Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Ethiopia Jails 20 Muslims Accused of Pursuing Sharia State
















Afghan Shiites hold posters and chant slogans during a demonstration in Herat on January 3, 2017 © Aref Karimi / AFP
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Ethiopia Jails 20 Muslims Accused of Pursuing Sharia State
Edicts Cannot Become Established Law: Indonesian Muslim Scholar
Britishers FURIOUS Over Pakistan’s Benazir Income Support Programme

Africa
Ethiopia Jails 20 Muslims Accused of Pursuing Sharia State
Somalia: SNA, AU Forces Push Al Shabaab Out of Town in Southern Somalia
East Libya Strongman Says No Talks Planned With Rival in West: Paper
Sultan’s visit to Enugu united Christians, Muslims
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Southeast Asia
Edicts Cannot Become Established Law: Indonesian Muslim Scholar
Muslim Leader in Indonesia Faces Blasphemy Charges after 'Offensive' Comment about Jesus
Divide and rule: the racist roots of Malaysia’s Redshirt movement
Ahok Denies Accepting FPI Witness' Testimony in Blasphemy Trial
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Europe
Britishers FURIOUS Over Pakistan’s Benazir Income Support Programme
Do Not Blame Muslims for De-Christianisation of Europe, Says Leading Cardinal
Berlin’s iconic Brandenburg Gate illuminated in colors of Turkish flag after Istanbul attack
Let's Treat the Far Right Like We Do Islamic State in Our War against Recruiting
Undermining terror: the Moroccan plan to promote moderation
Two British-Pakistani campaigners appointed advisers to European Conservatives
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Arab World
Air Strikes on Ex-Nusra Front Building Kill At Least 25: Monitor
ISIL Evacuates Families of Non-Syrian Fighters from Hasaka Battlefields
Ex-Qaeda affiliate leaders among 25 dead in Syria strike
Iraqi PM urges global support to eliminate Daesh
Iraqi forces liberate 3 eastern Mosul districts from terrorits’ grip
Nusra-Linked Associations Promoting Al-Muhaysini's Thoughts at Turkish Academic Centers
Terrorists Violating Aleppo Agreement, Blocking Exit of Hundreds of Injured Civilians from Fua'a, Kafraya
ISIL Terrorist Group Entangled in Severe Financial Crisis
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Pakistan
Trump Transition Team Issues Veiled Threat To Pakistan
Hindu Lawmaker Upset Over Use Of Word ‘Minority’ For Non-Muslim Pakistanis
Peaceful coexistence, mutual respect major foreign policy objectives: PM Nawaz
Collective decision making imperative for regional stability: Ayaz Sadiq
CM Shahbaz says modern technology being used to curb crimes, terrorism
Nisar ‘adamant’ to challenge Quetta Commission report
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South Asia
Thousands of Shias protest against ISIS in Afghanistan
10 ISIS Fighters among 58 Militants Killed, Claims Afghan Defense Ministry
Suicide bomber killed by own explosives in Zabul mosque
Hundreds of Afghan protest against IS killings
Ambush kills at least 4 policemen in Afghanistan
Image insulting Islam not uploaded on Facebook using Hindu fisherman’s phone: PBI
Dostum’s office angrily reacts at Ata Mohammad Noor remarks
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India
Israel’s New Delhi Envoy: Jewish State Appreciates Shift in India’s Voting Pattern at UN Institutions
Pakistan must stop cross-border terrorism; Indian Army has the will to strike back: Army chief Bipin Rawat
A dusty town, Azamgarh, in UP struggles to live down terror taint
Expect China to support India's stand on Masood Azhar, says Rajnath Singh
Jammu and Kashmir Police apprehends LeT terrorist
Turkey nightclub shooting: Bodies of two Indian victims reach Mumbai
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Mideast
Arab Coalition Strikes Kill Houthi Chiefs in Yemen
Israeli Troops Abduct 30 Palestinians, Demolish Homes in West Bank
Federation Launches Legal Proceedings against Muslim Televangelist Who Said ‘Playing Chess Sinful Than Gambling’
16 Yemeni soldiers killed in clashes with rebels, Qaeda
Turkey approves extending state of emergency by three months
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North America
Possible Muslim Registry Raises Moral Questions
Will Donald Trump's election put America first and global conflict next?
U.S. Muslims might have an ally in Kelly
Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau
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Ethiopia Jails 20 Muslims Accused of Pursuing Sharia State
JAN. 3, 201
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — An Ethiopian court has sentenced 20 Muslims to prison after they were found guilty of trying to establish a state ruled by Sharia law and inciting violence.
They were charged under Ethiopia's controversial anti-terrorism law and convicted last month. All but one received prison terms of five and a half years. Two were journalists working for a Muslim radio station.
The state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting Corporate, citing the court ruling, said Tuesday that the 20 defendants also were found to be "participating in a movement to secure the release of another Muslim group that was under detention."
Muslims have long felt marginalized in Ethiopia and have carried out a number of protests since 2011. Some were met with force, and many protest leaders were jailed.
"The defendants didn't get a fair trial. In fact, we didn't expect the court to give a fair verdict," Mustafa Safi, the defendants' lawyer, told The Associated Press. "They were subjected to both a mistrial and a bad treatment at the infamous Kilinto detention center. They were even unable to pray there. But we will appeal the sentencing anyway."
The defendants had been trying to secure the release of a group of Muslims that had formed to counter government interference in their religious affairs but was detained on terror-related charges. Five members of that group were pardoned in September.
Ethiopia, a strong security ally of the West, is often accused of stifling dissent and jailing opposition groups and critical journalists. The country is currently under a state of emergency declared in October following widespread anti-government protests demanding greater political freedoms.
http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2017/01/03/world/africa/ap-af-ethiopia-muslims-sentenced.html?_r=0
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Edicts Cannot Become Established Law: Indonesian Muslim Scholar
Jan 4, 2017
Jakarta. The leader of a national group of Muslim scholars says edicts issued by the country's highest Islamic clerical body cannot serve as legal references and that they should only apply internally.
The statement runs contrary to that of leaders of the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), which said its edicts should be taken into consideration when the government draws up new regulations.
"They can't become established laws. But just respect them, don't oppose them with state laws," Indonesian Muslim Scholars Association (ICMI) chairman Jimly Asshiddiqie told the media on Tuesday (03/01).
"Edicts are basically imposed only within religious communities. And the MUI edicts are no different from religious calls from other religious leaders," said Jimly, who is a former chairman of the Constitutional Court.
Recent edicts by the MUI have drawn criticism from pro-democracy activists, who said it was politically motivated and frequently sparked religious intolerance.
http://jakartaglobe.id/news/edicts-cannot-become-established-law-muslim-scholar/
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Britishers FURIOUS over Pakistan’s Benazir Income Support Programme
January 3, 2017
LONDON – A host of leading academics, aid campaigners and politicians in Britain are fuming over their government for doling out more than £1billion of foreign aid budget to Pakistan in cash over the past five years.
As much as £300million is being lavished on a scheme – Benazir Income Support Programme – that the Brits say is riddled with corruption.
Around 235,000 families are pocketing payments every three months to boost their incomes, funded by UK taxpayers. Despite judging the scheme high risk, Whitehall officials plan to expand it to 441,000 Pakistani households by 2020.
Where the budget has soared from £53million in 2005 to an annual average of £219million in the period 2011-15, British MPs have compared the foreign cash handouts to ‘exporting the dole’.
They claim large amounts of their money is being stolen or embezzled, while still more goes to well-heeled charity bosses and high-earning consultants.
They are calling upon the British government to ditch the commitment to spend 0.7 per cent of national income on foreign aid.
Nigel Evans, an MP who sits on the Commons international development committee, says that while he supports cash transfer programmes in very limited circumstances – such as ‘a crisis or emergency where it is the only way to give help’ – in the case of BISP we are simply ‘exporting the dole to Pakistan, which is clearly not a good idea’.
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He said: “Normally this sort of aid is only given in a crisis or emergency when it is the only way to give help.
“It only should be a temporary measure, but it seems like we’re exporting the dole to Pakistan, which is clearly not a clever idea. Anything that involves money needs to be properly scrutinized and is clearly open to fraud with money siphoned away when it ought to be directed to those most in need.”
“This is something that International Development Secretary Priti Patel needs to look at urgently to ensure that there is proper accounting for how this money is being delivered,” the MP added.
Benazir Income Support Programme
More than 9.3million people across 14 countries, including Yemen, Bangladesh and Rwanda, have received cash payments funded by the British government since 2010.
In Pakistan, families get 4,500 rupees (£34.50) a quarter, which they can spend however they want, as part of the Benazir Income Support Programme. British taxpayers currently fund 7 per cent of the BISP programme, although in previous years the UK contribution has been nearly 20 per cent.
One in ten people get their money in envelopes at post offices, while others get cash cards that are regularly topped up with money that they can withdraw or use in shops.
The Daily Mail found people in a village on the outskirts of Peshawar taking out money from cash points with cards they said they had been given after paying kickbacks to officials.
Safiullah Khan, 49, a cart pusher in the Khyber Bazaar area of the city, told the British daily that a local councilor demanded a bribe to enroll his family in the programme. “I paid the money and my card was prepared,” he added.
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“My income is not enough to cover day-to-day expenses of my family, so someone in my neighborhood told me about the BISP card.
“I went to see my local councilor, and he asked for a bribe for enrolling my name into the programme. After a few months, I managed to find this amount, and so my card was eventually prepared.”
Kishwar Bobo, a 53-year-old mother of eight from Sheikhupura district of Punjab, says she managed to obtain a BISP card because her brother belongs to the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q), an opposition party with contacts in the local administrative office. However there are no ATM machines in her village, forcing her to pay a ‘commission’ to a shopkeeper.
“Whenever payments come into the bank, I give my card to the owner of the grocery store, with an extra 300 rupees (£2.30),” she says. “He will withdraw the cash for me when he next travels to the bank.”
‘Tales of corruption’
Also last year, in Pakistan, several newspapers reported that a nationwide probe was being launched ‘after growing number of complaints about fake accounts and alleged corruption’ from project staff. Seven employees were suspended on corruption charges and 125,714 suspicious accounts were suspended.
In August 2016, the National Accountability Bureau also said to have summoned BISP’s former chairman, Farzana Raja, for interrogation over the alleged embezzlement of around £23million from its advertising budget. The allegations, stretching back to before 2012, remain unproven.
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The Daily Mail also quoted Abdul Malik Baloch, the ex-chief minister of Balochistan, complaining about ‘massive corruption’ in the programme.
“Uneducated people registered with the BISP do not know how to use the ATMs to draw the money. They are also deprived of the money at the post offices and the BISP offices by the staff,” Baloch had said.
The BISP scheme was set up by Asif Ali Zardari, the widower of Benazir Bhutto, in 2008, a year after her assassination, and was seen as an attempt to help him be re-elected as president.
The vast majority of this cash – £279million – is supposed to be handed directly to the country’s most impoverished citizens, sometimes via debit cards, at other times in envelopes stuffed with banknotes. The remaining £21million pays for ‘technical support’ for the BISP scheme.
Despite all the criticism, the Department for International Development defends the cash transfers and says in Pakistan it has started rolling out biometric payment cards, which verify who people are with their fingerprints, in order to cut out middlemen. A spokesman said: “Cash transfers allow aid to be more efficiently targeted to those who need it, when they need it.
“In Pakistan, the use of biometric payments makes our programme one of the most secure cash transfers in the world, and means British taxpayers can be sure that the help they provide goes to the less fortunate, not those abusing the system. We have a zero-tolerance approach to fraud and corruption.”
‘Charity begins at home’
The Daily Mail also cited a couple of Pakistani academics in Britain highlighting the ‘flawed’ scheme which contains a political aspect as well.
