Pages

Monday, February 23, 2015

Over 100,000 Manuscripts, Books Burnt By ISIL across Iraq's Anbar Photo: Over 100,000 Manuscripts, Books Burnt By ISIL across Iraq's Anbar Arab World Over 100,000 Manuscripts, Books Burnt by ISIL across Iraq's Anbar Top Muslim cleric Ahmed al-Tayeb urges education reform to counter extremism Saudi king: ‘terrorism fueled international opinion against Islam’ New ISIS video shows Kurd fighters in cages Egypt charges 215 Muslim Brotherhood supporters Kurdish Fighters Recapture Villages from ISIL in NE Syria Iraqi Troops Claim Lives of over 25 ISIL Terrorists Egypt charges 215 Muslim Brotherhood supporters Saudi king: ‘terrorism fueled international opinion against Islam’ Egypt’s leader says need growing for joint Arab force North America Homeland Secretary Johnson suggests term 'violent extremism' used at behest of Muslim leaders Pundit Fact: Why Obama won't label ISIS 'Islamic extremists' ‘We will never be gone from Afghanistan’, US defense secretary says Kerry and Zarif aim to narrow gaps in nuclear talks Australia Muslim leaders outraged by Tony Abbott's chiding over extremism Europe 'Baroness Warsi gave official roles to people with links to extremist groups' Election should galvanise British Muslims Charlie Hebdo team struggles to heal after massacre Russia offers Iran latest anti-aircraft missiles France deploys aircraft carrier for ISIS fight Six French have passports confiscated for planning Syria trip Africa Offensive against Boko Haram continuing: Nigeria army 2 bombs explode at residence of Iran envoy in Libya Boko Haram violence hits fish industry in NE Nigeria In South Sudan, a chance to be children again US Homeland Security casts doubt on al-Shabab threat Mideast Israeli Forces Shoot 7 Palestinians with Live Bullets in Bethlehem Turkish troops enter Syria to rescue besieged colleagues Palestinians threaten to end security ties with Israel Iran parliament agrees bill to tax religious groups Hamas Says Not to Engage in Conflict with Any 'Arab Side' Iran Strongly Condemns US Unrelenting Support for Terrorists in Syria Netanyahu: Iran forming ‘third front’ on Golan Hadi wants Yemen crisis talks moved outside Sanaa Iran backing united Yemen in fighting terror: Diplomat India VHP general secretary asserts Ghar wapsi will continue 47 Muslims including Rajya Sabha MP Haji Abdul Salam felicitated Does sale of sex toys violate Section 377, asks Delhi court Iraq ordeal ends, 27 workers return Pakistan School books to have Quranic verses against corruption EU values Pakistan’s sacrifices in anti-terrorism war Lal Masjid cleric has apologised for defending APS attack: Nisar Nefarious designs of enemies of peace will be foiled: Shahbaz Sharif 4 members of Uzair Baloch, Baba Ladla groups killed PML-N will rid country of terrorism, load shedding, price hike: Nawaz Reuters' Pak-Afghan bureau chief found dead in Islamabad Identity issue haunts Karachi’s Rohingya population EU values Pakistan’s sacrifices in anti-terrorism war South Asia 4 Army soldiers martyred, 45 insurgents killed in fresh military operations Dr. Abdullah says peace talks with Taliban to kick off soon Pro-ISIS militants attack a shrine and homes in Logar province Bangladesh arrests five militants in raid on training camp Abdul Jabbar verdict tomorrow BNP-Jamaat planning grenade attacks Nasheed denied right to appoint lawyer and appeal “arbitrary” arrest warrant, contend lawyers Southeast Asia Islamic tourism can draw more visitors: Indonesia Indonesia prays Islamic tourism drive can draw more visitors Opposition Leader Courts Muslim Vote in New Eastern Province Indonesia considers new collateral for sukuk Haul up Anwar prosecutor for qazaf, Muslim preacher tells Jais Diplomatic Spats Antagonize Indonesians Malaysia PM under scrutiny over wealth, opposition crackdown Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau URL: http://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/over-100,000-manuscripts,-books-burnt-by-isil-across-iraq-s-anbar/d/101659 ------------ Arab World Over 100,000 Manuscripts, Books Burnt by ISIL across Iraq's Anbar Feb 23, 2015 Over 100,000 books and manuscripts perished across Iraq's Anbar Province in a series of fires of the region's libraries set by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) terrorist group, the online newspaper Elaph reported Monday. The London-based Arabic language online publication quoted Anbar Provincial Council Member Amal Fahadway as saying that as of Sunday, the ISIL has burnt more than 100,000 books, including rare and important manuscripts, across ISIL-held region. "Armed elements of the Daash (Arabic designation for ISIL) bombed the public library in the Faisaliah area East of Mosul on Saturday, using improvised explosive devices," Ghanem Taan, director of Mosul's public library, was quoted as saying in a press statement, RIA Novosti reported. The library director added the Mosul