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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Three Powerful Scholars Fuelling Islamic State’s Hate



By Mohamad Bazzi 
March 29, 2016
Militant Islamist fighters waving flags, travel in vehicles as they take part in a military parade along the streets of Syria's northern Raqqa province June 30, 2014. The fighters held the parade to celebrate their declaration of an Islamic "caliphate" after the group captured territory in neighbouring Iraq, a monitoring service said. The Islamic State, an al Qaeda offshoot previously known as Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), posted pictures online on Sunday of people waving black flags from cars and holding guns in the air, the SITE monitoring service said.
After Islamic State militants claimed responsibility for last week’s terrorist attacks in Brussels, a now common debate ensued on social media and elsewhere: does Islam condone violence against civilians?
With its extreme violence and nihilistic mindset, Islamic State seems a death cult bent on senseless destruction. But the group justifies its violence, especially against civilians, with selective interpretations of Islamic texts and scholars that are rejected by the vast majority of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims. According to a long-term survey by the Pew Research Centre, at least three quarters of the world’s Muslims reject terrorist tactics such as suicide bombing or other attacks on civilians.
Like other militant movements, especially al Qaeda and its offshoots, Islamic State is inspired by a group of religious scholars across Islam’s history who advocated the idea of declaring other Muslims as infidels or apostates, and justifying their killing. This notion of Takfir is central to the ideology of most contemporary Islamic militant groups, who have killed far more Muslims than non-Muslims. Islamic State’s leaders cherry-pick the sources and scholars they choose to imitate, so they end up with austere interpretations of Islamic texts that run counter to a millennium of moderate understandings, including tolerance for other faiths. Three scholars, in particular, have had an outsized influence on Islamic State’s religious ideology.
The first dates back to the 13th century, a period when Islam’s early empires began to decline after five centuries of expansion. As the Mongols swept across Asia and sacked Baghdad, the Mongol warrior Hulagu, a grandson of Genghis Khan, threatened to overrun the Levant, an area of the eastern Mediterranean centred around modern-day Syria and Lebanon. While many Muslim scholars at the time lined up to support the Mongols, one jurist forcefully rejected the invaders. Ibn Taymiyya, an Islamic scholar from Damascus, issued several Fatwas (religious rulings) against the Mongols — and al Qaeda, Islamic State and other militants still quote those rulings today.
After Hulagu, some Mongol leaders nominally converted to Islam, but Ibn Taymiyya considered them infidels. He also argued that it was permissible for believers to kill other Muslims during battle, if those Muslims were fighting alongside the Mongols. Ibn Taymiyya is the intellectual forefather to many modern-day Islamic militants who use his anti-Mongol Fatwas — along with his rulings against Shi’ites and other Muslim minorities — to justify violence against civilians, including fellow Muslims, or to declare them infidels, using the concept of Takfir. Islamic State often quotes Ibn Taymiyya in its Arabic tracts, and occasionally in its English-language propaganda, as it did in its magazine, Dabiq, in September 2014.
Ibn Taymiyya also inspired the father of the Wahhabi strain of Islam that is dominant in Saudi Arabia today, the 18th century cleric Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab, who decreed that many Muslims had abandoned the practices of their ancestors. Wahhab believed Islamic theology had been corrupted by philosophy and mysticism. Many of the practices he banned were related to Sufism and Shi’ism, two forms of Islam he particularly abhorred.
Wahhab argued that Islamic law should be based on a literal interpretation of only two sources: the Quran and the Sunnah, a collection of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)’s sayings and stories about his life. (The word Sunnah means path, and it’s the root of the designation “Sunni” — those who follow the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)’s path — the dominant sect in Islam.) Wahhab dismissed analogical reasoning and the consensus of scholars, two other sources that had helped Islamic law evolve and adapt to new realities over time.
Today, Saudi Arabia is built on an alliance between two powers: the ruling House of Saud and clerics who espouse Wahhabi doctrine. Wahhabis seek to return the religion to what they believe was its “pure” form, as practiced by Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and his followers in 7th century Arabia. The Saudi regime has also used its oil wealth to export Wahhabi doctrine by building mosques and dispatching preachers throughout the Muslim world.
But radicalism needs more to breed than just rhetorical and religious inspiration. As Arab nationalist leaders and military rulers rose to power in parts of the Middle East in the 1950 and 60s, they violently suppressed Islamic movements, including peaceful ones. In Egypt, the regime of Gamal Abdel Nasser clamped down on the populist Muslim Brotherhood, and that helped lay the ideological foundations for the emergence of violent Islamic movements in the following decades.
The most militant thinker that emerged from that period was Sayyid Qutb, a Brotherhood leader who was swept up in Nasser’s crackdown. After enduring nine years of prison and torture, Qutb published a manifesto in 1964, Milestones along the Road, in which he argued that the secular Arab nationalism of Nasser and others had led to authoritarianism and a new period of Jahiliyya, a term that has particular resonance for Islamists because it refers to the pre-Islamic “dark ages.” Qutb declared that a new Muslim vanguard was needed to restore Islam to its role as “the leader of mankind,” and that all Arab rulers of his time had failed to apply Islamic law and should be removed from power. Qutb argued that it was not only legitimate, but a religious duty for “true” believers, to forcibly remove a leader who had allegedly strayed from Islam.
Nasser’s regime executed Qutb in 1966, but his ideas lived on and they inspired a new generation of militant leaders, especially Osama bin Laden and his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, who is now the leader of al Qaeda after bin Laden’s death. And while Islamic State’s ideologues do not quote Qutb as frequently as al Qaeda’s leaders have, he clearly inspired the group’s rejection of contemporary Arab regimes and its effort to create a transnational state in parts of Syria and Iraq.
Like its predecessors, Islamic State reads Islam’s history and its foundational texts selectively, choosing the parts and thinkers who fit into its vision of Sunni dominance, brutality and constant war with pretty much everyone else.
Source: blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2016/03/29/the-three-powerful-scholars-fueling-islamic-states-hate/

Using Christian and Islamic Sources to Compare and Contrast the Story of Mary


By Amir Webb
March 28, 2016
The Christian and Muslim faiths lay claim to Jesus and a certain historical and theological narratives. Christianity and Islam lay claim to a historical and theological narrative on Mary and/or Maryam (Mary will be used). There are many overlapping facts in both the Christian and Islamic traditions regarding Mary. There are also many discrepancies that should be outlined and described in a respectful narrative for a better grasp at theological differences. The main sources that will be used are: The Qur’an, The Jesus Dynasty by James Tabor, Lost Books of the Bible by William Hone, and The Bible.
In the Christian tradition Mary has a controversial yet central role. Starting with Mary’s life as a child; she is said to have been born in 18 B.C. in the Palestinian village of Sepphoris, to Anna and Joachim.[1] In the year 4 B.C. when Mary was 14, the small village of Sepphoris was the centre of a large scale revolt against the Roman occupation by, “a certain Judas son of Ezekias.”[2] To crush the rebellion, Roman governor of Syria, Publis Quintilius Varus led three legions into Sepphoris and burned the village, enslaving inhabitants, while up to two thousand people were crucified as well.[3]
The apocryphal gospel, The Gospel of the Birth of Mary may not be theologically accepted universally but, it does give insight on stories that were circulating. The Gospel of Mary agrees with the fact that Joachim and Anna are her parents, to a degree. The Gospel of Mary gives the narrative that Anna conceived Mary via virgin birth.[4] An angel comes to both Anna and Joachim to tell them of a daughter who will be named Mary. They are also told that Mary will bring the forth the “Son of God.”[5]
Within the Islamic tradition exploring Surah Imran to unearth information on the birth of Mary and family history is key. The wife of Imran pledged the child she conceived to the service of God before the child (Mary), was born.[6] Both the Christian and Islamic tradition state that Mary was devoted to a life of religiousness. When Imran’s wife delivered a girl she was confused as she was sure she would have a son as Imran’s wife says, “and the male is not like the female.”[7] In Surah Imran, Mary is sent to live under the care of Zechariah where, “(she) can grow in good manner” and where she would learn certain religious duties. Within the Islamic tradition his wife is named Hanna, but there is much debate around who Hanna was.
The Gospels of Mary puts Mary in the temple and beginning her education at the age of three and proclaims she worked the miracle of walking up a staircase by herself.[8] Another connection between the Islamic and Christian tradition is that they both state that Mary was visited by angels. In the Qur’an the angels came to Mary and said, “O Mary indeed Allah has chosen you and purified you and chosen you above the women of the worlds.”[9] The Gospel of Mary puts her in direct conversation with angels as they also ministered to her.[10]
Focusing now on the Mary around the birth of Jesus and looking at the differences in the Christian and Islamic traditions. There is a key difference in the story of Mary between the two traditions; after the birth of Jesus in The Bible, Mary and Joseph do not return home to Galilei. In fact, Mark and John begin their accounts of Jesus’ life in his adulthood and say nothing about his birth.
The Gospel of Matthew says that when Joseph discovered the pregnancy he wanted to end the engagement but, did not want to shame her and wanted to keep the matter quite.[11] Tradition has it that Mary, with or without Joseph, left Nazareth, and went to the village of Ein Kerem.[12] It was here where she stayed with close relatives Zachariah and Elizabeth.[13] Whether this is the same Zachariah that Mary was sent to as a child in the Qur’an is unknown, but logical conclusions can be made that it is. It is also important to note that Elizabeth was pregnant with a son who would be known as John the Baptist or Yahyah to Muslims.[14]  Both the Qur’an and The Bible place emphasis on Zachariah and his wife being old when having John, Luke 1:39 and Surah Maryam verse 5 place emphasis on their old age.
The authors of the various Gospels are torn between when Jesus returned to his home village but the Qur’an is very clear in saying it was in infancy. The Qur’an is in agreement with the Gospels of Mary in the fact that Mary left Nazareth to give birth, as she “conceived him and she withdrew with him to a remote place” and this place very well could be Ein Kerem.[15] In the Quran she returns home and faces the very thing Joseph was worried about in the Gospel of Luke, criticism and shame. “O Mary you have certainly done a thing unprecedented” the townspeople said upon her return with a child and no husband. [16] And this is where Jesus, as a child still in a cradle spoke, saying “Indeed I am the servant of Allah. He has given me the Scripture and made me a Prophet.”[17]
Conclusion
To push interfaith dialogue forward there must be a certain level of commitment to education and understanding. The Bible and The Qur’an share many of the same stories and names while giving these people different duties and roles. Understanding these differences while staying committed to ones religion is key. Mary/Maryam as Jesus/Isa does not have one narrative but many narratives that hold special places in people’s lives. There are scholars who even ask, was Mary a Prophet? Kecia Ali, in her essay Gender and Destabilization makes the claim with compelling theological evidence. Ali reminds the reader that Mary is a key figure of Islam and Christianity and her life is essential to moving the story of both religions forward. As one reads the story of Mary, especially across religious texts, gender-roles become blurry and Mary mirrors many traits of her male prophet counterparts.
References
[1] James Tabor, The Jesus Dynasty: The Hidden History of Jesus, His Royal Family, and the Birth of Christianity, (New York, Simon and Schuster, 2006), 37.
[2] Tabor, The Jesus Dynasty, 40.
[3] Tabor, The Jesus Dynasty, 40.
[4] William Hone, The Lost Books of the Bible, (Old Saybrook, Konecky and Konecky, 1926). 17.
[5] Hone, The Lost Books of the Bible, 18-19
[6] The Quran, Surah Imran, 35.
[7] The Quran, Surah Imran, 36.
[8] Hone, Lost Books of the Bible, 20.
[9] The Quran, Surah Imran, 42.
[10] Hone, Lost Books of the Bible, 20.
[11] Tabor, The Jesus Dynasty, 44.
[12] Tabor, The Jesus Dynasty, 44.
[13] Tabor, The Jesus Dynasty, 44.
[14] Tabor, The Jesus Dynasty, 44.
[15] Quran, Surah Maryam, 22.
[16] Quran, Surah Maryam, 27.
[17] Quran, Surah Maryam. 30.
Amir Webb is a Former Human Service Professional in the Washington D.C. Area. Contributor to various organizations such as MuslimArc and Muslim Writers Guild. Currently studying Historical Studies with a focus on African American Islamic History.
Source: themuslimvibe.com/faith-islam/in-history/using-christian-and-islamic-sources-to-compare-and-contrast-the-story-of-mary

Islamic State Jihadists Sold Female Slaves As They Wrecked Palmyra












Photo: The terrorists wreaked havoc in the 4000-year-old ­UNESCO site and the neighbouring modern city of Tadmur

Six American Women Marked For Death by Islamic Fatwa Face Threats with Fear, Courage
Malala: 'I Am Devastated By the Senseless Killing of Innocent People in Lahore'
Muslim Women Personal Law Board Head Shaista Ambar Meets 'Gracious' RSS Chief
In The Boxing Ring at a Self-Defence Class For Hijabi Muslim Women
Mississippi Woman Trying To Join Islamic State to Plead Guilty To Terrorism Charge
Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

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Islamic State Jihadists Sold Female Slaves As They Wrecked Palmyra
March 29, 2016
Islamic State militants were ­running female slave auctions while they destroyed much of ­Palmyra, according to documents recovered by regime forces after they retook the ancient city.
The terrorists wreaked havoc in the 4000-year-old ­UNESCO site and the neighbouring modern city of Tadmur, after they swept in 10 months ago and captured one of the most historic towns in the Middle East.
Antiquities officials who ­visited the city on Monday said that the extremists destroyed the 2000-year-old Temple of Bel and shrine of Baal Shamin, a dozen of the city’s best-preserved tower tombs and the Arch of Triumph dating from about AD200.
Papers that were allegedly ­recovered by regime forces and broadcast by pro-regime Syrian media showed that the militants had not only been attacking heritage but were also running markets for women they had captured.
In a notice issued to all fighters last June, a month after they took Palmyra, the jihadists said: “For those who want to buy a female slave, sign up at the battalion’s main office.”
The statement was addressed to militants in Homs province, where Palmyra is located.
“As for our brothers who are on the road spreading Islam, there will be co-ordination with the ­battalion’s emir. Whomever does not sign up will not have the right to attend the slaves market. Prices are to be submitted in sealed ­envelopes at the time of buying,” the notice added.
It was another insight into ISIS’s savage behaviour during its 10-month hold over the town. They also beheaded and strung up Khaled Asaad, Palmyra’s former antiquities chief, turned the main theatre into a public killing square, and used the site’s museum as a Sharia court. Many ancient statues in the museum had been beheaded or toppled.
Syrian forces, backed by ­Russian airstrikes, finally pushed the militants out of the area after a fierce three-week offensive. ISIS lost 400 fighters and were pushed east towards Deir Ezzor, marking their single largest defeat since ­declaring their caliphate in 2014.
Regime forces were clearing landmines yesterday.
They also reopened the ­military airport as archaeologists arrived to assess the damage. The town itself appears to have been abandoned. ISIS had urged local residents to leave before the ­regime’s assault.
Maamoun Abdel-Karim, Syria’s antiquities chief at the site, said that it would take only five years to restore the ruins, and that the overall site was 80 per cent ­intact. Although some of the major sites, such that of the Baal Shamin, were obliterated, the damage was “not as bad as they feared”, he said. The Lion of Al-lat, a 3m, 2000-year-old statute thought to be one of the first casualties of ISIS’s occupation, was still standing, he said.
