Blasts near Hazrat Zainab’s Shrine in Syria Kill 20, IS Claims Responsibility

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo: People and Syrian Army member inspect a damaged site after a suicide and car bomb attack in south Damascus Shi’ite suburb of Sayda Zeinab.-Reuters

 

India Seeks Info on Woman IS Online Recruiter from Philippines

Pakistan Must Take Practical Steps against Haqqani Network, Taliban: Abdullah

Muslim Brotherhood’s Political Arm to Compete in Jordan Vote

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Arab World

Blasts near Hazrat Zainab’s Shrine in Syria Kill 20, IS Claims Responsibility

100s Of More Terrorists, Arms-Laden Trucks Enter Syria Via Turkish Borders

Islamic State claims blasts near Damascus Shia shrine

Syria: Tens of ISIL Suicide Bombers Arrested by Gov’t Forces in Western Raqqa

Official: Iraqi Forces Only 400 Meters from Fallujah City Centre

Turkish Advisers within Ranks of Militant Groups in Syria

Syria: Gov’t Forces Capture more Lands South of Aleppo

Report: Bahraini Terrorist Commander Killed in Aleppo

Egypt Busts Muslim Brotherhood IED Terror Cell That Attacked Government and Business Targets

Field Commander: Clashes between Kurds, Arabs Delaying SDF Operations to Liberate Raqqa

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India

India Seeks Info on Woman IS Online Recruiter from Philippines

Muslim Artistes in Yakshagana Blaze A Trail

Madhya Pradesh HC Has Permitted Muslim Employees of the High Court to Leave Half an Hour Early, During Ramzan Month

From Ali to Adil: Boxer Thanked Bengaluru Fan for Suggesting Treatment

J&K separatist leaders put under house arrest ahead of meet on Sainik colony issue

Efforts on to trace abducted Indian aid worker in Afghanistan

Muslim students denied EWS certificates; get them after Congress corporator intervenes

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South Asia

Pakistan Must Take Practical Steps against Haqqani Network, Taliban: Abdullah

Key Taliban Leaders Killed In Drone Strike, Police Ambush In Nangarhar

Senior police officer killed in ISIS attack in east of Afghanistan

Afghan intelligence thwart suicide attack plot in Aibak city

Qaeda chief vows allegiance to new Taliban leader: SITE

In Bangladesh, 3,000 arrested in crackdown against Islamists, Sheikh Hasina vows to catch killers

Blind officer appointed district police chief in south of Afghanistan

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Mideast

Muslim Brotherhood’s Political Arm to Compete in Jordan Vote

PKK Kills Two Soldiers, Injures Four in Southeastern Turkey

Israel demolishes home of Palestinian who killed mother of six

Turkey sends key diplomat Sinirlioğlu to New York as new envoy at UN

Thousands gather to support Turkish main opposition leader after ‘bullet throwing’ incident

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Southeast Asia

40% of Malaysians Are Non-Muslims: Dr M Warns Umno & Pas No Place for Hudud Here

IS Likely To Target Southeast Asia in Coming Months

Formula One’s only Muslim driver in the ‘fast lane’ for Ramadan

I want to be a good Muslim, not popular, says Raja Zarith

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Europe

‘Hi Donald, We’re Muslims!’ Scottish Muslims Offer To Teach Trump In Visit

Britain’s Prince Charles visits Nawaz in London, inquires about PM’s health

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Pakistan

Muslims Raise Funds and Help Rebuild Christian Church in Pakistan

With ‘Phone Diplomacy’, Pakistan Looks To Stall India’s NSG Bid

Militant blows himself up, two others held near Zhob

Afghan nationals asked to wind up businesses in Kohat

Policeman arrested for allegedly torturing elderly Hindu man in Ghotki

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North America

Muslims See Anti-Mosque Bias in Landmarking Decision

Muslims seeking spiritual choice

The Muslim factor in US elections

US urges Pakistan, India to pursue closer ties on security front

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Africa

Libyan forces ‘retake port’ in IS bastion Sirte

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

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Blasts near Hazrat Zainab’s shrine in Syria kill 20, IS claims responsibility

12 Jun. 16

AMMAN: Islamic State claimed responsibility for suicide and car bomb blasts that struck a Damascus suburb on Saturday near Syria’s holiest Muslim shrine, and a monitoring group said at least 20 people were killed.

State television showed debris, mangled cars and wrecked shops in a main commercial thoroughfare near the Sayeda Zeinab shrine, in an area where at least three bomb attacks claimed by Islamic State have killed and wounded scores of people this year.

State media said at least eight people were killed. But the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the death toll had risen to at least 20, including at least 13 civilians, with the other victims coming from pro-government militias.

It said the number was expected to rise because many of the scores of wounded people were in critical condition.

Islamic State said two of its suicide bombers had blown themselves up and operatives had detonated an explosives-laden car, according to the IS-affiliated Amaq news agency.

The Sayeda Zeinab shrine is a magnet for thousands of Iraqi and Afghan militia recruits who go there before being assigned to front lines, where they fight against the Sunni rebel groups trying to topple President Bashar al-Assad.

Almost every militia fighter bears insignia on his combat fatigues with the words “For your sake, Sayeda Zeinab”.

Sectarian split

The heavily garrisoned area near the shrine is also a well known stronghold of Lebanon’s powerful Hezbollah group, an Iranian-backed movement that is one of Assad’s chief allies.

Rebels say Iran’s strong military intervention on the side of Assad, alongside its backing of other militias, is fuelling the sectarian dimension of the nearly six-year Syrian civil war by drawing even more radical foreign militants into the country.

Separately, US-backed Syrian forces made new territorial gains against Islamic State on Saturday, moving closer to another of its major strongholds in northern Syria, according to the monitoring group.

The Observatory said the Syria Democratic Forces (SDF), bringing together Kurdish and Arab fighters, were now almost 17 km from the city of al-Bab, an Islamic State stronghold north east of Aleppo.

The SDF on Friday cut off the last route into the encircled town of Manbij from al-Bab after over a week of advances around that area, allowing it to lay siege to the large town from all directions, the monitor said.

In other frontlines in northern Syria, two rebel sources said Russian and Syrian jets stepped up their relentless aerial bombing of their positions in the northern city of Aleppo.

dawn.com/news/1264204/blasts-near-hazrat-zainabs-shrine-in-syria-kill-20-is-claims-responsibility

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India seeks info on woman IS online recruiter from Philippines

Neeraj Chauhan | Jun 12, 2016

NEW DELHI: Karen Aisha Hamidon of the Philippines, the woman Islamic State online recruiter who is learnt to have radicalized several Indian youths and probably arranged their travel to the IS territory, is under the radar of Indian agencies.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has approached the Philippines’ government seeking details and evidence on Karen, who was in touch with recently indicted Indian IS members, including Mohammad Sirajuddin and Mohammad Naser.

In its letter rogatory (judicial request), NIA has provided her address in Diego Shilang village in Taguig City, Metro Manila, along with her phone numbers. It has provided her identity as Karen Aisha Al-Muslimah with her ID as @KarenAishaHamidon.

Karen reportedly influenced many Indians through Facebook, telegram channels and WhatsApp groups meant for IS supporters in countries like the US, the UK, India, the UAE, Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh etc.

One of the largest groups she ran was “IslamQ&A”, where IS members shared caliphate’s ideology and jehadi material with several of them, including Indians, expressing desire to travel to the IS territory.

Her name is mentioned in NIA’s two chargesheets filed against IS last week. TOI has exclusively accessed the details of these chargesheets.

Karen, at one point, even banned IS propagandist and former Indian Oil assistant manager Mohammad Sirajuddin from the WhatsApp groups and telegram channels run and administered by her as she had differences of opinion with him.

Sirajuddin, radicalized by another IS member identified as “Mad-Mullah”, felt that Karen was a traitor and responsible for his mentor’s arrest in Sudan last year. Mad-Mullah arranged the logistics for travel of Indians who wished to go to Syria.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/India-seeks-info-on-woman-IS-online-recruiter-from-Philippines/articleshow/52708800.cms

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Muslim Brotherhood’s Political Arm to Compete in Jordan Vote

Jun 11, 2016

The political arm of Jordan’s original Muslim Brotherhood has announced it is taking part in parliament elections Sept. 20, after boycotting the two previous ballots in 2010 and 2013.

Spokesman Murad Adayleh says the Islamic Action Front’s leadership voted overwhelmingly late Saturday to compete in the elections. He says the IAF, the most organized opposition group in Jordan, will look for partnerships to improve its chances.

The Muslim Brotherhood in the kingdom started out as a branch of a region-wide movement, but suffered a series of splits.

The Muslim Brotherhood was declared illegal — though its political arm was not — after a group of defectors registered a new Muslim Brotherhood Society as a Jordanian entity. Two other factions have also broken away, with plans to establish political parties.

abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/muslim-brotherhoods-political-arm-compete-jordan-vote-39784046

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Arab World

Blasts near Hazrat Zainab’s shrine in Syria kill 20, IS claims responsibility

Jun 12, 2016

AMMAN: Islamic State claimed responsibility for suicide and car bomb blasts that struck a Damascus suburb on Saturday near Syria’s holiest Muslim shrine, and a monitoring group said at least 20 people were killed.

State television showed debris, mangled cars and wrecked shops in a main commercial thoroughfare near the Sayeda Zeinab shrine, in an area where at least three bomb attacks claimed by Islamic State have killed and wounded scores of people this year.

State media said at least eight people were killed. But the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the death toll had risen to at least 20, including at least 13 civilians, with the other victims coming from pro-government militias.

It said the number was expected to rise because many of the scores of wounded people were in critical condition.

