The Spanish government could designate major Muslim feasts as public holidays.
ISIS Executes Iraqi Man By Drowning Him In Detergent Liquid
Spanish Government Considers Making Islamic Feasts Public Holidays
Indonesia’s Nahdlatul Ulema To Encourage Young Muslims To Promote Moderate Islam
US Army Revises Rules On Beards, Turbans For Muslim, Sikh Troops
Over 150 Saudi-Led Forces Killed, Injured by Yemenis near Bab al-Mandeb
Homs: ISIL Offensive on T4 Airbase Repelled, 115 Terrorists Killed, Wounded
38 ISIS militants ‘neutralized’ in Turkish air strikes
Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi Appoints 3 Successors
Syria, Iraq urge joining forces against terrorism
Car bomb in Syria coastal regime bastion kills 15: monitor
ISIS car bombs kills 14 in Iraq’s capital Baghdad
Bahrainis hold nationwide rallies in support of top Shia cleric
70 percent of east Mosul retaken from ISIS: Iraqi general
Prominent Egyptian activist Ahmed Maher released from prison
PMU ‘accused of war crimes’ using arms sent to Iraq
Gaps Widening Among Terrorists after Aleppo Defeat
People Force Al-Nusra Terrorists out of Western Damascus Town
US, European Weapons Used To Commit War Crimes In Iraq: Amnesty International
Muslims stood with us after Paris and Orlando: Where’s our support for the victims in Istanbul?
Islam In France: Deputy Mayor Sends Police To School To Protest Arabic-Language Classes
Decision To Protect Masood Azhar From Censure ‘Professional & Objective’, Says China
Philippines kills leader of ISIS-linked militant group in clash
M’sia’s NRD agrees to remove ‘bin’ from Chinese-Muslim child’s name
Help flood victims instead of carrying on political feuds: Zahid
Jakarta Police Admit Law Enforcement Against Intolerant Groups Weak
Al-Qaeda Chief Denounces Islamic State ‘Liars’
Canada Lists AQIS and IM as Terrorist Organizations
US Designates Osama Bin Laden’s Son A Specially Designated Global Terrorist
As Inauguration Day nears, Muslims wonder whether Trump's tough talk will turn into action
Blast Rocks Western Turkish City Of Izmir
Jordan Warns Against Moving US Embassy To Occupied Jerusalem
Netanyahu questioned for second time in graft probe
Two killed in new Turkey attack as Istanbul gunman hunted
Turkish police kill two suspected attackers after car bomb in Izmir
Istanbul nightclub attacker probably Uighur, links established: deputy PM
US house votes to condemn UN’s Israel resolution
If not in Syria, we should have fought Takfiris in Iran: Leader
Ethnic Clashes Kill 15, Wound Dozens In Southeast DR Congo
Chad closes border with Libya over threat of terror infiltration
Troops Arrest 1400 Boko Haram Suspects In One Week
Top Lashkar Terrorist Muzaffar Naikoo Killed In Encounter in Kashmir
J-K: Terrorists open fire outside NC MLC Showkat Ganie’s Shopian residence
Discourse in Kashmir shifting from azaadi to 'primacy of Islam', says Indian Army
218 Indian fishermen freed by Pakistan; one dies before release
In Christian United States, Hindus make a proportional splash
Apex Committee Resolves To ‘Choke’ Terror Funding In Punjab
Quality Edu Youth’s Only Weapon To Rule Balochistan: COAS
Over 150 arrested for attempting to hold 'pro-blasphemy law' demonstration in Lahore
Jamaat-e-Islami, Karachi, Demands Death Penalty For Adulterators
PML-N UK president wounded in assassination attempt
Imran advises Qatari prince not to appear in SC
Punjab launches app for women to report harassment
Myanmar Accused Of 'Whitewash' As Panel Rejects Claims It Is Persecuting Rohingya
Foreigners among 6 militants killed on Helmand-Nimroz highway
Afghanistan still dangerous and challenges remain there: Pentagon
Explosion in Jalalabad city, casualties feared
Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau
ISIS executes Iraqi man by drowning him in detergent liquid
5 January 2017
ISIS released a new video showing them executing an Iraqi man in Mosul by drowning him in a disinfectant detergent liquid.
The video documents what ISIS has been up to during the battle of Mosul, now in its third month since operations to regain the city began.
The extremist group claims the man was in contact with an Iraqi radio station and had broadcasted the call while drowning him.
They said that the victim supported “the government’s campaign to restore Mosul and said that the city needs to be cleansed with Dettol detergent.”
The number of ISIS suicide attacks reached 1,112 operations in Iraq and Syria 2016 alone, where 761 targeted the Iraqi armed forces and Peshmerga, 153 targeted the PKK, 133 of them the Syrian regime forces while 83 hit Syrian opposition groups and Turkish forces.
5 Jan 2017
The Spanish government could designate major Muslim feasts as public holidays, a senior diplomat has said.
Javier Herrera-García Canturri, a career diplomat who currently advises the country’s Ministry of Justice on inter-faith relations, said the government was “considering” the move when it unveils a package of labour reforms later this year.
In an interview with news agency Europa Press, he also said the government may allow people to give up to 0.7 per cent of their income tax to a variety of faiths, including Islam, Judaism, Protestant churches or Buddhism.
Currently, they can only choose to do this for the Catholic Church – or alternatively designate the funds for the government’s cultural budget.
As Islam, along with some other faiths, does not have a formal institutional structure, it is unclear which organisations would actually receive the funds.
Public holidays vary widely across the country, although each locality is limited to a maximum of 13 per year, nine of which are decided by the central government. If the government did introduce Muslim holidays, it would therefore have to eliminate others of a Christian or civil nature.
Currently, six of the nation-wide holidays mark Christian feasts, including Christmas, Epiphany, Good Friday and All Saints Day. The others are secular.
Since 2010, the North African exclaves of Ceuta and Melilla – which have been on the frontline in Europe’s migrant crisis, and whose population is nearly 50 per cent Muslim – have celebrated the Muslim feast of Eid al-Adha as one of their local public holidays.
However, according to the government’s Centre for Sociological Investigations, less than two per cent of the wider Spanish population identifies as Muslim.
Spain’s governing centre-right People’s Party only recently scraped back into power following two inconclusive elections. Since being reappointed Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy has pledged to fight populism, saying the growing anti-establishment mood in Europe would wane in 2017.
“If traditional political parties defend themselves with the same energy and good arguments as opponents of the system do, then things will stabilize,” he claimed.
He made no mention of the migrant crisis.
January 6, 2017
Indonesia’s largest Muslim organization Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) is taking steps to encourage young Muslims to take a greater role in promoting moderate Islamic values, an NU official has said.
NU executive Imam Aziz said a large number of young Muslims in Indonesia remained untouched by activities held by his organization. These youths had played key roles in several aspects, including economic and social culture, in society, he further said. “They have the potential to become a new power that can help promote moderate Islam,” Imam said on the sidelines of a discussion held by the Wahid Foundation in Jakarta on Thursday.
Imam said that based on his observations, the younger generation of Muslims nowadays tended to avoid being affiliated with politics and instead preferred to engage more in social activities such as philanthropic projects and creative industry events. He said NU should find the best approaches to gain their support in promoting moderate Islam.
“NU is known as a religious organization. However, it has also a strong image in politics. That’s the challenge,” he said.
Imam said although most young Muslims had developed their critical thinking capacity, there was still a chance they might be lured by radical teachings if no action was taken to get them to support moderate Islam.
Reports from the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) reveal that the number of religious intolerance cases in Indonesia has grown in recent years. More than 100 incidents have occurred throughout 2016, higher than in 2015 and 2014, which respectively saw 87 and 74 cases. (ebf)
US Army revises rules on beards, turbans for Muslim, Sikh troops
6 Jan 2017
The US Army has taken new steps to make it easier for Sikhs, Muslims and other religious minorities to obtain approval to dress and groom themselves according to their religious customs while serving in the military, a spokesman said on Thursday.
Army Secretary Eric Fanning, in a memorandum signed this week, revised the uniform policy to set appearance standards for people seeking religious accommodations to wear beards, turbans and head scarfs.
The new rules also enable brigade-level commanders to approve the religious accommodations, an authority that previously rested with the Army secretary. Denial of a religious accommodation may be appealed as high as the Army secretary.
An approved religious accommodation will continue throughout the soldier's career and may not be revoked or modified without approval of the Army secretary, the memo says. The accommodation will not affect job specialties or duty locations, except in a few limited cases, the memo says.
"Our goal is to balance soldier readiness and safety with the accommodation of our soldiers' faith practices, and this latest directive allows us to do that," Lieutenant Colonel Randy Taylor said in a statement.
The new rules were welcomed by the Sikh Coalition.
"We are pleased with the progress that this new policy represents for religious tolerance and diversity," said coalition Legal Director Harsimran Kaur.
Sikhs have a long tradition of military service in India and elsewhere and have served in the United States as far back as World War One. But uniform reforms after the Vietnam War made it difficult for them to serve without violating the tenets of their faith.
The new rules permit religious accommodations for beards, but they may not be longer than 2 inches unless rolled or tied up. Soldiers with a religious accommodation may wear a turban or under-turban known as a patka.
Soldiers with religious accommodations still must be able to wear combat helmets and other protective headgear and must modify their hairstyles to achieve a proper fit.
The new rules allow head scarfs, or hijabs, for Muslim women. They must be of a similar colour to the uniform and be free of designs or markings, unless they are camouflage and worn with a camouflage uniform.
Hair grooming rules have been amended to allow for braids, cornrows, twists or locks, the memo said.
Jan 05, 2017
The sources said the Yemeni Army carried out the attack on a gathering of the Saudi-led forces in Sha'ab al-Jin near Bab al-Mandeb region, inflicting over 150 casualties on them.
They further added that the attack also ended in at least ten military vehicles of the Saudi-led coalition forces being destroyed.
The local sources also noted that among the casualties were militants who were recently transferred to the port city of Aden, located 170km to Bab al-Mandeb, on a Turkish plane.
The contingent of Saudi-led forces arrived in the strategic region just two days ago, apparently for a major military assault on the Yemeni forces.
On Saturday, the Yemeni security sources disclosed that the Turkish plane has transferred Al-Qaeda terrorists from Syria's Northern city of Aleppo to Aden and evacuated wounded pro-Saudi militias to medical treatment centers outside the country when returning to Turkey.
"The Turkish airplane landed at Aden International Airport to transfer the pro-Saudi mercenaries wounded in the Yemeni forces' offensives in Ta'iz province for treatment in Turkish hospitals," the Arabic-language al-Ahd news website quoted informed sources as saying.
The sources noted that some 150 al-Qaeda terrorists stepped out of the plane as soon as it landed, adding that they had been relocated from Syria's Aleppo to Aden.
Jan 05, 2017
The Syrian army's rapid reaction could kill and injure 115 ISIL militants and destroy 9 tanks and military vehicles of the terrorists.
The army troops deployed in the Southern parts of T4 airbase also started operations to purge the terrorists from Sharifah town.
Military sources said that the Syrian army troops have fully liberated the Northern, Western and Eastern heights of the town so far.
Reports from Homs also said earlier today that the Syrian ground and air forces continued military operations against the ISIL in the province, inflicting heavy casualties and damage on the terrorists.
Full report at:
5 January 2017
Turkish warplanes and artillery have struck ISIS targets in Syria, ‘neutralizing’ 38 of the group’s militants, Turkey’s military said in a statement on Thursday.
In a round-up of its military operations over the last 24 hours in support of rebels in northern Syria, the army said air strikes by Turkish fighter jets on 28 ISIS targets destroyed shelters, command centers, weapons and vehicles.
Soumeriya News quoted local sources as saying that while speaking about al-Baghdadi's successor was forbidden in areas controlled by the ISIL in Nineveh province, the terrorist groups' commanders and members have been recently heard speaking about the issue, saying that he has assigned three people as his successors.