He said it was partially due to efforts by the ministry, which worked secretly with teams of local residents and government personnel in Palmyra, that ISIS had not destroyed the entire city.
However UNESCO’s Syria ­experts were less positive, saying it was unlikely that the site could be returned to its prewar state. “As long as the Syrian army is there, I am not reassured,” Annie Sartre-Fauriat, a UN expert on Syrian heritage, said. “We should not forget that the army occupied the site between 2012 and 2015 and caused a lot of destruction and pillaging.”
Russia, a staunch supporter of dictator Bashar al-Assad, said ­yesterday that it would be sending a team of specialists to help to ­repair the site as well as soldiers to assist with mine clearance.
Clashes continued between Isis and regime forces northeast of Palmyra yesterday. Airstrikes, ­believed to be carried out by Russian forces, struck the road running east out of Palmyra towards Deir Ezzor, which Isis has surrounded, activists said.
theaustralian.com.au/news/world/the-times/islamic-state-jihadists-sold-female-slaves-as-they-wrecked-palmyra/news-story/da294249b46001b6802d77ce468f1d7b
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Six American Women Marked For Death by Islamic Fatwa Face Threats with Fear, Courage
March 28, 2016
Twenty-seven years ago, Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini called for the death of a British author, giving new fame to Salman Rushdie and infamy to the term “fatwa.”
Rushdie, whose “The Satanic Verses” had been deemed offensive to Muslims, remains threatened by the Islamic decree, but six American women who lack the resources of a best-selling author also have been marked for death by Muslim leaders. Some have been driven from their homes and jobs and even forced to live the rest of their lives in hiding, with little hope that the fatwa will be lifted.
“It is not safe, of course, not even in the West, for anyone who has a fatwa of death issued against them,” Nonie Darwish told FoxNews.com.
“I just look over my shoulder in the parking lot.”
- Raheel Raza, subject of fatwa
Darwish, an Egyptian-born U.S. citizen who was born Muslim and later converted to Christianity, spoke out against radical Islam following the 9/11 attacks. She has since been the subject of multiple Fatwas issued by various Islamic clerics. Like others who bear a price on their heads, Darwish stays below the radar, and constantly looks over her shoulder.
“There are constant attempts to silence us by many Islamic organizations,” she said. “We are the No. 1 target of jihadists and ISIS sympathizers who are now in all 50 states.”
Ayaa Hirsi Ali has lived under a fatwa for years for speaking out against abuses of women in Muslim society. (Reuters)
Darwish is cut off from her family in Egypt, which disapproved of her decision to speak out. She has published several books, including “The Devil We Don’t Know: The Dark Side of Revolutions in the Middle East,” and is the founder and president of “Arabs for Israel.”
Molly Norris was a respected newspaper cartoonist in 2010, when Comedy Central censored a “South Park” episode that featured the prophet of Islam, Muhammad, amid outrage from extremists. Norris fought back with free speech, but it cost her career.
Norris drew a cartoon of the religious figure, whom Islamist scholars believe must never be portrayed, on various items such as a teacup, a thimble and a domino. Her work was never formally published, but images went viral on the Internet and helped promote “Everybody Draw Muhammad Day.”
Suddenly, Norris was deluged with death threats. Influential U.S.-born Muslim cleric Anwar Al-Awlaki issued a fatwa calling for her death a year before he was killed by a U.S drone strike in Yemen.
Raza admits looking over her shoulder, but tries not to live in fear. (HonorDiaries.com)
Former FBI counter-terrorism agent David Gomez, who handled Norris’ case from the Seattle field office at the time, told FoxNews.com that the bureau advised Norris of the “very legitimate” threats against her. The bureau stopped short of telling Gomez to go underground, but advised her to take certain precautions, including changing her appearance.
Norris opted to disappear, leaving her job and home and cutting off communication with friends and neighbors.
“Molly really took the advice to heart,” Gomez said. “She really went dark.”
A source told FoxNews.com that Norris is alive and living a new, quiet life in an undisclosed location and that the decision to completely disappear was spurred by fear for the lives of her loved ones. However, many argue she was hardly given a choice.
Nonie Darwish was marked for death after converting to Christianity and speaking out against violence within Islam.
“People are shocked to realize a journalist inside the U.S. could be forced into hiding by radical Islam,” said author Larry Kelley, founder of the Free Molly Norris Foundation. “This issue is a really big one as far as our freedoms are concerned.
Kelley’s foundation has raised an undisclosed sum and hopes to give it to Norris to help her get by, but hasn’t been able to get in touch with her.
And the fatwa against Norris has not faded. She was again spotlighted three years ago in Al Qaeda’s “Inspire” magazine on its “Wanted: Dead or Alive for Crimes Against Islam” list alongside the likes of Rushdie and French cartoonist Stephane Charbonnier, known for his irreverent drawings of Muhammad.
The fatwa against Charbonnier ended Jan. 7, 2015, when two Muslim fanatics stormed the offices of his employer, the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, and killed him and 11 others.  If Norris had thought about resurfacing, the attack surely gave her new pause.
“I do hope she is okay,” said Mark Baumgarten, Norris’ old editor at Seattle Weekly. “But I have no way of knowing.”
Fatwas are not empty threats, according to experts. Many subjects in addition to Charbonnier have been killed by fanatics who believe they win eternal favor by making good on the threats. Egyptian academic Forag Foda, who wrote in defense of secularism and Western values, was assassinated in 1992 after a fatwa from Sheikh Gad al-Haq Ali Gad al-Haq, who at the time was the Grand Imam of al-Azhar, Egypt’s highest authority in Sunni Islamic thought and Islamic jurisprudence.
After the order went out against Rushdie, the British-Indian author hired armed guards, traveled under a phony name, wore disguises and rarely saw his own son. Stores that sold his books were burned and the Japanese translator of “The Satanic Verses” was murdered.
Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini died in 1989, but his fatwa against Rushdie did not. (Reuters)
Just last month, 40 state-run Iranian media outlets added a reported $600,000 to the near $4 million bounty for Rushdie’s head and renewed calls for his death.
“Depending on the issue, a fatwa could be permanent or temporary. In the case of established principles like respecting prophet, it is permanent,” Daniel Akbari, an Islamic scholar and Shariah-certified lawyer for the Supreme Court of Iran, now an adjunct professor of law at St. Mary’s University in Texas, told FoxNews.com. “Going underground and living secretly is the first step the targets of fatwa take to avoid the life-threatening danger that could even threaten the life of their families. They have to limit the number of people they used to socialize with and in many cases leave their jobs.”
Iranian media just added $600,000 to the bounty on Rushdie's head. (Reuters)
Fatwas were traditionally issued by muftis, who are very high-ranking imams. But in recent times, less respected scholars and figures with less credibility and followers have begun issuing Fatwas.
Pamela Geller, co-founder of the controversial anti-Muslim extremist American Freedom Defense Initiative, is believed to have been the target of two men who tried to storm a “Draw Muhammad” cartoon competition in Garland, Texas, last year. She had already been threatened with death from various Islamist groups, including ISIS.
Geller has defiantly lived under Islamist death threats since at least 2006, when her blog, Atlas Shrugs, reprinted cartoon images of Muhammad originally published by the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten. Geller organized a "Draw the Prophet" cartoon contest held May 3, 2015, at the same site in Texas where a Muslim group had months earlier held a "Stand With the Prophet" event.
Two Muslim extremists were killed in a shootout with a Garland Independent School District police officer outside the event.
Geller is believed to have been the target of an attack last year in Garland, Texas.
“I was their prime target,” Gellar told FoxNews.com. “Muslims have called for my death and published on Twitter what they think is my home address. Shortly after the Garland event, ISIS issued a formal fatwa calling for my death.”
A month later, a 26-year-old Muslim man, Usaamah Rahim, was killed by Boston police after charging at them with a military knife. After his death, police revealed that Rahim was an ISIS follower who had planned to behead Geller in retaliation for her Muhammad art exhibit.
Gellar’s strong stance against radical Islam has angered more than just Muslims. She was denied entry into the UK in 2013 as “not conducive to the public good” and has been branded a bigot by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Geller, who lives in New York City under constant guard, said she will never give up her campaign to warn the world about radical Islam.
“I take nothing for granted. I’m aware of the risks,” Geller noted. “But I would rather die standing up than on my knees.”
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali-born, Dutch-American, routinely calls for a reformation of Islam, asserting that “we cannot get away from the reality that there is something within Islam that inspires, incites and mobilizes millions of people to engage in what our president euphemistically calls ‘violent extremism.’”
In 2004, Ali worked with Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh on a highly contentious short movie “Submission” regarding the subjugation of women under Islam. Death threats against the pair ran rampant and Van Gogh was soon murdered in the streets of Amsterdam, a note pinned to his body promising that Ali would be next.
Now a fellow at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, Ali, whose latest book, “Heretic,” was released last year, continues to rail against what she sees as the injustice of Islam.
Theo van Gogh, the great-grandson of Vincent van Gogh's brother, was killed by a Muslim fanatic in 2004 after working with Ali on the short film "Submission," which criticized the treatment of women in Islam. (Reuters)
Like Ali, Raheel Raza left her Islamic homeland and discovered freedom in North America. Twenty-eight years ago, she moved with her husband and two children from Pakistan to Canada, where she is an activist for the rights of Muslim women.
“I am most passionate about human rights and women’s rights in the Muslim world,” the Karachi University graduate and author of “Their Jihad, Not My Jihad: A Muslim Canadian Woman Speaks Out” said.
Her efforts, which include advocating for a Burqa ban, mixed-gender prayers for Muslims and opposing plans to build a Muslim community center near New York’s Ground Zero, have yielded death threats, hate mail and a fatwa.
Raza does not have personal bodyguards, and is not provided protection by the Canadian government.
“Many people get full-time security, but I just leave it in God’s hands to protect me,” she told FoxNews.com. “If I allow myself to be afraid I can’t do the work I do, so I don’t wallow in the luxury of fear.
“I just look over my shoulder in the parking lot,” she said.
foxnews.com/us/2016/03/28/women-marked-for-death-by-islamic-fatwa-face-threats-with-fear-courage.html
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Malala: 'I am devastated by the senseless killing of innocent people in Lahore'
Monday 28 March 2016
safzai has condemned the "senseless killing" in her birth country Pakistan after a terrorist bombing left at least 70 dead on Easter Sunday.
The country entered a three-day mourning period on Monday following the attack in a park in Lahore, believed to be carried out by a suicide bomber.
The 18-year-old former Nobel Prize winner, who lives in Birmingham, said: "I am devastated by the senseless killing of innocent people in Lahore.
"My heart goes out to the victims and their families and friends. I condemn this attack in the strongest possible terms."
She called for Pakistan and the world to stand together adding: "Every life is precious and must be respected and protected."
More than 300 were injured in the attack, many seriously, after a device was detonated near children's rides while families celebrated Easter in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore.
A breakaway Pakistani faction of the Taliban claimed responsibility for the carnage and said it had deliberately targeted the Christian community.
However most of those killed were Muslims - with 14 having been identified as Christians, according to Lahore Police Superintendent Mohammed Iqbal.
Prime Minister David Cameron, who used his Easter message to urge Britons of all faiths to stand up for Christian values, said he was shocked by the attack and promised British help.
"My thoughts are with the families and friends of the victims. We will do what we can to help," the PM posted on his Twitter feed.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said: "My thoughts are with the victims and the family of the victims of the horrific attack in Lahore.
"Solidarity with the emergency services there."
Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said British nationals were advised to avoid the area and monitor travel advice updates and local media.
"My thoughts are with the victims and their families," he said.  
"The UK utterly condemns these senseless acts of violence.
"We will continue to provide support and assistance to the government of Pakistan as they work to defeat those who plan and perpetrate these acts of terror."
asianimage.co.uk/news/14387938.Malala___I_am_devastated_by_the_senseless_killing_of_innocent_people_in_Lahore_/?ref=ebln
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Muslim Women Personal Law Board head Shaista Ambar meets 'gracious' RSS chief
Tuesday March 29, 2016
Lucknow: In an alarming development for the community, All-India Muslim Women Personal Law Board president Shaista Ambar met RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat here on Tuesday.
Ambar said she was present at a function in the Post-Graduate Institute area where Bhagwat was visiting. She sought an appointment with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief that was immediately granted.
"He was very gracious and in his address he spoke of nation building and character development," she said.
Ambar also said she requested Bhagwat to visit the mosque which they have got constructed, and he readily agreed to do so.
ummid.com/news/2016/March/29.03.2016/shaista-amber-meets-rss-chief.html
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In The Boxing Ring At A Self-Defence Class For Hijabi Muslim Women
March 28, 2016
"Hitttttt it, go, go, GO!" Ruqsana Begum yells at her class. She spins around, high kicks and then, without pause for air, continues telling me about the new sports Hijab she's recently brought to market. 
Begum is an impressive woman. An international kickboxing champion and captain of Britain's Muay Thai team, she's the only Muslim woman to be a national champion in her sport. When Begum isn’t fighting or developing sportswear for her sisters, she also runs a boxing/self-defence class that is geared towards the needs of Muslim women.
Begum has herself had to fight cultural attitudes to achieve her own sporting goals. She tells me that she "trained in secret when I was at university." For a while, Begum was concerned about telling her family she was participating in a male-dominated sport. "I had to also break down stereotypes and cultural boundaries in order to train and accomplish my goal of being a national champion."
I've headed down to one of Begum's self-defence classes on a Sunday afternoon in Bethnal Green. It took a while to set up the interview: Begum was understandably cautious that the class would be represented in an appropriate and non-judgemental way, given the ongoing rise in Islamophobic attacks across the UK. According to London's Metropolitan Police, Islamophobic hate crimes rose by 70% in London in 2015, while the anti-Islamophobia charity Tell MAMA reports that the bulk of these attacks are targeted towards women who wear the headscarf or face veil.
And as women stream into Begum's class on a sunny Sunday afternoon, all the women mention the ability to defend themselves in the face of Islamophobic violence as a motivating factor for coming.
One of the class attendees, Amani Nsour, tells me, ‘‘Well, I used to go to the gym but I got bored of it and I felt people looked at me strangely because of the scarf. In these times, it is better to be safe than sorry, so with this boxing class it is a win-win situation, I can exercise and learn how to defend myself."
This sentiment is also shared by Alifa Begum who says, "the class has made me more confident when going out because whilst I do enjoy karate, this plain boxing makes me feel more aware. This is especially important now when you hear about the sisters being attacked wearing the Hijab, which is sad but the boxing really helps my confidence." Laughing, she adds, "and it helps my posture too!"
Between punches, Alifa goes on, "After seeing the footage of the recent [Islamophobic] attacks in London, my husband said he will take me anywhere I want to go. To be honest, after hearing a lot of sisters being attacked, I haven't used the train as much. I know it sounds really bad, I should but I couldn't think about going into the city."
So, it seems that Ruqsana’s class has come to serve a dual purpose. On one level, the female-only training class gives women a space to work out and improve their fitness. It also helps them to feel more secure in British society – no mean feat given the ongoing demonisation of many Muslim communities by the right-wing press and far-right groups.