Professor Zaidi has argued that the huge amounts being spent on aid to Pakistan means that British workers are effectively ‘subsidizing’ Pakistan’s elite.
“Less than 1 per cent of Pakistan’s population pays any income tax,” he said. “Many members of parliament and other respected members of society avoid taxes because it is so easy. By continuing to give Pakistan aid, donors have allowed Pakistan’s elite to avoid and ignore major reforms.”
Ehtisham Ahmad of the London School of Economics says cash transfers can become a poverty trap that distorts the economy by dissuading people from getting jobs.
He has given evidence to British Parliament describing BISP as particularly flawed, because it has been named after the assassinated politician Benazir Bhutto. Her image appears on the debit cards used to access cash, making the scheme overtly party political.
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Dr Ahmad argued in 2012 that British taxpayers were effectively ‘contributing to her party’s election campaigns’.
The UK is the only member of the G7 group of leading nations even close to hitting the target of spending 0.7 per cent of national income overseas.
Since 2004 the amount Britain hands to foreign governments and other aid bodies has rocketed by 144 per cent, according to the G7.
Germany, France, Italy, the US, Japan and Canada each spend just 0.4 per cent or less. Over the past decade, spending on aid by Japan is up by just 4 per cent and France by 25 per cent.
One dollar in every five spent by the G7 on aid now comes from British taxpayers – despite huge public concern over corruption and waste.
https://en.dailypakistan.com.pk/pakistan/charity-begins-at-home-brits-furious-over-pakistans-benazir-income-support-programme/
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Africa

Somalia: SNA, AU forces push Al Shabaab out of town in southern Somalia
03.01.2017
HUDUR, Somalia- Somali National Army (SNA) along with African Union troops have seized control of town in Bakool region from Al Shabaab militants during a major offensive on Tuesday, Garowe Online reports.
General Hassan Baydhobo, a top commander of SNA in the front line said allied troops recaptured Mooro-Gabey, about 30 km south of Hudur town, after Al Shabaab fighters have fled the areas without resistant on Tuesday morning.
The seized village has been under the control of Al Shabaab fighters for the past  months.
The SNA commander said the joint troops will step up their military operations to wipe out Al Qaeda-linked Al shabaab militants from the few remaining pockets in Bakool region.
“The Somali Federal government forces backed by AMISOM troops will keep on moving until they eradicate Al Shabaab and its sympathizers from the entire Bakool region,” he added.
-Al shabaab cuts off men’s hands for stealing’
Al Shabaab militants cut off hands of two Somali men, accused of stealing in a rebel-held area near Kuntuwarey town in Lower Shabelle region on Monday afternoon.
The two men, Abdulkadir Madey Robow, 20, and Madey Enow Aden, 23, have pleaded guilty during Al Shabaab trial to stealing money estimated $250 from a shop in Dhega-Barow village, according to an order issued by the group’s Judge.
The judge has ordered the right hands of both men to be cut off publicly in the area, with reports that hundreds of local residents, including women and children were forced to watch the brutal punishment.
Al Shabaab militants fighting to overthrow the western-backed Somali government in Mogadishu, is known for its brutal actions of punishing residents for theft and espionage charges in areas under their control.
http://www.garoweonline.com/en/news/somalia/somalia-sna-au-forces-push-al-shabaab-out-of-town-in-southern-somalia
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East Libya strongman says no talks planned with rival in west: paper
Jan 4, 2017
TRIPOLI: Eastern Libya's dominant military figure has no plans to resume talks with his UN-backed rival in the west, according to comments in an interview that may further dent foreign hopes of an end to years of conflict in the divided country.
Strongman Khalifa Haftar and Fayez Seraj, who heads the internationally recognised administration in Tripoli, were expected to meet in Algiers in coming days, a source close to the Algerian government said.
They were to discuss the possibility of forming a government of national union, the source told Reuters.
But Haftar said talks with Seraj begun 2-1/2 years ago had yielded no result and the existing state of war now required combat rather than politics.
"Once the extremists are defeated we can go back to talking about democracy and elections. But not now," Haftar was quoted as telling Tuesday's edition of Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.
The outlook for Seraj's government, already uncertain as it struggles to fulfill Western hopes that it could bring stability to Libya, worsened on Monday when one of its deputy leaders announced his resignation, saying it had failed to tackle urgent problems.
Haftar said his forces now controlled about 80 per cent of the country, according to the newspaper.
A deeply divisive figure portrayed by his rivals as a military strongman seeking national power, he has been waging a campaign against Islamists and other opponents in eastern Libya for more than two years.
Full report at:
http://nation.com.pk/international/03-Jan-2017/east-libya-strongman-says-no-talks-planned-with-rival-in-west-paper
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Sultan’s visit to Enugu united Christians, Muslims
Jan 4, 2017
ENUGU—The Archbishop of Enugu Ecclesiastical Province, Anglican Communion, Archbishop Emmanuel Chukwuma has noted that the visit of the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, to Enugu has allayed fears among the Igbo and fostered unity between the Christians and the Muslims.
He added that the Sultan took time to explain certain issues to leaders of both the Christian and Muslim community bordering on security, peace and national unity, emphasizing that they understood themselves after the dialogue.
The cleric also extolled Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi’s leadership qualities, describing him as the most friendly governor who remains committed to the welfare of the people, in spite of the prevailing economic challenges in the country.
Archbishop Chukwuma said that Ugwuanyi has inspired the people of the state through his humility, peaceful disposition, closeness to God and good governance, adding that the people will remember him for the legacies he will be leaving behind after his time in office.
“The governor has been so friendly, so good and takes everything so easy and shows concern for people’s affairs. I have never seen any governor that is as friendly as this governor. That is how to govern because our Lord Jesus Christ lowered Himself for him to be exalted,” Archbishop Chukwuma said.
The Archbishop spoke at the New Year prayer session to mark the official resumption of work at the Government House, Enugu.
The cleric commended the governor for sustaining the New Year prayer and urged him not to be afraid to take tough decisions that are in the overall interest of the people.
“We want to thank you for the courage you have demonstrated in handling the problem of the New Artisan Market, Enugu.
“Sometime ago, we were so much apprehensive of what will be your stand concerning this market. It was becoming a menace , with people taking laws into their hands, culminating in the killing of a policeman.
”So we support the closure of the market and call for its relocation to improve the security of the state,” the Archbishop declared.
Full report at:
http://www.nigeriatoday.ng/2017/01/sultans-visit-to-enugu-united-christians-muslims-bishop-chukwuma/
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Southeast Asia

Muslim Leader In Indonesia Faces Blasphemy Charges After 'Offensive' Comment About Jesus
03 January 2017
The Muslim leader of a protest against the Christian governor of Jakarta for alleged blasphemy is now facing the same charge after a group of Catholics accused him of making an offensive comment about Jesus.
According to Asia News, Rizieq Shihab, the leader of the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) was seen in a video saying on Christmas day: "If God had a son, then who was the midwife?" He was apparently explaining why Muslims should not allow others to wish them a merry Christmas.
Members of the Indonesian Catholic Students Association (PMKRI) saw footage of the speech and decided to take Rizieq to court, accusing him and two others of blasphemy under section A of Article 156 of the Constitution. If convicted, the Muslim leader could face five years in prison.
PMKRI president Angelius Wake Kako said the religious feelings of Christians "have been hurt and humiliated", adding that every Indonesian "should respect diversity and not interfere in the private affairs of other religions". He continued: "Only Christians know the Christian faith. It is better for all those who do not have that knowledge to be silent."
Rizieq has said that the accusations of blasphemy are "misguided" and that the matter is "not sufficient for a police report". His group has also threatened to report the people who filed the lawsuit against him for defamation or slander.
Rizieq and his organisation are behind several mass demonstrations that have drawn hundreds of thousands of Muslims to Jakarta to protest against the capital's Christian governor, Basuki Purnama Tjahaja, known as Ahok.
Ahok – who is is ethnic Chinese and the first Christian in nearly 50 years to govern Indonesia's capital – is charged with violating blasphemy laws during a speech to fishermen in September.
Ahok reportedly cited a verse from the Quran that warns Muslims against taking Christians and Jews as allies. He is said to have added that due to Indonesia's transition to democracy in 1999, it was perfectly acceptable for Muslim voters to choose a Christian in the election for governor in February.
Ahok has denied the charges, saying that his comments were aimed at politicians "incorrectly" using the Koranic verse against him.
According to Reuters, an Indonesian court last Tuesday rejected the defense request to throw out the case because of too many irregularities. The next court hearing is scheduled for today and will be moved to an auditorium in the agriculture ministry, south of the city for security reasons, authorities said.
Blasphemy convictions in Indonesia almost always result in conviction, and the law has been criticised by Amnesty International for hurting freedom of expression and for targeting religious minorities.
Indonesia technically guarantees freedom of religion in its constitution but in reality only six religions are recognised and tough blasphemy laws control debate and target minorities.
Christians represent less than 10 per cent of the 250 million population.
http://www.christiantoday.com/article/muslim.leader.in.indonesia.faces.blasphemy.charges.after.offensive.comment.about.jesus/103527.htm
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Divide and rule: the racist roots of Malaysia’s Redshirt movement
January 3, 2017
On 19 November, before they were scoured from the streets of Kuala Lumpur by water cannons wielded by armoured riot police, a mob of red-draped men charged toward the capital’s Chinatown. Ostensibly organised as a pro-government response to Bersih 5, the latest anti-corruption demonstration led by the Coalition for Free and Fair Elections (Bersih), the counter-protest quickly descended into a nationalist rally, with slurs chanted against Malaysia’s ethnic Chinese minority.
Led by United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) division chief Jamal Yunos, the so-called Redshirt movement describes itself as a defender of “Malay dignity” in the face of what it claims are largely Chinese-driven protests to overthrow a democratically elected government. Dominated by the nativist UMNO party, Malaysia’s ruling Barisan Nasional coalition government has been wracked by accusations of corruption, incompetence and increasingly totalitarian crackdowns on their critics, as movements such as Bersih struggle for even the most meagre electoral reforms. Promising to meet protest with protest, the Redshirts’ response to the November Bersih 5 demonstrations was punctuated by pledges of violent reprisal against those marching on the wrong side of the police barrier. And it is in this threat, experts say, that the guiding hand behind the Redshirt resurgence, after a year of relative quiet, is laid bare.
Ross Tapsell, a lecturer and researcher at Australian National University’s College of Asia and the Pacific, said the Redshirt movement had been cynically created to drive a wedge between Malaysian voters.
“The Redshirts and their backers are trying to polarise Malaysian politics further, mostly on ethnic and religious grounds, by claiming the Bersih supporters, or ‘Yellowshirts’, are predominantly opposition voters of Chinese heritage, and the Redshirts are the ‘pro-Malay’ group,” he said.
Rather than allow Bersih’s demands for clean elections to resonate with the public, Tapsell said, the Redshirt movement had redrawn the battle lines into something more closely resembling a tribal brawl – with predictable consequences. “Bersih’s goals and the ethnic background of their supporters are much more diverse than the Redshirts give them credit for, but the effect has been to make these protests [about] free and fair elections to be more of a street ‘battle’ between coloured shirts of political parties – think Thailand,” he said.
According to Gerhard Hoffstaedter, a lecturer in anthropology at the University of Queensland and the author of Modern Muslim Identities: Negotiating Religion and Ethnicity in Malaysia, it is a tactic that has been used to stifle real reform for more than half a century.
“By collapsing important human rights issues and the demand for free elections into the racial politics that have dominated Malaysian politics since independence, the Redshirts aim to discredit universal claims to freedoms and mire their demand in a zero-sum game,” he said. “That game rests on pitting ethnic groups against each other and has proven a potent electoral tool.”