public library has about 8,000 cultural, historical and philosophical and scientific books, as well as a variety of poetry books. The ISIL Takfiri terrorists currently control shrinking swathes of Syria and Iraq. They have threatened all communities, including Shiites, Sunnis, Kurds, Christians, Ezadi Kurds and others, as they continue their atrocities in Iraq. Senior Iraqi officials have blamed Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and some Persian Gulf Arab states for the growing terrorism in their country. The ISIL has links with Saudi intelligence and is believed to be indirectly supported by the Israeli regime. http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13931204000637 ---------- Top Muslim cleric Ahmed al-Tayeb urges education reform to counter extremism February 23, 2015 The head of Al-Azhar, Sunni Islam’s most prestigious seat of learning, has called for education reform in Muslim countries in an effort to contain the spread of religious extremism. Speaking at counter-terrorism forum in the Saudi holy city of Mecca, Al-Azhar grand imam Ahmed al-Tayeb linked extremism to “bad interpretations of the Koran and the sunna”, the teachings of the Prophet Mohammed. “There has been a historical accumulation of excessive trends” that have led some people to embrace a misguided form of Islam, he told the gathering. “The only hope for the Muslim nation to recover unity is to tackle in our schools and universities this tendency to accuse Muslims of being unbelievers,” he said. Tayeb’s comments come days after he expressed outrage at the Islamic State group (Isis) for burning to death a captured Jordanian pilot who took part in US-led air strikes against the jihadists in Syria. On 4 February, after Isis released a video showing Maaz al-Kassasbeh dying in a cage engulfed in flames, Tayeb said the jihadists deserved to be killed or crucified. On Sunday in Mecca, home to Islam’s holiest sites, he made no mention of Isis but denounced “terrorist groups... who have opted for savage and barbaric practices”. He blamed unrest in the region on a conspiracy by what he called “new global colonialism allied to world Zionism”. Tayib said that this plot has exploited “confessional tension” in conflict-hit Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Libya. The opening day of the conference also heard a speech from Saudi King Salman who called for “an efficient strategy to combat terrorism”. “Terrorism is a scourge which is the product of extremist ideology,” the monarch’s speech, read by the governor of Mecca, said. “It is a threat to our Muslim nation and to the entire world.” The three-day conference, organised by the Muslim World League group of non-government organisations, is being attended by senior clerics from across the Muslim world to discuss how Islam can combat extremism. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/feb/23/top-muslim-cleric-ahmed-al-tayeb-urges-education-reform-to-counter-extremism ------------ Saudi king: ‘terrorism fueled international opinion against Islam’ 22 February 2015 Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz on Sunday denounced terrorism and radical Islamists who he said were not only “threatening Muslims” but also tainting and vilifying the image of Islam to non-Muslims. King Salman’s statement was presented by Prince Khaled al-Faisal bin Abudlaziz, the royal’s Makka region advisor at the opening of an international conference titled “Islam and Combatting Terrorism” that is organized by the international Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC). King Salman described “Muslim nations” as being “threatened by the infiltration of Islamized terrorism with its killing, oppression, pillaging and other ranges of aggression that have trespassed the borders of our Islamic world.” He said these radicals, who are carrying “a falsified Islamic banner,” have promoted a version of Islam which is “fueling the international opinion to hate Muslims.” Muslims are now seen as “culprits and as a source of fear and concern.” The terrorist militants have also caused “embracement and nervousness to the Islamic nations, its organizations and its people in front of other nations which we are connected to through cooperation.” He said ties between Muslim nations and other non-Muslim states were “almost shaken and had gone backward because of these terrorists.” More than one billion Muslims vilified In addition to the “catastrophic loss in people and infrastructure, and the shattering and division of nations, the greatest danger to our nations are these misguided and misled terrorists, who have given an opportunity to those eying to hurt Islam to vilify its followers, who are one billion and a half, in crimes Islam is innocent of.” He said Saudi Arabia has “tried hard to fight terrorism as an ideology and practice and used its national security apparatus to combat terrorism relentlessly.” “They