Alifa agrees that the negativity towards Muslim women is in part reinforced by the the media. With a slight air of exasperation, she says "there is a lot to do with the negative media [coverage], people do not focus on the positives. Who is really talking about what a great thing she [Ruqsana] is doing here for mostly Muslim women, her community and other women of colour in general? On top of this, we [Muslims] are always expected to constantly justify ourselves and our actions."
The day after writing this piece the dreadful attacks in Brussels happen: a reminder of the very real threat faced by communities across the world from Islamic extremism. In the aftermath, a Twitter post goes viral after a man reports "confronting" a Muslim woman over the Brussels attack and asking her to "explain" their actions.
While his tweet was rightly mocked, the depressing reality for many Muslim women is that being the victims of indiscriminate physical or verbal abuse is becoming commonplace in 21st century Britain. Until a longer-term solution to rising Islamophobic violence is delivered by our policy-makers and government, it will be up to community laeders such as Ruqsana to find ways to help keep Muslim women safe.
dazeddigital.com/artsandculture/article/30541/1/in-the-boxing-ring-at-a-self-defence-class-for-muslim-women
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Mississippi Woman Trying To Join Islamic State to Plead Guilty To Terrorism Charge
JEFF AMY
March 28, 2016
JACKSON, Miss. — A young Mississippi woman plans to plead guilty to a terrorism charge Tuesday, months after authorities say she and her fiancé tried to go to Syria to join the Islamic State group.
Court papers show 20-year-old Jaelyn Young, originally from Vicksburg, will plead guilty in Aberdeen federal court to conspiring to provide material support to a terrorist organization.
Young faces up to 20 years in prison, $250,000 in fines and lifetime probation.
Lawyers for Young did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment Monday.
Her fiance, Muhammad Dakhlalla, pleaded guilty March 11 to a similar charge and awaits sentencing. The pair at one point planned to claim they were going on their honeymoon while traveling to Syria.
The couple was arrested Aug. 8 before boarding a flight from Columbus, Mississippi, with tickets for Istanbul. Authorities say they contacted undercover federal agents last year, seeking online help in traveling to Syria. Both are jailed in Oxford.
Young, a sophomore chemistry major at Mississippi State University at the time of her arrest, is the daughter of a school administrator and a police officer who served in the Navy reserve. She was a former honor student, cheerleader and homecoming maid at Vicksburg's Warren Central High School.
Dakhlalla grew up as the youngest of three sons of a prominent figure in Starkville's Muslim community. He is a 2011 psychology graduate of Mississippi State who and was preparing to start graduate school at the university.
Prosecutors have portrayed Young as the leader of the plot. They said that by the time Young began dating Dakhlalla in November 2014, she was already interested in converting to Islam. She announced her conversion in March and began wearing a burqa, a garment worn by some Muslim women to cover their face and body.
"After her conversion, Young distanced herself from family and friends and felt spending time with non-Muslims would be a bad influence," prosecutors wrote in a statement of facts regarding Dakhlalla's plea.
The statement said Young increasingly complained about the treatment of Muslims in the United States and United Kingdom. Prosecutors said that, after watching pro-Islamic State group videos, she began to view the fighters as liberators. They said Young approvingly cited a video of a man accused of being gay being thrown off a roof to his death by militants and also expressed approval of the shooting of five members of the military in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
"Young continually asked Dakhlalla when they were going to join (the Islamic State group) and began to express hatred for the U.S. government and to express support for the implementation of Sharia law in the United States," prosecutors wrote.
The court papers reiterated earlier government claims that Young and then Dakhlalla contacted undercover FBI employees online stating they wanted help to travel to Islamic State group territory.
The papers confirm that both Young and Dakhlalla left farewell letters "that explained they would never be back, with Young acknowledging her role as the planner of the expedition and that Dakhlalla was going as her companion of his own free will."
stripes.com/news/us/court-papers-woman-trying-to-join-islamic-state-to-plead-guilty-to-terrorism-charge-1.401547


Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Taliban to Pursue Violence with Full Support of Pakistani Military Intelligence: Acting Afghan Intelligence Chief

Taliban to Pursue Violence with Full Support of Pakistani Military Intelligence: Acting Afghan Intelligence Chief










Photo: Supporters of the religious party Sunni Tehreek chant slogans during a sit-in protest near the parliament building in Islamabad, Pakistan, Monday.(AP/Anjum Naveed)

Hundreds of Islamic Extremists Protest In Pakistan's Capital
Evil ISIS Jihadis ‘Crucify' Kidnapped Indian Catholic Priest on Good Friday
Saudi Nationals behind Global Terror Attacks: Secretary of Iran’s Expediency Council
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South Asia
Acting NDS Chief Says Taliban to Pursue Violence with Full Support of Pakistani Military Intelligence
Nearly 100 Taliban Insurgents Killed, Wounded In Khanshin District of Helmand
Kabul Explosion Leaves 4 Killed, 15 Wounded
Nine Militants Killed, 3 Arrested By Security Forces In Nangarhar
President Ghani opens campaign for the cleaning of Kabul city
Taliban fire rockets at parliament in Kabul
Logar governor vows action against killers of Col. Mohammada Jan
NDS seized two weapons caches in Logar, arrested two suspects
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Pakistan
Hundreds of Islamic Extremists Protest In Pakistan's Capital
Around 700 Pro-Qadri Protesters Remain In Islamabad's Red Zone
Punjab crackdown is a national operation, says law minister
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India
Evil ISIS Jihadis ‘Crucify' Kidnapped Indian Catholic Priest on Good Friday
Student Spread IS Ideology among Youths In Bengal: NIA
Modi to visit Saudi Arabia on invitation of King Salman
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Southeast Asia
Indonesian Petition: Strip 'Anti-Muslim' Suu Kyi of Nobel Prize
Thailand: 2 soldiers killed in majority Muslim south
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Arab World
Saudi Nationals behind Global Terror Attacks: Secretary of Iran’s Expediency Council
Al-Nusra Front Terrorists Sustain Heavy Losses in North-western Hama
Syrian Army Moving towards Jisr Al-Shughour after Palmyra Victory
Homs: Syrian Army Captures Key Height
Deir Ezzur: Syrian Army Inflicts Heavy Losses on ISIL Terrorists
Rouhani: Iran Backs Permanent Ceasefire in Syria
IRGC Commander: Despite Nuclear Deal No Lifting of Sanctions
VP: Government Implementing Resistance Economy in Practice
ISIL Governor Killed in Nineveh Province
All Egypt Air Passengers except Crew and Four Foreigners Released
Egypt retires 32 judges for opposing Morsi ouster; Sisi sacks top auditor for criticizing government corruption
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Mideast
Three Syrian Children Killed, Six Wounded as Fire Erupts at Tent City in Turkey’s Southeast
Turkish PM Calls on People to Go Out To Spite Terror
Turkey in ring of fire, as security zone off Syria-Iraqi lines: PM
Turkey ‘cannot wait forever’ for a new constitution, says Deputy PM
New Charter Will Redefine Top Court, Judiciary, Turkish PM Says
CHP sends delegation to monitor Zarrab case in the US
Turkish president says 5,359 PKK militants ‘killed, caught or wounded’ over eight months
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Europe
Belgian Investigators Struggling To Uncover Jihadist Network
Fifty of Europe's Most Dangerous Offenders Have Slipped Into Britain Undetected
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North America
US Government Accesses San Bernardino Killer's Iphone, Drops Case Against Apple
US soldier shoots, kills boy near base in Afghanistan
Islamic Society Thanks Vandals Who Tagged Centre
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Africa
Islamic Movement In Nigeria Reject Any Kidnap Of Military Officers In Retaliation Of Illegal Arrest Of Sheikh Zakzaky
Ethiopia: The biggest recipient of Turkish direct investment in Africa
Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

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Taliban to Pursue Violence with Full Support of Pakistani Military Intelligence: Acting Afghan Intelligence Chief
By GHANIZADA - Mon Mar 28 2016
The acting Afghan intelligence chief Massoud Andarabi has said the Taliban group will pursue violence with the full support of Pakistani military intelligence, Inter Services Intelligence (ISI).
Briefing the Afghan lawmakers in the Lower House of the Parliament, Andarabi said the Taliban group will pursue violence in the summer as they are being supported by ISI and encouraged to increase violence and bring more areas under their control.
Andarabi further added that the enemies of the country were more hopeful last year considering the situation of the country as they eyed to capture more areas with persistent violence and increase their political legitimacy.
However, Andarabi said the offensive by the Taliban militants group was repulsed as they failed to have strategic gains.
This is not the first time top Afghan security officials are criticizing Pakistan for interfering in internal affairs of the country.
The Afghan officials have long been slamming Pakistan, specifically the country’s military intelligence for supporting the anti-government armed groups in Afghanistan.
The officials also criticize the Pakistani military intelligence for providing shelters to Afghan militant groups, specifically the Taliban group and the notorious Haqqani network who are blamed for deadly attacks in the country.
khaama.com/acting-nds-chief-says-taliban-to-pursue-violence-with-full-support-of-isi-0464
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Hundreds of Islamic extremists protest in Pakistan's capital
Tue, March 29 2016
Hundreds of Islamic extremists who earlier violently protested in Islamabad over the hanging of a man who killed a secular governor continued their demonstrations in Pakistan's capital on Tuesday, despite warnings from the government targeting extremists.
The rally by Pakistan's Sunni Tehreek group saw more than 10,000 protesters enter Islamabad on Sunday, damaging buildings and bus stations. On Tuesday, local police official Mohammad Kashif said some 700 remained, bringing the most sensitive parts of the capital to a standstill.
The protesters are demanding Pakistan strictly enforce Shariah, or Islamic, law, after the hanging of police officer Mumtaz Qadri, who killed Gov. Salman Taseer in 2011. The group also demands a Christian woman named Aasia Bibi, who is accused of blasphemy and who Taseer supported, be hanged.
Tuesday's sit-in continued despite Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's overnight warning that his government will fight extremists. His comments followed the massive suicide bombing that targeted Christians gathered for Easter in Pakistan's eastern city of Lahore, an attack that killed 72 people.
Hours after Sunday's attacks, a breakaway Taliban faction, which publicly supports the Islamic State group, claimed responsibility, without offering further details. The attack shocked the nation and the army responded by launching raids on suspected militant hideouts in Pakistan's eastern Punjab province, of which Lahore is the capital.
More than 300 suspects have been detained in the raids in the past 48 hours, a security official said. Another official also confirmed nearly 300 arrests and said most of those detained were suspected to belong to outlawed militant and extremist groups.
The two officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to publicly speak to journalists.
The military also had intensified its operation against militants in the North Waziristan tribal region bordering Afghanistan in June 2014 following December 2014 attack on a school in the city of Peshawar that killed 150 people, mainly children.
thejakartapost.com/news/2016/03/29/hundreds-islamic-extremists-protest-pakistans-capital.html
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Evil ISIS Jihadis ‘Crucify' Kidnapped Indian Catholic Priest on Good Friday
Mar 29, 2016
Father Tom Uzhunnalil, 56, was kidnapped by Islamist gunmen reportedly linked to Islamic State (ISIS) earlier this month after attacking an old people’s home, killing at least 15 people.
The terrorists crucified Father Thomas on Good Friday after threatening to carry out the barbaric act earlier in the week, according to the Archbishop of Vienna.
It is not known how the Archbishop became aware of Father Thomas' alleged fate, but his confirmation of the crucifixion during Easter Vigil Mass was reported in Austrian media.
A spokesperson for the cardinal today admitted that while he did say that the priest has been crucified, he has no confirmation of Father Thomas' fate.
Arhdiocese Vienna's head of media relations, Michael Prüller, said: “The cardinal based his statements on news published on Arabic language web sites.
“The validity of this information has, however, not been confirmed.
A Facebook post hoping for Father Tom's release
Father Tom Uzhunnalil - an Indian national from Kerala was abducted by a terror group
Sushma Swaraj
“The cardinal doesn't himself have any sources that have confirmed the death of Father Tom.
“Thus, for the time being, there's still basis for hope that Father Tom is alive.”
Several religious groups reportedly received threats that Father Thomas would be crucified on Good Friday, but this was denied by his church in his hometown Bangalore, India.
The Indian government said it was "making all efforts" to secure the release of the Catholic priest.
The external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj yesterday confirmed the government was desperately trying to rescue the priest.
Mrs Swaraj said: “Father Tom Uzhunnalil - an Indian national from Kerala was abducted by a terror group in Yemen. We are making all efforts to secure his release."
Authorities in Yemen blamed ISIS for the attack on a refuge for the elderly operated by Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity which led to Father Tom’s abduction.
Father Tom had been brutally tortured by the sick jihadis since his abduction.
Four gunmen posing as relatives of one of the guests at the home burst inside, killing four Indian nuns, two Yemeni female staff members, eight elderly residents and a guard.
The gutless group targeted defenceless residents at a Christian care home
Witnesses described the screams of patients echoing through the corridors, with one nun surviving the carnage after hiding in a storeroom fridge when a guard told her to run.
The senseless killings prompted an angry response from Pope Francis, who called for an end to the ten-month conflict in Yemen, which has allowed terrorist groups such as ISIS and al-Qaeda to flourish.
More than 6,200 people have been killed in the conflict, half of them civilians.
A Christian group based in South Africa had reported that the priest now faced death by crucifixion over Easter - one of Christianity's holiest celebrations.
The Franciscan Sisters of Siessen posted on Facebook: "Was informed that the Salesian priest, Fr.Tom who was kidnapped by ISIS from the Missionaries of Charity Home in Yemen is being tortured and is going to be crucified on Good Friday.
"This calls for serious concerted prayers from all of us."
express.co.uk/news/world/656193/Tom-Uzhunnalil-crucified-ISIS-Good-Friday-Catholic-priest-Easter-Islamic-State
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South Asia
Acting NDS Chief says Taliban to pursue violence with full support of ISI
By Ghanizada - Mon Mar 28 2016
AndarabiThe acting Afghan intelligence chief Massoud Andarabi has said the Taliban group will pursue violence with the full support of Pakistani military intelligence, Inter Services Intelligence (ISI).
Briefing the Afghan lawmakers in the Lower House of the Parliament, Andarabi said the Taliban group will pursue violence in the summer as they are being supported by ISI and encouraged to increase violence and bring more areas under their control.
Andarabi further added that the enemies of the country were more hopeful last year considering the situation of the country as they eyed to capture more areas with persistent violence and increase their political legitimacy.
However, Andarabi said the offensive by the Taliban militants group was repulsed as they failed to have strategic gains.
This is not the first time top Afghan security officials are criticizing Pakistan for interfering in internal affairs of the country.
The Afghan officials have long been slamming Pakistan, specifically the country’s military intelligence for supporting the anti-government armed groups in Afghanistan.
The officials also criticize the Pakistani military intelligence for providing shelters to Afghan militant groups, specifically the Taliban group and the notorious Haqqani network who are blamed for deadly attacks in the country.
khaama.com/acting-nds-chief-says-taliban-to-pursue-violence-with-full-support-of-isi-0464
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Nearly 100 Taliban insurgents killed, wounded in Khanshin district of Helmand
Mon Mar 28 2016
Nearly 100 Taliban militants were killed or wounded during the operations in Khanshin district of southern Helmand province which was retaken by the Afghan forces yesterday.
The Ministry of Defense (MoD) said at least 60 Taliban insurgents were killed and 30 others were wounded during the operations conducted jointly by the Afghan forces.