Islamic State said two of its suicide bombers had blown themselves up and operatives had detonated an explosives-laden car, according to the IS-affiliated Amaq news agency.

The Sayeda Zeinab shrine is a magnet for thousands of Iraqi and Afghan militia recruits who go there before being assigned to front lines, where they fight against the Sunni rebel groups trying to topple President Bashar al-Assad.

Almost every militia fighter bears insignia on his combat fatigues with the words “For your sake, Sayeda Zeinab”.

Sectarian split

The heavily garrisoned area near the shrine is also a well known stronghold of Lebanon’s powerful Hezbollah group, an Iranian-backed movement that is one of Assad’s chief allies.

Rebels say Iran’s strong military intervention on the side of Assad, alongside its backing of other militias, is fuelling the sectarian dimension of the nearly six-year Syrian civil war by drawing even more radical foreign militants into the country.

Separately, US-backed Syrian forces made new territorial gains against Islamic State on Saturday, moving closer to another of its major strongholds in northern Syria, according to the monitoring group.

The Observatory said the Syria Democratic Forces (SDF), bringing together Kurdish and Arab fighters, were now almost 17 km from the city of al-Bab, an Islamic State stronghold north east of Aleppo.

The SDF on Friday cut off the last route into the encircled town of Manbij from al-Bab after over a week of advances around that area, allowing it to lay siege to the large town from all directions, the monitor said.

In other frontlines in northern Syria, two rebel sources said Russian and Syrian jets stepped up their relentless aerial bombing of their positions in the northern city of Aleppo.

dawn.com/news/1264204/blasts-near-hazrat-zainabs-shrine-in-syria-kill-20-is-claims-responsibility

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100s of More Terrorists, Arms-Laden Trucks Enter Syria via Turkish Borders

Jun 12, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Over 200 fresh members of al-Nusra Front crossed the Turkish border with Syria to join their comrades in the fight against the Syrian government and people.

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that huge trucks carrying arms and ammunitions have been spotted moving along Syria’s borders with Turkey and more than 200 militants crossed the Turkish borders to join al-Nusra Front near Idlib.

She added that the al-Nusra Front and Ahrar al-Sham continue to attack the sites of the Syrian Army in Southern and Northern Aleppo and are attempting to encircle the city.

She pointed out that around 100 civilians were killed in al-Sheikh Maksoud neighborhood due to the shelling of al-Nusra terrorists, adding that more than 2000 terrorists from al-Nusra are taking part in these terrorist operations.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950322000181

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Islamic State claims blasts near Damascus Shia shrine

Reuters | Jun 11, 2016

AMMAN: The Islamic State (ISIS) claimed responsibility for the suicide and car bomb blasts that struck a Damascus suburb on Saturday near Syria’s holiest Shia Muslim shrine, and a monitoring group said at least 20 people were killed.

State television showed debris, mangled cars and wrecked shops in a main commercial thoroughfare near the Sayeda Zeinab shrine, in an area where at least three bomb attacks claimed by Islamic State have killed and wounded scores of people this year.

The ultra-hardline Sunni militants of ISIS, whose many foes are advancing on a number of fronts in both Syria and Iraq, are avowed enemies of Shias, whom they consider a heretical group within Islam.

State media said at least eight people were killed. But the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the death toll had risen to at least 20, including at least 13 civilians, with the other victims coming from pro-government militias. It said the number was expected to rise because many of the scores of wounded people were in critical condition.

Islamic State said two of its suicide bombers had blown themselves up and operatives had detonated an explosives-laden car, according to the ISIS-affiliated Amaq news agency.

The Sayeda Zeinab shrine is a magnet for thousands of Iraqi and Afghan Shia militia recruits who go there before being assigned to front lines, where they fight against the Sunni rebel groups trying to topple President Bashar al-Assad. Almost every Shia militia fighter bears insignia on his combat fatigues with the words “For your sake, Sayeda Zeinab”.

Sectarian split

The heavily garrisoned area near the shrine is also a well known stronghold of Lebanon’s powerful Shia Hezbollah group, an Iranian-backed movement that is one of Assad’s chief allies.

Non-jihadist rebels say Iran’s strong military intervention on the side of Assad, alongside its backing of other Shia militias, is fuelling the sectarian dimension of the nearly six-year Syrian civil war by drawing even more radical foreign Sunni jihadists into the country.

Separately, US-backed Syrian forces made new territorial gains against Islamic State on Saturday, moving closer to another of its major strongholds in northern Syria, according to the monitoring group.

The observatory said the Syria Democratic Forces (SDF), bringing together Kurdish and Arab fighters, were now almost 17km (10 miles) from the city of al-Bab, an Islamic State stronghold north east of Aleppo.

The SDF on Friday cut off the last route into the encircled town of Manbij from al-Bab after over a week of advances around that area, allowing it to lay siege to the large town from all directions, the monitor said..

In other frontlines in northern Syria, two rebel sources said Russian and Syrian jets stepped up their relentless aerial bombing of their positions in the northern city of Aleppo.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Islamic-State-claims-blasts-near-Damascus-Shia-shrine/articleshow/52704821.cms

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Syria: Tens of ISIL Suicide Bombers Arrested by Gov’t Forces in Western Raqqa

Jun 12, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian Army and popular forces identified and captured scores of ISIL suicide attackers along al-Tabaqa airbase road before they could carry out their operations, military sources said minutes ago.

“The army men and the National Defense Forces (NDF), tipped off by the intelligence agents, surrounded the group of the ISIL terrorists carrying suicide-belts and arrested them,” the sources said, adding, “The suicide attackers were mostly between 16-20 age and even one of them was at the age of 13.”

“Three of the suicide bombers exploded their explosives but none of the army men was injured in the blasts,” the sources said.

Earlier reports said that the Syrian Army troops and NDF, who captured al-Rasafeh energy-rich region earlier today, hit ISIL’s positions around the region’s oil and power facilities and captured them after hours of heavy clashes.

The Syrian government forces won the battle against the ISIL in al-Rasafeh triangle and captured oil pumping station and power station in this region.

The Syrian soldiers and NDF moved towards al-Rasafeh crossroad from Ithriya-Raqqa road.

The Syrian army men have cut off the ISIL communication lines in this region and are now hunting the remaining pockets of the Takfiri militants near al-Rasafeh.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950322001018

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Official: Iraqi Forces Only 400 Meters From Fallujah City Center

Jun 12, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- A senior provincial official in Anbar province announced that the military operations to win back Fallujah is going on according to plan and the Iraqi government forces are now very close to the city center.

“The Iraqi counterterrorism forces are only 400 meters away from Fallujah city center,” the Arabic-language media outlets quoted Senior Advisor to Anbar Governor Sofian al-Issawi as saying on Saturday.

On Thursday, battlefield sources announced that the Takfiri terrorists in Fallujah city were surrounded from the Northern, Eastern and Southern directions.

“A large-scale operation to retake the city will resume imminently,” the sources added.

Asked by FNA of reasons for the Iraqi forces’ slow advance in Fallujah operations, a field source said that the ISIL has planted hundreds of booby-trapped bombs around the city to slow down the Iraqi army and is using the Fallujah residents as its human shield.

“Therefore, the Iraqi army should take precaution to lower the death toll among its forces and the civilians,” the source added.

The source also said that the ISIL has also forced the Fallujah residents, including women and children, to pick up arms and help the terrorist group in the war against the Iraqi forces.

Local sources confirmed today that 3,000 families have fled the Iraqi province of Anbar as the offensive against ISIL continues to deal severe blows to the terrorists.

The sources said since the beginning of the victorious operations by the Iraqi forces for the liberation of the city of Fallujah (60 km Northwest of Baghdad), Iraqi citizens have been able to run away from the areas where they had spent years living under a blockade, hunger and terror since January 2014.

Ismail al-Issawy, a management member of the central hospital in Fallujah, said that 1,500 families have fled the city center and about 500 families left Zobaa village, all headed towards the Iraqi army and local voluntary troops positions in Anbar province.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950322000962

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Turkish Advisers within Ranks of Militant Groups in Syria

Jun 12, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Russia disclosed that Turkish military advisers are fighting among the ranks of the militants in the war with the Syrian government and people.

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova announced that Turkey’s military advisers are reportedly ruling the gunmen near Aleppo in Syria.

Turkey is known to be among the main supporters of the terrorist groups operating in Syria, with reports saying that Ankara actively trains and arms the Takfiri terrorists there and facilitates their safe passage into the violence-wracked state.

Since the start of bloody war in Syria, thousands of Takfiri terrorists have crossed the Turkish borders to join their comrades in Syrian provinces to fight against President Bashar al-Assad government as well as the Syrian people.

Syrian diplomats have frequently stressed that the Turkish regime supports the militant groups, providing them with weapons and ammunition.

Syria’s ambassador to the United Nations (UN) accused Ankara of delivering weapons to the Takfiri terrorists in the Arab country in convoys made to look as if they are carrying humanitarian aid.

Speaking at a UN Security Council session in late May, Bashar al-Jaafari said Turkey exploited humanitarian corridors as transit routes for thousands of foreign-backed militants and provided weapons to the terrorists.

More over, a Turkish newspaper disclosed that at least 200 injured members of the al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front were admitted and received medical treatment in a militant-owned hospital in Turkey near border with Syria in the years 2013 and 2014.

“The Dar al-Towhid hospital that is located in Gaziantep and is managed by the extremist groups, had been admitting only the wounded terrorists of Syria war during 2013 and 2014,” Birgoun newspaper reported.

“The Turkish authorities were well award about the activities of the medical center, actually the hospital in the neighborhood where the security chief of Gaziantep lives,” the paper added.