paid with their lives in their fight against terrorism. And our air force is part of the international coalition fighting these terrorists,” the Saudi leader said. Clergy defending Islam Meanwhile, the king said “our clerics” have confronted these terrorist elements with a “decisive response” that their rhetoric and practice is “false and mischievous.” He said these clerics have warned people “from violence and extremism in religion as it only polarizes the Muslim nations.” The king also called for “moderation and forgiveness as a character of Islam, and whomever left this [character] cannot serve the Muslim nations and will only bring hatred and division.” He also said “researchers at our universities and other institutes have offered succinct studies on terrorism as phenomenon, and they analyzed in an objective manner these groups while showcasing their dangers to societies.” Saudi Arabia, which has strived for regional and international cooperation to fight terrorism, also established centers and organized conferences to further dialogue not only between Muslim sects but also between Muslims and people of other faiths, he said. While its strategy to combat terrorism led to a “positive outcome,” “terrorism is still tampering with people, especially in Arab and Muslim countries that are still experiencing disturbances.” He said Muslims should increase awareness of the dangers and risks coming from terrorism and “individuals and organizations should double their efforts” to fight it. He urged people to defeat terrorism and warned “not to give any helpline to these terrorists or even sympathize with them.” http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/02/22/Saudi-king-terrorism-fueled-international-opinion-against-Islam-.html ------------ New ISIS video shows Kurd fighters in cages Afp, Baghdad Feb 23, 2015 The Islamic State jihadist group released a new video on Sunday purporting to show captured Kurdish peshmerga fighters paraded through Iraqi streets in cages. The video shows 21 captives presented as 16 peshmerga fighters, two Iraqi army officers and three policemen from Kirkuk, a city about 240 kilometres (150 miles) north of Baghdad. The captives, in orange jumpsuits with their heads lowered, are led to cages in a square surrounded by concrete walls and masked IS fighters carrying pistols. A bearded man in a white turban warns the peshmerga against fighting IS. Then the caged captives are shown being paraded through the streets on the back of pick-up trucks, as dozens of residents and armed men look on. The date and location is not specified in the video, but Kurdish sources told AFP it was filmed a week earlier in the main market of Hawija, an IS-held town some 50 kilometres (30 miles) from Kirkuk. The video does not contain any explicit threats to the captives but they are shown at the end kneeling before masked men holding automatic weapons or pistols. The video also features images from previous IS videos, including of the killing of Jordanian pilot Maaz al-Kassasbeh, who was burned alive in a cage, and the beheadings of 21 Coptic Christians, mainly from Egypt, in Libya. A peshmerga commander told AFP that the peshmerga hostages had be en captured on January 31 "when Kurdish fighters repelled a terrorist attack by IS targeting Kirkuk." http://www.thedailystar.net/backpage/new-isis-video-shows-kurd-fighters-in-cages-66200 ------------ Egypt refers 215 to court for forming a militant group 23 February 2015 Egypt's public prosecutor said on Sunday he had referred 215 members of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood to trial on charges of forming a militant group, the latest move in a sustained crackdown by authorities on Islamists. Egypt has mounted one of the biggest crackdowns in its modern history on the Brotherhood following the army's overthrow of Islamist President Mohamed Mursi, the country's first freely-elected president, in 2013 after mass protests against his rule. The 215 defendants were charged with forming a militant group called "Helwan Brigades", Hesham Barakat, the public prosecutor, said in a statement. Full report at: http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/02/23/Egypt-refers-215-to-court-for-forming-a-militant-group.html -------- Kurdish Fighters Recapture Villages from ISIL in NE Syria Feb 23, 2015 Kurdish fighters have managed to recapture a number of villages from Takfiri ISIL terrorists during an offensive in Syria’s Northeastern province of Hassakeh, sources said. Fighters from the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) "managed to advance and took over some 20 villages, farms, and hamlets in the area", the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Sunday, press tv reported. The operation, which began late on Saturday, was aimed at retaking the militant-held town of Tal Hamis near the Turkish border and its surrounding areas, the UK-based