSMA will not weaken the determination of the Mission to fully implement its mandate in support of the efforts of the Malian Government, the parties to the peace agreement and the people of Mali to achieve lasting peace and stability" Ban said in a statement issued by his spokesperson.

The attack came the day after a soldier serving with France's "Barkhane" counter-terror force was killed in a similar incident.

He died of his injuries following a mine blast near the northern town of Kidal in an attack claimed by the Islamist group Ansar Dine, which has ties to Al-Qaeda.

French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian on Sunday called on Mali's president to take action to establish peace in the country's restive north.

"I stress regularly to President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita that he must take the necessary initiatives to ensure the integration of the people of the north into the Malian community," he told French media.

In Bamako, however, a Malian minister who did not wish to be named, hit back saying Mali did not need "national unity lessons" from Le Drian. "We have been working on national unity for a long time. Unity should go hand in hand with the fight against terrorism, insecurity," the minister said. "The situation in Kidal is not because of the Malian government."

However, the Malian president convened an emergency meeting and instructed security forces to take more mobile positions in several parts of the country, especially the north.

"The state will provide the means needed to fight against terrorism," one participant at the meeting said.

Also on Sunday, Ansar Dine claimed the ransacking of an army base in the north during which they stole weapons and vehicles as troops fled their positions.

The claim of responsibility was issued by Mauritanian news agency al-Akhbar, which regularly carries statements from militant groups operating in the Sahel.

The militants said they had killed "several" Malian soldiers but this was denied by independent sources and military officials contacted by AFP.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/international/08-Nov-2016/un-peacekeeper-2-civilians-killed-in-mali-attack

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Five Nigerian Men Set Free After Killing Christian Woman for 'Blasphemy'

Nov 7, 2016

Five Nigerian men suspected of lynching an elderly Christian woman accused of blasphemy were acquitted of all charges and set free by the Kano State Magistrate Court on Thursday, a decision which is being condemned by persecution watchdog groups as a miscarriage of justice.

Bridget Patience Agbahime, a 74-year-old Christian street vendor, was beaten to death on June 2 by an angry mob of young Muslim men who accused her of insulting the Islamic prophet Muhammad, according to Fides News Agency.

Agbahime was killed despite denying that she made such an insult, and despite testimonies by witnesses who said she was a person respectful of others.

The five suspects that were arrested at the time in connection with her murder were cleared of the charges on Nov. 3, which sparked condemnation by groups such as International Christian Concern.

"The sad reality of persecution is that there may never be justice served for those who persecuted them; not on this Earth anyway. The five people who were involved in the lynching of a pastor's wife in Kano, Nigeria, have been released," ICC wrote.

Deliberate or not, this is a scary message by the judicial system to Christians that they will have no protection against an extremest mob that may execute them. And a dangerously encouraging message to Islam extremists who may choose violence to display their hatred against Christians."

Christians have suffered heavily at the hands of Islamic extremists in Nigeria. In Niger back in May, another Christian was murdered after being accused of blasphemy which sparked an outcry from some of the top Islamic organizations in the country.

Full report at:

http://www.christianpost.com/news/five-nigerian-men-set-free-after-killing-christian-woman-for-blasphemy-171360/

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Nigerians pay tribute to 'war king' killed by Boko Haram

7 November 2016

Tributes are being paid to a Nigerian army commander nicknamed "war king" after he was killed by Islamist militants Boko Haram.

The militants killed Lt Col Muhammad Abu-Ali on Friday.

The 36-year-old was one of five soldiers killed by Boko Haram fighters who attacked a military base in Mallam Fatori, northern Borno State.

Boko Haram has been fighting the Nigerian army in its quest for an Islamic state in northern Nigeria.

Africa Live: Updates on this and other news stories

What happened in Baga?

What Boko Haram left behind

Who are Boko Haram?

Col Abu-Ali was nicknamed Sarkin Kaki, which is Hausa for war king, and was promoted rapidly through the ranks to Lieutenant Colonel after he was one of those who led the operation to re-take the town of Baga from Boko Haram.

Hundreds of people were massacred by Boko Haram in Baga in January 2015 when the army ran away from the town in what was regarded as the worst attack of Boko Haram's insurgency.

But in February of that year the army retook the town.

In early 2015, Boko Haram controlled much of Borno State but it has now been pushed out of most of these areas.

Full report at:

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-37896523

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Tunisia adopts strategy to fight ‘terrorism’

7 November 2016

Tunisia’s national security council on Monday adopted a strategy to fight “terrorism and extremism,” two days after ISIS said it had killed a soldier.

The North African country has experienced a rise in religious extremism since the 2011 revolution that ousted longtime dictator Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali.