“A prescription of Turkish physicians for a wounded terrorist proves that the Turkish health ministry’s officials knew about the treatment of anti-Syria militants in Dar al-Towhid medical center,” the newspaper said.

Syria has been gripped by foreign-sponsored militancy since March 2011. United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura estimates that over 400,000 people have been killed in the Syrian crisis.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950322000268

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Syria: Gov’t Forces Capture more Lands South of Aleppo

Jun 12, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian Army troops and its allies stormed the strongholds of the terrorist groups in Southern Aleppo and forced the militants to withdraw from more territories.

The Syrian soldiers and their Iraqi and Lebanese allies engaged in tough battle with the terrorists of Jeish al-Fatah and pushed them back from the small town of al-Qaraseneh, which ended in the killing of at least 40 terrorists and wounding of many more.

The pro-government forces then started fortifying their positions in the town.

In the meantime, the Syrian army repelled the terrorist groups’ attack to capture the town al-Khalseh and forced them to pull their forces back from the battlefield under the army’s heavy fire.

The Syrian army and its allies also launched joint offensives to capture al-Qarasi from Jeish al-Fatah.

In relevant developments but in Northeastern Aleppo on Friday, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) won more battles against the ISIL in Northeastern Aleppo and freed eight more villages from Takfiri terrorists near the town of Manbij.

“The Kurdish-led SDF stormed the ISIL positions near the strategic town of Manbij and forced the ISIL to retreat from more positions near the villages of Khirbet al-Aswad, Mugharat, Jariyat, Khurfan, Ghazawiyah, Ratouniyah, Jubb al-Qadir and Jubb al-Taweel after hours of non-stop battle,” the sources said, adding, “Then, the SDF fighters advanced to the villages of Rasm Akhdar and Nahid, where they were met with fierce resistance from the ISIL.”

“Clashes are still ongoing near Manbij, but the SDF fighters are steadily advancing,” the sources went on to say.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950322000184

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Report: Bahraini Terrorist Commander Killed in Aleppo

Jun 12, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- A senior terrorist commander from Bahrain was killed in Aleppo province, media reports said Saturday.

Abu al-Mosana al-Bahraini, a notorious Takfiri terrorist commander, was killed in heavy clashes with the Syrian army in the Southern part of Aleppo on Saturday.

Tens of Bahraini terrorists have been killed so far fighting along the ISIL and al-Nusra Front terrorist groups in Syria.

Bahrain is one of the financial sponsors of the ISIL terrorist group and it openly collects aids for the group and ISIL supporters have regular conventions in the tiny island nation whose Saudi-backed rulers have been suppressing their own people’s revolution in the last several years.

In November, a prominent Bahraini political analyst warned of Saudi Arabia’s increased interference in his country, and said evidence shows that Riyadh is seeking to bring a Wahhabi regime to power.

“At present, Saudi Arabia’s meddling in Bahrain has increased and it will further exacerbate given the growing corruption among the al-Khalifa rulers,” Mahdi al-Moussavi told FNA.

He warned that Saudi Arabia is seeking to strengthen and enhance the status of those political parties which are favored by Riyadh in a bid to achieve the said goal.

“The main component of the Saudis’ policy in Bahrain is creation of a coalition government under the control of extremist Wahhabis,” Moussavi said.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950322000857

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Egypt Busts Muslim Brotherhood IED Terror Cell That Attacked Government and Business Targets

BY PATRICK POOLE JUNE 11, 2016

The Egyptian Ministry of Interior announced on Thursday the arrest of a Muslim Brotherhood IED terror cell that attacked military, police, diplomatic and business targets in Alexandria from January of this year until their arrest. Alexandria historically has been a long-time Muslim Brotherhood base of support.

Meanwhile, bills calling for the designation of the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization are stalled in both the Senate and House of Representatives in the U.S. Congress.

Asharq Al-Awsat reports:

The Egyptian Ministry of Interior yesterday said that security forces have managed to arrest 13 members of a new terrorist cell that is affiliated to the Muslim Brotherhood in the city of Alexandria. The members of the cell, which is called “Lijan Al-Irbaak”, confessed to their involvement in carrying out 10 terrorist operations recently.

Since the former Muslim Brotherhood President Mohamed Morsi was removed in July 2013, the Egyptian authorities have arrested thousands of leaders and supporters of the group including its Supreme Guide Mohammed Badie who is accused of carrying out acts of violence and attempting to overthrow the state. Most of those arrested were given a variety of sentences including the death sentence.

The Ministry of Interior said in a statement issued yesterday that as part of its efforts to prosecute members and leaders of the Brotherhood and thwart their destructive plans, the leader and members of the “Lijan Al-Irbaak” cell that is affiliated to the Muslim Brotherhood were arrested in Alexandria.

The Interior Ministry published the following video subtitled in English. In the vdieo, several of the cell members recount when they joined the Muslim Brotherhood and how they were recruited for the “Disturbance Committee” IED terror cell:

The Ministry also posted on their Facebook page a list of the eleven attacks the cell members admitted to since January.

Last year I reported here at PJ Media on the long list of terror attacks in Egypt involving Muslim Brotherhood members, and even children of senior Muslim Brotherhood leaders who had been killed transporting IEDs and in shootouts with Egyptian police.

pjmedia.com/homeland-security/2016/06/11/egypt-busts-muslim-brotherhood-ied-terror-cell-that-attacked-government-and-business-targets/

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Field Commander: Clashes between Kurds, Arabs Delaying SDF Operations to Liberate Raqqa

Jun 12, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Clashes between the Kurdish forces and the US-sponsored Arab coalition which has recently entered Raqqa have delayed the operations by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to free the Northeastern city from the ISIL hands, a field commander said on Saturday.

“Involvement of a coalition of Kurdish, Arab, Assyrian, Christian and Turkmen forces into the Raqqa battle is in line with the US plots, in collaboration with Turkey, against Syria,” Faras Shaboul told FNA.

“Among the reasons for the formation of such a coalition from different tribes in Syria is the US and Turkey’s agreement to confront an integrated Kurdish force which can take control of all Kurds in the future,” he added.

Shaboul said that the clashes between the Kurds and Arabs have delayed the SDF operations to advance towards Raqqa, adding that the Syrian army could use the conditions to move towards Raqqa.

Meantime, the latest reports from Raqqa said that the Syrian army continued advances towards Tabaqa Military Airport and managed to retake full control of a key road in Northeastern province of Raqqa.

According to a field source, after recapturing vast areas of the Salamiyah-Raqqa Highway, pro-gov’t forces took back the last 5 km of the highway that leads up to the Rasafeh Crossroad in Western Raqqa.

Reports said today that the Syrian army troops, backed up by massive Russian air support, won another battle against the ISIL and entered the strategic al-Rasafeh triangle only 25 kilometers away form al-Tabaqa airbase in Western Raqqa.

The Syrian soldiers and navy commandoes launched a fresh round of joint offensives against the ISIL strongholds in al-Rasafeh desert from two directions of al-Nabaj and al-Harbiyat and entered al-Rasafeh triangle.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950322000410

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India

India seeks info on woman IS online recruiter from Philippines

Neeraj Chauhan | Jun 12, 2016

NEW DELHI: Karen Aisha Hamidon of the Philippines, the woman Islamic State online recruiter who is learnt to have radicalized several Indian youths and probably arranged their travel to the IS territory, is under the radar of Indian agencies.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has approached the Philippines’ government seeking details and evidence on Karen, who was in touch with recently indicted Indian IS members, including Mohammad Sirajuddin and Mohammad Naser.

In its letter rogatory (judicial request), NIA has provided her address in Diego Shilang village in Taguig City, Metro Manila, along with her phone numbers. It has provided her identity as Karen Aisha Al-Muslimah with her ID as @KarenAishaHamidon.

Karen reportedly influenced many Indians through Facebook, telegram channels and WhatsApp groups meant for IS supporters in countries like the US, the UK, India, the UAE, Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh etc.

One of the largest groups she ran was “IslamQ&A”, where IS members shared caliphate’s ideology and jehadi material with several of them, including Indians, expressing desire to travel to the IS territory.

Her name is mentioned in NIA’s two chargesheets filed against IS last week. TOI has exclusively accessed the details of these chargesheets.

Karen, at one point, even banned IS propagandist and former Indian Oil assistant manager Mohammad Sirajuddin from the WhatsApp groups and telegram channels run and administered by her as she had differences of opinion with him.

Sirajuddin, radicalized by another IS member identified as “Mad-Mullah”, felt that Karen was a traitor and responsible for his mentor’s arrest in Sudan last year. Mad-Mullah arranged the logistics for travel of Indians who wished to go to Syria.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/India-seeks-info-on-woman-IS-online-recruiter-from-Philippines/articleshow/52708800.cms

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Muslim Artistes In Yakshagana Blaze A Trail

By Ganesh Mavanji Published: 12th June 2016 05:14 AM Last Updated: 12th June 2016

MANGALURU: Many Muslim artistes who don the Yakshagana grease paint are proving that art holds the power to transcend all barriers. Prior to the start of a Yakshagana show, puja is offered to the Hindu deity Ganesha. That is one reason some Muslims don’t allow their children to participate in the grand folk theatre, all the rage on the Karnataka coast. However, quite a few Muslims see no problem with the prayer, and are passionate about the art.

Mohammed Ghouse, a resident of Kavradi near Nellikatte in Kundapur, has been a Yakshagana practitioner for five decades. His parents sent him to Saudi Arabia for work, hoping that would dampen his passion for Yakshagana. He worked for seven years in that country, but Yakshagana beckoned, and he returned.