The sources who called for anonymity disclosed that "speaking about al-Baghdadi's successor could be an effort to prepare the ground for a post-Baghdadi era; specially, given the fact that al-Baghdadi has disappeared for several weeks, weakening the ISIL leaders and members' morale".
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights had claimed early last month that the ISIL is engaged in efforts to find a successor for the terrorist group's ringleader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
According to the dissident-backed London-based center, information obtained from reliable sources showed that the ISIL leaders in Iraq have called on other commanders of the terrorist group in Raqqa of Syria and the commander of Jeish al-Sham to convene in a secret place in Iraq.
According to the unnamed sources, the ISIL is seeking to hold a meeting to choose a successor for Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi "to run a Caliphate for Muslims".
The news was released as contradictory reports have appeared in recent months on the fate of ISIL leader Al-Baghdadi.
Spokesman of Hashd al-Shaabi (the Iraqi volunteer forces) Ahmad al-Assadi said in mid November that the latest information and intel shows that ISIL Leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is still in Iraq, hiding somewhere outside Mosul.
"The terrorist, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, is in a region between the town of Tal Afar (some 54km North-West of Mosul) and the town of al-Baaj (157km to the South-West of Mosul)," al-Assadi was quoted as saying by Iraq's al-Ma'louma news agency.
He also said that the operations of the volunteer forces cover an area 14,000 sq/km around Mosul that includes the towns of al-Hazar, al-Baaj and its surrounding regions towards Tal Afar.
Based on an agreement made earlier, the Iraqi popular forces and Peshmarga Kurdish troops will not be part of the invading forces inside the two cities of Tal Afar and Mosul, while they will help tighten and maintain the siege on the rims of the two cities. Various units of Iraq's armed forces, including the army, police and anti-terrorism troops, lead the assault.
Al-Assadi's statement is the last in a string of reports on the fate of the notorious ISIL leader. During the last several months, many contradictory reports have surfaced the media about the health conditions and location of Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi.
A prominent Iraqi military analyst said in late October that Riyadh and Ankara had hatched plots to transfer al-Baghdadi from Mosul to Libya, but the massive presence of the popular forces and Russian fighter jets along the bordering areas of Iraq and Syria dissuaded them.
"The two countries were working to take al-Baghdadi to Turkey either by moving him through Mosul and Kirkuk to the North or through al-Qa'em and al-Ratba corridor to Deir Ezzur in Syria and then to Turkey to eventually transfer him to Libya," Safa al-A'asam told al-Ma'louma.
He added that the ISIL concluded that transferring al-Baghdadi through Tal Afar region to Raqqa in Syria is also impossible given the massive presence of Hashd al-Shaabi in the Southern front near Baaj district, South-West of Mosul and Northwest of the province of Nineveh, as well as the numerous flights done by the Russian fighter jets over the Syrian bordering areas with Iraq.
"The ISIL is now working to find a different path through the Iraq-Syria borders to take al-Baghdadi to Turkey and then to Libya or any other countries," al-A'asam said.
The statements came as reports from western Iraq said earlier in October that al-Baghdadi has succumbed to his fatal injuries and died in a region along the border with Syria.
"Al-Baghdadi had been severely wounded in the Al-Anbar battle in Western Iraq in September, and his wounds were so lethal that he could not move freely at all," a local Iraqi source told the Arabic service of the Russian Sputnik news agency in mid October.
The source said despite long treatment in Mosul, the general health conditions of the ISIL leader deteriorated due to "a deep abdominal cut, damage to his liver and crippling wounds in his left limbs".
The source said al-Baghdad lost his life in the town of Al-Baaj some 100km (60 miles) West of Mosul near the border with Syria, but his death is concealed to avoid the loss of morale among ISIL ranks who are faced with a tough war in Mosul and Syria these days.
There have been numerous reports on the fate or location of the ISIL leader in the last two years. As the war ravages over the self-proclaimed capital of the terrorist cult, Mosul, in Western Iraq, Arab media sources said earlier that al-Baghdadi had fled to Raqqa in Syria before the Iraqi army started its operations in Mosul, but his wife was taken.
According to Iraq's Sumeriya News, local sources in Nineveh quoted defected ISIL leaders as saying earlier this year that al-Baghdadi had managed to escape from Mosul to Raqqa, but one of his wives was arrested.
The defected militants stated that senior members of the terrorist group, called the ISIL police, rebelled against al-Baghdadi and called on his supporters to surrender themselves.
The source did not mention who captured Baghdadi's wife, but his words implied that she had been captured during a mutiny and by those who rebelled against the terror leader.
Another report also in early October claimed that “accurate information” showed Baghdadi’s food had been poisoned by unknown individuals and the food was given to him in Baaj district.
Sumeriya News cited a local source in Northwestern Nineveh province as saying that al-Baghdadi and three of his aides had been transferred to an unknown location under strict measures.
Numerous reports had indicated from September or early October that al-Baghdadi and other top commanders of the terrorist cult started evacuating Mosul in anticipation of the Iraqi army's massive attack to take back the city.
The exact location of al-Baghdadi has been a subject of speculation. However the account on sighting al-Baghdadi has intensified the speculations that the ISIL leader was in Mosul before the start of Iraqi forces' operations to retake the strategic city.
Also reports said in June that al-Baghdadi had been seriously wounded in an airstrike in Western Iraq.
Local sources in Iraq's Nineveh province confirmed that Baghdadi and other leaders in the ISIL were wounded in an air raid on one of the ISIL command headquarters close to the Syrian border.
Baghdadi was seriously wounded by an airstrike on March 18, 2015, that killed the three other men he was travelling with.
He was said to be receiving treatment for spinal injuries after being wounded in that strike.
In mid-May, Iraq's local sources disclosed that al-Baghdadi returned to Iraq from Syria and hid in Nineveh province.
"Al-Baghdadi and a group of ISIL commanders have stealthily returned to Iraq's Nineveh province," the Arabic-language Sumeriya News quoted an unnamed local Iraqi source as saying at the time.
Al-Baghdadi returned to Nineveh province through ISIL-controlled desert roads in Iraq and Syria, added the source.
The source noted that Al-Baghdadi hi in an unknown place in Nineveh province.
The ISIL Leader is running a secret life as his life is at stake more than anyone in the world now. Al-Baghdad's terrorist group is under massive airstrike by the Syrian, Russian and Iraqi Air Forces all throughout the Western Iraq and Eastern Syria.
While reports earlier this year said the ISIL leader was always on the move between Iraq's Mosul and Syria's Raqqa - the self-proclaimed capital of the terrorist group - tips and intel revealed in November that al-Baghdadi had moved from the Syrian city of Albu Kamal to the Iraqi city of Mosul in Nineveh province.
In early March, informed intelligence sources disclosed that the al-Baghdadi had moved from Turkey to Libya to escape the hunt by the Baghdad Intelligence Sharing Center after he was traced down and allegedly targeted a number of times in Iraq and the Syria.
"Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi who was injured in Syria was sent to Turkey for treatment and from there he was sent to Libya," the Arabic-language media outlets quoted former Egyptian intelligence officer Hesam Kheirullah as saying.
In December, 2015 sources in Libya said al-Baghdadi had arrived in Sirte, the hometown of the slain Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, which is under the control of the Takfiri groups.
Then in October the same year, Iraq's air force bombed his convoy as he was heading to al-Karable to attend a meeting with ISIL commanders. 25 other ISIL militants were killed in the special operation that was the product of the Baghdad Intelligence Sharing Center where the latest intel arrives from Iranian, Russian, Iraqi and Syrian spy agencies round the clock.
The notorious terrorist leader escaped the attempt on his life narrowly, but with fatal injuries. Few hours after the assault, the spokesman of Iraq's joint forces declared that Al-Baghdadi was injured in the Iraqi airstrike on his convoy and was taken away from the scene by his forces.
Jan 6, 2017
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has stressed the importance of strengthening cooperation and coordination with neighboring Iraq in the fight against foreign-sponsored terrorism and extremist groups.
During a meeting with visiting Iraqi National Security Adviser Faleh al-Fayad in Damascus on Thursday, Assad stated that the two countries should enhance their cooperation in the campaign against terrorist organizations.
The Syrian leader also described terrorism and its destructive Takfiri ideology as the common enemies of his country and Iraq.
Assad also congratulated the Syrian and Iraqi nations over the liberation of Syria’s northwestern city of Aleppo and advances of Iraqi government forces in Mosul, located some 400 kilometers north of the capital Baghdad.
The two sides further underlined that terrorism knows no boundaries, calling for concerted international efforts in the fight against terrorism.
They said not only will the resolution of the ongoing crises in Iraq and Syria shape the future of the Middle East, but it will also influence the entire world.
Syrian government troops and fighters from allied popular defense groups regained full control of Aleppo after foreign-backed militants and their families departed the city to the nearby northwestern city if Idlib.
Jan 6, 2017
BEIRUT: At least 15 people were killed Thursday in a car bombing in Syria's coastal city of Jableh, a bastion of the regime, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor said.
Syrian state television also reported the blast near the town's municipal stadium, blaming it on a suicide bomber.
A local health official told the station the town's hospital had received the bodies of nine dead and was treating 25 wounded.
Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman said it was not clear whether those killed were civilians, regime troops or loyalist fighters.
He said security services had cordoned off the area around the stadium where the explosion took place.
State television showed a burning car surrounded by onlookers. It said the attack had taken place in a crowded street.
Two car bombs in Baghdad claimed by ISIS killed at least 14 people on Thursday, police and medics said, part of a surge in violence across the capital at a time when U.S.-backed Iraqi forces are trying to drive the militants from Mosul in the north.
The Amaq news agency, which supports ISIS, said a parked car loaded with explosives in the al-Obeidi area had targeted a gathering of Shiite Muslims, whom the ultra-hardline Sunni group considers apostates.
Attacks across Baghdad in the past week, some claimed by ISIS, have killed more than 60 people, with violence escalating as US-backed Iraqi forces try to drive the militants from the northern city of Mosul.
Thousands of Bahrainis have marched throughout the kingdom for a second straight day in protest at a push by the ruling Al Khalifa regime to put prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Issa Qassim on trial.
Late on Thursday, the demonstrators amassed on al-Fada’ Square in the northwestern village of Diraz, where the cleric’s home is located, the London-based Bahraini opposition television network Lualua reported.
The protest rally came hours after the Bahraini judiciary once again postponed the trial of the top cleric until the end of this month.
In western Bahrain, the villages of Sanabis, Bouri, Abou-Sabih and Aali also witnessed similar protests.
The protesters were, however, pelted with tear gas canisters and pushed back by regime forces at a housing estate in western Manama.
Bahraini people had also come out in their thousands countrywide in the early hours of Thursday, unified by the same cause to condemn the ruling Al Khalifah regime’s crackdown on opposition
Sheikh Qassim is the spiritual leader of Bahrain’s dissolved opposition bloc, the al-Wefaq National Islamic Society.
Bahrainis rally in support of imprisoned Shia cleric Sheikh Isa Qassem in his native village of Diraz near the capital, Manama, January 6, 2017.
On June 20, 2016, Bahraini authorities stripped Qassem of his citizenship over accusations that he used his position to serve foreign interests and promote “sectarianism” and “violence.” He has denied the allegations.
The religious leader has been incarcerated ever since. The judicial authorities summon him to periodical trials, which they keep postponing on the grounds that they have not arrived at a definitive verdict concerning his charges.
Sheikh Qassim’s native village has also been under siege by regime forces for some six months.
Iraqi forces have retaken around 70 percent of eastern Mosul from Islamic State militants and expect to reach the river bisecting the city in the coming days, Iraq's joint operations commander told Reuters.
Lieutenant General Talib Shaghati, who is also head of the elite counter-terrorism service (CTS) spearheading the campaign to retake the northern city, said the cooperation of residents was helping them advance against Islamic State.
In its 12th week, the offensive has gained momentum since Iraqi forces backed by a U.S.-led coalition renewed their push for the city a week ago, clearing several more eastern districts despite fierce resistance.
"Roughly 65-70 percent of the eastern side has been liberated," Shaghati said in an interview late on Wednesday in the Kurdish capital of Erbil. "I think in the coming few days we will see the full liberation of the eastern side".