The control of Khanshin district fell to Taliban militants nearly two weeks ago following a coordinated attack involving scores of militants.
However, the security officials announced Sunday that the Afghan forces managed to clear the district from the militants presence as a result of the operations.
Helmand is among the volatile provinces in southern Afghanistan where anti-government armed militant groups are actively operating in its various districts and frequently carry out insurgency activities.
Meanwhile, a statement by MoD said at least 29 militants were killed in a separate operation in Shindand district of Herat while 17 others including 2 commanders of the group were killed in Ghazni and Nuristan provinces.
MoD further added that 7 soldiers serving with the Afghan National Army (ANA) forces also lost their lives during the same operations.
The Taliban militants group has not commented regarding the report so far.
khaama.com/nearly-100-taliban-insurgents-killed-wounded-in-khanshin-district-of-helmand-0465
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Kabul explosion leaves 4 killed, 15 wounded
Tue Mar 29 2016
Afghan-police-respond-to-Kabul-attack-via-AFPFour people have lost lives and 15 others sustained injuries in a bomb blast in 11th police district of Kabul city.
Target of the blast was reportedly a former senator who was passing through the area in his vehicle.
No group has immediately claimed responsibility for the blast that took place in Khair Khana area this morning.
This story would be updated as more details come available.
khaama.com/kabul-explosion-leaves-three-wounded-4773
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Nine militants killed, 3 arrested by security forces in Nangarhar
Tue Mar 29 2016
Taliban12Security forces have killed nine militants in a raid in Momand Dara district of eastern Nangarhrar province.
Nangarhar Media and Information Center said late on Monday that the raid was conducted in Bar Ghundi area by a special unit based out of Nangarhar Airfield in which two rocket launchers, a machine gun, six hand grenades, 20 rockets, 2,000 rounds of PK machine gun, 1,000 rounds of Kalashnikov and two walkie-talkies were also destroyed.
Nangarhar media office also said that security forces rounded up three fighters of Daesh group in a separate raid from the jurisdiction of Haska Mina district.
Haska Mina is one of the few districts of Nangarhar where Daesh has a stronger presence.
The coalition officials estimate between 1,000 to 3,000 Islamic State fighters are stationed in eastern Afghanistan and are trying to establish a base of operations in the rugged mountains of Nangarhar Province.
khaama.com/security-forces-kill-9-militants-in-nangarhar-arrest-3-others-4771
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President Ghani opens campaign for the cleaning of Kabul city
Mon Mar 28 2016
Ghani cleaning garbageA campaign to clean capital Kabul was launched today with President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani participating in the opening of the campaign in a bid to encourage the citizens of the country to contribute and keep the cities clean.
The campaign was launched from Bibi Mehro area of Kabul city today which comes as the residents of Kabul city have long been criticizing the government for remaining reckless to resolve the issue.
In his speech during the inauguration of the cleaning program, President Ghani said Kabul city and Bagrami district will be cleaned in the initial phase of the campaign and the garbage will be shifted to Gazak area.
He said an international firm will be appointed in the second phase of the campaign for the filtration of the garbage so that they can be used to produce energy.
President Ghani further added that the third phase will include the creation of a work force so that they can persistently continue with the cleaning work of the city and steps for the third phase will be announced later.
He said the participation of private sector in cleaning of the garbage has been considered in the fourth phase of the campaign while the fifth phase includes participation of Kabul residents in cleaning campaign.
This comes as President Ghani insisted on the appointment of a qualified mayor to turn Kabul city into one of the best cities of the world after he assumed office as the newly-elected Afghan president.
However, the Kabul residents have slammed the government for failing to appoint a mayor for the municipality of the capital which has been administered by acting mayor during the past two years.
khaama.com/president-ghani-opens-campaign-for-the-cleaning-of-kabul-city-0467
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Taliban fire rockets at parliament in Kabul
March 29th, 2016
KABUL: Taliban insurgents fired a barrage of rockets at Afghanistan’s newly built parliament complex in Kabul on Monday, as top security officials including the intelligence chief prepared to address the assembly.
Multiple rockets smashed into the sprawling compound, blowing out windows in one building. But no one was reported hurt and the parliament session continued uninterrupted.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, with spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid saying the rockets inflicted heavy casualties. The militant group is known to exaggerate battlefield claims.
“While we discuss insecurity around the country, it is worrying that the enemy is able to strike the parliament in the heart of the capital,” lawmaker Mohammad Abdou said during the session broadcast live on TV.
Taj Mohammad Jahed, the caretaker minister of interior who was due to address parliament along with the intelligence chief on the worsening security in Afghanistan, was apologetic.
“This should not have happened,” Jahed said. “I will order new security measures for the parliament complex.” The swanky complex, built by India at an estimated cost of $90 million, was inaugurated by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in December. Last June Taliban militants attacked the old parliament building, sending lawmakers running for cover in chaotic scenes relayed live on television.
dawn.com/news/1248463/taliban-fire-rockets-at-parliament-in-kabul
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Logar governor vows action against killers of Col. Mohammada Jan
Mon Mar 28 2016
Logar 2Mohammad Halim Fidayee, governor of central Logar province has strongly condemned the killing of Colonel Mohammada Jan.
Fidayee says strict actions would be taken against the perpetrators.
Colonel Mohammada Jan who was garrison commander of the fourth brigade- The 203 Thunder Military Corps- lost his life in a bomb blast on Sunday.
The bomb was attached to the door of his residence in Zarghun Khar area of Mohammad Agha district.
There was no additional casualty in the blast.
No group has group has so far claimed responsibility for the attack.
Security forces to include army, police and personnel of the National Directorate of Security (NDS) have been conducting a search operation in Zarghun Khar area since yesterday.
khaama.com/bomb-blast-claims-co-mohammada-jans-life-in-logar-4769
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NDS seized two weapons caches in Logar, arrested two suspects
Mon Mar 28 2016
The National Directorate of Security (NDS) – Afghanistan’s intelligence agency has seized two weapons catches of insurgents in central Logar province.
Officials say one of the depots was discovered in Pakhtoonabad area of Pul-i-Alam, the provincial capital, while the other one was intercepted in the jurisdiction of Khwakhi district last night.
Two rocket launchers, 12 bombs, two rounds of artillery, two boxes of ammos for PK machine gun and other materials were found in the depots.
Two individuals have been arrested on suspicion.
 Located some 60 km south of Kabul, Logar is comparatively a restive province of Afghanistan where Taliban, insurgents loyal to Gulbuddin Hekmatyar’s Hizb-e-Islami and Daesh are operating.
However, it is yet unknown what group the weapons depot belonged to.
khaama.com/nds-seize-two-weapons-caches-in-logar-arrests-two-suspects-4769
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Pakistan
Hundreds of Islamic extremists protest in Pakistan's capital
Tue, March 29 2016
Hundreds of Islamic extremists who earlier violently protested in Islamabad over the hanging of a man who killed a secular governor continued their demonstrations in Pakistan's capital on Tuesday, despite warnings from the government targeting extremists. The rally by Pakistan's Sunni Tehreek group saw more than 10,000 protesters enter Islamabad on Sunday, damaging buildings and bus stations. On Tuesday, local police official Mohammad Kashif said some 700 remained, bringing the most sensitive parts of the capital to a standstill.
The protesters are demanding Pakistan strictly enforce Shariah, or Islamic, law, after the hanging of police officer Mumtaz Qadri, who killed Gov. Salman Taseer in 2011. The group also demands a Christian woman named Aasia Bibi, who is accused of blasphemy and who Taseer supported, be hanged.
Tuesday's sit-in continued despite Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's overnight warning that his government will fight extremists. His comments followed the massive suicide bombing that targeted Christians gathered for Easter in Pakistan's eastern city of Lahore, an attack that killed 72 people.
Hours after Sunday's attacks, a breakaway Taliban faction, which publicly supports the Islamic State group, claimed responsibility, without offering further details. The attack shocked the nation and the army responded by launching raids on suspected militant hideouts in Pakistan's eastern Punjab province, of which Lahore is the capital.
More than 300 suspects have been detained in the raids in the past 48 hours, a security official said. Another official also confirmed nearly 300 arrests and said most of those detained were suspected to belong to outlawed militant and extremist groups.
The two officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to publicly speak to journalists.
The military also had intensified its operation against militants in the North Waziristan tribal region bordering Afghanistan in June 2014 following December 2014 attack on a school in the city of Peshawar that killed 150 people, mainly children.
thejakartapost.com/news/2016/03/29/hundreds-islamic-extremists-protest-pakistans-capital.html
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Around 700 pro-Qadri protesters remain in Islamabad's Red Zone
AP — 29 March 2016
ISLAMABAD: Around 700 pro-Mumtaz Qadri protesters continued to protest in Islamabad's Red Zone on Tuesday, police official Mohammad Kashif confirmed, despite warnings from the government, bringing the most sensitive parts of the capital to a standstill.
A rally organised by the Sunni Tehreek (ST) saw more than 10,000 charged protesters enter the city on Sunday, damaging buildings and setting fire to the metro station, containers and buses.
A crowd consisting of around at least 25,000 people had attended the chehlum of former Punjab governor Salman Taseer's killer, Mumtaz Qadri, in Rawalpindi's Liaquatbagh earlier that day.
Mumtaz Qadri, an Elite Force commando, was executed at Rawalpindi's Adiala Jail on February 29. Qadri shot Taseer 28 times in broad daylight in Islamabad’s Kohsar Market on January 4, 2011.
Qadri said he killed Taseer over what he called the politician's vocal opposition to blasphemy laws of the country. He was sentenced to death for assassinating Taseer on Oct 1 the same year.
The protesters, while staging a sit-in in front of Parliament, issued a list of 10 demands under the banner of the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Ya Rasool (SAW).
Their demands include the unconditional release of all Sunni clerics and leaders booked on various charges, including terrorism and murder; the recognition of Mumtaz Qadri as a martyr and the conversion of his Adiala Jail cell into a national heritage site; assurances that blasphemy laws will not be amended; and the removal of Ahmadis and other non-Muslims who occupy key posts.
They also demanded the execution of blasphemy accused Aasia Bibi, the woman former Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer was killed for defending.
Over 700 protesters were picked up from parts of Islamabad and sent to various jails in Punjab, Dawn Newspaper learnt from officials of the capital police on Monday, and four separate cases were registered against 501 religious workers, including their leadership, under the Anti-Terrorism Act by police.
Tuesday's sit-in continues despite Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's Monday night address to the nation during which he warned radical Islamists not to take the government's leniency as a sign of weakness.
Know more: Military gives go-ahead for Punjab operation after Lahore carnage
The address followed a massive suicide bombing at Lahore's Gulshan-i-Iqbal park in which at least 72 people were killed.
Hours after Sunday's attack, the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan Jamatul Ahrar claimed responsibility.
The army responded by launching raids on suspected militant hideouts across Punjab.
More than 200 suspects have been detained in the raids in the past 48 hours, a security official said.
Another official also confirmed the arrests and said most of those detained were suspected to belong to outlawed militant and extremist groups.
The two officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorised to publicly speak to journalists.
dawn.com/news/1248676/around-700-pro-qadri-protesters-remain-in-islamabads-red-zone
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Punjab crackdown is a national operation, says law minister
DAWN.COM —  29 March 2016
LAHORE: A day after the military confirmed launching a crackdown against terrorists in Punjab, provincial law minister Rana Sanaullah on Tuesday said the operation launched in the province is a "national operation."
The minister said the country's complete political leadership, religious parties, opposition and the government are backing the crackdown.
Giving some details on the modalities of the operation, Sanaullah said action will be taken jointly by all law enforcing agencies.
"Some kacha areas have been identified where operations will be launched by police, elite force and the counter-terrorism department, and if need be Rangers and Army will be called in."
The law minister's conference comes an hour before ISPR chief Asim Bajwa and Federal Information Minister Pervez Rashid are scheduled to address a joint conference in Islamabad. The two are expected to talk on security issues.
Trying to play down speculation on differences between the government and the military, the minister said:
"Some elements that are trying to create gaps or spaces in our joint efforts will fail. This operation will continue with the same passion and soon the entire nation will stand victorious."
Sana emphasised that all law enforcement agencies, be it police, CTD, ISI or Rangers, are operating together to achieve their targets.
In the past 24 hours, police has conducted 56 operations in the province, CTD has undertaken 16 operations, while intelligence agencies with the help of local police conducted 88 operations, he said.
He said over 15,000 seminaries had been geotagged and dispelled the notion that no-go areas exist in Punjab. "The impression that no-go areas exist in Punjab is wrong," he said.
In the past 24 hours, he said, police had conducted 56 operations, the CTD 16 operations, and local police with the support of intelligence agencies had conducted 88.
A total of 5,221 people had been rounded up during the operations, of which 5,005 were released after data verification, the minister said
There are around 1,550 people on the fourth schedule, and nearly 1,000 were arrested, he said.
dawn.com/news/1248677/punjab-crackdown-is-a-national-operation-says-law-minister
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India
Evil ISIS Jihadis ‘Crucify' Kidnapped Indian Catholic Priest on Good Friday
Mar 29, 2016
Father Tom Uzhunnalil, 56, was kidnapped by Islamist gunmen reportedly linked to Islamic State (ISIS) earlier this month after attacking an old people’s home, killing at least 15 people.
The terrorists crucified Father Thomas on Good Friday after threatening to carry out the barbaric act earlier in the week, according to the Archbishop of Vienna.
It is not known how the Archbishop became aware of Father Thomas' alleged fate, but his confirmation of the crucifixion during Easter Vigil Mass was reported in Austrian media.
A spokesperson for the cardinal today admitted that while he did say that the priest has been crucified, he has no confirmation of Father Thomas' fate.
Arhdiocese Vienna's head of media relations, Michael Prüller, said: “The cardinal based his statements on news published on Arabic language web sites.
“The validity of this information has, however, not been confirmed.
A Facebook post hoping for Father Tom's release
Father Tom Uzhunnalil - an Indian national from Kerala was abducted by a terror group
Sushma Swaraj
“The cardinal doesn't himself have any sources that have confirmed the death of Father Tom.
“Thus, for the time being, there's still basis for hope that Father Tom is alive.”
Several religious groups reportedly received threats that Father Thomas would be crucified on Good Friday, but this was denied by his church in his hometown Bangalore, India.
The Indian government said it was "making all efforts" to secure the release of the Catholic priest.
The external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj yesterday confirmed the government was desperately trying to rescue the priest.
Mrs Swaraj said: “Father Tom Uzhunnalil - an Indian national from Kerala was abducted by a terror group in Yemen. We are making all efforts to secure his release."
Authorities in Yemen blamed ISIS for the attack on a refuge for the elderly operated by Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity which led to Father Tom’s abduction.
Father Tom had been brutally tortured by the sick jihadis since his abduction.
Four gunmen posing as relatives of one of the guests at the home burst inside, killing four Indian nuns, two Yemeni female staff members, eight elderly residents and a guard.
The gutless group targeted defenceless residents at a Christian care home
Witnesses described the screams of patients echoing through the corridors, with one nun surviving the carnage after hiding in a storeroom fridge when a guard told her to run.
The senseless killings prompted an angry response from Pope Francis, who called for an end to the ten-month conflict in Yemen, which has allowed terrorist groups such as ISIS and al-Qaeda to flourish.