Other problems cropped up. His relatives refused to mix with him. They wouldn’t offer grooms for his sisters. “Call it providence or Allah’s will, all my sisters were eventually married into good families,” he says.

As an artist of the Madamakki Veerabhadreshwara Yakshagana troupe, and also his own Yaksha Saurabha Pravasi Mela, he performs lead roles, like Veeramani in Veeramani Kalaga, Bhasmasura in Bhasmasura-Mohini, Jayanta in Vidyunmathi Kalyana, and Arjuna in Krishna Garudi.

Ghouse performs in both styles of Yakshagana—Thenku Thittu and Badagu Thittu— and has shared the stage with stalwarts like Chittani Ramachandra Hegde, Lakshminarayana Samaga, Govinda Bhat, and Siddakatte Chennappa Shetty.

“Caste and religion are man-made. As I have the blessings of Allah and the Hindu deities, I am able to perform Yakshagana. I will be in Yakshagana till my last breath,” Ghouse told Express.

Jabbar Samo is another name to reckon with. He hails from Sampaje in Sullia taluk, and has been a Yakshagana artiste for four decades. When Jabbar was studying in Kallugundi Primary School in Sampaje, many Yakshagana troupes visited the area, and instilled in him an awe of the art.

Jabbar has won the appreciation of Yakshagana heavyweights such as Sheni Gopalakrishna Bhat, Malpe Ramadasa Samaga, Kumble Sundar Rao, and Siddakatte Chennappa Shetty.

Mohammed Ashfaq Hussain (22) is prominent among the younger crop. He scored 90 per cent marks in his SSLC exams and joined Alva’s College in Moodbidri after he came to know it gave importance for the study of Yakshagana.

Ashfaq excels at female roles and has won an award for best female actor in an inter-collegiate competition. He performs Lakshmi in Sudarshana Vijaya, and Malini in Devi Mahatme. Ashfaq has studied both Thenku and Badagu styles of Yakshagana. Ashfaq says caste and religion should not pose a hurdle to anyone inspired by an art. On the communally sensitive coast, these much-loved Muslim artistes are paving the way to greater understanding.

newindianexpress.com/states/karnataka/Muslim-artistes-in-Yakshagana-blaze-a-trail/2016/06/12/article3478509.ece

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Madhya Pradesh HC Has Permitted Muslim Employees of the High Court to Leave Half an Hour Early, During Ramzan Month

12th June 2016

In the order issued under the instructions of Chief Justice, the Registrar General states “<em>Muslim employees are permitted to leave half an hour early before the normal office time in view of Ramzan”.  However, this permission is subject to the condition that this should not affect the official work and that the concerned employees will endeavour to finish their work before leaving.

Muslims all over the world, are observing fast during the month of Ramzan (06.06.2016-05.07.2016). During this month, they fast from dawn until sunset, and refrain from consuming food and drinking liquids.

livelaw.in/madhya-pradesh-hc-permits-muslim-employees-leave-office-half-hour-early-view-ramzan/

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From Ali to Adil: Boxer thanked Bengaluru fan for suggesting treatment

Maxin Mathew | TNN | Jun 12, 2016

BENGALURU: As tributes poured in from all around the world for Muhammad Ali’s memorial service in Louisville on Saturday, nearly 14,000 km away in Bengaluru, Adil Govadia poignantly riffled through a letter written by ‘The Greatest’.

The three-page parchment is perhaps the greatest possession a boxing enthusiast or an Ali admirer can have. Not for the heartfelt tri bute that Govadia penned for Ali in the letter, but for the priceless autograph and qu ote that the boxing legend inscribed in it as gratitude.

In the mid-1980s, the world was stunned when Ali was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, a result of his boxing-related brain injuries. Govadia, who had just finished reading Ali’s autobiography , ‘The Greatest: My Own Story’, was struck with an idea -why not write a letter to Ali and convince him of considering alternative treatment in India? I read a newspaper article that he was planning to un dergo brain surgery in Mexico,” Govadia told STOI.”So I wrote to him, `Don’t go for brain surgery . Instead come to India, I’ll be happy to take you to a renowned faithhealing couple and get some alternative treatment done’.”

With no proper address to send the letter, Govadia wrote, `Muhammad Ali, The Greatest, USA’ on the cover of the envelope and posted it. “I wasn’t sure if I would get a reply, but I had to try. I did my part,” the 62-year-old said.

Govadia posted the letter on September 10, 1987. And, much to his surprise, he got a reply 16 days later, his letter enclosed in a trademark cream envelope from Muhammad Ali Farms in Berrien Springs, Michigan.

He quickly browsed through the pages to finally see Ali’s reply at the end of his letter. Written in black, cursive writing, it said -Thank you. Love from Muhammad Ali. Service to others is the rent we pay for our room in the hereafter. 9-26-87.

“I was overjoyed. From the thousands of letters he gets, he took time out to reply to mine. For those brief few seconds in his precious life, he thought of me. What more can an Ali fan want?” Govadia said. As a teenager, Govadia and his two brothers were big fans of Ali, collecting newspaper clippings and cutouts of the champion boxer.

“My brothers were boxers and we had a huge collection of Ali posters at home. The famous image of Ali towering over Sonny Liston after knocking him out and pictures from the `Rumble in the Jungle’ bout (Ali’s victory over George Foreman) were our favourites,” he recalled.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bengaluru/From-Ali-to-Adil-Boxer-thanked-Bengaluru-fan-for-suggesting-treatment/articleshow/52709409.cms

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J&K separatist leaders put under house arrest ahead of meet on Sainik colony issue

TNN | Jun 12, 2016

NEW DELHI: Ahead of their meeting on the issue of Sainik colonies, Jammu and Kashmir’s separatist leaders SAS Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq have been put under house arrest.

Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chief, Mohammad Yasin Malik has also been put under house arrest. He was was arrested in Srinagar last week and later released on bail.

These two separatist groups, JKLF and Hurriyat Conference, have united against the issue of Sainik colonies after eight years.

The issue of Sainik colonies (residential complex for former servicemen) has witnessed raging protests divided opinions in the state.

J&K chief minister Mehbooba Mufti and PDP chief Omar Amdullah also sparred over the topic last week in the state assembly.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/JK-separatist-leaders-put-under-house-arrest-ahead-of-meet-on-Sainik-colony-issue/articleshow/52711635.cms?

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Roza helplines field queries on internet usage

Yusra Husain | TNN | Jun 12, 2016

LUCKNOW: If you’re working on the internet while observing a roza , and are caught off guard by a barrage of pop-ups, there is no need to worry about the fate of your fast. In cases where one had no intention to look at obscene sites, the roza will stay intact, say clerics, unless the intention changed.

Working to aid fasting Muslims in Ramzan, helplines being run by both Sunni and Shia clerics have been flooded with such questions. There are women-specific helplines where questions are answered by women educated in Islamic laws.

If you want to use another person’s internet or Wi-Fi, be sure to seek permission or you will be committing a forbidden (haraam) act. “For the young generation who fasts and takes up Islam’s ideals, making proper use of the internet is a growing anxiety while observing their roza. They want to know different facets of using the internet so as not to let it interrupt their fasting. So they call and ask questions and we try to help them out,” said Maulana Saif Abbas Naqvi.

Naqvi runs the helpline as a representative of the office of Iran’s senior cleric Ayatullah Al Uzma Shirazi, open for questions from 10am to 12am. He said the phone hardly stops ringing.

Being unsure about the use of internet in its entirety is also a concern for many young rozedaars. “Many questions revolve around the frequent use of internet and television. For this, we counsel youngsters to use the technology for recreation purposes as little as possible since the month of Ramzan brings greater reward when spent in Allah’s Ibaadat (worship),” said Maulana Khalid Rasheed Farangimahli who runs the helpline within the Islamic Centre of India. It is the 14th running year of the helpline where hundreds of phone calls are received all through the day. Rozedaars also enquire to find out if their routine work intrudes with their roza. Such questions include queries around putting on make up, oil, henna or medicine in nose and ear, cutting nails and beard and getting blood tests done for medical purposes. Undivided on these issues, both the clerics opined that anything put on one’s bodily exterior is fine as long as it is not gulped in or indulges with the digestive system.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/lucknow/Roza-helplines-field-queries-on-internet-usage/articleshow/52708608.cms

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Efforts on to trace abducted Indian aid worker in Afghanistan

TNN | Jun 12, 2016

New Delhi: Forty-eight hours after the abduction of aid worker Judith D’Souza in Kabul, the government seemed to have no idea about either her whereabouts or the identity of her abductors. Top sources in New Delhi said the Indian mission is in touch with the Afghan authorities over the issue but so far no group has come forward to claim responsibility.

Sources add India’s ambassador to Afghanistan Manpreet Vohra had had several rounds of meetings with Afghan officials over the issue. “It is not possible to say at this stage if it was Taliban or some other group which effected the abduction but we can say that all possible attempts are being made to ensure her release as soon as possible,” said an official.

“There is no update as of now. But the MEA is constantly in touch with us. A joint secretary-level officer is coordinating with us. We have full faith in the Indian government,” Judith’s brother Jerome told a news agency in Kolkata. Asked whether the details about the efforts being made were discussed with the family members, Jerome said “No, these are official proceedings, which MEA and the Indian embassy in Kabul are dealing with. These things are not to be made public.”

External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj had on Friday called up the family and assured them of making all-out effort to bring her back.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Efforts-on-to-trace-abducted-Indian-aid-worker-in-Afghanistan/articleshow/52709209.cms

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Muslim students denied EWS certificates, get them after Congress corporator intervenes

Written by Kamaal Saiyed   | Surat | Published:June 12, 2016 4:20 am

Surat district collector has directed an inquiry after the Udhna mamlatdar refused to give certificates to three Muslim students seeking admissions in higher secondary school under the 10 per cent EWS quota. The mamlatdar wrote a note on their applications that “since the applicant belonged to the minority community their application has been filed”. However, the certificates were issued after intervention by a corporator.