The western half of the city remains under the full control of Islamic State, which is fighting to hold on to its largest urban stronghold with snipers and suicide car bombs numbering "in the hundreds" according to Shaghati.
The Mosul assault, involving a 100,000-strong ground force of Iraqi government troops, members of the autonomous Kurdish security forces and mainly Shi'ite militiamen, is the most complex battle in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.
A leading Egyptian activist behind the 2011 uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak has been released from prison after serving a three-year sentence for violating a ban on unauthorized protests.
A lawyer for Ahmed Maher says he was released early Thursday and returned to his Cairo home. The lawyer, Tarek al-Awadi, says Maher will be under surveillance for the next three years as part of his sentence.
Maher was the co-founder of the April 6 movement, which used social media to bring protesters into the streets in Arab Spring-inspired demonstrations that forced Mubarak to resign in February 2011.
5 January 2017
Pro-government Iraqi paramilitaries accused of war crimes are using arms from at least 16 countries, including the US and Iran, according to an Amnesty International report released on Thursday.
The predominantly Shia militias were formed in 2014 to support the Iraqi government in its fight against ISIS and have since committed war crimes, Amnesty said.
The Sunni Arab community has been targeted by paramilitaries, which have acted with total impunity in carrying out extrajudicial executions, torture and enforced disappearances, among other crimes.
“International arms suppliers, including the USA, European countries, Russia and Iran, must wake up to the fact that all arms transfers to Iraq carry a real risk of ending up in the hands of militia groups with long histories of human rights violations,” said Patrick Wilcken, an arms control researcher at Amnesty.
The London-based rights group used field research and analysis of photo and video evidence since June 2014 to document the arms used by the paramilitaries, which Amnesty said were manufactured in at least 16 countries.
Tanks, machine guns and sniper rifles were among more than 100 types of arms used by the groups according to Amnesty.
Al-Mayadeen news channel reported that the terrorist groups are now assassinating, attacking and detaining members of rival groups, accusing each other of betrayal and fleeing the battleground.
Meantime, the militant groups' commanders and members don’t trust each other, fearing that the Aleppo scenario might be repeated in Idlib.
Reports also said last month that the aggressive behavior of terrorists in Idlib towards the militants who have left their regions under a ceasefire deal with the government and relocated to this city is deteriorating to critical levels, members of the latter group said on their social media pages.
The newcomers said they are called by Idlib militants as traitors and cowards.
The newly-arrived terrorists are also humiliated when they ask for housing and food.
The people in Kafr al-Awamid contacted the Syrian army officers and called on them not to attack their town, while conducting operations against al-Nusra Front in the region.
Meantime, another group of civilians from Wadi al-Bardi were transferred to al-Rozah village as the army continued its operations against al-Nusra terrorists in Western Ghouta of Damscus and advanced in more areas.
Also, field sources said that differences between the so-called Free Syrian Army (FSA) and al-Nusra Front have heightened on how to confront the Syrian army and the efficiency of the militants' attacks.
The Syrian army on Wednesday sent more soldiers and military hardware to Wadi al-Bardi region in Western Ghouta to reinvigorate its front for the final phase of a large-scale operation against Fatah al-Sham Front.
The army forwarded more troops and military equipment to Wadi al-Bardi region to kick off the final phase of a massive operation to liberate the region from Fatah al-Sham if the terrorists refuse to surrender.
January 5, 2017
ERBIL, Iraq - Militias fighting alongside Iraqi troops against Islamic State are committing war crimes using weapons provided to the Iraqi military by the United States, Europe, Russia and Iran, Amnesty International said on Thursday.
The rights group said that predominantly Shi'ite Muslim militias, known collective as the Hashid Shaabi, were using weapons from Iraqi military stockpiles to commit war crimes including enforced disappearances, torture and summary killings.
Parliament voted for the Hashid to formally become part of Iraq's armed forces in November but the session was boycotted by Sunni representatives who worry it will entrench Shi'ite majority rule as well as Iran's regional influence.
Iraqi and Western officials have expressed serious concerns about the government's ability to bring the Shi'ite militias under greater control.
"International arms suppliers, including the USA, European countries, Russia and Iran, must wake up to the fact that all arms transfers to Iraq carry a real risk of ending up in the hands of militia groups with long histories of human rights violations," said Amnesty researcher Patrick Wilcken in a statement.
States wishing to sell arms to Iraq should ensure strict measures to ensure weapons will not be used by militias to violate human rights, he added.
Amnesty cited nearly 2-1/2 years of its own field research, including interviews with dozens of former detainees, witnesses, survivors, and relatives of those killed, detained or missing.
Its report focused on four powerful groups, most of which receive backing from Iran: the Badr Organisation, Asaib Ahl al-Haq, Kataib Hezbollah and Saraya al-Salam. Spokesmen for the Hashid and for the prime minister, to whom the fighters technically report, did not respond to requests for comment.
Meanwhile, Iraqi forces launched an offensive against the Islamic State group near the Syrian border Thursday, piling further pressure on the militants' crumbling "caliphate". Baghdad and its allies also turned up the heat on IS in its last remaining Iraqi stronghold of Mosul, where the US-led coalition said it had doubled the number of its advisors.
"A military operation has begun in the western areas of Anbar (province) to liberate them from Daesh," said Lieutenant General Qassem Mohammedi, head of Jazeera Operations Command, using an Arabic acronym for IS. He said the operation was led by the army's 7th division, police, and fighters from local tribes that have opposed the militants, with aerial backing from the coalition.
The main targets of the operation are Aanah, Rawa and Al-Qaim, the westernmost Iraqi towns along the Euphrates Valley. The militant hub of Al-Qaim, which lies 330 kilometres (200 miles) northwest of Baghdad, is still a long way down the road and the most immediate target is the town of Aanah.
"Our forces started advancing from Haditha towards Aanah from several directions," Mohammedi told AFP.
Haditha was never seized by IS when the group swept across much of Iraq's Sunni Arab heartland in 2014 and is home to a tribe that has led the fight against the militants in the area. "Zero hour has come to liberate the western areas," Nadhom al-Jughaifi, a commander with the Haditha tribal fighters, said.
In 2016, Iraqi forces retook large parts of the vast province of Anbar, including its capital Ramadi and the city of Fallujah. Anbar is a desert area traversed by the Euphrates that borders Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Syria. Security in reconquered areas remains precarious and militants continue to move across the province.
IS has lost more than half of the territory it once controlled in Iraq and the loss of Mosul would deal a major blow to the "caliphate" it proclaimed there in June 2014. Tens of thousands of Iraqi forces are currently involved in an offensive to retake the main northern city, which is also IS's last major stronghold in the country.
The operation launched on October 17 is Iraq's largest in years and while significant territory was reconquered around Mosul, the going has been tough inside the city itself. After a lull in operations, Iraqi forces launched a fresh push last week and appear to have found new momentum.
"Iraqi security forces have made significant progress since initiating phase two of their operation to liberate Mosul," Colonel John Dorrian, the coalition's spokesman, said on Wednesday. He said that was partly owed to increased coalition involvement in the battle, with a doubling of the deployment of advisors there to about 450.
"We have increased the number of advise and assist forces that are there with the ISF (Iraqi Security Forces) command elements to help advise them as they move forward and to synchronise operations," he said.
Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi promised that his forces would rid Iraq of IS by the end of 2016 but commanders have admitted they were surprised at how stiff militant resistance was in the city.
According to a top commander in the Counter-Terrorism Service that has spearheaded the battle in Mosul, Iraqi forces have now retaken about two thirds of the city's eastern half.
Dorrian said the presence inside the city of hundreds of thousands of civilians had slowed progress.
"There are more than 200,000 buildings in Mosul. And really, in order to do this properly, given the way that the enemy has conducted themselves, you end up having to clear each one," he told reporters.
06 January 2017
It’s the tragedy the world forgot.
During the early hours of New Year’s Day, a lone gunman opened fire on Reina, a nightclub in Istanbul, a terror attack with eerie parallels to recent shootings in Paris and Orlando. At least 39 people were killed and 70 more were injured in the horrific massacre, for which ISIS has claimed responsibility.
Omar Mateen allegedly pledged his allegiance to the Islamic State prior to gunning down 49 people at Pulse in June, a popular gay bar in the tourism capital of Florida. It was the deadliest shooting in U.S. history, and the devastating loss left both the LGBT community and the nation in shock.
Although the Istanbul attack has garnered some press coverage, it hasn’t garnered the same attention from U.S. media as previous attacks. In a comparative chart from Google Trends, the Reina shooting has generated about half the interest that the Orlando one did, and a quarter of the web traffic that followed the Paris tragedy. The Paris shooting scored a “perfect” 100 on the service, the highest score that Google Trends awards. Interest in “Istanbul” as a search term peaked with a paltry score of 22 on Jan. 1.
This is a sad and sobering illustration of our priorities when it comes to mass violence. Where are the Facebook filters commemorating the dead in Istanbul, telling mourners in Turkey that we stand with them? After the Paris attack, that was an automatic function on the social media platform — to allow users to broadcast their solidarity with ease. Profile pictures featuring my friends bathed in red with a white crescent and a star have yet to fill my News Feed.
There is, of course, a major difference between the Istanbul and Paris attacks: In Istanbul the victims were predominantly Muslim and brown. Although those killed were mostly foreign visitors, Al-Jazeera has reported that the deceased hailed from other countries in the relative vicinity: Saudi Arabia and Lebanon, Jordan and Kuwait, India and Morocco.
These are exactly the nations whose crying mothers and orphaned children are so frequently overlooked. In the wake of the Paris attack, there were hundreds of mass shootings all over the world — many of which took place in developing nations. Few of these trended on Twitter or earned their own hashtags. From January to June 2016, three major terrorist attacks took place in Istanbul, killing at least 62 people and wounding more than 250. Attackers targeted airports, shopping districts and the city square. Think of the latter as equivalent to an attack on New York’s Times Square, which would inspire international outrage.
BY MARY PASCALINE
A city council official sent police to a primary school in France to protest the school’s decision to offer its students the option of learning the Arabic language. The deputy mayor of Six-Fours-les-Plages in southeastern France was acting on an inaccurate claim on Facebook that said students were being forced to learn the language.
Jean-Sébastien Vialatte confirmed that police officers were sent to the Reynier primary school twice in November to tell school officials that the deputy mayor opposed the teaching of Arabic there, local media reported Wednesday. The incident came to light when a local lawyer disclosed court documents revealing a failed legal suit by the council to halt these classes.
Vialatte added that officials had their doubts about the teacher as well because he wasn’t a state employee.
An image shared in September by a parent of one of the children who attends classes at the school inaccurately said the Arabic language classes were mandatory sparking an outcry among parents in which politicians quickly joined.
Frédéric Boccaletti, a local politician and member of the far-right National Front, shared the image on his Facebook page blaming “friends” of Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, the Moroccan-born minister of education, as the people behind these mandatory classes. He also condemned Vialatte for allowing the classes to continue.
French Muslim activist Yasser Louati said the incident was representative of the “normalization of state-sponsored racism.”
“Sending the police to make sure an Arabic class isn’t held shows how much hate government institutions can express for Arabs. In 2015, we had cases of primary school children being humiliated, assaulted, and even taken to the police by their teachers,” Louati reportedly said. “Then we had school girls being barred from school for wearing a long skirt or the prohibition of substitute meals for Muslims and Jews.”
“The only solution for French Muslims and any citizen who loves justice and equality is to band together and engage in a power struggle with decision makers. The upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections are an opportunity ... nobody benefits from a society built on hate,” he added.
Decision to protect Masood Azhar from censure ‘professional & objective’, says China
BEIJING: China said on Thursday that its decision to protect Pakistan based JeM leader Masood Azhar from censure at the UN was "professional and objective".
China has been putting a technical hold to stop discussions in the UN Security Council on the role played by the terror leader on the ground that it needs more time to discuss the issue.
