Moderate Muslims reclaim their faith

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo: Members of the Woodbridge Interfaith Clergy Council and state Sen. Bob Smith joined Muslim leaders in a show of solidarity Friday.(Photo: Susan Loyer/Staff Photo)

 

North America

Moderate Muslims reclaim their faith

Muslim leaders denounce Islamic extremism

Suspected arson attack on California mosque

‘US has independent ties with India, Pakistan and Afghanistan’

Muslim group CAIR evacuates US HQ after getting white powder in mail

U.S. vows stepped up fight on ISIS group

Canada receives first Syrian refugees

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Africa

Boko Haram militants kill 14 in northeast Nigeria

Libyan rivals to sign U.N.-backed peace deal Dec. 16

Attacks on military bases in Burundi capital

Son of late Libyan leader Qaddafi kidnapped in Lebanon

Blair says he urged Qaddafi to quit Libya in 2011

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Arab World

IS claims northern Syria suicide bombings that killed 26

IS truck bombs kill up to 60 in Syria

Assad says won’t attend negotiations, majority of Syrians support him

More Militants Surrender in Syria’s Damascus

Infamous Mexican Cartel Boss Threatens ISIL over Drug Trade

Syrian Armed Forces Recapture Several Sites from ISIL in East Homs: Maheen Within Reach

Nearly Fifty Militants Killed in Army’s Ambush South of Syria’s Aleppo

Army Getting Ready to Cut ISIL Supplying Routes in Central Syria

Al-Qaeda-Affiliated Nusra Militants Suffer Heavy Losses South of Syria

Syria: Army, NDF Repel Militants’ Attack on Strategic Region in Lattakia

Senior FSA Commander Killed North of Syrian Capital

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Mideast

Yemeni Missiles Rain down on Saudi Military Bases, Positions

Syrian Forces Purge Lattakia’s Border with Turkey of Al-Nusra Militants

Turkey fines Twitter over ‘pro-terror’ content

Spokesman: Iraqi Popular Forces Ready to Strike at Turkish Aggressors as ISIL

Turkey troop deployment detrimental to all: Iran cleric

Gunmen fire on military vehicle in Istanbul

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India

Bengaluru: Muslims protest against right-wing leader’s remark on Prophet Mohammed

On way to join Islamic State, Chennai youth deported from Sudan

26/11 case: Ujjwal Nikam, top cop made ‘secret’ trip to US to strike deal on Headley

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Pakistan

One FC man killed, four others injured in TTP-claimed Quetta blast

Parents of Army Public School attack victims feel dejected

APS attack anniversary: KP govt likely to declare Dec 16 a public holiday

Opposition leader slams PPP over Rangers powers controversy

Disappointed with Modi, but he’s changing: Imran

TTP claims Quetta blast, shootings in Karachi, Peshawar

Son of Pakistani Consulate worker arrested on NY rape charge

Ruling party leaders eyeing reserved seats for relatives

Parents of Army Public School attack victims feel dejected

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South Asia

Brutal attacks on Catholics in Bangladesh ‎

UN Security Council strongly condemns Kabul attack

Bangladesh arrests popular satirist for anti-govt posts

Foreigners among 8 killed in attack near Spanish embassy in Kabul

Afghan forces end Taliban siege near Kabul

President Ghani leaves to Turkmenistan

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Southeast Asia

Islam no more official religion on Sarawak government website

‘Since when will PAS lose out if Islam is stronger in Malaysia?’

Utopian caliphate life lures Muslims to join IS

G25 urged to cease promoting liberal stand on Islam

Group blasts inaction over threat to rape G25 rep

Cops detain teenager over alleged link to militants in Syria

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Europe

German spy chief sees 430 extremists as acute risk

Radical UK preacher Choudary bailed in ‘ISIS support’ case

Morocco dismantles Daesh-linked terrorist cell

Spanish policeman killed in Kabul attack

Spanish police arrest alleged Islamist militant wanted by U.S.

Morocco says ISIS-linked cell dismantled

Morocco issues arrest warrant for Paris attack suspect

Kerry meets Putin next week on Syria peace plan

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL:

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North America

 

Moderate Muslims reclaim their faith

DECEMBER 11, 2015

HILLARY CLINTON takes political correctness too far when she refuses to characterize the fight against terrorism as a battle to defeat “radical Islam.” To use that term, she has argued, “sounds like we are declaring war against a religion.”

Such linguistic sensitivity may be well intentioned — especially given Donald Trump’s grotesque call to bar Muslims from entering the United States. But it does a disservice to the tens of millions of moderate, peaceful Muslims who abhor the extremism and violence of radical Islamists, and who want to highlight, not downplay, their rejection of the jihadists.

Many Muslims would enthusiastically agree. Among them is the newly formed Muslim Reform Movement, launched this month by a coalition of moderate Muslims from Canada, Europe, and the United States. In a public manifesto, the coalition put the stakes bluntly: “We are in a battle for the soul of Islam, and an Islamic renewal must defeat the ideology of Islamism.” It explicitly condemned violent jihad, embraced equal rights for women and religious minorities, and insisted on separation of mosque and state. “We are loyal to the nations in which we live,” the reform declaration stated. “We reject the idea of the Islamic state. . . . We oppose institutionalized sharia.”

To underscore their opposition to Wahhabism, the harsh and puritanical version of Islam promoted by Saudi Arabia, members of the reform coalition posted a copy of their manifesto, Martin Luther-like, to the door of the Islamic Center of Washington, D.C., a mosque funded in part by the Saudi government.

Halfway around the globe, meanwhile, another organization of Muslim moderates is mounting a vigorous challenge to ISIS and jihadi extremism.

In Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim group has embarked on an international effort to repudiate the jihadist teachings and ideology of the Islamic State. The group is Nahdlatul Ulama, or NU, a 90-year-old Sunni social organization with 50 million members and a reputation for progressive pluralism. It recently kicked off a new anti-extremist campaign, a multipronged ideological drive, as The New York Times reported, to be “carried out online, and in hotel conference rooms and convention centers from North America to Europe to Asia.”

Last month, NU released a 90-minute film that vigorously refutes ISIS and its Wahhabist-rooted fundamentalism. The grisly massacres celebrated in so many jihadist videos are denounced in this film as an appalling perversion of Islam that the Muslim world must not tolerate. NU is also training Arabic-speaking students, both male and female, to disseminate its antiradical values and challenge Islamist supremacism.

It is a great mistake to blame the evils committed by jihadi extremists on the Muslim religion. Radical Islam — not Islam itself — is the menace that must be defeated. Ultimately, that defeat can only be administered by Muslims passionately committed to moderation and tolerance. Those moderate Muslims need all the support we can give them as they battle for the soul of their faith.

https://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/editorials/2015/12/11/moderate-muslims-reclaim-their-faith/bneOHxssdBBIozElmb0S8J/story.html

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Muslim leaders denounce Islamic extremism

December 11, 2015

PISCATAWAY – Members of the Woodbridge Interfaith Clergy Council and others joined members of the Muslim community Friday in a show of solidarity as Muslim leaders spoke out against all forms of violence and prejudice.

“I know what you are going through,” state Sen. Bob Smith, D-17th District, told the group that gathered at the Muslim Center of Middlesex County. “There are a lot of crazy people on television spouting hate. They are spouting hate against all mosques and all practitioners of Islam and that’s just wrong. Do you know that this country — the United States of America — was founded because people were suffering from religious prosecution in Europe and they came over to be free so they could practice their religion? It’s insane that we have supposed leaders speaking so bad of our community.”

Smith said that on behalf of the township, the mayor of Piscataway, the Township Council and the residents of Piscataway, “we appreciate you.”

“We think you are a vital and wonderful part of our community and we are in solidarity with you,” Smith said. “Do not be afraid in Piscataway Township.”

He told them this will pass.

“The crazy people will calm down,” Smith said. “What you need to know is that the vast majority of America appreciates you, appreciates your contribution to America and wants to be involved and protective of your community.”

Imam Asif Hirani, program manager at WhyIslam, who served at the Muslim Community New Jersey, based in the Fords section of Woodbridge, said Muslims reject all forms of extremism as a matter of principle.

“This includes extremism of all kinds, embraced by any individual: in ideology, in practice and in action,” he said. “Manifestation of extremism, particularly violence against innocent people, is abhorred. Any individual, Muslim or non-Muslim, who chooses to engage in violence against innocent people is a criminal. God All-Mighty says in the Quran, “If you kill one human being (whether it is a Muslim or a non-Muslim) it is as though you have killed the entire humanity” (5:32). We as American Muslims condemn the extremist groups such as ISIS and Al-Qaeda and so forth. In fact, all the major scholars from Muslim countries have also condemned these groups.”

Bigotry or prejudice of any kind, by or against Muslim or non-Muslim, is “completely unacceptable,” he said.

“It is in clear contradiction to the Quran and to the Prophetic tradition,” the Imam said. “Islam calls for equality, social justice and respect for human life. Islamophobia and extremism are two ugly faces of the same coin. One begets the other and creates a vicious cycle that can only be broken by engaging the community and proper education. Vilifying an entire group of people breeds extremism. Though we may have differences in our faith, but we are one as a nation, and it is our responsibility to take a stand against injustice together.”

Hirani also spoke out against Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

“As a Muslim scholar who has condemned ISIS, I see a lot of similarity between Trump and ISIS,” he said. “They both are using Islam to market themselves. They both are spreading fear. Both are misrepresenting their people. ISIS is misrepresenting Islam and Trump is misrepresenting the American values. They both are highlighted by some of the mainstream media. They are both very good at marketing, but they are lying.”

Safi Faizullah, president of the center, told the group that Trump is on the wrong path.

“This is not the way to win some wars,” he said. “There are more positive ways. We have to focus on common grounds we have.”

Faizullah said “generalization is really bad.”

Bad things have happened in all religions, he said.

“As a community, we have to look forward,” he said. “We have to look to common humanity.”

Imam Nizam Ahmad Raouf Zaman of the Muslim Center of Middlesex County also spoke out about violence and extremism in the communities.

“We are all suffering from Islamophobia,” he said. “It is not just Muslims who are suffering from Islamophobia. It is others also in some ways or the others.”

He said an article would be posted on the center’s website, which “would be more geared for the Muslims who want to react when there is Islamophobia.”

“They may want to react in a negative way,” he said.

He said when someone says something negative, “it is time for introspection.”