More than 6,200 people have been killed in the conflict, half of them civilians.
A Christian group based in South Africa had reported that the priest now faced death by crucifixion over Easter - one of Christianity's holiest celebrations.
The Franciscan Sisters of Siessen posted on Facebook: "Was informed that the Salesian priest, Fr.Tom who was kidnapped by ISIS from the Missionaries of Charity Home in Yemen is being tortured and is going to be crucified on Good Friday.
"This calls for serious concerted prayers from all of us."
express.co.uk/news/world/656193/Tom-Uzhunnalil-crucified-ISIS-Good-Friday-Catholic-priest-Easter-Islamic-State
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Pathankot attack probe: Pak sent Delhi a letter saying evidence will help build case
March 29, 2016
The government agreed to allow Pakistani investigators to visit Pathankot after receiving a written commitment that the evidence gathered would be used to pursue a criminal case against the perpetrators, diplomatic sources have told The Indian Express.
In a March 1 letter, Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said the evidence was necessary to enable “the building of a strong prosecution case”.
Pak probe team heads to Pathankot today, political storm erupts in DelhiPathankot attack probe: Pakistan's JIT to hold meetings with NIA officers todayProbing Pathankot attack: Pakistan team to reach Delhi todayPathankot attack: Pakistan team to visit this weekend, but no legal basis of its probePathankot probe: Six terrorists or four? NIA will send charred remains for re-testPathankot attack: Pakistan police lodge FIR against unknown personsPak probe team heads to Pathankot today, political storm erupts in DelhiPathankot attack probe: Pakistan's JIT to hold meetings with NIA officers todayProbing Pathankot attack: Pakistan team to reach Delhi todayPathankot attack: Pakistan team to visit this weekend, but no legal basis of its probePathankot probe: Six terrorists or four? NIA will send charred remains for re-testPathankot attack: Pakistan police lodge FIR against unknown personsPak probe team heads to Pathankot today, political storm erupts in DelhiPathankot attack probe: Pakistan's JIT to hold meetings with NIA officers todayProbing Pathankot attack: Pakistan team to reach Delhi todayPathankot attack: Pakistan team to visit this weekend, but no legal basis of its probePathankot probe: Six terrorists or four? NIA will send charred remains for re-testPathankot attack: Pakistan police lodge FIR against unknown persons
Following a meeting with National Investigation Agency (NIA) officers in New Delhi, Pakistan’s Joint Investigation Team is scheduled to travel to Pathankot airbase Tuesday.
In the letter, sources said, Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry promised that the team would process the material it obtained professionally to “ensure admissibility of the evidence in a relevant court of law”.
The letter also suggested that Pakistani investigators had identified families of the four perpetrators who the NIA believes were Jaish-e-Muhammad operatives. Forensic samples, it stated, should be given to the JIT “for their possible match with specimens of relevant individuals in Pakistan”.
India has been trying to return the bodies of the four perpetrators to Pakistan. The process, government sources said, would not be possible until DNA samples established that the perpetrators were in fact Pakistani citizens.
“The last government,” a senior diplomat said, “made a mistake after 26/11 by not allowing Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency to gather crime-scene evidence, or to summon Indian witnesses to the trial. The only result was to give the Lashkar-e-Taiba’s lawyers a handle to sabotage the case.”
“Even though we are unclear how far this process will go,” the diplomat said, “we don’t want to give Pakistan an opportunity to blame India for failing to cooperate in the investigation.”
New Delhi, government sources said, is willing to make available witnesses to depose in any future criminal trial in Pakistan, either through video-link or in person. “There’s nothing for us to hide,” a senior Home Ministry official said.
indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/pathankot-attack-pakistan-sent-delhi-a-letter-saying-evidence-will-help-build-case/
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Student Spread IS Ideology among Youths in Bengal: NIA
Soumen Datta, Hindustan Times, Kolkata: Mar 29, 2016
After interrogating Durgapur polytechnic student Ashique Ahmed, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has learnt that he had managed to indoctrinate several youths from Bengal in the Islamic State’s (IS’s) ideology in the last six months. The agency also learnt that Ahmed got in touch with these youths through social networking sites.
The youths that Ahmed indoctrinated come from areas such as Murshidabad, Malda, Hooghly and North 24-Parganas.
“Ashique Ahmed was given the task of swaying these youths and getting them to adopt IS’s ideals and beliefs. Soon, he began contacting them through social networking sites,” said NIA IG SK Singh. While tracing the IS network in the country, the agency identified 14 people who were engaged in spreading IS ideology. They were arrested and one of them, Nasif Khan, from Hyderabad told the sleuths about Ahmed whom he had recruited for spreading IS’s ideology.
The agency picked Ahmed up from Kanksa near Durgapur on February 25 and brought him to Kolkata for interrogation. Later, he was taken to Delhi where he was arrested on March 17.
While grilling Nasif Khan and Ahmed, the NIA learnt that Ashique was asked to make a list of people who could turnout to be hardcore IS activists.
After examining Ahmed’s profile page on a social networking site, the sleuths also found that he used to share IS videos, including the brutal execution videos uploaded on different sites.
But the NIA sleuths are now sure that Ahmed was over enthusiastic in spreading the IS ideology and that was why he often pressurised others through chat to adopt it. In fact, he wanted to indoctrinate as many youths in Bengal as possible.
The agency is now trying to locate the persons Ahmed and Khan contacted in the last six months. The officials added that the exact number of persons recruited by IS in India or those assigned the task of spreading their ideology could not ascertained.
The NIA had earlier said that the Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen, Bangladesh (JMB) had recruited and trained their activists in Bengal before Khagragarh blast. Then, too, jihad had become the main attraction for the young recruits.
hindustantimes.com/india/student-spread-is-ideology-among-youths-in-bengal-nia/story-b2MURoZPJ1RGq3QFHetsQL.html
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Modi to visit Saudi Arabia on invitation of King Salman
DAWN.COM
Tue, Mar 29, 2016
Indian PM says he will visit the Kingdom next month to 'expand and deepen bilateral relations' with Saudi Arabia.─AFP/File
Indian PM says he will visit the Kingdom next month to 'expand and deepen bilateral relations' with Saudi Arabia.─AFP/File
MUMBAI: Indian prime minister Narendra Modi announced Monday that he will be visiting Saudi Arabia between April 2 and April 3 on the invitation of King Salman.
The Indian premier announced the decision on his official Facebook page, adding that he plans to work with the Saudi leadership to 'expand and deepen our bilateral relations'.
Modi maintained that one of the key objectives of his visit will be to convince prominent Saudi businesses to partner with India’s development priorities.
"Our economic ties are expanding. Saudi Arabia is India’s fourth largest trading partner, and is also India’s largest crude oil supplier," read the statement.
It must be noted that on the death of Salman's predecessor, King Abdullah last year, India sent its Vice President Hamid Ansari to Riyadh to pay respects.
In addition, the Indian government had announced a day of mourning on January 24, 2015 for the “close ally and friend” of the country.
In 2006, when King Abdullah visited India as the chief guest at the Republic Day parade, the trip was hailed as a milestone. The first visit by a Saudi king to India in 51 years, it saw the signing of the “Delhi Declaration” forging a strategic energy partnership between the two nations.
dawn.com/news/1248666/modi-to-visit-saudi-arabia-on-invitation-of-king-salman
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Southeast Asia
Indonesian Petition: Strip 'Anti-Muslim' Suu Kyi of Nobel Prizei
Jakarta.
29th Mar 2016
Tens of thousands of Indonesians have called for the revocation of the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Myanmar's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi over anti-Muslim remarks she allegedly made during a media interview.
A newly published biography written by Peter Popham, titled "The Lady and The Generals," revealed that Suu Kyi lost her temper after a heated interview in October 2013 with BBC Today anchor Mishal Husain.
Husain, a Muslim of Pakistani descent, repeatedly questioned why the Nobel laureate refused to condemn anti-Islamic sentiment and massacres of Muslims in her country, which she refused to do throughout the interview.
newly published book "The Lady and The Generals -- Aung San Suu Kyi and Burma's Struggle for Freedom" - See more at: mizzima.com/news-domestic/biographer-claims-suu-kyi-%E2%80%98angry-being-interviewed-muslim%E2%80%99#sthash.nwgNp4d5.dpuf newly published book "The Lady and The Generals -- Aung San Suu Kyi and Burma's Struggle for Freedom" - See more at: mizzima.com/news-domestic/biographer-claims-suu-kyi-%E2%80%98angry-being-interviewed-muslim%E2%80%99#sthash.nwgNp4d5.dpuf newly published book "The Lady and The Generals -- Aung San Suu Kyi and Burma's Struggle for Freedom" - See more at: mizzima.com/news-domestic/biographer-claims-suu-kyi-%E2%80%98angry-being-interviewed-muslim%E2%80%99#sthash.nwgNp4d5.dpufnewly published book "The Lady and The Generals -- Aung San Suu Kyi and Burma's Struggle for Freedom" - See more at: mizzima.com/news-domestic/biographer-claims-suu-kyi-%E2%80%98angry-being-interviewed-muslim%E2%80%99#sthash.nwgNp4d5.dpuf After the interview, Popham writes, Suu Kyi reportedly said: "No one told me I would be interviewed by a Muslim."
"Many people were shocked that such words came from Suu Kyi. It might be just one sentence, but they have deep meanings for every person who loves peace," said Emerson Yuntho, an antigraft activist who co-initiated an online petition demanding the Norwegian Nobel Committee retract the award.
"Only those who seriously maintain peace are suitable for the Nobel Peace Prize," the Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW) activist added.
Emerson, along with around 120 other Indonesians, started the petition on the website Change.org on Monday, and it had been been signed by over 35,000 people as of Tuesday.
Husain had been asking Suu Kyi about the fate of the Rohingya, Muslim minority group in Myanmar that has suffered persecution in recent years at the hands of the Buddhist-majority population, with Myanmar authorities being accused of turning a blind eye.
Suu Kyi has remained largely silent about the Rohingya issue.
"This has again raised questions by the international community regarding Suu Kyi's attitude towards Muslim minority groups in Myanmar," Emerson said.
jakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/news/indonesian-petition-strip-anti-muslim-suu-kyi-nobel-prize/
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Thailand: 2 soldiers killed in majority Muslim south
28th Mar 2016
Max Constant
BANGKOK (AA) – Two Thai soldiers were gunned down Sunday in the country’s insurgency-plagued majority Muslim south, despite the ruling junta’s claims that conditions in the region are under control and improving.
The chief of the Yarang district police station, in Pattani province, told Anadolu Agency, “two soldiers were shot by a group using AK-47 automatic rifles and were killed as they were riding a motorbike on the way to the market of Yarang district”.
Police Colonel Tirapot Yindi added, “both soldiers were killed on the spot and the assailants fled”.
Police investigators blamed insurgents fighting against the central state for the attack, one in a long series of shootings and bombings to rock the region this year despite the military government’s repeated assurances of the situation improving.
Negotiations between Mara Patani, an umbrella group representing various factions of the decades-long insurgency, and the military government — which seized power in a May 2014 coup — have been on-going since 2015 with Malaysia acting as a facilitator.
Last year, Mara Patani set out three pre-conditions for formal peace talks with the Thai military government.
First, the organization demanded that the southern issue be made a priority on the government national agenda through a parliamentary vote. Secondly, it asked the government to recognize Mara Patani as “a legitimate organization” and thirdly that Mara Patani representatives be given immunity and safe passage throughout the south.
Last month, Gen. Nakrob Boonbuathong — a representative of the Internal Security Operational Command, the main domestic security agency — said that junta chief-cum-Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha had approved the first request, but not the two others.
Despite a decrease in the number of violent incidents in 2015 compared to previous years, bombings and shootings continue to destabilize the three provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat — as well as four districts of the Songkla province to the north — where around 6,500 people have been killed and over 11,000 injured since 2004.
The southern insurgency is rooted in a century-old ethno-cultural conflict between Malay Muslims living in the southern region and the Thai central state where Buddhism is considered the de-facto national religion.
Armed insurgent groups were formed in the 1960s after the then-military dictatorship tried to interfere in Islamic schools, but the insurgency faded in the 1990s.
In 2004, a rejuvenated armed movement — composed of numerous local cells of fighters loosely grouped around an organization called the National Revolutionary Front or BRN, some factions of which are now involved in Mara Pattani — emerged.
The confrontation is one of the deadliest low-intensity conflicts on the planet.
muslimnews.co.uk/news/south-east-asia/thailand-2-soldiers-killed-majority-muslim-south/
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Arab World
Saudi Nationals behind Global Terror Attacks: Secretary of Iran’s Expediency Council
Tue, Mar 29, 2016
TEHRAN (FNA)- Secretary of Iran’s Expediency Council (EC) Mohsen Rezayee said on Monday that the footprint of a Saudi national is always visible when a terrorist attack happens anywhere in the world.
Rezayee made the remark in reaction to the recent comments by Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir in an article published by New York Times claiming that Iran supports terrorism.
Adel al-Jubeir also repeated his anti-Iran comments in his Twitter account.
Rezaei referred to the new wave of terrorist attacks across Europe and the Middle East, saying that unlike the Saudis, Iranians are never involved in such terrorist or suicide attacks.
Rezayee had also earlier warned that Saudi Arabia's decision to send ground troops to Syria will engulf the entire region, except for Iran.
"Saudi Arabia and the US have decided to dispatch troops to Syria to save the remnants of their Takfiri proxies. They want to continue the war on Syria after the failures of  ISIL and al-Nusra Front in Iraq (Ramadi) and Syria (Aleppo)," Rezayee wrote on his Instagram page last Saturday.
He predicted that such measures could increase the possibilty of clashes between Russia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Syria, as well as direct US invovlement, all while triggering a major regional war.
"Undoubtedly, if the Saudi government decides to make such a crazy move, the entire region, including Saudi Arabia will go up in flames, while Iran will still remain intact and unscathed." Rezayee said.
The Saudi Defense Ministry says it is ready to deploy ground troops to Syria to allegedly aid the US-led anti-ISIL, also known as Daesh, coalition.
Riyadh has been a nominal member of the US-led coalition that has been launching airstrikes against Daesh in Syria since September 2014, without the permission of Damascus or the United Nations. In December 2015, Saudi Arabia started its own Muslim 34-nation coalition to allegedly fight Islamic extremism.
Daesh or ISIL/ISIS is a Wahhabi group mentored by Saudi Arabia and has been blacklisted as a terrorist group everywhere in the world, including the United States and Russia, but Saudi Arabia.
en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950110000066
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Al-Nusra Front Terrorists Sustain Heavy Losses in Northwestern Hama
Tue, Mar 29, 2016
TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian army pounded and destroyed the military positions of Al-Nusra Front terrorists in the Northwestern part of Hama province on Tuesday.
The Al-Nusra Front's military positions in al-Mansoura village in Northwestern Hama were razed down by the army units, inflicting heavy losses on the terrorists.
The Syrian army also destroyed the terrorists' mortar launching-pads in al-Ghab valley in the Western neighborhood of al-Mansoura village.
Scores of terrorists were killed and injured in tough battle with the Syrian army in the surrounding areas of al-Mansoura village.
In a relevant development on Sunday, the Syrian army and popular forces continued their advances in Hama, and won back two more key regions in the ISIL-controlled territory in the Eastern part of the Central province.