"We have taken a responsible and constructive part in relevant discussion in a professional and objective way," Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said in response to charges from New Delhi that China was adopting double standards when it came to fighting terrorism.
Philippine security forces killed the leader of a militant group supporting Islamic State in a clash early on Thursday, the country's police chief said, warning against possible retaliation.
President Rodrigo Duterte recently cautioned against Islamic State taking root in the southeast Asian country, saying it needed to avoid "contamination".
"I strongly believe that we have effectively broken the backbone of the militant Ansar Al-Khilafah Philippines (AKP)," Ronald Dela Rosa told a news conference to announce the death of the group's leader, Mohammad Jaafar Maguid.
Three AKP colleagues of Maguid were also arrested in a police operation shortly after midnight at a resort in the southern province of Sarangani, he added.
"He is the recognized ISIS leader in that area," Dela Rosa said, adding that Maguid, who goes by the alias "Tokboy", was the "most wanted person" in the country's south, sought for his involvement in crimes ranging from arson and murder to bombings.
Police recovered two armalite rifles, a hand grenade, and M-16 magazines, from Maguid and the three men, identified as Matahata Dialawe Arboleda, Ismael Sahak, and Morhaban Veloso.
The AKP and the Maute militant group, which has also pledged allegiance to Islamic State, are among a handful of small groups authorities blame for years of unrest in the Philippine south.
The killing and the arrests would "momentarily weaken" the group, Dela Rosa said, but a new leader could emerge eventually and launch fresh attacks.
JANUARY 5, 2017
KUALA LUMPUR — Malaysia’s National Registration Department (NRD) has reversed its unilateral addition of the word “bin” to the name of a Chinese-Muslim child in its records.
According to a Chinese-Muslim businessman in Kuantan by the surname of Khoo, he had discovered the name change two years ago when he was applying for a passport for his eldest son — who had yet to turn nine at the time.
The 45-year-old man reportedly said the Immigration Department of Malaysia officer had then told him that the addition of the word “bin” was based on the NRD’s data.
“I took out my son’s birth registration papers to check, in the column for name, there is no ‘bin’ at all, I went to meet the National Registration Department’s officer, requesting for an explanation, the latter pointed out it was upon receiving the Islamic department’s advice, for Muslim children’s names without the word ‘Bin’, to add in that word,” he was quoted saying by local daily China Press.
The news report did not mention the name of the relevant Islamic body which had allegedly given the advice to NRD.
He said he could not accept the reason given and had pressed the NRD officer to point out which page of the Muslims’ holy book al-Quran had stated so.
“I also told them, if the name is not restored to its original form with the word ‘Bin’ removed, I do not discount pursuing this further using legal means,” he was also reported saying.
He also said that the addition of the word “bin” to his son’s name was unnecessary, as he was a Muslim but had not changed his ethnicity to be a Malay.
“Finally, the officer allowed my son’s name to be restored,” he said, adding that he found that his youngest son’s name had not been similarly affected.
“The National Registration Department is a body that registers the names of citizens, it is not a religious body, should not unilaterally change the name and information of citizens,” he added.
In Malaysia, the words “bin” and “binti” are commonly used for a child of Malay ethnicity, with these patronyms denoting whether someone is respectively a man’s son or daughter.
Being a Muslim is often closely associated with being a Malay in Malaysia despite religious and ethnic identity being separate matters, as the Federal Constitution’s Article 160 defines a Malay as being among other things a “person who professes the religion of Islam, habitually speaks the Malay language, conforms to Malay custom”.
JANUARY 6, 2017
KUALA LUMPUR — Malaysia’s deputy prime minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (picture) yesterday urged the federal and Kelantan state governments to put aside their political differences and cooperate to resolve the annual year-end floods in the east coast state.
Although a good working relationship already exists between the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) government and the opposition Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS) which administer Kelantan, Mr Zahid said more could be done.
“There needs to be a long-term plan for at least reducing the flood problems in Kelantan and the East Coast. A holistic approach is a must to ensure the natural environment is protected, otherwise this natural disaster will happen again,” The Star Online quoted him as saying when he visited flood victims housed at a school in the district of Rantau Panjang.
“We have to work to make things better, because I don’t want the people of the East Coast to suffer every year because of floods.”
Malaysians have started mobilising the first wave of aid for the flood victims in Kelantan and neighbouring Terengganu, which has seen over 23,000 victims evacuated so far.
In Kelantan, the number of evacuees soared to 14,132 yesterday, from 12,573 on Wednesday. However in Terengganu, the number of victims dropped from 13,574 Wednesday to 8,399 yesterday after floodwaters receded in several parts of the state under improved weather.
Many Malaysians are banding together to make sure their relief supplies reach flood victims more effectively. Dr Ahmad Munawwar Helmi Salim, chief coordinator of the Islamic Medical Association Malaysia’s Response and Relief Team (Imaret), said his group on Wednesday delivered 100 hygiene kits to 100 families in Rantau Panjang. Imaret also has around 500 volunteers of mostly medical professionals nationwide, with 50 Kelantan-based volunteers already on standby to complement Health Ministry efforts.
Meanwhile, Barisan Nasional Youth volunteer wing will be sending the flood relief supplies — with blankets and powerbanks among the welcomed items — on lorries sponsored by Uber-like truck rental firm TheLorry as early as Sunday.
Amid increasing acts of intolerance occurring in the country recently, the police have admitted that their role in enforcing the law against intolerant groups needs to be strengthened.
National Police spokesperson Sr. Comr. Awi Setiyono said many police officers were still not firm in carrying out their duties, particularly when dealing with cases related to religious issues.
“One factor that fuels the growing intolerance is the weak law enforcement by police personnel on intolerant religious organizations,” Awi said during a dialogue on religious tolerance in Indonesia hosted by rights group the Wahid Foundation on Thursday in Jakarta.
Awi said although National Police chief Gen. Tito Karnavian had repeatedly taken a bold stance against intolerant acts such as those based on circulating fatwa issued by the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), it had yet to influence police personnel across the country in taking a stand.
“In Surabaya, for example, instead of dissolving a radical Muslim group that carried out a raid, the police escorted them,” Awi said, referring to a raid by Islam Defenders Front (FPI) members on shopping malls in the East Java capital to check whether outlets had ordered employees to wear Christmas attire, such as Santa hats.
WASHINGTON: Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri has denounced what he said was a dishonest propaganda campaign by rival jihadist group the Islamic State against his organization, in an audio message released Thursday.
In the message found and translated by US-based watchdog the SITE Intelligence Group, the Egyptian extremist accuses IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi of slandering his group.
Al-Qaeda, founded by the late Osama Bin Laden, is locked in a battle with the so-called Islamic State — which sprang from its Iraqi faction — for the leadership of a global jihad.
In his message, the 65-year-old Zawahiri complained that Al-Baghdadi had alleged that Al-Qaeda opposes sectarian attacks on Shiites and was prepared to work with Christian leaders.
“The liars insist upon their falsehood, to the extent that they claimed we do not denounce Shiites,” Zawahiri said, according to the translation of the message, which was released by Al-Qaeda’s media arm.
Zawahiri denied he had said that Christians could be partners in the governance of a future Islamic caliphate, having only said that they could go about their affairs within it.
“What I have said is that they are partners in the land, such as agriculture, trade, and money, and we keep their privacy in it, in accordance with the laws of our Sharia,” he said.
And he insisted he had not called for Shiite Muslims to be spared, but had suggested focusing attacks on Shiite-led Iraqi forces and not on random atrocities against civilians.
“I had told them several times to stop explosions in markets, husseiniyats and mosques, and to concentrate on military, security and police forces and Shiite militiamen,” he said.
A husseiniyat is a Shiite place of worship and the Iraqi security forces, in their battle against the Islamic State group, are backed by Shiite religious militias.
The Islamic State group and Al-Qaeda have both carried out hundreds of attacks on civilian targets, but some Al-Qaeda propaganda has called for less indiscriminate tactics.
Zawahiri also denied Al-Baghdadi’s charge that Al-Qaeda had supported ousted former Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi, an Islamist who attempted to rule through the ballot box.
The Al-Qaeda leader, who took charge after Bin Laden was killed by US commandos in 2011, is thought to be somewhere in Pakistan’s unruly border region hiding from a global manhunt.
He communicates with the group’s remaining supporters through semi-regular video lectures, reiterating — as in his latest message — the need to target the United States.
But Thursday’s message did not include any footage of Zawahiri speaking.
The audio message restated the urgency of this goal — “Tell America, to other than Allah we do not kneel” — but also argued for a dialogue on tactics with other jihadists.
“We are not infallible, but we are human beings and we hit and we miss. We must listen to advice,” he admitted, while rejecting Al-Baghdadi’s criticism.
“What we want is to manage a conversation between those who are working for Islam — and the people of jihad at their forefront — around the best method and wisest techniques to bring victory to the religion,” he said, according to SITE.
By Kylie Bull
Contributor, In Homeland Security
On December 28, Canada joined other nations, including the United States, by designating Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) and the Indian Mujahedeen (IM) as terrorist organizations. According to the Canadian Criminal Code, it is a crime to “knowingly participate in, or contribute to, any activity of a listed entity in order to help that entity in facilitating or carrying out a terrorist activity.” The Criminal Code mandates potentially severe penalties for persons and organizations that deal in the property or finances of a listed entity.
As part of this update, Canada also removed three organizations from the list: Al-Ittihad Al-Islam, the Islamic Army of Aden and the Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia. There are currently 53 terrorist entities on Canada’s list.
Other Countries Add AQIS to Foreign Terrorist Organization Lists
The U.S. Department of State also added AQIS to its list of foreign terrorist organizations last year and listed its emir, Asim Umar, as a specially designated global terrorist. India and Australia also consider AQIS as a terrorist organization. Britain currently groups AQIS and other terrorist organizations under the heading of Al Qaeda, rather than as separate entities.
The United Nations has not yet labeled AQIS as a terrorist organization.
AQIS is affiliated with Al Qaeda. AQIS has claimed responsibility for a 2014 attempt to hijack a Pakistani naval vessel, the 2015 attacks on two publishers in Dhaka, as well as several assassinations in the Indian Subcontinent.
On March 6, 2016, the AQIS media branch, al-Sahad in the Indian Subcontinent, provided an online link to a video that outlined the the terror group’s objectives. They included conducting attacks on the United States, the Pakistan government and Pakistani military intelligence and security agencies. Other targets are enemies of Islam, blasphemers, atheists and disbelievers.
AQIS has released multiple statements, primarily via the Twitter account of the group’s spokesperson, Usama Mahmoud. Many statements have related to U.S.-led coalition activity, particularly drone strikes.
AQIS members initially were Pakistani nationals recruited from domestic extremist groups, but members are now being drawn from across South Asia. The exact size of the group is unknown.
US designates Osama bin Laden’s son a specially designated global terrorist
Jan 06 2017
The United States designed the son of Osama bin Laden’s son a special designated global terrorist, the State Department said Thursday.
“The Department of State has designated Hamza bin Laden as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) under section 1(b) of Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, which imposes sanctions on foreign persons determined to have committed, or pose a serious risk of committing, acts of terrorism that threaten the security of U.S. nationals or the national security, foreign policy, or economy of the United States. As a result of this designation, all property subject to U.S. jurisdiction in which Hamza bin Laden has any interest is blocked and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in any transactions with him,” a statement by the State Department said.
The step was apparently taken after Hamza bin Laden, son of Usama bin Laden, was officially announced by al-Qa’ida senior leader Ayman al-Zawahiri as an official member of the group.
The statement further added “In this 2015 audio message from al-Zawahiri, bin Laden called for acts of terrorism in western capitals. On July 9, 2016, al-Qa’ida issued another audio message from Hamza bin Laden threatening revenge against the United States and warned Americans they would be targeted in the United States and abroad.”
Aisha Shafi stuffed pens and notebooks into her sons’ backpacks and buzzed around her San Marcos home as she made sure the boys were ready for the new school year.
When she stepped through the door, her husband offered a suggestion: “Maybe you shouldn’t wear your hijab today,” he said.