“I think that this is only going to help us become better individuals, and hopefully people will be able to see that,” he said. “We all get to understand each other better.”

Hirani said the key to ending terrorism is education.

“I personally think bombs are only going to produce more terrorists,” he said. “Education will create a highly educated society.”

The Rev. James F. Thomas, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Iselin, and a member of the Woodbridge Interfaith Clergy Council, said he came to the event to show solidarity.

“The more dialogue the better, especially now with all the rhetoric that’s in the airwaves,” he said. “I think his (Hirani’s) statement is a very healing and unifying.”

Also on hand was the Rev. Shelley Gardner, associate pastor at the First Presbyterian Church of Woodbridge.

“I see them as my brothers and sisters and part of the community,” she said. “I stand with them in unity and I’m hopeful that dialogue will outweigh the rhetoric we hear on the news. They have been an important part of our Woodbridge Clergy Council.”

Additional information about the Muslim Center of Middlesex County is available at http://www.mcmcnj.org/.

http://www.mycentraljersey.com/story/news/local/middlesex-county/2015/12/11/muslim-leaders-denounce-islamic-extremism/77148440/

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Suspected arson attack on California mosque

Dec 12, 2015

LOS ANGELES: Authorities were investigating a case of suspected arson after a blaze broke out at a California mosque on Friday, officials said, a week after a Muslim couple shot dead 14 people in the US state.

Officials at the mosque could not immediately be reached for comment but they were quoted by local media as saying someone “fire-bombed” the building, and worshippers expressed concerns over the incident.

Last year, someone fired a shot at the same mosque but no one was injured.

Firefighters rushed to the Islamic Society of Palm Springs, in the town of Coachella, shortly after smoke and flames were seen coming out of the building at around noon, a spokeswoman for the Riverside County Fire Department told AFP.

No injuries were reported and firefighters managed to extinguish the fire within a half hour.

Laura Eimiller, a spokeswoman for the FBI’s Los Angeles office, said federal investigators were assisting local police in the probe.

The incident comes nine days after a Muslim couple in San Bernardino, about an hour from Palm Springs, killed 14 people and injured 22 in an assault that is being investigated by the FBI as a terror attack.

The rampage has raised fears of a backlash against the Muslim community in the United States, especially in the wake of anti-Muslim rhetoric by Republican White House hopeful Donald Trump.

Trump has called for a ban on Muslims entering the United States and promoted the idea of requiring all Muslims in the country to register in a special database.

Several worshippers gathered outside the mosque in Coachella on Friday expressed fear.

“If something bad happens somewhere they blame Islam,” said Kassim Al-Mushr. “But Islam did not do that,” he added, referring to the San Bernardino massacre.

“We love America. Trump, he attacked Islam and maybe some people listened to him.”

http://www.dawn.com/news/1225900/suspected-arson-attack-on-california-mosque

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‘US has independent ties with India, Pakistan and Afghanistan’

ANWAR IQBAL

Dec 12, 2015

WASHINGTON: US Defence Secre­tary Ash Carter has said that the United States has independent relationships with India, Pakistan and Afghanistan and wants to continue this arrangement.

At a joint news briefing with the visiting Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, he said that Washington’s relationship with these three countries went beyond counter-terrorism.

“We have regular conversations with India both about counter-terrorism and about regional security issues,” said Mr Carter when a journalist asked if the US had increased its counter-terrorism cooperation with India after last week’s terrorist attacks in California.

“Obviously, terrorism of all kinds in South Asia has been and remains a serious problem,” he said when the journalist reminded him that one of San Bernardino attackers had come from Pakistan.

“India has been attacked and is continuously threatened with attack from terrorists, even as Pakistan and Afgha­nis­tan are,” he added. Mr Carter, however, refused to single out Pakistan for criticism for the alleged involvement of some of its citizens in terrorist activities.

“We have independent relationships with all three of those, and counter-terrorism isn’t the only thing we do with all three of those. But counter-terrorism is an important thing that we do with all of them,” he said.

The Indian defence minister, however, emphasised the need for international response to threats of terrorism.

“Terrorism has become a global phenomenon and requires a comprehensive response,” he said. “All affiliations must be countered without any differentiation.”

In his opening remarks, Secretary Carter defined the US-India defence partnership as an “anchor of global security”.

During the Indian defence minister’s visit to Washington, the two sides also reviewed the progress that’s been made towards cooperation on jet engines and aircraft carrier design and construction, he said.

http://www.dawn.com/news/1225870/us-has-independent-ties-with-india-pakistan-and-afghanistan

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Muslim group CAIR evacuates US HQ after getting white powder in mail

Dec 12, 2015

WASHINGTON: Muslim advocacy group Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) evacuated its national headquarters on Capitol Hill on Thursday after receiving a letter containing white powder, but staff were later allowed to re-enter after authorities conducted preliminary tests and deemed the substance harmless.

The letter received by CAIR also contained a note that read, “Die a painful death, Muslims,” according to staff attorney Maha Sayed.

“Our fear is at a pretty high level at this time, given the anti-Muslim rhetoric going on,” said Sayed.

In California, a CAIR branch office in the Bay Area city of Santa Clara, was also evacuated on Thursday after receiving an envelope with an unknown powder inside, CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper said.

Further details were not available because local authorities could not immediately be reached.

Law enforcement authorities and Muslim communities around the United States (US) have braced for a rise in anti-Muslim sentiment after Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik shot dead 14 people in California last week. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is investigating the shooting as an act of terrorism.

The presence of white powder in the letter sent to CAIR was reminiscent of the 2001 anthrax attacks that killed five people and sickened 17.

The FBI has taken possession of the letter, and will test it further, according to FBI spokesman Andrew Ames.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1225676/muslim-group-cair-evacuates-us-hq-after-getting-white-powder-in-mail

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U.S. vows stepped up fight on ISIS group

12 December 2015

The United States will intensify its efforts to destroy the ISIS militant group, Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter pledged Friday.

A U.S.-led coalition began bombing the group in both countries last year, after the miiltants overran large areas in a brutal campaign of beheadings and forced religious conversions.

The White House is, however, under growing pressure to do more, with President Barack Obama’s administration criticized by opponents for what they say is a lack of discernable progress in eliminating the militants.

“We are taking a number of steps… and we intend to take more to strengthen the execution of our strategy and hasten the defeat of ISIL,” said Carter, speaking at a news conference in Washington alongside Michael Fallon, his British counterpart and ally in the bid to defeat the ISIS group.

“I expect in a week and two weeks and six weeks and so forth for us to be doing more and building more capability, and having more and more impact every week.

“That’s the whole idea. That’s what President Obama has asked to us to do, that’s what we have been able to do and we will continue to do.”

Obama will travel to the Pentagon Monday to take stock of the ongoing military efforts in Iraq and Syria.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2015/12/12/U-S-vows-to-step-up-fight-on-ISIS.html

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Canada receives first Syrian refugees

11 December 2015

Canada welcomed 163 Syrian refugees late Thursday, taking in the first of a planned 25,000 in a matter of months and promising them a better life as they flee their country’s horrific war.

The refugees arrived just weeks after Canada’s newly elected Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his country would pull its fighter jets from a US-led coalition targeting ISIL fighters in Iraq and Syria.

Trudeau and several members of his Liberal government were on hand to greet the Syrians as they arrived on a troop transport plane in Toronto.

Dozens of volunteers, interpreters and immigration officials helped the Syrians through the formalities of admission and gave them blankets, snow boots and other welcome gifts.

Over the course of the day, good samaritans came to the airport to donate winter clothes and try to greet the Syrians who had set out from Beirut.

But in the end the tired travelers were admitted through a terminal that was closed to the public.

“Tonight they step off the plane as refugees. But they walk out of this terminal as permanent residents of Canada with social insurance numbers, with health cards and with an opportunity to become full Canadians,” Trudeau said.

– ‘Memorable’ day –

The government hopes to bring in 10,000 Syrian refugees and another 15,000 by the end of February.

“We will all remember this day,” Trudeau said shortly before greeting the refugees, many of them women and children.

Syria’s grinding four-year civil war has killed more than 250,000 people and displaced four million others.

The new Liberal government, elected in October, had campaigned on a pledge to resettle 25,000 Syrians this year.

But it backpedaled last month, citing logistical issues and following criticism that Ottawa had been moving too fast despite security concerns heightened by the terror attacks in Paris last month.

Broadcaster CBC reported in November that Canada will accept only whole families, lone women or children from Syria, while unaccompanied men — considered a security risk — will be turned away.

Full report at:

http://www.worldbulletin.net/america-canada/167270/chinas-xi-obama-discuss-paris-climate-summit-by-phone

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Africa

 

Boko Haram militants kill 14 in northeast Nigeria

Dec 11, 2015

At least 14 people have been killed, among them some decapitated, by militants from Boko Haram Takfiri terrorist group in an attack on a village in northeast Nigeria.

A resident said on Friday that Boko Haram carried out an attack in the village of Kamuya in Nigeria’s crisis-stricken northeastern state of Borno at about 8:00 pm (1900 GMT) on Thursday.

Ibrahim Babagana, a resident of the village, said he and other locals found 14 dead bodies, adding, “Some of them were decapitated and their heads placed on their torso.”

He added that seven others were gunned down and buried, adding that Boko Haram terrorists set fire to the village and completely destroyed it.

Mustapha Karimbe, a civilian vigilante, said half-a-dozen people were also injured in the raid.

“The six injured victims are receiving treatment at the General Hospital in [the town of] Biu,” he added.

At least 20,000 people have been killed and more than 2.5 million made homeless since the beginning of the Boko Haram militancy in Nigeria in 2009. The militants have recently pledged allegiance to the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group, which is primarily operating inside Syria and Iraq.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2015/12/11/441307/Nigeria-Boko-Haram-Borno

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Libyan rivals to sign U.N.-backed peace deal Dec. 16

11 December 2015

Libya’s rival parliaments will next week sign a U.N.-sponsored agreement on forming a national unity government, they announced Friday, as world leaders press them to end chaos in the country.

“The political accord will be signed on December 16,” said Salah el-Makhzoum, a vice president of the parliament based in the capital Tripoli, calling this a “happy day.”

An official of the internationally recognized parliament, Mohammed Choueib, said that “after lengthy efforts… we announce to our people that we have decided to move beyond this difficult period… and ask everyone to join us.”

