Court Clears Way for Zunera Ishaq to Become a Canadian Citizen with Her Face Covered By a Niqab

Court Clears Way for Zunera Ishaq to Become a Canadian Citizen with Her Face Covered By a Niqab

Zunera Ishaq can wear a Niqab while taking her citizenship oath, in Ottawa on Tuesday, September 15, 2015.

Nigerian Army Rescues Dozen Women, Children from Boko Haram

Femen’s Topless Condescension towards Muslim Women Only Helps Sexism

British Muslim Mums Are Key to Stopping Their Daughters Becoming ‘Jihadi Brides’

Women Moving Independently ‘Being Stabbed’ In Sahiwal, Pakistan

Saudi Female Student Attacked In Dublin

Divorce Rights Still Elusive for Afghan Women

Saudi Women Artists Throw Light on Their Work at Jeddah Event

‘Saudi Diplomat’s Wife, Daughter Abused Gurgaon, India, Police’

Afghan Women ‘Gaining Skills’ In Creative Writing Project

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islam,-women-and-feminism/new-age-islam-news-bureau/court-clears-way-for-zunera-ishaq-to-become-a-canadian-citizen-with-her-face-covered-by-a-niqab/d/104600

———-

Court Clears Way for Zunera Ishaq to Become a Canadian Citizen with Her Face Covered By a Niqab

Mike Blanchfield, The Canadian Press | September 15, 2015 5

OTTAWA — A Federal Court of Appeal panel has dismissed a government appeal over a ban on face coverings at citizenship ceremonies in what amounts to a major policy rebuke of the Harper government.

The three justices ruled from the bench, saying they wanted to proceed quickly so that Zunera Ishaq, the woman who initially challenged the ban, can obtain her citizenship in time to vote in the Oct. 19 federal election.

Ishaq, a 29-year-old woman with devout Muslim beliefs who came to Ontario from Pakistan in 2008, refused to take part in a citizenship ceremony because she would have to show her face.

The swift ruling left Ishaq speechless, although she said she looks forward to casting her ballot.

One of her lawyers, Maryls Edwardh, said the Immigration Department would be contacted this week so she could attend a citizenship ceremony — accompanied by her lawyers “just in case.”

The Harper government’s rule banning face coverings at such ceremonies was earlier found unlawful by the Federal Court.

Justice Department lawyer Peter Southey argued unsuccessfully that the lower court justice made errors in his original decision to overturn the ban.

Appeal Justice Mary Gleason said the court had no reason to interfere with the earlier ruling.

The ban on face coverings sparked a bitter debate in the House of Commons when it was first announced.

At Tuesday’s half-day hearing in Ottawa, a Justice Department lawyer told court that the government never meant to make it mandatory for women to remove their face coverings for citizenship ceremonies — a position that left both the judge and Ishaq’s lawyers scratching their heads.

The admission appeared to be a climb-down from the Conservative government’s past position on the issue.

The controversial edict was a regulation that had no actual force in law, Justice Department lawyer Peter Southey told a Federal Court of Appeal hearing.

“It indicates a desire in the strongest possible language,” Southey said — an argument that appeared to come as a surprise to Justice Johanne Trudel.

“I cannot see how this is not mandatory,” Trudel said during the hearing.

Southey later told the court that the immigration minister was conceding that he “could not impose a mandatory rule in a guideline” for the purposes of this appeal.

Lorne Waldman, the lawyer for the woman at the centre of the case, dismissed Southey’s argument, saying everyone from former immigration minister Jason Kenney , his successor Chris Alexander and even Prime Minister Stephen Harper have said in public they see it as a mandatory policy.

Reading from internal government emails, Waldman told court there was not “one iota of discretion” within the policy.

“Everything says mandatory, no discretion — that’s the facts of the case.”

The controversial case focuses on whether a Muslim woman should be required to remove her face covering to take the oath of citizenship.

Outside court, Ishaq questioned the federal government’s new line.

“If it’s not mandatory I would simply say, why they are fighting for it? Just let me go,” she said.

I can’t even make sense of the statement — what the lawyer said about it that it’s not mandatory. If it’s not mandatory, so why that all this fuss is for?”

http://news.nationalpost.com/news/canada/court-dismisses-government-appeal-of-decision-that-ban-on-niqab-at-citizenship-ceremonies-is-unlawful

—–

Nigerian Army rescues dozen women, children from Boko Haram

September 16, 2015

London: The Nigerian Army has rescued at least 12 women and children captives from Islamic extremist group Boko Haram, said officials.

According to The Guardian, military spokesman Colonel Sani Kukasheka Usman said that the army cleared the camps of the militant group in north-eastern state of Borno.

However, none of the 219 girls abducted in April 2014 from a school in Chibok were among those rescued.

Hundreds of hostages have been freed from the captivity of Boko Haram in 2015. (ANI)

http://www.siasat.com/news/nigerian-army-rescues-dozen-women-children-boko-haram-836884/

———-

Femen’s Topless Condescension Towards Muslim Women Only Helps Sexism

16 September 2015

In an old parable, some people gather in a dark room in which there’s an elephant. They’re asked to describe it. One, who can touch only the elephant’s trunk, argues the elephant is like a tree branch. The one who can only feel its tail claims the elephant is like a rope. The people begin to argue amongst themselves about what is correct, and the parable reveals its wisdom when someone lights a candle and all see the elephant – and their incomplete perception – for what it really was.

Such judgements, that are as adamant as they are ignorant, are nothing new to humanity. But they play out with startling frequency when discussing Muslim women.

The latest antics of Femen at a French Muslim conference allegedly discussing wife-beating and proper womanly pursuits are a case in point. Running on stage in front of the two shocked male speakers after tearing off the abayas they had worn as a disguise, they stripped to the waist with slogans such as “I am my own prophet” and “no one subjugates me” scrawled across their naked torsos. They then shouted at the crowd until they were forcibly removed by security.

What is most troubling about this event is not the outrageously condescending attitude of Femen, nor the reported appalling sexism of the some of the Muslims involved: it is that these two voices are once again propped up as the only two in the conversation. It is as if one can only be either a Muslim who loves misogyny as a religious duty, or an orientalist feminist who hates Islam. There is no other option.

Forcing the discourse into such a binary is not only myopic, but factually incorrect. I’ve researched the way Muslim women fight sexism within the Muslim community, and to the shock of many non-Muslims, my research showed that far from being a recent practice borrowed from the west, Muslim women had been standing up for themselves since the advent of Islam.

Aisha, the prophet’s wife, lacerated her male contemporaries with, “You make women worse than animals?!” for believing (wrongly) their prayers were nullified if a woman walked in front of them during worship. It was a woman who challenged, and beat, the second Caliph in a debate in the mosque about women’s financial rights in marriage. And today, lawyers like Asifa Qureshi use blisteringly strong sharia arguments to fight against rulings that punish rape victims in Pakistan and call for the stoning of women in Nigeria.

Far from seeing Islam as a barrier to liberation, a majority of the women in my investigations use Islam to help them in their fight against sexism and shockingly, many named Muslim men (husbands, fathers, teachers) as some of the biggest supporters of their endeavours.

When I’ve told non-Muslims about my findings, they were often baffled, even infuriated. The belief that women can pursue advancement and emancipation as Muslims will be dismissed by many as a kind of “false consciousness”, so certain are they that there is only one way to understand the issue.

But this is simply a function of people’s own fumbling in the dark over a small piece of elephant, all the while trumpeting their grasp of absolute truth.

Of course the scourge of sexism exists within Muslim communities and societies, just as it does in every community. The very fact that there are Muslim women fighting against it proves that we are not in denial. Yet Femen, for all its self-righteous stripping and screaming about women’s rights, is actually in the same ideological camp as the misogynist Muslims they rail against.

Both reinforce the idea of a “real” sexist Islam, an idea to which the broader public conversation so often unquestioningly gives support.

But the stories of Muslim women, in my research and beyond, show there is a third way, and there always has been. It’s a belief in an Islam that is egalitarian and empowering to women, and is strongly rooted in authentic, classical interpretations of the faith.

It isn’t just the Islam of a lucky few women who grew up in the west in the last 50 years, but women and men through Islamic history in countless Muslim communities across the planet who firmly believed that gender justice was a divine mandate. And if people actually spoke to Muslim women, instead of about them, as the incident at the conference in France perfectly encapsulates, this would be known.

And so while the fable about the elephant raises an important point about opinions based on limited information, I have to wonder: what if instead of someone lighting a candle but still ultimately relying on their own opinions, the people asked the elephant: tell me who you are?

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/sep/16/femens-topless-condescension-towards-muslim-women-only-helps-sexism

———-

British Muslim Mums Are Key to Stopping Their Daughters Becoming ‘Jihadi Brides’

16 Sep 2015

The number of women arrested for joining Islamic State from Britain has reached a record high. All the more reason why countering extremism should begin at home.

The number of women arrested for attempting to join the Islamic State from Britain has reached a record high.

Some 35 were arrested under terrorism laws last year, meaning figures have almost doubled in just two years.

Most were suspected of trying to join the terror group in Syria as jihadi brides, helping others to flee or were arrested after being stopped for entering the country.

Earlier this year, three schoolgirls ran away – Amira Abase, Shamima Begum and Kadiza Sultana – from Tower Hamlets after being lured by Isil propaganda, reportedly on social media.

But there are other ways in which young women are being radicalised too.

Just this week, we read about 15-year-old girl Lisa Borch in Denmark who stabbed her mother to death after being influenced by an Islamist boyfriend twice her age and with whom she watched Isil beheading videos.

This growing trend of girls, young women and mothers with young children wanting to become part of Islamic State has alarmed police, community leaders and members of the world’s first counter-extremism think tank the Quilliam Foundation, where I am a researcher.

Studies on why women find terrorism appealing have previously focused on religious ideology, romance, online recruitment, and political grievances.

But an area for further examination is the role of the family. To understand this, we have to deconstruct how much of this radicalisation is shaped by a lack of identity.

For young girls, this is rooted in self-worth and self-esteem – the feeling that they don’t fit into the societies they live in, and are not understood by their families or by the religion they are supposed to practice.

The idea of waging jihad in the Middle East gives these individuals an increased sense of agency over their own lives.

Propaganda used by the Islamic State touches on this. The appeal of joining the global jihadist movement and an ‘Islamic utopia’ is conflated, on social media, with a sense of adventure. Propaganda narratives include elements such as brutality, mercy, victimhood, belonging and apocalyptic utopianism.

By entwining these together, Isil can call for women to join a state-building project, where they can serve as mothers and wives in their new ‘home’ – one which they can control completely.

The reality does not match expectation.

• British girls join Islamic State and we dismiss them as ‘jihadi brides’

From left: Kadiza Sultana, Shamima Begum and Amira Abase going through security at Gatwick airport

From left: Kadiza Sultana, Shamima Begum and Amira Abase going through security at Gatwick airport  Photo: Metropolitan Police/PA

A manifesto released by all-women police force set up by Isil – the Al-Khanssaa Brigade – and translated by Quilliam, explicitly states that women are not to be participants of war or perpetrators of violence.

Many jihadi brides have arrived in Syria from Britain only to find that things aren’t as they expected.

Only this week, Islamist jihadist Omar Hussain – formerly a supermarket guard from High Wycombe – complained that his fellow Isil member didn’t know how to queue, ate like children and stole his shoes.

“Arabs as a whole have a unique culture, which differs dramatically from the western lifestyle,” he wrote on a blog.

If those things are ‘annoying’ imagine what young British jihadi brides are faced with.

It is awareness of this mismatch between reality and fantasy that we must promote among young people at risk of radicalisation.

In understanding that in seeking to join terrorist organisations, many women and girls are simply seeking control over their own lives, we need to stress to them that they also have the ability to inspire positive change in their families and communities by countering extremist ideologies.

• British Muslim girls: ‘We’re sick to death of these ‘jihadi brides’ going to Syria – it’s disgusting’

Nasser Muthana, centre, in the Isis propaganda video released last week.

Nasser Muthana, centre, in the Isis propaganda video released last week  Photo: REUTERS

A recent report by Women without Borders found that mothers are aware of the sources and dangers of radicalisation – but they are left alone in dealing with the and have little trust in institutions.

We must build on that – so that these mothers are given the authority to intervene within their family and to speak out in public. They need to be encouraged to wield power within their own families.

Establishing a new role for them will then encourage their daughters to do the same.

We must focus on female-based activism: on increasing empowerment, knowledge, and skills to better protect women against extremism – to offer alternatives and build self-confidence.

There is a role for women in community spaces – either within schools, in implementing toolkits, or in extracurricular activities. We need experts to train mothers and other famly members to be able to spot radicalisation and understand what they can do about it.

The aim is to help children in distinguishing between Islam and Islamism – between fact and propaganda. To help them overcome issues of identity and belonging.

Only then will we help young women at risk of extremism create a home of their own, right here in Britain.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/womens-life/11868229/Islamic-State-British-Muslim-jihadi-brides-must-be-stopped-by-mums.html

———-

Women Moving Independently ‘Being Stabbed’ In Sahiwal, Pakistan

SHAFIQ BUTT

September 16, 2015

SAHIWAL: In at least sixth such incident during the last two weeks, a woman was attacked with a sharp-edged weapon while she was alone on the street.

The latest incident occurred on Monday evening when the wife of Ghulam Husain, a resident of Scheme No 3, was returning home after jogging in Ladies and Children Park in Farid Town.

Like the previous incidents, a motorcyclist intercepted the woman and stabbed her in the chest with a sharp-edged weapon. She received deep cuts and had to be taken to the hospital for dressing and treatment. Out of the six women who were attacked, three would regularly jog in the park.

Farid Town police said no such case was reported.

These attacks have created panic among the women, especially the working ones, the students, regular walkers and those who have to frequently visit markets for buying grocery and shopping alone.

Ms Rasheeda, a regular evening walker, said many women felt threatened because of these incidents.

According to the data gathered by Dawn after contacting the family members of five women in Barki Street, Bilal Colony, Tariq Bin Ziyad Colony and Farid Town areas, the pattern of all attacks was similar.

In all the cases, except one, those attacked were housewives. So far only one student has been targeted.

Those discussing these incidents in local social circles are of the opinion that the attacks could be work of a psycho, a jilted lover or some fanatic associated with some sectarian outfit. Many local women rights activists say these incidents are further curtailing the independence of women who are already under pressure because of various social and cultural taboos.

“Already women have to face many cultural taboos while moving out (alone) but such attacks on them are enough to force them to stay home,” says Ms Asifa Asif, the field coordinator of a Lok Sujag, a body working to highlight social, cultural and rights issues.

Despite gravity of the issue, the local police are making no efforts to trace the culprit(s). Similar incidents had been reported in Chichawatni last year but no tangible results could be achieved by the police because of various factors, including their lack of interest.

Chichawatni police record shows six such attacks on women were reported there.

Police sources admitted that though one or two guys were interrogated in this connection but these turned out to be isolated incidents motivated by personal grudge.

“Many are convinced we (police) failed to arrest or trace the right guy,” a police insider admitted seeking anonymity.

Concerned circles claim that more than 60 such incidents occurred in Chichwatni but the victims and their families chose not to report to police for fear of being stigmatised.

Rao Shafiq, a former educationist, says: “Male members or heads of family prefer not to report such matter to police in a patriarchsociety.”

The women who regularly jog or walk in the Ladies and Children Park demanded while talking to Dawn that police should not wait for victims to report and ply a proactive role in nabbing the culprit(s).

“Threat has been created in the community. Now it is time to respond effectively,” Naeem Naqvi, a political worker, said.

“Many of the regulars have stopped jogging in the park. Now it is our duty to respond to the critical situation instead of waiting for more victims,” Ms Saima Ahmed of Y-Block said.

Ms Naheed, a bank manager, apprehended that the pattern of attacks on women could be used to settle personal scores.

“It’s already established the attacker will not be arrested,” she added.

Mr Sabah Masood, a feature writer of a local news website, said: “What if the victims are not daring to report the matter to police. The community at large knows this is regularly happening around us. Is it not enough for law enforcing agencies to respond and restore the depleting confidence of women who move alone,” he argued.

According to sources, out of five victims, the family of only one dared to report the incident to Farid Town police and got registered an FIR (624/15) on Sept 5.

Investigation Officer Muhammad Arif said no progress could be made in the case.

http://www.dawn.com/news/1207295/women-moving-independently-being-stabbed-in-sahiwal

———-

Saudi Female Student Attacked In Dublin

September 15, 2015

JEDDAH — A Saudi female student fears for her life after she faced a racially motivated attack in a Dublin bus last Tuesday.

Mashael Khayyat, who is pursuing a PhD at the Computer Science Dept. at Trinity College, said she boarded bus No. 7 at the Trinity College bus stop heading to Cabra Road to pick up her daughters from school.

Suddenly an Irish man approached her and started making racial comments. He then hit her on the shoulder, saying: “I hate Muslims.”

Khayyat, who was wearing the hijab, ran to the bus driver and asked him to call the police. “The police came and registered a case,” she said.