The army units and popular forces took full control of two new regions in the Western part of Aqareb dam and Tabaret al-Deibeh in heavy clashes with the ISIL terrorists.
Scores of ISIL terrorists were killed and wounded in heavy clashes with the Syrian government troops. Three military vehicles of the ISIL equipped with heavy machineguns were also razed down by the Syrian army.
Aqareb region is located about 30 kilometers to the East of Hama city.
The army's engineering units defused the bombs and mines which were laid by the terrorists in the two regions.
Also on March 21, the Syrian army forces' missile attack on terrorists' positions in Hama province killed tens of militants and destroyed their weapons and vehicles.
According to military sources, the missile attack was launched against a vehicle carrying terrorists on the strategic al-Mansoura-Tal Wasat road in al-Ghab Plain, 25 km Northwest of Hama.
The missile strike killed all militants on board in addition to the full destruction of their vehicle.
Terrorists of the al-Nusra Front on March 20 admitted that one of their top military commanders has been killed during the Syrian army operations in the Southernmost parts of Hama province.
The terrorist group acknowledged on its social media that their top commander Abu Mustafa al-Hamawi was killed during the recent clashes that erupted between the Syrian Army and the Al-Nusra Front near Tal-Dara village South of Hama province, close to Homs province.
Syrian army unit carried out an operation against al-Nusra terrorists’ gathering in al-Mansoura village in the Northwestern countryside of Hama province
A field source announced that a mortar launcher was destroyed in the Western neighborhood of al-Mansoura village in al-Ghab Valley and a number of Takfiri terrorists were killed or injured in the operation.
en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950110000072
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Homs: Syrian Army Captures Key Height
Tue Mar 29, 2016
TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian army and popular forces continued their advances Homs province, and seized back a strategic height near the town of Quaryatayn.
The army units took full control of Hazm al-Gharbiat height by moving from Jabil mountain towards Hazm al-Awsat mountains in the Western part of Quaryatayn town.
The Syrian army inflicted heavy losses on the ISIL Takfiri terrorists and destroyed their armored vehicle killing all its crew members.
In a relevant development on Monday, the Syrian army and the Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movement started fresh military operations against the terrorists' military positions Quaryatayn town in Homs province, and seized control of a strategic hill in the region in the first phase of the operation.
The army units attacked the terrorists' positions in Quaryatayn.
The Syrian army and resistance forces seized back Mantar al-Ramliya Hill in Taloul al-Soud area in the Western part of Quaryatayn town early in the first phase of their massive operations.
The Syrian army started its fresh operations after it cut the terrorists' supply routes to the ancient city of Palmyra which is also located in Eastern Homs.
Meantime, the Syrian army's artillery units heavily pounded the terrorists' positions in Quaryatayn.
en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950110000114
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Deir Ezzur: Syrian Army Inflicts Heavy Losses on ISIL Terrorists
Tue Mar 29, 2016
TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian army and popular forces continued their advances in two strategic regions in Deir Ezzur province in Eastern Syria, killing and wounding scores of the ISIL terrorists.
The army units attacked the ISIL's military positions in the towns of al-Mayadeen and al-Ashara in Deir Ezzur province.
The Syrian government troops killed at least four ISIL terrorists in Tebbiya region in al-Mayadeen town in the Southeastern part of Deir Ezzur.
The army units also hit hard the ISIL in al-Ashara town also located in the Southeastern part of Deir Ezzur. At least five ISIL terrorists, including three Saudi nationals, were killed in heavy clashes with the Syrian army.
In a relevant development on Monday, the Syrian army foiled an attempt by the ISIL terrorist group to penetrate into its military positions in the Eastern part of Deir Ezzur military airport, killing scores of Takfiri terrorists.
The ISIL terrorists tried to penetrate into al-Mura'yeh and Huweija fronts near Deir Ezzur military airport, but they were pushed back by the Syrian army.
"At least five terrorists were killed and many more were injured in heavy clashes with the government troops," army sources said.
Also on Saturday, the Syrian army hit hard and destroyed the ISIL's military positions in the Eastern part of Deir Ezzur as the country's air force continued pounding the Takfiri terrorist group's gathering centers in strategic farms and villages across the province.
The Syrian air force pounded the ISIL's military positions in al-Mura'yeh farms and Jafreh village.
Meantime, the Syrian army destroyed the ISIL's positions in Mura'yeh and al-Huweija fronts in the Eastern part of Deir Ezzur province.
Scores of terrorists were killed and wounded in tough battle with the Syrian army and also in Syrian fighter jets' strikes.
Also on Thursday, the Syrian Air Force launched several airstrikes on ISIL positions in the city of Deir Ezzur's Eastern Suburbs.
"The Syrian Air Force also destroyed as many as a dozen pick-up trucks and armored vehicles of ISIL in the al-Uthmaniyah district," a military source said.
In addition to the destruction of the terrorist group’s vehicles, the Syrian air force jets destroyed an ISIL warehouse during the aerial operation over the region, the source added.
Also last Wednesday, a source reported that the ISIL's top field commander in Deir Ezzur province was killed by the Syrian Army when his unit launched a large-scale offensive to seize the provincial capital.
According to a source from the Syrian Army’s Airborne Brigade of the Republican Guard, the ISIL commander was identified as “Salahiddeen Al-Beljiki”, a veteran terrorist from Belgium.
One day after Al-Beljiki's death, the Syrian Armed Forces also reported the death of another ISILL field command “Sayaf Al-Baqawi”, nom de guerre “Sayaf Al-Mughrabi.
Al-Baqawi’s was a Moroccan national that led ISIL’s “Al-Bitar Battalions” in the battle for Deir Ezzur province and his death was reported to the Moroccan authorities after his identification.
en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950110000296
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Rouhani: Iran Backs Permanent Ceasefire in Syria
Tue, Mar 29, 2016
TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Monday called for the continuation of the ceasefire in Syria and acceleration of political negotiations to end the foreign-backed proxy war on the the Arab country.
“Concurrent with the ceasefire, political negotiations should speed up. The truce and political negotiations should not disrupt the relentless campaign against terrorists and terrorist groups in Syria,” Rouhani said in a telephone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday.
He also said cooperation and consultation among Iran and Russia would play a leading role in consolidating peace and stability in Syria.
“Only the Syrian people can decide about Syria and the future of their country’s political system,” Rouhani added.
He hailed the Syrian government forces’ recapture of the ancient city of Palmyra from the ISIL terrorist group, saying it indicates that the Syrian Army and people have become stronger.
Following four weeks of military operations against Daesh, Syrian forces, backed by popular defense groups, Iranian military advisers and Russian air cover, wrested back control of Palmyra in the western province of Homs on Sunday.
The Iranian president said protecting borders and blocking the flow of arms and terrorist recruits into Syria as well as preventing terrorists from participating in Syria peace talks under the aegis of the opposition are “irrefutable necessities.”
Putin, for his part, briefed Rouhani on the latest talks between Russia and the US on Syria and said all efforts are aimed at settling the crisis in the Arab country through peaceful approaches while Tehran and Moscow have full coordination in this regard.
He added that terrorists should not be allowed to join the opposition during political talks on Syria.
en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950110000055
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IRGC Commander: Despite Nuclear Deal No Lifting of Sanctions
Tue, Mar 29, 2016
TEHRAN (FNA)- Commander of Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari said despite the nuclear deal, the enemy (the US government) has no intention to lift its sanctions regime against Iran.
Speaking to reporters in the northern city of Gilan on Monday, Jafari said the enemy is lifting just a fraction of its sanctions against Iran, and even that part is being done through a very slow and gradual process.
"The enemy has no intention to lift its sanctions regime altogether - despite the nuclear deal between Tehran and the P5+1 (US, Britain, France, China, Russia plus Germany)," he said
His remarks came after Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei lashed out at the US for not remaining loyal to its undertakings based on the July nuclear agreement between Tehran and the world powers.
"The Americans did not act on what they promised in the nuclear accord (the JCPOA); they did not do what they should have done. According to Foreign Minister (Mohammad Javad Zarif), they brought something on the paper but prevented materialization of the objectives of the Islamic Republic of Iran through many diversionary ways," Ayatollah Khamenei said on March 20.
"What a hue and cry did they launch in the case of the missiles: Why Iran has long-ranged missiles? Why they (Iranians) aim and point to the target so precisely? Why they (Iranians) tested and why you (we Iranians) do military exercise?" he asked.
"The Americans and one of the regional countries launch wargames every now and then in the Persian Gulf, which is several thousands of kilometers away of their country, while they have no responsibility there. Iran carries out military exercise in its own security boundary and home," Ayatollah Khamenei stated.
Elsewhere, the Supreme Leader said that he supported the Iranian nuclear negotiating team and encouraged the people to cooperate with the government to achieve the goals set for the economic development.
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VP: Government Implementing Resistance Economy in Practice
Tue, Mar 29, 2016
TEHRAN (FNA)- First Vice-President Eshaq Jahangiri said President Hassan Rouhani has begun putting into practice the government's policy of resistance economy.
“Promotion of non-oil exports tops the government's agenda for this year,'' Jahangiri said on Monday.
He noted that the economy ministry is responsible for implementing the objectives of the new policy.
The announcement came after Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei on March 20 called on people and officials to double efforts to improve economy and turn the threats into opportunities.
"The main issue is that the Iranian nation should be able to do something to bring its vulnerabilities to zero point, and we should have the art of using opportunities and turning threats into opportunities," Ayatollah Khamenei said in his message on Sunday after the start of the Iranian New Year.
He underlined that improvement of economy is the country's main priority, and said increasing national production, creating jobs and fighting recession are among the issues which should receive attention in the New Year.
Ayatollah Khamenei described the resistance economy as the remedy to all economic problems and the way to stand against enemies' threats and create opportunities, and said, "Therefore, what I choose as the slogan of this year is 'the resistance economy; action and implementation'."
en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950110000079
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ISIL Governor Killed in Nineveh Province
Tue, Mar 29, 2016
TEHRAN (FNA)- The Iraqi army and volunteer forces (Hashd al-Shaabi) killed a notorious ISIL leader in Nineveh province on Tuesday.
The ISIL governor identified as Mohammad Ahmad Sha’yeb was killed by the Iraqi government troops near the city of Mosul in the Northern part of Nineveh province.
Ahmad Sha'yeb was the third ISIL commander who was killed by the Iraqi army over last 48 hours, Iraqi defense ministry announced on Tuesday.
In a relevant development on Sunday, the Iraqi army and volunteer forces continued their advances near Mosul city, and seized back several strategic villages.
"We have liberated at least 10 ISIL-controlled villages, including Qudila, Qarmadi, Mahanah, Khattab, al-Nasr, Hamidat and Kharbardan since Thursday during military operations to take control of Mosul city which is located 400 kilometers to the North of Baghdad," Brigadier General Najm Abdollah al-Jubouri said.
Scores of the ISIL terrorists were killed and wounded in heavy clashes with the Iraqi government troops over taking control of the villages near Mosul city.
Brigadier General al-Jubouri reiterated that the ISIL tried to penetrate in the newly-liberated villages by dispatching suicide bombers, but to no avail.
Also on Saturday, the Iraqi government troops are engaged in heavy fighting with the ISIL terrorists at the entrance of Mahana village in Makhmour region of Nineveh province.
Meantime, the Iraqi air force pounded and destroyed the ISIL's military positions in al-Bashir region in the Southern part of Kirkuk.
The Iraqi fighter jets carried out targeted attacks on the ISIL's gathering centers in Al-Ban region in Nineveh province.
The Iraqi Army and popular forces have begun military operations to retake the Northern province of Nineveh from ISIL since Thursday.
On Thursday, the Iraqi army seized back four other villages in Makhmour region of Nineveh province.
Also on Friday, the Iraqi army and volunteer forces made considerable advances against the ISIL Takfiri terrorists in Nineveh province.
The Iraqi army along with popular forces have pushed the ISIL Takfiri terrorist group back in their offensive on Mosul and much of the occupied Nineveh province, an informed source said.
"The Takfiri terrorists are suffering heavy losses in Nineveh province, and are forced to retreat after crushing defeats in battles against the Iraqi army and popular forces. Militants are also suffering huge losses in the battle against the Iraqi armed forces that are approaching ISIL's main stronghold city of Mosul," the source added.
"The army of Iraq and the militias composed of Nineveh province residents have already liberated the villages of Munantar and Tel-Shair, al-Salahia and al-Hitab," press secretary of the National Mobilization Forces Mahmoud al-Surji announced.
en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950110000394
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All Egypt Air Passengers except Crew and Four Foreigners Released
March 29, 2016
Egyptair says negotiated release of all aboard hijacked plane except four foreigners and the crew.
AhlulBayt News Agency - The EgyptAir plane hijacker has been reportedly identified as Ibrahim Samaha, according to Egyptian media.
The hijacker of an EgyptAir plane is an Egyptian national called Ibrahim Samaha, the state news agency MENA said on Tuesday.   
An EgyptAir passenger plane was hijacked by a man who was said to be wearing a suicide bomb vest Tuesday morning. The jet has landed at the airport in Larnaka, Cyprus, according to the country's state broadcaster.
Egyptair says negotiated release of all aboard hijacked plane except four foreigners and the crew.
Passengers on the EgyptAir plane that was diverted to Cyprus included eight Britons and 10 Americans, three security sources at Alexandria airport said.   
Negotiations with the kidnapped result in the release of all the passengers, except the crew and four foreigners.
— EGYPTAIR (@EGYPTAIR) 29 March 2016
"Negotiations with the hijacker have led to the release of all passengers on board except for 7 crew members and four foreigners," an Egyptian Civil Aviation source said.
Negotiations with the kidnapped result in the release of all the passengers, except the crew and four foreigners.
— EGYPTAIR (@EGYPTAIR) 29 March 2016
According to the reports, the passengers were leaving the plane with carry-on baggage. Later they got on a bus which took them to the aiport.
An Egyptair passenger plane was hijacked by a man who is said to be wearing a suicide bomb vest; the jet has landed at the airport in Larnaka, Cyprus, according to the country's state broadcaster. 
en.abna24.com/service/africa/archive/2016/03/29/743836/story.html
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Egypt Retires 32 Judges for Opposing Morsi Ouster; Sisi Sacks Top Auditor For Criticizing Government Corruption
March 29, 2016
Supreme Judicial Council forces 32 judges into retirement for having opposed the army's ouster of Mohamed Morsi in 2013.
AhlulBayt News Agency - Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has dismissed the country’s top auditor, who has criticized the government for alleged massive corruption.
Hesham Geneina, the head of the Central Auditing Organization, was sacked after being criticized by the country’s senior officials as well as pro-government media for his comments about widespread corruption in the government.
Geneina said in an interview with Youm 7 newspaper last December that government corruption had cost the country 600 billion Egyptian pounds (76 billion dollars) over four years.
Sisi later appointed a commission to probe the auditor’s claim, which quickly concluded that Geneina misled the public with support from “foreign” parties.
The president also named Geneina’s deputy, Hesham Badawi, as the new head of the Central Auditing Organization.
Also on Monday, the Supreme Judicial Council in Egypt forced 32 Egyptian judges into retirement for their opposition to the ouster of former President Mohamed Morsi by Sisi — then the chief of the army — in 2013.