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/2015/12/11/Libyan-rivals-to-sign-U-S-backed-peace-deal-Dec-16.html

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Attacks on military bases in Burundi capital

December 12, 2015

NAIROBI : Heavily-armed gunmen launched coordinated assaults on three army barracks in the Burundian capital on Friday leaving at least a dozen dead in the worst unrest since a failed May coup.

Army spokesman Colonel Gaspard Baratuza claimed that 12 attackers were killed and 21 captured while five soldiers were wounded, following the early morning assaults on a base at Ngagara and a military training college in the capital, as well as another base at Mujejuru, 40 kilometres (25 miles) outside the city.

Baratuza said the attackers aimed “to stock up on weapons and ammunition”.

“The army has defeated them seriously,” the spokesman said, while Bujumbura residents reported continuing gunfire into the afternoon.

Clashes continued throughout the day in different parts of the capital with witnesses describing heavy firing, including artillery, lasting several hours at the military locations.

Friday’s firefights are the heaviest since a failed coup in May, sparked by President Pierre Nkurunziza’s bid for a third term, which he later won in disputed elections in July.

Months of street protests have devolved into regular armed attacks with gunfire disrupting the nights and dead bodies appearing on city streets almost every day.

Attacks on security forces have escalated with frequent ambushes of police convoys by rebels armed with assault rifles, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars aimed at government installations.

Eight months of unrest has claimed the lives of at least 240 people so far while more than 200,000 have left for neighbouring countries, according to the UN.

Frightened residents of Bujumbura said Friday’s fighting was the worst in months.

“I am holed up in the corridor of my house with my wife and children,” said Eric, a resident of Musaga.

“Pray for us because we will die!”

As sporadic gunfire continued around Bujumbura, a government spokesman claimed on Twitter that the attacks had been foiled.

Referring to the gunmen as “Sindumuja” – meaning “I am not a slave”, a name sometimes used for the insurgents – presidential media advisor Willy Nyamitwe wrote, “Tonight the #Sindumuja tried to attack military camps but they failed.

“A failed coup in May 13, many defeated attacks including this one.

all their plans against #Burundi fail,” he added later.

Exchanges of fire could still be heard in several neighbourhoods of Bujumbura throughout Friday, streets were deserted as city residents stayed home and the army and security forces attempted to lockdown the city.

Regional carriers Ethiopian Airlines, Kenya Airways and RwandAir all cancelled scheduled flights to Bujumbura on Friday.

The UN, aid agencies and several foreign embassies urged their employees to stay at home and lock their doors.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/international/12-Dec-2015/attacks-on-military-bases-in-burundi-capital

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Son of late Libyan leader Qaddafi kidnapped in Lebanon

12 December 2015

The son of Libya’s late leader Muammar Qaddafi has been kidnapped in Lebanon by militants demanding information about the fate of a Shiite cleric who went missing in Libya decades ago.

Hannibal Qaddafi appeared in a video aired late Friday on local Al-Jadeed TV saying anyone who has information about Imam Moussa al-Sadr should come forward.

Qaddafi appeared to have been beaten up and had black eyes but said in the video he is “in good health, happy and relaxed.”

It was not clear when Qaddafi, who is married to a Lebanese woman, was kidnapped.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/2015/12/12/Son-of-late-Libyan-leader-Qaddafi-kidnapped-in-Lebanon-.html

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Blair says he urged Qaddafi to quit Libya in 2011

11 December 2015

Tony Blair telephoned Muammar Qaddafi and tried to persuade him to leave Libya as the Arab Spring erupted in February 2011, the former British prime minister revealed Friday.

Blair said he was not trying to “save” the Libyan dictator but “to get him out of the situation so that a peaceful transition could take place.”

Blair said he’d acted as a private individual and spoke to Qaddafi “two or three” times over a 24-hour period. He said it soon became clear Qaddafi would not leave.

Blair, prime minister from 1997 to 2007, was instrumental in ending Qaddafi’s international isolation in return for Libya abandoning its nuclear and chemical arms programs. He has faced criticism for his rapprochement efforts with the oil-rich state, which included a 2004 meeting in Qaddafi’s desert tent.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/africa/2015/12/11/Blair-says-he-urged-Qaddafi-to-quit-Libya-in-2011.html

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Arab World

 

IS claims northern Syria suicide bombings that killed 26

Dec 12, 2015

BEIRUT: The Islamic State group claimed responsibility Friday for triple suicide bombings in northern Syria that killed at least 26 people and wounded 90, underscoring its ability to launch attacks in areas that it has lost to rival groups.

The extremist group said in a statement posted online that the attacks in the predominantly Kurdish province of Hassakeh targeted offices of the main Kurdish militia known as the YPG.

The attacks in the town of Tal Tamr occurred late Thursday.

Read more: 22 killed in Syrian truck bomb attack: Monitor

Syrian state media and an activist group said the blasts targeted a medical center and a busy market.

Syrian State TV and IS said on Friday the blasts killed 60 people and wounded 90 while the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said they killed 26, including four Assyrian Christians. The observatory said 120 people were wounded.

Tal Tamr, once inhabited by Assyrian Christians, is now an overwhelmingly Kurdish town where the main Kurdish fighting force in Syria – People’s Protection Units (YPG) – is in control. The group is the most effective fighting force against the IS.

Also Friday, the observatory and the Local Coordination Committees (LCC), another opposition group that tracks the civil war in Syria, reported that warplanes struck small, primitive oil refineries used by villagers in the eastern province of Deir el-Zour. The observatory said the warplanes were believed to be Russian.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1225828/is-claims-northern-syria-suicide-bombings-that-killed-26

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IS truck bombs kill up to 60 in Syria

December 12, 2015

Beirut  – A triple truck bomb attack claimed by Islamic State in northeastern Syria killed at least 60 people and wounded 80 others, a spokesman for the Kurdish militia that controls the area said on Friday.

The town in the northeastern province of Hasaka is controlled by the Kurdish YPG militia, which has been battling Islamic State with the support of US-led air strikes.

Kurdish fighters have advanced against the militants in the last few weeks in Hasaka, notably taking over the town of al Houl backed up by a US-backed rebel alliance that includes the YPG. The three blasts, carried out by at least two suicide bombers, struck outside a hospital, at a marketplace and in a residential area in the town of Tel Tamer late on Thursday, the YPG’s Redur Xelil said via an internet messaging service. “There is massive destruction in the town and the number killed is between 50 and 60, all of them civilians,” he said. Islamic State later said in an online statement that three of its fighters driving three separate vehicles had detonated the suicide bombs targeting “bases” belonging to Kurdish fighters.

Earlier the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights gave a death toll of at least 22 people in the attack, saying that number was likely to increase.

The Observatory said one of the bombs exploded near a health centre and another near a vegetable market. It said there was “confirmed information” about casualties among the Kurdish internal security force, known as the Asayish.

The YPG has been the most effective partner on the ground in Syria for the US-led coalition that is fighting Islamic State. In October, it became part of the new US-backed alliance, called the Democratic Forces of Syria.

US Defence Secretary Ash Carter has said the fight against the extremist group the Islamic State (IS) is not a fight with Muslims or Islam. “We have said… and the president (Barrack Obama) has said this, that in the fight against ISIL, this is not a fight with Muslims or Islam,” Carter said in a joint press conference with visiting Indian Minister of Defence Manohar Parrikar on Thursday

“This (IS) is an extremist, violent movement which threatens America and needs to be defeated,” Carter said. “We’re working on accelerating the defeat of ISIL. That’s the important thing.” During his congressional hearing at the Senate Armed Services Committee Wednesday, Carter said the United States was “at war.”

“The reality is we’re at war. That’s how our troops feel about it because they’re taking the fight with ISIL every day,” Carter said on Wednesday.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/international/12-Dec-2015/is-truck-bombs-kill-up-to-60-in-syria

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Assad says won’t attend negotiations, majority of Syrians support him

11 December 2015

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said he will not join negotiations and that he has the majority backing of Syrians, in an interview transcript published by state media.

Asked whether he would be willing to join negotiations called for by world powers by Jan. 1, he said: “They want the Syrian government to negotiate with terrorists, something I don’t think anyone would accept in any country.”

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/12/11/Assad-says-won-t-attend-negotiations-majority-of-Syrians-support-him-.html

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More Militants Surrender in Syria’s Damascus

Dec 11, 2015

Informed sources said that 21 militants from the two terrorist groups, ‘Abu Hado Swedan’ and ‘Abu George Al-Idlebi’, surrendered to the competent authorities in the Al-Tad Hamun region in Damascus countryside.

On Monday, over 100 Takfiri militants turned themselves in to the Syrian authorities in the province of Dara’a.

On Sunday, over 180 wanted militants turned themselves in to the Syrian authorities in Dara’a.

Also on Sunday, the Syrian government announced that it has released tens of militants who had been jailed for armed struggle against the Damascus government.

President Bashar Assad’s government freed 270 militants within the framework of the country’s reconciliation plan, the Arabic service of Russia Today television channel said.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940920000655

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Infamous Mexican Cartel Boss Threatens ISIL over Drug Trade

Dec 11, 2015

Furthermore, Guzmán told al-Baghdadi: “You (ISIL) are not soldiers – my men will destroy you”. The Mexican druglord later added the following: “Your God cannot save you from the true terror that my men will levy at you if you continue to impact my operation”.

The full email has been leaked here: Cartel Blog

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940920000643

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Syrian Armed Forces Recapture Several Sites from ISIL in East Homs: Maheen Within Reach

Dec 11, 2015

The night before, ISIL could capture two important hilltops and the Maheen-Quraytayn checkpoint that is situated along the main road leading to Maheen; this ultimately led to the terrorist group seizing the entire town after the withdrawal of the NDF and SSNP forces to the nearby Syrian Christian city of Sadad.

With ISIL in full control of Maheen on Thursday morning, the Syrian Army’s 120th Brigade was redeployed to Sadad in order to lead the charge to recapture the town from ISIL before they had enough time to entrench themselves inside.

Following a series of intense firefights along the road to Sadad on Thursday afternoon, the Syrian Army’s 120th Brigade – backed by the SSNP and the NDF – countered the terrorist group, recapturing several sites lost to ISIL the night before; this includes the Hawareen-Sadad checkpoint.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940920000601

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Nearly Fifty Militants Killed in Army’s Ambush South of Syria’s Aleppo

Dec 11, 2015

The Syrian army men made a surprise attack on Ahrar al-Sham terrorist groups, killed many of them and destroyed their military grid, the sources said.