“I am not hurting people with my hijab. I went to my daughters with full of fear because I saw his anger and hate with no reason,” said Khayyat, who taught as a lecturer at Jeddah’s King Abdulaziz University (KAU).

“I don’t feel safe now… Please do something to stop this. We do not want the case of the killed Saudi student (who was veiled) in the UK to be repeated here in the peaceful land of Ireland,” she said in a written statement, referring to the killing of Nahid Almanea in Essex last year.

Khayyat, a scholarship student, is in the final year of her postgraduate studies. She has been living in Dublin with her husband and two daughters for the past three years.

There have been several cases of racial attacks on Saudi students abroad. Scholarship student Raed Al-Bugshi was found dead in Michigan last October.

The same year Hamad Saleh Al-Yami, another Saudi student, was attacked in Birmingham. There are more than 150,000 Saudi students currently studying in 30 different countries.

http://www.saudigazette.com.sa/index.cfm?method=home.regcon&contentid=20150916256827

———-

Divorce Rights Still Elusive for Afghan Women

15 Sep 15

By Mina Habib

Rising divorce rates may indicate that women are increasingly aware of their rights, although the law is restrictive and unevenly applied.

Lailuma waited to speak to an advisor in the Kabul offices of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC). She had tears in her eyes, and bruises from a recent beating were clearly visible on her face.

She had come to seek advice on how she could divorce her husband, whom she was forced to marry four years ago, when she was 16 and he was 45. He now beat her daily, and Lailuma said that family life had become unbearable.

“As well as taking drugs, my husband also has affairs with other women and spends his monthly income on them. When I try to stop him from doing things like that, he beats me. I can’t stand this cruelty anymore. I want to get a divorce from my husband, but nobody wants to help me.”

Although it is easy for men to initiate divorce under both Islamic and civil law systems, there are numerous obstacles for women seeking a separation. Conservative social attitudes mean that divorce is seen as profoundly shameful. Nevertheless, advances in rights since the fall of the Taleban government in 2001 mean that women now have greater recourse when it comes to seeking a divorce.

Observers say the situation is slowly changing, particularly in urban areas. Parwin Rahimi, who works on women’s rights at the AIHRC, says the number of recorded cases is on the increase. She argues that domestic violence, aggravated by poverty, is a major factor in marital breakdown.

“Arguments start when a family is in a fragile economic position and the man is unable to provide for his family’s needs and meet his wife’s requirements. This can lead to violence and cause family disintegration,” she said.

Fahim Sultani, legal adviser at the ministry for women’s affairs, said that while poverty and unemployment did contribute to domestic abuse, there were also other deep-rooted social causes for violence against women.

“Unless society is reformed, more attention is paid to people’s livelihoods, and the law is applied fairly to everyone, violence against women is not going to decrease,” he said. “It is violence that causes the disintegration of family life.”

Rahima Rezai, a judge at Kabul province’s family court, sees the increase in divorce cases as a sign that women are more and more aware of their rights, and that public institutions are supporting them.

Imamuddin Musaheb, a lawyer, explained the circumstances under which Afghan civil law allows a divorce application.

“If the husband is suffering from a chronic, incurable disease, if he is unable to feed his wife or if he is absent for over three years for reasons unknown, a woman can then get a divorce,” he said. “Otherwise she can’t.”

Islamic law also sets out many constraints. Maulavi Keramatullah Sediqi, head of Islamic studies at the ministry of hajj and religious affairs, listed the circumstances in which a woman could get divorced.

“From the perspective of shariah, a woman can get a divorce if her husband agrees to it; if the husband is unable to feed his wife or has a long-term, incurable disease; if the husband forces the woman to perform immoral acts; if the husband takes a lengthy trip against his wife’s will or without her knowledge and does not support her financially in his absence; and if a husband refuses to sleep with his wife for four months. Then she has the right to divorce him,” he said.

Sediqi emphasised that while divorce was permitted by Islam, it was very much frowned on. He blamed rising rates of divorce on the influence of popular culture.

“The broadcast of vulgar foreign serials on private television channels has had unpleasant impact on Afghan social attitudes. People consume these soap operas unthinkingly,” he said. “The messages they send go against the culture and tradition of our society, and this leads to family breakdown.”

This view was dismissed by Masuda Karukhi, a member of parliament from Herat in the west of the country. She says misogyny is deeply-rooted in Afghanistan, and point to a law on the elimination of violence against women that was passed by presidential decree in 2009, but was then rejected by parliament in May 2013. It has been shelved ever since, with conservative parliamentarians claiming that it contradicts sharia law. (See Tackling Gender-Based Violence in Afghanistan.)

“A hatred of women is still part of the male belief-system,” she said. “Since politicians opposed the law on eradicating violence against women and wouldn’t allow it to be passed by parliament, how can we complain about [external influence from] others? That was an example of home-grown Afghan misogyny.”

Azita Rafat, deputy chair of the Truth and Justice Party, argues that both the making and implementation of laws in Afghanistan have been dominated by men for decades.

“Women demanding divorce is, in a way, a way of fighting for human rights,” she said, contrasting this with the default position of “putting up with psychological pressure, behaving as slaves, being seen as second-class, being insulted and ultimately remaining silent”.

“The violence used against women in various areas of life is proof that our laws on women’s rights need reform,” she added.

Some complain that even the limited divorce rights that women are allowed under civil and religious law are not upheld.

Nasrin, 17, a resident of the Jaghori district in Ghazni province, came to Kabul to file for divorce. She said that as her husband was impotent, she had the right under both civil and Islamic law to demand a divorce. So far, he had not agreed.

“Although I have a legal right to a divorce, the courts and women’s rights institutions in Jaghori district would not help me. I came to the AIHRC to get help from them, but it seems that no one here is going to help me, either,” she said.

Family court judge Rezai said that women frustrated by the lack of action on their cases often did not realise that the courts might be powerless to act.

“The law does not allow us to fulfill these women’s demands; we are unable to go beyond the limits of the law,” she said.

Musaheb, the lawyer, said the legislation governing divorce for women needed a major overhaul, although he too advises women to seek legal advice before going to court.

Meanwhile, many women remain in a kind of limbo, unable to resolve their situation.

Nahid, 29, said her husband used to hit her on a regular basis, but one day she was beaten so badly that she lost consciousness and relatives had to take her to hospital. After that, she said, “My husband took my four children to his mother’s home. He has been missing for the past two years. When I approached legal institutions to file for divorce, they told me I could not do so unless my husband was found.”

Complaining that women’s rights groups had been no help to her, she asked, “How long must I remain without a future? If this counts as law and justice, then to hell with it.”

Mina Habib is an IWPR contributor in Kabul.

https://iwpr.net/global-voices/divorce-rights-still-elusive-afghan-women

———-

Saudi Women Artists Throw Light on Their Work At Jeddah Event

16 September 2015

JEDDAH: More than 30 Jeddah art aficionados and cultural cognoscenti gathered at the US Consulate on Monday for a panel discussion on Saudi women in the arts.

The event was part of the ongoing public affairs series called “Friends of the Arts.”

The work and perspectives of artist/scholar Dr. Lina Kattan, painter/professor Samiah Khashoggi and photographer Suzan Iskandar were presented at the event.

Kattan, a graduate in Islamic Art Education from King Abdul Aziz University and a Ph.D. in Visual and Performance Arts from Texas Tech University, presented selections from her recent projects. Employing a unique approach known as collaborative art, some of Kattan’s works are a fusion of creativity from two or more artists. She also discussed pieces from her recent US exhibition.

Khashoggi, professor of interior design at Dar Al-Hekma College, has degrees from Kingston University and De Montfort University UK. Since 1990, Khashoggi’s life has been divided between her academic profession and an art practice. In 2005, Khashoggi founded Saudiaat, a women artists’ group diverse in their styles and techniques united by their gender and solidarity. She has extensive experience with digital art.

Born in Makkah, the artistic talents of Iskandar were discovered while she was in elementary school. She began her professional career in 2002 as a newspaper photographer covering events and official ceremonies. This past summer she was the featured artist at the Jeddah Festival, with a pavilion exclusively devoted to her images of the Two Holy Mosques and the surrounding region.

Following the formal presentations, the three Saudi artists fielded numerous questions from an inquisitive audience.

Responding to a query on her series of women’s face coverings, Kattan said: “Whenever I do artwork, I like to research the religious documents. I put it as an open statement to the spectators for them to judge for themselves about the idea.

Khashoggi has exhibited in numerous group shows. Her first solo exhibition, “Reflections” was held in 2000 at Al-Alamiya Art Gallery in Jeddah. Her art developed from conventional realism to a more stylized expressionist approach. Describing her recent work, she mentioned the collages as a process of “collecting textures” and incorporating collages. “I prefer that there is a bit of humanity and a bit of a personal touch in everything. The digital world is becoming too flat and too repetitive, computerized, robotic.”

Answering a question from the audience about the dominant, empty areas of her paintings of women in abayas, Khashoggi said: “You give space for the composition to breathe. If I complicate it, it will take away from the structure itself. The presence of ‘the ladies’ has to be the most important thing.”

Iskandar showed her recent book of photos of the Two Holy Mosques. She stated that photograph uses a language that is universally understood. One of her favorite experiences was how the viewing her photographs was a catalyst for a Chinese man convert to Islam. “My photographs convey an unseen message,” she said.

http://www.arabnews.com/art-culture/news/806971

———-

‘Saudi Diplomat’s Wife, Daughter Abused Gurgaon, India, Police’

September 16, 2015

The Gurgaon Police, in a report to the Ministry of External Affairs, said the wife and daughter of the Saudi diplomat abused them while trying to rescue the two Nepalese women, who have alleged rape by the diplomat.

As per the report, the team managed to rescue the victims “after a great deal of persuasion.” It said, while the investigation team and others accompanying them were waiting in the lobby, the women started beating up the Nepalese women to desist them from leaving the residence.

The police also mention that the diplomat’s daughter was the only person whom the victims knew by name.

The Nepalese women alleged that the diplomat used to rape, sodomise and assault them, while his wife often threatened them. The victims also told the police that the diplomat’s daughter never assaulted them.

Gurgaon Police also mentioned that they were unaware about the identities of the occupants of the apartment when they went there to rescue the two Nepalese women.

“We later realised that the residents could be Saudi Arabian nationals who may be holding diplomatic status in India. Their names could not be confirmed on spot but the male member is believed to be Mr. Majid, who is believed to be the First Secretary with the Saudi Arabian Embassy in New Delhi,” reads the report.

The report said the Gurgaon Police had received a letter — followed by a phone call — from the Nepal embassy asking the Commissioner to “rescue and repatriate” the Nepalese women.

Senior police officials said they were awaiting the Ministry’s response to the detailed report before taking any further action in connection with the case.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/saudi-diplomats-wife-daughter-abused-gurgaon-police/article7658640.ece

———-

Afghan Women ‘Gaining Skills’ In Creative Writing Project

15/09/2015

The initiative, entitled Afghan Women Spread The Word, aims to create an online archive of their experiences including audio interviews, short stories and poems.

Former BBC journalist Julia Paul, now a broadcast lecturer at Queen’s University who developed the programme, said: “These women act as a glimmer of hope for others – perhaps they weren’t previously visible in society, but are now gaining skills, confidence and jobs – it’s been an amazing project to be part of.”

The project was started in 2013 when Ms Paul travelled to Afghanistan.

She added: “Initially I went out to Kabul to establish connections between women from different ethnic groups and trained them to use handheld recorders to collect oral histories from women in their area.

“The second and now third stage involves working with these same women via Skype, concentrating on using the initial interviews as the catalyst to write a creative piece, a poem or story, ultimately leading to some kind of online archive for future generations.”

Belfast’s first poet laureate Sinead Morrissey has also been involved leading a three-day workshop, via Skype technology, for aspiring female writers in Kabul.

Ms Paul said: “Afghan women have a huge tradition of knowing poems by heart, and have such a passion and hunger for writing. They see people like Sinead, an influential woman, and are excited that she is interested in what they have to say.

“I think we can all learn a lot from each other, and how to heal through reconciliation.

“I love the idea that writing about trauma can be a therapeutic tool and help a society move forward.”

The project has also been supported by the British Council in Belfast and Kabul.

David Alderice, director of British Council Northern Ireland said: ” Creative and critical examination is fundamental to progress and I’m sure both countries will benefit from this wonderful initiative.”

http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/afghan-women-gaining-skills-in-creative-writing-project-31528783.html

———-

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islam,-women-and-feminism/new-age-islam-news-bureau/court-clears-way-for-zunera-ishaq-to-become-a-canadian-citizen-with-her-face-covered-by-a-niqab/d/104600

Forced Religious Conversions: Babri Masjid Action Committee’s Provocation Misplaced and Suicidal

By New Age Islam Edit Desk

15 Dec 2014

All India Babri Masjid Action Committee (BMAC) which remained out of action for years has come alive with a new avatar. A violent one. Last year, its co-founder Zafaryab Jilani had appealed to Muslims to observe 6th December peacefully. However, recently, the BMAC has widened its agenda and included other Muslim issues like religious conversions into its fold.

Members of a Hindu organisation performed a ceremony for the conversion of Muslim families in Agra earlier this week

After 60 utterly destitute Muslim families of rag-pickers were converted in Ved Nagar slums of Agra, Muslim and secular organizations had condemned the incident of forced conversions by Hindutva forces and the district administration is trying to take legal action against a leader of the Bajrang Dal who has gone underground. Converted Muslims later asserted that they did not convert but had been fooled. They also offered the succeeding Friday prayers. This was the logical conclusion of an incident and Muslims should have taken the legal route for the remedy of their concerns and problems.

However, the hitherto dead BMAC swung into action. First it held a protest rally in Agra and then in Moradabad. In Moradabad meeting organized by BMAC, its President Salim Ahmad delivered a fiery speech that violated the norms and were unbecoming of any true Muslim organization. Mr. Salim Ahmad was carried away by emotions and issued threats to both the PM (Narendra Modi) and the CM (Akhilesh Yadav) that if the conversions were not stopped, they will be harmed. According to news reports, he threatened to raise an army of Muslims and attack both the UP Vidhan Sabha and the Parliament and teach the MPs and MLAs a lesson. He also claimed that he can acquire all kinds of arms and ammunition and so the Muslims should not be forced to unite. If it happens, he warned, no one will be spared.

According to a report in Mail Today (14 December 2014) which was reproduced by Urdu dailies, Sahafat and Roznama Khabrein, BMAC President Salim Ahmad threatened to raise an army of Muslims and attack both the UP Vidhan Sabha and the Parliament and teach the MPs and MLAs a lesson. He also claimed that he can acquire all kinds of arms and ammunition and so the Muslims should not be forced to unite. If it happens, he warned, no one will be spared.

Apart from its legal consequences, as the district administration is contemplating action against the cleric, the threats have raised doubts about the real motives of the BMAC as it has passed onto irresponsible hands. BMAC was formed in 1986 with a view to fight the legal battle to restore the Babri Mosque and not to raise an army of Muslims to attack the state assemblies and the Parliament and kill the chief minister and the Prime Minister on the issue of forced conversions.

The aggressive and anti-Constitutional statements of the BMAC President, many Muslims fear, will give the Hindutva forces a greater leverage to mobilize support of even secular minded Hindus and will only sharpen the divide between the two communities.

It is also a matter of concern that the co-founder of BMAC, Mr. Zafaryab Jilani has not condemned the statements. His silence in this matter will be construed as his support to the stance taken by the cleric. The BMAC had been established for the cause of Babri Masjid alone but other leaders like Mushtaq Ahmad or Salim Ahmad seem to have taken the organization hostage and are using it to get political mileage and a say in the political process at the cost of peace and harmony. These leaders are pushing the community into another communal cauldron.

Of late Zafaryab Jilani has tried to present himself as a national Muslim leader. He has recently placed a proposal before the receiver of Ramjanambhoomi to allow Muslims to offer prayers at Babri Mosque and if that is not done, Muslims should at least be allowed to place a prayer mat and rosary at the site of the mosque to show that the mosque still exists.

Tha Allahabad High Court in its judgment gave one third of the dispute site to Muslims to build a mosque and the judgment has been challenged at the Supreme Court. Since the matter is subjudice, the proposal of the BMAC only points to political activism on part of the BMAC or Zafaryab Jilani.

Conspiracy theorists claim with their usual certainty that Zafaryab Jilani and his BMAC has been instigated by RSS-affiliated organisations themselves to help further their divisive agenda of polarisation to help BJP win the UP state Assembly elections. There is also speculation that BMAC is merely trying to replace the All-India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) as the sole spokesman of the Muslim community.

Babri Masjid Action Committee president Salim Ahmed delivers an alleged hate speech in Moradabad on Friday

BMAC has been inactive for a long time, since it helped the Sangh Pariwar in the demolition of the Babri Masjid on 6 December 1992, to be precise, and in its new avatar, it is indulging in anti national activities issuing threats to constitutional heads of the country on the one hand and to the common masses on the other driving a wedge between the communities and prove suicidal to the Muslim community. The sooner BMAC mends its ways the better in the interests of the community and the country.