Despite making up almost one third of Malaysia’s population, the nation’s ethnic Chinese community has increasingly been cast as outsiders in the Muslim Malay-dominated country. Accused of forming a cabal controlling the Malaysian economy, the community has been the target of rising resentment from elements of a majority desperate for a scapegoat. In July 2015, the resentment exploded into fully fledged violence as a mob of 200 Malays set upon a handful of ethnic Chinese after rumours spread that a Chinese trader had sold a young Malay man a counterfeit phone. In reality, the Malay man had stolen it.   
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak addresses delegates at a UMNO event
Standing firm: Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak addresses delegates at a UMNO event. Photo: Joshua Paul/AP
For some, the discrimination has become more than they can bear. In 2015 alone the number of Malaysians seeking protection visas in Australia rose to more than 2,000 – more than double the amount of the previous year. An annual report by Australia’s Migration Review Tribunal citing testimony from the applicants revealed a litany of persecution faced by Malaysia’s ethnic Chinese community who, like all non-Malay citizens, have been denied the same opportunities as their neighbours by a constitution that explicitly grants greater rights and freedoms to those with Malay heritage.
An ethnic Chinese-Malaysian woman whose family business was allegedly closed down after repeated threats and blackmail attempts from the local Malay-dominated government, described how her family had been reduced to second-class citizens in their own country.  
“We are living like a dog,” she told the tribunal. “In the past, the Malaysian government kept watch on all the Chinese; if the Chinese children want to enter public school, it would be a very difficult thing, almost impossible… the government does not care about us.”
By painting the protesters as little more than scheming Chinese dissidents backed by foreign powers, the Redshirts have tapped into a sense of widespread insecurity that has echoes of the fear and uncertainty that drove Britain from the EU and propelled US President-elect Donald Trump into the White House. According to Hoffstaedter, by positioning Malaysia’s vast Muslim majority as somehow under threat, the Redshirts – and the ruling coalition – could then paint themselves not as bigots defending the status quo but fierce defenders of the nation’s heritage and institutions.
“The rhetoric they engage in involves portraying Malays and Muslims to be losing out or not winning any longer, and… the continued dominance of Malayness/Islam can only be enshrined and protected by UMNO,” he said.
Khoo Ying Hooi, a senior lecturer in international relations at the University of Malaya, said that racial prejudice had often been used to shut down dissent.
“Whenever we have a political crisis, the issue [of race] is very often politicised,” she said.
By playing to the public’s darkest prejudices, Khoo added, the Redshirts sent a clear threat to those who would risk the fury of the mob to win reforms.
“Religion is a sensitive issue in Malaysia,” she said. “Whatever is being played out along that line, it also sends a little warning to the opposition political parties or the civil society movement in general, because nobody wants to create a platform for any kind of controversies that surround racial issues or anything to do with religion.”
Despite public denouncements by high-ranking UMNO cabinet ministers, the presence of several UMNO youth officials within the ranks of the Redshirts and, more damningly, Jamal Yunos’ own admission that many of the movement’s followers come from within the political party have raised questions as to just how spontaneous the allegedly grassroots response to Bersih has been.
Full report at:
http://sea-globe.com/malaysia-redshirt-movement/
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Ahok Denies Accepting FPI Witness' Testimony in Blasphemy Trial
Jan 4, 2017
Jakarta. Prasetio Edi Marsudi, Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama's campaign team chairman, has denied claim from Islamic Defender’s Front (FPI) Jakarta secretary general Novel Chaidir Hasan that Ahok had accepted Novel's testimony against him during another hearing in the governor's blasphemy trial on Tuesday (03/01).
"Ahok has not accepted [Novel's testimony]. We're still gathering the statements from the prosecutors’ witnesses. After that it will be our turn to present the defendant’s witnesses," Prasetio said after the hearing, held in a makeshift court room at the Ministry of Agriculture headquarters on Jalan Harsono in South Jakarta.
Novel claimed Ahok had accepted his testimony on the governor's October campaign speech at Pramuka Island in Jakarta's Kepulauan Seribu district, in which the governor allegedly insulted the Koran.
According to Novel, the court gave Ahok three options to respond to his testimony: reject, partly reject or accept all of it.
"Ahok had initially rejected everything. But he finally accepted parts of my statement in front of the judges," Novel claimed.
The secretary general of FPI Jakarta said he would not have to attend the trial again as Ahok had already accepted his testimony on Tuesday.
Ahok, a Christian of Chinese descent, was declared a suspect in a blasphemy investigation in mid-November amid mounting pressure from Muslim hardliners who had staged a series of large demonstrations against him in the last few months.
Full report at:
http://jakartaglobe.id/news/ahok-denies-accepting-fpi-witness-testimony-blasphemy-trial/
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Europe

Do Not Blame Muslims For De-Christianisation Of Europe, Says Leading Cardinal
03 January 2017
A leading Catholic cardinal has said that Christians must not blame Muslims for wanting to "Islamise" Europe.
Instead, they should work harder to fill their churches rather than letting them be sold off and converted.
In an interview with Austria's Kronen Zeitung newspaper, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, aged 71, was asked "Will Islam conquer Europe? And are we going to lose our Christian values?"
The cardinal, once considered in the running as a possible Pope or "papabile", said: "When we see that the mosques are well visited and the churches are badly visited, we can not blame Muslims for wanting to Islamise Europe. But we must reproach ourselves for not doing enough to maintain a Christian Europe."
Schönborn also said Brexit was "unfortunate" because "European cohesion is incomparably better than the European antagonism we have suffered for centuries."
And he urged the world not to rush to judgement against Donald Trump before giving him a chance to show what he can do.
There were also shaking of heads when Ronald Reagan was elected but Reagan was one of the best presidents the US ever had, he said.
"So you should not judge rashly. This applies to Trump and that applies to everything."
He said that as a Christian, he would like the Middle East to become Christian again, as it once was.
Cardinal Schönborn says that of course he does not wish St Stephen's Cathedral to become a mosqueBwag/Wikimedia
"Of course I wish this because I believe that Christianity is not only my personal religion, but a religion that is a good religion despite all the mistakes that have happened. So I can not blame the Muslims if they want Europe to become Islamic. That's not my problem."
He said that of course he did not wish St Stephen's Cathedral to become St Stephen's Mosque.
"Of course, I wish that the St. Stephan's Cathedral remains a living Christian house of God, a place of prayer and not just a tourist attraction for five million tourists a year.
"But we already have 200 Islamic places of prayer in Vienna. We have mosques in cathedrals in Spain, and we have, for example, in Damascus, the cathedral, where John the Baptist is now a mosque, and we have Hindu temples in India, which were formerly mosques, and vice versa .
"That religions are in competition with each other is as old as the world. I am pleased that Muslims can freely exercise their religion with us, but I also wish that Christians in Saudi Arabia were able to practise their religion freely, and in other Muslim majority countries."
It is not Muslims' fault if Europe is being de-Christianised, the cardinal added.
"Fear of the Islamisation of Europe is nonsensical if one does not contribute something to the fact that Europe remains Christian. But, of course, if a church is sold in the Netherlands and transformed into a supermarket, when the supermarkets are more important to us than the Christian roots of Europe, we must not be surprised that Europe de-Christianises. But it is not the fault of the Muslims."
The key issue Austria is facing is the integration of refugees, the cardinal said.
Some refugees abuse Austria's hospitality and become criminal. "Where does tolerance, mercy, charity end? There, where it also ends for Austrian citizens. Crime is crime. And as with the people of Austria, there are also among the refugees those who abuse social benefits. But it would not be right to conclude that all refugees do this."
He admitted that most of the terrorist attacks of recent times have been associated with the call: "Allah is great."
Schönborn said: "That's a problem. But I also say that religions are always at risk of terror being committed in their name. Just think of the Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland, who killed each other - And the name of their religion."
He said his hope for 2017 was for more peace, more silence, more thoughtfulness, for less talk and more listening.
In a separate New Year's address, Schönborn told Radio Niederösterreich that worries about 2017 were justified: "Economic development, unemployment, environmental and climate change, the never-ending war in Syria, the refugee flows from the Middle East and Africa, the growing gap between the rich and poor."
But there is hope, and this hope never dies, he said.
"The refugee situation has shown that in Austria many people are really helpful."
http://www.christiantoday.com/article/do.not.blame.muslims.for.de.christianisation.of.europe.says.leading.cardinal/103533.htm?email=1
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Berlin’s iconic Brandenburg Gate illuminated in colors of Turkish flag after Istanbul attack
Jan 4, 2017
Berlin’s landmark Brandenburg Gate on Jan. 2 was illuminated in the colors of the Turkish flag to pay tribute to the victims of the Reina nightclub attack in Istanbul which killed 39 people on Jan. 1.
The historic gate was illuminated in red to show solidarity with its sister city after a decision from Berlin Mayor Michael Müller.
Müller also sent a letter of condolence to Istanbul Mayor Kadir Topbaş.
Full report at:
http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/berlins-iconic-brandenburg-gate-illuminated-in-colors-of-turkish-flag-after-istanbul-attack.aspx?pageID=238&nID=108065&NewsCatID=351
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Let's Treat the Far Right Like We Do Islamic State in Our War against Recruiting
3 JANUARY 2017
In the world of white nationalism, National Action has been fairly ineffective. It made the headlines two years ago when a protest in Liverpool culminated in the neo-Nazis huddling behind the shutters of a left luggage shop for their own safety. One wonders if Oswald Mosley (or their parents) would be proud.
Then, last month, National Action became the first far-right extremist group to be proscribed in the UK after officials assessed it to be “concerned in terrorism”. It’s a bold move from the government, but I’m skeptical that such attempts at censorship can achieve anything meaningful in the age of the internet. The answer lies in education, not legislation.
How else can something good come out of the horrific killing of Jo Cox by Thomas Mair, which National Action celebrated? 17 years since the last neo-Nazi murder on British soil, fascism has not simply reared its ugly head; it has laughed in the face of democracy. Faced with groups which would have seized on Mair’s cry of “Death to traitors, freedom for Britain”, I can see why the government wanted to ban them. Perhaps, when David Copeland carried out his nail bomb attacks in 1999, that might have worked. Today, in the online forums of the far-right, adulation for National Action has reached a fever-pitch; the formerly marginal organisation has enjoyed a surge in attention and support.
Not to mention that proscribing National Action simply validates its members’ persecution complex. While the rule of law and democracy are anathema to far-right groups, they like to pretend that all they want is space in the marketplace of ideas, and have painted the government’s move as the work of a totalitarian elite. The only way to combat an extremist ideology effectively is to inoculate individuals against it. The government has put together an impressive description of how social media is used by Isil to radicalise students - why can’t we have one for white nationalist extremists too?
In many ways, there's little difference between the two ideologies. “Isil portray their ‘Caliphate’ as an ideal, utopian state where Muslims will find status and belonging,” says the Prevent guide on Islamic State’s social media. The far Right, meanwhile, calls for an ideal, utopian state where Caucasians will find status and belonging... In both cases, there’s an ultimatum - Muslims/Caucasians who disagree with the ideology are infidels/communists and deserve to be exterminated. Both Isil and the far Right share the paradoxical quality of using cutting edge technology to push the most retrograde, revisionist ideas.
As medieval historian John TR Terry has argued, Isil propaganda is about a "Golden Age" of Islam, a deliberately misremembered version of history - like that espoused by the far Right. National Action calls for Britain to return to a mythic past when only the native people were around, before using Anglo-Saxon warriors as part of their propaganda (in fact the Old English pushed the Celts into Wales and Cornwall, then had the gall to name them "foreigners"). The real histories of population movements and the growth of religions are lessons that can be taught in schools as an antidote to the fake history poured out by the extremists.
These groups trade on a kind of glamour to bring in recruits and push lone wolves towards acts of violence. The response of social media platforms like Twitter has been largely ineffectual because of the scale of the problem. It’s for this reason that the power of education is so key. Not only must teachers be able to identify students when they visit radical websites, they should be able to teach about the reality of these groups - the deprivations of joining a terrorist group in Syria, or the jail time given to perpetrators of white nationalist acts of violence. Groups like Families Against Stress & Trauma already work to debunk the myths about Isil: we should expand that to fight the misinformation of the far Right.