Its security forces have been battling a militant movement responsible for killing dozens of soldiers and police officers as well as civilians including 59 foreign tourists.

The presidency, in a statement, said the “national strategy to fight against extremism and terrorism” is built around the four main axes of “prevention, protection, judicial proceedings and retaliation.”

It gave no further details about the plan, but said it had been discussed with members of civil society during its preparation and by government ministers and security top brass.

The national security council is headed by President Beji Caid Essebsi.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/africa/2016/11/07/Tunisia-adopts-strategy-to-fight-terrorism-.html

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Fighting between rival forces kill 29 in central Somali city

Nov 7, 2016

Nearly 30 people have been killed in fierce clashes between regional forces in the central Somali city of Galkayo, which is divided between two semi-autonomous regions.

Local officials from the regions of Puntland and Galmudug confirmed the clashes on Monday and said 50 others were also wounded.

Officials from Somalia’s semi-autonomous region of Puntland and the neighboring region of Galmudug confirmed the clashes on Monday and said 50 others were also wounded.

Colonel Mohamed Aden, a military officer in Puntland, said 16 soldiers serving in the region’s armed forces had been killed and 30 been wounded since the outbreak of violence on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Hirsi Yusuf Barre, mayor of southern Galkayo, said 13 forces died and 20 others were wounded in the region of Galmudug.

The clans in the two Somali regions have a history of disputes over land and water resources.

The latest clashes erupted after a dispute over buildings planned to be built in Galkayo.

Despite efforts by the central government to resolve tribal disputes and militancy, parts of the country still remain under the control of clans and militias.

The African country has also been the scene of deadly clashes between government forces and al-Shabab militants since 2006.

The Al-Qaeda-affiliated militants have been pushed out of Mogadishu, and other major cities by government and African Union troops, but they continue to carry out incursions in the capital city.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2016/11/07/492535/Somalia-Galkayo-Puntland-Galmudug

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North America

 

FBI interviewing Muslims over terror threat on Election Day

November 08, 2016

WASHINGTON - FBI investigators interviewed Muslims in Texas this weekend after warnings that al-Qaeda may target the state on the eve of Election Day, The Dallas Morning News reported, citing a Muslim community leader said.

The North Texas Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (FBI) has received reports that Muslims from Kansas, Oklahoma, Florida and Texas were questioned by FBI agents, according to Alia Salem, Cair’s director.

“It was made apparent to us that the FBI has a list of a couple hundred people they are wanting to visit and ask a series of eight generic questions intended to drum up information about the attacks,” Salem said.

CAIR confirmed that three interviews took place over the weekend and that it received reports of five more. A representative in the FBI’s Dallas field office declined to comment on the reports, the newspaper said.

On Friday, US intelligence officials alerted joint terrorism task forces that al-Qaeda could be planning the attacks the day before the election, according to CBS News. Authorities are taking the threat seriously, a source told the television network, though it could be “aspirational” because it lacked specificity.

“The FBI and [Department of Homeland Security], working with our federal, state and local counterparts, share and assess intelligence on a daily basis and will continue to work closely with law enforcement and intelligence community partners to identify and disrupt any potential threat to public safety,” the unnamed source told CBS News.

Salem warned the Muslim community about the investigation in a video posted on Facebook and Twitter on Saturday. She said the interviews are nothing to worry about but that Muslims should be aware of their civil rights before FBI investigators knock on their doors.   

“The FBI is important and serves an important role in America,” she said. “We’re not here to inhibit their work, but to prepare the community in how to address [investigators].”    

If an FBI investigator tries to interview a member of the Muslim community without an attorney present, Salem advised them to request the investigator’s business card and let them know that an attorney will schedule the meeting with them.

Salem said CAIR would provide members of the Muslim community an attorney free of charge should they need one.

“Muslims, along with fellow Americans, are committed to doing their job in helping to make our community safer,” she said.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/international/08-Nov-2016/fbi-interviewing-muslims-over-terror-threat-on-election-day

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German talk show slammed after Muslim guest allegedly ‘justifies jihad’

7 Nov, 2016

The German public has been outraged by the latest edition of talk show ‘Anne Will’. Discussing why more and more young people radicalize, one of the guests – a niqab-clad Muslim woman – justified young Muslims going to Syria to fight alongside jihadists.

The show, broadcast at prime time on German ARD channel on Sunday, started off calmly, with a number of experts invited to discuss the alarming trend of youth radicalization. Among them were a father who lost his daughter to Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), an expert on Islam, a Berlin-based imam and a CDU politician who lobbies for a ban on Muslim full-face veils.

Another guest was Nora Illi, Muslim women’s commissioner for the Islamic Central Council Switzerland (IZRS). She came to the show niqab-clad and this became the first thing that aroused public discontent, as the niqab is a Muslim piece of clothing that obscures both body and face, and is largely viewed as “a symbol of radical Islam.”