“In addition to large-scale operations of the Syrian army and its allies from the popular forces and Hezbollah fighters, the Syrian forces conduct surprise attacks on the militants’ convoys and military columns across the Northern province of Aleppo,” the sources added.

“Such types of attacks are aimed at weakening the second and third defense lines of the militants,” the sources said.

Opposition sources also confirmed the killing of 50 Ahrar al-Sham militants.

Earlier reports said that several terrorists from Jeish al-Fatah group, including a senior field commander, were killed in clashes with the Syrian Army and popular forces in the Southern part of Aleppo province on Friday.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940920000431

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Army Getting Ready to Cut ISIL Supplying Routes in Central Syria

Dec 11, 2015

The source said that the first phase of these massive operations will push back the terrorists from the strategic Damascus-Homs highway, and will trap the terrorist groups, mainly the ISIL without ammunition, food and medical supply.

“The Syrian and Russian air forces will cover the ground forces operations,” the source further added.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940920000581

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Al-Qaeda-Affiliated Nusra Militants Suffer Heavy Losses South of Syria

Dec 11, 2015

Nusra positions in al-Menshiyeh neighborhood in Dara’a al-Balad in Southern part of Dara’a city came under offensive of the Syrian army and its popular allies, leaving many Nusra combatants dead or wounded.

A military source announced that the Syrian army also targeted the militants’ centers in an area between the towns of al-Soura and al-Harak in the Eastern part of Dara’a province, and inflicted heavy losses on the militants.

Dara’a province has been one of the main border provinces for the infiltration of foreign terrorist and arms into the Syrian territories, and the army has tried hard to cut this infiltration line from the neighboring county of Jordan.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940920000570

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Syria: Army, NDF Repel Militants’ Attack on Strategic Region in Lattakia

Dec 11, 2015

The Takfiri terrorists intended to attack the Syrian army positions in Ateera mountainous region (Jabal Ateera) in Lattakia countryside, but they were pushed back by Syrian troops and the NDF.

The Syrian forces killed tens of terrorists in heavy clashes and many more fled the scene of the battle.

The Syrian army is still on alert in the mountainous areas of the the Northern countryside of Lattakia after repelling multiple attacks by terrorist groups in the area during the past day.

The Syrian Army announced on Friday that its troops alongside popular forces have not left any safe place for the militants of al-Nusra Front in the mountainous regions in the Northern parts of Lattakia province bordering Turkey after weeks of clashes and mop-up operations.

The army said that the Syrian government forces won all battles against the al-Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front North of Lattakia near the border with Turkey.

“Al-Nusra as one of the strongest terrorist group in Syria has withdrawn from its strongholds near the border with Turkey,” the army source added.

The Syrian government forces’ anti-terrorism operations in Lattakia have always been backed up by the Russian warplanes since September 30.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940920000699

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Senior FSA Commander Killed North of Syrian Capital

Dec 11, 2015

Hamed Heidar Abu al-Majed, one of the notorious field commanders of the FSA in Central parts of Syria, was killed by unknown assailants.

No group has thus far accepted the responsibility of the attack.

The Syrian government forces’ victories across the country in recent weeks have widen rift among the rival militant groups.

Syrian army, popular forces, Hezbollah fighter, Syrian and Russian fighter jets, infighting among the rival militant groups and even militant-planted roadside bombs and mines are targeting and killing the militant groups around the country, including Damascus province.

Reports said earlier today that a convoy of the militants’ vehicles was seriously destroyed as a result of roadside-bomb explosions on the strategic Damascus-Aleppo highway, sources confirmed, adding at least 10 terrorists were killed in the explosions.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940920000620

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Mideast

 

Yemeni Missiles Rain down on Saudi Military Bases, Positions

Dec 11, 2015

Yemeni forces fired 13 missiles at al-Jamarak region in the Saudi province of Jizan, killing at least two Saudi military men.

Meantime, the Yemeni forces took control of the villages of Al-Khadmeh and Al-Wastah in addition to three military positions in Jizan province.

The army and the popular forces also hit the Jebel Hamr, al-Hazar and al-Sadis military bases in the province of Najran, and killed tens of Saudi troops and destroyed their military hardware.

The Yemeni forces also destroyed a Saudi Abrams tank and four Bradleys in the outskirts of Al-Muhdef military base on Friday.

On Wednesday, the Yemeni forces launched missile attacks on the Saudi military bases in the province of Jizan with their new home-made missiles named ‘Cry’.

The Yemeni missiles destroyed al-Ain al-Harreh and al-Salah military bases in Jizan province, inflicting heavy losses on the Saudi army.

The Yemeni army and popular forces also hit al-Ramzeh military center in Jizan province, killing tens of Saudi military men and their vehicles.

The Yemeni forces also hit several Saudi military centers in the Southern parts of Al-Khuba region.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940920000597

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Syrian Forces Purge Lattakia’s Border with Turkey of Al-Nusra Militants

Dec 11, 2015

The army said that the Syrian government forces won all battles against the al-Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front North of Lattakia near the border with Turkey.

“Al-Nusra as one of the strongest terrorist group in Syria has withdrawn from its strongholds near the border with Turkey,” the army source added.

The Syrian government forces’ anti-terrorism operations in Lattakia have always been backed up by the Russian warplanes since September 30.

On Thursday, the Russian fighter jets intensified their airstrikes on positions of the Takfiri militants in the Coastal Province of Lattakia, leaving a group of terrorists dead.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940920000458

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Turkey fines Twitter over ‘pro-terror’ content

December 12, 2015

ISTANBUL:-– Turkey’s communications regulator has imposed an unprecedented fine on Twitter for allowing the publication of content deemed to justify terror, the state-run Anatolia news agency said Friday.

The Information and Communication Technologies Authority (BTK) has fined Twitter 150,000 lira ($50,700), the first time it has issued such a penalty to the company.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/international/12-Dec-2015/turkey-fines-twitter-over-pro-terror-content

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Spokesman: Iraqi Popular Forces Ready to Strike at Turkish Aggressors as ISIL

Dec 11, 2015

The Hashd al-Shaabi’s reaction came after Turkey refused to withdraw its battalion of hundreds of soldiers dispatched to an area near the city of Mosul in Nineveh province on the pretext of providing military training to the Kurdish Peshmerga fighters.

“The Iraqi popular forces reject the presence of any foreign troops in Iraq without permission of the Baghdad government and they will treat the aggressors the same way they confront the ISIL,” Iraqi volunteer forces spokesman Riyan al-Kaldani told FNA on Friday.

He said it is strange that the Iraqi Kurdistan region’s government has remained silent about Turkey’s aggression.

The Iraqi volunteer forces reiterated that the presence of foreign forces in Iraq is regarded as an act of aggression, and said the Iraqi government should take the necessary measures to expel the Turkish troops and “if these forces do not leave Iraq, they will see the harsh reaction of the Iraqi popular forces”.

Head of Iraq’s Badr Organization Hadi al-Ameri also warned on Monday that his forces are fully prepared to launch strikes at the US military bases and Turkish troops in Iraq.

“We will target all the military bases of the US in Iraq,” the Arabic-language al-Mosle news website quoted al-Ameri as saying in reaction to the US interferences in Iraq.

He, meantime, pointed to Turkey’s interferences in Iraq, and said, “The Turkish government should know that we will destroy all its tanks if it does not withdraw from the city of Mosul.”

On Sunday, another senior commander of Iraq’s volunteer forces lashed out at the US for planning to send special forces to Northern Iraq, and said that Washington is in pursuit of specific political incentives through such measures.

“The recent statements of US Secretary of Defense about dispatch of elite forces to Northern Iraq on the pretext of fighting the ISIL is aimed at eliminating the quadrilateral coalition of Iran, Russia, Syria and Iraq from the battle against the ISIL,” Spokesman of Iraq’s Volunteer Forces (Hashd al-Shaabi) Karim al-Nouri told FNA.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940920000432

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Turkey troop deployment detrimental to all: Iran cleric

Dec 11, 2015

A senior Iranian cleric has warned that Turkey’s illegal deployment of troops to northern Iraq would be detrimental to Ankara and the entire region.

“There is no logic behind this issue (troop deployment),” Hojjatoleslam Kazem Seddiqi said in an address to worshipers at weekly Friday Prayers in the Iranian capital, Tehran.

He added that the Muslim people of Turkey would not be happy with their government’s wrong approach toward neighboring states and Muslim nations, calling on Turkish officials to focus on their own country’s security and economy and to respect Islamic values as well.

Iran condemns Turkey’s deployment of troops to Iraq and recommends Turkish officials to stop carrying out measures which would lead to their country’s isolation, he said.

Turkey deployed last Friday hundreds of troops and heavy weaponry to areas around the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, which is now occupied by the Daesh Takfiri group.

Iraq has strongly condemned the deployment, branding it as a blatant violation of its sovereignty. Iraqi officials have threatened to take action against Turkey at the United Nations Security Council.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2015/12/11/441279/Iran-Turkey-Iraq-Seddiqi-Friday-prayers-deployment

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Gunmen fire on military vehicle in Istanbul

12 December 2015

Unknown gunmen opened fire on Friday on a Turkish military vehicle in Istanbul, lightly wounding two soldiers, a top police official said.

The vehicle was travelling on a road close to Istanbul’s main ring road in the Nurtepe district of Istanbul when a group of four gunmen opened fire, the Turkish news agency Dogan reported.

The two wounded soldiers were only lightly hurt and in a good condition, Istanbul’s police chief Mustafa Caliskan said after visiting them in military hospital, Dogan said.

Television pictures showed that the vehicle was a minivan belonging to the Turkish gendarmerie, a branch of the army responsible for domestic security. There were several bullet marks in the windscreen.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/12/12/Gunmen-fire-on-military-vehicle-in-Istanbul.html

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India

 

Bengaluru: Muslims protest against right-wing leader’s remark on Prophet Mohammed

Dec 12, 2015

A massive protest by thousands of Muslims in Bengaluru against alleged derogatory remarks made against Prophet Mohammed by a leader of a right-wing organization in Uttar Pradesh resulted in a massive traffic problem in Bengaluru on Friday evening.

The eastern part of Bengaluru went into gridlock for over three hours on Friday evening as nearly 20,000 Muslim protestors marched to the Khuddus Saheb Idgah Maidan on the Nandidurga Road to protest remarks made by right wing leader Kamalesh Tiwari in Uttar Pradesh.