Full report at:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/2017/01/03/treat-far-right-like-do-islamic-state-war-against-recruiting/
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Undermining terror: the Moroccan plan to promote moderation
By Shane Satterley
4 January 2017
The particularly toxic but influential ideology of Wahhabism, a sect within Sunni Islam that underscores much of the Islamist and jihadi worldview, is exported en masse from Saudi Arabia. This trend has continued for decades and much of the terrorist violence we now see around the world can be traced back to a Saudi influence, whether it is in schools, books, funding for imams or anyone that will preach the Wahhabi ideology overtly or covertly.
There are many ways in which one can become radicalised. Much of the time there is a combination of background factors including: identity crisis, grievances and a social influence. But to get a jihadi you need the Islamist ideology - the wish to impose an interpretation of Islam on society.
If ideology is a key ingredient, and this has come through the spread of these ideas throughout the world by the aforementioned means, then is it possible to mitigate this message through the promotion and export of a different Islamic school of thought?
In March 2015 King Mohammed VI of Morocco inaugurated in Rabat, the "Institute Mohammad VI of Training Imams, Mourchidins and Mourchidats": a well-funded training institute for aspiring imams of all ages (some as young as 15) both male and female. According to the director of the institute the imams will be taught a "correct understanding of Islam". The ideas promoted are inspired by the Malikite doctrine and school of thought, which aims to be centrist if not progressive in its ideas. By training thousands of imams from Africa, Europe and elsewhere the king seeks to spread a moderate interpretation of Islam throughout the world, as an antidote to takfiri notions that have been prevalent for the last few decades.
Graduates are educated across a wide range of subjects not limited to Islamic studies, including: history of religions, geography, ethics, and human rights. Social science subjects such as these are in desperate need in the Middle East/North Africa region and there is evidence that those educated in social science fair better when it comes to susceptibility to radicalisation. This type of education and subsequent pedagogy may help to spread critical reflection to ideas within traditional or entrenched cultural Islamic thought. So for places like Chad, Nigeria, Guinea, France, Mali, Ivory Coast and of course Morocco, where these students currently hail, there is a least a coherent form of memetic resistance.
Can this work? Or perhaps the better question is can this help? It is hard to think a well-funded initiative such as this cannot have an impact on the communities to which these trained imams return. Any counter narrative to the Saudi influence is desperately need - one only need peruse the Pew research on attitudes of Muslims around the world to recognise the issues regarding fundamentalism and Islamism, or turn on the news regarding the latest terror attack.
Full report at:
http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=18765
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Two British-Pakistani campaigners appointed advisers to European Conservatives
By Murtaza Ali Shah
January 04, 2017
LONDON: Two Prominent British businessmen of Pakistani origin have been appointed as Senior Policy Advisers to influential European Conservatives.
Saqib Bhatti and Aftab Chughtai MBE, both from Birmingham, have been appointed as Senior Policy Advisers to the Alliance of Conservatives and Reformists in Europe (ACRE) in an attempt to reach out to Muslim communities and countries where there is a strong tradition of conservative and reform parties.
The appointment of Bhatti and Chughtai is a first for the organisation and they have been tasked with recruiting like-minded conservative parties from around the world. The duo told The News that their first visit was to Tunisia in December 2016 where they met prominent members of the Conservative Right Political Parties, Afek Tounes and the Ennahda Party.
During their time in Tunis they met with senior representatives from the government including the Minister for Employment and Professional Development, Imed Hammami and Minister for Trade and Commerce Ziad Laadhari. They also met the Chairman of the Ennahda Party, Rashed Gannouchi who was named by Time Magazine as one of the Top 100 Most Influential People in the World.
Saqib Bhatti and Aftab Chughtai MBE said that they will be opening talks with Pakistani political parties to explore common grounds between the European and Pakistani reform parties to strengthen relations across a range of issues of mutual interest.
Saqib Bhatti, a chartered accountant from Birmingham and also President of the Asian Business Chamber of Commerce told The News: “It was a great privilege to be working with ACRE as it recognises the importance of international dialogue and co-operation, and through this appointment we will be meeting conservative parties across the world promoting greater relations with parties that share a belief in fundamental democratic and conservative values.”
Aftab Chughtai MBE, who runs retail stores in Birmingham and was honoured earlier this year by the Buckingham Palace for his contributions to business and community cohesion, highlighted the commonality between Islamic and Conservative Values.
“If you explore fundamental conservative values such as family, low taxes, free market economies, many of these are concepts which were promoted when Islam first came about. In fact the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) himself was a prominent businessman as was his wife. We look forward to finding common thinking conservative parties across the world and welcoming them to the Global Conservative Family.”
Both Chughtai and Bhatti played a prominent role in the Vote Leave campaign and were accredited for being responsible for Birmingham voting to leave the European Union. They set up a campaign group called “Muslims for Britain” aimed at engaging British Muslims on key national issues. Muslims for Britain claims that around 800,000 British Muslims voted to leave the European Union based on issues ranging from sovereignty, trade and immigration.
Full report at:
https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/176612-Two-British-Pakistani-campaigners-appointed-advisers-to-European-Conservatives
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Arab World

Air strikes on ex-Nusra Front building kill at least 25: monitor
Jan 4, 2017
Air strikes on a building in northern Syria used by an insurgent group formerly known as the Nusra Front had killed at least 25 people and wounded dozens more on Tuesday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
The British-based Observatory said it was unclear whether the strikes had been carried out by aircraft belonging to Russia or to the U.S.-led coalition.
Tuesday is the fifth day of a ceasefire in Syria but its sponsors, Russia and Turkey, say this excludes Islamic State and the Syrian Islamist militia Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, formerly called the Nusra Front.
Abu Anas al-Shami, a Jabhat Fateh al-Sham spokesman, said the attack, in the countryside of the northern province of Idlib, was carried out by the international coalition. More than 20 people were killed, he said.
"The headquarters targeted by the international coalition a short time ago are a main headquarters for that area and contains a number branch offices, leading to the killing of the brothers," he said in a statement.
Jabhat Fateh al-Sham changed its name in July and announced it was severing ties with al Qaeda.
The Observatory said eight Jabhat Fateh al-Sham fighters and leaders have been killed in air strikes around rebel-held Idlib in January.
http://nation.com.pk/international/03-Jan-2017/air-strikes-on-ex-nusra-front-building-kill-at-least-25-monitor
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ISIL Evacuates Families of Non-Syrian Fighters from Hasaka Battlefields
Jan 03, 2017
The source said that the ISIL has evacuated the families of Mohajereen fighters from the villages between the town of al-Shadadi that is controlled by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and the town of Merkadeh to save their lives from ongoing clashes in the region.
"The ISIL has taken the families of its Mohajereen forces out from the village of al-Zayanat North of Merkadeh that is close to the frontlines and YPG forces and has relocated them to the town of Merkadeh in Southern Hasaka," the source said, adding, "The ISIL has replaced the Mohajereen with Ansar's (Syrian fighters) families in the village."
Media sources reported in late December that the ISIL terrorist group set up more checkpoints in and outside its last base in Southern Hasaka to prevent its forces from leaving the region.
ARA news agency quoted local sources as saying that the ISIL increased its checkpoints inside and on the outskirts of the town of Merkadeh, intensifying checking operations in the region.
The agency added that ISIL's intensified security measures came after several members of the group managed to escape from Merkadeh after rising differences among the terrorists.
ISIL executed several members on charges of escaping Merkadeh and assisting residents to leave the town.
Full report at:
http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13951014001326
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Ex-Qaeda affiliate leaders among 25 dead in Syria strike
3 January 2017
An air strike in Syria on Tuesday killed at least 25 members of former Al-Qaeda affiliate Fateh al-Sham Front including senior figures, a monitor said.
Unidentified aircraft hit one of the group’s most important bases in Syria, in the northwestern province of Idlib, Syrian Observatory for Human Rights director Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.
Among the dead were leading members of the group, formerly known as Al-Nusra Front, who were holding a meeting there, he said, without identifying them.
Fateh al-Sham used its Telegram account to accuse the US-led coalition of carrying out the raid.
“More than 20 martyrs after the Crusader coalition targeted a central base in the north Idlib countryside,” it said.
An AFP correspondent said several strikes had hit the town including one on a Fateh al-Sham checkpoint. He saw ambulances rushing to the area.
The strike came four days into a fragile ceasefire between Syria’s regime and major rebel groups brokered by Russia and Turkey.
Full report at:
https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2017/01/03/Ex-Qaeda-affiliate-leaders-among-25-dead-in-Syria-strike-.html
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Iraqi PM urges global support to eliminate Daesh
Jan 3, 2017
'The Iraqi prime minister has called for worldwide intelligence assistance to eliminate the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group that is wreaking havoc in the Middle Eastern country as well as elsewhere across the globe.
“We need global intelligence cooperation to accelerate eliminating Daesh,” Haider al-Abadi said on Tuesday.
Many cities are facing insecurity and terror threats, Abadi warned, urging the international community to make efforts to restore security and bring an end to organized crimes, extremism and terrorism.
Despite financial woes and austerity measure, Iraq has scored major victories against Daesh on the battlefield in the northern city of Mosul, he added.
Iraqi army troops and allied fighters have been conducting a major offensive since last October to liberate Mosul that fell to Daesh in 2014.
Iraqi forces detain a man suspected of membership in the Daesh terrorist group in the al-Intisar area in eastern Mosul on January 1, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
Abadi further noted that his country is not supporting terrorist outfits in Turkey and stressed that Baghdad would not allow militants to use Iraqi soil to wage terror attacks on neighboring states such as Turkey.
He also announced that Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim will travel to Iraq this week in a bid to reinforce bilateral relations.
Full report at:
http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/01/03/504699/Iraq-Haider-Abadi-Daesh/
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Iraqi forces liberate 3 eastern Mosul districts from terrorits’ grip
Jan 3, 2017
Iraqi forces have managed to wrest control of three neighborhoods in the eastern part of the city of Mosul, where pro-government fighters are conducting a major anti-terror operation.
Iraq's Arabic-language al-Sumaria television network reported the recapture of Mithaq district, situated on the left bank of the Tigris River, on Tuesday.
Civilians were also seen leaving the area carrying their belongings amid clashes between warring sides.
Meanwhile, Iraq's War Media Cell said that the nearby districts of al-Moarez and al-Majma al-Tejari were also retaken by Iraqi forces.
Mosul is split by the Tigris River, with the eastern half of the city known as the left bank.
Displaced Iraqis, who fled Daesh-held Mosul, gather at Hassan Sham camp, east of Mosul, Iraq, January 2, 2017. (Photo by Reuters)
Last October, Iraqi army soldiers and allied fighters launched a long-awaited offensive to liberate Mosul that fell to Daesh terrorists in 2014. The Takfiri elements have suffered major setbacks on the battlefield amid advances by the Iraqi forces.
Full report at:
http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/01/03/504671/Iraq-Mosul-Mithaq-Daesh/
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Nusra-Linked Associations Promoting Al-Muhaysini's Thoughts at Turkish Academic Centers
Jan 03, 2017
A report released by Turkey's Syndica Org Base said the Training Association of Turkish Youths known as Toqora has urged its students to follow speeches of al-Muhaysini, stressing that the move testifies the links between the Saudi Mufti and this association and is aimed at promoting the Nusra movement in Turkish universities. 
The base further added that the Toqora forced its university students to take part in rallies in front of the Russian and Iranian embassies in Turkey in December to oppose the battle in Aleppo and announce their allegiance to militants in Aleppo.  
The base further released that the Toqora association has received official work permit from the Turkish government. The association is an educational body whose officials in charge are mostly linked to the terrorist group of al-Turkistani that is battling the Damascus  government in Syria. Some others officials of the association have links with Fatah al-Sham too.