Illi described how at the age of 18 she, a common girl from Zurich, converted to Islam and found “diversity and respect” in the religion. She spoke of it being a right of every Muslim to practice their religion, for instance by wearing traditional attire and being allowed to pray at the appropriate time, whether at work or in a public place.

The Swiss national complained that in Germany and generally in non-Muslim states, Muslims are largely excluded from society by attempts to prevent them from practicing their religion in public. Illi claimed that this is the turning point for the youth to radicalize: when young people are not allowed by society to practice their beliefs freely, disoriented, they turn to more radical manifestations of their religion.

However, what caused the public to explode was the news anchor’s decision to read out an excerpt from an essay by Illi published on the Council’s website back in 2014. In it, Illi justified the choice of Muslims who travel to Syria to fight against the regime of President Assad, as this choice is made because Muslims are, she claims, repressed in most non-Muslim countries and join jihad in an effort to break free from this repression.

The reaction to these words from Illi’s fellow-guests was immediate shock. The CDU’s Wolfgang Bosbach and Islam expert Ahmad Mansour both called the speech “terrorism propaganda on TV,” slamming the news anchor for allowing such statements to be broadcast on-air and heard by millions of Germans.

However, what caused the public to explode was the news anchor’s decision to read out an excerpt from an essay by Illi published on the Council’s website back in 2014. In it, Illi justified the choice of Muslims who travel to Syria to fight against the regime of President Assad, as this choice is made because Muslims are, she claims, repressed in most non-Muslim countries and join jihad in an effort to break free from this repression.

Full report at:

https://www.rt.com/news/365646-muslim-germany-show-scandal/

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'French Muslims must make an effort to adapt to France'

07 Nov 2016

The 77-year-old former defence minister chosen to head France's new Foundation for Islam in France on Monday called on conservative Muslims to try harder to integrate into society.

The appointment of Jean-Pierre Chevenement (see photo below) sparked controversy in August, with many questioning why the post went not to a Muslim, but to a political veteran known for his rigidly secular views.

Shortly after his nomination, he came under fire for tweeting that Muslims should "be discreet, like everyone else", in the midst of fiery debate over the "burkini" full-body swimsuit.

On Monday, he told a group of foreign correspondents he found it "in very bad taste of those (burkini-wearing) women to go bathing two weeks after the Nice attack, 20 or 30 kilometres (miles) away" from where 86 people were killed by a rampaging radicalised truck driver.

"It was bound to cause surprise, consternation and unease in the rest of the population," Chevenement argued.

"Out of friendship for my compatriots of Muslim origin I'm asking them to make a little effort to adapt to the customs of the host society."

But Chevenement, who served as interior, defence and education minister in successive Socialist governments in the 1980s and 1990s, said he opposed further restrictions on Islamic clothing in public places.

Several southern French beach towns near Nice banned the burkini over the summer, but the restrictions were struck down by the courts.

In 2010, France became the first country in Europe to ban the full veil in public spaces.

"I prefer to convince people rather than regulate," Chevenement said, adding that the strict rules separating religion from public life in France were not meant to be "anti-religion".

The Socialist government, in creating an Islamic foundation, aims to open a new chapter in relations between France and its estimated 4-5 million Muslims in the wake of a series of jihadist attacks.

Full report at:

http://www.thelocal.fr/20161107/french-muslims-must-make-more-effort-to-adapt-to-france

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FBI conducts 'sweep' of Muslims in 8 states ahead of election day

7 Nov, 2016

American Muslims in eight states have been contacted by the FBI in recent days to answer a series of questions regarding any connections to Al-Qaeda leaders or knowledge of any terror plots, a civil rights group said.

Officials with the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), a civil rights organization for Muslims in the US, said that over the weekend, FBI agents visited the homes of Muslim-Americans in California, Florida, Kansas, Michigan, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Washington to ask if the individuals knew certain Al-Qaeda leaders killed in a recent US airstrike and if they knew anyone planning to harm Americans domestically or abroad, among other questions, according to CAIR reports and the Washington Post.

"The FBI actions . . . to conduct a sweep of American Muslim leaders the weekend before the election is completely outrageous and . . . borderline unconstitutional," Hassan Shibly, executive director of CAIR-Florida, told the Post. "That’s the equivalent of the FBI visiting churchgoing Christians because someone overseas was threatening to blow up an abortion clinic. It’s that preposterous and outrageous."

The FBI "sweep" over the weekend came immediately after anonymous US officials told CBS News that US intelligence had warned law enforcement around the nation — specifically in Texas, Virginia, and New York — that a possible Al-Qaeda-related attack could occur on the eve of American elections on November 8.