Shafi was the mom carpooling the neighborhood kids to school that morning. She slid the scarf off her head and threw on a baseball cap from her husband’s alma mater, the University of Kansas.
She loaded her boys, 9 and 12, into the car and then, as she passed the first stoplight, draped her hijab back over her hair, angry at herself for being scared.
As the days crawl toward the inauguration of Donald Trump, many Muslims across the U.S. anxiously wonder how much the president-elect’s tough-talking rhetoric will be matched by legislative actions.
Even in liberal California, home to about 500,000 Muslims in its southern regions alone, there is a lingering worry that Trump has conjured something through his words that as president he won’t be able to control.
“I’m really concerned that Trump has brought out something that was maybe hidden before,” said Shafi’s husband, Majid Mahmood. “The hate is just out now, especially when you see an increased rate of hate crimes against Muslims.”
In November, mosques across California received letters threatening genocide and referring to Muslims as "vile and filthy people.” A San Diego State student wearing a hijab was robbed by two men who made comments about the president-elect and Muslims. Across the country, there has been an uptick in reported incidents against Muslims, some rising to the level of crimes.
On the campaign trail, Trump promised to track Muslims coming into the U.S. and require them to register. His promise to ban Muslim immigration was popular among many of his supporters during the GOP primary.
In recent months, however, Trump has suggested he would revise that plan to focus on people coming from countries linked to terrorism, rather than use religion as a criterion.
But the president-elect’s Cabinet picks and members of his transition team have caused some Muslim leaders to worry about the road ahead.
Trump’s choice for national security advisor, Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, has said he believes acts of terrorism by Muslims are rooted in mainstream Islamic faith and once tweeted that “fear of Muslims is rational.”
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who has been selected to join Trump’s immigration policy transition team, accidentally revealed his plan for a border wall and tracking immigrants in November. That plan promoted “extreme vetting” of “high-risk” immigrants, including questions about supporting Sharia law, jihad, gender equality and the Constitution.
And Carl Higbie, a prominent Trump supporter, has cited the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II as a legal justification for creating a national registration list for immigrants.
According to researchers at Cal State San Bernardino, anti-Muslim incidents accelerated after the December 2015 terror attack in that city.
“That context is amping up concerns that have existed previously,” said Brie Loskota, executive director of the Center for Religion and Civic Culture at USC. “These are things people have always been concerned about, but those things have hit an all-time high from what I have been able to see.”
Feelings of vulnerability have deep roots in the Muslim community, Loskota said, and those fears have sparked online groups like “Support Your Muslim Neighbors in America” on Facebook.
“If you talk to older Muslims, they will talk about 1979 with the Iran hostage crisis and Iranian Revolution. That brought to the fore this feeling of being other, or liable for things that happen outside of your control,” she said. “With each political moment or international crisis, there is a turning up of the heat or the pressure under which the Muslim community in America exists.”
Tina Hossain’s family emigrated from Bangladesh because they wanted her to have more educational opportunities and a better career than she would have had as a woman growing up there. Now, she worries her religious identity could be a barrier to future opportunities.
“I’ve often heard that the African American community has conversations with their sons and daughters,” Hossain said. “But in my family, even after 9/11, we didn't need to have those.”
The discussions began on election night, as Trump’s surprising victory slowly became inevitable. In the family text message group, her parents warned of being out in public once the win was official.
Her family decided to have a talk with her brother, a student at UC Santa Barbara. Walk away from any conflict, they told him.
Blast rocks western Turkish city of Izmir
A car bomb exploded outside a courthouse in the western Turkish city of Izmir on Thursday, wounding at least 10 people and sparking clashes in which at least two “terrorists” were killed, officials and reports said.
Several ambulances were rushed to the scene after the blast outside the prosecutors and judges’ entrance to the court in the usually peaceful city on the Aegean Sea, the channel said.
Police then clashed with “terrorists” during which two of them were killed and one escaped, according to state-run Anatolia news agency.
The mayor of the local Bayrakli municipality, Hassan Karabag, told NTV television that at least 10 people were wounded, one of them seriously.
The wounded were taken to hospital as police secured the scene.
The blast came after a gunman stormed an Istanbul nightclub killing 39 people during New Year celebrations on Sunday.
In connection with that attack, authorities had on Tuesday detained 20 adults -- along with 20 of their children -- from three families in Izmir, Turkey’s third largest city.
As is customary after such attacks in Turkey, the authorities slapped a broadcast ban on images from the incident, state-run Anadolu news agency reported.
Jordan warns against moving US embassy to occupied Jerusalem
A high-ranking Jordanian official has warmed US President-elect Donald Trump of “catastrophic” repercussions in case he opts to honor his campaign pledge to move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to the occupied Jerusalem al-Quds.
Information Minister Mohammed Momani told The Associated Press on Thursday that such a move would be a “red line” for Jordan and would “inflame the Islamic and Arab streets.”
He noted that the transfer of the US diplomatic mission could disrupt relations between the US and regional allies, including Jordan, stressing that Amman will make use of all available political and diplomatic avenues to prevent such a decision.
Momani said moving the US embassy to Jerusalem al-Quds “will have catastrophic implications on several levels, including the regional situation.”
“It will definitely affect the bilateral relationship between countries in the region, including Jordan, and the parties that will be related to such a decision,” the Jordanian minister pointed out.
The remarks come as Jordan administers the holy al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East Jerusalem al-Quds.
The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) has warned the United States against the relocation of the embassy, saying all American embassies in the Arab world would have to close in the face of popular Arab outrage that follows such an action.
PLO Secretary General Sa’eb Erekat said on December 19 that the potential move would deliver a death blow to any prospect of the resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict, and would have his organization rescind all agreements with Tel Aviv.
Earlier, the Palestinian ambassador to the United Nations said he could make the life of US diplomats “miserable” should Trump move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem al-Quds.
“If they try to attack us by moving the embassy to Jerusalem, which is a violation of Security Council resolutions and a violation of Resolution 181,… it means they are showing belligerency against us,” Riyad Mansour said in November.
JERUSALEM - Police questioned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Thursday for a second time as part of a probe into whether he illegally accepted gifts from wealthy supporters, media reports said.
Police and Netanyahu's office declined to comment on the reports.
Various Israeli media reports said investigators arrived at Netanyahu's residence in central Jerusalem in the afternoon for a second round of questioning.
Netanyahu is suspected of receiving gifts from business people, according to Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, who is overseeing the investigation. He has provided few other details. Israeli media reports say he allegedly received tens of thousands of dollars in such gifts.
His first questioning on Monday lasted some three hours.
The probe has shaken the country's political scene and raised questions over whether Netanyahu, 67 and in his fourth term as prime minister, would eventually be forced to resign. US billionaire and World Jewish Congress president Ronald Lauder has been among those questioned in the probe over gifts he allegedly gave Netanyahu and alleged spending on trips for him, reports have said.
Lauder, whose family founded the Estee Lauder cosmetics giant, has long been seen as an ally of Netanyahu.
Netanyahu has also acknowledged receiving money from French tycoon Arnaud Mimran, who was sentenced to eight years in prison in France over a scam involving the trade of carbon emissions permits and taxes on them.
Netanyahu's office said he had received $40,000 in contributions from Mimran in 2001, when he was not in office, as part of a fund for public activities, including appearances abroad to promote Israel.
Netanyahu has denied any wrongdoing, saying repeatedly that "there will be nothing because there is nothing".
Arrests after threats over
Israeli police arrested two people Thursday after death threats emerged online against a judge and other officials over the manslaughter conviction of a soldier who shot dead a wounded Palestinian assailant.
Israel's military has also assigned bodyguards to the three judges who found the 20-year-old French-Israeli soldier guilty on Wednesday, reports said. Sgt. Elor Azaria was convicted after a trial in a military court that began in May and which deeply divided the country.
It has led to harsh criticism of the verdict by far-right activists, while right-wing politicians - including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu - have called for the soldier to be pardoned.
Police said they had arrested two people from Jerusalem and the city of Kiryat Gat for incitement to violence online.
According to Israeli news site Ynet, the posts by a 54-year-old man and 22-year-old woman included death threats against the head of the three-judge panel in the case, Colonel Maya Heller.
ANKARA - A car bombing blamed on Kurdish militants rocked the Turkish city of Izmir on Thursday, killing at least two people and triggering a deadly shootout, as authorities chased the fugitive killer behind the New Year attack in Istanbul.
Turkey is on edge after the shooting rampage at the Reina nightclub unleashed shortly after revellers rang in 2017 which killed 39 people and was claimed by the Islamic State group.
A top official said the gunman may be a Turkic Uighur and several people of Uighur origin were arrested earlier on Thursday. Just four days after the nightclub carnage, a car bomb exploded outside a courthouse in the Aegean city of Izmir on Thursday afternoon, with authorities blaming the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).
State-run Anadolu news agency said a policeman and a court worker, reportedly a bailiff, were killed.
Police battled “terrorists” in a clash which saw two militants killed while another escaped and is now being pursued.
Several ambulances rushed to the scene after the blast in the usually peaceful port city, Turkey’s third largest metropolis, and the gateway to the plush beach resorts of the Aegean.
There has so far been no claim of responsibility for the latest bombing after a year of bloodshed in the Muslim-majority NATO member. But Izmir governor Erol Ayyildiz said that initial evidence suggested the PKK - which has fought a deadly insurgency for over three decades - was behind the attack, rather than IS. He said police tried to stop the car before it exploded and the “terrorists” then sought to escape as the explosion went off and the gunfight began. Up to seven people were wounded, he added. Usually calm Izmir lies well to the west of the PKK’s main theatre of operations in the Kurdish-dominated southeast of the country.
Turkish authorities meanwhile were seeking to close in on the Istanbul club attacker, who slipped into the night after spraying 120 bullets at terrified partygoers celebrating New Year.
Of the 39 dead, 27 were foreigners including citizens from Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Iraq and Morocco.
A top official said the attacker was likely a Turkic Uighur and reports have indicated the authorities are looking into the possible existence of a cell, also including other militants from Central Asia. IS took responsibility for the massacre in a statement on Monday, the first time it has issued a clear and undisputed claim for a major attack inside Turkey. The extremist group said it was a response to Ankara’s military operation against the militants in northern Syria, where Turkish armed forces are supporting opposition fighters retaking territory from IS.
Deputy Prime Minister Veysi Kaynak told A Haber broadcaster on Thursday that the attacker was “probably” of Uighur origin as he sought to play down fears that the gunman would escape Turkey.
Most Uighurs, an eastern Turkic group, live in the Xinjiang region of China, although there are also significant populations in ex-Soviet Central Asian states.
Previous reports had said the killer could be from Kyrgyzstan or Uzbekistan.
Kaynak said airports had taken measures to ensure the killer did not flee Turkey and Dogan reported that the authorities also tightened land borders.
The agency said checkpoints would be set up to search all vehicles and people leaving the country at border crossings in Edirne, western Turkey, which has a land border with Greece and Bulgaria.
Turkish police shot dead two attackers and were searching for a third after a car bomb exploded outside a courthouse in the Aegean coastal city of Izmir on Thursday, wounding at least 10 people, state media and local officials said.
The blast was caused by a car bomb, Izmir municipality secretary general Bugra Gokce told broadcaster CNN Turk.
A security source told Reuters police had shot dead two attackers following the blast, and the state-run Anadolu news agency said they were searching for a third. Hospital sources said ten people had been brought in wounded.
The bombing comes less than a week after a gunman shot dead 39 people at a nightclub in Istanbul on New Year's Day in an attack claimed by Islamic State. The gunman is still at large.
The gunman who killed 39 people in an attack on an Istanbul nightclub on New Year's Day is probably Uighur and Turkey has established his possible locations and links, Deputy Prime Minister Veysi Kaynak said on Thursday.
In an interview with broadcaster A Haber, Kaynak said he could not rule out the possibility of the attacker fleeing abroad but that operations within Turkey were more likely to achieve a result.