Mohammed Zaid Nasimuddin Shaikh, a resident of Limbayat in Surat, had cleared his Class X with 50 per cent this year, along with his cousins, Danish and Zuveriya, who had better scores and applied for admissions to Class XI commerce.

Zaid’s father, Nasimuddin, drives an auto-rickshaw to earn a living and has an annual income below Rs six lakh which qualified him for the EWS certificate which mamlatdars have been authorised to issue.

Nasimuddin and the father of Danish and Zuveriya filed applications at the City Civic Centre for the EWS

certificate on June 7 and were asked to come on June 9 to collect the certificates. When Nasimuddin returned two days later for the certificate, he was told to contact Udhna mamlatdar V D Patel.

On Friday, at the mamlatdar’s office, Patel told them that as they were Muslims, they did not fall in the EWS quota. Later, Nasimuddin took a Congress corporator of Surat Municipal Corporation, Aslam Cyclewala, along, who threatened that he would lodge a complaint against Patel. When contacted, Shaikh told The Indian Express, “We finally got the EWS certificate and applied for admissions for Zaid, Danish and Zuveriya. Only after Aslambhai threatened to lodge a complaint that the mamlatdar called up his superior and gave us the certificate in half an hour.”

Cyclewala said, “I have been doing such interventions for Muslims and have got EWS certificates earlier. This is the first instance where the mamlatdar has given us in writing that as the applicants are Muslims, they were not eligible. I called up prant officer M M Parghi and complained to him about Patel.”

Surat District Collector Mahendra Patel said, “We have ordered an inquiry into the incident and prant officer Parghi is probing it. After primary investigations, we have found that there are some sections in the Muslim community that come under OBC or SC, so I think there was a mistake. Any community already availing benefits of OBC or SC is not liable to get EWS certificate.”

indianexpress.com/article/cities/ahmedabad/muslim-students-denied-ews-certificates-get-them-after-congress-corporator-intervenes-2848147/99/print/

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Mideast

Muslim Brotherhood’s Political Arm to Compete in Jordan Vote

Jun 11, 2016

The political arm of Jordan’s original Muslim Brotherhood has announced it is taking part in parliament elections Sept. 20, after boycotting the two previous ballots in 2010 and 2013.

Spokesman Murad Adayleh says the Islamic Action Front’s leadership voted overwhelmingly late Saturday to compete in the elections. He says the IAF, the most organized opposition group in Jordan, will look for partnerships to improve its chances.

The Muslim Brotherhood in the kingdom started out as a branch of a region-wide movement, but suffered a series of splits.

The Muslim Brotherhood was declared illegal — though its political arm was not — after a group of defectors registered a new Muslim Brotherhood Society as a Jordanian entity. Two other factions have also broken away, with plans to establish political parties.

abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/muslim-brotherhoods-political-arm-compete-jordan-vote-39784046

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PKK kills two soldiers, injures four in southeastern Turkey

June/11/2016

Two Turkish soldiers were killed in an attack by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in southeastern Turkey late on June 10, according security sources.

Security sources told Anadolu Agency on condition of anonymity that four soldiers were wounded in the attack on Tekeli military base in the Şemdinli town of the southeastern province of Hakkari.

The wounded were immediately airlifted to hospital, sources added.

hurriyetdailynews.com/pkk-kills-two-soldiers-injures-four-in-southeastern-turkey.aspx?pageID=238&nID=100370&NewsCatID=341

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Israel demolishes home of Palestinian who killed mother of six

AP | Jun 11, 2016

JERUSALEM: The Israeli military early on Saturday demolished the family home of a Palestinian who it says stabbed a Jewish mother to death in front of her children, in one of the most grisly killings in an eight-month wave of violence.

The military said its forces entered the West Bank village of Yatta to knock down the family residence of Morad Bader Abdullah Adais. The military says he killed Dafna Meir, a mother of six, in her home in the Jewish settlement of Otniel in January. He fled the scene and was later arrested.

Israel says it carries out housing demolitions to deter future attacks. The Palestinians consider it a form of collective punishment.

Over the last eight months, Palestinians have carried out dozens of attacks on civilians and security forces, mostly stabbings, shootings and car ramming assaults that have killed 32 Israelis and two Americans. About 200 Palestinians have been killed during that time, most identified as attackers by Israel. The assaults were once near-daily incidents but they have become less frequent in recent weeks.

On Wednesday, however, two Palestinians from Yatta opened fire in Tel Aviv’s Sarona district, a popular shopping and restaurant area, killing four Israeli civilians.

The military arrested several people in connection to that attack, froze 83,000 Palestinian travel permits to Israel and imposed checkpoints to restrict movement in and out of the village where the Palestinian gunmen were from. It also imposed a three-day closure of the West Bank that coincided with the Jewish holiday of Shavuot.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Israel-demolishes-home-of-Palestinian-who-killed-mother-of-six/articleshow/52701204.cms

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Turkey sends key diplomat Sinirlioğlu to New York as new envoy at UN

June/11/2016

A long-awaited governmental decree involving a significant reshuffle of key ambassadorial posts will eventually go into force, as Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has already begun personally telephoning the ambassadors subject to the reshuffle in order to let them know about their assignments.

Accordingly, Feridun Sinirlioğlu, serving as the undersecretary of the Foreign Ministry at the headquarters in Ankara since August 2009 and has been involved in several key international and regional affairs, has become Turkey’s new permanent representative at the United Nations headquarters in New York.

Days after having called its ambassador to Germany Hüseyin Avni Karslıoğlu upon the Bundestag’s approval of a bill describing the mass killings of Anatolian Armenians during the World War I as “genocide,”  Ankara has decided to send outgoing deputy undersecretary Ali Kemal Aydın as its new envoy in Berlin, according to diplomatic sources.

Deputy Foreign Minister Naci Koru, an architect of the EU-Turkey readmission agreement, has been appointed as the chief of Permanent Mission of Turkey to the United Nations Office at Geneva and other international organizations in Switzerland.

Ambassador Hüseyin Diriöz, who has in the past served at key posts such as the chief foreign policy advisor to the President of Republic of Turkey and as NATO Assistant Secretary General (ASG) for Defense Policy and Planning, is now posted to Moscow as Turkey’s new ambassador there.

Turkey’s current Ambassador in Baghdad Faruk Kaymakçı is set to take over from Ambassador Selim Yenel, the head of the Permanent Delegation of Turkey to the EU in Brussels.

Meanwhile, the spokesperson of the Foreign Ministry at the headquarters, Tanju Bilgiç, has for the first time been appointed as an ambassador. Bilgiç will serve as Turkey’s envoy in Belgrade, Serbia.

hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-sends-key-diplomat-sinirlioglu-to-new-york-as-new-envoy-at-un-.aspx?pageID=238&nID=100372&NewsCatID=510

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Thousands gather to support Turkish main opposition leader after ‘bullet throwing’ incident

June/11/2016

Thousands gather to support Turkish main opposition leader after ‘bullet throwing’ incident

thousands of supporters of the main opposition republican people’s party (chp) gathered in front of the headquarters of the party in ankara on june 11 to back their leader kemal kılıçdaroğlu, who has been subject to attacks and protests during his appearances at the funerals of the security members killed in terror attacks he southeast.

Kıılçdaorğlu said in his addressing to the crowd that mosques and funerals ere not the right place for politics.

“We are in the holy month (of Ramadan). Those who seek provocations and insulting you when you go for a funeral prayer are no real Muslims at all. They do not know about Islam or love for the people,” Kılıçdaroğlu said, naming those who had attacked him “jackals.”

During a funeral for police victims of a June 7 attack in central Istanbul, a man who threw a bullet at him. Kılıçdaroğlu faced other protests in some recent funerals including being target of of an egg thrower.

On June 9, Kıılçdaorğlu lashed out against prosecutors and law enforcement for releasing four suspects after an intimidating protest staged against him. “Everybody knows that throwing a bullet is a death threat,’ he said.

During the meeting in front oft he CHP building on June 11, a group tried to walk to the headquarters of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to leave a black wreath in protest. Police dispersed the crowd, using tear gas.

The CHP’s march came after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said he would “leave it to the nation” to give “his lesson” to Kılıçdaroğlu after the latter said he visited patients and prisoners “without discrimination.”

hurriyetdailynews.com/thousands-gather-to-support-turkish-main-opposition-leader-after-bullet-throwing-incident.aspx?pageID=238&nID=100371&NewsCatID=338

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Southeast Asia

40% OF MALAYSIANS ARE NON-MUSLIMS: DR M WARNS UMNO & PAS NO PLACE FOR HUDUD HERE

11 June 2016

40% OF MALAYSIANS ARE NON-MUSLIMS: DR M WARNS UMNO & PAS NO PLACE FOR HUDUD HERE

SUNGAI BESAR – The syariah law that PAS has been trying to push for is not in accordance to the true Islamic teachings.

Instead, former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (pix)said PAS’ brand of hudud was only a rendition of the party’s own version.

“That is not hudud. That is PAS’ hudud and it is against hudud in Islam. In Islam, punishment focuses on fairness. When you want to punish someone, you have to do it fairly.

“This is not Islam. This was done to deceive the rakyat that the party is fighting for Islam,” he told a press conference at the Hao Xiang Chi Restaurant in Sekinchan here.

Mahathir said hudud law could not be implemented in Malaysia as its demographic consisted a large group of non-Muslims.