One set of protesters gathered near Byatarayanapura on the busy Mysuru Road around 4 pm and marched in a procession to the Town Hall throwing traffic on the Mysuru Road out of gear for a few hours. A second set of protestors numbering nearly 20,000 gathered at the Khuddus Saheb ground from Muslim dominated areas in East Bengaluru.

“There were traffic jams on various roads in the East Bengaluru and all our personnel were deployed to clear them,” Additional Commissioner of Police (traffic) MA Saleem said. Law and order police officials said that the protest was peaceful and no untoward incidents were reported in the city.

Full report at:

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/bengaluru-muslims-protest-against-right-wing-leaders-remark-on-prophet-mohammed/

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On way to join Islamic State, Chennai youth deported from Sudan

by Sagnik Chowdhury

New Delhi

Dec 12, 2015

A 23-year-old computer engineer from Chennai, who was trying to enter Syria to join the Islamic State (IS), was deported from Sudan on Thursday, according to sources.

The youth, identified as Mohammad Nasir, had reportedly travelled to Sudan to meet an IS recruiter who was facilitating his journey to Syria. The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has registered a case against Nasir, and is set to take him into custody. According to sources, Nasir moved to Dubai in June this year and was working with a firm there. “It was after he moved to Dubai that he got indoctrinated by online IS propaganda. He came in contact with an IS recruiter who helped him plan his travel to Syria to join IS fighters there. This IS contact advised Nasir not to attempt to enter Syria via Turkey, but to go through Libya,” said a source.

Full report at:

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/on-way-to-join-is-chennai-youth-deported-from-sudan/

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26/11 case: Ujjwal Nikam, top cop made ‘secret’ trip to US to strike deal on Headley

by Sagnik Chowdhury

Dec 12, 2015

About three months ago, Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam and a senior Mumbai Police officer made a trip to the United States that was kept under wraps. It was during their visit that an informal agreement was struck with the US Department of Justice on David Coleman Headley being made an approver in the case against alleged 26/11 plotter Zabiuddin Ansari alias Abu Jundal in exchange for a pardon.

Sources said Headley’s request to a Mumbai court on Thursday, that he was ready to answer questions if granted pardon, did not come as a surprise to the prosecution as Nikam and Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Atulchandra Kulkarni had held meetings with FBI and Department of Justice officials in the US, impressing upon them their willingness to make Headley an approver in the case. The move had been cleared by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs.

“It was during this trip that an informal agreement was reached by the two sides that the US Department of Justice would convince Headley to testify in the trial in India in exchange for a pardon in the 26/11 case. Headley is already serving a 35-year jail sentence in the US for his role in 26/11 attacks. Since he would not be extradited to India due to his plea agreement with US authorities, this was seen as the best option available as his first-hand account as a co-conspirator would bolster the case,” said a source.

“While the National Investigation Agency’s case against Headley pertains to a wider conspiracy and is a separate case, his testimony in the 26/11 attacks could strengthen the case. His testimony could also lay bare the role of Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence in the 26/11 attacks,” said the source.

Full report at:

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/2611-case-nikam-top-cop-made-secret-trip-to-us-to-strike-deal-on-headley/

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Pakistan

 

One FC man killed, four others injured in TTP-claimed Quetta blast

SYED ALI SHAH

Dec 12, 2015

QUETTA: At least one security official was killed and four others including a child were injured in a bomb blast on Quetta’s Brewery road on Saturday.The outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the remote-controlled blast, in a statement sent to media.

According to rescue workers, the bomb went off close to a Frontier Corps (FC) checkpost at Main Chowk on Brewery Road.

As a result of the explosion, which was heard far and wide, at least four FC personnel and a minor were injured, however, one of the injured FC men later succumbed to his injuries.

The injured were shifted to the Civil Hospital Quetta for treatment.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1225897/one-fc-man-killed-four-others-injured-in-ttp-claimed-quetta-blast

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Parents of Army Public School attack victims feel dejected

MOHAMMAD ASHFAQ

Dec 12, 2015

PESHAWAR: As the country is set to observe the first anniversary of the Army Public School Peshawar carnage on Dec 16, the government’s failure to meet their major demands, including the start of a judicial inquiry into the terrorist attack, have deepened the grief of the victims’ parents.

Such parents say had their demands been accepted, it would have been a source of consolation for them.

In the last one year, they have raised their demands at different forums, but in vain.

Complain govt hasn’t met their demands including that of judicial inquiry into carnage

“We have been continuously demanding of the federal and provincial governments to conduct judicial inquiry into the killing of innocent students,” Shuhada APS Forum general secretary Ajoon Khan told Dawn.

Ajoon Khan, whose son Asfand Khan, a 10th grader at the APS, was among the assassinated students, said besides calling for a judicial inquiry into the massacre, parents of the schoolchildren had also demanded of the government to fix responsibility for security lapse.

The militants had assassinated 144 people, including 122 students, and seriously injured 73 others in the Dec 16 attack on the APS.

APS Shuhada Forum president Abid Raza Bangash said no tragic incident like the Dec 16 one would happen again if the government conducted judicial inquiry and fixed responsibility for security failure.

He said the people involved in the assassination of schoolchildren should be hanged publicly to ensure the security of the future generation.

“We are not satisfied with the so-called inquiries conducted so far as such inquiries are conducted to pull the wool over the eyes of the families of the deceased as well as the entire nation,” said a aggrieved parent.

Ajoon Khan said the second demand of the parents was to incorporate a chapter regarding the APS tragic incident in 9th and 10th grade textbooks as most of the assassinated stud-ents were enrolled in the same grades.

“The inclusion of a chapter on the APS carnage in textbooks will keep the tragic incident alive forever,” he said.

The APS Shuhada Forum president said the third demand of the parents was to declare Dec 16 a national holiday to honour the attack victims but ironically, the federal government had yet to meet it.

“We (parents) have also been demanding of the government to establish the APS Shuhada University,” he said.

He said a university established in the name of assassinated children would provide an opportunity to a large number of students to get higher education.

Ajoon said the parents had asked the provincial government time and again to provide them with land for the university’s establishment as some donors had pledged to fund the university project.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1225860/parents-of-army-public-school-attack-victims-feel-dejected

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APS attack anniversary: KP govt likely to declare Dec 16 a public holiday

Dec 12, 2015

PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government is likely to announce a public holiday in the province on the first anniversary of the Army Public School and College Peshawar carnage on Dec 16.

Special assistant to the chief minister Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani told reporters here on Friday that a proposal was under consideration to declare public holiday on Dec 16 to honour the victims of the APS attack.

He said President Mamnoon Hussain, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Army Chief General Raheel Sharif and leaders of all political parties would be invited to attend the anniversary function to be held on the premises of the APS.

To invite president, PM, army chief and political leaders to the APS attack anniversary function

“The supreme sacrifice of students and teachers of the APS had united the entire nation against terrorists and that is why political and military leadership are being invited to this event,” he said.

The special assistant said the APS students would host the anniversary function.

A mass shooting had taken place inside the school on Dec 16 last year when students were present in the auditorium.

Terrorists had killed 144 students and teachers, including principal, while 118 were wounded.

Four terrorists involved in the massacre have been hanged to death, while black warrants for four others have been issued.

Several cases of the others involved in the barbaric act are pending with the courts.

Mushtaq Ghani said PTI chairman Imran Khan would lead a peace march from Chief Minister’s Secretariat to Peshawar Municipal Library after attending the anniversary function.

He said the library would be named Shuhada-i-APS Library.

The special assistant said the provincial government had named 111 schools and three roads after the APS victims, while the same had been done to five schools in Fata, two in Punjab and one in Balochistan.

He said the government had announced Tamgha-i-Shujaat for 142 deceased and Sitara-i-Shujaat for two.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1225862/aps-attack-anniversary-kp-govt-likely-to-declare-dec-16-a-public-holiday

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Opposition leader slams PPP over Rangers powers controversy

HABIB KHAN GHORI

Dec 12, 2015

KARACHI: While the issue of Rangers special powers remained unresolved, Leader of the Opposition in the Sindh Assembly Khawaja Izhar-ul-Hassan said on Friday that the Pakistan Peoples Party government was taking measures to separate Karachi from the rest of Sindh administratively.

Referring to the issue of policing powers granted to Rangers for Karachi, Khawaja Izhar, a Muttahida Qaumi Movement lawmaker, questioned as to why the Rangers powers were limited only to Karachi when Chief Minister’s Information Adviser Moula Bux Chandio himself conceded that ‘terrorists’ had escaped from Karachi to the interior Sindh.

“Why are the Rangers not being allowed to conduct an operation in other districts of Sindh? It appears as if Karachi was being separated from the rest of Sindh administratively,” said the opposition leader while talking to reporters after the Friday sitting of the assembly.

He was of the view that the ongoing operation under the National Action Plan should not be restricted to Karachi only. He demanded that the operation be extended not only to entire Sindh but to other provinces, including Punjab, by empowering the paramilitary force with policing powers.

He said the PPP government in order to save one person had made the special powers of the Rangers controversial.

He said that the PPP should not turn the issue into a clash between the province and the federation as it could not afford its consequences. The PPP government should sort out this issue in consultation with the federal government, he added.

The PPP resolution on Rangers stay in Sindh and special powers, though enlisted in the order of the day, was not taken up on the second day of the Sindh Assembly session and the sitting was adjourned till Monday without informing the house whether the resolution would be taken up in the next sitting or not.

The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and the Pakistan Muslim League-Functional have also submitted their separate resolutions in favour of the Rangers special powers.

Khawaja Izhar asked the government as to why now they needed to endorse Rangers special powers by the assembly and why no other parliamentary party was taken on board about the resolution.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1225782/opposition-leader-slams-ppp-over-rangers-powers-controversy

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Disappointed with Modi, but he’s changing: Imran

December 12, 2015

New Delhi – PTI Chairman Imran Khan has said he was disappointed the way Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi started his stint in office but events after the last few weeks suggest that he’s changing.

When asked about Narendra Modi’s seriousness and sincerity to resolve the problems, Imran told India Today: “To be honest, I thought that just like Vajpayee, he represented BJP, was scared when he came into power. In Pakistan we thought the distance between the two countries would increase. But in fact, Vajpayee reached out to Pakistan and paid a visit there and took everyone by surprise. He was the one who started the peace process. With Modi, I was a bit disappointed. In the beginning, I thought that he had a huge majority, and this was a great time to be a statesman. He was in a great position to bring the countries together. I was a bit disappointed. But people change, they learn.”