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islam-and-politics/new-age-islam-edit-desk/forced-religious-conversions–babri-masjid-action-committee-s-provocation-misplaced-and-suicidal/d/100499

Misuse Of Mosques For Politics: Shahi Imam calls for Love Jihad in Friday Sermon; ‘convert them and marry them, this is the only reply to attempts at forcible conversion of Muslims to Hinduism’

Misuse Of Mosques For Politics: Shahi Imam calls for Love Jihad in Friday Sermon; ‘convert them and marry them, this is the only reply to attempts at forcible conversion of Muslims to Hinduism’

By New Age Islam Special Correspondent

12 December 2014

Shahi Imam Ahmad Bukhari of Jama Masjid, Delhi

Misuse of mosques for politics has reached its peak. In an incendiary speech from the Jama Masjid, Delhi its imam called Muslims to engage in love jihad as the only suitable response to attempts by Hindutva forces to convert 200 Muslims in Agra on 8 December and the announcement that thousands more will be converted in Aligarh on 25th December.

“Convert them and marry them. This is the only suitable response to attempts at converting Muslims to Hinduism,” he told thousands of Muslims listening to his speech within the mosque and outside.

In his 41-minute political speech, descending at times to the language of the gutter, he announced, amidst chants of Allahu Akbar (God is Great!), the Muslims will never accept a second class citizenship status in this country and will keep fighting for their rights, despite the thousands of riots, including the one Muslims will never forget, the one that happened in Gujarat in 2002.

He said Islam did not spread with the use of sword or compulsion. Muslims do not believe in forcible conversion. He quoted the Qur’anic verse “la ikraha fid deen” which means “there can be no compulsion in religion.” He cited this as a proof that Muslims rulers of India did not force Hindus to convert, otherwise, he said there would not have been one Hindu left in this country.

Recalling all the myriad communal statements made by BJP and other RSS-affiliated organisations since the last elections that brought BJP to power, the Shahi Imam said these people were rewarded with cabinet posts in the central government. In this context he patted his own back for not having invited Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his son’s anointment as the next chief cleric. Using language utterly becoming of any civilised discourse, much less a mosque, which Muslims consider their spiritual refuge, he said, people who criticised him for this non-invitation to Modi on television channels and elsewhere were either prostitutes or those who use their wives for prostitution. He said:”one doesn’t know where these women or the wives of these gentlemen spend their days and nights!”

The Imam talked about the enormous pressure that was brought upon him to invite Narendra Modi. But he withstood all that pressure and congratulated himself for that amidst chants of Allahu Akbar from his acolytes within the mosque, while the rest of the crowd, most of whom had just come for Friday prayers, remained impassive throughout his theatrics.

Of course, none of the thousands of  Muslims present there protested at this misuse of the mosque, and one can rest assured that no Muslim intellectual or leader  will protest.

He criticised heavily the so-called secular political parties who make use of Muslims as vote banks and then abandon them when they come to power. Citing the example of Mulayam Singh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh where these conversion attempts are taking place, he said there are 18-20 per cent Muslims in UP and only 7 per cent Yadavs. Clearly it’s Muslims who brought him to power but when the issue of forcible conversion was discussed in Parliament, Mulayam Singh Yadav said that this was not such an important issue as nothing was happening in Agra and Muslims had not shown any signs of agitation. We have not forgotten the hundreds of Muslims killed in Muzaffarnagar in UP under the same government of Akhilesh Yadav and Mulayam Singh. He warned them that Muslims will never tolerate any further attempts at forcible conversion or other atrocities in UP and without their support they will not be able to come back to power.

The Imam was full of praise, however, for the electronic media, particularly Times Now whose anchor Arnab Goswami had given munhtor jawab (appropriate reply) to the spokesmen of Hindutva parties on his show on 11th of December.

He said this country is secular because the majority of people are secular.  Only 31 per cent voters have supported the saffron alliance. He repeatedly invoked the rights given to minorities by the constitution of India. He said the country is moving in the direction of another partition. The present-day situation is beginning to resemble the situation in 1947. But Muslims have to work to save this country from another partition. It’s our duty. Muslims had made untold sacrifices for the independence of this country and it’s time we geared up to make another effort to save the country from another division, he said.

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islam-and-politics/new-age-islam-special-correspondent/misuse-of-mosques-for-politics–shahi-imam-calls-for-love-jihad-in-friday-sermon;–convert-them-and-marry-then,-this-is-the-only-reply-to-attempts-at-forcible-conversion-of-muslims-to-hinduism-/d/100456

Islamic State Reaps Profits from Organ Trafficking

Working In J&K to Show Where RSS Meets Islam

Arab World

Some Anbar Tribes Threaten To Halt Fight against ISIS If Not Armed

Islamic State Executes Shi’ite Militia Fighters North Of Baghdad

Islamic State Reaps Profits from Organ Trafficking

Iraqi Air Strikes Kill over 25 ISIL Militants near Samarra

Iraqi Forces Kill 5 Terrorists in Anbar

Egypt restricts travel to Turkey to ‘limit terrorism recruitment’

The covert war against Hezbollah’s arms program

Hezbollah drones, anti-aircraft missiles destroyed in alleged IAF attack

26 foreigners among 135 arrested for ‘terrorism’ in Saudi Arabia

Back from jihad, Jordanians pick up their lives

Al-Qaida-inspired rebels gain in Syria, making life even worse for US-allied forces

UAE leads Islamic economy index

UAE: Stabbing of US teacher a ‘lone terrorist act’

India

Babri not Hindu-Muslim Fight but Secularism-Communalism Confrontation

Jamaat Ulema-e-Hind Working In J&K to Show Where RSS Meets Islam

Pakistan’s ISI Ordered Lashkar-e-Taiba Attack on Kashmir

Mumbai’s ISIS Recruit a Trained Suicide Bomber

India-Pak trade bodies seek authorization to recommend visas for businessmen

Punjabi University Withdraws Invite to Pak Envoy, Qawwals

Clear Pakistan link to Uri attack, militants highly trained: Army

VHP Workers Detained By Police for Burning Effigy of Hafiz Saeed

Your problem is my problem, Modi tells Kashmiris

South Asia

Eight Sentenced To Death for Attacks in China’s Xinjiang

Afghan Students Find Inspiration in Islamic State’s Success

19 rebels killed in past 24 hours

Ghani wants slower withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan

China lauds successes achieved in Zarb-i-Azb operation

Pakistan

Twitter Suspends 26/11 Mastermind Hafiz Saeed’s Account

Three Troops, 5 Militants Killed In Tirah Clash

Maulana Fazl faces hostile PTI workers in London

Truçe Albayrak awarded title of Bint-e-Ummah

Key commanders of Gul Bahadur group killed in Datakhel strikes: reports

Agencies warn Punjab IS recruiting in Pakistan

Jamaat-i-Islami sees solution of Karachi issues in free and fair elections

Imran wants to create chaos in country: govt

Under attack: Militants know how to make the police ‘immobile’

1 killed, another injured in clashes between PTI, PML-N

 

Mideast

Houthis Plan to ‘Raise Money in Saudi Arabia through Beggars’

Breaking Bad In Tehran? Meth Use Soars As Lifestyles Speed Up

At least 13 killed in failed US bid to rescue hostages in Yemen

Gaza writers receive death threats from IS

Israeli minister affirms policy of ‘stopping arms transfers to terrorists’

Turkey warns three banks in fight against crime, terrorism

Africa

Nigeria: 10 Soldiers Die in Battle As Army Repels Boko Haram from Ashaka Town

Five years after ceasefire, Niger Delta’s retired militants warn of new violence

Kenya Takes Step towards Recognising Intersex People in Landmark Ruling

North America

Chomsky: Us-Led Anti-Isis Coalition Meaningless, Illegal

Kerry: Israeli-Palestinian Peace Is Not a Pipe Dream

ISIS fighter from Ottawa appears in video threatening Canada with attacks

US, NATO ceremonially end Afghan combat mission

US military’s job ‘not over’ in Afghanistan: Pentagon chief

US ‘did not know’ about imminent Yemen hostage release

PYD ‘promised’ US to not give arms to PKK

Europe

Religious Tolerance Is People’s Lifestyle in Azerbaijan

Islamic State Training Kids for Jihad, UN Says

EU to press Turkey for help in anti-ISIL fight

French Islamic State fighters: I want to come home!

UN wants countries to take in 180,000 Syrian refugees

 

Southeast Asia

Minister Says Constitution Doesn’t Limit Shariah Laws

Police, Soldiers Accused of Opening Fire on Papua Demonstrators: Six Killed

After Meeting SBY, Jokowi Says Democrats May Join His Coalition

Might Malaysia One Day Have ‘Halal’ And ‘Haram’ Shows?

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/islamic-state-reaps-profits-from-organ-trafficking/d/100382

———-

Arab World

Islamic State reaps profits from organ trafficking

8 December 2014

The success of the Islamic State (IS) in sustaining its battles on more than one front in both Syria and Iraq, while fighting in several other countries, highlights that the group has multiple and significant sources of funding.

According to data, there are two funding sources: internal and external. The latter includes a wide variety of funding schemes, including through medical facilities, oil and human trafficking mafias. According to sources in Mosul, the money supplied internally is allocated to local and foreign fighters, to encourage them to join up and continue fighting. IS took control of Mosul in June and then expanded in August to control large swaths of the country.

Residents of Mosul say that the sale of oil extracted from wells controlled by the organization in both Iraq and Syria has provided a sustained source of funding. The organization also opened trade canals through Kurdish [territories in] Iraq and Turkey, with the help of Kurdish, Turkish and Iranian traders.

In addition to oil sales, a secondary source of funding stems from the imposition of royalties on residents in IS territories. Members of the organization collect 50,000 dinars [$41.60] from each family as service and protection fees. The amount doubles for families whose sons did not join IS. One of the prominent tribal figures in Nineveh province, Sheikh Mohammad Abu Thayyab, said, “The IS gangs imposed 50,000 dinars worth of royalties on every family if one of their sons did not join these terrorists.”

Sources in the city say that oil prices have skyrocketed. The price of gas tanks used for cooking has reached 75,000 dinars, [about $62] while coal oil is sold at 5,000 dinars a liter [$4.16]. Meanwhile, the price of food has quadrupled.

The third funding source was exposed by otolaryngologist Siruwan al-Mosuli. He said that lately he noticed unusual movement within medical facilities in Mosul. Arab and foreign surgeons were hired, but prohibited from mixing with local doctors. Information then leaked about organ selling. Surgeries take place within a hospital and organs are quickly transported through networks specialized in trafficking human organs. Mosuli said that the organs come from fallen fighters who were quickly transported to the hospital, injured people who were abandoned or individuals who were kidnapped.

He said that organ sales yield large profits. A specialized mafia is engaged in these operations, in addition to medical institutions working in other countries. Without coordination among these parties, such a trade cannot be sustained, he said. According to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the organization sells bodies and organs of injured people they arrest.

The fourth source of funding is transforming the city of Nineveh, adjacent to Turkish borders, into a new centre for drug trafficking. The Russian Federal Drug Control Service said IS was gaining significant revenues by smuggling and marketing Afghan heroin, which is sent from Iraq to Europe.

“The large-scale movement of Afghan heroin acts as an ongoing financial base, aiding the functioning of the Islamic State, which secures huge profits by providing half of the total heroin supplied to Europe via destabilized Iraq and some African countries,” the Russian body said in a statement.

For its part, the Times of London exposed a human trafficking network established by IS in Mosul, where women and children were sold for money. This also constitutes a funding source for the fighters. According to the newspaper, women and children of Yazidi, Christian and other minority backgrounds are also sold through a networking hub in Syria’s Raqqa.

A report by OHCHR confirmed that more than 25,000 women and children have been imprisoned, sexually violated and sold by IS.

The sixth funding source is human smuggling rings, especially for families who wish to emigrate to other countries. One family reached Turkey after reportedly paying $8,000 for each individual that escaped.

Livestock seized by IS during the occupation of Yazidi, Turkmen and Shiite villages has also been smuggled. According to Ali Abdel Razzak, the majority of the residents in these villages worked in large-scale livestock ranching. So far it has not been established how much IS members seized as spoils of war when the villagers fled.

When it comes to foreign funding, the organization has developed schemes that are difficult to uncover, despite intensive local and international monitoring. One such method, however, uses established trading routes. The organization has networks tasked with collecting donations from wealthy individuals under the pretext of supporting jihad. According to some sources in the trading industry, products are sold in the markets in IS at lower prices than within the countries of origin, a discrepancy that points toward money laundering.

http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/security/2014/12/islamic-state-financing-funding-human-trafficking-extortion.html#ixzz3LLdN8wUv

———-

Some Anbar tribes threaten to halt fight against ISIS if not armed

8 December 2014

Some tribes in the western province of Anbar threatened on Sunday to halt their fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) unless the government in Baghdad gives them more arms, Al Arabiya News Channel reported.

Tribal leader Shalaan al-Namrawi said: “Meetings between sheikhs from Anbar and Iraqi security leaders in Ain al-Assad and Ramadi military bases were futile when it came to our demand to for arms.”

He added: “We are facing a big dilemma, and will be massacred if the government continued to be like this.”

He said tribal fighters who had joined security forces also considering to suspend their fight against ISIS or even seek support from another party, he said.

Namrawi said Anbar tribes were left out as the Kurds were being supplied with arms from Europe and the United States and while Shiite volunteers were receiving weapons from the central government in Baghdad as well as training from Iran.

Hameed al-Hayis, one of the prominent figures in Anbar and former al-Sahwa Awakening, a force formed to fight al-Qaeda in 2005 but nonexistent now, said tribal envoys will visit Iran with the government’s support to discuss the issue.

Politicians in Anbar have always criticized the Shiite-dominated government of being influenced by Iran.

Also, an advisor for the Iraqi parliament for national reconciliation, Wahda al-Jumaili urged the formation of Sunni forces capable to rebel jihadists with international guarantees.

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2014/12/08/Some-Anbar-tribes-threaten-to-halt-fight-against-ISIS-if-not-armed.html

———-

Islamic State executes Shi’ite militia fighters north of Baghdad

Reuters | December 08, 2014

Baghdad: Islamic State fighters executed 12 Shi’ite militiamen north of Baghdad after heavy fighting for control of a rural village, security sources said on Sunday.

Army and police officials said Iraqi security forces and the Shi’ite militia fighters launched an attack on Friday against Islamic State militants on Tal al-Thahab, near the town of Balad, 80km (50 miles) north of the Iraqi capital.

They managed to drive the militants from their base in Tal al-Thahab police station on Friday, but hours later the Islamic State fighters returned and surrounded it, trapping dozens of security forces and militiamen inside.

“Supporting troops with cover from army helicopter reached the area and managed to break the siege. We have confirmation from our sources that 12 volunteer fighters were executed on Saturday by terrorists,” said an army intelligence officer on condition of anonymity.

Balad’s mayor, Amir Abdul Hadi, confirmed that some of the Shi’ite militiamen were executed by Islamic State near Balad and others were missing after Friday’s battle, but said he did not have details. Officials said 10 militiamen were missing.

Sources at Balad hospital said they had received at least six bodies of militia fighters believed to have been killed in the first wave of fighting on Friday.

Balad, which houses a shrine to a revered Shi’ite imam, is one of several towns north of Baghdad which has seen heavy fighting between Islamic State fighters, who control large parts of north and west Iraq, and Iraqi security forces and pro-government Shi’ite militia.

Security and local officials said more Shi’ite militia fighters were gathering in Balad to try to drive out Islamic State militants from areas surrounding the town.

“We have asked the residents to stock food and basic material to prepare for an imminent military operation against the terrorists around Balad,” one official said.

In the town of Tarmiya, between Balad and Baghdad, militants detonated a car bomb overnight at a security checkpoint before attacking with guns. Five police and three civilians were killed, security and medical sources said.

http://www.deccanchronicle.com/141208/world-middle-east/article/islamic-state-executes-shiite-militia-fighters-north-baghdad

———-

Iraqi Air Strikes Kill over 25 ISIL Militants near Samarra

8 December 2014

At least 25 ISIL militants were killed in air strikes near the city of Samarra in Northern Iraq, as the Iraqi Army intensified its offensive on the Takfiri group, a security source said.

A senior army official said that the Iraqi air strikes bombed the positions of the ISIL Takfiri group in Albu Agel area in Yathrib, leaving dozens of the militants dead and a number of their vehicles destroyed.

The ISIL Takfiri terrorists currently control parts of Syria and Iraq. They have threatened all communities, including Shiites, Sunnis, Kurds, Christians, Ezadi Kurds and others, as they continue their atrocities in Iraq.

Senior Iraqi officials have blamed Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and some Persian Gulf Arab states for the growing terrorism in their country.

The ISIL has links with Saudi intelligence and is believed to be indirectly supported by the Israeli regime.

http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13930917000310

———-

Iraqi Forces Kill 5 Terrorists in Anbar

8 December 2014

The Iraqi security forces killed 5 terrorists and seized 3 bombs in Anbar province.