The base went on to say that the Turkish universities have been the scenes of activities of extremist groups that are after recruiting fresh forces from the students to prepare them to take part in terror acts and demonstrations across Turkish cities.
Meantime, Social media pages affiliated to the opposition groups started trending Hashtag (#) against al-Muhaysini on Monday, accusing him of promoting ISIL's ideology among other militants.
The social media activists accused him as a promoter of ISIL thoughts under #Al-Muhaysini Did Enough to Destroy Our Revolution.
The activists said al-Muhaysini financed Fatah al-Sham Front, but ignored the groups' continued aggressions against militant groups affiliated to the Free Syrian Army.
They also accused al-Muhaysini of keeping mum on Jund al-Aqsa's brutal crimes.
Media sources disclosed in mid-December that the ISIL terrorist group offered a half-a-million dollar reward for any one that could assassinate Abdullah Muhammad al-Muhaysini.
The Arabic language al-Nashra news agency quoted sources privy to ISIL as saying that the Takfiri terrorist group in a statement offered a sum of $ 500,000 reward for the killer of Muhaysini, the Saudi national Mufti (religious judge) of Jeish al-Fatah.
The ISIL released Muhaysini's photo and his full name, Abdullah Bin Muhammad Bin Suleiman al-Muhaysini, underling in the statement that Muhaysini was in Idlib.
In August, al Muhaysini once again acknowledged alarming widening rifts among the militants in Aleppo.
Full report at:
http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13951014001431
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Terrorists Violating Aleppo Agreement, Blocking Exit of Hundreds of Injured Civilians from Fua'a, Kafraya
Jan 03, 2017
The Arabic language al-Watan daily quoted a local source in Fua'a as saying that at least 21 buses that entered Fua'a to evacuate the injured and patients are not allowed to leave the town.
The buses, their drivers and other people are under the siege of militants.
The paper added that while the entire militants that were to relocate from Aleppo under the last month deal have left the city Eastern neighborhoods along with their families, only 900 injured civilians and their families could leave Fua'a and Kafraya and hundreds more are still waiting for militants' permit to leave the towns.
Based on the Aleppo agreement, two 1,250-group of injured and patient civilians of Fua'a and Kafraya were due to leave the towns in return for evacuation of militants and their families from Eastern districts of Aleppo city.
In the next stage, 1,500 more wounded and patient civilians would leave Fua'a and Kafraya in return for evacuation of 1,500 militants of the towns of Madaya and al-Zabadani in Northwestern Damascus to other militant-held regions.
On Saturday, terrorist group targeted residential areas in Fua'a and Kafraya regardless of the nationwide truce in Syria.
The terrorist groups' mortar and missile units targeted over 20 times residential areas in Fua'a and Kafraya.
Terrorists have been targeting non-military areas in Fua'a and Kafraya with hundreds of missiles and mortar shells in recent months, killing and wounding hundreds of civilians, including women and children. 
Full report at:
http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13951014000731
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ISIL Terrorist Group Entangled in Severe Financial Crisis
Jan 03, 2017
The sources said that the ISIL has opened a new Bazaar known as Daesh market in Bu Kamal in Eastern Deir Ezzur that borders al-Anbar province of Iraq to sell the stolen properties of the Iraqi people and police of the towns of Fallujah, Heath and al-Ramadi.
Vehicles are carrying the stolen properties on a road connecting al-Qaim in Iraq to Bu Kamal in Syria round the clock, especially when the roads are not under heavy air raids.
Analysts believe that the recent defeats of the ISIL, specially in Nineveh, and loss of properties have pushed the terrorist group into financial problems.
Last month, a local source in Nineveh province disclosed that ISIL's financial chief escaped the city of Mosul with important financial documents and a list of names of the terrorist group's commanders to become the third commander in charge of the terrorist group's financial affairs who disappears in less than two months.
"Abu Qatadeh al-Qahtani, a senior official in charge of ISIL's financial affairs has left Mosul for an unknown destination while taking the terrorist group's important financial documents with himself," the Arabic-language media quoted the local source as saying.
Full report at:
http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13951014000317
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Pakistan

Trump Transition Team Issues Veiled Threat To Pakistan
04-Jan-17
NEW DELHI: In an apparent reference to Pakistan, a member of United States President-elect Donald Trump's transition team on Monday said the incoming President was not going to tolerate a dual role from India's neighbour.
Trump's transition team official, Shalabh Kumar said both Washington and New Delhi will share good defence cooperation in the fight against terrorism.
"You need to have a good defence cooperation among friends, which is happening already, but this is going to accelerate dramatically in fight against terrorism. President-elect has made a policy very very clear, he is not going to tolerate the dual role from India's neighbours," said Kumar in New Delhi.
President-elect Donald Trump stunned the world on November 8 by defeating heavily favoured Hillary Clinton in the race for the White House, ending eight years of Democratic rule and sending the United States on a new, uncertain path.
Trump had pledged that the United States and India would be "best friends" if he is elected and that he would boost intelligence sharing with India in the battle against militants.
Kumar also said the prime objective during the first year of Trump's presidency was to increase trade between the two countries.
"The goal of the first term of Trump Presidency is to increase that (trade) $100 billion a year to $300 billion a year and in that process is a win-win for all sides," added Kumar.
Trump, who at 70 will be the oldest first-term US president, came out on top after a bitter and divisive campaign that focused largely on the character of the candidates and whether they could be trusted to serve as the country's 45th president.
India-US ties have flourished under President Barack Obama and Modi, who came to power in 2014, with the two countries striking key defence agreements this year.
The two countries cooperate on a wide range of issues, including counterterrorism, regional security and defence. India is also a major market for US weapons.
http://dailytimes.com.pk/pakistan/04-Jan-17/trump-transition-team-issues-veiled-threat-to-pakistan
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Hindu Lawmaker Upset Over Use Of Word ‘Minority’ For Non-Muslim Pakistanis
January 4, 2017
Zubair Qureshi
A member of the National Assembly of Pakistan hailing from Hindu community at a seminar on ‘Electoral Reform in Pakistan’ at a local hotel here on Tuesday expressed his reservations over the use of ‘minority’ for the non-Muslims of the country. PML-N MNA Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani who represents rich business community of Hindus of Sindh and was elected on reserved seat in the National Assembly said that we should discourage the use of word “Minorities” for the non-Muslims in our daily talk as it reflects a narrow mindset.
He said that Pakistan’s constitution also uses the word ‘Non-Muslim’ instead of minorities. Dr Kumar further demanded the right of dual vote for non-Muslim citizens can be compared with the right of dual vote which is in vogue in Azad Kashmir.
“Dual vote is there so that we could elect our representative while using our right of vote in democratic system of Pakistan and if the performance of our elected representative is not satisfactory then we could brought them for accountability,” he said.
Dr Ramesh Kumar was of the view that all those living in Pakistan are Pakistanis and green and feel pride in this fact. The colour of our national flag is green and white and it is representative of all the residents of Pakistan irrespective of their religion. White color particularly represents peace. Dr Ramesh Kumar also quoted the Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s maiden speech to the first Constituent Assembly of Pakistan, where he said that every community member in Pakistan is Pakistani and would be allowed to spend his/her life according to his/her religion.
Full report at:
http://pakobserver.net/lawmaker-upset-over-use-of-word-minority-for-non-muslim-pakistanis/
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Peaceful coexistence, mutual respect major foreign policy objectives: PM Nawaz
Jan 4, 2017
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said on Tuesday that peaceful coexistence and mutual respect are the main objectives of Pakistan’s foreign policy.
“Peaceful coexistence, mutual respect and economically integrated region must be our shared objective and we must strive for realising this objective,” he said.
The prime minister was chairing the meeting in Islamabad to review foreign policy with regard to current global and regional challenges Pakistan has been facing, where the participants also discussed the current status of relations with its neighbours and strategic partners.
“Pakistan believes in peaceful coexistence with all neighbouring countries and looks forward to establishing strong and mutually beneficial relations with them,” PM Nawaz said.
He added that coexistence is only possible when “we demonstrate a commitment to our aspirations of peace, progress and prosperity”.
The high-level huddle reviewed bilateral and multi-lateral relations with neighbouring countries, future road-map for regional stability and maintenance of mutually beneficial relations with all countries in the region and beyond, according to a PM House statement.
Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa, DG ISI Lt-Gen Naveed Mukhtar and PM’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz were among others who attended the meeting.
Full report at:
http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2017/01/04/peaceful-coexistence-mutual-respect-major-foreign-policy-objectives-pm-nawaz/
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Collective decision making imperative for regional stability: Ayaz Sadiq
Jan 4, 2017
National Assembly Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq said sustained cooperation between the Muslim countries was highly imperative for confronting challenges posed by the terrorism and internal divisions.
He was talking to the commander of Bahraini National Guards, Member of Legislative Assembly Azad Jammu and Kashmir, and the ambassador of Belarus who separately called on him at Parliament House, a press release issued on Tuesday stated.
Talking to the Lt. General Sheikh Mohammad Bin Isa Bin Salman Al-Khalifa, commander of Bahraini National Guards, Ayaz Sadiq said Pakistan was committed to a partnership with Bahrain to promote unity and cooperation among the Muslim world.
He underlined the need to rectify distorted image of Islam as projected by extremists and negatively propagated by western media, as a result, as intolerant and violent religion.
He reiterated Islam was a religion of peace that abhorred terrorism and extremism in all its forms and manifestations.
He outlined that Pakistan condemned oppression of Muslims in Palestine and Kashmir alike and would continue to provide moral and diplomatic support to the freedom struggle of both countries.
Sheikh Mohamed Bin Isa Bin Salman endorsed Ayaz Sadiq’s proposal for collaboration to confront shared challenges and urged the need for deeper engagement between the two friendly countries.
He said the Muslim world was confident of Pakistan’s leadership and expressed his hope that Pakistan would continue to assist the regional countries in overcoming the menace of terrorism.
He assured the speaker that Bahrain would stand with Pakistan in uplifting regional development.
While talking to the ambassador of Belarus, Sardar Ayaz Sadiq informed the dignitary that Pakistan aspired to deepen and diversify bilateral engagement with Belarus.
Pakistan’s political leadership had embarked upon an unprecedented regional outreach for addressing developmental challenges, he added.
He underlined the need for forging synergies in areas of agriculture, energy, and technology and stressed the role of the parliamentary engagement in cementing relations.
Andrei Ermolovich endorsed Ayaz Sadiq’s proposal for forging synergies in expanding cooperation and overcoming regional challenges.
While discussing Kashmir issue with Member of Legislative Assembly AJK, Sehrish Qamar, he said the peaceful settlement of Kashmir issue in accordance with the aspirations of Kashmiri people was imperative for the peace and development in the region.
Full report at:
http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2017/01/03/collective-decision-making-imperative-for-regional-stability-ayaz-sadiq/
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CM Shahbaz says modern technology being used to curb crimes, terrorism
Jan 4, 2017
Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif on Tuesday said that the provincial government had taken solid steps to improve law and order situation.
“Protection of life and property of people is a top priority of the government, therefore, police should perform its duties efficiently for crushing criminal elements and special attention be paid to patrolling for checking street crimes,” he added.
He stated this while presiding over a meeting here to review in detail overall law and order situation and steps being taken with regard to implementation on a national action plan in the province.
The chief minister said the government had not only taken solid steps for the improvement of law and order but modern technology was also being used to curb crimes and terrorism. He said Dolphin Force had already been constituted for checking street crimes and Punjab was the first province where counter-terrorism force had also been set up for eradicating terrorism.
He said Safe City Project had been launched in Lahore while this project would be started in other six big cities of the province during the current year. He said effective steps had been taken under National Action Plan for eradicating terrorism and extremism.