monitoring group added. At least a dozen terrorists were killed in the battle. "This is one of the YPG's biggest recent operations," said Newaf Khalil, a spokesman for the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD). Kurdish fighters have been engaged in fierce clashes with ISIL militants in Syria and neighboring Iraq in recent months. Full report at: http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13931204000833 --------- Iraqi Troops Claim Lives of over 25 ISIL Terrorists Feb 23, 2015 At least 25 terrorists were killed in heavy fighting between the Iraqi army and ISIL Takfiri group in the Western province of Anbar, a military source said. The Iraqi Ministry of Defense said on Sunday that the army troops stormed the last fighting positions of the ISIL terrorist group in al-Karma area, and succeeded in killing more than 25 terrorists. The source added that the Takfiri group suffered major losses during the clashes, as the Iraqi army tightened its grip over the militants from various directions. The ISIL Takfiri terrorists currently control shrinking swathes of Syria and Iraq. They have threatened all communities, including Shiites, Sunnis, Kurds, Christians, Ezadi Kurds and others, as they continue their atrocities in Iraq. Senior Iraqi officials have blamed Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and some Persian Gulf Arab states for the growing terrorism in their country. The ISIL has links with Saudi intelligence and is believed to be indirectly supported by the Israeli regime. http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13931204000407 --------- Egypt’s leader says need growing for joint Arab force 23 February 2015 CAIRO: Egypt’s president said Sunday that the need for a joint Arab military force is growing every day as the region faces the threat of Islamic militancy. President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi also said in a recorded address aired by state television that Egypt’s military has no interest in invading or attacking other nations, but will defend Egypt as well as the region “if required and in coordination with our Arab brothers.” A soldier-turned-politician, the Egyptian leader says both Jordan and the United Arab Emirates have offered to dispatch military forces to aid Egypt following last week’s beheading in Libya of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians by Islamic State militants. Egyptian warplanes struck Islamic State positions in the eastern Libyan city of Darna early on Monday, just hours after the release of a video showing the beheadings. El-Sissi said in his address that the warplanes struck 13 targets which had been “carefully surveyed and studied.” He gave no further details. Full report at: http://www.arabnews.com/middle-east/news/708366 ------------ North America Homeland Secretary Johnson suggests term 'violent extremism' used at behest of Muslim leaders February 22, 2015 Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said on Sunday that President Obama’s decision not to say the actions of the Islamic State is a form of “radical Islam” is at the behest of the Muslim community. “The thing I hear from leaders in the Muslim community in this country is ISIL is attempting to hijack my religion,” Johnson told “Fox News Sunday,” referring to the terror group also known as Islamic State, or ISIS. Johnson said the leaders argue their religion is about peace and brotherhood and “resent” that Islamic State is “attempting to hijack that from us.” Obama is facing sharp criticism, even from within his own party, for instead using the term “violent extremism” to describe the actions of ISIS and other terror groups that are based on a form of Islam. “If we don’t identify our enemies, we cannot defeat them,” Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, told Fox News on Wednesday. “Unless you accurately identify who your enemy is, then you can’t come up with an effective strategy, a winning strategy to defeat that enemy.” Obama on the same day defended his choice of words by saying the term "radical Islam" gives such groups religious legitimacy they don't deserve. Full report at: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2015/02/22/homeland-secretary-johnson-suggests-term-violent-extremism-used-at-behest/ ------------ ‘We will never be gone from Afghanistan’, US defense secretary says Feb 23 2015 The US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter has said the United States will never be gone from Afghanistan while on insisting on the importance of the country. Speaking to US troops at TAAC South’s Kandhar Airfield headquarters, Carter said “We’ll never be gone from Afghanistan because Afghanistan is an important country in the world.” He said “but when our presence here is reduced to something much smaller than today, we want to make sure that the Afghans themselves are able to preserve the environment our forces have