“A security force killed 5 terrorists and destroyed their shelter in Thira Dijla and al-Nimiya areas of Anbar province,” the Ministry of Defense said in a statement on Sunday.

http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13930917000605

———-

Egypt restricts travel to Turkey to ‘limit terrorism recruitment’

8 December 2014

A new policy banning Egyptian citizens from traveling to Turkey without approval from state security has been introduced Sunday in Egypt, according to Agence France-Presse

The new measure is aimed at preventing Egyptians from joining militant groups in Syria and Iraq by travelling through Turkey, the Ministry of Interior’s spokesman Hany Abdel-Latif said.

The move will see Egyptians aged 18-40 obliged to apply for security clearance in central Cairo ahead of departure to Turkey.

More than 200 people travelling to Turkey have been prevented from doing so over the past 24 hours as a result of not obtaining the relevant security clearance, according to the Associated Press.

The same restrictions apply to Egyptians travelling to both Syria and Iraq.

Ties between Turkey and Egypt have deteriorated following the ouster of Islamist President Mohammad Mursi in July 2013.

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2014/12/08/Egypt-restricts-travel-to-Turkey-to-limit-terrorism-recruitment-.html

———-

The covert war against Hezbollah’s arms program

8 December 2014

Every once in a while, the covert war against the Hezbollah- Syrian-Iranian arms smuggling network seems to break out into the public sphere.

It is safe to assume this can occur when Israel’s defense establishment detects an imminent attempt by that network to transfer advanced weapons to the terrorist organization in Lebanon, thereby violating Israel’s red line against such smuggling.

Hardly a week passes without Israel blocking – in one way or another – an Iranian arms smuggling attempt, though most such actions remain covert, far from the public eye. These efforts possibly involve close cooperation between Military Intelligence, the Mossad and the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency).

The Assad regime, despite its dwindling control of Syria, remains Hezbollah’s main weapons depot, from where both Syrian-made and Iranian-produced arms often pass through en route to Hezbollah storage facilities in Lebanon. When this happens, Israel’s choice is to either intervene, or watch closely and map out the location of the arms once they are stored in Lebanese apartment buildings and bunkers.

Full report at:

http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Analysis-The-covert-war-against-Hezbollahs-arms-program-383945

———-

Hezbollah drones, anti-aircraft missiles destroyed in alleged IAF attack

8 December 2014

Syrian opposition sources told Arab media on Monday that the airstrikes near Damascus that were alleged to have been carried out by Israeli warplanes destroyed a storage facility housing anti-aircraft missiles as well as drones belonging to Hezbollah.

While the Lebanese Shi’ite group has yet to officially comment on the attack, Channel 2 is citing a report in the Hezbollah-affiliated newspaper Al-Akhbar which said that “the Israeli action was intended to preserve the rules of the game.”

The newspaper claimed that the IAF struck weapons caches “that belonged to Hezbollah.” These arms are considered to be “capable of tilting the strategic balance,” namely threaten Israel’s ability to act freely in the skies above Lebanon.

The IAF has struck Syria several times since the start of the three-year conflict, mostly destroying weaponry such as missiles that Israeli officials said were destined for their longtime foe Hezbollah in neighboring Lebanon.

Full report at:

http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Hezbollah-drones-anti-aircraft-missiles-destroyed-in-Syria-attack-opposition-claims-383962

———-

26 foreigners among 135 arrested for ‘terrorism’ in Saudi Arabia

AFP | December 08, 2014

Riyadh: Saudi Arabia said Sunday it has arrested 135 suspects for “terrorism” offences, after the kingdom’s participation in air strikes against Islamic State group extremists raised concerns about possible retaliation.

The suspects include 26 foreign nationals, mostly from Syria, interior ministry spokesman General Mansour al-Turki said, cited by the official Saudi Press Agency.

The arrests followed “repeated attempts to harm the security and stability of the homeland”, Turki said without specifying when they were detained.

Forty of the suspects had gone to “zones of conflict, joined extremist groups and trained in the handling of weapons… before returning to the kingdom to destabilise the country,” Turki said.

Full report at:

http://www.deccanchronicle.com/141208/world-asia/article/26-foreigners-among-135-arrested-terrorism-saudi-arabia

———-

Back from jihad, Jordanians pick up their lives

Associated Press

8 December 2014

MAAN, Jordan — The three young Jordanians didn’t start out as extremists. They grew up in mainstream Muslim families. But they grew increasingly angry at what they felt were Western injustices against Muslims — and decided to join the jihad in Syria and Yemen.

Now they are home from war, trying to live ordinary lives, knowing they are under heavy surveillance by Jordanian security agencies. Two brothers, Omar and Abdullah Mansour, are back in their father’s house. A third returnee found a part-time teaching job and plans to marry.

But they abide by their hard line vision of Islam and are confident it is gaining popularity.

The Islamic State group could one day rule the region, said the teacher, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of trouble with Jordanian authorities. Its radical fighters are the defenders of Sunni Muslims against rival Shiites and the West, he said.

Full report at:

But, he said, growing economic pressure “might lead the country to an explosion.”

http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20141206/news/141208836/

———-

Al-Qaida-inspired rebels gain in Syria, making life even worse for US-allied forces

8 December 2014

ANTAKYA, Turkey — The main al-Qaida affiliate in Syria is extending its control over a swath of territory that was until recently held by the collapsing moderate opposition, jeopardizing U.S. plans to form a new rebel force to fight extremists.

Since routing two of the biggest Western-backed rebel movements last month from the province of Idlib, Jabhat al-Nusra has been steadily consolidating its position as the single most powerful military force in northwestern Syria.

The group has overrun towns and villages throughout the province, secured supply routes into neighboring Turkey and potentially paved the way for the establishment of an Islamic “emirate” – a competing entity to the “caliphate” declared last summer by the Islamic State in northeastern Syria and western Iraq.

Full report at:

http://www.stripes.com/news/middle-east/al-qaida-inspired-rebels-gain-in-syria-making-life-even-worse-for-us-allied-forces-1.317791

———-

UAE leads Islamic economy index

Abdul Basit – Chief Reporter / 8 December 2014

The State of the Global Islamic Economy Report on Sunday iterated Dubai’s leading role as an incubator of knowledge for the Islamic economy industry.

Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre (DIEDC), in partnership with Thomson Reuters and in collaboration with the Dinar Standard launched the 2014-2015 report for the second consecutive year, and introduced the ‘Global Islamic Economy Indicator (GIEI).

The GIEI presents the current development health of Islamic economy sectors across 70 core countries. The UAE, Malaysia and Bahrain lead this inaugural composite Index.

The report, which indicates the continuing build-up of the Islamic economy momentum, estimates that global expenditure of Muslim consumers on food and lifestyle sectors grew 9.5 per cent from previous years’ estimates to $2 trillion in 2013 and is expected to reach $3.7 trillion by 2019 at a compound annual growth rate of 10.8 per cent. This forms the potential core market for halal food and lifestyle sectors.

Full report at:

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/kt-article-display-1.asp?xfile=data/uaebusiness/2014/December/uaebusiness_December98.xml&section=uaebusiness

——–

 

UAE: Stabbing of US teacher a ‘lone terrorist act’

Associated Press

8 December 2014

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES — The woman accused of stabbing to death an American teacher in a public restroom at an Abu Dhabi mall last week was carrying out a “lone terrorist act,” a security official in the United Arab Emirates said Sunday.

“Nothing so far suggests that the accused has links with terrorist organizations,” said the unnamed official, who was quoted by the official UAE news agency.

The official said initial investigations and evidence show that the Emirati woman, who also planted a bomb outside an American doctor’s home, learned how to manufacture explosives from websites affiliated with terrorist organizations.

The homemade bomb was located and defused by police shortly after the stabbing.

The suspect’s foreign targets appear to have been selected randomly, the official said.

Police released video last week of CCTV footage showing the alleged attacker shrouded in the full black veil commonly worn by women throughout the Gulf Arab region as she left the mall where 47-year-old Ibolya Ryan, who had previously lived in Colorado, was killed.

Full report at:

http://www.sunherald.com/2014/12/07/5957098_uae-stabbing-of-us-teacher-a-lone.html?rh=1#storylink=cpy

———-

India

Babri not Hindu-Muslim Fight but Secularism-Communalism Confrontation

8 December 2014

ALIGARH: Eminent historian Irfan Habib on Sunday called upon “all secular forces irrespective of political affiliations” to join hands and unitedly face the onslaught of the “communal forces”.

“The events of the past few months and the growing threat to the very concept of India have prompted me to issue this appeal to all secular parties. Certain policies of the present government, especially saffronisation of education and history, have convinced me that there is an urgent need now to speak out,” he said, while delivering a lecture at Aligarh Muslim University.

Habib said there were already ominous signs that BJP is planning to rake up contentious issues including the Ayodhya dispute. “Fears on such matters are not without justification because once this government is unable to fulfil its promise of ‘achche din’ for the common man, they will be prompted to take resort to such divisive and polarising issues.”

Referring to the Babri Masjid-Ram Mandir issue, the noted historian said, “This should never have been viewed as an issue between Hindus and Muslims. It was in fact a confrontation between the forces of secularism and humanism on one side and the forces of communalism on the other.”

“The legal battle for defending the Babri Mosque was fought almost entirely by those historians who were Hindu by faith. They defended the Babri Mosque because they were convinced by the historical evidence which they had unearthed,” he said.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Babri-not-Hindu-Muslim-fight-Irfan-Habib/articleshow/45403692.cms

———-

Jamaat Ulema-e-Hind Working In J&K to Show Where RSS Meets Islam

8 December 2014

Unlike in Jammu where it is running an exclusively Hindutva campaign, the BJP has set about tapping the Muslim vote-bank in Kashmir. The RSS’s Muslim Rashtriya Manch and the Islamic organisation Jamaat Ulema-e-Hind have been silently working with the local clergy and among people to spread the message that “Narendra Modi is the only saviour of the interests of Kashmiri Muslims and he will ensure they have the same rights as citizens in Delhi and Mumbai do.”

A group of around 150 clerics of the Daryaganj-based Jamaat, which is close to the RSS and the BJP, has been working for two months to “build bridges with the local clergy” and market Modi’s development plan for Kashmir.

“There is a lot of fear here,” said Maulana Suhuib Qasmi, Jamaat national president. “We are talking to madrasa boards and mosque associations, and plan to talk even to Jamaat-e-Islami people, to remove the fear of the BJP and the RSS. The RSS is not anti-Muslim.”

Qasmi is a product of Darul Uloom, Deoband. He said it is “just a coincidence” that his organisation has a name similar to that of one of the country’s biggest Islamic organisations, Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind (which itself has two factions).

Full report at:

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/politics/for-bjp-working-to-show-where-rss-meets-islam/#sthash.jq5SXn79.dpuf

———-

Pakistan’s ISI ordered Lashkar-e-Taiba attack on Kashmir

DC CORRESPONDENT | December 08, 2014

New Delhi: Specific intercepts by intelligence agencies between top Lashkar-e-Tayyaba co-mmanders on both sides of the border have revealed that the attack at an Army camp in Mohura, in the Uri sector, was carried out on the direct orders and supervision of senior officers of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence.

Top intelligence sources said that after these attacks there was a sharp rise in exchange of messages across the border that were intercepted by the security agencies.

In fact, in one specific intercept, the Lashkar operatives mention the role of an ISI major who trained the six Lashkar “fidayeen” terrorists who attacked the Army camp.

“We are working on these leads and for operational reasons are not disclosing the details of these intercepts. But there is no doubt that Pakistani agencies were involved in the incident and we will soon submit a formal report to the government. We are even doing a forensic examination of a cellphone recovered from one of the killed terrorists. The GPS set recovered from the terrorists is also being analysed.” a senior intelligence official said.

Full report at:

http://www.deccanchronicle.com/141208/nation-current-affairs/article/pakistans-isi-ordered-lashkar-e-tayyaba-attack-kashmir

———-

Mumbai’s ISIS recruit a trained suicide bomber

Deeptiman Tiwary,TNN | Dec 8, 2014

NEW DELHI/MUMBAI: ISIS recruit from Kalyan, Areeb Majeed, is a trained suicide bomber who made as many as three attempts on security forces at different vital installations in Syria without any success, it has now emerged. His bullet injuries too were sustained in one of the many battles, including the August offensive on Mosul dam in Iraq, he participated in as an ISIS man against Iraqi and US forces.

These are some of the revelations Majeed made during interrogation, confirming the worst fears of security agencies that the engineering student from Mumbai’s suburb is more than a boy gone astray. Until now, Majeed had maintained that he had not participated in any ISIS battle. He had also said that the two bullet injuries he sustained were during practice firing and that ISIS made him work as a mason.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Mumbais-ISIS-recruit-a-trained-suicide-bomber/articleshow/45407766.cms

———-

India-Pak trade bodies seek authorization to recommend visas for businessmen

TNN | Dec 8, 2014

AMRITSAR: Commerce chambers of India and Pakistan admitted their failure in clearing the stumbling blocks for smooth flow of trade among the two nations and have demanded from both the governments to empower them with ‘visa recommendation’ authority. Members of business chambers of India and Pakistan are participating in the trade expo PITEX being held in Amritsar.

In a press release issued here on Sunday, deputy director PHD chamber of commerce and industry, Surjit Kaur said, “In the 9th edition of PITEX at Amritsar, it was observed that despite a lot of efforts of chambers from both countries, nothing concrete could come out and trade is facing lot of problems.”

She also informed that PHDheld a meeting with trade chambers of Pakistan from Lahore, Sargodha, Jhelum and Gujranwala and resolved to pursue with their respective governments for the issuance of business visas on the recommendations of recognized trade bodies.

In another resolution, they recommended for a business park at the Attari border where industrialists of India and Pakistan could showcase their products, have short meetings and strike deals without visa restrictions.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/India-Pak-trade-bodies-seek-authorization-to-recommend-visas-for-businessmen/articleshow/45407305.cms

———-

Punjabi University Withdraws Invite to Pak Envoy, Qawwals

Amaninder Sharma,TNN | Dec 8, 2014

PATIALA: Following the serial terror attacks in Jammu and Kashmir on December 5, which left eight Indian soldiers dead, five of whom were from the region, Punjabi University, Patiala, on Sunday, withdrew its invitation to Pakistan high commissioner and a group of Pakistani Qawwals scheduled to participate in the international conference on “Sufism and Sikhism”.

This comes days after popular Pakistan band Sachal Jazz Ensemble was on December 1 denied permission to hold a music concert in Mumbai due to security reasons.

Sources said that while Baba Farid Centre for Sufi Studies of the University, which is organizing the conference, had invited Pakistani high commissioner Dr Abdul Basit to attend the inaugural session, the Pakistan high commission had assigned a senior diplomat to attend the conference.

The Qawwals, Farid Ayyaz and Abbu Mohammad, were to perform at the Sufi night on December 9, said officials.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Post-JK-terror-attacks-Punjabi-varsity-withdraws-invite-to-Pak-envoy-qawwals/articleshow/45407340.cms

———-

Clear Pakistan link to Uri attack, militants highly trained: Army

8 December 2014

The Army Sunday said there was an “unambiguous and clear” Pakistan link to the militant attack in Uri in which 11 security personnel, including eight soldiers, were killed, and that those who carried it out were trained like “Special Forces”.

“The Pakistan link to the Uri terror attack was unambiguous and clear,” said GoC 15 Corps Lt Gen Subrata Saha.

“The pictures of food, weapons, even antiseptic creams found on the slain terrorists were enough evidence to see the involvement of Pakistan in these attacks.”

The Army officer also said the militants involved in the Friday attack were looking for “civilian targets”.

“These terrorists were highly-trained like Special Forces. The kind of ammunition they were carrying shows they were in for a big haul,” he said. “The aim of militants must have been to come and strike at civilian targets to cause fear and disrupt the peaceful conditions during ongoing Assembly polls.”

Full report at:

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/clear-pak-link-to-uri-attack-militants-highly-trained-army/#sthash.knl9Szvf.dpuf

———-

VHP Workers Detained By Police for Burning Effigy of Hafiz Saeed

8 December 2014

Police on Sunday detained four Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) workers for burning an effigy of Pakistan-based terror outfit Jamat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed in Nizampura area of the city.

“Four Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) workers were detained on Sunday for burning the effigy of Hafiz Saeed in Nizampura area of the city,” a police station officer (PSO) in Fatehgunj area, Akshay Kumar Govind said.

The VHP workers were detained for burning the effigy in public without taking any prior permission from the city police as well as disrupting law and order situation here, Govind said.

The saffron outfit’s workers protested against Saeed for allegedly saying that Pakistanis and Kashmiris are “blood brothers” who cannot be separated.

Bhagwan Bharwad, who led the protest against Saeed, said, “We want war with Pakistan. India should not hold any dialogue with Pakistan. Hafiz Saeed is the mastermind of the 26/11 attack and so he must be punished.”

Full report at:

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/gujarat-vishwa-hindu-parishad-workers-detained-by-police-for-burning-effigy-of-hafiz-saeed/#sthash.gmGYtm13.dpuf

———-

Your problem is my problem, Modi tells Kashmiris

8 December 2014

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday invoked Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s concepts of communal harmony, humanity and democracy to share the pain of Kashmiris and promised to take the state to new heights of development.