Shehbaz Sharif said the law of ban on loud-speaker and literature containing religious hatred should be strictly implemented. He said steps being taken under national action plan had resulted in a considerable decrease in incidents of terrorism.
Secretary Home and Inspector General Police Punjab gave a briefing in connection with law and order situation and implementation of a national action plan.
Full report at:
http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2017/01/04/cm-shahbaz-says-modern-technology-being-used-to-curb-crimes-terrorism/
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Nisar ‘adamant’ to challenge Quetta Commission report
04-Jan-17
LAHORE: Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan is likely to challenge the findings of the Quetta Commission Report, a private TV channel revealed on Tuesday.
A source in the National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) said that it has finalized "responses" and "arguments" to be presented in the Supreme Court to a report probing the Quetta Civil Hospital carnage.
The source said NACTA's response to the report had been sent to Nisar. "Hopefully, he will submit the response to the Supreme Court in a day or two," said a NACTA official. The minister will be represented by his lawyer Makhdoom Ali Khan in the court.
Seeking anonymity, a NACTA official said the ministry officials advised Nisar against challenging the report. "But he was adamant on challenging the report and tasked us to prepare strong arguments in response to the allegations levelled against the Interior Ministry and the minister," the official said.
On Aug 8, 2016, a suicide bomber targeted the emergency services ward at Quetta's Civil Hospital, killing at least 74 people and leaving scores injured.
A report of a judicial commission, comprising SC Justice Qazi Faez Isa, on the massacre had criticized the minister for meeting the heads of banned outfits.
Full report at:
http://dailytimes.com.pk/punjab/04-Jan-17/nisar-adamant-to-challenge-quetta-commission-report
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South Asia

Thousands of Shias protest against ISIS in Afghanistan
Jan 4, 2017
Around 2,000 Shia Muslims in western Afghanistan organised a protest on Tuesday against the growing sectarian attacks by the militant Islamic State (IS) group, as the government warned that the IS had expanded its foothold into 11 provinces.
Shouting slogans such as "Death to the enemies of Afghanistan!" and "Death to Daesh!", the Arabic acronym for IS, the protesters in the city of Herat marched to the governor's office, carrying pictures of Shiites killed in recent attacks.
"Daesh attacks on our mosques are increasing everyday. They want to create a rift between Shias and Sunnis," Qurban Ali, a 40-year-old demonstrator, told AFP.
"This is a dangerous trend and we want the government to protect us."
The rise of IS has raised the spectre of sectarian discord in Afghanistan, something that the country has largely been spared despite decades of war.
Until a few months ago, IS was largely confined to the eastern province of Nangarhar bordering Pakistan, where it is notorious for brutality, including carrying out beheading despite a US-backed offensive against the militant group.
But the government this week said the group was steadily expanding into other provinces.
"Our initial information shows Daesh is behind the recent attacks in Herat. They are expanding and are always looking for new geographical areas," Najeebullah Mani, head of counter-terrorism at the interior ministry, told reporters in Herat.
"They are present in at least 11 (of Afghanistan's 34 provinces). Their main goal is to create sectarian divisions between the locals."
Herat, which borders Iran, has recently witnessed a surge in attacks on the minority group's mosques.
A prayer leader was killed and five others wounded in one such attack on Sunday. The group did not officially claim responsibility for the assault.
"We will not allow Daesh to make Afghanistan another Syria," said 30-year-old Jawad, another protester. "The government must come up with a plan to protect Shias."
Last year Afghanistan witnessed a wave of attacks on the Shia community claimed by IS.
At least 14 Shias were killed in October 2016 in a powerful blast at a mosque in the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif, hours after gunmen targeted worshippers in a shrine in Kabul and killed 18 people.
In July 2016, the IS militants targeted members of Kabul's Shia community in a suicide bombing that killed more than 80 people and wounded 130.
http://nation.com.pk/international/03-Jan-2017/thousands-of-shias-protest-against-isis-in-afghanistan
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10 ISIS fighters among 58 militants killed, claims Afghan defense ministry
Jan 04 2017
At least 58 militants including 10 loyalists of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group were killed during the counter-terrorism operations, the Ministry of Defense (MoD) claimed Tuesday.
According to an operational update by MoD, the militants were killed in the past 24 hours in various parts of the country during the counter-terrorism operations supported by the Afghan Air Force and artillery units of the Afghan army.
MoD further added that the operations were conducted in Nangarhar, Kapisa, Logar, Paktia, Paktika, Ghazni, Badakhshan, Balkh, and Helmand provinces.
According to the Ministry of Defense, at least 12 of the militants were killed in Ghormach district of Faryab, 20 were killed in Charkh district of Logar, 10 ISIS militants were killed in Deh Bala district of Nangarhar, and 2 ISIS commanders were killed in Shindand district of Herat.
Full report at:
The anti-government armed militant groups have not commented regarding the reports so far.
http://www.khaama.com/10-isis-fighters-among-58-militants-killed-claims-afghan-defense-ministry-02614
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Suicide bomber killed by own explosives in Zabul mosque
Jan 03 2017
A suicide bomber was killed after his suicide attack vest went off prematurely in southern Zabul province of Afghanistan.
According to the local government officials, the incident took place in a mosque in Shahjoi district.
The district administrative Chief Wazir Mohammad Jawadi said only the suicide bomber was killed in the incident and no one else was hurt.
He said the suicide bomber was apparently spending the night in the mosque and was looking to target a gathering today when his explosives vest went off.
The anti-government armed militant groups including the Taliban insurgents have not commented regarding the incident so far.
Zabul is among the relatively volatile provinces in south of Afghanistan where the anti-government armed militant groups are actively operating in a number of its restive districts.
There are also reports that the loyalist of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group are attempting to expand foothold in some districts of Zabul.
Full report at:
http://www.khaama.com/suicide-bomber-killed-by-own-explosives-in-zabul-mosque-02612
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Hundreds of Afghan protest against IS killings
Jan 4, 2017
HERAT - Around 2,000 people in western Afghanistan staged a protest Tuesday against growing sectarian attacks by Islamic State, as the government warned that the group had expanded its foothold into 11 provinces.
Chanting "Death to the enemies of Afghanistan!" and "Death to Daesh!", the Arabic acronym for IS, the protesters in the city of Herat marched on the governor's office, carrying pictures of people killed in recent attacks.
"Daesh attacks on our mosques are increasing everyday. They want to create a rift between Shias and Sunnis," Qurban Ali, a 40-year-old demonstrator, told AFP. "This is a dangerous trend and we want the government to protect us."
The rise of IS has raised the spectre of sectarian discord in Afghanistan, something that the country has largely been spared despite decades of war.
Until a few months ago IS was largely confined to the eastern province of Nangarhar, where it is notorious for brutality including beheadings despite a US-backed offensive against the group. But the government this week said the group was steadily expanding into other provinces.
"Our initial information shows Daesh is behind the recent attacks in Herat. They are expanding and are always looking for new geographical areas," Najeebullah Mani, head of counter-terrorism at the interior ministry, told reporters in Herat.
"They are present in at least 11 (of Afghanistan's 34 provinces). Their main goal is to create sectarian divisions between Shias and Sunnis."
Herat, which borders Iran, has recently witnessed a surge in attacks on the minority group's mosques.
Full report at:
http://nation.com.pk/international/04-Jan-2017/hundreds-of-afghan-protest-against-is-killings
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Ambush kills at least 4 policemen in Afghanistan
Jan 4, 2017
KABUL: Afghan officials say a Taliban ambush in the northeastern Badakhshan province has killed at least four policemen.
Deputy Provincial Police Chief Mohammed Nabi Bayhan said the attack took place late Monday and that security forces have launched a clearing operation in the area.
Ahmad Bashir Musamum, a provincial council member, confirmed the attack and said seven policemen were killed.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement Tuesday.
Elsewhere in Afghanistan, Sanatullah Timor, a spokesman for the governor of Takhar province, said a Taliban fighter was killed Monday while planting a mine.
Full report at:
http://nation.com.pk/international/03-Jan-2017/ambush-kills-at-least-4-policemen-in-afghanistan
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Image insulting Islam not uploaded on Facebook using Hindu fisherman’s phone: PBI
2017-01-04
The image was edited on the computer used by one Jahangir Alam, a cyber cafe owner in Harinberh Bazar, according to the Police of Bureau of Investigation.
But the detectives were not sure if the same computer was used to upload it on the social media site.
Hindu fisherman Rasraj Das was arrested on Oct 29 on charges of hurting religious sentiments.
The next day, more than a hundred Hindu homes and temples were vandalised and looted following protests held over the ‘objectionable’ image.
Some more attacks were launched on Hindu households even though authorities claimed to heighten security following the first Oct 30 attack.
The eight cases started over the attacks have led to the arrest of 104 people.
The PBI has submitted two reports on Rasraj and Jahangir to the Detective Branch (DB) in Brahmanbarhia.
The DB have handed the report on Rasraj to a court in the district but were yet to submit the one on Jahangir.
The phone and the memory card used by the 30-year-old fisherman were examined by the PBI’s cyber crime unit, who then sent a report to DB.
The report said there was no trace of that ‘objectionable’ photo on the phone or the memory card.
Full report at:
http://bdnews24.com/bangladesh/2017/01/04/image-insulting-islam-not-uploaded-on-facebook-using-hindu-fishermans-phone-pbi
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Dostum’s office angrily reacts at Ata Mohammad Noor remarks
Jan 04 2017
The Office of the First Vice President has angrily reacted at Ata Mohammad Noor’s remarks after he claimed to reject offers for replacing General Abdul Rashid Dostum as the First Vice President.
According to a statement released by Gen. Dostum’s office, the remarks of Noor have seriously harmed the Turkmen people of Afghanistan.
Calling Noor’s remarks as ridiculous, the statement further added that Noor along with some others have started to act against their own party (Jamiat-e-Islami) during the recent days as well as Junbish-e-Millie party and against the First Vice President. Noor was also accused of losing the illegal channels of income which has forced him to get closer to ARG Palace and even start targeting the Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah.
The statement also added that the latest upheavals will not change the stance of the Turkmen people of Afghanistan to strictly follow a failed assassination attempt against the First Vice President, pointing towards other conspiracies being made against him, including the issue of Ahmad Ischi.
Full report at:
http://www.khaama.com/dostums-office-angrily-reacts-at-ata-mohammad-noor-remarks-02615
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India

Israel’s New Delhi Envoy: Jewish State Appreciates Shift in India’s Voting Pattern at UN Institutions
JANUARY 2, 2017
Israel appreciates the “changes” in India’s recent voting pattern at UN institutions, the Jewish state’s New Delhi envoy told The Hindu in an interview published this past weekend.
“In the last couple of years, we have seen a shift in various votes (by India) which reflects the present improvement in relations,” Israeli Ambassador to India Daniel Carmon said. “I would not over exaggerate this as a trend, each side has their declared positions and it is not a zero-sum game. India says they are committed to the Palestinian cause, to the Arab cause, and they have good relations with Israel that they intend to pursue. We appreciate this stand, and at the UN, we can see it too.”
As reported by The Algemeiner, Israel and India currently enjoy a burgeoning relationship, particularly in the defense field.
India, The Hindu noted, abstained from a vote on an anti-Israel UN Human Rights Council resolution in the summer of 2015. This past June, India voted in favor of putting Israel’s UN Ambassador Danny Danon in charge of the UN Legal Committee. And in October, India abstained from a vote on a UNESCO resolution that ignored the Jewish people’s ties with Jerusalem holy sites.
An Indian government official told The Hindu that India had a “very balanced” approach to Israel-Palestinian conflict-related votes in international forums.
“We vote for Palestine, but also for Israel on some of their initiatives at the UN,” the official said.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the 1992 establishment of full diplomatic relations between Israel and India and there have been reports that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit the Jewish state to celebrate the occasion.
In November, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin traveled to the subcontinent, just over a year after his Indian counterpart President Pranab Mukherjee toured Israel.