He further said the current peace process “is a positive move because we thought the distances wouldn’t get closer. This movement in the last few weeks give us hope” that Narendra Modi is changing.

He said the recent talks had been “very positive. “On both sides of the border. Should welcome it because one thing we need in this subcontinent is peace. Peace follows everything else trade, prosperity and above all reduction in poverty. It was quite disconcerting for us in the beginning when the stand-off took place. Now things are looking good.”

On the criticism of the accord between India and Pakistan by Shireen Mazari, one of Khan’s closest advisers on foreign affairs, Imran said: “Shireen is an expert on foreign policy. She’s my spokesperson on information, but not my adviser on foreign policy. She might criticise aspects of the talk, but no one criticises the fact that the dialogue should resume.”

“When I said that the two leaders (Nawaz Sharif and Narendra Modi) lacked leadership, I meant why have secret talks in Kathmandu. Perhaps Narendra Modi was worried about his own right-wing constituency and Nawaz was worried about the establishment. My point was that leaders do not worry about these things. They get inspired people on board towards greater vision. The vision is peace in the subcontinent and eradicate poverty.”

“Even if Kashmir is kept in a different package of the peace talk, you cannot take away the importance of Kashmir, because Kashmir is the sticking point. Sooner or later it has to be resolved,” he added.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/national/12-Dec-2015/disappointed-with-modi-but-he-s-changing-imran

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TTP claims Quetta blast, shootings in Karachi, Peshawar

SYED ALI SHAH | IMTIAZ ALI | ALI AKBAR

Dec 12, 2015

KARACHI/QUETTA/PESHAWAR: The outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for three separate attacks across the country on Saturday, killing a Frontier Corps official in Quetta and a retired major of the Pakistan Army in Karachi, and wounding a deputy superintendent of police (DSP) in Peshawar.

Major (r) Ali Raza was shot dead in Karachi’s Defence Housing Authority (DHA) neighbourhood on Saturday.

According to police sources, unidentified men riding a motorbike shot dead Raza in DHA’s Phase-I. The body of the deceased was shifted to Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC).

AIG Karachi Mushtaq Ahmed Mahar had earlier told Dawn that police is probing whether the incident was an act of targeted or sectarian killing. Later, the militant group in a statement to journalists claimed responsibility for the shooting.

Karachi, a city of around 20 million people and Pakistan’s financial capital has been racked in recent years by criminal, ethnic, political and religious violence.

One FC man killed, four others injured in Quetta blast

At least one security official was killed and four others including a child were injured in a bomb blast on Quetta’s Brewery road on Saturday.

According to rescue workers, the bomb went off close to a Frontier Corps (FC) checkpost at Main Chowk on Brewery Road.

As a result of the explosion, which was heard far and wide, at least four FC personnel and a minor were injured, however, one of the injured FC men later succumbed to his injuries.

The injured were shifted to the Civil Hospital Quetta for treatment.

In a statement sent to the media, the outlawed TTP claimed responsibility for the blast.

Brewery road is considered to be one of the sensitive areas of Quetta. The area has witnessed a number of attacks in the past as well.

CTD official injured in Peshawar attack

Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Jandad Khan, who works with the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD), was injured in a targeted attack in Qazi Kalay area of Peshawar on Saturday.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1225901/ttp-claims-quetta-blast-shootings-in-karachi-peshawar

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Son of Pakistani Consulate worker arrested on NY rape charge

Dec 12, 2015

NEW YORK: Prosecutors say the adult son of a community welfare worker at the Pakistan Consulate in New York City has been charged with raping a 13-year-old girl.

Mehmood Rahimoon, 20, was arraigned early Thursday on charges of rape, sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of a child. In the United States, children of that age cannot legally consent to sex with an adult.

Authorities say the two met on Whisper, an app where users post anonymous messages. They say Rahimoon and the girl had met three times — the final time Dec 1 at a Bronx motel.

Take a look: Pakistani doctor acquitted of ‘molesting’ minor girl on US flight

Rahimoon was arrested after the girl’s father learned of the encounters.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1225898/son-of-pakistani-consulate-worker-arrested-on-ny-rape-charge

———

 

Ruling party leaders eyeing reserved seats for relatives

AAMIR YASIN

Dec 12, 2015

RAWALPINDI: After victory in 38 of the 45 union councils (UCs) in the garrison city, the PML-N is in a comfortable position to accommodate its workers on the reserved seats of women in each of the UCs and the Rawalpindi Municipal Corporation (RMC).

Under the local government law, there are two seats reserved for women in each UC and 15 in the RMC.

However, a local leader of the ruling party claimed that instead of the party workers, senior politicians were trying to adjust their own relatives on the reserved seats.

There are two women reserved seats in each of 45 UCs and 15 in municipal corporation

He said some local leaders who lost the local government elections wanted to remain part of the local government by inducting their close relatives on the reserved seats.

The PML-N has already sent two MNAs and one senator to the current parliament from one family. “Senator Najma Hameed and MNA Tahira Aurangzeb are sisters while MNA Marriyum Aurangzeb is the daughter of Tahira Aurangzeb. So there are three members of parliament from one house at the moment.”

He said the same situation would emerge in the RMC and the union councils. Mohammad Tanveer, who contested the elections as an independent candidate against the party policy, has applied for a woman reserved seat for his wife, the PML-N leader added.

He said Mirza Mansoor Baig, Malik Sultan and others had started lobbying for getting shares in the reserved seats of women for their relatives.

After getting a majority in the local government elections, the ruling party faced problems in filling the reserved seats.

“Confronted with the situation, the PML-N leadership decided to invite applications for the reserved seats to avoid divisions within the party,” he said.

When contacted, PML-N metropolitan president Sardar Naseem said they would not allocate tickets for reserved seats to relatives of the local leaders.

He said party workers would be given preference in the selection of the candidates, adding all decisions in this regard would be taken by PML-N Punjab president Shahbaz Sharif.

However, he admitted that there were some reports that people who lost the elections wanted to adjust their relatives in the municipal corporation.

He said the party had sought applications for the reserved seats as well as deputy mayors and fixed December 20 as the last date for their submission.

The applications for the deputy mayors would be sent to Lahore and those for the reserved seats would be collected at the district or city organisation level.

He said before the elections the party had issued tickets to the candidates in a transparent manner and would adopt the merit policy to accommodate its workers.

On the other hand, the PTI and PPP failed to start the process for the selection of reserved seat members.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1225850/ruling-party-leaders-eyeing-reserved-seats-for-relatives

———

 

Parents of Army Public School attack victims feel dejected

MOHAMMAD ASHFAQ

Dec 12, 2015

PESHAWAR: As the country is set to observe the first anniversary of the Army Public School Peshawar carnage on Dec 16, the government’s failure to meet their major demands, including the start of a judicial inquiry into the terrorist attack, have deepened the grief of the victims’ parents.

Such parents say had their demands been accepted, it would have been a source of consolation for them.

In the last one year, they have raised their demands at different forums, but in vain.

Complain govt hasn’t met their demands including that of judicial inquiry into carnage

“We have been continuously demanding of the federal and provincial governments to conduct judicial inquiry into the killing of innocent students,” Shuhada APS Forum general secretary Ajoon Khan told Dawn.

Ajoon Khan, whose son Asfand Khan, a 10th grader at the APS, was among the assassinated students, said besides calling for a judicial inquiry into the massacre, parents of the schoolchildren had also demanded of the government to fix responsibility for security lapse.

The militants had assassinated 144 people, including 122 students, and seriously injured 73 others in the Dec 16 attack on the APS.

APS Shuhada Forum president Abid Raza Bangash said no tragic incident like the Dec 16 one would happen again if the government conducted judicial inquiry and fixed responsibility for security failure.

He said the people involved in the assassination of schoolchildren should be hanged publicly to ensure the security of the future generation.

“We are not satisfied with the so-called inquiries conducted so far as such inquiries are conducted to pull the wool over the eyes of the families of the deceased as well as the entire nation,” said a aggrieved parent.

Ajoon Khan said the second demand of the parents was to incorporate a chapter regarding the APS tragic incident in 9th and 10th grade textbooks as most of the assassinated stud-ents were enrolled in the same grades.

“The inclusion of a chapter on the APS carnage in textbooks will keep the tragic incident alive forever,” he said.

The APS Shuhada Forum president said the third demand of the parents was to declare Dec 16 a national holiday to honour the attack victims but ironically, the federal government had yet to meet it.

“We (parents) have also been demanding of the government to establish the APS Shuhada University,” he said.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1225860/parents-of-army-public-school-attack-victims-feel-dejected

———

 

South Asia

 

Brutal attacks on Catholics in Bangladesh ‎

11/12/2015

Two Catholics were seriously injured by unidentified attackers in the Bangladeshi capital on Thursday, in what is seen as continuing targeting of Christians by Islamist radicals in the overwhelmingly Muslim nation.  Rajesh D ‘Cruze, a banker, and his brother Ranjan D’ Cruze, working in a private company are currently being treated in Dhaka Medical College Hospital, after more than five men, savagely attacked them with guns and knives in Arjotpara neighbourhood. “This year there have been numerous incidents of violence against Christians,” Nirmal Rozario, general secretary of the Bangladesh Christian Association (BCA), told AsiaNews.  “We want a just punishment for those who committed this crime. We also urge the government to ensure justice and security for all,” he added.  The dynamics of the attack closely resemble the attempt on the life of Italian Fr. Piero Parolari, of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME), who was brutally attacked by unidentified criminals in Dinajpur last month.

In recent weeks, more than 30 Christian clergy members and aid workers in Bangladesh have received death threats. At least three pastors have escaped attempts on their lives.

In another incident on Thursday, 3 members of a Catholic family were seriously injured after being attacked in their home in Dhaka’s Mohakhali district by three men armed with guns and knives.  The attackers stabbed and shot brothers Ranjan Lawrence D’Cruze and Rajesh Alexander D’Cruze, an their sister Bipasha D’Cruze was stabbed.  Both brothers were reported to be in critical condition at Dhaka Medical College Hospital.  Police suspect robbery was the motive behind the attack, but family members, as well as Christian leaders claim the attack were sectarian and pointed to recent attacks on religious minorities across Bangladesh.