“People of Kashmir have given me a lot of trust and love.

I will repay this love and trust with interest in the form of development. I can die for this love and trust showered on me,” he said in his first election meeting in the Valley, that avoided any mention of controversial issues like abrogation of Article 370.

Full report at:

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/your-problem-is-my-problem-modi-tells-kashmiris/article6672753.ece

———-

South Asia

Eight sentenced to death for attacks in China’s Xinjiang

8 December 2014

BEIJING: A court in China condemned eight people to death Monday for two deadly attacks in the violence-torn region of Xinjiang region, home to the mostly Muslim Uighur minority, state media said.

Five others were given suspended death sentences, according to state broadcaster CCTV — a penalty normally commuted to life in prison — with another four jailed.

In one incident, assailants armed with knives and explosives attacked a train station in the regional capital Urumqi in April, killing one person and wounding 79 on the final day of a visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping. Two assailants also died.

The following month 39 people were killed, along with four attackers, and more than 90 wounded when assailants threw explosives and ploughed two vehicles through a market in Urumqi, state media said.

The sentences, handed down by the Intermediate People´s Court in Urumqi, are the latest as Beijing imposes a harsh crackdown on violence in the vast resource-rich region in China´s far west.

Full report at:

http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-168082-Eight-sentenced-to-death-for-attacks-in-Chinas-Xinjiang

———-

Afghan students find inspiration in Islamic State’s success

8 December 2014

KABUL: A quiet student at Kabul University, 25-year-old Abdul Rahim has a dream: to join Islamic State in Syria and fight for the establishment of a global caliphate — a new, alarming form of radicalism in war-weary Afghanistan.

“When hundreds of foreigners, both men and women, leave their comfortable lives and embrace Daish, then why not us?” he asked, using a word for Islamic State common in the region.

Although IS is not believed to have operations in Afghanistan, its influence is growing in a country already mired in daily bombings and attacks by Taliban insurgents.

With most foreign combat troops leaving the country by the end of the year, there is growing uncertainty over what direction Afghanistan will take, with the emergence of IS ideology adding a new risk.

A few dozen students have set up an underground group a few months after IS started making inroads into Central and South Asia this year.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1149566/afghan-students-find-inspiration-in-islamic-states-success

————-

19 rebels killed in past 24 hours

8 December 2014

The interior ministry of Afghanistan reports that the operations were conducted in in Nangarhar, Parwan, Baghlan, Kandahar, Zabul, Uruzgan, Maidan Wardak, Logar, Ghazni, Khost and Paktika provinces jointly by Afghan National Police and National Directorate of Security personnel.

A statement issued by the ministry states that two insurgents were also wounded during the operations and another arrested.

The statement adds that 4 IDS were defused and admonitions were seized from the position of the terrorists.

http://www.khaama.com/19-rebels-killed-in-past-24-hours

———-

Ghani wants slower withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan

8 December 2014

In a meeting with the American defense minister Chuck Hagel, Afghan president Mohammad Ashraf Ghani sought a slower pace of the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan.

American president Barack Obama recently signed a decree allowing 9800 additional soldier in Afghanistan which will put the number of the US soldier in this country to 10800, but Afghan president says America needs to review its strategy.

Reports states in the meeting with Chuck Hagel, Afghan president was keen to have a larger number of foreign soldiers till the end of 2016.

A large number of foreign soldiers are scheduled to be leaving Afghanistan till the end of this year and only a specific number of them will remain in Afghanistan.

http://www.khaama.com/ghani-wants-slower-withdrawal-of-foreign-forces-from-afghanistan

———-

China lauds successes achieved in Zarb-i-Azb operation

8 December 2014

RAWALPINDI: The State Councillor and Minister for Public Security, People’s Republic of China, Guo Shengekun, called on Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif in his office on Sunday.

According to a press release of the Inter Services Public Relations, issues of mutual interest, regional security and measures to enhance bilateral defence and security collaboration were discussed during the meeting.

Mr Guo and other members of the Chinese delegation were briefed about the situation prevailing in the region.

The Chinese dignitaries acknowledged Pakistan’s efforts in fight against terrorism and towards regional stability.

They appreciated the successes achieved in Operation Zarb-i-Azb being carried out by the military against militants in North Waziristan.

http://www.dawn.com/news/1149470/china-lauds-successes-achieved-in-zarb-i-azb-operation

————

Pakistan

Twitter suspends 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed’s account

TOI Tech | Dec 8, 2014

NEW DELHI: Social networking service Twitter has suspended the account of Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed (@HafizSaeedJUD), the prime accused in the 26/11 2008 Mumbai terror attack case.

The suspension follows Saeed’s recent tweets against India after his vituperative rally in Lahore. He had tweeted on December 5, “Ghazwae Hind inevitable, Kashmir will be freed, 1971 avenged and Ahmedabad Gujrat victims will get justice”.

#Pakistan RT @HafizSaeedJUD Ghazwae Hind inevitable, Kashmir will be freed, 1971 avenged and Ahmedabad Gujrat victims will get justice

— Myra MacDonald (@myraemacdonald) December 5, 2014

The terror mastermind and chief of Lashkar-e-Taiba’s front Jamaat-ud-Dawah Hafiz Saeed had also blamed India for the flood in Jammu & Kashmir in September, which had also affected Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and some parts of Pakistan.

Saeed had said on Twitter: “Occupied Kashmir cannot be looked after by the Modi-led government, what can it do for those in Azad Kashmir? Give them Freedom if you may.” Saeed had claimed that India was responsible for the flood and had “released waters in rivers without notifying Pakistan”.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/tech/social/Twitter-suspends-26/11-mastermind-Hafiz-Saeeds-account/articleshow/45412106.cms

———-

Three troops, 5 militants killed in Tirah clash

8 December 2014

LANDI KOTAL: Three soldiers and five militants were killed in a clash after an attack on a checkpost in Tirah valley of Khyber Agency on Sunday.

According to security officials, armed men belonging to the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan attacked the checkpost in Sher Khel area of Zakhakhel, near Maidan, early in the morning. The area is close to the Afghan border.

The fighting between security personnel and attackers lasted several hours, leaving five Taliban dead and eight injured. Three soldiers also lost their lives and four others suffered injuries, they said.

The checkpost was set up by the army after evicting the Taliban from Tirah during an operation in June last year.

The attack was repulsed, the officials said.

Pazir Gul adds from Peshawar: A security official was killed and another injured when an improvised explosive device went off in Dattakhel area of North Waziristan.

Security personnel were carrying out a search operation in the area when the explosion occurred. The area was cordoned off after the incident.

http://www.dawn.com/news/1149464/three-troops-5-militants-killed-in-tirah-clash

———-

Maulana Fazl faces hostile PTI workers in London

8 December 2014

LONDON: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf workers surrounded Maulana Fazlur Rehman and chanted slogans against him as the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam chief came out of a mosque.

According to reports, the PTI workers tried to manhandle the maulana but a spokesman for the Imran Khan led party denied the charges saying demonstrators wanted to lodge protest.

Our correspondent says PTI and JUI-F workers also engaged in a brawl as Maulana came out of a mosque in London’s South Hall area after attending a ceremony in memory of Khalid Soomro, who was assassinated in Sindh on November 29.

The PTI spokesman said that one of their workers were injured by JUI-F workers. He threatened that the PTI might file a case over the torture.

http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-168038-Maulana-Fazl-faces-hostile-PTI-workers-in-London-

———–

Tu?çe Albayrak awarded title of Bint-e-Ummah

8 December 2014

The Pakistan Ulema Council [PUC] and Inter-faith Harmony Council International [IFHCI] have announced the title of “Bint-e-Ummah” [daughter of the nation] for a German Turk woman. Hafiz Muhammad Tahir Mahmood Ashrafi [central chairman of PUC and IFHCI], on behalf of IFHCI Europe Chairman Syed Khurram Shah and other members of the executive committee, announced the award of “Bint-e-Ummah” for Tu?çe Albayrak, the Muslim woman who was killed while protecting two non-Muslim girls from being harassed by a group of goons. On this occasion, Hafiz Muhammad Tahir Mahmood Ashrafi said that Tu?çe Albayrak has made Muslims and non-Muslims throughout the world proud. She conveyed the message that Islam preaches peaceful co-existence, harmony, welfare and prosperity for all mankind regardless of race, color, ethnicity or religion. He announced that a delegation of IFHCI will meet Tu?çe Albayrak’s family in Germany and present them with an honorary award for the title of “Bint-e-Ummah” from PUC and IFHCI. Muhammad Tahir Mahmood Ashrafi said that as well as Muslims, the entire world should pay tribute to this brave woman who sacrificed her life while protecting two non-Muslim women.

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/national/08-Dec-2014/tu-e-albayrak-awarded-title-of-bint-e-ummah

———-

Key commanders of Gul Bahadur group killed in Datakhel strikes: reports

8 December 2014

PESHAWAR: Conflicting reports suggest that air strikes conducted in Datakhel tehsil of North Waziristan Agency have killed key commanders of the Hafiz Gul Bahadur group.

The dead are reported to include Gul Bahadur, Sadiq Noor and Akhtar Muhammad along with 30 other militants of the group.

Some sources are saying that at least seven key commanders of the Hafiz Gul Bahadur group have died in the strikes.

Pakistani F16 jet fighters targeted the militants compound and a vehicle in Seen Tanga area of Datakhel tehsil of the agency.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1149403/key-commanders-of-gul-bahadur-group-killed-in-datakhel-strikes-reports

———-

Agencies warn Punjab IS recruiting in Pakistan

8 December 2014

RAWALPINDI: Intelligence agencies have warned the Punjab government that a group of activists from the Islamic State (IS) militant group, also known commonly by its Arabic acronym ‘Daish’, are currently in Pakistan.

According to a document, marked ‘secret’ and bearing the subject, ‘threat alert’, which was submitted to the Punjab government, certain Daish leaders from the Middle East are said to be travelling between Lahore, Multan and Rahimyar Khan. According to the document, intelligence agencies believe that they are being supported by members of Jundullah, a terrorist outfit that has already pledged allegiance to IS leader, Abu Bakar Al Baghdadi.

The document, which was sent to Regional Police Officer Rawalpindi Akhtar Umar Hayat Laleka and other senior police officers across the province, names Zubair Al-Kuwaiti – who is believed to be from the Middle East – and warns local law enforcement to beef up vigilance at entry/exit points to try and capture the men before they have a chance to activate their network inside Pakistan.

Full report at:

xttp://www.dawn.com/news/1149514/agencies-warn-punjab-is-recruiting-in-pakistan

———-

Jamaat-i-Islami sees solution of Karachi issues in free and fair elections

8 December 2014

KARACHI: Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) secretary general Liaquat Baloch has said the people of Karachi want to have their political, democratic and economic rights and if the establishment and the state become neutral, the Karachiites would be able to elect their real representatives in a free and fair elections.

Addressing a press conference here at Idara Noor-i-Haq on Sunday, he said that then people would be able to solve their problems through civilized leadership.

Referring to the confrence held at the Minar-i-Pakistan last month, he said the system of government could be changed and replaced only by a durable and just dispensation through an organised team.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1149432/ji-sees-solution-of-karachi-issues-in-free-and-fair-elections

———-

Imran wants to create chaos in country: govt

8 December 2014

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Information and Broadcasting Pervaiz Rashid said on Sunday that Imran Khan wants to create chaos in the country as he has lost both his memory and temper because he remained failed in achieving his objectives.

Addressing a press conference here in the premises of Press Information Department (PID), Pervaiz Rashid said that Imran Khan himself was the main hurdle in formation of judicial commission. “Imran Khan has lost both his memory and temper because he remained failed in achieving his objectives,” Pervaiz Rashid said. He said Imran Khan kept on changing his stance on rigging on daily basis. He said Imran Khan was telling lie regarding four NA constituencies as elections tribunals were already hearing the cases. The minister said international community has declared last general election as most transparent in Pakistan’s history.

Minister for Information and Broadcasting said that Imran Khan’s nefarious designs are exposed before the nation. The Information Minister said Imran Khan wants to create chaos in the country by holding unconstitutional protests and sit-ins. He said PTI chief is doing politics of violence and agitation. Information Minister said Imran Khan’s unconstitutional sit-ins and all his plans have failed but he is not ready to accept it. He urged Imran Khan to fight his case by living in constitutional limits and orbits.

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/national/08-Dec-2014/imran-wants-to-create-chaos-in-country-govt

———-

Under attack: Militants know how to make the police ‘immobile’

December 8, 2014

KARACHI: Militants have found the Achilles’ heel of the Karachi police. They have figured out that if they attack police vans, law enforcers won’t be able to carry out their routine or snap checks, thus giving them enough elbow room to carry out bigger attacks.

Last month, two police vehicles were damaged in separate militant attacks – for days after, the respective police stations could not send men out for routine duties as there was a shortage of vehicles.

“It looks like they plan to keep the police inside the police stations,” said a high-ranking police officer. “Militancy is not something the police should be dealing with but we are fighting it every day.” He added that unless the government provided them with proper equipment, support and reforms, the police will have to think about taking a step back.

Since the beginning of the year, more than 135 policemen were killed while on duty. In several assaults, militants attacked the police vehicle by opening fire at them. However, in recent attacks, the militants have shown a preference for using chemicals with bombs – a Full report at:

http://tribune.com.pk/story/803349/under-attack-militants-know-how-to-make-the-police-immobile/

———-

1 killed, another injured in clashes between PTI, PML-N

8 December 2014

FAISALABAD: A 22 year old was killed after a firing incident during the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) protest at the Novelty Brigde in Faisalabad while another was seriously injured.

PTI and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supports clashed and police used water cannon to disperse the crowds.

Despite an appeal to shut down Faisalabad by PTI, the day started off with all shops and business operational as usual.

The PTI workers and supporters staged a protest in Faisalabad and while protesting, they set tyres on fire and blocked the roads for traffic.

The agitated workers burnt the tyres at Milat Chowk and Kaleem Shaheed Chowk that blocked the traffic on the adjoining roads.

Full report at:

http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-168066-1-killed,-another-injured-in-clashes-between-PTI,-PML-N

———-

Mideast

Houthis plan to ‘raise money in Saudi Arabia through beggars’

8 December 2014

The Houthi rebel movement in Yemen is planning to send a large number of beggars over to the Kingdom in order to raise money for them, sources told Al-Hayat newspaper.

Houthi followers are planning to enter the Kingdom illegally through the southern borders, close to their stronghold, the sources said.

They intend to spread throughout the country’s regions and cities and begin begging for money on streets.

The sources said the beggars will be carrying fake medical reports and letters claiming they suffer from different disabilities and will squat near mosques and other public places.

Sources noted the movement would make sure that the money collected by beggars will be transferred to Yemen in ways that are difficult to trace.

The Interior Ministry started a few months ago a crackdown campaign on beggars all over the Kingdom.

Full report at:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/perspective/features/2014/12/08/Report-Houthis-plan-to-raise-money-in-Saudi-Arabia-through-beggars-.html

———-

Breaking bad in Tehran? Meth use soars as lifestyles speed up

8 December 2014

Women in headscarves and men in tatty clothes puff on a glass pipe as smoke swirls around their faces. The pictures published by Iranian media and blogs in recent months are a sign of a new drug epidemic: shishe, or methamphetamine.

Shishe means “glass” in Farsi, a reference to the appearance of the drug in some of its purest forms.

In less than a decade, methamphetamine use has skyrocketed in Iran to the point where now about 345,000 Iranians are considered addicts, according to official statistics.

Seizures of methamphetamine soared 128 percent between 2008 and 2012, topping all other countries in the region, according to figures compiled by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). Last year alone, the government of Iran confiscated 3.6 tonnes of shishe.

A top official from the Iran Drug Control Headquarters said last year that shishe could be found in Tehran in “less than five minutes,” according to the Iranian Students’ News Agency.

Shishe addicts in Iran are mostly urban, middle class and young, experts say. Notably, there are a large number of women who abuse shishe, too.

One of the main reasons why shishe use has spread quickly in Iran is a lack of information about the drug, which has led casual users to believe, erroneously, that it is not addictive, experts say.

Full report at:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/perspective/features/2014/12/08/Breaking-bad-in-Tehran-Meth-use-soars-as-lifestyles-speed-up.html

———-

At least 13 killed in failed US bid to rescue hostages in Yemen

8 December 2014

A woman, a 10-year-old boy and a local al Qaeda leader were among at least 11 people killed alongside two Western hostages when U.S.-led forces battled militants in a failed rescue mission in Yemen, residents said on Sunday.

U.S. special forces raided the village of Dafaar in Shabwa province, a militant stronghold in southern Yemen, shortly after midnight on Saturday, killing several members of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

American journalist Luke Somers, 33, and South African teacher Pierre Korkie, 56, were shot and killed by their captors during the raid intended to free the hostages, U.S. officials said.

AQAP, formed in 2006 by the merger of the Yemeni and Saudi branches of the network, has for years been seen by Washington as one of the movement’s most dangerous branches.