“Today, the Supreme Judicial Council took a decision to force 32 judges into retirement for intervening in politics and supporting a certain party,” a council official said, in reference to Morsi.
The council took a similar measure last week, retiring 15 other judges.
All the judges had been suspended in March 2015, when the council’s lower panel ordered their retirement. They had refused to recognize the legality of Morsi’s 2013 ouster by the army. Some of the judges even signed a statement to express their opposition to the coup.
Since the ouster of Morsi, thousands of anti-government protesters have been sentenced to jail by civilian and military courts in Egypt.
The ousted president himself and several leaders of his now-banned Muslim Brotherhood movement have also been sentenced to death
Egypt’s harsh crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood, which is a movement affiliated with Morsi, and its supporters has been widely condemned by international human rights organizations.
en.abna24.com/service/africa/archive/2016/03/29/743817/story.html
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Mideast
Three Syrian children killed, six wounded as fire erupts at tent city in Turkey’s southeast
MARDİN
March/29/2016
Three Syrian migrant children were killed and six others were injured after a fire broke out at a tent city in the Derik district of Turkey’s southeastern Mardin province. The fire was the second reported in one week, after 21 tents burned down on March 25.
The fire started at around 3 a.m. on March 29, killing three children, aged between three and eight years old, and injuring six others. According to reports, the wounded were taken to the Derik State Hospital.
An investigation has been launched to determine the cause of the fire.
The fire was the second reported in less than a week, as some 21 tents burned down after an electrical contact caused a fire on March 25. No casualties were reported on that day as fire squads from the tent city and the Derik municipality swiftly intervened.
The migrant camp in Mardin is located four kilometers away from the center of Derik and hosts some 8,970 Syrians in 2,100 tents, according to recent figures from Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD).
Located along Turkey’s border with Syria, Mardin hosts over 13,000 migrants in camps built in three districts Midyat, Nusaybin and Derik. However, the refugees hosted in camps make up only a fraction of the total refugee population, as slightly over 280,000 of nearly three million of Turkey’s Syrian refugees are camp residents.
Turkey recently reached an agreement with the EU on a plan to stem the flow of hundreds of thousands of Syrian and non-Syrian refugees, whereby Greece will send back all irregular migrants reaching its Aegean islands while Turkey will send an equal number of Syrians to EU countries. The EU will also provide an addition 3 billion euros in aid to Turkey, to be spent on providing better living conditions for Syrian migrants in the country.
hurriyetdailynews.com/fire-at-tent-city-in-turkeys-southeast-kills-three-syrian-migrant-children.aspx?pageID=238&nID=97032&NewsCatID=341
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Turkish PM calls on people to go out to spite terror
ANKARA: March/29/2016
Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has called on the Turkish people to go out and show unity to spite consecutive terror attacks in a bid to keep public morale high and break the terrorists’ objective of spreading fear within society.
“Let’s not glorify those who are eyeing chaos and crisis. Let’s be in solidarity. Let’s go out, more than ever before, for our individual and social psychology, for our morale and motivation. These streets are ours, these cities, these people are all ours,” Davutoğlu said, during his weekly address to his party’s parliamentary group on March 29.
The prime minister’s call was aimed to revive social life throughout the country after a chain of terror attacks broke the people’s motivation to socialize in public places, including shopping malls and crowded city centres.
Scores of civilians and more than a dozen foreign tourists have been killed in attacks carried out by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Ankara and Istanbul respectively in recent months.
“We will protect the life security, peace and welfare of our country like our honor,” he said, vowing terror organizations will never be able to achieve their goal of leading the people to pessimism.
“Whatever the conditions will be, we’ll never give up on democracy, rule of law, production, societal peace, social solidarity and public order. Everybody should actively get involved in life by keeping their morale high. They want us get detached from life but we should get involved in life in spite of their efforts,” the prime minister stressed.
“We have pain, mourning and martyrs. We will live through all of this in line with our nobility but we won’t break our morale. Our morale and motivation should be absolute against those who want to break our individual and social psychology. What we have to do as a person, as a society, as a civil society and political parties, is to stand against terrorism and be in full solidarity,” he added.
hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-pm-calls-on-people-to-go-out-to-spite-terror.aspx?pageID=238&nID=97052&NewsCatID=338
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Turkey in ring of fire, as security zone off Syria-Iraqi lines: PM
Serkan Demirtaş - AMMAN/ANKARA
March/29/2016
Turkey, as a country shaken through consecutive massive terror activities, is currently in the middle of a ring of fire, the Turkish prime minister has said, adding its security starts off its Syria-Iraqi borders and over a line passing through Syria’s Latakia, Aleppo and Iraq’s Mosul and Sulaymaniyah.
“We are in the middle of a ring of fire. I will not announce the number of terrorist attacks we have foiled,” Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu told a group of journalists who accompanied him on his two-day trip to the Jordanian capital of Amman on March 27.
Suicide bomb attacks carried out by outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in recent months have pushed Turkish authorities to rethink their security policies both inside and outside the country. The PKK has its headquarters and training camps in northern Iraq, while its offshoot, the Democratic Union Party (PYD,) is settled in northern Syria, while ISIL controls a good size of territory in both Iraq and Syria.
“Turkey’s security zone starts from Latakia and through Aleppo, Mosul and Sulaymaniyah,” Davutoğlu stressed, in remarks which coincided with the Iraqi army offensive launched to liberate Mosul from ISIL. Upon a question on Turkey’s approach to this ongoing campaign for Mosul, Davutoğlu said Turkey would welcome the liberation of even the tiniest piece of land from ISIL, recalling it was the common objective of the anti-ISIL coalition.
Aleppo and Mosul two key towns
The fate of the Middle East is in the hands of two towns, Davutoğlu said, naming them as Syria’s Aleppo and Iraq’s Mosul. “If Aleppo would fall into the hands of either Daesh [ISIL] or the [Syrian President Bashar al-] Assad regime, then it would mean the end of hopes for Syria. Likewise if Daesh continues to control Mosul, Iraq will not be a peaceful country. But if Daesh would be replaced by extreme Shiite groups, then it would mean that civil war in Iraq will never end,” Davutoğlu said.
Therefore, for Mosul, it’s not important when Iraq’s third largest city is liberated but rather by whom it will be freed, the Turkish prime minister stressed, adding, “Mosul should be liberated by the people of Mosul. That’s why we have established the military base in Bashiqa.”
Three objectives of Turkish base in Iraq
Turkey established the base in Bashiqa, around 20 kilometers away from Mosul, in 2014 for the purpose of training local Iraqis and Kurdish Peshmerga forces in their fight against ISIL. Iraqi authorities have issued complaints about the base in recent months, as Turkey decided to reinforce its military presence at the base, which has become a frequent target of ISIL. 
Davutoğlu, in his assessment of the base, announced three major objectives for Turkey’s military presence in the region. “The first is to assist the Iraqi government and people in their effort to save Mosul from Daesh. The second is the fact that Turkey’s security zone begins from the line of Latakia, Aleppo, Mosul and north of Sulaymaniyah. Anything that takes place in this area is our concern. Third is the potential for the PKK to settle to the Sinjar region north of Mosul and to move into Syria through Haseke. We do not want the PKK to get settled there,” he explained.
He also added that the liberation of Mosul would nix the PKK’s plans to control this aforementioned area and instead stabilize the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq, adding “From this perspective, we support the liberation of Mosul.”
Iraq, Syria unable to control borders
Davutoğlu defining Turkey as being in the middle of a ring of fire is also relevant with the situation of its southern neighbor, which makes its fight against terror much more difficult compared to the past.
“I see three main differences in our fight against terrorism now and in the past. First of all, it’s the first time that both Iraq and Syria cannot control their borders. In the past, we could divert our focus to only the Iraqi border when there was a threat,” he said. The second difference is that Turkey is now fighting not only against the PKK but also ISIL, Davutoğlu said, in addition to the outlawed Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C), which recently resumed its acts inside the country. “Now 10 different terror organizations meet in the Kandil Mountains [the PKK’s headquarters in northern Iraq] and declare war against Turkey,” he said.
The third difficulty in the fight against terror is the fact that the government is now fighting against another organization which could leak into the security apparatus, Davutoğlu stated, in reference to the alleged “Fethullahist Terror Organization” (FETÖ). “All these terror organizations are providing logistics to each other,” he said.
hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-in-ring-of-fire-as-security-zone-off-syria-iraqi-lines-pm.aspx?pageID=238&nID=97020&NewsCatID=338
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Turkey ‘cannot wait forever’ for a new constitution, says Deputy PM
ANKARA
March/29/2016
Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş has said a new draft constitution by the ruling party will likely be submitted to parliament by the end of April.
At a news conference following a cabinet meeting late on March 28, Kurtulmuş said: “This issue is not something that can wait forever. We are planning to bring our draft constitution to maturity and submit it to parliament by the end of April.”        
Calling drafting a new constitution not only the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) “binding duty” but also “the most important political responsibility of all political parties in the Turkish parliament,”
Kurtulmuş reiterated his invitation to all parties to contribute to the process of writing a ”democratic, participatory and pluralistic” constitution.       
“Nobody can run away from this duty. Therefore it is essential that this duty is fulfilled all together,” he said, adding that the AKP would continue to do its part to come to an agreement with other parties, and to find “common ground.”       
A “Constitution Conciliation Committee” of 12 deputies -- three from each of Turkey’s four parliamentary parties -- had first met on Feb. 3, howeve, it broke up on Feb. 17 over the AKP’s demand that the new charter be based on a presidential system, which no opposition party backs.
Kurtulmuş said a referendum would be in order if parliament fails to pass the draft with a supermajority of 367 out of 550 votes.       
 “If not, we will be working to get 330 votes and refer the draft to the electorate’s vote,” he said.       
There are 550 deputies in parliament, including one independent.  The AKP has 317 seats, followed by the Republican People’s Party (CHP) with 133 seats.   
The Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) have 59 and 40 seats, respectively.
hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-cannot-wait-forever-for-a-new-constitution-says-deputy-pm.aspx?pageID=238&nID=97029&NewsCatID=338
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New Charter Will Redefine Top Court, Judiciary, Turkish PM Says
Serkan Demirtaş – AMMAN/ANKARA
March/29/2016
The new constitution being written by the ruling party will bring about a new definition for the role of the entire judiciary, including the Constitutional Court, the Turkish prime minister has said, adding they wouldn’t allow any constitutional body to establish superiority over the will of the people. 
“It should be the people that use its will. The sovereignty that is used by constitutional bodies cannot be regarded as the people’s will,” Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said on March 27, during a meeting with journalists in Amman. Davutoğlu recalled the constitution made in the early 1960s following the coup d’état which introduced a number of constitutional bodies that imposed tutelage over democratically elected politicians.
“Of course all of these will be redefined. The judiciary will be redefined. And the legislative cannot continue in the current understanding. It should be noted that what the Constitutional Court has been doing is not using the people’s will and it should not be. Courts are to provide justice; the sovereignty, however, should be used by the freely elected representatives of the people.” 
Davutoğlu’s statements came as he instructed his party to speed up efforts to draft the new constitution after a parliamentary commission formed by the four parties in parliament was dissolved. “We can’t leave this promise of ours unfulfilled just because other parties failed to do their share. People would cool to the idea of a new constitution if no concrete steps are taken,” he said. 
The structure of the new constitution will be readied within a month or so, he said, hinting it wouldn’t be based on political conjuncture, as his party still needed at least 14 lawmakers to bring the new constitution to a referendum. “The new constitution will not be a product of negotiation [to get support of at least 14 lawmakers or a political party group]. It won’t be a revisionist charter either. We are aiming at a different constitution with its writing, culture, language and philosophy. We’ll continue to work until we’ll find this philosophy,” he said.
People’s psychology should be ameliorated
Another top issue Davutoğlu discussed with the reporters was the ongoing spread of fear in society in the aftermath of successive terrorist attacks targeting civilians in large cities.
“We should do everything to stop terror from imprisoning us in its own agenda. People’s psychology should be changed. Talking about terror everyday serves the interest of terror,” he stressed.
A visit to Istanbul’s İstiklal Avenue by Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Şimşek after the deadly attack which killed four foreign tourists was a good example on how government members could help this change in people’s psychology, Davutoğlu said. “I told all my minister friends: It will be you who shows up first. We’ll go to shopping malls and appear within social life.”
US should be consistent
Another issue which has heavily preoccupied Turkish public opinion was the arrest of Iranian-Turkish businessman Reza Zarrab, who was arrested in the United States on the grounds he committed offenses against American interests by violating sanctions on Iran and money laundering.
Davutoğlu, in his first remarks on the issue, recalled that Zarrab’s arrest had no reflection on the concerns of Turkey so far. “We will make our position and thinking clear if the content of the case or discussions on it somehow relate to Turkey. There has been no such thing so far,” he said.
“But,” he continued, “this also comes to our minds: Why would such a meticulous justice system not bring some of our citizens of the Republic of Turkey residing in the U.S. even though they have been engaged in various plots?”
In a clear reference to self-exiled cleric Fethullah Gülen, who has been probed in Turkey over charges of terrorism, Davutoğlu said: “So many investigations were launched in the past [in the U.S.] on the financial resources of this parallel structure. Where did all they go? In this regard, we would like to see a more consistent approach. We would like to see this same consistency on issues concerning money laundering.”        
Davutoğlu added Turkey had nothing to refrain from in this case, “but first we have to see what is about. And then we’ll say what we think.”
hurriyetdailynews.com/new-charter-will-redefine-top-court-judiciary-pm-says-.aspx?pageID=238&nID=97022&NewsCatID=338
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CHP sends delegation to monitor Zarrab case in the US
ANKARA – Anadolu Agency
March/29/2016
The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) will send a delegation to the U.S. to attend the hearing of Reza Zarrab, an Iranian-Turkish businessman who was arrested in Florida last week, in a bid to observe the case closely, the party’s deputy parliamentary group chair said March 28.
CHP parliamentary group chair Özgür Özel said the mission, which was initiated by CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, will be carried out by CHP Prison Commission members Veli Ağbaba and Nurettin Demir, along with himself, as the three will head to the U.S. next week to attend the first hearing in which Zarrab will be tried on multiple charges of breaching U.S. sanctions on Iran.
“If he [Zarrab] needs, if cold air comes in through the door, we can bring him a towel from Muammer Güler, which he can put against the door. Or we can bring Egemen Bağış’s most sincere prayers. We can bring pies in exchange for Zafer Çağlayan’s wrist watch. We asked Mr. Çağlayan what to bring [for Zarrab], and he said ‘Why are you asking me? Our President [Recep Tayyip Erdoğan] is the one who knows everything. Tell him what is needed to go and he will send them.’” Özel said, referring to former Justice and Development Party (AKP) ministers whose names were involved in the country’s biggest corruption scandal on Dec. 17, 2013, along with Zarrab.
As part of the Dec. 17, 2013 probe, four former cabinet members, Economy Minister Çağlayan, Interior Minister Güler, European Union Minister Bağış and Urban Minister Erdoğan Bayraktar were accused of large-scale corruption but charges against them were later dropped.
Zarrab was also embroiled in the probe on charges of being the ringleader of a money laundering and gold smuggling ring in Turkey that circumnavigated sanctions against Iran.
“As the CHP, we will be following this case by taking into consideration all the details of the Turkish and the U.S. legal systems as much as possible in a pursuit of preventing a second ‘Deniz Feneri’ incident,” Özel said, adding they would also observe the case in order to “enable the transition of possible information, documents and statements to the Turkish jurisdiction.”