Also on Thursday, three men attacked a Hindu temple in Dinajpur with bombs and guns, leaving 2 wounded and 7 less seriously.  Humayun Kabir, deputy inspector general of police for the northern region, told Reuters that the assailants attacked when one hundred people were gathered in the temple.  A similar attack on Dec. 5 on a Hindu religious gathering in the same area  injured at least six people, three of them critically.

Full report at:

http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2015/12/11/brutal_attacks_on_catholics_in_bangladesh_%E2%80%8E/1193691

———

 

UN Security Council strongly condemns Kabul attack

Dec 12 2015

The UN Security Council has strongly condemned the deadly terrorist attack in the vicinity of Spanish embassy in capital Kabul that left eight people killed and nine others wounded.

According to a statement released by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) on Saturday, the members of the Security Council reiterated their serious concern at the threats posed by the Taliban, Al-Qaida, ISIL affiliates, and illegal armed groups to the local population, national security forces, and international presence in Afghanistan.

“The members of the Security Council underlined the need to bring perpetrators, organizers, financiers and sponsors of these reprehensible acts of terrorism to justice, and urged all States, in accordance with their obligations under international law and relevant Security Council resolutions, to cooperate actively with the Afghan authorities in this regard,” the statement states. “The members of the Security Council reaffirmed the need and reiterated their determination to combat by all means, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and all obligations under international law, in particular international human rights, refugee and international humanitarian law, threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts.”

Full report at:

http://www.khaama.com/un-security-council-strongly-condemns-kabul-attack-4383

———

 

Bangladesh arrests popular satirist for anti-govt posts

Dec 12, 2015

DHAKA: A popular satirical writer was arrested for posting articles poking fun at the government, an official said Friday, hours after Bangladesh’s three-week ban on Facebook for security reasons was lifted.

Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) officers detained Refayet Ahmed on Thursday night under the country’s controversial Internet law for posting pieces on Facebook, the elite force’s spokesman Major Rumman Mahmud said.

“He was arrested for his provocative Facebook posts against the government and the state,” Mahmud told AFP.

The RAB accuses Ahmed of writing under a pseudonym on a page called “Moja Losss?” (Are You Making Fun?). The page had gained popularity for its satirical take on Bangladesh’s conservative society, as well as the country’s rampant corruption and law and order problems.

But the page, with nearly 700,000 fans, also mocked the government’s decision last month to ban Facebook and mobile messaging services like WhatsApp and Viber for security reasons.

The government lifted the Facebook ban on Thursday, although many users had already managed to circumvent the blockade. WhatsApp and Viber remain blocked.

The government fears the apps will be used to mobilise large numbers of opposition protesters, triggering unrest in a country already reeling from deadly attacks by suspected militants.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1225702/bangladesh-arrests-popular-satirist-for-anti-govt-posts

———

 

Foreigners among 8 killed in attack near Spanish embassy in Kabul

Dec 11 2015

A suicide bomber detonated a vehicle packed with explosives close to the embassy of Spain in Sherpoor area of Kabul city around 6:00 pm local time.

The explosion triggered a standoff between the security forces and the assailants who took position in a compound close to the blast site.

Senior deputy interior minister for security Gen. Ayub Salangi confirmed earlier that two of the suicide bombers were shot dead by the Afghan security forces and the third was wounded.

Gen. Salangi further added that a clearing operation is underway to ensure there are no more assailants left inside the compound.

Heavy gunfire resumed around 12:00 am local time and at least five heavy blasts were heard from the incident area with the security sources saying the sounds were of Rocket Propelled Grenades launched by security forces.

Kabul security chief Gen Abdul Rahman said the standoff continued until 4:00 am before all assailants were shot dead.

He said two Spanish nationals, five policemen and a civilian were killed and nine others were wounded during the attack involving four assailants.

Full report at:

http://www.khaama.com/heavy-explosion-heard-in-capital-kabul-1803

———

 

Afghan forces end Taliban siege near Kabul

December 12, 2015

Afghan security forces have ended a siege by the Taliban group of a guest house attached to the Spanish embassy in Kabul, after hours of intermittent gunfire and explosions.

Spain announced on Saturday the death of a second Spanish policeman in the attack, which also killed four members of the Afghan police, one Afghan civilian and four Taliban fighters.

The attack began at about 6pm (13:30 GMT) on Friday in a heavily protected part of Kabul, when a suicide attacker detonated a car bomb near the guest house, allowing three attackers to take up positions and open fire on security forces.

In addition, nine Afghan civilians were wounded and another 47 Afghans and foreigners were rescued from nearby buildings where they were trapped as security forces sealed off the area around the guest house, which guards at the site said formed part of the Spanish embassy compound.

“The operation took time because we wanted to rescue the people trapped in surrounding buildings and we had to move cautiously and in a proper tactical manner,” Abdul Rahman Rahimi, Kabul police chief, told Reuters news agency.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack on the “invader’s guest house”, just days after President Ashraf Ghani returned from a regional peace conference in Pakistan, where he sought support to revive peace talks that stalled this year.

Friday’s attack followed a separate Taliban attack on the airport complex in the southern city of Kandahar, in which at least 70 civilians and security personnel were killed.

Ghani’s government has come under increasing pressure as the Taliban insurgency has spread since foreign forces ended combat operations last year.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/international/12-Dec-2015/afghan-forces-end-taliban-siege-near-kabul

———

 

President Ghani leaves to Turkmenistan

Dec 12 2015

Leading a high-level government delegation, President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani left to Turkmenistan this morning to participate in the inauguration ceremony of construction of Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline.

President Ghani is paying the visit based on an invitation from his Turkmen counterpart Gurbanguly Berdymuhamedov.

Besides taking part in the opening ceremony of the construction work of TAPI project, President Ghani will also participate in the conference organized on neutral policies of international cooperation on peace, security and development in Ashgabat.

The President is accompanied by his Adviser Hamayoun Qayoumi, Ministers Eklil Hakimi, Dawoud Shah Saba, Ali Ahmad Osmani, Mohammad Hamayoun Rasa, Asadullah Zamir and other government officials, governors of Herat and Farayab provinces and Presidential Adviser on Middle East affairs.

Full report at:

http://www.khaama.com/president-ghani-leaves-to-turkmenistan-for-launching-tapi-project-4383

———

 

Southeast Asia

 

Islam no more official religion on Sarawak government website

BY SULOK TAWIE

December 11, 2015

KUCHING, Dec 11 ― The Barisan Nasional (BN) Sarawak government appears to have removed a statement asserting Islam as the Borneo state’s official religion from its website, days after it was raised in the recent sitting of the state legislative assembly here.

A check of the website by Malay Mail Online today showed the statement “The official religion in Sarawak is Islam” is now missing without any explanation on the governmental website.

The website is maintained by the Sarawak Chief Minister’s Office.

Sarawak PKR leader Baru Bian had raised the issue of Islam being listed as the state’s official religion in the legislative assembly last Wednesday.

The Ba’kelalan assemblyman pointed out the statement “The official religion in Sarawak is Islam” was published in the state government’s website guide to “Visitors”, under the heading “Travel Tips”.

Baru said such a statement was misleading because Sarawak does not have any official religion.

The opposition lawmaker said he had first highlighted the issue in the May 2012 sitting of the legislative assembly, but no action was taken; adding that this year, he then wrote to the state secretary on July 24 to point out the erroneous assertion and asked for it to be amended,

“I have an acknowledgement of receipt of my letter from the state secretary’s office but until now, nothing has been done to rectify the error.

“I am requesting our brave and courageous Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem to also state this simple fact, that Sarawak does not have an official religion although we recognise that Islam is the religion of the federation.

“It is time that our citizens and civil servants know of this unique feature of Sarawak. This will also prevent the embarrassment of not knowing our rights and giving visitors the wrong information,” Baru said.

Full report at:

http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/islam-no-more-official-religion-on-sarawak-government-website

———

 

‘Since when will PAS lose out if Islam is stronger in Malaysia?’

Dec 11, 2015

PAS Youth chief Nik Mohamad Abduh Nik Abdul Aziz said Umno would always feel “sick” with PAS if it continues to do wrong and commit unjust to the people.

“Umno had done a great deal of wrong. Why Umno had done so much wrong? The answer is because the party had ruled the country. Damage done to the people in the country today is because of the policies and directives of the party. If Umno stops ruling, it will be healthy.

“Umno will only be healthy with PAS if they are to rule in accordance with Islam. To implement Islam means to implement justice.

“Justice without Islam as a basis, to the Muslims, is false. It will invite the wrath of Allah. So it is totally false. And falsehood is the enemy of Islam,” he said in a statement today.

According to him, that is just following the Western way, and to follow the Western way without reference to Islam is unacceptable.

“Let the West perform justice their way. Let them be happy the way they are and we are happy the way we are. They (the West) are happy to live on usury (riba), rejecting God, living a life of sin (zina), they make themselves happy by killing others. That is their way.

“The way of Islam is justice in the mould of al-Quran and al-Sunnah. Keep the faith of the people. Take care of the lives of the people. Take care of the people’s minds, their property. Protect the rights and liberties of the people. Take care of the people’s trust,” he said,

Nik Mohamad Abduh claimed Umno had mixed up religion and Western culture along the way, and so they would be “sick” with PAS.

“Today Umno encourages cooperation on the basis of syariah. PAS’ answer is the same: Umno will be ‘sick’ with PAS if it remains cruel to the people. But Umno will be healthy with PAS and it will be ‘oxygenated’ if it implements Islam.”

He added that if the cooperation extended by Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak was based on syariah, then PAS would help Umno.

“First, to implement the ways of Islam. Second, to encourage Umno to implement the ways of Islam. Third, to force Umno to accept Islam as a whole. Fourth, to prevent Umno from committing any wrongdoing or be cruel. Fifth, to be with Umno in fighting destructive elements in the country that are not from Umno.”

Nik Mohamad Abduh then mentioned that there were those who have said that Umno would benefit from a possible cooperation with PAS. To that, he said his answer was that if Umno implemented the ways of Islam even without PAS, Umno could benefit in a big way.

“I answer, since when will PAS lose out if Islam is stronger in Malaysia?” the MP for Pasir Mas asked.

Full report at:

http://www.therakyatpost.com/news/2015/12/11/since-when-will-pas-lose-out-if-islam-is-stronger-in-malaysia/

———

 

Utopian caliphate life lures Muslims to join IS

December 12 2015

The radical Islamic State (IS) group portrays a utopian caliphate life through social media to disseminate its ideology among Muslims, an expert said on Friday.

Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict (IPAC) director Sidney Jones said people were attracted by the group’s strategic propaganda.