Full report at:

http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/8/117394/World/Region/At-least–killed-in-failed-US-bid-to-rescue-hostag.aspx

———-

Gaza writers receive death threats from IS

8 December 2014

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Mystery still surrounds the presence of the Islamic State (IS) in Gaza. Statements in the name of the radical group threatening or claiming responsibility for previous bombings in Gaza are not enough to prove the existence of active members in the besieged Gaza Strip, though IS’ extremist ideology is easily spread.

Many Gazans underestimated the importance of the statement issued in the name of IS Nov. 30 in Gaza City demanding that women show “chastity” and abide by Sharia rules of dress. They have excluded the possibility of a real IS presence in the Gaza Strip, which is governed by the same Interior Ministry-affiliated security personnel that ruled under Hamas’ Islamist government.

Full report at:

http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2014/12/gaza-islamic-state-presence-threats-writers.html#ixzz3LLd93Klf

———-

Israeli minister affirms policy of ‘stopping arms transfers to terrorists’

8 December 2014

Israel stressed on Monday that it has a policy of preventing arms transfers to militant groups, a day after Syria accused Israel of bombing Damascus airport.

Israel has launched a series of strikes inside Syria since the armed uprising erupted there in 2011, including raids reportedly targeting weapons bound for Damascus ally Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz refused to comment directly on Sunday’s incident, as was also the case with Israeli officials questioned in the aftermath of previous strikes.

“We have a firm policy of preventing all possible transfers of sophisticated weapons to terrorist organizations,” Steinitz told public radio in response to a question about the strikes, and apparently referring to Hezbollah.

Full report at:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2014/12/08/Israeli-minister-affirms-policy-of-stopping-arms-transfers-to-terrorists-.html

———-

Turkey warns three banks in fight against crime, terrorism

8 December 2014

Turkey has warned three banks and urged them to cooperate more effectively with the government to share transaction data “in the fight against terrorism,” Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek said on Dec. 7.

“There are three banks that do not cooperate with the Financial Crime Investigation Board [MASAK] efficiently in the detection of dirty money and in the fight against terrorism. We have warned them,” Şimşek said, without naming the banks.

He stressed that it is of great importance in investigating and detecting crimes for MASAK to be informed by banks about suspicious banking transactions, adding that the fight against criminal financial transactions is crucial for Turkey to increase its international credibility and maintain its formal economy.

Full report at:

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-warns-three-banks-in-fight-against-crime-terrorism-.aspx?pageID=238&nID=75310&NewsCatID=344

———

Africa

Nigeria: 10 Soldiers Die in Battle As Army Repels Boko Haram From Ashaka Town

8 December 2014

THE Nigerian Military, yesterday, put up a brave fight against hundreds of Boko Haram terrorists who attacked the dynamite-manufacturing town of Ashaka in Gombe State.

Their plan was to overrun the town. After several hours of fighting, the Nigerian Army lost 10 soldiers while over 70 Boko Haram terrorists were killed with scores of them sustaining serious gunshot injuries – most of the terrorists fled the town. While running away from the town, the terrorists carried most of their dead members in three trucks.

Confirming the development in the Defence Headquarters twitter handle, Director of Defence Information, Major General Chris Olukolade, noted that the terrorists invaded the town in a convoy of 30 vehicles and many motorcycles.

His words: “Terrorists fleeing Ashaka on Thursday managed to retrieve three truckloads full of their dead members following the defeat and heavy casualty they suffered after a fierce battle with troops in the area.

Full report at:

http://allafrica.com/stories/201412070002.html

———–

Five years after ceasefire, Niger Delta’s retired militants warn of new violence

8 December 2014

PORT HARCOURT, Niger Delta, Nigeria — It’s been five years since 32-year-old Livinus Damka turned in his two AK-47s. Those guns used to be his livelihood. They helped bring him decent money.

When Damka was 23 years old, he was one of the thousands of youth in the Niger Delta who took up arms against the Nigerian government, demanding a share of the country’s vast oil wealth channeled through pipelines in their local communities. Frustrated by a lack of opportunities, Damka became a militant in the Niger Delta’s armed insurgency — a violent struggle marked by kidnapping of foreigners for ransom, vandalizing oil pipelines, setting up illegal oil refineries and fighting Nigerian soldiers.

“It was freedom fighting,” Damka says. “We were fighting for our rights.”

He and his wife, Rita, live in a small one-bedroom house along a winding, narrow dirt road in Ikwerre, a farming and fishing community in the Niger Delta. They barely make enough money to meet their monthly expenses. As the popular Nigerian saying goes, they are “just managing.”

Full report at:

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/africa/nigeria/141204/niger-delta-retired-militants-ceasefire

———-

Kenya Takes Step Towards Recognising Intersex People in Landmark Ruling

8 December 2014

Nairobi — A Kenyan court has ordered the government to issue a birth certificate to a five-year-old child born with ambiguous genitalia, in a landmark ruling that the child’s lawyer said was a first step towards recognising intersex people.

Hospital staff put a question mark next to the box designating gender on a form to record the 2009 birth of the baby whose sex organs were not clearly female or male.

This meant the child never received a birth certificate, necessary to enjoy basic legal rights, such as attending school, getting a national identity document and voting.

“Now they are going to be able to get a birth certificate,” the child’s lawyer, John Chigiti, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation on Friday. “That’s a win.”

Full report at:

http://allafrica.com/stories/201412081134.html

———–

North America

Chomsky: US-Led Anti-ISIS Coalition Meaningless, Illegal

8 December 2014

Renowned intellectual Noam Chomsky said US actions in the Middle East region, including the invasion in Iraq, have created the circumstances, under which ISIS emerged.

“What happened is the US basically hit Iraq with a kind of sledgehammer,” instituting a governmental structure, which was sectarian in nature, Chomsky told RT.

“All of this came together to create sectarian conflicts, which had not existed before… That has since expanded, and now it’s tearing the whole region apart. Syria is one element of it.”

And to solve the mess, the US again decided to act against the international law, building an anti-ISIS coalition that is “meaningless, apart from being illegal.”

“A law-abiding state would go to the Security Council, ask for a declaration by the Security Council of a threat to peace, and request the Security Council to organize direct response to it. And that could be done. The US could then participate in it, but so could Iran,” which is a major military force and would probably wipe out ISIS in no time, if it was allowed to join the fight on the ground, Chomsky stressed.

http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13930917000064

———-

Kerry: Israeli-Palestinian peace is not a pipe dream

8 December 2014

The two-state solution is the only path to peace, US Secretary of State John Kerry said Sunday in Washington, less than 24 hours after Economy Minister Naftali Bennett dismissed that as unrealistic.

Kerry, who spoke at the Brookings Institution’s Saban Forum immediately after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s taped message, said the two-state solution is the only path to peace “for the simple reason that there is no one-state alternative that is viable or can preserve Israel’s status as a Jewish state and as a democracy.”

At the conference, Bennett – possibly a major player in the next government – defended his plan for Israel to annex 60 percent of the West Bank and grant the Palestinians in the other 40% enhanced autonomy, economic opportunities and infrastructure, adding that the idea of a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was an illusion.

Without referring directly to Bennett, Kerry said that he was well aware that for many people in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, “the idea of real peace sounds dubious at best, and impossible to many.”

Full report at:

http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/WATCH-LIVE-Kerry-addresses-pro-Israel-think-tank-in-Washington-383881

———-

ISIS fighter from Ottawa appears in video threatening Canada with attacks

8 December 2014

John Maguire’s ISIS video urges attacks on Canadian soil

ISIS attempted to incite further attacks against Canadians on Sunday, issuing a propaganda video in which an Ottawa extremist scolded the government for joining the international military coalition fighting the terrorist group.

The six-minute video said Canadians would be indiscriminately targeted and that Muslims were obliged to either join ISIS or “follow the example” of the attackers who struck in Ottawa and Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que.

“You either pack your bags, or prepare your explosive devices. You either purchase your airline ticket, or you sharpen your knife,” said the video, produced by a propaganda group linked to the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham.

Full report at:

http://news.nationalpost.com/2014/12/07/john-maguire-an-isis-fighter-from-ottawa-appears-on-video-warning-canada-of-attacks-where-it-hurts-you-the-most/

———-

US, NATO ceremonially end Afghan combat mission

8 December 2014

The U.S. and NATO ceremonially ended their combat mission in Afghanistan on Dec. 8, 13 years after the Sept. 11 terror attacks sparked their invasion of the country to topple the Taliban-led government.

NATO’s International Security Assistance Force Joint Command, which was in charge of combat operations, lowered its flag, formally ending its deployment.

U.S. Gen. John F. Campbell, commander of NATO and U.S. forces, said that the mission now would transition to a training and support role for Afghanistan’s own security forces, which have led the fight against the Taliban insurgents since mid-2013.

“The Afghan security forces are capable,” Campbell said. “They have to make some changes in the leadership which they’re doing, and they have to hold people accountable.”

From Jan. 1, the coalition will maintain a force of 13,000 troops in Afghanistan, down from a peak around 140,000 in 2011. There are around 15,000 troops now in the country.

The mission ends as the Taliban is increasing its attacks. U.S. President Barack Obama recently allowed U.S. forces to launch operations against both Taliban and al-Qaida militants, broadening the mission of the U.S. forces that will remain in the country after the end of the year.

Full report at:

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/us-nato-ceremonially-end-afghan-combat-mission.aspx?pageID=238&nID=75322&NewsCatID=359

———-

US military’s job ‘not over’ in Afghanistan: Pentagon chief

8 December 2014

Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel on Sunday told US troops in Afghanistan their mission was not over as they shift to a scaled-back role training their Afghan counterparts.

At a base near the eastern city of Jalalabad, Hagel said it was crucial the United States and its partners ensure hard-fought progress did not unravel as the US-led force draws down to about 12,500 troops.

“There are challenges ahead. The job’s not over. This is still a dangerous country in many ways,” he told a gathering of US and Polish soldiers.

“We don’t want to see that tremendous progress that’s been accomplished… we don’t want to see that roll back downhill,” he said.

In his last visit to Afghanistan as defence secretary after resigning last month, Hagel flew to Gamberi base to get a first hand look at preparations for a new, much smaller NATO mission that will begin in the new year.

Full report at:

http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/9/117403/World/International/US-militarys-job-not-over-in-Afghanistan-Hagel.aspx

———-

US ‘did not know’ about imminent Yemen hostage release

8 December 2014

The US government was not aware of talks to release a South African hostage in Yemen who was killed during a botched special forces raid, the US ambassador to South Africa claimed Monday.

Pierre Korkie, a 57-year-old South African teacher who was taken hostage by Al-Qaeda militants in Yemen more than a year ago, was killed on Saturday, hours before he was due to be released.

South African relief organisation Gift of the Givers said they had negotiated for Korkie to be freed and had notified his widow Yolande that he would be home soon.

But ambassador Patrick Gaspard told a radio station the US was “completely unaware” of Korkie’s imminent release.

Full report at:

http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/8/117434/World/Region/US-did-not-know-about-imminent-Yemen-hostage-relea.aspx

———-

US hands over senior militant to Pakistan

8 December 2014

ISLAMABAD: US troops in Afghanistan said Sunday they had handed over three Pakistani detainees to Islamabad, while a security source said one of them was a senior Pakistani Taliban commander.

“Acting on behalf of the United States government, we transferred custody of three Pakistanis held in US custody in Afghanistan, to Pakistan,” US Forces-Afghanistan said in a statement in Kabul.

“This followed consultations between the US and Pakistan and after receiving appropriate assurances”, it added.

The statement did not identify the detainees. But a Pakistani security official said one of them was Latif Mehsud, a close aide to the former chief of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Hakimullah Mehsud.

Full report at:

http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-168072-US-hands-over-senior-militant-to-Pakistan

———-

PYD ‘promised’ US to not give arms to PKK

8 December 2014

The Democratic Union Party (PYD) has promised that arms sent by the United States to fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) will definitely not be transferred to the outlawed Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK), PYD co-leader Salih Muslim has told the Hürriyet Daily News.

“We have given a guarantee to the U.S. about not sending the arms to the PKK or using them against Turkey,” Muslim said, adding that the U.S. could give arms to the PYD again if required.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had said on Oct. 25 that the PYD had initially opposed the plan for Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga forces to join the fight against ISIL in Kobane for “fear of their scheme being disrupted.” However, Muslim strongly refuted such claims.

“We have never been against cooperation between the Peshmerga and Kurds. Although some sensitive issues had arisen between these groups earlier, ISIL now pushes Kurds to come together, which is very good,” he said.

Full report at:

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/pyd-promised-us-to-not-give-arms-to-pkk.aspx?pageID=238&nID=75307&NewsCatID=359

———

Europe

Religious tolerance is people’s lifestyle in Azerbaijan

8 December 2014

Chairman of the Caucasian Muslims Office Sheikh ul-Islam Allahshukur Pashazade met with Mr. Derek Hogan, the chargé d’affaires of the US Embassy in Azerbaijan.

Sheikh ul-Islam spoke of the religious atmosphere and friendly relations among different religious communities in the country, AzerTag reports.

Allahshukur Pashazade noted that the religious tolerance is the everyday lifestyle of the peoples living in Azerbaijan and the sincere relations and close cooperation of the religious leaders is bright example to that.

Sheikh ul-Islam said he has been heading the Supreme Religious Council of the Caucasus Peoples since 1992 and the Caucasian Muslims Office unites representatives of different religions, including Moslems, Christians and Jewish communities. The tradition of tolerance in the Azerbaijan society has been promoted by national leader Heydar Aliyev and this tradition successfully continues, the Head of the Caucasian Muslims Office said.

Tolerance is a universal value with universal character and has no limits, he stressed.

Derek Hogan praised activity of the Head of the Caucasian Muslims Office, noting he had visited Azerbaijani regions to meet with people representing separate religions. “The people trust in the role of Sheikh ul-Islam in strengthening of tolerance”, he underlined.

http://www.news.az/articles/society/94113

———-

Islamic State training kids for jihad, UN says

8 December 2014

The Islamic State terror group published photos Saturday of children firing loaded AK-47 assault rifles, assembling weapons and standing in formation, at the “Cubs of the Caliphate” training camp near Damascus, Syria

A total of seven images were distributed across social media platforms, including Twitter and jihadi forums, showing a group of adolescents wearing face masks and military fatigues, crouching in shooting positions, and struggling to cock large weapons.

The Islamic State’s exploitation of children for warfare and other purposes was documented in a November report by the UN entitled “Rule of Terror: Living under ISIS in Syria.” ISIS, as well as ISIL and IS, is an acronym for Islamic State.

According to the dispatch, the jihadi group has “instrumentalized and abused children on a systematic scale,” using them in combat roles, as spies, guards, cooks, medics and even suicide bombers.

Full report at:

http://www.timesofisrael.com/is-kids-train-for-jihad/#ixzz3LLcHIyJ8

———-

French Islamic State fighters: I want to come home!

8 December 2014

French Islamic State members want to come home, according to a report by France’s Le Figaro. The report discussed a number of letters sent by French Islamic State, who have been in contact with a group of lawyers in their home country in an attempt to bring them home.

They communicate in a variety of ways — but mainly via Whatsapp, Viber, and email — immediately deleting every message in order not to get caught by IS officials.

One French national was reportedly beheaded after telling his commander that he wanted to leave Islamic State.

The reasons they want to get out are varied, but in general, they present feelings of disappointment and fear, with many saying they were misled into joining.

One regretful jihadi wrote about the lack of modern comforts. “I’m sick and tired. My iPod doesn’t even work here. I want to come home!”

Some have complained about the mundane jobs that come along with setting up a global Islamic caliphate.

Full report at:

http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/French-Islamic-State-fighters-I-want-to-come-home-383885

———-

EU to press Turkey for help in anti-ISIL fight

8 December 2014

New European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini was to meet Turkish leaders Dec. 8 for talks expected to focus partly on the war against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in neighboring Syria.

“The Syrian crisis is going to be one of the key issues on her agenda,” an EU official told AFP on Dec. 8. Turkey’s EU membership ambitions were also up for discussion.

EU capitals are concerned about spillover from Syria and the possibility of terrorist attacks by the growing number of European nationals returning home after fighting alongside jihadists in Iraq and Syria.

Full report at:

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/eu-to-press-turkey-for-help-in-anti-isil-fight.aspx?pageID=238&nID=75326&NewsCatID=351

———–

UN wants countries to take in 180,000 Syrian refugees

8 December 2014

More than 30 humanitarian organisations launched an appeal on Dec. 8 for countries to take in around 180,000 refugees from the Syrian conflict.

That figure would represent five percent of the projected refugee population by the end of 2015, according to the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

The issue will be discussed at a conference in Geneva on Dec. 9.

After three years of fighting in Syria, more than 3.2 million refugees are registered in neighbouring countries and with little sign of the conflict coming to an end, the UNHCR believes the number could rise to nearly 3.6 million by the end of 2015.

If countries would take in 180,000 refugees, and an accompanying aid package and economic support was provided to the nations that open their doors, “it would also encourage those countries to keep their borders open to ensure those in Syria can flee the conflict, and could contribute to their stability,” the UNHCR said.