created over the last few years, one of relative security and stability.” Carter told the men and women in uniform that he’d met with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Dr. Abdulla Abdullah in Kabul. “There’s one thing President Ghani said that I want to share with you. He said, ‘Would you please tell your people that I appreciate the sacrifice they have made for my country.’” Carter said, “Just think about that — remember that.” Carter made a stop in Kandahar on Sunday as part of his first official trip to Afghanistan as defense secretary to thank U.S. troops there for their dedication to the mission and the progress they and their NATO and Afghan allies have achieved. http://www.khaama.com/we-will-never-be-gone-from-afghanistan-us-defense-secretary-says-9324 -------- Kerry and Zarif aim to narrow gaps in nuclear talks 23 February 2015 A senior Iranian official in talks on the country's disputed nuclear program has said differences remain on key questions at the ongoing negotiations in Geneva, state media reported Monday. "The gap still exists, differences exist, and all parties are negotiating with seriousness and determination, but we haven't found solutions to key questions," Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi said. He was speaking after three hours of talks on Sunday night between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and their Iranian counterparts Mohammad Javad Zarif and Ali Akbar Salehi. The U.S. and Iranian officials began their talks on Friday. Before Kerry arrived in Geneva, Zarif also told Iranian state media that mid-level bilateral talks had produced “good discussions but no agreements.” Full report at: http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/02/23/Kerry-and-Iran-s-Zarif-aim-to-narrow-gaps-in-nuclear-talks.html -------- Australia Muslim leaders outraged by Tony Abbott's chiding over extremism 23 February 2015 Muslim leaders are furious at Tony Abbott’s suggestion that the community does not do enough to stamp out extremism, saying the statement is the “last card” of an embattled leader who is using dog-whistle politics to “inflame racism”. On Monday Abbott delivered a speech on national security, in which he said: “I’ve often heard western leaders describe Islam as a ‘religion of peace’. I wish more Muslim leaders would say that more often, and mean it.” The head of the Arab Council of Australia, Randa Kattan, said the comments were “promoting hatred and inflaming racism”. Kattan said she had seen a sharp increase in racism levelled at Muslim Australians since the Martin Place siege in Sydney last year, and that the comments by the prime minister are “dog-whistling to the racists out there”. “It’s not helpful, it’s divisive. It labels our community as being responsible for the actions of a few,” Kattan said. “It’s not helpful for anyone to make these statements … How much more can we condemn?” At least one organisation has announced it will boycott a government consultation session on deradicalisation programs scheduled for Monday evening over Abbott’s remarks. Zaahir Edries, the president of the Muslim Legal Network, said the group particularly objected to the prime minister’s comment that Muslim leaders should promote Islam as a religion of peace more often. Full report at: http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/feb/23/muslim-leaders-outraged-by-tony-abbotts-admonishment-over-extremism ------------ Europe 'Baroness Warsi gave official roles to people with links to extremist groups' February 23, 2015 Baroness Warsi, the first Muslim woman to sit in United Kingdom’s Cabinet, handed official posts to people linked to militant and radical groups, including a man involved in an “unpleasant and bullying” campaign to win planning permission for the controversial London ‘megamosque’ proposed by a fundamentalist Islamic sect, the Telegraph reported. Fiyaz Mughal — a former member of the cross-Government working group on anti-Muslim hatred” set up by Lady Warsi and Nick Clegg, UK Deputy Prime Minister – told The Telegraph that he had resigned in protest at the group’s activities. “I was deeply concerned about the kinds of groups some of the members had connections with, and some of the groups they were recommending be brought into government,” said Mughal, who is head of Tell Mama, the British national organisation for monitoring anti-Muslim attacks. “The working group was Sayeeda [Warsi]’s personal project and she was responsible for the appointments. There was very little transparency about who was put on,” said another member of the working group. Full report at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/842724/baroness-warsi-gave-official-roles-to-people-with-links-to-extremist-groups/ ---------- Election should galvanise British Muslims February 23, 2015 The Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill that enjoyed widespread support