He said if hudud is implemented, it would be unfair to the offenders as the jurisdiction will be divided between the Muslims and non-Muslims.

“PAS’s version of hudud separates the Muslims and non-Muslims in Malaysia,” he said.

“We have some 40% of non-Muslim population in our country. That is why hudud law cannot be implemented in Malaysia.” – Sundaily

malaysia-chronicle.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=616306:40-of-malaysians-are-non-muslims-dr-m-warns-umno–pas-no-place-for-hudud-here&Itemid=2#ixzz4BLhuXrcJ

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IS likely to target Southeast Asia in coming months

11 June 2016

Indicators show terrorists are likely to strike Southeast Asia’s tourist attractions this summer, security experts have warned.

Recent developments concerning Islamic State (IS) across Asia suggest the group have recruited locally and were likely to carry out a major strike, according to Alex Bomberg, group chief of Intelligent Protection International, part of Intelligent (UK Holdings).

IS had developed localised organisations and operations in Southeast Asia and was active in the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia and Bangladesh. In addition, fighters recruited from Asia to fight in Syria and Iraq were starting to return home, as the extremists’ war in the Middle East was facing defeat.

“I think they are ready to do something in Asia. I think it’s going to happen very soon,” Bomberg said.

Last week the United States warned of possible summer terrorist attacks in Europe, saying targets could include the European soccer championship in France or the Catholic Church’s World Youth Day events, based on an accumulation of information.

Raffaello Pantucci, a researcher at the Royal United Services Institute in London, said he wouldn’t be surprised “if we saw an attack somewhere in Southeast Asia that is seen as being inspired, linked or maybe even directed by IS”.

Bomberg said an attack would likely target tourist hotspots and be paired with a strike on infrastructure such as a subway or airport.

To maximise damage and casualties, IS had adopted an “active shooter” tactic, where multiple gunmen simultaneously open fire with automatic weapons and quickly move from one location to the next, as was seen in Paris in November, he said.

“They are not going to waste opportunities,” he said. “They are going to want it to be spectacular.”

His company, which provides protection services to British royals and high net worth individuals, urged Asian countries to improve information sharing and be more open with the public.

If there were an attack in Hong Kong, it would be a “strike at the heart of the dragon”, according to Bomberg.

But given a lack of support for terrorist groups in the financial city, Hong Kong was at less of an immediate risk than were Indonesia, Malaysia or the Philippines, said Pantucci.

Li Lifan, a researcher at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, said airports authorities in Hong Kong and Beijing were effective in using biometric information shared by the international community to screen out dangerous people upon entry.

Mainland China had also become vigilant and awareness about terrorism in the country was high, Li said.

dhakatribune.com/world/2016/jun/12/islamic-state-likely-target-southeast-asia-coming-months#sthash.wOPH86OZ.dpuf

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Formula One’s only Muslim driver in the ‘fast lane’ for Ramadan

12 June 2016

Formula One’s only Muslim driver Rio Haryanto is observing Ramadan at the Canadian Grand Prix but will take safety advice on whether to fast before Sunday’s race.

The Manor Racing rookie, the first Indonesian on the starting grid, has been following his faith in Montreal by not eating or drinking from dawn until sunset during the holy month that started on June 6.

His manager Piers Hunnisett recognised there were concerns that the lack of food and fluids could affect the 23-year-old’s concentration.

“Rio has been fasting this week but the team and his physio will decide what to do on Sunday,” he told Reuters on Saturday. “It’s a long race and there is a worry about dehydration.

“Drivers lose a lot of body fluid during a race and we don’t want him losing concentration when he is driving at 350kph or whatever it may be.”

“It’s more of a safety issue. He has been following his faith in Montreal this week but we will see what the advice of the team doctors is. But on Monday he will be fasting again.”

Hunnisett said talks were continuing with the Indonesian government and other sponsors over extending Haryanto’s deal with the British-based team.

Haryanto’s primary sponsor is state-owned oil company Pertamina, which so far has contributed five million euros ($5.62 million) towards the funding needed to secure the race seat at the sport’s smallest team.

The Indonesian has a guaranteed drive until the 11th round of the season in Hungary but needs more money to remain in the seat beyond the summer break.

“The contract talks are still ongoing,” added Hunnisett. “Rio is in the car until Hungary, it’s all paid up to date, it’s just whether we extend it.

“The news in Indonesia is huge and the government love it. He is doing a good job and hopefully we are here for the long term. He has surprised a lot of people,” he said.

“His team mate Pascal Wehrlein was tipped to go places and if we can match him it’s very good for Rio’s career. The team like him, the engineers like him but it comes down to pounds and pence in the end.”

Haryanto will start Sunday’s race from 20th place on the grid after hitting the barriers in the first phase of qualifying.

english.alarabiya.net/en/sports/2016/06/12/Formula-One-s-only-Muslim-driver-in-the-fast-lane-for-Ramadan.html

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I want to be a good Muslim, not popular, says Raja Zarith

12 June 2016

PETALING JAYA: Raja Zarith Sofiah Sultan Idris Shah does not care if her beliefs make her unpopular, saying that her priority is to be a good Muslim and a decent human being.

In a Facebook posting yesterday, the Permaisuri of Johor said it was unfair for Malaysians to see all Jews as evil.

“For so long now, most Malaysian Muslims see all Jews as wicked and evil. “That is like believing that all Muslims are good when we know some have acted against the very teachings of Islam.

“Listen to what Rabbi Michael Learner has to say about Muslims, about Israel, about Palestine, about peace, and you will understand that it is wrong to pass judgment on anyone,” she wrote.

Raja Zarith, who obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Chinese studies from the University of Oxford in 1983 and her Master of Arts in 1986, said she had both Jewish and Palestinian friends who were kind to her.

“I do have a few Jewish friends, they have shown me kindness and compassion, especially during my darker days.

“I am also honoured to have Palestinian friends who have remained brave and are still filled with hope that one day there will be peace in their homeland.

“I have lived through the unimaginable as a mother and it has changed me. I now do not care if what I believe in makes me unpopular. What I would like to achieve is to be a good Muslim and a decent human being,” she said.

She then went on to say how her post will not be read by some because it was written in English and added that the existing education system made it difficult for many to read, write or speak English.

“That is another thing which may make me unpopular, that I believe it is for our own good to be fluent in English.

“Why do I think that English is an important language? Because being able to read books, magazine articles, online news, and websites or listen to lectures by eminent scholars, or watch fascinating and fact-filled documentaries in English opens up such a vast world of knowledge,” she said.

Raja Zarith, who is the UTM Johor chancellor, said nasty comments about her from the public no longer affected her.

“After going through the hellish moment of seeing my son take his last breath, there isn’t much else which can be worse or more painful so I think I can live with that,” she said.

thestar.com.my/news/nation/2016/06/12/i-want-to-be-a-good-muslim-not-popular-says-raja-zarith/

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Europe

‘Hi Donald, we’re Muslims!’ Scottish Muslims offer to teach Trump in visit

Reuters | Jun 8, 2016

EDINBURGH: Scottish Muslims have invited Republican U.S. Presidential nominee, Donald Trump, to visit a mosque and learn about their faith during his visit to Scotland this month in the hope of changing his views.

Trump, whose mother was Scottish, last year proposed a temporary ban on Muslims entering the United States as a response to Islamist attacks in Paris and California, causing a furore in Europe.

Accepting a visit to learn about the Muslim commmunity might help show that he is not so extreme, Edinburgh Central Mosque Imam, Yayha Barry, told Reuters.

“I would say: ‘Hi Donald, we’re Muslims, welcome to our mosque! Do you still see Muslims as a threat to Western civilisations?'” he said.

Trump’s views prompted widespread opposition in Britain, where he owns two golf courses on the west and east Scottish coasts. His comments about stopping Mexican migrants entering the United States also caused offence, leading to the withdrawal of Scottish business and academic accolades.

Prime Minister David Cameron said the remarks by the potential leader of Britain’s closest international ally were “divisive, stupid and wrong”.

Neither Cameron nor Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon plan to meet him on his visit, which coincides with the result of Britain’s referendum on EU membership on June 24.

Spiritual leaders in the Islamic community invited Trump to “learn more about the Muslims that he offends”.

“We would welcome the opportunity to show him the work that we are doing in the community in Edinburgh when he comes to Scotland,” said Hafiz Ghafoor of Annandale Mosque and Munawar Hussain, secretary of Roxburgh St Mosque and Islamic Centre, in a joint statement.

Trump’s relationship with Scotland has been rocky since he contested a decision to build an offshore wind farm opposite his golf course in Aberdeenshire. His trip will include a visit there as well as to his courses at Turnberry, in southwestern Scotland, and Doonbeg, in Ireland.

Protests at Trump’s “misogynist, racist and xenophobic” views are planned by Aberdeen University students during his visit, the president of the Students’ Association said.

A spokesperson for the Trump Organisation did not respond to a request to comment.

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said Trump should witness first hand the work being done by local Muslims to reach across faiths and help those in need.

“Muslims are our friends, colleagues, family and neighbours. When he insults them in such a grotesque manner he insults us all.”

About 77,000 Scots are Muslims, or 1.4 percent of the population, according to the latest official census in 2011.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/uk/Hi-Donald-were-Muslims-Scottish-Muslims-offer-to-teach-Trump-in-visit/articleshow/52660377.cms

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Britain’s Prince Charles visits Nawaz in London, inquires about PM’s health

 

LONDON: Britain’s Prince Charles visited Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif at his London residence on Saturday and inquired about his health, the premier’s daughter Maryam Nawaz Sharif tweeted.

According to Maryam Nawaz, Prince Charles also brought honey from the gardens of Clarence House for the premier saying “it will help him recover fast as Pakistan needs him”.