Most of the targeted Muslim-Americans were from Pakistani or Afghan descent, CAIR-Florida said in a press release.

"It was made apparent to us that the FBI has a list of a couple hundred people they are wanting to visit and ask a series of eight generic questions intended to drum up information about the attacks," Alia Salem, director of CAIR in North Texas, told the Dallas Morning News.

FBI officials in Dallas would not comment on the matter, the Morning News reported.

"Muslims, along with fellow Americans, are committed to doing their job in helping to make our community safer," Salem said. "That includes reporting suspicious activity. But for the Muslim community to be targeted as if we are guilty is inappropriate. If [law enforcement] wants to communicate with specific individuals, there should be no hindrance in doing that with an attorney."

Full report at:

https://www.rt.com/usa/365667-muslims-fbi-interview-election/

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Europe

 

In majority-Muslim Bosnia and Herzegovina, a small Jewish community still thrives

The synagogue is tucked into the neighborhood in an unassuming way: wedged between a school on one side and an apartment complex on another, looking over a narrow street facing more gray concrete apartment buildings. It's not hard to see from the exterior that it is a synagogue - Stars of David adorn the windows and towers - but the simple yellow exterior and unassuming vestibule belie the ornate majesty of the interior worship hall. Stained glass windows are set in the doors opening into this colorfully decorated space. Green floral walls and an archway with gold Hebrew lettering direct attention to the inner sanctuary holding the ark where the Torahs are kept. The ark itself is of simple polished wood, and the Torahs are covered in elaborate beaded and hand-sewn mantles.

But for all the beauty, there are some drawbacks. The small Jewish community in Sarajevo totals between 600 and 700 people, some 60 to 70 percent of the estimated 1,000 Jews in Bosnia and Herzegovina, a community that has existed there for 450 years.

Around 30 of them showed up for the Yom Kippur services on the holiest day of the year. There weren't enough prayer books to go around; copies of the Hebrew-Turkish texts were shared between congregants. Being so small, the congregation has no rabbi - the one who lead the services for the High Holy Days in October was imported from Israel - and had to struggle to make sure it had the prescribed number of men to even hold a service (in religious Judaism, 10 men must be present for a religious service, with women not counting toward this number).

The challenge of size

The smallness of the community is actually one of the biggest challenges facing Jews in Bosnia and Herzegovina today. Between 2002 and 2012, there were 43 funerals and two newborn babies in the community, according to Eli Tauber, a senior member. Then, in 2014, 10 new babies were born. In 2015, 12 children joined the community, a veritable baby boom. Now the community is even considering whether it should open a kindergarten.

The people, few as they are, are welcoming and unassuming. In a city where one can see people wearing everything from skinny jeans and full-face makeup to full-face veils, a few women wearing long skirts don't stand out. The men tend to wear hats in public to keep their heads covered rather than yarmulkes, a common practice in societies where Jews want to blend in.

"We feel integrated but not assimilated," said Jakob Finci, the president of the Jewish community in BiH, and former ambassador to Switzerland. Integration is a mark of pride for any Jewish community, but assimilation is a bogeyman, connected with fears of losing Jews to intermarriage and secularism. "Some friends suggested to me that this doesn't mean they like us, and maybe it also means that they are too busy hating each other; they don't have time to hate the Jews."

No heavy security

The experience of Bosnia's Jews stands in stark contrast to the rest of Europe. In one week in July 2014, eight synagogues in a Paris suburb were firebombed. Jews were specifically targeted and killed in the kosher supermarket siege three days after the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris in 2015. That same year, attacks on Jews in Germany reached a five-year high representing the most in any EU state. In 2016, the Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish NGO based in the United States dedicated to combating anti-Semitism, has so far recorded more than 20 incidents of harassment, hate speech or outright attacks targeting Jews in Europe.

Many right-wing critics will say that rising numbers of Muslims entering Europe means they bring their anti-Semitic views with them. So it would follow, then, that in Europe's one and only Muslim country, Jews would be harassed daily, with all their facilities on lockdown 24/7, right?

"The door [to our synagogue] is always open, and we don't have any heavy guard," said Finci. Unlike most Jewish buildings in other parts of the world, there is no security guard, no metal detector, no pat-down and no intense questioning about who you are and why you are there. Walking into the Sarajevo Synagogue, it turns out, is as easy as knocking.

"If I count from 1995, we have never had any attack on the Jewish community," Finci told DW. "We feel safe with this openness. One day something will maybe happen and then it will prove that I am not right, but for time being, this is our way of living."

"In Belgrade and Zagreb, there are policemen and ID cards [involved] and people tracking who you are and where you are," said Tauber of the security measures Jewish communities in neighboring states must take. "We don't feel any kind of open anti-Semitism."