in Britain received Royal Assent on February 12. But the Muslim community is worried about the implications. The stigmatisation of Muslims, especially after the Paris attacks in January, has reached such a high peak that the bill did not attract enough criticism from mainstream political figures and organisations to significantly water down its discriminatory nature. Among only a handful of groups that showed concerns against the bill and campaigned to stop it were Muslim students, joined by many university societies across the country, for fear that the bill would restrict and invade the lives of students. Under the bill, the government will have the power to place a statutory duty on ‘universities, schools, NHS Trusts and even nurseries to implement measures to prevent radicalism’; this, according to the Federation of Students Islamic Societies will ‘disproportionately target Muslim students, leading to further stigmatisation and alienation’. Grave concerns Full report at: http://nation.com.pk/international/23-Feb-2015/election-should-galvanise-british-muslims ------------ Charlie Hebdo team struggles to heal after massacre 23 February 2015 More than a month after jihadist gunmen massacred much of the Charlie Hebdo editorial team, those who survived are slowly trying to return to a semblance of normality. Twelve people were killed in the January 7 attack on the satirical weekly, including five of France's most beloved cartoonists. After defiantly rushing out a "survivors' issue" the following week as donations and support flooded in, the weekly disappeared from newsstands. "We needed a break, a rest... There were those who needed to work again straight away, like me, and those who wanted to take more time," says Gerard Biard, the paper's new chief editor. "So we reached a compromise, and agreed on February 25... to start off again on a weekly basis." So what will the second post-attacks issue look like? Charlie Hebdo has a long history of courting controversy, lampooning political and religious figures of all stripes. Full report at: http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/9/123716/World/International/Charlie-Hebdo-team-struggles-to-heal-after-massacr.aspx ----------- Russia offers Iran latest anti-aircraft missiles 23 February 2015 Russia has offered Iran its latest Antey-2500 missiles, the head of Russian state defense conglomerate Rostec said on Monday according to media reports, after a deal to supply less powerful S-300 missiles was dropped under Western pressure. Sergei Chemezov said Tehran was now considering the offer, TASS news agency reported. Russia scrapped a contract to supply Iran with S-300 surface-to-air missiles under Western pressure in 2010, and Iran later filed a $4-billion international arbitration suit against Russia in Geneva, but the two countries remain allies. The United States and Israel lobbied Russia to block the missile sale, saying it could be used to shield Iran's nuclear facilities from possible future air strikes. There was no immediate response to Chemezov's comments from Iran, Israel or the United States. Full report at: http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/2015/02/23/Russia-offers-Iran-latest-anti-aircraft-missiles.html ------- France deploys aircraft carrier for ISIS fight 23 February 2015 France deployed an aircraft carrier in the Gulf on Monday as part of the U.S.-led military campaign against ISIS in Iraq, a defense ministry official said. "The integration of the Charles de Gaulle in the operation... (in Iraq) begins this morning," a member of Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian's staff told AFP as his entourage made its way to the carrier. The first Rafale fighter jet took off in the morning from the Charles de Gaulle as it sailed about 200 kilometers (120 miles) off the coast north of Bahrain in the direction of Iraq. France launched Operation Chammal in support of the U.S.-led coalition against ISIS in September. Full report at: http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/02/23/France-deploys-aircraft-carrier-for-ISIS-fight-.html ---------- Six French have passports confiscated for planning Syria trip 23 February 2015 Six French citizens have had their passports confiscated after allegedly planning to travel to Syria, a security source said on Monday -- the first time the measure has been used. The source said the six were "imminently" about to travel to Syria. The right to remove passports was introduced as part of a raft of new counter-terrorism laws in November. http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2015/02/23/Six-French-have-passports-confiscated-for-planning-Syria-trip.html ------- Africa Offensive against Boko Haram continuing: Nigeria army Feb 23, 2015 The Nigerian army says offensive against Takfiri Boko Haram militants is continuing after the recapture of the northeastern town of Baga from the extremists. "The