She countered the view that the dissemination of messages by the group amounted to pure brainwashing. “There are many videos about how normal IS [members] live in Syria,” Jones told thejakartapost.com.

As an example, Jones referred to the uploading of a video by IS during Idul Adha, the Islamic Day of Sacrifice, which depicts its members getting together to distribute meat in the city.

According to Jones, social media was very important to IS as it encouraged individuals who support the ideology to disseminate the propaganda by sending video links through their social media accounts, such as Twitter.

In Indonesia, too, she added, various media wings of IS disseminated such propaganda, usually by re-making the videos or audio statements in Indonesian and spreading links through websites, Twitter or Facebook.

“With only one link, you can raise hundreds of supporters,” Jones said.

A report by the Qulliam Foundation – a counter-extremism think-tank in the United States – concluded that aside from championing military-themed events, brutality and jihad, IS’ media strategy prioritized the demonstration of a caliphate utopia to attract potential recruits.

Assessing 892 messages disseminated through Twitter between July 17 and Aug. 15, Qulliam Foundation found that IS produced an average of 38 propaganda messages a day, 52 percent of which depicted civilian life in IS-held territories.

Through their propagandistic depiction of everyday life, IS lured potential recruits by promising a flourishing economic life under IS, cheerful social relations in the caliphate, country life with abundant wildlife, unwavering law and order based on a stern sharia and pro-active pristine religious fervor in its governance.

Separately, Indonesian University (UI) Master of Terrorism Studies alumnus Adhe Wibisono said that an identity crisis felt by Muslim minorities in Western countries has become one of main reasons why Western people were relatively easy to convince to join radical groups.

According to Adhe, IS massively recruited potential foreign terrorist fighters through social media in the United States and European countries, targeting those who had lost their identity because of the pressure of being in the minority with IS promises. “Those who often felt social pressure in school or their communities [by being minority Muslims] are looking for their identity by joining IS,” said Adhe.

Full report at:

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2015/12/12/utopian-caliphate-life-lures-muslims-join-is.html

———

 

G25 urged to cease promoting liberal stand on Islam

December 12, 2015

KUALA LUMPUR: The retired civil servants group, G25 has been urged to cease promoting their free association and basic human rights concept.

Abdullah Muhammad Zin who is the Prime Minister’s Religious Adviser, said the group appeared to have adopted an extreme liberal stand on a number of issues that were inconsistent with Islam.

“Some of the members in G25 might have lived abroad before, which is why they wanted to establish the western concept of free association and human rights struggle here.

“If they continue to promote the concept to the extent of threatening Muslim unity, the mufti might have to issue a decree,” he told reporters outside the venue of the Umno General Assembly 2015 here, today.

The G25 whose members are Malay had allegedly issued a statement calling for punishment against khalwat (close proximity) to be abolished if it is committed in a private dwelling.

The group allegedly said that khalwat if committed in a private dwelling was a personal sin between the doer and Allah.

Full report at:

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2015/12/12/g25-urged-to-cease-promoting-liberal-stand-on-islam/

———

 

Group blasts inaction over threat to rape G25 rep

December 12, 2015

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 12 — Police must immediately investigate a man who threatened to invade G25 spokesman Datuk Noor Farida Ariffin’s house and rape her as failure to do so “normalises” such behaviour, said a civil liberties group today.

Lawyers for Liberty coordinator Melissa Sasidaran pointed out that the man’s threat made on Facebook was punishable under laws against criminal intimidation as well as improper use of communications technology to threaten another individual.

“It is unacceptable and baffling why the authorities are not taking such threatening and bullying behaviour against women with the seriousness it deserves when they are so quick to act against social media comments when they are critical or deemed offensive against the government or its interests,” she said in a statement today.

Full report at:

http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/group-blasts-inaction-over-threat-to-rape-g25-rep

———

 

Cops detain teenager over alleged link to militants in Syria

December 11, 2015

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 11 ― A teenage boy, believed to be linked to militant activities in Syria was arrested by the police at the KL International Airport (KLIA) here on Monday.

Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said the 19-year-old suspect, from Perak, was nabbed by members of the Special Branch’s Counter-Terrorism Division upon his return from Syria, via Turkey.

“A former student of a college in Cairo, Egypt, the suspect was recruited into the terrorist group in Syria in the middle of last year, after interacting with one of the terrorists from Syria via Facebook.

“At the end of September last year, the terrorist had arranged for the suspect to be sneaked into Syria via Turkey,” he said in a statement here today.

He said investigations found that the suspect had joined one of the Al-Qaeda affiliated groups in Syria known as ‘Jund al-Aqsa’.

Full report at:

http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/cops-detain-teenager-over-alleged-link-to-militants-in-syria

———

 

Europe

 

German spy chief sees 430 extremists as acute risk

11 December 2015

Germany’s domestic intelligence chief says 430 Islamic extremists in the country are considered so dangerous that they might commit a serious crime at any time.

Hans-Georg Maassen told public broadcaster MDR late Thursday that these extremists are being closely watched by security agencies.

Maassen says the German Parliament’s recent decision to commit troops for non-combat operations to provide support for the international coalition fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria in Syria doesn’t increase the risk of attacks in Germany.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2015/12/11/German-spy-chief-sees-430-extremists-as-acute-risk.html

———

 

Radical UK preacher Choudary bailed in ‘ISIS support’ case

11 December 2015

British radical preacher Anjem Choudary was granted bail Friday as he pleaded not guilty to charges of inviting support for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) through social media.

The 48-year-old spent the last two weeks in jail after breaching his bail conditions, having met an individual he was ordered to avoid.

But a judge at the Old Bailey central criminal court in London allowed him to be rebailed on the same conditions, once $22,800 surety is provided.

Choudary and his co-accused, Mohammed Rahman, entered not guilty pleas to charges of inviting support for ISIS, which is banned under UK anti-terror laws, between June 29, 2014, and March 6, 2015.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2015/12/11/Radical-UK-preacher-Choudary-bailed-in-ISIS-support-case.html

———

 

Morocco dismantles Daesh-linked terrorist cell

Dec 12, 2015

Moroccan security forces have dismantled a “terrorist cell” affiliated to the Takfiri Daesh militant group and poised to carry out attacks in the North African country, Interior Ministry says.

In a statement released on Friday, the ministry said nine members of the cell were arrested in towns across the country, including Kenitra near the capital, Rabat.

The suspects were “at an advanced stage of preparing attacks on sensitive sites” in Morocco, it added.

“The suspects have revealed that they had received instructions from Daesh to target sensitive sites in the kingdom with explosives.”

The detainees had ties to Moroccan citizens fighting for Daesh in Syria and Libya, and that arms and munitions were seized during their arrests, it said.

Morocco’s Interior Minister Mohamed Hassad said on July 27 that around 300 citizens from the country had been killed over the past two years while fighting alongside Takfiri militant groups in Iraq and neighboring Syria.

Hassad stated that a total of 1,350 Moroccans had left the country since 2013, of whom 286 were killed as they joined the ranks of militant outfits in the two crisis-hit Middle Eastern countries.

Earlier this year, Moroccan authorities said they had arrested members of a “terrorist cell” that had pledged allegiance to Daesh terrorists and planned to carry out a string of assassinations in the country.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2015/12/12/441360/Morocco-Daesh-terrorist-cell-Rabat-Syria-

———

 

Spanish policeman killed in Kabul attack

Dec 12, 2015

MADRID: A Spanish policeman was killed in an attack near the country’s embassy in Kabul on Friday, prime minister Mariano Rajoy said in a statement on his party’s Twitter account.

Rajoy had said earlier the policeman had been wounded in the attack and had been transferred to a nearby hospital.

The attack, which the Taliban said was targeted at a guest house attached to the embassy near a heavily protected area of the capital close to many foreign embassies and government buildings, wounded at least seven people.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/Spanish-policeman-killed-in-Kabul-attack/articleshow/50144800.cms

———

 

Spanish police arrest alleged Islamist militant wanted by U.S.

11 December 2015

Police in Spain’s northeastern region of Catalonia have arrested an alleged Islamist militant wanted by the United States, Ali Charef Damache, a Catalan official said on Friday.

Damache, who has dual Algerian and Irish nationality, was wanted by the United States and Interpol for alleged crimes of conspiracy to provide support for terrorists, Jordi Jane, an official in charge of security in Catalonia’s regional government, said in a statement.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/12/11/Spanish-police-arrest-alleged-Islamist-militant-wanted-by-U-S-.html

———

 

Morocco says ISIS-linked cell dismantled

11 December 2015

Moroccan authorities announced on Friday they have dismantled a “terrorist cell” that was linked to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group and poised to carry out attacks in the kingdom.

Nine members of the cell were arrested in towns across Morocco, including Kenitra near the capital Rabat, the interior ministry said in a statement.

The ministry said the suspects were “at an advanced stage of preparing attacks on sensitive sites” in the country.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/12/11/Morocco-says-ISIS-linked-cell-dismantled.html

———

 

Morocco issues arrest warrant for Paris attack suspect

11 December 2015

Moroccan authorities have issued an arrest warrant for Salah Abdeslam, the Paris attack suspect who is at the center of an international manhunt, according to the Moroccan police.

The warrant was issued at the end of last month. But a Moroccan security source said it was not clear whether Abdeslam had fled to Morocco or North Africa. Last month, German police launched a search after a tip-off that he was there.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/12/11/Morocco-issues-arrest-warrant-for-Paris-attack-suspect.html

———

 

Kerry meets Putin next week on Syria peace plan

11 December 2015

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will head to Moscow on Tuesday for talks with President Vladimir Putin on the Syrian crisis and the fight against the Islamic State group, the State Department said.

“They will discuss ongoing efforts to achieve a political transition in Syria,” spokesman Mark Toner said on Friday on the sidelines of the U.N. climate summit in Paris.

The talks will also cover differences in the parallel Russian and US approaches to the fight against the Islamic State jihadist group in Iraq and Syria.

The U.S. envoy will also bring up the ongoing stand-off in eastern Ukraine, where Moscow stands accused of supporting pro-Russian separatist rebels, Toner said.

Kerry will also meet his counterpart Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

He arrives overnight from Paris for a day of high-level dialogue before flying back to Washington.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/12/11/Kerry-meets-Putin-next-week-on-Syria-peace-plan-.html

 

URL:newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/moderate-muslims-reclaim-their-faith/d/105583

 

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