Jason Isaacson — the American Jewish Committee’s director of government and international affairs — told The Hindu in an interview published on Monday that Mukherjee’s October 2015 trip represented India’s “coming out of the closet” regarding its relationship with Israel.
“There is less hesitation in India on embracing Israel,” Isaacson said. “It started before Mr. Modi, and it is a bipartisan position in India, but it is more public under Mr. Modi that Israel is a natural ally of India and there are mutual benefits.”
https://www.algemeiner.com/2017/01/02/israels-new-delhi-envoy-jewish-state-appreciates-shift-in-indias-voting-pattern-at-un-institutions/
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Pakistan must stop cross-border terrorism; Indian Army has the will to strike back: Army chief Bipin Rawat
Rajat Pandit 
Jan 3, 2017
NEW DELHI: Army chief General Bipin Rawat has warned Pakistan that it should cease and desist from actively aiding and abetting cross-border infiltration and terrorism, holding that his 1.3-million force has the requisite will, intelligence and capability to destroy terrorism wherever it emanates.
Pointing to the "surgical strikes" conducted by the Army's Special Forces against terror launch pads in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir on September 29, Gen Rawat said: "The operation's unequivocal message was that we have the capability, we are aware of the terrorist infrastructure that lies across the border and the intelligence is forthcoming."
"So, if the need arises to strike, we can strike effectively. The surgical strikes achieved good success. The aim and intention was fully achieved. We are not a war-mongering nation but there are certain thresholds that should not be crossed. Our response will vary, not be the same every time," said Gen Rawat, in an exclusive interview to TOI on Tuesday.
Though there has been some de-escalation along the line of control (LoC) after massive retaliatory fire assaults by the Indian Army and Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa taking over the reins of the Pakistan Army from Gen Raheel Sharif, there are still about 20 terror-training camps running at full capacity in PoK and Pakistan.
Apart from the different options available to take the battle to the terrorists and their handlers, the Army chief was also quite sanguine about the Indian armed forces being capable of handling a two-front contingency in the backdrop of the collusive threat from Pakistan and China.
Gen Rawat, who took over as the 27th Army chief from Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag on December 31, said, "The two-front is a real scenario. Much has changed from before in terms of our capabilities ... The Army, Navy and IAF are now jointly very much prepared for such an eventuality."
Apart from the development of the 5,000-km Agni-V and 4,000-km Agni-IV nuclear-capable ballistic missiles, the armed forces have taken a series of steps to slowly but surely transform the "dissuasion" posture against China into "deterrence", which in turn is now being upgraded to "credible deterrence".
The Army, on its part, is raising the new 17 Mountain Strike Corps, which with 90,274 soldiers will have two high-altitude infantry divisions as well as armoured, artillery, air defence and engineer brigades spread from Ladakh to Arunachal Pradesh, once it is full constituted by 2020-2021.
Full report at:
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/pakistan-must-stop-cross-border-terrorism-indian-army-has-the-will-to-strike-back-army-chief-bipin-rawat/articleshow/56319094.cms
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A dusty town, Azamgarh, in UP struggles to live down terror taint
04th January 2017
AZAMGARH: Azamgarh is a town in eastern Uttar Pradesh that struggles to live down the terror taint. The origins of underworld gangster Abu Salem and the 2008 Batla House encounter in Delhi -- in which young men from Azamgarh were killed -- were both unwelcome associations as far as the elders of the town are concerned.
Now the town is back in the news once again. This time around it is for Azamgarh native Asadullah Akhtar's conviction for his alleged role in the Dilsukhnagar blasts in Hyderabad in 2013. The death sentence awarded to the son of popular doctor Javed Akhtar has once again stirred up a debate about whether the town is indeed a nursery for terrorism.
After the Batla House encounter put Azamgarh on the terror map of India, community elders floated an organization called the National Ulema Council and roped in Dr Akhtar to contest the Lok Sabha polls in an initiative to rid the town of the taint. The Ulema Council’s founder president Maulana Aamir Rashadi Madni says successive governments have labelled youth from the district as terrorists only to keep the Muslim community under check.
The terror tag is working to the disadvantage of the youth of the area, locals say. “In fact, people from Azamgarh have left to other cities to escape this taint. There have been instances when some youths faced difficulties in getting jobs when they said they belong to Azamgarh,'' says a local Muslim leader, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
It’s a dusty town of many madarassas and mosques, some of them of historical significance. The greater district around the town has a population of 4.6 million, about 20 per cent Muslim. Locals say that some localities like Saraimeer and Sanjarpur have become no-go areas to outsiders.
Full report at:
http://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2017/jan/03/a-dusty-town-in-up-struggles-to-live-down-terror-taint-1555860.html
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Expect China to support India's stand on Masood Azhar, says Rajnath Singh
Jan 3, 2017
NEW DELHI: India is hopeful that China will agree with its position on getting Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar designated as a terrorist by the United Nations, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said on Tuesday.
"We still expect+ China to support our stand," Rajnath Singh said speaking to reporters here.
On December 30 last year, China had blocked India's proposal+ to list JeM chief and Pathankot mastermind Masood Azhar as a designated terrorist by the UN.
This triggered a sharp reaction from New Delhi which called China action "unfortunate blow" and a step that confirms prevalence of double standards in the fight against terrorism.
India's proposal was submitted in February to the 1267 Sanctions Committee of the UN Security Council.
Full report at:
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/expect-china-to-support-indias-stand-on-masood-azhar-says-rajnath-singh/articleshow/56311731.cms
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Jammu and Kashmir Police apprehends LeT terrorist
January 4, 2017
On specific inputs, the Jammu and Kashmir Police and 21 Rashtriya Rifles on Wednesday apprehended a LeT terrorist, Ashiq Ahmed, near Fruit Mandi crossing in Handwara. Huge Cache of arms and ammunition have been recovered from him which includes, one AK 47 rifle, three Magzines with live cartridges, one Chinese Pistol with one Magzine, three hand grenades, one Magzine pouch, one Map and one haversack.
Full report at:
http://indianexpress.com/article/india/jammu-and-kashmir-police-apprehends-let-terrorist-4458314/
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Turkey nightclub shooting: Bodies of two Indian victims reach Mumbai
Jan 04, 2017
Bodies of film producer-realtor Abis Rizvi and fashion designer Khushi Shah, who were among 39 people killed in the Istanbul terror attack, arrived in Mumbai on Wednesday morning.
“The Turkish Airlines plane carrying the bodies landed at Mumbai airport shortly after 5am,” Bharatiya Janata Party MP Kirit Somaiya, who received the bodies at the airport, said.
While Rizvi’s body has been taken to his home in suburban Bandra, Khushi’s body was flown to Vadodara for cremation.
Full report at:
http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/turkey-nightclub-shooting-bodies-of-two-indian-victims-reach-mumbai/story-a9GIEa2JxCFM03UNWgtdrN.html
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Mideast

Arab coalition strikes kill Houthi chiefs in Yemen
3 January 2017
Saudi-led coalition forces killed two of the most high-profile Houthi militia commanders in Yemen’s Harad and Midi fronts in the city of Hajjah.
The two commanders have been identified as Abu Marwan and Abu Ayman. Both men were tasked with leading battles on the Midi front.
Two T72 tanks, Katyusha rocket launchers, missiles and ammunition warehouses were destroyed during two days on both fronts.
Meanwhile, government-allied forces in Shabwa province deterred militia attacks on the al-Alam, al-Salim, al-Akda and al-Soueida posts in the Bayhan district.
Yemen’s army and resistance forces are quickly advancing toward Saada after gaining control of several strategic areas nearby.
Factions from the army and resistance forces were able to regain control on Monday the command center of Brigade 101, the al-Thar and Habsh mountains.
Saada has been under siege from Houthi militias and was the city where a missile was launched targeting holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia last October.
https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2017/01/03/Arab-coalition-strikes-kill-Houthi-chiefs-in-Yemen.html
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Israeli troops abduct 30 Palestinians, demolish homes in West Bank
Jan 3, 2017
Israeli forces have abducted at least 30 Palestinians, including several children, and demolished many homes during massive overnight raids in different parts of the occupied West Bank.
In the early hours of Tuesday, dozens of Israeli soldiers invaded Balatah refugee camp, east of Nablus; Nablus city; Beit Fajjar town, south of Bethlehem; Aida refugee camp, north of Bethlehem; Silwad town, east of Ramallah; Qalqiliah and Ya’bad town near the West Bank and city of Jenin, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) reported.
The Israeli army announced in a statement that it had arrested 34 Palestinians in different parts of the West Bank.
In recent months, Israeli forces have frequently raided the houses of Palestinians in the West Bank, detaining dozens of people, who are then transferred to Israeli prisons, where they are kept without any charges.
According to the Palestinian prisoners’ rights group Addameer, there are currently 7,000 Palestinians held at Israeli jails and detention facilities, seven lawmakers among them. Three Palestinian Legislative Council members are in “administrative detention.”
The so-called administrative detention is a sort of imprisonment without trial or charge that allows Israel to incarcerate Palestinians for periods of up to six months, which can be renewed an infinite number of times.
Some prisoners have been held in administrative detention for up to eleven years.
Home demolition
Meanwhile, several Israeli army vehicles and bulldozers invaded the village of Khirbit Tana, east of the northern West Bank city of Nablus, and demolished several residential unites after forcing their residents out.
The soldiers surrounded the entire community before invading it, said Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian Authority official in charge of Israeli settlements’ file in the northern part of the West Bank.
The village has been subject to frequent invasions and destruction, including the demolition of its only school, many residential units and barns.
Israeli forces abduct 30 Palestinians and demolish several homes in different parts of the occupied West Bank. (file photo)
The occupied West Bank has seen an unprecedented rise in the demolition of Palestinian homes this year, with the number of buildings destroyed in the first half of 2016 already standing well beyond the total number of demolitions carried out in all of 2015.
According to a United Nations report, Israel has made over 1,383 Palestinians homeless since January as a result of demolitions in the occupied territories, compared to 688 Palestinians internally displaced during the entire 2015.
Full report at:
http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/01/03/504666/palestine-demolition-Israel-abduct/
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Federation launches legal proceedings against Muslim televangelist who said ‘playing chess sinful than gambling’
Jan 4, 2017
The Turkish Chess Federation (TSF) stated on Jan. 3 that it has launched legal proceedings against a Turkish televangelist who recently claimed that playing chess is more sinful than gambling.
“The remarks of the person in question on chess in a video are unacceptable and have drawn a reaction from our community. Legal proceedings have been launched into the baseless comments and evaluations that affect thousands of our players and families, at a time when we most need the unity, peace and the philosophy of chess,” the TSF said in a written statement.
It also pointed to the history of chess in Turkey by giving examples of support from a number of statesmen.
“Chess is a sport that has been played by many statesmen and leaders on this soil throughout history. Our precious statesmen have provided the biggest support to make Turkey a chess country, and they continue to contribute to spread this love with their words, the chess sets they deliver, and the events they attend,” it added.
Full report at:
http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/federation-launches-legal-proceedings-against-muslim-televangelist-who-said-playing-chess-sinful-than-gambling.aspx?pageID=238&nID=108075&NewsCatID=393
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16 Yemeni soldiers killed in clashes with rebels, Qaeda
Jan 4, 2017
ADEN - Sixteen Yemeni pro-government fighters were killed on Tuesday in separate clashes with Huthi rebels and Al-Qaeda fighters in the south of the war-torn country, military sources and officials said.
Forces supporting Yemen's President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi are fighting both the Huthi rebels who control parts of the country. Al-Qaeda fighters on Tuesday ambushed an army unit on its way to conduct an operation against a militant position east of the coastal town of Shaqra in the southern province of Abyan, security sources said. Local officials said 11 soldiers and 15 Al-Qaeda fighters were killed in the attack. Al-Qaeda fighters seized two military vehicles and weapons, security sources said. Meanwhile, in the neighbouring province of Shabwa, five pro-Hadi fighters including an officer were killed along with nine Huthi rebels near the town of Baihan, loyalist military sources said. Baihan is held by the Shiite Huthis and their allies, supporters of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh.