cordon and search as well as patrol of the localities continue while the offensive on terrorists is progressing in other areas of the theatre of the counter terrorist campaign," said General Chris Olukolade, a spokesman for the army, in a statement on Sunday. Soldiers who have been participating in Baga operation have discovered various types of arms abandoned by the fleeing terrorists in the town and surrounding areas, the statement said. On Saturday, Nigeria’s army said it had regained control of Baga from Boko Haram, which overran the town more than a month ago. The extremist group has claimed responsibility for a number of deadly shooting attacks and bombings in various parts of Nigeria since the beginning of its operations in 2009. The five countries of Chad, Niger, Nigeria, Cameroon, and Benin pledged earlier in February to deploy an 8,700-strong force to fight the Boko Haram militancy in the region around Lake Chad. http://www.presstv.in/Detail/2015/02/23/398768/AntiBoko-Haram-operation-progressing ------------ 2 bombs explode at residence of Iran envoy in Libya February 23, 2015 TRIPOLI - Two bombs exploded at the gate of the Iranian ambassador’s residence in the Libyan capital Tripoli on Sunday although nobody was hurt in the blast, Libyan security officials said. One official told Tripoli television station al-Nabaa that the residence, located in a central district of Tripoli, was empty at the time, as was the residence underneath. ‘Two devices were laid, one exploded first and then the other. The point of the second bomb was to create confusion,’ Colonel Jumaa al-Mashri from the National Security Agency told al-Nabaa. Other foreign missions in the capital, such as the embassies of Algeria, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, have also been the targeted with bombings, again with no casualties. Most Western nations moved out staff during fighting between rival factions vying for control of Tripoli, four years after the fall of Gaddafi. Full report at: http://nation.com.pk/international/23-Feb-2015/2-bombs-explode-at-residence-of-iran-envoy-in-libya ------------ Boko Haram violence hits fish industry in NE Nigeria 23 Feb 2015 The raging Boko Haram insurgency in northeast Nigeria has hit the region's fishing industry, causing shortages and driving up prices, union leaders say. The major city of Maiduguri has been particularly affected, as the authorities in neighbouring Niger have detained huge consignments of smoked fish on security grounds. For over a week, more than 200 vehicles loaded with the fish and destined for the capital of Borno state have been held outside the Nigerien border town of Diffa, pending searches. The head of the fishermen's union in Borno, Abubakar Gamandi, said the city and the wider northern region was now facing an "unprecedented shortage" of fish. "The fish supply to Maiduguri has been disrupted and prices have soared," he added. A carton of smoked fish in the city now sells for 15,000 naira ($79, 65 euros) against 9,000 naira previously. Full report at: http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/9/123724/World/International/Boko-Haram-violence-hits-fish-industry-in-NE-Niger.aspx -------- In South Sudan, a chance to be children again 23 Feb 2015 Pibor, South Sudan - In the relative cool shade provided by two giant water-starved trees in the unforgiving South Sudanese bush sits patiently a large dishevelled group of children. Sitting in front of them are an earnest group of adults. On approaching this group you could be forgiven for thinking this was a field trip undertaken by a local school. It's not until you get a little closer that you notice that most of these children are carrying high velocity automatic weapons. A little unnerving seeing such weapons in such tiny hands. The warring Cobra faction, after months of delicate negotiations, were in the process of handing over 300 war-weary child soldiers to the care of UNICEF. With a few suspicious frowns, but mostly in good spirits, the boys laid down their automatic weapons under the watchful eyes of the SPLA (Sudanese Peoples Army), local police, UNICEF and the Guvnor of Pibor. Full report at: http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/inpictures/2015/02/south-sudan-child-soldiers-150217131933638.html ------------ US Homeland Security casts doubt on al-Shabab threat 23 Feb 2015 The US Homeland Security Department has said that it is not aware of any specific plot against US shopping malls, backing away from comments by the department's chief that he takes seriously a threat by Somali-based armed group al-Shabab against shopping sites in Western countries. Some US and Canadian officials earlier on Sunday had cast doubt on the credibility of the threat made in a video attributed to al-Shabab, which appeared to call for attacks on Western shopping areas, specifically mentioning Mall of America in Minnesota, the West