6 January 2017
The US House of Representatives voted Thursday to condemn a UN resolution reprimanding Israel over its settlement activity, blasting last month’s move by the international body as “an obstacle to Israeli-Palestinian peace.” The congressional measure passed 342 to 80, with broad bipartisan support. It noted in particular that the US administration’s refusal to veto the controversial Security Council measure “undermined” Washington’s decades-long position of opposing anti-Israel action at the United Nations. Incensed US lawmakers – and President-elect Donald Trump – have assailed Barack Obama’s outgoing administration for abstaining in the December 23 vote instead of vetoing the UN resolution, essentially clearing the way for its passage. “I am stunned at what happened last month. This government – our government – abandoned our ally Israel when she needed us the most,” House Speaker Paul Ryan told the chamber shortly before the House vote. “It is time to repair the damage done by this misguided hit job at the UN,” he added. “It’s time to rebuild our partnership” with the Jewish state.
Jan 5, 2017
Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has said Iran could have fought a war inside its borders if the enemy threats had not been thwarted in Syria.
“If the ill-wishers and seditionists, who are the puppets of the US and Zionism, had not been confronted [in Syria], we should have stood against them in Tehran, Fars, Khorasan and Esfahan,” Ayatollah Khamenei said in remarks published Thursday.
The Leader made the remarks this week during a meeting with the families of Iranian commandos killed in Syria, in which he paid tribute to the memory of those who lost their lives in the battle against Takfiri terrorists.
“Not only the army, but also the entire nation is proud of these martyrs,” said Ayatollah Khamenei, whose remarks were reported by several Iranian news agencies.
Earlier Thursday, a senior military commander said Iran’s armed forces are capable of thwarting any US threats due to the Islamic Republic’s achievements in enhancing the country’s military might.
Brigadier General Hossein Salami, the second-in-command of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), touched on US strategies against Iran during the imposed Iran-Iraq war in 1980s.
“They (the US) sought to undermine us in the war, but we managed to build an immense missile and marine power and an endless ground force,” he said in the Iranian city of Yazd, adding Iran has built up so much power that has made it "capable of overcoming the US."
“Today, no one talks about overthrowing the [Islamic] establishment and military invasion of Iran, because the more the enemy fought with this nation, the stronger the Iranian nation became,” he added.
The Photo shows Iran firing of a Qadr ballistic missile on March 9, 2016.
Salami pointed to Iran’s awareness of the extent of Washington’s real power. “We know that the capacity of the US, Europe and their regional allies for the dominance over the Muslim world is diminishing.”
The commander said US efforts to undermine Iran’s influence in the region have prompted the Islamic Republic to promote its weight in different parts of the Muslim world, including in Syria, Lebanon and Palestine.
“In Iraq, we witness what kind of power has been created. The Americans are not capable of taking action in Iraq, but the Iraqi popular mobilization forces, inspired by Iran’s Islamic Revolution, have now taken the initiative in Iraq’s field developments,” Salami added.
Another IRGC commander praised Iran’s military prowess. Speaking at a conference in Fars Province in southern Iran, commander of the IRGC’s Aerospace Division Brigadier General Amirali Hajizadeh elaborated on Iran’s success in achieving self-sufficiency in its defense industry.
Ethnic clashes kill 15, wound dozens in southeast DR Congo
Violent ethnic clashes have claimed the lives of at least 15 people in the southeast of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, local sources say.
Members of the Bantu ethnic community in the village of Piana Mwanga in Tanganyika Province came under attack on Thursday in what was blamed on a group of Pygmies.
Local officials said at least 37 other Bantus sustained injuries and 65 of their houses were torched during the assault.
Provincial Interior Minister Kamona Lumuna confirmed the attack but said the exact number of casualties was yet to be known, adding that a team would be sent to probe “what really happened in the village.”
Meanwhile, Modeste Kubali, the leader of a local civil society, offered a higher casualty toll. He said 17 people had been killed and 47 wounded.
“The village has been emptied of its population and the injured have been abandoned to their sad fate,” Kubali said.
For years, the Pygmies in the region, belonging to the ethnic Twa group, have been striving — sometimes violently — for equal rights with others in the volatile country, particularly with Bantus, who consider them as second-class.
Since late 2013, the region has witnessed multiple violent clashes between the Pygmies and the Bantus from the ethnic Luba community. Last October, some 20 people lost their lives in three days of violence in the town of Kabalo in Tanganyika over a disputed caterpillar collection tax.
The DR Congo has faced numerous problems over the past few decades, such as grinding poverty, crumbling infrastructure, and a war in the east of the country that has dragged on since 1998 and left over 5.5 million people dead.
Dozens of armed groups have been active in the eastern DR Congo, and the Congolese army, joined by United Nations forces, has launched an offensive against rebel groups.
Most recently, the country has been plagued by social unrest over President Joseph Kabila’s refusal to step down after his second term in office expired last December. During the past several months, violent clashes between police and protesters have killed dozens of people.
Jan 5, 2017
The government in Chad has announced the closure of its border with Libya, citing security reasons and the terrorists’ possible infiltration into the Central African country from the south of conflict-stricken Libya.
Prime Minister Albert Pahimi Padacket said on Thursday that the border closure was part of wider efforts by Chad to boost its military presence in the region.
“Faced with the perils that threaten all of the nation's territory, the government decided for one thing to close our land border with Libya, and for another to declare the regions bordering Libya military operation zones," Padacket said in a message broadcast on radio and television.
The premier added that following the military’s crackdown on those engaged in contraband border dealings, “Some isolated terrorist groups have gathered in the south of Libya, putting the northern frontier of our country potentially exposed to a serious threat of a terrorist infiltration.”
Padacket did not elaborate on the identity of those terror groups, but he possibly referred to the ethnic Tubu people living in northern Chad around the Tibesti mountains. The Tibesti desert border regions are sparsely populated but are used for dealing in contraband by those living on both sides of the border.
The premier also did not provide information on what "defeat" those militants suffered in Libya.
JAN 05, 2017
Major-General Leo Irabor, Theatre Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, announced to the press on Wednesday that the troops of the Nigerian Army's counter-terrorism operation arrested 1400 suspected Boko Haram members in just one week. Below is the text from the press briefing:
The troops of Operation LAFIYA DOLE have continued exploitation and mop-up operations against fleeing Boko Haram Terrorists (BHTs) with attendant successes. This Brief is thus an update as usual.
a. Update on Operation RESCUE FINALE.
The operation in Sambisa Forest and environ is continuing. Our troops are conducting various exploitation and mop-up operations against fleeing BHTs who are in complete disarray. In that regards, some clearance operations were conducted during the period under review: On 29 Dec 16 at about 0647hrs, own troops embarked on clearance operation to Dumur Forest in continuation with Operation RESCUE FINALE. The troops cleared DUMUR and BULA JULTA villages and carried out bombardment of ADZUNGE, GOMBOLE, MALABI, SOWOLOWO, IZUWE, NGWALIMIRI and LATAN villages. On 31 Dec 16 at about 0945hrs, own troops conducted clearance operation to AIWA village about 25km from MAIDUGURI. Troops cleared several villages namely: TAULA, MAJAJA, MAFAIDE, JAAJA, MASU KURA and AIWA. No contact was made. However, a mini BHT camp was discovered and destroyed. At AIWA village, villagers were assembled and thoroughly screened which led to the arrest of a suspect named Modu Babagana Goni. The locals informed the troops that the suspect sometimes assists BHT in getting food items. He has been arrested and currently undergoing investigation.
Our troops have arrested some suspected BHT/other criminal elements as follows: On 25 Dec 16 at about 1000hrs, own troops deployed at FOB POTISKUM apprehended a suspected BHT member Musa Abdullahi at FIKA. The suspect is in custody undergoing interrogation. On 30 Dec 16 at about 1520hrs, own troops in conjunction with NSCDC arrested a suspected BHT suspect Rabiu Ibrahim at BAJOGA in FUNAKAYE LGA of Gombe State. The suspect fled to GOMBE as a result of the recent attacks on BHT by troops. During preliminary interrogation, the suspect confessed that he joined the sect about 4 years ago and took part in the attack of troops along DAMATURU – MAIDUGURI road. The suspect is in custody for further interrogation. On 30 Dec 16 at about 1330hrs, our troops arrested a confirmed BHT member at GONI KALLA. While the suspect was being moved from GONI KALLA to DAMATURU, the BHT member attempted to escape by jumping out of the vehicle. He was therefore shot and killed. His corpse has been deposited at General Hospital DAMATURU. On 25 Dec 16 at about 1330hrs, our troops and DSS personnel trailed 2 suspected high profile kidnappers (Mohammed Ali and Sani Digaru), for an alleged plan to carry out an operation in GOMBE and possibly escape to their camp at Yuga Forest in Bauchi State. The 2 kidnappers were tracked and arrested by DSS in conjunction with troops at SILAS area along Gombe-Dukku road. During the operation, one of the suspects (Sani Digaru) attempted to escape and was shot on the leg and later died in DSS custody. However, the other suspect Mohammed Ali was taken into DSS custody. Items recovered from the suspects include the sum of N28,800.00 only, 3 mobile phones, 2 rings, tobacco, one eye glass, wrist watch and a lighter. On 2 Jan 17 at about 1920hrs, own troops deployed in NUMAN arrested one Dahiru Saidu who was on transit from LAFIYA – LAMURDE to JADA in Adamawa State. He is suspected to be among the BHT members declared wanted in Serial 164 of Wanted Insurgents Poster circulated in the Theatre. He is in custody undergoing investigation.
c. Interception of Suspected BHT Cattle.
On 29 Dec 16 at about 1030hrs, own troops deployed at Cashew Plantation while on patrol around BALE SHUARI intercepted 30 cows. The cows were suspected to have been rustled and separated from BHT due to current military operations at TASUMGANDU. The BHT abandoned the cows and fled on approach of our troops to TASUMGANDU.
d. Ambush Operation.
On 30 Dec 16 at about 0630hrs, own troops deployed at RANN sprung an ambush operation on some fleeing BHT members where a fire fight ensued. Fifteen BHT members were killed while 4 soldiers were wounded in action. Some of the items recovered from the BHT include 2 AK47 rifles, 4 FN rifles, an M21 rifle, quantity 110 rounds of 7.62mm NATO ammunition, 40 pieces of M21 rounds, 4 FN extra magazines and 2 locally made explosives. Also, on 2 Jan 17, at about 0110hrs, some fleeing BHT members attacked own troops at blocking position in LOGOMANI. The attack was successfully repelled by the gallant troops after a firefight. Several BHT members escaped with gunshot wounds as manifested by several blood stains observed during exploitation during the day.
e. Return of DAMASAK Residents.
The residents of DAMASAK have started returning to the town following the re-opening of MAIDUGURI-GUBIO-DAMASAK road on 25 Dec 16. Most of the returnees who were earlier displaced by BHT attacks on the community are returning from either MAIDUGURI or Niger Republic where they had taken refuge. Clearing and sanitation of DAMASAK town has been taking place while troops in conjunction with CJTF continued to dominate general area of the town with aggressive patrol and screening of locals coming into DAMASAK.
f. Person Borne Improvised Explosive Device Explosion.
On 31 Dec 16 at bout 2135hrs, a female suicide bomber detonated her explosive device strapped on her at Customs Area in Maiduguri. She was the only casualty. Also, on 1 Jan 17, at about 0930hrs, own troops in conjunction with CJTF discovered an IED suicide vest that had been dropped by a suicide bomber around GOMARI low cost area. The Nigeria Police EOD Team was contacted and they recovered and detonated the IED vest safely. Again, early this morning at about 0615hrs, 3 female suicide bombers enroute BANKI DUTSE village were gunned down by own troops deployed for an ambush operations. The 3 female suicide bombers were killed in action and no other casualty recorded.
g. Operation THUNDER.
TNN & Agencies
SRINAGAR: Top Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist Muzaffar Naikoo alias Muz Moulvi has been killed in an encounter with security forces in Kashmir.
Muzaffar Naikoo was killed in an encounter with Army and state police in Machu area of Budgam district on Friday.