Full report at:

http://www.dw.com/en/in-majority-muslim-bosnia-and-herzegovina-a-small-jewish-community-still-thrives/a-36299022

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German talk show slammed after Muslim guest allegedly ‘justifies jihad’

7 Nov, 2016

The German public has been outraged by the latest edition of talk show ‘Anne Will’. Discussing why more and more young people radicalize, one of the guests – a niqab-clad Muslim woman – justified young Muslims going to Syria to fight alongside jihadists.

The show, broadcast at prime time on German ARD channel on Sunday, started off calmly, with a number of experts invited to discuss the alarming trend of youth radicalization. Among them were a father who lost his daughter to Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), an expert on Islam, a Berlin-based imam and a CDU politician who lobbies for a ban on Muslim full-face veils.

Another guest was Nora Illi, Muslim women’s commissioner for the Islamic Central Council Switzerland (IZRS). She came to the show niqab-clad and this became the first thing that aroused public discontent, as the niqab is a Muslim piece of clothing that obscures both body and face, and is largely viewed as “a symbol of radical Islam.”

Illi described how at the age of 18 she, a common girl from Zurich, converted to Islam and found “diversity and respect” in the religion. She spoke of it being a right of every Muslim to practice their religion, for instance by wearing traditional attire and being allowed to pray at the appropriate time, whether at work or in a public place.

The Swiss national complained that in Germany and generally in non-Muslim states, Muslims are largely excluded from society by attempts to prevent them from practicing their religion in public. Illi claimed that this is the turning point for the youth to radicalize: when young people are not allowed by society to practice their beliefs freely, disoriented, they turn to more radical manifestations of their religion.

However, what caused the public to explode was the news anchor’s decision to read out an excerpt from an essay by Illi published on the Council’s website back in 2014. In it, Illi justified the choice of Muslims who travel to Syria to fight against the regime of President Assad, as this choice is made because Muslims are, she claims, repressed in most non-Muslim countries and join jihad in an effort to break free from this repression.

The reaction to these words from Illi’s fellow-guests was immediate shock. The CDU’s Wolfgang Bosbach and Islam expert Ahmad Mansour both called the speech “terrorism propaganda on TV,” slamming the news anchor for allowing such statements to be broadcast on-air and heard by millions of Germans.

However, what caused the public to explode was the news anchor’s decision to read out an excerpt from an essay by Illi published on the Council’s website back in 2014. In it, Illi justified the choice of Muslims who travel to Syria to fight against the regime of President Assad, as this choice is made because Muslims are, she claims, repressed in most non-Muslim countries and join jihad in an effort to break free from this repression.

The reaction to these words from Illi’s fellow-guests was immediate shock. The CDU’s Wolfgang Bosbach and Islam expert Ahmad Mansour both called the speech “terrorism propaganda on TV,” slamming the news anchor for allowing such statements to be broadcast on-air and heard by millions of Germans.

Full report at:

https://www.rt.com/news/365646-muslim-germany-show-scandal/

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'French Muslims must make an effort to adapt to France'

07 Nov 2016

The 77-year-old former defence minister chosen to head France's new Foundation for Islam in France on Monday called on conservative Muslims to try harder to integrate into society.

The appointment of Jean-Pierre Chevenement (see photo below) sparked controversy in August, with many questioning why the post went not to a Muslim, but to a political veteran known for his rigidly secular views.

Shortly after his nomination, he came under fire for tweeting that Muslims should "be discreet, like everyone else", in the midst of fiery debate over the "burkini" full-body swimsuit.

On Monday, he told a group of foreign correspondents he found it "in very bad taste of those (burkini-wearing) women to go bathing two weeks after the Nice attack, 20 or 30 kilometres (miles) away" from where 86 people were killed by a rampaging radicalised truck driver.

"It was bound to cause surprise, consternation and unease in the rest of the population," Chevenement argued.

"Out of friendship for my compatriots of Muslim origin I'm asking them to make a little effort to adapt to the customs of the host society."

But Chevenement, who served as interior, defence and education minister in successive Socialist governments in the 1980s and 1990s, said he opposed further restrictions on Islamic clothing in public places.

Several southern French beach towns near Nice banned the burkini over the summer, but the restrictions were struck down by the courts.

In 2010, France became the first country in Europe to ban the full veil in public spaces.

"I prefer to convince people rather than regulate," Chevenement said, adding that the strict rules separating religion from public life in France were not meant to be "anti-religion".

The Socialist government, in creating an Islamic foundation, aims to open a new chapter in relations between France and its estimated 4-5 million Muslims in the wake of a series of jihadist attacks.