He also conveyed best wishes from British Queen Elizabeth for the prime minister’s speedy recovery.

Maryam Nawaz Sharif ✔ @MaryamNSharif

HRH Prince Charles visited PM Sharif & inquired after him. He said he wanted to come as a friend. Conveyed best wishes from HM The Queen.

Maryam Nawaz Sharif ✔ @MaryamNSharif

HRH Prince Charles brought for the PM, honey from the gardens of Clarence House, saying it will help him recover fast as Pakistan needs him.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif thanked Prince Charles for the honey and told him that Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) said honey has healing properties, Maryam tweeted.

Prime Minister Sharif thanked HRH Prince Charles for the honey & told him that Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) said honey has healing properties.

On Friday, King of Bahrain Sheikh Hammad Bin Isa Al Khalifa had conveyed his best wishes for PM’s health.

SpokespersonMOFA ✔ @ForeignOfficePk

Other leaders from across the globe have also sent their best wishes to the Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif after he went through a successful open-heart surgery on May 31.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi led all by sending flowers and wished a speedy recovery to nawaz Sharif on June 2.

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon was also quick to send a letter and convey his regards to the Pakistani head of state, followed by the Chinese PM.

dawn.com/news/1264206/britains-prince-charles-visits-nawaz-in-london-inquires-about-pms-health

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North America

Muslims See Anti-Mosque Bias in Landmarking Decision

Jun 11, 2016

A house in Yonkers, N.Y. that the Islamic Community Center of Mid-Weschester hopes to convert into a mosque is seen on Monday, June 6, 2016. The Islamic Community Center faces hurdles now that the home they purchased has been given a historic landmark designation limiting how it can be altered. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)more +

After months of searching to find a home for their mosque, a Muslim group settled on a century-old, three-story Tudor in a leafy neighborhood of a New York suburb, a fixer-upper they say would be perfect with the right renovations.

But not long after the sale went through last year, neighbors thought it was perfect just the way it was. A neighborhood group filed an application to have the building designated a city landmark and won final approval last month, meaning any exterior renovations will now have to go through a time-consuming permission process.

While city officials insisted the landmark status wouldn’t prevent the home being used as a mosque, the Muslim organization saw something more sinister.

“We feel that we are being targeted,” said Arshad Shariff, chairman of the Islamic Community Center of Mid-Westchester. “And unnecessary obstacles and hindrances are being placed because we are Muslim.”

It’s a refrain that’s been heard around the country, from Muslims who say they have faced all kinds of zoning and other obstacles as they’ve tried to build or expand mosques. Some of the conflicts have gone to court, under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, a federal law passed in 2000 that forbids using zoning laws in such a way.

Among the most high-profile of the controversies was over plans for an Islamic center to be built in the vicinity of New York City’s World Trade Center site, which was dubbed the “Ground Zero mosque” in 2010 by opponents.

More recently, a Muslim group in Basking Ridge, New Jersey, has been facing zoning and other obstacles for several years over its plan to build a mosque, resulting in a federal lawsuit against the town’s planning board.

Earlier this year, officials in Lexington, Kentucky, sued the local mosque, saying it was violating zoning ordinances with its plans to renovate the property and expand to an adjacent building.

Houses of worship from all faiths can and do face issues related to their land usage, said Luke Goodrich, deputy general counsel at The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. Communities don’t like them for a number of reasons, either because of the crowds they can bring or the lack of tax revenue, or sometimes because of bias against the faith in question, he said.

But Muslims have faced a disproportionate amount of those issues. A Department of Justice review of the law since its inception found that in its first 10 years, 15 percent of the cases brought by the department’s Civil Rights division under the religious land use act involved mosques or Islamic schools, a percentage that has increased to more than 25 percent of the case load in the following four years. Muslims make up an estimated 1 percent of the population.

Naeem Baig, president of the Islamic Circle of North America, a grassroots Muslim outreach group, says that backlash has been fueled by anti-Muslim rhetoric has become more prevalent in the mainstream in recent years.

“Where people see a mosque coming into a neighborhood or community, they’re not seeing it as fellow Americans who happen to be Muslim,” he said.

In Yonkers, Islamic Community Center leader Shariff said the dispute with the city has delayed the opening of the mosque indefinitely.

Shariff said the group never planned major changes to the exterior of the $750,000 home to make it a mosque — no minarets, no loudspeakers issuing the call to prayer. It primarily wanted to add an entrance ramp for handicapped visitors and another entrance, and some kind of signage indicating that it was a mosque.

Shariff said they had met with city officials before the sale went through to ask if there was any historical significance to the property, and were told there were no records indicating any.

In a statement announcing the landmark designation last month, Mayor Mike Spano said the home was significant because it was one of the original homes to be built in the city’s historic Colonial Heights section.

Spano’s office declined repeated requests for additional comment, and a telephone number for the neighborhood organization that started the landmark application, the Colonial Heights Association of Taxpayers, could not be found.

“It’s important for the neighbors to understand we are their neighbors,” Shariff said. “We are part of the American fabric.”

abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/muslims-anti-mosque-bias-landmarking-decision-39778747

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Muslims seeking spiritual choice

By ERIC METAXAS BreakPoint

June 11, 2016

Did you hear that Miss USA Rima Fakih converted to the Christian faith from Islam? She’s part of an exciting trend!

The headlines are filled with bad news about the Muslim world in general — and Christian-Muslim encounters in particular. We see horrifying images of Christians kneeling before being decapitated, of kindly nuns executed, of believers by the tens of thousands forced to flee their homes as refugees to escape the Islamic State.

But as the late Paul Harvey used to say, you need to know “the rest of the story.”

There are some good, very good, things happening in the Muslim world. First, not all Muslims hate Christians — far from it. As just one example, Sherry Weddell, writing in the National Catholic Register, recalls the treatment of one of her Christian friends who lived among Muslims after the terrorist attacks of 9/11. “She watched those terrible pictures from afar on the BBC, while being showered with apologies, sympathy and support from her local Muslim friends who had been close friends for years.”

And while it’s a common complaint that so-called “mainstream Muslim” groups aren’t speaking out against Muslim terror groups, we need to give credit where credit is due.

In January, 200 international Muslim leaders released the Marrakesh Declaration, which calls for Muslim-majority nations to protect the freedom of religious minorities, including Christians.

Earlier this month, another 300 Muslim leaders from about 30 countries gathered in Indonesia to denounce extremism.

All good! But as my colleague and BreakPoint editor at large Stan Guthrie has said, “We should never confuse our need for a peaceful and tolerant Islam with Muslims’ need for peace with God through Jesus Christ.”

And that is where the news gets even better!

For the last several years, researchers have noted what happens when Muslims meet Christ — huge numbers of them are becoming followers of Jesus. According to some researchers, the number of Muslims who have switched allegiance from Muhammad to Christ has skyrocketed from effectively zero in 1960 to as many as 16 million worldwide today. That includes roughly 470,000 right here in the U.S., including Fakih.

  1. Dudley Woodberry, a noted Christian scholar of Islam, cites five reasons Muslims are deciding for Christ: the lifestyle of Christians; the power of God in answered prayers and healing; dissatisfaction with the type of Islam they have experienced; the spiritual truth in the Bible; and biblical teachings about the love of God. Some of these things we can control; others are up to God alone. For instance, there are reports that Jesus is appearing to many Muslims in dreams and visions, especially to those who have little access to the Bible or Christians.

And even the awful news we see is being used by the Lord to draw Muslims to Himself. As David Cashin of the Zwemer Center says, “I have often referred to Islamic radicals as ‘proto-evangelists’ for the Christian faith.” That dynamic has certainly happened in Iran, where thousands of Muslims left Islam for Jesus after experiencing the harsh faith of the mullahs. Truly, as Joseph in the Old Testament said, “You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good.”

Clearly, we Christians have a role to play in this ongoing story. “Significant numbers of Muslims are quietly looking for spiritual alternatives,” Weddell says. “If you and I understand our mission as evangelizers and apostles, build relationships of trust, rouse spiritual curiosity through our lives, pray for and share our faith in Christ and His Church with the Muslims about us, we can play an important part in this unprecedented movement of the Holy Spirit.”

From BreakPoint (May 31), reprinted with permission of Prison Fellowship, breakpoint.org.

nwaonline.com/news/2016/jun/11/muslims-seeking-spiritual-choice-201606/?features

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The Muslim factor in US elections

12 JUN 2016

International & foreign affairs. Journalism by trade & inclination.Read my blog on ht… See Profile

Carolyn Walker-Diallo took her oath as a judge on the Quran

Community relations were already in a ferment in the United States even before Republican presiden­tial hopeful Donald Trump’s outrageous assertion that he doubted a Muslim judge could ever be fair to him.

Never mind that trying to disqual­ify judges based on heritage — ethnicity, religion, (may be ginger-hair even?) — is anathema to the foundational principles of the US judicial system.

What effect might a potential US president’s bigotry have on, say, Americans who come up in the New York civil court of Carolyn Walker-Diallo? She placed her hand on the Quran as she took oath as a judge in December. What about those whose case is heard by Halim Dhanidina, California’s first Muslim judge? Will the plaintiffs and defendants who come up before Sohail Moham­med and Hani Mawla, Muslim judges in New Jersey, be satisfied they were guided by the US Constitution rather than anything else?

Will Americans henceforth believe that justice is done no matter the creed of the judge? Or will Trump have thrown a Molotov cocktail at the American way?

Judge from the stories that follow but, just for the record, when a video of Walker-Diallo’s swearing-in was posted online, some of Trump’s most virulently anti-Muslim supporters said that those who “liked” it should be deported after their man gets into the Oval Office.