Full report at:

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/un-wants-countries-to-take-in-180000-syrian-refugees.aspx?pageID=238&nID=75319&NewsCatID=359

———-

Southeast Asia

Minister Says Constitution Doesn’t Limit Shariah Laws

8 December 2014

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 8 — The Federal Constitution empowers Shariah laws and does not limit the Islamic code, minister Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom argued today in response to an open letter from 25 former senior civil servants calling for open debate on religious issues.

The minister in charge of religious affairs also warned that the public will resort to vigilantism if there are constant judicial reviews and challenges between civil and Shariah courts.

“From the beginning, the Constitution allows the existence of Shariah courts. Shariah courts were birthed from the Constitution,” Jamil told reporters during the International Seminar on Aqwah 2014 here.

“Why do we want to flip this over by saying Shariah courts are subjected to the Constitution? … We should not entangle the issue.”

“We do not agree if cases involving Islam want to be decided in civil courts … It is against an early understanding we had since Independence,” added the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department.

Full report at:

http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/under-fire-minister-says-constitution-doesnt-limit-shariah-laws#sthash.XtwTHhoe.dpuf

———-

Police, Soldiers Accused of Opening Fire on Papua Demonstrators: Six Killed

8 December 2014

Jakarta. Six people were reportedly killed while several others remained in a critical condition after a group of police officers and soldiers allegedly opened fire on demonstrators in restive Papua province on Monday morning.

John N.R. Gobai, a local community leader, said the security forces in the capital of Paniai district, Enarotali, opened fire at 10 a.m. on Monday to disperse a group of people angered by the alleged abuse of a child.

“There are four people who died, four others are in critical condition and 22 more suffered [other] injuries after being shot by the police and soldiers,” John said. “Those who were injured are currently being treated at Madi hospital in Enarotali, while those who died are still at the field with people surrounding them.”

The death toll was later reported to have risen to six.

Full report at:

http://thejakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/news/police-soldiers-accused-opening-fire-papua-demonstrators-four-killed/

———-

After Meeting SBY, Jokowi Says Democrats May Join His Coalition

8 December 2014

Jakarta. President Joko Widodo on Monday hinted that the Democratic Party might officially join the ruling coalition next month.

“We will see in January 2015, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has made it very clear so I don’t need to keep repeating it,” Joko said on Monday after meeting with the Democratic Party chairman and former president.

Joko met with Yudhoyono to discuss the government regulation in lieu of the regional election law (Perppu) that was issued just before Yudhoyono ended his second presidential term.

The current president said Yudhoyono and his party were committed to support his policy to uphold the direct election of regional-level leaders like mayors and governors.

But Joko said the agreement on regional elections could also be seen as the beginning of a union between the Democratic Party and the Awesome Indonesia Coalition (KIH), which is led by the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P).

“Let’s discuss the Perppu first, it can at least serve as a gate or an entry point [for joining the coalition],” Joko said.

Full report at:

http://thejakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/news/meeting-sby-jokowi-says-democrats-may-join-coalition/

———-

Might Malaysia one day have ‘halal’ and ‘haram’ shows?

8 December 2014

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 8 — A broadcast network executive has floated the idea of “halal” certification for films and TV shows as a way to allay concerns among a segment of Muslims for their daily entertainment dosage to be Shariah-compliant.

Syed Shahridzan Syed Mohamed told a two-day seminar on the entertainment industry and Islam that ended yesterday that he had once mooted the idea to the Malaysian Islamic Religious Development Department (Jakim), but was shot down with the federal religious authority saying the idea was not feasible due to possible overlaps between the country’s civil and Shariah legal system.

“I had discussed this with Jakim’s preaching division,” Syed Shahrizan said.

“We can establish the halal logo, have standards for Islamic banking. Why can’t we work to put guidelines, halal and haram logos for the productions in Malaysia?” said the man who heads the Shariah unit in a state-owned free-to-air Islamic television network.

In Malaysia, federal and state religious authorities certify food products with a “halal” logo to indicate that the food is permissible to be consumed in accordance with Islamic teachings and practices.

Full report at:

http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/might-malaysia-one-day-have-halal-and-haram-shows#sthash.mVtyPRCy.dpuf

———-

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/islamic-state-reaps-profits-from-organ-trafficking/d/100382

No Secularism or Democracy without Religious Freedom

No Secularism or Democracy without Religious Freedom

By Şahin Alpay

November 30, 2014

On a recent flight I engaged in a conversation with a gentleman sitting next to me. First we agreed and complained that, setting aside the periods of direct military rule, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government had proved to be the most authoritarian and corrupt of them all. Later the gentleman gently said: “However, dear Mr. Alpay, it was clear from the beginning that the AKP had a hidden agenda. But pundits like yourself conveyed a highly positive picture of the AKP government both at home and abroad. You have a responsibility in the situation we find ourselves today.”

He had a point to a certain extent. I personally refused to call the AKP the AK Party (as ak means “clean” in Turkish), arguing that the party had to first prove it was clean and free of corruption. I never voted for the AKP in a general election. I criticized the media, energy and environmental policies of the AKP government and the inconsistencies in its policy towards the Kurds. But I did generally lend support to the AKP government in its first two terms in power, because the economy was improving, the political role of the military was being curbed, official denial of even the existence of Kurds had come to an end, there were efforts toward meeting the demands of religious minorities, restrictions on religious rights seemed to be gradually lifting, and I highly approved of the “zero problems with neighbours” foreign policy. The AKP government in its third term in power has, however, entirely reversed its policies, and is engaged in setting up the most authoritarian civilian rule this country has ever seen. Out of the same liberal democratic principles that caused me to support it in its first two terms of power, I am, since early 2011, increasingly critical of the direction the AKP is leading the country in.

Public commentators like myself may indeed have a certain responsibility in the situation we are faced with today. But it is the kind of democracy that prevailed throughout the latter half of the past century, where the reins of power were in the hands of a civilian and military bureaucracy committed to Kemalism, Turkey’s brand of authoritarian secular nationalism, which is the main reason behind the coming to power of the post-Islamist AKP in 2002 and its expanding share of the vote ever since. It is the continued military interventions in politics, the official denial of even the existence of Kurds, restrictions on religious rights, and mismanagement of the economy by the centre right and left politicians who have never taken a stand against the military’s political role that is the main explanation for the electoral victories of the AKP. It is the widespread fears that there will be a return to a full-fledged Kemalist authoritarianism once it loses power that keeps the AKP winning.

Whatever be the reasons for the dominance of the AKP in Turkish politics today, the fact remains that the country is confronted with the most authoritarian civilian government ever. What is more worrying are the recent signs that the AKP government, faced with grave corruption allegations, is now trying to build a political alliance with the Kemalist military to fortify its power. There are reports that the National Security Council (MGK), which brings together civilian and military leaders, has agreed in its first meeting chaired by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan that the witch hunt against the faith-based Hizmet movement inspired by religious scholar Fethullah Gülen is to be expanded to include all Muslim religious groups with different convictions, declaring them to be “illegal structures with a legal appearance,” a concept which surely has no place in the rule of law. The pro-government media has reported that the National Police Department, in preparation for a purge in the ranks, has profiled the religious identities of 180,000 police officers and established that 41,000 of them are affiliated with Hizmet.

A country where citizens, in clear violation of its constitution, are profiled, discriminated against, subjected to a witch hunt, and collectively punished due to their religious beliefs can be considered neither secular nor democratic. This is where Kemalist Turkey finds itself in its 91st year of being founded.

Source: http://www.todayszaman.com/columnist/sahin-alpay/no-secularism-or-democracy-without-religious-freedom_365734.html

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islam-and-politics/şahin-alpay/no-secularism-or-democracy-without-religious-freedom/d/100306

Blowback of the Foreign Jihadists?

Blowback of the Foreign Jihadists?

By Jonathan Power

December 03, 2014

This year alone, the UK police say they have arrested 218 returnees and 40 British citizens are awaiting trial on terrorism charges

Over 15,000 foreign jihadists from 80 countries are believed to be fighting alongside militants in Syria, the CIA says. The Syrian war is estimated to have mobilised more European Islamists than all the foreign wars of the last 20 years combined. What to do when the jihadists try to return home? Many of them might be trained to wage jihad against their home countries. The danger is, as Daniel Byman and Jeremy Shapiro write in the current issue of Foreign Affairs, “The returned fighter seasoned by battle acquires a new authority among his old friends and followers on social media – a street creed that allows him to recruit and radicalise others and send them into the fray.” On the other hand, because of the use of social media where the returnee sometimes brags about his exploits and adventures, it becomes easy for intelligence services both to track him down and know who he is trying to reach.

The threat posed by returning jihadists is too often hyped by both western politicians and the media. The numbers that go to fight from western countries is only about 2,500. Of course, even if only 25 percent at some point return that could be enough to cause mayhem, if that is what they are intent on doing. The impression that one used to get is that, until a few months ago, the jihadists did not think that much about their home countries. They were driven not by the wrongs at home but by the clarion call of the ultra militants of their Muslim sect, the Sunni, who want to cut down the Shias and establish their own caliphate. But now western airstrikes on the Sunni fighters of the Islamic State (IS) by western and Arab Gulf nations are well established – they began in August – there is talk among the foreign fighters about bringing home the war in revenge.

Even so, the situation must be kept in proportion. It used to be said there would be “blowback” from the war in Iraq. It did not happen. Second, many of these volunteers will never return as they will die in combat – the ferocity of the present fighting exceeds that of other recent conflicts – or join new military campaigns elsewhere or return home disillusioned and peacefully inclined. Third, thanks to pervasive intelligence, they are often arrested on their return. This year alone, the UK police say they have arrested 218 returnees and 40 British citizens are awaiting trial on terrorism charges. In Europe, five terrorist plots have been foiled but there has been no serious successful terrorism on European or US soil for a number of years. Fourth, the number of returnees who are still militants is not particularly large. One study found that only one in nine western fighters who went abroad between 1990 and 2010 came back determined to attack home targets.

Iraq offers other lessons. During the war against Iraq, initiated by President George W Bush and UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, dozens of Muslims from the US and Europe went to fight. Many became even more radicalised during the fighting and joined al Qaeda after it established a local affiliate in 2004. In 2005, the director of the CIA, Porter Goss, warned the Senate Select Committee, “Islamist extremists are exploiting the Iraqi conflict to recruit new anti-US jihadists.” In fact, terrorists failed to perpetuate attacks in the west, apart from a bungled one at Glasgow airport in 2007 (this was carried out not by returning jihadists but by a tiny group of home-grown al Qaeda sympathisers.) The experience of Iraq also points towards another problem for Jihadism: infighting among militants. The IS jihadists have to look three ways: towards the governments of Syria and Iraq, towards the danger from the sky and the threat from the less extreme militants in Syria who, although fighting the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, want to see IS eradicated.

But what to do about those who do try and return home to wage war? The UK government already has a policy in place that allows it to seize the passports of those it suspects of terrorism. That is one way to go. Another, as practiced in Saudi Arabia and Denmark, is to develop policies that would reintegrate them back into normal society. In Aarhus, Denmark, returning jihadists are met with counselling and career advice rather than jail. The thinking behind the Aarhus model is straightforward. Many of those who left were young men, some with few prospects, who did not feel welcome in Danish society. Interrogating and arresting them on their arrival could further radicalise them, but engaging them in dialogue might not.

In Saudi Arabia there are special (comfortable) detention facilities where returnees can learn true Islamic teaching, get counselling from psychologists and get job training. It does not always bear fruit but often enough it does. There is no real workable alternative.

Jonathan Power has been a foreign affairs columnist for the International Herald Tribune for 20 years and author of the much acclaimed new book, Conundrums of Humanity – the Big Foreign Policy Questions of Our Age. He may be contacted at jonathanpower95@gmail.com

Source: http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/opinion/03-Dec-2014/blowback-of-the-foreign-jihadists

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islam,terrorism-and-jihad/jonathan-power/blowback-of-the-foreign-jihadists?/d/100309

Refutation of Raymond Ibrahim’s Article ‘Islamic State Beheads, Mutilates, As the Quran Instructs’ – Part 3: Associating Terrorism With Islam Is Complete Distortion Of The Religion; Evidence from Qur’an

Refutation of Raymond Ibrahim’s Article ‘Islamic State Beheads, Mutilates, As the Quran Instructs’ – Part 3: Associating Terrorism With Islam Is Complete Distortion Of The Religion; Evidence from Qur’an

By Ghulam Ghaus, New Age Islam

02 December, 2014

In his article, Mr. Raymond Ibrahim has added some gory images portraying ISIL terrorists’ merciless crimes; mutilations and beheadings of those Muslims who the ISIL members considered ‘infidels’. By doing so, he wants to provoke fear of Islam as a religion and all Muslims as a community. He says: “Obama, Cameron etc all say Islamic State are just a bunch of barbarians, not real Muslims. But as they behead and mutilate “infidels” they’re only doing what the Koran and the Prophet instructs”. As such, he clearly supports the ISIL terrorists’ view of Islam that all so-called infidels, Muslim or non-Muslim, should be killed.

There is not an iota of doubt that such crimes — beheading, killing of innocent people including Muslims and non-Muslims, bombing public places, suicide attacks or disfiguring the dead bodies—are all anti-Islamic acts. Such acts never had and do not have any approval of the classical and widely approved jurists, scholars and majority mainstream Muslims. However, you can simply find terrorist outfits —ISIL, al-Qaeda, Taliban, Boko Haram etc — do such inhumane, anti-Islamic acts. And of course Saudi government too carries out beheadings of those it considers criminals regularly.

An open letter to ISIL also refutes Mr. Ibrahim force-fitted and totally mis-contextualized arguments

Recently more than 120 widely approved Muslim scholars from around the world approved an open letter to the head of ISIL, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, denouncing his terrorist group as anti-Islamic. The letter based upon the irrefutable references taken from the Qur’an and Hadith and released on Sep. 24, 2014 refutes the fanatical ideas of Mr. Ibrahim and the extremist ideologies of ISIL members committing the larger and more sweeping barbarism that has so far engulfed two Muslim countries, Iraq and Syria.

The letter can be summarised in the following paragraph: it is forbidden in Islam to kill innocent lives including Muslims, non-Muslims, emissaries, ambassadors, diplomats, journalists, aid workers, priests etc. Ignoring the reality of contemporary times is forbidden when issuing legal rulings. Jihad in Islam is merely a defensive war. It is not allowed in Islam to label any Muslim with Kufr unless he or she openly declares disbelief. All these acts—forcing people to convert, denying women, children of their rights, torturing the people, disfiguring the dead and attributing the evil and terrorist acts to God Almighty and demolishing the shrines and graves of any one of the holy Prophets and companions—are strictly forbidden in Islam.

Acts of terrorism that ISIL and Mr. Ibrahim associate with Islam are nothing but complete distortion of Islam:  Evidence from the Qur’an

Acts of terrorism practiced by ISIL or any of its allied groups in the name of Jihad are anti-Qur’an and Hadith. But Mr. Ibrahim says, “Islamic State beheads, mutilates as the Koran instructs”. Therefore, it is necessary to rebut his force-fitted and falsely-related ideas so that Muslims and non-Muslims may not adopt radical attitude towards one another.

Evidence from the Qur’an: 1

“Indeed, Allah enjoins justice and benevolence (towards everyone), and giving away to the kindred, and forbids indecency, evil deeds, defiance and terrorism (Baghya). He admonishes you so that you may remember with concern” (16:90)

The Arabic word ‘Baghya’ used in the verse above takes multiple meanings like terrorism, transgression, oppression, aggression, injustice, unfairness, tyranny and offense etc; each one of them has been declared forbidden or Haram, according to the Qur’anic verse.

Evidence from the Qur’an: 2

“Say: ‘Come, I will recite to you those things which your Lord has forbidden to you: Do not set up anything as a partner with Him; be morally excellent with parents; and do not kill your children owing to poverty. We alone give you sustenance and (will provide for) them as well. And do not draw near to shameful deeds (whether) open or hidden. And do not kill the soul whose (killing) Allah has forbidden, except when it is rightfully due (according to law in self-defence against disruption and whilst combating terrorism). It is these (injunctions) He has enjoined upon you so that you may apply reason.” (6:151)

Evidence from the Qur’an: 3

“And if any of the idolaters (caught in an armed encounter) seeks asylum with you, provide him with protection until he listens to the Words of Allah. Then escort him to his place of safety. This is because these people do not possess the knowledge (of the truth)” (9:6)

Evidence from the Qur’an: 4

“Say: ‘My Lord has declared unlawful only (all) the indecent acts which become known and which remain hidden, and sins and unjust excesses” (7:33)

Evidence from the Qur’an: 5

“On account of this, We prescribed (this commandment in the Torah sent down) to the Children of Israel that whoever killed a person (unjustly), except as a punishment for murder or for (spreading) disorder in the land, it would be as if he killed all the people (of society); and whoever (saved him from unjust murder and) made him survive, it would be as if he saved the lives of all the people (of society, i.e., he rescued the collective system of human life). And indeed, Our Messengers came to them with evident signs. Yet, even after that, the majority from amongst these people are certainly those who commit excesses in the land” (5:32)

Historically, it is irrefutable fact that during the earliest period of Islam of about twelve years in Makkah, the Muslims were savagely tortured, beaten, persecuted and even many of them were killed. The holy Qur’an testifies to this fact:

Evidence from the Qur’an: 6

“And remember when (numerically) you were small (i.e., in the minority, in the Makkan period,) and oppressed in the country (i.e., economically unstable and victims of exploitation). You were (also) afraid that (the powerful) people would snatch you away (i.e., socially too you were neither free nor secure). So, (after migration to Medina,) He (Allah) provided for you a free and secure abode, and strengthened you with His help and supplied you with sustenance of pure and wholesome things  so that you may give thanks to Allah (by means of absolute submission to Allah’s commands)” (8:26).