Al-Qaeda and the rival Islamic State group have taken advantage of chaos in Yemen to reinforce their presence in the Arabian Peninsula country.
Full report at:
http://nation.com.pk/international/04-Jan-2017/16-yemeni-soldiers-killed-in-clashes-with-rebels-qaeda
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Turkey approves extending state of emergency by three months
4 January 2017
Turkey's parliament on Tuesday approved a government-backed motion to extend by another three months the state of emergency imposed in the wake of the July 15 failed coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The state of emergency -- which has seen tens of thousands lose their jobs or be arrested on suspicion of links to the putsch -- had already been prolonged once before and was due to expire on January 19.
Full report at:
https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2017/01/04/Turkey-approves-extending-state-of-emergency-by-three-months-.html
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North America

Possible Muslim registry raises moral questions
January 4, 2017
The scene was a festive holiday-season dinner with guests from both Northern and Southern California. But the discussion grew serious as the question arose of whether President-elect Donald Trump would really try to set up a national registry of citizen and resident Muslims in America as an anti-terror tactic – which he advocated while running for office – with no one knowing what might come next.
“If that happens, I would immediately go and register as one,” declared one youthful woman, a non-Islamic mother of two small children.
Days later, more than 600 computer engineers and programmers for California-based high-tech giants like Google and Twitter said they would refuse to take part in setting up or operating such a database, even if it cost them their high-paying jobs. This defiant list has now surpassed 2,000.
Trump’s staff, however, says he never advocated a registry based on religion, but when asked about it in an NBC-TV interview in November 2015, he said “Oh, I would certainly implement that. Absolutely.”
All this evoked the actions of Danish citizens when German leader Adolf Hitler ordered a roundup of occupied Denmark’s 7,800 Jews on Oct. 1, 1943, in the midst of his World War II campaign to exterminate Europe’s 6 million Jews.
Christian Danes first alerted all Danish Jews to hide, then staged a two-night boatlift taking more than 7,200 Jews across a narrow strait from Helsingor (Shakespeare’s Elsinore), north of Copenhagen, to neutral Sweden.
The Danes’ King Christian X became a historic hero by actively encouraging this.
It’s uncertain that Trump will order a Muslim registry, although his transition team’s chief advisor on immigration, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, has said he advised Trump to establish a list of immigrants and visitors from countries where terrorist organizations are active. Read: refugees and others from predominantly Islamic places like Syria, Iran, Iraq, Egypt, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia, Sudan, Somalia and Algeria.
Some Trump allies cited as a legal precedent for such a registry the roundup and internment of Japanese-American Nisei in remote, primitive camps just after the Pearl Harbor attack that brought America into World War II. Never mind that the U.S. government under President Ronald Reagan long ago apologized and paid reparations for those actions.
Kobach, a longtime anti-illegal immigrant activist, wrote Arizona’s 2010 SB 1070, which required police to stop anyone who looked like an immigrant (read: Latino) and demand documents showing they were authorized to be in this country. Courts later declared the law unconstitutionally discriminatory.
Any registry or database of the type Trump proposed during his campaign would probably need cooperation from America’s large high-tech companies, most headquartered in this state, just as President George W. Bush’s post-9/11 effort to track phone traffic by potential terrorists needed cooperation by the likes of AT&T and Verizon. But the subject did not arise when more than a dozen mostly Californian high-tech moguls met with Trump in mid-December.
At first, only California-based Twitter and Facebook took refusal stances on any such Muslim registry. Later, Apple, Google, IBM, Uber and Microsoft jointed them, possibly prodded by the stances of thousands of their employees.
When TheIntercept.com, a self-described “adversarial journalism” website, asked major tech firms what they would do about a registry,
Microsoft initially said, “We’re not going to talk about hypotheticals at this point,” and provided a link to a company blog advocating “not just diversity among all the men and women who work here, but inclusive culture.”
What several companies at first did not see, but Twitter and Facebook apparently understood right away, was that if they said nothing they would be tacitly approving the idea of a religion-based list.
The moral question here is similar to what confronted Danes in 1943, even if the potential consequences for people resisting a Muslim list or database are far less threatening than the shoot-on-sight tactics carried out by Nazi SS troopers when they encountered or caught someone defying an occupation regime order.
The bottom line: Tarring all Muslims as potential terrorists would be a form of discrimination somewhat comparable to rounding up America’s Nisei, especially since the vast majority of Islamic-Americans have absolutely no interest in or record of promoting anything anti-American.
http://www.visaliatimesdelta.com/story/opinion/2017/01/04/possible-muslim-registry-raises-moral-questions/96119574/
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Will Donald Trump's election put America first and global conflict next?
3 January 2017
Donald Trump’s election as president of the United States does not just represent a mounting populist backlash against globalisation. It may also portend the end of Pax Americana – the international order of free exchange and shared security that the US and its allies built after the second world war.
That US-led global order has enabled 70 years of prosperity. It rests on market-oriented regimes of trade liberalisation, increased capital mobility, and appropriate social welfare policies; backed by American security guarantees in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia, through Nato and various other alliances.
Trump, however, may pursue populist, anti-globalisation, and protectionist policies that hinder trade and restrict the movement of labour and capital. And he has cast doubt on existing US security guarantees by suggesting he will force America’s allies to pay for more of their own defence. If Trump is serious about putting “America first”, his administration will shift US geopolitical strategy toward isolationism and unilateralism, pursuing only the national interests of the homeland.
When the US pursued similar policies in the 1920s and 1930s, it helped sow the seeds of the second world war. Protectionism – starting with the Smoot-Hawley tariff, which affected thousands of imported goods – triggered retaliatory trade and currency wars that worsened the Great Depression. More important, American isolationism – based on a false belief that the US was safely protected by two oceans – allowed Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan to wage aggressive war and threaten the entire world. With the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, the US was finally forced to take its head out of the sand.
Today, too, a US turn to isolationism and the pursuit of strictly US national interests may eventually lead to a global conflict. Even without the prospect of American disengagement from Europe, the European Union and the eurozone already appear to be disintegrating, particularly in the wake of the UK’s June Brexit vote and Italy’s failed referendum on constitutional reforms in December. Moreover, in 2017, extreme anti-Europe left or rightwing populist parties could come to power in France and Italy, and possibly in other parts of Europe.
Without active US engagement in Europe, an aggressively revanchist Russia will step in. Russia is already challenging the US and the EU in Ukraine, Syria, the Baltics, and the Balkans, and it may capitalise on the EU’s looming collapse by reasserting its influence in the former Soviet bloc countries, and supporting pro-Russia movements within Europe. If Europe gradually loses its US security umbrella, no one stands to benefit more than the Russian president, Vladimir Putin.
Trump’s proposals also threaten to exacerbate the situation in the Middle East. He has said he will make America energy independent, which entails abandoning US interests in the region and becoming more reliant on domestically produced greenhouse-gas-emitting fossil fuels. And he has maintained his position that Islam itself, rather than just radical militant Islam, is dangerous. This view, shared by Trump’s incoming national security adviser, Gen Michael Flynn, plays directly into Islamist militants’ own narrative of a clash of civilisations.
Meanwhile, an “America first” approach under Trump will likely worsen the longstanding Sunni-Shia proxy wars between Saudi Arabia and Iran. And if the US no longer guarantees its Sunni allies’ security, all regional powers – including Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Egypt – might decide that they can defend themselves only by acquiring nuclear weapons, and even more deadly conflict will ensue.
In Asia, US economic and military primacy has provided decades of stability; but a rising China is now challenging the status quo. US President Barack Obama’s strategic “pivot” to Asia depended primarily on enacting the 12-country trans-Pacific partnership, which Trump has promised to scrap on his first day in office. Meanwhile, China is quickly strengthening its own economic ties in Asia, the Pacific, and Latin America through its “one belt, one road” policy, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the New Development Bank (formerly known as the Brics bank), and its own regional free-trade proposal to rival the TPP.
If the US gives up on its Asian allies such as the Philippines, South Korea, and Taiwan, those countries may have no choice but to prostrate themselves before China; and other US allies, such as Japan and India, may be forced to militarise and challenge China openly. Thus, an American withdrawal from the region could very well eventually precipitate a military conflict there.
Full report at:
https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/jan/03/donald-trump-america-first-global-conflict-nouriel-roubini
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U.S. Muslims might have an ally in Kelly
4 January 2017
President Barack Obama’s administration is dismantling a homeland security program created to track immigrants from Muslim-majority countries in an attempt to prevent President-elect Donald Trump from fulfilling his campaign promise to create a Muslim registry. As an American Muslim and human rights advocate, I am hoping against hope that retired Gen. John Kelly, the homeland security secretary nominee, will not reassemble the program.
Kelly is not an obvious champion of human rights. As head of U.S. Southern Command, Kelly oversaw Guantanamo, where he frequently dismissed human rights concerns. Dozens of people languished in detention without charge, and many were force-fed after going on hunger strikes. But he could be our best hope in the Trump administration.
While at Southern Command, Kelly invited critiques from human rights groups. Every year, he asked Amnesty International and other organizations to join him for a frank roundtable discussion. After one meeting, he took me aside to explain his point of view and hear me out. Dialogue and decency: In today’s hyper-polarized political climate, these are as rare as unicorns.
And they matter. If I could talk to Kelly today, I think he would listen. I would tell him that people are afraid. Activists worry that if they speak out, the government could retaliate or put them under surveillance. Trump’s idle tweets about stripping people of citizenship for flag-burning are eerily reminiscent of foreign dictators threatening to jail people for peaceful dissent.
People like me — ordinary Americans with Muslim names and ancestry from Muslim-majority countries — fear being put on a watchlist, barred entry into the United States, even banned because of who we are. Many people — black Americans, Jewish Americans, Muslim Americans, immigrants who have spent most of their adult lives here — spent the holidays swapping stories of threats, harassment and even violent attacks by fellow Americans who think the election has given them license to act on hatred.
I believe Kelly would listen to me not because he has ever agreed with me, but because he has been willing to talk. And a top national security official who values dialogue over diatribes is what we need to put the brakes on Trump’s most frightening counterterrorism proposals.
Kelly must not revive NSEERS (the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System). He is a smart man — he knows that a special registry would make for bad counterterrorism. Law enforcement officials need people to trust them and tip them off, not fear and avoid them. A special registration would send shockwaves through immigrant communities, inviting uncertainty and anxiety, more fear of law enforcement and less safety.
Unlike some of Trump’s other national security advisers, though, Kelly does not appear to be infected with bizarrely virulent anti-Muslim prejudice. And more than anything, the proposed Muslim ban, internment and special registration proposals are about prejudice — not safety. They cater to bigotry and fear, which fly in the face of our country’s most precious values. They tear at the seams of our commonality by implying that only some people are included in the ideals of liberty and justice. They drive people even farther apart from each other after an election that already has left us fragmented.
It might be naive to think that Kelly — or anyone else in the Trump administration — would risk his career to stand in the way of anti-human rights proposals. But many of these proposals, only a short while ago, would have been considered unimaginable. They threaten to return this country to the grimmest chapters of our history, like the mass imprisonment of U.S. citizens and noncitizens of Japanese descent. They are the stuff of dystopic novels, of nightmares.
Full report at:
http://www.columbiatribune.com/opinion/columnists/u-s-muslims-might-have-an-ally-in-kelly/article_64ff2bdf-d26b-5352-9ae0-204f7ab96dc9.html
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- See more at: http://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/ethiopia-jails-20-muslims-accused-of-pursuing-sharia-state/d/109600#sthash.9gOOk2GI.dpuf