Full report at:

http://www.thelocal.fr/20161107/french-muslims-must-make-more-effort-to-adapt-to-france

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Morocco fishmonger protests turning political

Nov 7, 2016

About 2,000 people have staged a new protest in the Moroccan capital, Rabat, in the latest of a string of rallies over the death of a fishmonger blamed on police.

The protesters, carrying Berber flags and pictures of the vendor, marched peacefully toward the parliament building in Rabat on Monday and chanted slogans against the ruling elite.

Morocco has been hit by protests since Mouhcine Fikri was crushed to death on October 28 when he climbed into a garbage compactor truck to retrieve the fish that had been confiscated from him and thrown into the truck by police.

“The death of Mouhcine is like a death for all Moroccans,” said the 22-year-old Khadija Zerwal, one of the demonstrators at the Rabat rally, adding, “This won’t stop until we get dignity and fairness.”

The protests blame police and authorities for the death of the vendor, who has become a symbol of resistance against official abuses and the “Makhzen,” a term used to describe the royal establishment.

The Monday rally took place despite the authorities’ decision to jail nearly a dozen people in connection with the death of Fikri. People doubt whether Rabat intends to launch a fair investigation into what exactly happened.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2016/11/07/492495/Morocco-protest-rally-Rabat-fish-seller

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Kurds protest in Germany against Turkish government

Nov 8, 2016

Germany-based Kurds have amassed in front of the parliament building in the capital, Berlin, protesting the “suppressive” policies of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as well as the German government’s relationship with Ankara.

The participants at the Monday rally held up flags of Kurdish groups, including the People’s Defense Units (YPG) and Women’s Protection Units (YPJ), which are fighting Takfiri militancy in Syria and Iraq, Turkey’s neighbors.

Ankara considers the Kurdish groups to be affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been fighting for an independent Kurdish state inside Turkey since 1984. Turkey has banned the PKK and has been carrying out military strikes in both Syria and Iraq with the stated aim of targeting the Daesh Takfiri terror group and the Kurdish forces.

Turkey has also been engaged in deadly confrontations with members of the Kurdish minority in its southeast, and recently arrested the two co-leaders of the pro-Kurdish opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) along with nine other lawmakers from the party.

The protesters in Germany also carried signs that stated “It’s enough,” signaling their request for an end to Ankara’s “warlike politics of suppression,” as in the words of a rally organizer.

“We do not want, every day, to sustain a new pain. We do not want the whole country to become a ball of fire and, with a blind war, the people to be defeated again,” the organizer said. “This can only be managed with the personal ambitions and interests of Erdogan and a small group around him.”

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2016/11/08/492640/Germany-Kurds-protest-rally-Turkey

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Southeast Asia

 

The Cultural Logic Of Jakarta’s Riotous Protest

NOVEMBER 8, 2016

This week Jakarta saw a clash between the Islamic fundamentalists and the government in a protest seeking the removal of the governor, a Chinese Catholic.

It is important to look at the cultural logic of the protest as it exists within the context of regional and global politics. The protest is against an Indonesian-born Chinese governor said to have uttered blasphemy re: the falsehood of Surah Al Maidah, said to be used against him to legitimize the ouster. The governor has clarified that he was wrongly quoted and that clarification was also supported by the country’s head of religious affairs. Still, the radical Islamists did not want to accept the explanation. The sentiment is, and perhaps has always been this: non-Muslims should not be allowed to govern Muslims. This is a similar stand in Malaysia, taken by the Malaysian Islamic party (PAS/Partai Islam SeMalaya) and perhaps the sentiment of those in other majority-Muslim countries. Here is the cultural logic, framed as a global issue:

How does this logic translate into the complexity of Islamism in Southeast Asia?

The continuing rise of Islamic Fundamentalism ala ISIS in Southeast Asia? This is what the region will be seeing as a complex and continuing interplay of ideologies. Indonesia will be growing as an area of political-contestation calling for an Islamic State, perhaps making alliances with similar forces in Malaysia (PAS), radical Islam in Mindanao, and Southern Thailand.

How will Australia react being seen as pro-America and anti-Muslim?

How will Singapore brace itself — being predominantly Chinese and viewed as pro-Israel?

How will Malaysia play the game of globalization and its consequences, given Prime Minister Najib’s new alliance with Communist China — a world power that has always been out to crush Islamic fundamentalism?

The Islamists want the Catholic Chinese “Ahok” out. It is an age-old racial clash between the “non-syncretist” Indonesian/Javanese-Muslims and the Christian Chinese. It is a similar situation in Malaysia; one that lead to the bloody racial riots on May 13, 1969 that led to the crafting of political-economic policies consolidation the power of the Malay-Muslims. How will this scenario, sign, symbol, significance of the Jakarta protest play in race-religious relations in Malaysia given the emerging interest of the Najib regime in making Malaysia wide open to Communist Chinese.