Meanwhile, regarding the arrest of Zarrab, Turkish Presidential Spokesman İbrahim Kalın said March 28 that “it is a decision given by a judge in the U.S.; it is a continuing process. It would not be appropriate for us to say something different about this subject. We will follow what will happen from here, as it is legal process. There is nothing [which has been] submitted to us directly [regarding the case].”
Zarrab was detained in Miami on March 19 by Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents upon a probe launched against him by New York prosecutor Preet Bharara on charges of conspiracy to conduct hundreds of millions of dollars in financial transactions for the Iranian government or other entities to evade U.S. sanctions. He was arrested on March 21.
hurriyetdailynews.com/chp-sends-delegation-to-monitor-zarrab-case-in-the-us.aspx?pageID=238&nID=97016&NewsCatID=338
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Turkish president says 5,359 PKK militants ‘killed, caught or wounded’ over eight months
ANKARA
March/28/2016
Some 5,359 militants of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) have been killed, caught or wounded in anti-terror operations since July 22, while some 355 security officials have lost their lives in terror attacks over the same period, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has stated.
“Some 5,359 terrorists were killed, wounded or caught inside and outside of Turkey through this period,” Erdoğan said in a speech addressing commanders-in-chief and military officers at the Turkish War Colleges in Istanbul on March 28.
Arguing that the country had to “pay a price” to exist in its region, Erdoğan vowed that none of the soldiers had died in vain.
“We made this territory our country with the blood of our martyrs over a thousand years. If we are to continue living here, we have to pay its price,” he said.
While providing figures about Turkey’s counter-terrorism efforts, Erdoğan also announced that the country has so far denied entry to some 38,000 foreign nationals for having links to terror organizations, deported some 3,500 militants and imprisoned around a thousand other suspects.
His remarks came soon after reports by Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency that 4,432 PKK militants have been killed since July 22 last year, while 377 security officials and 285 civilians were killed in terrorist attacks. Some 1,897 others were wounded during the same period.
Meanwhile, clashes continued in Turkey’s southeast on March 28.
The village head of Sarıören in the Siverek district of the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa, identified as İbrahim İnco, was killed and three soldiers were wounded in successive PKK attacks early on March 28.
Three soldiers were wounded as two PKK militants detonated an improvised explosive device they had previously placed under the road between Siverek and Viranşehir as a service shuttle passed carrying soldiers on duty at the Karageçi gendarmerie post.
The wounded soldiers were sent to Siverek State Hospital, while gendarmerie teams launched an operation to apprehend the militants responsible for the attack.
However, the militants stopped village head İnco’s automobile five kilometers from the scene of the incident, killed him, and extorted his vehicle in order to flee.
Another deadly attack was prevented on the same day in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır, as 400 kilograms of explosives placed by PKK militants under the highway between Diyarbakır and the neighboring province of Batman were disposed of, Doğan News Agency reported.
The explosives, placed inside five tubes using some 2,000 meters of cable, were discovered by security officers from Diyarbakır’s provincial gendarmerie command during an effort to find explosives and mines on March 25.
The detonation of the explosives created a 2.5-meter-wide pit at the scene of the incident.
Over the weekend three soldiers and a policeman were killed in the southeastern province of Mardin’s Nusaybin district on March 27 while 32 PKK militants were killed.
Two soldiers were killed and five were wounded as an explosive placed by PKK militants detonated inside an abandoned building, trapping and wounding seven soldiers caught under the resulting debris. Gendarmerie Cpt. Halil Özdemir and Gendarmerie Specialized Sgt. İbrahim Etöz later succumbed to their injuries at the Nusaybin State Hospital.
Reports indicate that five wounded soldiers are receiving treatment at the same hospital.
In a separate attack in the district earlier on the same day, a soldier and a policeman were killed while one soldier and five police officers were wounded. Special operations police Coşkun Nazilli and specialized sergeant Vedat Aykut were killed as PKK militants opened fire at security forces in the district. The wounded security officials are being treated at a hospital, Turkish Armed Forces announced.
PKK militants also targeted firefighters in Nusaybin at around midday on March 27 when they were trying to put out a fire that had broken out at a house in the district’s Yenişehir neighborhood.
Another fire truck that was going for support also came under fire but nobody was injured.
The two trucks were abandoned and the firefighters were evacuated in another vehicle.
The injured fireman, Hacı Yıldız, was taken to the Nusaybin State Hospital before he was moved to the Mardin State Hospital.
The military said March 28 that 12 PKK militants were killed on the same day in Mardin, in addition to 16 in the southeastern province of Şırnak and four in Hakkari province’s Yüksekova district.
hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-president-says-5359-pkk-militants-killed-caught-or-wounded-over-eight-months.aspx?pageID=238&nID=97002&NewsCatID=341
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Mideast
Three Syrian children killed, six wounded as fire erupts at tent city in Turkey’s southeast
MARDİN
March/29/2016
Three Syrian migrant children were killed and six others were injured after a fire broke out at a tent city in the Derik district of Turkey’s southeastern Mardin province. The fire was the second reported in one week, after 21 tents burned down on March 25.
The fire started at around 3 a.m. on March 29, killing three children, aged between three and eight years old, and injuring six others. According to reports, the wounded were taken to the Derik State Hospital.
An investigation has been launched to determine the cause of the fire.
The fire was the second reported in less than a week, as some 21 tents burned down after an electrical contact caused a fire on March 25. No casualties were reported on that day as fire squads from the tent city and the Derik municipality swiftly intervened.
The migrant camp in Mardin is located four kilometers away from the center of Derik and hosts some 8,970 Syrians in 2,100 tents, according to recent figures from Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD).
Located along Turkey’s border with Syria, Mardin hosts over 13,000 migrants in camps built in three districts Midyat, Nusaybin and Derik. However, the refugees hosted in camps make up only a fraction of the total refugee population, as slightly over 280,000 of nearly three million of Turkey’s Syrian refugees are camp residents.
Turkey recently reached an agreement with the EU on a plan to stem the flow of hundreds of thousands of Syrian and non-Syrian refugees, whereby Greece will send back all irregular migrants reaching its Aegean islands while Turkey will send an equal number of Syrians to EU countries. The EU will also provide an addition 3 billion euros in aid to Turkey, to be spent on providing better living conditions for Syrian migrants in the country.
hurriyetdailynews.com/fire-at-tent-city-in-turkeys-southeast-kills-three-syrian-migrant-children.aspx?pageID=238&nID=97032&NewsCatID=341
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Turkish PM calls on people to go out to spite terror
ANKARA: March/29/2016
Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has called on the Turkish people to go out and show unity to spite consecutive terror attacks in a bid to keep public morale high and break the terrorists’ objective of spreading fear within society.
“Let’s not glorify those who are eyeing chaos and crisis. Let’s be in solidarity. Let’s go out, more than ever before, for our individual and social psychology, for our morale and motivation. These streets are ours, these cities, these people are all ours,” Davutoğlu said, during his weekly address to his party’s parliamentary group on March 29.
The prime minister’s call was aimed to revive social life throughout the country after a chain of terror attacks broke the people’s motivation to socialize in public places, including shopping malls and crowded city centres.
Scores of civilians and more than a dozen foreign tourists have been killed in attacks carried out by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Ankara and Istanbul respectively in recent months.
“We will protect the life security, peace and welfare of our country like our honor,” he said, vowing terror organizations will never be able to achieve their goal of leading the people to pessimism.
“Whatever the conditions will be, we’ll never give up on democracy, rule of law, production, societal peace, social solidarity and public order. Everybody should actively get involved in life by keeping their morale high. They want us get detached from life but we should get involved in life in spite of their efforts,” the prime minister stressed.
“We have pain, mourning and martyrs. We will live through all of this in line with our nobility but we won’t break our morale. Our morale and motivation should be absolute against those who want to break our individual and social psychology. What we have to do as a person, as a society, as a civil society and political parties, is to stand against terrorism and be in full solidarity,” he added.
hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-pm-calls-on-people-to-go-out-to-spite-terror.aspx?pageID=238&nID=97052&NewsCatID=338
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Turkey in ring of fire, as security zone off Syria-Iraqi lines: PM
Serkan Demirtaş - AMMAN/ANKARA
March/29/2016
Turkey, as a country shaken through consecutive massive terror activities, is currently in the middle of a ring of fire, the Turkish prime minister has said, adding its security starts off its Syria-Iraqi borders and over a line passing through Syria’s Latakia, Aleppo and Iraq’s Mosul and Sulaymaniyah.
“We are in the middle of a ring of fire. I will not announce the number of terrorist attacks we have foiled,” Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu told a group of journalists who accompanied him on his two-day trip to the Jordanian capital of Amman on March 27.
Suicide bomb attacks carried out by outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in recent months have pushed Turkish authorities to rethink their security policies both inside and outside the country. The PKK has its headquarters and training camps in northern Iraq, while its offshoot, the Democratic Union Party (PYD,) is settled in northern Syria, while ISIL controls a good size of territory in both Iraq and Syria.
“Turkey’s security zone starts from Latakia and through Aleppo, Mosul and Sulaymaniyah,” Davutoğlu stressed, in remarks which coincided with the Iraqi army offensive launched to liberate Mosul from ISIL. Upon a question on Turkey’s approach to this ongoing campaign for Mosul, Davutoğlu said Turkey would welcome the liberation of even the tiniest piece of land from ISIL, recalling it was the common objective of the anti-ISIL coalition.
Aleppo and Mosul two key towns
The fate of the Middle East is in the hands of two towns, Davutoğlu said, naming them as Syria’s Aleppo and Iraq’s Mosul. “If Aleppo would fall into the hands of either Daesh [ISIL] or the [Syrian President Bashar al-] Assad regime, then it would mean the end of hopes for Syria. Likewise if Daesh continues to control Mosul, Iraq will not be a peaceful country. But if Daesh would be replaced by extreme Shiite groups, then it would mean that civil war in Iraq will never end,” Davutoğlu said.
Therefore, for Mosul, it’s not important when Iraq’s third largest city is liberated but rather by whom it will be freed, the Turkish prime minister stressed, adding, “Mosul should be liberated by the people of Mosul. That’s why we have established the military base in Bashiqa.”
Three objectives of Turkish base in Iraq
Turkey established the base in Bashiqa, around 20 kilometers away from Mosul, in 2014 for the purpose of training local Iraqis and Kurdish Peshmerga forces in their fight against ISIL. Iraqi authorities have issued complaints about the base in recent months, as Turkey decided to reinforce its military presence at the base, which has become a frequent target of ISIL. 
Davutoğlu, in his assessment of the base, announced three major objectives for Turkey’s military presence in the region. “The first is to assist the Iraqi government and people in their effort to save Mosul from Daesh. The second is the fact that Turkey’s security zone begins from the line of Latakia, Aleppo, Mosul and north of Sulaymaniyah. Anything that takes place in this area is our concern. Third is the potential for the PKK to settle to the Sinjar region north of Mosul and to move into Syria through Haseke. We do not want the PKK to get settled there,” he explained.
He also added that the liberation of Mosul would nix the PKK’s plans to control this aforementioned area and instead stabilize the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq, adding “From this perspective, we support the liberation of Mosul.”
Iraq, Syria unable to control borders
Davutoğlu defining Turkey as being in the middle of a ring of fire is also relevant with the situation of its southern neighbor, which makes its fight against terror much more difficult compared to the past.
“I see three main differences in our fight against terrorism now and in the past. First of all, it’s the first time that both Iraq and Syria cannot control their borders. In the past, we could divert our focus to only the Iraqi border when there was a threat,” he said. The second difference is that Turkey is now fighting not only against the PKK but also ISIL, Davutoğlu said, in addition to the outlawed Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C), which recently resumed its acts inside the country. “Now 10 different terror organizations meet in the Kandil Mountains [the PKK’s headquarters in northern Iraq] and declare war against Turkey,” he said.
The third difficulty in the fight against terror is the fact that the government is now fighting against another organization which could leak into the security apparatus, Davutoğlu stated, in reference to the alleged “Fethullahist Terror Organization” (FETÖ). “All these terror organizations are providing logistics to each other,” he said.
hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-in-ring-of-fire-as-security-zone-off-syria-iraqi-lines-pm.aspx?pageID=238&nID=97020&NewsCatID=338
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Turkey ‘cannot wait forever’ for a new constitution, says Deputy PM
ANKARA
March/29/2016
Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş has said a new draft constitution by the ruling party will likely be submitted to parliament by the end of April.
At a news conference following a cabinet meeting late on March 28, Kurtulmuş said: “This issue is not something that can wait forever. We are planning to bring our draft constitution to maturity and submit it to parliament by the end of April.”       
Calling drafting a new constitution not only the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) “binding duty” but also “the most important political responsibility of all political parties in the Turkish parliament,”
Kurtulmuş reiterated his invitation to all parties to contribute to the process of writing a ”democratic, participatory and pluralistic” constitution.       
“Nobody can run away from this duty. Therefore it is essential that this duty is fulfilled all together,” he said, adding that the AKP would continue to do its part to come to an agreement with other parties, and to find “common ground.”       
A “Constitution Conciliation Committee” of 12 deputies -- three from each of Turkey’s four parliamentary parties -- had first met on Feb. 3, howeve, it broke up on Feb. 17 over the AKP’s demand that the new charter be based on a presidential system, which no opposition party backs.
Kurtulmuş said a referendum would be in order if parliament fails to pass the draft with a supermajority of 367 out of 550 votes.       
 “If not, we will be working to get 330 votes and refer the draft to the electorate’s vote,” he said.       
There are 550 deputies in parliament, including one independent.  The AKP has 317 seats, followed by the Republican People’s Party (CHP) with 133 seats.   
The Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) have 59 and 40 seats, respectively.
hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-cannot-wait-forever-for-a-new-constitution-says-deputy-pm.aspx?pageID=238&nID=97029&NewsCatID=338
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New Charter Will Redefine Top Court, Judiciary, Turkish PM Says
Serkan Demirtaş – AMMAN/ANKARA
March/29/2016
The new constitution being written by the ruling party will bring about a new definition for the role of the entire judiciary, including the Constitutional Court, the Turkish prime minister has said, adding they wouldn’t allow any constitutional body to establish superiority over the will of the people. 
“It should be the people that use its will. The sovereignty that is used by constitutional bodies cannot be regarded as the people’s will,” Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said on March 27, during a meeting with journalists in Amman. Davutoğlu recalled the constitution made in the early 1960s following the coup d’état which introduced a number of constitutional bodies that imposed tutelage over democratically elected politicians.
“Of course all of these will be redefined. The judiciary will be redefined. And the legislative cannot continue in the current understanding. It should be noted that what the Constitutional Court has been doing is not using the people’s will and it should not be. Courts are to provide justice; the sovereignty, however, should be used by the freely elected representatives of the people.” 
Davutoğlu’s statements came as he instructed his party to speed up efforts to draft the new constitution after a parliamentary commission formed by the four parties in parliament was dissolved. “We can’t leave this promise of ours unfulfilled just because other parties failed to do their share. People would cool to the idea of a new constitution if no concrete steps are taken,” he said. 
The structure of the new constitution will be readied within a month or so, he said, hinting it wouldn’t be based on political conjuncture, as his party still n