According to police, the security forces launched an operation on Friday morning following an information about the presence of a wanted LeT commander hiding in Gulzarpora village.
"The security forces were fired upon after they closed on the house where Muzaffar Ahmad Naiku ali alias Muza Molvi was hiding," the police said.
"The militant was killed in the encounter which has ended now.
"Searches are still going on in the area."
The police said the slain terrorist was one of the longest surviving militants and the most wanted militant in Jammu and Kashmir.
In an untoward incident, some terrorists on Thursday night opened fire on a guard outside National Conference (NC) MLC Showkat Ganie’s residence in Jammu and Kashmir’s Shopian. The guard fired back in retaliation. However, there has been no report of any casualties.
Hyderabad: A top Indian Army official said the discourse in Jammu and Kashmir is shifting to "primacy of Islam" over azaadi, adding to complexities in dealing with sectarian faultlines in the border state.
"Jammu and Kashmir continues to be a challenge and it's being dealt with; it's getting a little more complex as slowly the discourse, as indeed the entire thrust, is taking a shift towards a primacy of Islam over azaadi. So that clearly adds a fairly complex dynamic to stabilising the nation as it were," deputy chief of army staff (planning & systems), Lieutenant General Subrata Saha, said.
He has also served as general officer commanding 15 Corps, Srinagar. He was speaking at a seminar on 'leveraging defence
expenditure as a tool for nation building', organised by the college of defence management here.
VADODARA/KARACHI: In an irony of fate, an Indian fisherman died of heart attack in a Karachi jail hours before he was to be released, along with 218 others, by Pakistan as a "goodwill gesture", according to Gujarat Fishermen Association.
Jeeva Bhagwan (37), whose name was on the list of 219 fishermen released on Thursday, hailed from Khan village in Una tehsil of Gir Somnath district of Gujarat, Veljibhai Masani, senior vice president of Gujarat Fishermen Association, said tonight.
He died of heart attack on Wednesday, Masani said.
The fishermen were freed from Malir jail on instructions from the interior ministry as a goodwill gesture, jail superintendent Hasan Sehto said.
With the release of the fishermen today, the total number of Indian fishermen freed from Pakistani jails as "goodwill gesture" in the last 10 days reached 439, despite the chill in bilateral ties.
This is the second batch of Indian fishermen released from Pakistan jails since relations between the two countries became tense after the terror attack on an Indian army base in Uri in September for which India has blamed Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed terror outfit.
On December 25, the Pakistan government had freed 220 Indian fishermen who were in jail for more than a year as goodwill gesture after Prime Minister Narendra Modi greeted counterpart Nawaz Sharif on his birthday.
Sehto said the Indian fishermen who were released today would be handed over to Indian officials at the Wagah border.
He said that around 110 more Indian fishermen remain in Landhi jail in Karachi.
Last March, the Pakistan government had released 87 Indian fishermen who had been languishing in jail in Karachi for the last two and half years.
Pakistan and India frequently arrest each others' fishermen for violating the territorial boundary.
WASHINGTON: For years, particularly during the time when the BJP has been in power, many Indians have resented western media descriptions of India as ''Hindu India'' or ''mostly-Hindu'' India. That's like gratuitously calling the US. ''Christian United States,'' they've fumed, pointing out that India's Constitution does not mention God or religious allegiance, and religious proclivities of a political party should not be used to tag a secular country with one, or any, religion.
The US Constitution does not refer to God either, but He (it's always ''He'' in Christian theology) pops in the Declaration of Independence, and is invoked in almost every political speech (''God bless you and God bless the United States!''), a ''verbal tic'' that has been ridiculed by the country's strong agnostic community. Countries that explicitly invoke ''God'' or ''Almighty'' include Pakistan, Brazil, Australia, Ireland, Greece, Canada, and South Africa, among others.
Well, regardless of Constitutional references and niceties, religion is very much a part of political life and calculations both in India and the United States. A new analysis by the Pew Research Center on the religious affiliation of American lawmakers has concluded that the ''U.S. Congress is about as Christian today as it was in the early 1960s... although the share of US adults who describe themselves as Christians has been declining for decades.''
The study says among members of the new, 115th Congress that was sworn in on Tuesday, 91 per cent describe themselves as Christians. This is nearly the same percentage as in the 87th Congress (1961 to 1962, the earliest years for which comparable data are available), when 95 per cent of members were Christian.
Among the 293 Republicans elected to serve in the new Congress, all but two identify as Christians; the only exceptions are two Jewish Republicans -- Lee Zeldin of New York and David Kustoff of Tennessee.
Democrats in Congress also are overwhelmingly Christian (80%), but there is more religious diversity on this side of the aisle. The 242 Democrats in Congress include 28 Jews, three Buddhists, three Hindus, two Muslims and one Unitarian Universalist - as well as the only member of Congress to describe herself as religiously unaffiliated.
According to the survey, the number of Hindus in Congress rose from one to three, as Ro Khanna (D-Calif), and Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Illinois) joined Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) who was first elected to serve in the 113th Congress (2013 to 2014) and has been re-elected twice, among those who identified themselves as Hindus.
It is not clear why the survey did not count Washington state lawmaker Pramila Jayapal, who also lists her religious affiliation as Hindu. Another Indian-American lawmaker, California's Ami Bera calls himself a ''Unitarian Universalist,'' while the religious affiliation of Senator Kamala Harris is not known, although she campaigned heavily in Black and Methodist churches during the election.
The group that is most notably underrepresented is the religiously unaffiliated, including atheists and agnostics. This group -- also known as religious ''nones'' -- now accounts for 23% of the general public in America but just 0.2% of Congress. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona is the only member who described herself as religiously unaffiliated in a country where public invocation of God in the political arena is frequent and ceaseless.
The Christian domination of the Republican Party is similar to the Hindu domination of the BJP. Of the 428 seats contested by the BJP in 2014, there were only seven Muslim candidates and all of them lost, leaving the party with no Muslim MPs among its 282 winners.
All 23 Muslim MPs in the 16th Lok Sabha are from non-BJP parties, and they constitute 4 per cent representation in the Lok Sabha for a community that is 14 per cent of the population.
The number of Muslim MPs in the Lok Sabha peaked in 1980 (51 Muslim MPs), followed by 1984 (48 Muslim MPs).
Apex committee resolves to ‘choke’ terror funding in Punjab
LAHORE: The Punjab Apex Committee which met here on Thursday decided to ban all means of funding to extremist organisations.
The first meeting of 2017 chaired by Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif reviewed during four-hour marathon deliberations progress on the steps being taken to eliminate terrorism, extremism and sectarianism in the province under the National Action Plan (NAP).
The participants included National Security Adviser retired Gen Nasser Janjua, Lahore Corps Commander Lt-Gen Sadiq Ali, Punjab Rangers Director General Maj-Gen Umar Farooque Barki, GOC 10 Division Maj-Gen Sardar Tariq Aman, Chief Secretary Zahid Saeed, Inspector General of Police Mushtaq Sukhera, Home Secretary Azam Suleman, National Security Division Secretary Shoaib Ahmed Siddiqui and senior military and civilian officers.
They agreed to launch an indiscriminate crackdown on the elements providing financial support to the terrorists and their facilitators and close down all sources of financial aid to them. They also decided to take more coordinated and effective steps for elimination of terrorism, extremism and sectarianism under NAP.
The meeting resolved to adopt a zero-tolerance policy against those involved in printing and distribution of literature based on religious hatred and ensuring implementation of the ban on provocative speeches.
Similarly, violation of the Amplifier Act would not be tolerated and those spreading terrorism, extremism, and sectarianism through social media would also be taken to task, the meeting resolved.
The participants also agreed on strict monitoring of entry and exit points of the province.
A handout said the meeting was satisfied with the steps so far taken under NAP and it was resolved that efforts would be continued to uproot terrorism, extremism and sectarianism from the province.
The meeting also lauded the success of operations carried out by the Punjab government and law-enforcement agencies against terrorists and their facilitators. It paid tributes to the sacrifices rendered by the officers and jawans of Pak Army, officers and officials of the Punjab police and other departments.
The chief minister said Punjab was the first province where ‘Safe City Project’ had become operational and geo-tagging of seminaries, mosques and other worship places had been completed.
Earlier, the corps commander met the chief minister and discussed the steps being taken in connection with NAP.
Published in Dawn, January 6th, 2017
Quality edu youth’s only weapon to rule Balochistan: COAS
January 06, 2017
QUETTA - Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa yesterday reiterated Pak Army’s pledge to continue its unflinching role for the prosperity of Balochistan.
Addressing a one-day seminar organised by Economic Development Department at Balochistan University of Engineering and Technology, Khuzdar, he said the era of prosperity has dawned folding the age of despondencies in Balochistan and the youth now must come forward to play a constructive role in nation-building.
He asserted the people of Balochistan were patriotic and no effort would be spared for keeping the process of their safety and wellbeing intact. He affirmed Pak Army was making all-out efforts jointly with the provincial regime to take on challenges of Balochistan people’s welfare.
The COAS said China-Pakistan Economic Corridor was of great significance not only for Balochistan, but also for the entire country and the region. “Pak Army promises that the force will continue playing its role for developing Balochistan,” he added.
Gen Bajwa advised the youth of the province to focus on acquiring quality education which was the only weapon to rule the province. He added currently more than 20,000 Balochistan youth were working in Army, while Pakistan Air Force and Navy were also recruiting youth from the province by offering them special concessions.
He said due to sustained efforts 603 officers from Balochistan were serving Army. “At this very moment, 232 cadets are undergoing training at PMA.”
“This is only the representation in Army; the number gets even higher when we include Baloch representation in Pakistan Air Force, Navy and other Law Enforcement Agencies.”
“Allah willing, that day is not very far, when one of you will be standing at my place and talking to the youth of this great province,” the COAS said.
Terming the youth of Balochistan as future of Pakistan, he urged them to spearhead their efforts in all fields to take Pakistan to the glorious status that the motherland deserved. “So get ready to face the challenges, grab the opportunities and make us all proud,” the COAS said.
“Balochistan today, is under focus due to its geographic importance in relation to the role that it is likely to play in regional economy.
“Our enemies have been trying since long to keep Balochistan in a state of unrest and instability. Alhamdulillah, we being a resilient nation have fought well and have defeated their design.”
“Today’s Balochistan is stronger, integrated and on its way to recovery. Development of Gwadar Port, construction of 870 km of road infrastructure and realisation of CPEC is testimony of our national resolve,” the COAS said.
He said federal and provincial governments as well as Army are trying their best to ensure peace and stability in the province, but the job is half done. “What we need to do is to remain focused on our vision of connecting the whole region and even beyond, for economic growth and prosperity. For this, the prerequisite is to optimize Balochistan’s geo-strategic location and galvanise enormous human and natural resource potential,” he said.
This is only possible, the COAS said, when the external and internal challenges are dealt with properly.
External challenges emanate from perceived geopolitical divergences and competing interests. Internally, he said “our own shortcomings exploited and fueled by our enemies, take us away from the path of progress.”
He reminded that connectivity is not just about bringing places closer; it’s also about binding people through the bond of shared development and prosperity. The network of development projects envisioned under CPEC will put Balochistan at the heart of national development effort.
“If we manage to stay committed to this vision, we will be connected, not only with China, Central Asia and Africa but also with other important economies of the world. Thus, these developments will transform Balochistan into a vibrant model of development for the entire region and beyond,” the COAS said.
While this undertaking has added to the security demands in the short term, its success will comprehensively enhance national security in the long term, he said.
“Now as far as the security of ongoing developmental activity and future trade running through the province are concerned, we should adopt a people-centric approach, based on local ownership,” he said adding “In this regard, over the past few years, Pakistan Army and other law enforcement agencies, with full support of people of Balochistan have contributed immensely to shape the environment for undertaking this vital national project. Today, Alhamdulillah positive results are in front of everyone.”
“One of the key strands of our effort is national integration,” he said adding, Balochistan unfortunately had been neglected in the past for host of reasons, but not anymore.
In this regard, Pakistan Army has contributed significantly to bring Balochistan into the main stream.