This is might be century of the “Asian Pivot’ as President Obama might say of the importance of the regions of East Asia and Southeast Asia — of the Spratly Islands and the need for American bases there to make the world “safe for American democracy”. But there is a sense of a vacuum developing, Of the USA losing its appeal and later military and of course now economic influence to China. Yes, China, not only is rising but hegemonizing and flooding the region with cheap goods the world doesn’t need. But a filling in of a power — political-economic and gradually military — nonetheless. These are developments that might contribute the failure of the America global-economic-corporate driven agenda called The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement – that “NAFTA on Steroids Grand Obama Plan – whose objective is to stop China from economically controlling the region, and the world as well.

That’s the political-economic and strategic aspect of the context of the rise of counter-hegemonic forces: the playing with anti-authority of the American hegemony. The Jakarta riot and the fire that came with it is another indicator of major global challenge in the region: counter-hegemony of Westernism inspired by the growth of an American creation called ISIS. That Frankenstein of the post-modern realpolitikal world-gangland-warfare moving from one theatre to another: From Middle East to Asia and into the Southeast Asian region of the Malay world called aesthetically, the Nusantara.

There will be a contest though: the rushing in of a more powerful force ala’ Islamic State (wherever the ‘seat of global government’ is.) Indonesia has the largest population of Muslims in the world. Next, China. Muslim, though vary in the degree of “piousness” and political identity, share a similar view” the Ummah is larger than the nationality, and the Islamic State is larger than the nation state, and most importantly Islamic Law is more supreme than the state Constitution. Death for Islam is better than being alive for Secularism, The Afterlife is better than this World.

The Muslim population in Southeast Asia is now 250 million. Think of how radicalization will impact regional politics. In a few decades, when dynamics continue to shift, and when Islamism will spread like wildfire, albeit certain issues are of national-character, and when the elusive yet globalizing ISIS fight using newer strategies targeting Southeast Asia, what will happen? With China and Russia — twin Marxist-Maoist-Leninist global millenaristic-suparnationalistic movements-albeit atheistic — step into the Islamically radicalized Southeast Asia-Nusantara region to stop the rise of Islam? Will Russia do a Chechnya? Will China do a Uighur” Will both, China and Russia do a Syria on the Islamic State in Asia? Will the new USA perhaps under a hawkish Hillary do a World War III?

Complex. Perplexing. The Butterfly Effect is here again. Keep looking at flapping wings and the ripples produced. Like motifs on a Persian carpet and like the nature of god, there is no beginning there is no end to the tsunami created by that lone butterfly.

What do you political analysts out there think?

http://www.eurasiareview.com/08112016-the-cultural-logic-of-jakartas-riotous-protest-oped/

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How Jakarta’s first Chinese Indonesian governor became an easy target for radical Islamic groups

November 7, 2016

Jakarta saw its biggest protest in years on Friday, prompting president Joko Widodo to cancel his planned visit to Australia.

Some Western media report that the rally of some 200,000 people marching in protest against the Chinese-Christian Jakarta governor Basuki Tjahaya Purnama, popularly known as Ahok, was a “show of strength” and a sign of radical Islam “taking hold” in Jakarta.

Indeed, there were many Muslim organisations that joined the rally, demanding Ahok to be jailed for blasphemy for “insulting Islam” over his comments criticising his opponents for using Koran verses against him. Groups such as the Islamic Student Association (HMI), the Islamic Mujaheedin Assembly (MMI) and Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia all went along in the rally. The hardline Islamic militia group the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), notorious for violent thuggery and attacks against minorities, organised the rally and was the loudest and most visible on the scene.

But the reality of the November 4 rally in Jakarta is much more complex than growing Islamic radicalism in Indonesia.

Racism, the political agenda of Purnama’s opponents in the upcoming gubernatorial race, and discontent from the urban poor over Purnama’s policy on forced evictions all factor in the protest turnout in addition to religious motives to defend Islam.

Who is Ahok?

The rally on Friday demanded the police to jail Jakarta governor Basuki Tjahaya Purnama. Reuters/Iqro Rinaldi

Last week’s rally was not the first protest against Ahok. FPI organised a rally in October 16, attracting thousands, after a video of Ahok criticising his political opponents for referencing a verse in the Koran to prevent people from voting for him went viral. He is running for governor in next year’s Jakarta gubernatorial election.

Ahok has apologised. But FPI reported him to the police for blasphemy, punishable with up to five years in prison under Indonesian law. The rally on Friday demanded the police to jail Ahok.

Ahok became the first Chinese Indonesian Jakarta governor when Jokowi left the seat after winning the presidential election. He was Jokowi’s deputy governor.