The brutal truth is that Trump is having a subliminal effect on America’s attitude to and the response from the country’s Muslims. There is a bad Trump effect and, hard though it may be to believe, an unwittingly good one, too.

Two stories from two different parts of the United States seem to underline this.

In Lubbock, Texas, residents protested against their weather service’s description of a dust storm as haboob, a particular natural phenomenon in which a collapsing thunderstorm exhales a burst of wind that collects dust and can grow into a dark cloud. To some Lubbock locals, the term was a Middle Eastern imposition that signalled an Arab takeover of the skies. “In Texas, nimrod (sic), this is called a sandstorm,” wrote one irate Lubbock resident. “We’ve had them for years! If you would like to move to the Middle East you can call this a haboob. While you reside here, call it a sandstorm.”

In Chicago, Muslim Americans have come together in a project called Forward Humanity that provides food deliveries to the hungry and homeless of all faiths or none. The effort was to escalate throughout Ramadan and its founder, Sanah Khan, describes it as a way of broadening Muslim charity and redefining Muslims within the wider community.

Launched in 2015 right after Trump’s initial attacks on Mus­lims, Khan said she took the Republican presidential hopeful’s bigotry “in a very positive way”. “I am actually very thankful,” she told the Chicago Tribune, “because he gave us reasons to stand up and say we can do better… People need to see the normal Muslims.”

Do Lubbock and Chicago speak to the push-me-pull-you forces currently at work in a famously diverse country that constitution­ally enshrines religious liberty but is in the throes of an ugly election campaign dominated by an outspoken Islamophobe?

Yes. As the San Diego Union- Tribune, a conservative California newspaper, editorialised: “Trump is the great excommunicator. He wants Muslims banned from the country; a wall built around our southern border, global deals ripped up.”

The divisive and insular forces described by the publication will only intensify in the next five months as Trump seeks to solidify his support by playing on ordinary Americans’ fear and ignorance of Muslims and Arabs.

Make no mistake, the ignorance is simply world-class. This column has previously covered the more ludicrous recent examples of the spreading paranoia about the Arabic language and its perceived link to imaginary terrorist threats. In April, there was Iraqi University of California, Berkeley student Khairuldeen Makhzoomi’s humiliation by a domestic US airline for the offence of speaking Arabic on the phone. In May, olive-skinned Italian economist Guido Menzio was questioned for writing mathematical equations as he waited for his flight to leave Philadelphia. A fellow passenger reported the academic’s scrib­blings as suspiciously foreign, perhaps even Arabic.

In Lubbock, the paranoia escalated into utter lunacy. To those who know these things or have read Michael Ondaatje’s wonderful novel The English Patient, a haboob is a very particu­lar kind of dust storm. It is more localised and is common in Ameri­ca’s desert south-west and in the Middle East, where the term originated. Weathermen use it as they refer to the aajej, southern Morocco’s whirlwind, the hot, dry ghibli from Tunis, the datoo out of Gibraltar, the nafliat out of Arabia — to denote the specificity of natural conditions. To see a haboob warning as a threat mendaciously and dangerously imported into America is idiocy.

But there will be more Lubbocks and Makhzoomis in the run up to the November 8th US election. And there may be more examples like Chicago’s Forward Humanity as well. Philosophers have often spoken of the greater good that can come from the bad. So, too, Trump’s anti-Muslim stance. It may force Muslim Americans to stand up and more deliberately ask to be counted — as ordinary Americans who just happen to espouse the Islamic faith. This American election year of great divides may become one of greater unity. One can but hope.

the-newshub.com/politics/the-muslim-factor-in-us-elections

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US urges Pakistan, India to pursue closer ties on security front

Jun 12, 2016

WASHINGTON: Pakistan and India need to pursue closer relations on security front to counter threat of terrorism, a US Statement Department spokesman said, stressing that the United States need to seek closer ties between both countries.

“There’s no zero-sum game here,” Spokesman Mark Toner told a regular briefing at the State Department on Saturday, responding to a question about the recent remarks by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi he made during his 3-day visit to Washington this week.

Asked to comment on mention of cross-border terrorism during Modi’s address to the US Congress, the spokesman refused to say what his intended audience was, but added that there was no zero-sum game here.

“We need to pursue closer relations with India, with Pakistan, and they need to also pursue closer relations on the security front, certainly, with each other,” the spokesman said and added that such relationship would benefit all in the face of continuing serious terrorist threats.

“We all need to work in a concerted and coordinated fashion to address it, and we’re trying to do so,” he added.

A day before Modi was to address the Congress, a bipartisan group of 18 Congressmen wrote a letter to Speaker Paul Rayn, urging him to put the issue of severe violence against Muslims, Christians and Sikhs in India on top of his agenda during meeting with Prime Minister Modi.

Prime Minister Modi was scheduled to address the joint session on Wednesday, but a day before the Human Rights Commission of the US Congress held a hearing to discuss the human rights violation in India.

They told the Speaker that religious minorities in India, including Muslims, continue to live in a climate where known perpetrators commit violence with impunity, an obvious reference to activists of ruling BJP who have been involved in such incidents.

In the letter, the lawmakers cited several specific examples of violent attacks that have killed or displaced religious minorities in India.

Human rights groups in India have investigated and traced these attacks to specific groups, but a current climate of impunity exists in India around such attacks and many victims never receive justice.

The letter to the Speaker came a day after the Human Rights Commission of the US Congress held a hearing on human rights violation in India, and expressed their serious concern over the growing incidents against the country’s religious minorities.

dawn.com/news/1264197/us-urges-pakistan-india-to-pursue-closer-ties-on-security-front

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Africa

Libyan forces ‘retake port’ in IS bastion Sirte

AFP | Jun 11, 2016

Forces aligned with Libya’s new unity government advance along a road in Sirte, June 10, 2016.

Forces aligned with Libya’s new unity government advance along a road in Sirte, June 10, 2016.

TRIPOLI: Forces allied with Libya’s unity government said Saturday they had recaptured the port in the jihadist stronghold of Sirte from Islamic State group fighters encircled inside the city.

The fall of Sirte, the hometown of ousted dictator Moamer Kadhafi, would be a major setback for the extremists who have also lost territory in Syria and Iraq where they have declared an Islamic “caliphate”.

The Libyan forces also retook residential areas in the east of Sirte, which for the past year has been the main IS base in the North African country, a spokesman for the forces, Rida Issa, told AFP.

The jihadists are now surrounded in a densely populated area of around five square kilometres (two square miles) inside the city where they are laying booby traps, he said.

Most of the city’s residents have fled but about 30,000 remain, he said.

After a month-long operation to close in on Sirte, the rapid pace of the advance by forces allied to the Government of National Accord (GNA) who entered the city on Wednesday has surprised Libyan authorities.

“The battle wasn’t as difficult as we thought it would be,” a government official said. “Maybe we exaggerated their (IS’s) numbers?”

The UN envoy to Libya, Martin Kobler, said Saturday on Twitter that he was “impressed” by the “rapid progress” of pro-GNA forces.

But analysts have warned the city’s fall would not spell the end of the jihadists in Libya, where they have fed on political and military divisions since the 2011 uprising that killed Kadhafi.

Foreign intelligence services estimate the extremist group has 5,000 fighters in Libya, but its strength inside Sirte, which IS has held since June 2015, is unclear.

IS fighters tried to wrest back the port on Saturday in an attack that killed two members of the GNA forces, who repelled the assault.

A total of 137 pro-GNA forces have been killed and 500 wounded since the May 12 beginning of the operation, according to a medical official in the western city of Misrata.

Libya’s unity government forces have fought fierce street battles with the jihadists around a sprawling Kadhafi-era conference centre which once hosted international summits but now houses an IS command centre.

An AFP correspondent at the scene reported heavy street fighting on Friday about two kilometres (one mile) from the Ouagadougou centre.

GNA forces used tanks, rocket launchers and artillery, the correspondent said, while the jihadists responded with machineguns, mortar rounds and sniper fire.

“We are fighting between houses, on the streets, and we won’t back down before we eliminate them,” said one GNA combatant, who declined to be named.

Warplanes have carried out air strikes around the conference centre and other IS positions inside the city, according to social media accounts belonging to the anti-jihadist operation.

The operations command, on its Facebook page, said jihadist positions had been targeted in a total of 150 air strikes since mid-May.

Formed under a UN-backed power-sharing deal agreed by some Libyan lawmakers in December, the GNA has been working to assert its authority but has yet to receive the official endorsement of the country’s recognised parliament.

The pro-GNA forces are mostly made up of militias from western cities, notably Misrata, and the guards of oil installations that IS has repeatedly tried to seize.

Emily Estelle, a North Africa and Middle East specialist with the Washington-based American Enterprise Institute, said an estimated 2,000 fighters, primarily Misrata militiamen, were engaged in the Sirte operation.

The forces allied with the GNA said on Thursday they expected to announce the liberation of Sirte in “two or three days,” after thrusting into the city centre.

“We’re encouraged by the progress they’re making,” said US special envoy Brett McGurk.

“Once you have a credible force on the ground that moves against them (IS), there is a chance that they could crack pretty quickly.”

GNA head Fayez al-Sarraj called Friday on “all military forces to unite in the face of our common enemy… and to join the victorious forces”.

But Ahmed al-Mesmari, a spokesman for forces loyal to a rival government based in the country’s far east, described the GNA forces as “illegitimate militias, loyal to an illegitimate government”.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/Libyan-forces-retake-port-in-IS-bastion-Sirte/articleshow/52704178.cms

 

URL: http://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/blasts-near-hazrat-zainab-s-shrine-in-syria-kill-20,-is-claims-responsibility/d/107609

 

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