Pakistan Army’s efforts in the province are far more diverse than its security role alone, the COAS said and added that Pakistan Army is actively engaged in humanitarian and human development programmes, most importantly in the field of education and healthcare.
At present, he said, over 25,000 students are receiving education at Army and FC-run schools, colleges, Cadet and military colleges in the province.
In addition, he said, Pakistan Army is running a large network of hospitals and medical facilities located in far flung areas of Balochistan which are providing quality healthcare to the people of that area.
“My hope rests with the highly capable, bright and patriotic youth of Balochistan - I have no doubt you understand that your future lies in a well-educated and developed Balochistan and Pakistan. I am happy that Balochistan’s youth has convincingly chosen peace and prosperity as their future.”
“I salute their determination and resilience against the onslaught of terrorism by the enemies of peace and prosperity.”
He assured commitment to peace, stability and development of Balochistan at par with the most developed parts of the country is unwavering.
“It is our promise that we will develop every part of Balochistan, come what may, Inshallah.”
Expressing confidence, he said the current security challenges and external efforts to derail Balochistan’s peace will end with the growing realization of assured geo-economic advantages of a fully developed CPEC and infrastructure projects all over Balochistan.
He appreciated the efforts of all political parties and media in creating peace and harmony in line with the aspirations of people and placing Balochistan at the centre of the national discourse.
Over 150 people were arrested as religious parties attempted to hold a demonstration in favour of the blasphemy law in Punjab's provincial capital Wednesday on the death anniversary of former Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer.
Protesters belonging to the Sunni Tehreek, Tehreek-i-Khatme Nabuwat and Tehreek-i-Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah were among those who had planned to march from Kalma Chowk to Liberty Chowk in favour of the blasphemy law.
The provincial government, however, did not permit the holding of the rally, after which police erected blockades in different parts of Lahore to prevent a gathering.
Deputy Inspector General Operations Haider Ashraf told Dawn that over 150 members of the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah had been arrested. He added that more arrests will be made, and that no one had permission to hold a rally in Lahore.
Superintendent Police (SP) Security Ibadat Nisar said the Punjab government had not allowed the demonstrators to hold any rally in Lahore. He said that police would not allow the demonstrators to reach their destination and would block routes and make arrests if necessary.
Main Gulberg and all arteries leading to it have been blocked from Barkat Market to Main Market and police have been heavily deployed across the city.
Residents in Lahore are facing severe traffic jams along certain routes due to the diversions.
Taseer, a former governor of Punjab and an outspoken advocate for blasphemy law reform, was gunned down by his security guard Mumtaz Qadri the same day six years ago.
A pro-blasphemy law protest had also been planned for Rawalpindi today, according to reports circulating on social media.
Open support for Taseer's killer
On Taseer's death anniversary, banners proclaiming Mumtaz Qadri as a hero cropped up in various cities. The banners call people to commemorate 'Youm-i-Namoos-i-Risalat'.
Nearly a year after the hanging of Qadri, a shrine is being built in his memory in Bhara Kahu, not far from the capital where he was brutally gunned down.
A month after Taseer's killer was executed, a mob of pro-Qadri protesters led by the Sunni Tehreek and the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Ya Rasool (SAW) converged on the capital and besieged Islamabad's Red Zone.
Jamaat-e-Islami, Karachi, Demands Death Penalty For Adulterators
KARACHI - Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Karachi chief Engineer Hafiz Naeemur Rahman has demanded the government to legislate so that those adulterating medicines and other commodities could be given capital punishment.
Naeem expressed deep concern over the news that the government had failed to curb adulteration of milk, medicines and food items.
Lashing out at the state-run watchdogs, the JI leader noted that it was a matter of grave concern for the citizens. He added that despite the fact that media had unearthed these elements several times, but the government failed to take any solid measure to bring this nefarious practice to an end.
He lamented that although Consumers Protection Act had been passed in 2015, it was yet to be implemented.
LONDON (Dunya News) – Some unidentified persons carried out an attack at the house of Zubair Gull, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) UK president and Federal Commissioner for Overseas Pakistanis, on Thursday and critically wounded him.
Zubair Gull has been shifted to hospital for treatment.
The CCTV footage of the incident shows that a woman, wearing a scarf, knocked the door of Zubair Gull’s house and when he opened the door two attackers entered the house and beat him up and wounded him.
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan said on Thursday that Qatar’s former prime minister Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jaber Al Thani would be jailed if he appeared before the Supreme Court (SC) to authenticate the letter he had sent to rescue Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in the Panamagate.
“If the Qatari prince doesn’t want to go to prison, he should not come to Pakistan,” he said at a press conference at his residence in Banigala.
Mr Khan asked Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to submit evidence if he was not involved in money laundering and had sent money abroad through legal channels to purchase properties in London.
He said that the letter of the Qatari prince had proved to be false as the prime minister’s daughter Maryam Nawaz was the owner of the London property.
“The Qatari Prince’s letter is false, I don’t know which prince will come to their defence next,” the PTI chief said.
He alleged that Nawaz Sharif was involved in money laundering since he had transferred money abroad through illegal channels and established overseas companies in the name of his children. “Finance Minister Ishaq Dar’s affidavit is a documentary evidence of Nawaz Sharif’s money laundering.”
He said that the government had been trying to hide the Sharif family’s corruption for the past eight months and “the entire (federal) cabinet is on their toes in an attempt to hide the prime minister’s corruption”.
Mr Khan said that the Sharif family had been categorically identified in the Panama Papers’ revelations and it was issuing contradictory statements ever since the Panama Leaks came to the fore. “If the Panama Papers were wrong why the Sharifs have not moved court against the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists,” he asked.
In a democratic system, Mr Khan said, the opposition was not responsible for providing evidence for identification of illegal acts whereas the government had to respond to questions raised by the opposition.
LAHORE : A smartphone application enabling women to report incidents of harassment to police in Punjab went live this week as authorities step up efforts to promote women’s safety in one of the worst provinces for crimes against them.
With a click of a button, users who feel threatened can call an emergency response police team who should be able to track their location via a built-in global positioning system (GPS). “Though the app primarily covers street harassment, it also has a feature for woman who is inside the house and is suffering physical violence to call for help,” said Fauzia Viqar, chair of the Punjab Commission on the Status of Women, a body promoting women’s rights, which was involved in the launch of the app on Thursday. She said users can also use the app to mark unsafe locations and access a toll-free helpline which provides information on laws to protect women’s rights among other services.
Domestic abuse, economic discrimination and acid attacks make Pakistan the world’s third-most-dangerous country for women, a 2011 Thomson Reuters Foundation expert poll showed.
About 500 women are killed in Pakistan every year at the hands of relatives over perceived damage to family “honour” that can involve eloping, fraternising with men or any other infraction against conservative values.
A study by the Aurat Foundation, a Pakistani women’s rights group, in 2013 found that Punjab alone accounted for 5,800 crimes against women - 74 percent of crimes against women in the whole of Pakistan.
Women’s rights campaigners welcomed the launch of the app but expressed concern not all women would have access to it. “It can ensure timely rescue. But it may not be effective in rural areas where people are generally poor and do not have smartphone,” said Romana Bashir, who heads women’s rights organisation, the Peace and Development Foundation.
She also said there was a need to raise awareness among police officers of violence against women.
Myanmar accused of 'whitewash' as panel rejects claims it is persecuting Rohingya
Human rights groups said Myanmar's government is trying to cover up abuses against civilians in a Muslim-majority part of Rakhine State after an investigation panel dismissed claims a government crackdown there amounts to “genocide”.
A commission appointed by the government of Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi issued interim findings refuting allegations of abuses by security forces on Wednesday, even as authorities were still investigating alleged police abuses after a video emerged appearing to show officers beating and kicking Rohingya villagers.
Troops have poured into northern Rakhine since insurgents believed to be from the mostly stateless Rohingya minority attacked border posts on Oct 9, killing nine police officers.
At least 86 people have died and an estimated 34,000 have fled across the border to Bangladesh. Rohingya residents and refugees accuse security forces of summary executions, arbitrary arrest, rape and burning down homes as part of what the government has termed its “clearance operations” in search of attackers.
Myanmar's government has flatly denied allegations that abuses have been committed, but has prevented independent journalists and aid workers from accessing parts of northern Rakhine.
Under international pressure Suu Kyi ordered the commission to investigate the attacks and the abuse allegations.
“The Bengali population residing in Maungtaw region, the increasing population of Mawlawi (Islamic scholars), mosques and religious edifices are proof that there were no cases of genocide and religious persecution in the region,” said the report.
Many in Myanmar refer to the Rohingya as “Bengalis” as they see them as interlopers from Bangladesh. The panel also said it had so far found “insufficient evidence” for legal action on allegations of rape by soldiers.
“No cases of malnutrition were found in the area, due to the area's favourable fishing and farming conditions,” it added, despite concerns from international aid organisations that tens of thousands of people who were receiving food aid before Oct 9 are now cut off.
Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at New York-based Human Rights Watch, said the panel was “looking more and more like the Myanmar government whitewash mechanism that we feared it would be,” highlighting that the panel chair Vice President Myint Swe, is a former army lieutenant general.
Robertson said it was “astonishing” that the commission could conclude from the presence of mosques that the Rohingya are not being persecuted.
“Judging by what is written in this interim report, the commission has so far acted to discount out of hand what it calls 'external allegations' rather than seriously investigate them and risk uncovering the litany of rights violations against the Rohingya,” he said by email.
Matthew Smith, founder of campaign group Fortify Rights, said the commission's report was sharply at odds with accounts collected by researchers interviewing civilians in northern Rakhine and those who have fled to Bangladesh.
“The army has committed atrocity crimes and this commission is attempting a whitewash. Ministries led by Suu Kyi have charted the path of denial, waging a shameful propaganda campaign,” Smith said by email.
Jan 05 2017
At least six insurgents including two foreigners were killed during a counter-terrorism operation conducted in South of Afghanistan.
The Ministry of Defense (MoD) said the operation was conducted on Helmand-Nimroz highway and at least 9 others were also wounded.
MoD further added that the security forces also discovered and confiscated at least 20 Improvised Explosive Device planted by the militants on the same highway.
No further details were given regarding the identities of the two foreign insurgents killed during the operations.
The anti-government armed militant groups including the Taliban insurgents have not commented regarding the report so far.
The highway linking southern Helmand with western Nimruz province is relatively volatile as the anti-government armed militants frequently set up check points to kidnap or kill passengers besides conducting direct attacks.
In the meantime, the Afghan forces are busy conducting their annual operation to eliminate the anti-government armed militants in the restive provinces.
The Department of Defense said Thursday that Afghanistan still dangerous and challenges remain there, reaffirming the US support to the Afghan government and security forces.
Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook told reporters that U.S. military presence in Afghanistan continues to provide support to the Afghan government and its armed forces “so that they can secure the country for themselves.”
He said Army Gen. John W. Nicholson, commander of the Resolute Support mission and U.S. Forces Afghanistan, and his team “work very closely with the government, with the armed forces of Afghanistan.”
The separate counterterrorism mission in Afghanistan is also ongoing, Cook said, and is “critically important to the United States in keeping the homeland safe.”
“We feel good about the situation right now in Afghanistan with regard to the support we’re providing along with other members of the NATO coalition,” he said. “In terms of bolstering the Afghan security forces, improving their fighting capabilities on their own, so that ultimately they can secure the country on their own. We see progress there.”
An explosion rocked Jalalabad city, the provincial capital of eastern Nangarhar province earlier today.
According to the preliminary reports, a civilian was killed in the explosion and some others were wounded.
However, another official said at least one civilian was killed and another one was wounded in the explosion.
The official speaking on the condition of anonymity further added that an Improvised Explosive Device (IED)was detonated near a police vehicle in the vicinity off 4th police district of the city.
No group including the Taliban insurgents has so far claimed responsibility behind the incident.
Taliban militants and insurgents belonging to other militant groups are frequently using Improvised Explosive Device (IED) as the weapon of their choice to target the security forces and government officials.
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