Ahok is an outlier in Indonesia’s politics, which is dominated by the Javanese Muslim majority. His ethnicity and religion make him a double minority in the world’s most populous Muslim majority. He also doesn’t come from Java, where Jakarta is located, and where national government administration in centred. He was regent of Belitung Timur in the Bangka-Belitung Islands. Before holding leadership position in the Jakarta administration, he was a member of parliament with the Golkar Party. He is a “rural kid” who came to the “capital”.

Full report at:

http://theconversation.com/how-jakartas-first-chinese-indonesian-governor-became-an-easy-target-for-radical-islamic-groups-68178

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Malaysia's Najib risks backlash at home after deals with China

Nov. 7, 2016

By Joseph Sipalan

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak is facing grumblings back home that he is "selling off" his country after returning from China with about $34 billion worth of deals, which could help lift the economy ahead of elections.

The concerns emerge from a deep-seated distrust of the Chinese among Malaysia's Malay-Muslim majority, who form the support base for the ruling United Malay National Organisation (UMNO).

Najib was quick to dismiss the concerns after concluding his six-day visit to China.

"Some have scaremongered that Malaysia is being sold off. This is absurd and absolutely false," Najib said in a statement on Friday, insisting the projects will be owned and run by Malaysians.

The deals include Malaysia's first significant defense deal with China, an agreement to buy four Chinese naval vessels.

Najib's visit followed that of Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, who announced his country's "separation" from the United States and signed agreements and loan pledges worth an estimated $24 billion with Beijing.

UMNO leaders expect Najib to brief them soon so the party can start allaying any fears about China's rising influence in Malaysia, said Shahidan Kassim, a senior member of the party's supreme council and a federal minister.

"All of this has its pros and cons, but in UMNO we must have a policy statement on this," he told Reuters.

ETHNICITY AND RELIGION

Ethnicity and religion are sensitive issues in Malaysia, where Muslim Malays form a little over 50 percent of the population of 31 million. Ethnic Chinese make up about 25 percent and ethnic Indians about 7 percent.

Malaysia's ethnic Chinese have long been a scapegoat for the Malay community, with UMNO leaders pointing to ethnic Chinese economic dominance to unite Malays and keep a firm grip on political power.

Last year, ethnic ties became strained under the weight of two opposing demonstrations largely split along racial lines. A 'Malay pride' rally blocked off Chinatown in Kuala Lumpur in a show of strength following an anti-government rally dominated by Malaysian-Chinese. Najib's government summoned China's ambassador over his remarks ahead of the "Malay pride' rally.

Clashes are expected again this year as thousands of anti-government demonstrators plan to protest in Kuala Lumpur on Nov. 19, calling for Najib to resign over the money-laundering scandal linked to Malaysian state investment fund, One Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

A member of UMNO's policy-making Supreme Council, Irmohizam Ibrahim, said Najib's deals with China have stoked concerns among party leaders.

"We're expecting the prime minister to address these issues at our next Supreme Council meeting," Irmohizam told Reuters.

"We will then need to go down and explain to the grassroots that ... the deals are purely for the economy and trade," said Irmohizam, who also serves as Najib's strategic director in the party.

Malaysia's opposition is questioning the China agreements but for different reasons, saying it is tilting the country toward Beijing.

Full report at:

http://www.businessinsider.com/r-malaysias-najib-risks-backlash-at-home-after-deals-with-china-2016-11?IR=T

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5 Islamic student association members arrested over alleged attacks

November 8, 2016

The Jakarta Police arrested five Islamic Student Association (HMI) members early on Tuesday in connection with an attack on police officers during a massive rally in Jakarta on Nov.4.

The police identified one of the five HMI members arrested as Ismail Ibrahim, who was allegedly caught on camera attacking a police officer during the rally.

“He [Ismail Ibrahim] was arrested at the residence of a Regional Representatives Council [DPD] member, Basri Salama, in Pejaten, South Jakarta,” Jakarta Police spokesperson Sr. Comr. Awi Setiyono said as quoted by kompas.com in Jakarta on Tuesday.

He said Ismail had been living at Basri’s house since 2015 as they were both from the same hometown. “He moved to Basri’s house in 2015 because he could not afford to pay his boarding house. Basri offered him a place in his house because they are both from Tidore,” said Awi.

The four others arrested comprise HMI general secretary Amy Jaya Halim and three HMI members, identified only by their initials, RR, MRD and RM.

Awi said the police had arrested the five HMI members for suspected involvement in rioting following the massive rally. They are all undergoing intensive questioning at the Jakarta Police headquarters.

Full report at:

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2016/11/08/5-islamic-student-association-members-arrested-over-alleged-attacks.html

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