Evidence from the Qur’an: 7 (Eliminating the evil i.e. Terrorism, Violence, oppression etc. by means of good i.e. love, mildness, tolerance, moderation etc.

Nowhere the Qur’an says to repel good with evil deeds like terrorism, radicalism, extremism, fanaticism, barbarism, violence, unjustness, oppression and aggression etc. Rather it commands to eliminate the evil by means of good.

“And who remain steadfast in seeking the pleasure of their Lord, and establish Prayer, and spend (both) secretly and openly out of the sustenance We have provided, and continue eliminating evil by means of good; they are the ones for whom there is a (beautiful) home in the Hereafter” (13:22).

Evidence from the Qur’an: 8

“Repel evil in such a way as is best of all. We know best (the things) they say” (23:96)

Evidence from the Qur’an: 9 (Treating enemies in such a way they become the most warm-hearted friends)

“And good and evil cannot be equal. And remove the evil in a better (way) with the result that the one with whom you had rivalry becomes your most warm-hearted friend” (41:34)

Evidence from the Qur’an: 10 (During the Medinite period, Muslims were commanded to forgive their past enemies)

During the Medinite period (622-632), when the Muslims were safe from all kinds of oppression, aggression and terrorist activities of militant Arab pagans, they were commanded to forgive their past enemies. The following verse points out to this fact:

“And never let the enmity of a people incite you to aggression (against them) since they barred you from the Sacred House (i.e., visiting the Ka’bah). And always support one another in (the works of) righteousness and piety, but do not become accomplices in (works of) sin and transgression. And fear Allah persistently. Indeed, Allah awards severe punishment (to those who disobey and defy)” (5:2)

Evidence from the Qur’an: 11 (The balanced Approach of Islam towards every community)

“And, in the same way, (O Muslims,) We made you the best Ummah (Community—fair to all with a tolerant, moderate and balanced outlook) so that you may bear witness to the people, and (Our exalted) Messenger (blessings and peace be upon him) bears witness to you. And We appointed the Qibla (the direction of Prayer), which you used to face before, only to bring to light (by trial) who would follow (Our) Messenger and who would turn back upon his heels. And this (change of Qibla) was indeed a hard task, but not for those whom Allah blessed with guidance (and gnosis of spiritual truths). And it is not Allah’s Glory to void your faith (without any reason). Allah is surely Most Clement, Ever-Merciful to mankind.” (2:143)

Evidence from the Qur’an: 12

“And from amongst you there must be a community comprising the people who invite mankind towards piety, enjoin righteousness and forbid evil. And they are the successful people”. (3:104).

Evidence from the Qur’an: 13

“And who can be more pleasing in speech than one who calls towards Allah and does pious work and says: ‘Surely, I am of the obedient servants (of Allah and the Holy Prophet)’?” (41:33).

From the verses above it is very clear that Mutilations, beheadings, and killings of innocent lives, citizens including Muslims and non-Muslims—done by ISIL militants who are being supported by Islamophobes like Mr. Ibrahim in matter of forcefully linking such terrorist activities to Qur’an—are strictly forbidden, forbidden, forbidden (Haram) in Islam. Thus, by associating the Quran with such crimes, as ISIL and Mr. Ibrahim did, they should not inject further pain into sentiments of the oppressed, victimized Muslims of Iraq and Syria in particular, and the rest of majority mainstream Muslims in common.  Besides, Mr. Ibrahim should always remember that no matter ISIL or his Islamophobia industry stipulate those conditions which are in fact not meant in the holy Qur’an; these conditions will be invalid in Islam and hence it will remain the religion of peace.

Evidence from the Hadith

The prophet Muhammad peace be upon him said: “What about the people who stipulate conditions which are not present in Allah’s Laws? Whoever imposes conditions which are not present in Allah’s Laws; these conditions will be invalid for him, even if he imposed these conditions a hundred times. Allah’s conditions (Laws) are the truth and are more solid.” (Sahih al-Bukhari 2561, Book 50, Hadith 2)

As for the majority mainstream Muslims of peace, harmony, liberal attitude, they should keep on disseminating peace around the world and repelling every kind of terrorism, extremism and violence from the entire world. Apart from that, they ought to preach true spirit of Islam i.e. tolerance, peace, mutual harmony, love, requesting all not to trade revelations of Allah Almighty for a small (worldly) price, as the holy Qur’an says:

Evidence from the Qur’an: 14

“And believe in (the Book) that I have revealed (to My Messenger Muhammad [blessings and peace be upon him]), whilst it confirms (originally) that which you possess. And do not be the first to deny it, nor trade My Revelations for a small (worldly) price. And fear Me alone” (2:41).

Summing Up

Having analysed a number of arguments and Qur’anic evidences mentioned in all the three parts of the article, there should be no hesitation in believing that the Qur’an does not allow beheadings, mutilations and killing of any human being. It is equally forbidden to kill any innocent, Muslim or non-Muslim.

To say to Mr. Ibrahim, it is doubly distressing that he is blaming the entire community or the holy Qur’an for the actions of a crazy few. From a theological and moral point of view it is completely unfair to put the entire community in the dock. Undoubtedly, some evil-natured people make flawed interpretations of Islam. However it does not behove any good man to blame the Qur’an or all the real Muslims for the heinous actions of terrorist groups. He must have heard many times why Muslims don’t speak out against terror? Well, they do, but nobody pays attention, though their number, I believe, needs to increase. Not only Islam but also according to overwhelming majority of mainstream Muslims, beheadings and mutilations of any innocent human being  are a million miles away from Islam’s teachings.

Mr. Ibrahim, We Muslims have been refuting violent ideologies, taking every possible initiative to eliminate every kind of injustice, violence, terrorism growing in our multicultural societies across the world. Here, we should know we cannot eradicate such heinous crimes as a whole, but we can do it, even though a bit, at any level; social, cultural, national, international etc. No matter whatever way you, Mr. Ibrahim, adopt in order to foment hatred among Muslims and non-Muslims, Islam will remain forever to teach justice, tolerance, patience, peace and forbid what and how you say ‘beheadings’ and ‘mutilations’.

(Concluded)

A regular columnist and English-Arabic translator for New Age Islam, Ghulam Ghaus is an Alim and Fazil (Classical Islamic scholar) with a Sufi background. He has completed the classical Islamic sciences from a Delhi-based Sufi Islamic seminary Jamia Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia Zakir Nagar, New Delhi with specialization in Tafseer, Hadith and Arabic. He completed his Alimiat and Fazilat respectively from Jamia Warsia Arabic College, Lucknow and Jamia Manzar-e-Islam, Bareilly, U.P. He has graduated in Arabic (Hons) and is pursuing his M.A in Arabic from Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi.

URL of Part 2: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-ideology/refutation-of-raymond-ibrahim’s-article-entitled-‘islamic-state-beheads,-mutilates,-as-the-quran-instructs’—part-2–the-dreadful-story-of-abu-jahl’s-torture-of-early-muslims/d/100166

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-ideology/ghulam-ghaus,-new-age-islam/refutation-of-raymond-ibrahim’s-article-‘islamic-state-beheads,-mutilates,-as-the-quran-instructs’—part-3–associating-terrorism-with-islam-is-complete-distortion-of-the-religion;-evidence-from-qur’an/d/100290

Refutation Of Raymond Ibrahim’s Article Entitled ‘Islamic State Beheads, Mutilates, As The Quran Instructs’ – Part 1: Don’t Ignore The Context Of Quran’s Verses Or The Asbab Al-Nuzul

By Ghulam Ghaus, New Age Islam

20 November, 2014

The Islamophobia industry is viciously attacking Islam from all possible angles. It has in a way joined hands with the so-called Islamist terrorists in thrusting the world into the fire of hatred and prejudice. One of the senior workers in the Islamophobia industry is Mr. Raymond Ibrahim who overnight turned from “research librarian” into an “Islamic-scholar,” though completely bereft of true spirit of Islam.  He recently penned an article titled “Islamic State beheads, mutilates as the Quran instructs” posted in the renowned website “The Commentator”. (link below).

Did Mr. Raymond Urge Mr. Obama And Cameron To Kill All Real Muslims?

His ideas based on totally distorted version of Islam vividly seem to ask Mr. Barak Obama and Cameron to eliminate not only the ISIL barbarians but also mainstream, moderate Muslims.  At the very outset of his article, he says: “Obama, Cameron etc all say Islamic State are just a bunch of barbarians, not real Muslims. But as they behead and mutilate “infidels” they’re only doing what the Quran and the Prophet instructs”.

Associating the ISIL and its like-minded terrorist outfits with true Islam and majority mainstream Muslims has been one of the founding principles of Islamophobes. This is only due to the evil intentions of such so-called “counter-terrorism humans”. They pretend to fight against terrorism but I see their literatures are creating another kind of extremism, terrorism, radicalism, barbarism etc. Mr. Raymond’s article can be taken as an example.

The US and Arab allies are united to eradicate the terrorist outfit ISIL. Islamic scholars from around the world have issued a number of fatwas condemning all of the ISIL atrocities—mutilation, beheading, merciless killing of innocent lives etc. But what Mr. Raymond exactly wants, a man of even the slightest intelligence can easily understand from his violent article. He is asking US President Obama and British Prime Minister Cameron to kill all Muslims as he says, “(when) they behead and mutilate “infidels” they’re only doing what the Quran and the Prophet instructs”.

Islamophobes and Terrorist Organizations Fomenting Radicalism

Before refuting his force-fitted arguments, it should be noted that Islamophobes like Mr. Raymond Ibrahim are distorting the true spirit of Islam, and same is true of terrorist organizations like ISIL, Taliban, al-Qaeda etc. Thus, in matter of fomenting extremism and radicalism, there is a huge similarity among Islamophobes, ISIL and its like-minded terrorist groups.

Like ISIL and Taliban Mr. Raymond quoted the Qur’anic Verses Totally out of Context

To prove his Islamophobic point, Mr. Raymond has quoted the Qur’anic verses 9:14- 15 out of context, without understanding the reasons and circumstances (Asbab al-Nuzul) of these verses. This process, no matter who started it for the first time, is injecting evil virus into about all societies across the world. In his article, though Mr. Raymond says, “to understand the significance of any Quran verse, one must turn to the Sira and Hadith—the biography and anecdotes of Muhammad, respectively—for context”, he has fully ignored the relevant context while mentioning the two verses 9:14, 15 and abruptly jumped out of context to describe the state of Abu Jahl. By doing so, it seems he wants to provoke Mr. Obama, Cameron and all non-Muslims to eradicate Muslims from the world, because these Muslims will never disbelieve in the Qur’an and Hadith.

Unlawfulness of Misquoting or cherry-picking the Qur’anic Verses in the Qur’an

The significance of the context to understand the Qur’an and Hadith can and should be seen in the principles of Islamic jurisprudence and exegesis. In accordance with the methodology established by the Qur’an and Hadith, it is strictly prohibited to cherry-pick an extract from the Qur’an without understanding it within its full context. Allah Almighty says:

“Do you believe in some parts of the Book and deny some others? So he who does so from amongst you, what can be his punishment but disgrace (and humiliation) in the worldly life? And (also) on the Day of Resurrection, (such people) will be returned to the most ruthless torment. And Allah is not unaware of your deeds” (2:85)

“Then We laid Our curse on them because of their breach of promise (i.e., they were deprived of Our mercy), and We made their hearts callous (i.e., they were deprived of guidance and susceptibility. So,) they change the Words (of Allah’s Book) from their (right) places, and have forgotten a (major) portion of that (guidance) which they were urged upon. And you will continue being informed about one or the other of their treachery, except a few of them (who have embraced faith). So pardon them and forbear. Indeed, Allah loves the benefactors” (5:13)

“Those who divided the Qur’an into pieces (and split it, i.e., accepted the favourable Verses but rejected the others)” (15:91)

The verses mentioned above guide people to understand verses in context. Thus, to understand any Qur’anic verse or Hadith, every exegete should ponder over the relevant context in its entirety, and not depending on only parts of it. Having gathered all the relevant scriptural texts, he should distinguish the ‘general’ from the ‘specific’, the ‘conditional’ from the ‘unconditional’ and the ‘unequivocal’ from the ‘allegorical’. Besides, it is essential for him to consider the reasons and circumstances of revelation (Asbab al-Nuzul) and all the other interpretive conditions specified by the classical Islamic jurists and scholars.

Widely Approved Reasons and Circumstances (Asbab al-Nuzul) of the Qur’anic verses 9:14-15

The exact context of the verses 9:14, 15, which Mr. Raymond quoted to incite extremism and fanaticism among Muslims and non-Muslims, basically starts from the verse 9:12. Before quoting these verses within full context, we should take into consideration their reasons and circumstances (Asbab al-Nuzul).

According to the widely renowned and unanimously accepted books of exegesis—Tafsir al-Qurtubi, Tafseer al-Tabari, Tafsir al-Baghawi (also known as Ma’alim at-Tanzeel), Tafsir Al-Tahrir Wal Tanwir’ (also known as Tafsir Ibn ‘Ashur), Tafsir ibn Kathir, Tafsir al-Kabir (The Large Commentary, also known as Mafatih al-Ghayb), Tafsir al-Jalalayn—, these verses (9:12, 13, 14, 15) were revealed after the then pagans of Makkah broke the treaty of peace known as Sulh al-Hudaibiya and restored the state of war. Taking into consideration Asbab al-Nuzul, these verses can now be understood well as follows:

“And if after making a promise (for peaceful bilateral relations), they break their oaths, (and restore the state of war,) and taunt you with sarcasm in your Din (Religion), then wage (defensive) war against (those) chieftains of disbelief (to eliminate any chance of mischief, violence and revolt). Surely, their oaths are not worth any regard, so that they may desist (from their mischief-mongering). (9:12)

“Will you not fight a people who broke their oaths (violating the peace treaty and restoring the state of war), and decided to banish the Messenger (blessings and peace be upon him) whilst the first time it is they who initiated war against you? Do you fear them? But Allah has more right that you should fear Him, provided you are believers. (9:13)

“Fight against them (to establish peace). Allah will torment them at your hands and will humiliate them, and will help you (in your defensive fight) against them, and will heal the breasts of the believers. (9:14)

“And He will remove the distress and fury in their hearts, and will accept repentance of whom He wills. And Allah is All-Knowing, Most Wise. (9:15)”

It has been clear from the verses above that fighting was ordered only against those who broke the treaty of peace (Sulh al-Hudaibiya) and restored the state of war. There was no option left for the then believers other than defending their lives and rights to freely practice their religion. The situation in which these verses were revealed is entirely different from today’s bloody events taking place in Iraq and Syria. Innocent emissaries, journalists like James Foley and Steven Sotloff, citizens including Muslims and non-Muslims living in Iraq and Syria or elsewhere being killed by ISIL or its allies are not in any way like those Arab pagans who had compelled the then believers to either defend themselves or be killed. So, from the Islamic perspective, it is a great injustice to forcefully attach today’s situation to that of the early period of Islam. But Mr. Raymond did not care about this injustice and quoted such verses out of context to defame Islam and incite fanaticism among Muslims and non-Muslims. He is clearly following the behaviour of ISIL, though he may pretend to oppose it.

A regular columnist and English-Arabic translator for New Age Islam, Ghulam Ghaus is an Alim and Fazil (Classical Islamic scholar) with a Sufi background. He has completed the classical Islamic sciences from a Delhi-based Sufi Islamic seminary Jamia Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia Zakir Nagar, New Delhi with specialization in Tafseer, Hadith and Arabic. He completed his Alimiat and Fazilat respectively from Jamia Warsia Arabic College, Lucknow and Jamia Manzar- e- Islam, Bareilly, U.P. He has graduated in Arabic (Hons) and is pursuing his M.A in Arabic from Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi.

(To be continued)

Link of Mr. Raymond’s article:  http://www.thecommentator.com/article/5247/islamic_state_beheads_mutilates_as_the_Quran_instructs

 

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-ideology/ghulam-ghaus,-new-age-islam/refutation-of-raymond-ibrahim’s-article-entitled-‘islamic-state-beheads,-mutilates,-as-the-quran-instructs’—part-1–don-t-ignore-the-context-of-quran-s-verses-or-the-asbab-al-nuzul/d/100105