Edmonton Mall in Canada, London's Oxford Street and sites in Paris. But Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said that "anytime a terrorist organisation calls for an attack on a specific place, we've got to take that seriously", and told shoppers to be careful without providing any more detail. Full report at: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/02/al-shabab-threat-malls-150222224356065.html ------------ Mideast Israeli Forces Shoot 7 Palestinians with Live Bullets in Bethlehem Feb 23, 2015 Seven Palestinians were injured with live bullets in clashes with Israeli forces in Aida refugee camp in Northern Bethlehem, residents said. They told Ma'an that Israeli forces, with police dogs, raided the camp and fired tear gas, stun grenades and live bullets, injuring seven youths late Sunday. Israeli forces also prevented ambulances from reaching the injured, and fired tear gas at them causing one ambulance driver to suffer from suffocation due to excessive gas inhalation. Israel forces detained a large number of young men from the camp and searched several houses, a witness said. Ali Adwan and Issa Sami Abu Srour were shot with live bullets, while Mohammad Omar Badawneh was shot twice in the thighs. The other injured youths were not immediately identified. Meanwhile, Nabhan Mohammad al-Amouri and Mohammad Fouad Ulayyan were severely beaten. http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13931204000969 ---------- Iran parliament agrees bill to tax religious groups February 23, 2015 TEHRAN - Iran’s parliament has approved an article in the 2015-2016 draft budget to tax religious foundations and army-linked firms that could generate trillions of dollars. The vote, reported by the state news agency IRNA, could help boost state coffers in the Islamic republic which has long depended on revenues from oil. But since the plunge in international oil prices, the government has sought to tighten spending and raise taxes to offset the negative hit on state finances. Revenues raised by taxing religious foundations and army-linked firms that control large parts of the economy could amount to 10 trillion rials (more than $350 million at the official exchange rate/300 million euros), budget committee member Mousalreza Servati had said in December. Full report at: http://nation.com.pk/national/23-Feb-2015/iran-parliament-agrees-bill-to-tax-religious-groups ------------ Hamas Says Not to Engage in Conflict with Any 'Arab Side' Feb 23, 2015 Leading Hamas Official Ismail Haniyeh asserted that the Palestinian resistance will continue to fight the Israeli occupation and will not get into conflicts with any "Arab side", in reference to Egypt. "Hamas movement and its military wing, Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, will not get into military confrontations with any Arab side," Hanyieh said during a tour in Rafah, Southern Gaza Strip, late Sunday, World Bulletin reported. "The Egyptian army is not our enemy, even if we don't agree with the blockade and the imposed buffer zone (on Egypt's border with Gaza), that doesn't mean we would point our guns at Egypt's army," he said. Full report at: http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13931204000858 ---------- Iran Strongly Condemns US Unrelenting Support for Terrorists in Syria Feb 23, 2015 Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman deplored the United Sates and some regional counties for their continued support for the militants fighting in Syria. "Insistence of the United States and some other countries in continuing that wrong policy and continuing a strategic mistake has no outcome, but further destroying of regional nations' homes and getting killed of more innocent people," Marziyeh Afkham said on Sunday. She also criticized the UN silence about such move, stressing that the simplest way to fight against terrorism in Syria is that the US and its allies abide by the UN Security Council resolutions, and halt the financial and logistical support for the armed groups in Syria. In October, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir Abdollahian once again expressed Tehran's concern about the negative impacts of arms shipments to Syrian rebels by certain western states and their regional allies. Amir Abdollahian pointed out that Iran has always been calling for a political solution to the crisis in Syria, and in many occasions has mentioned the importance of an immediate halt to the flow of weapons and terrorists into the Muslim country. Full report at: http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13931204000575 ---------- Netanyahu: Iran forming ‘third front’ on Golan 22 February 2015 Iran is seeking to open a "third front" against Israel using Hezbollah fighters on the Syrian Golan Heights, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday. Netanyahu said Tehran's attempts to entrench itself along Israel's borders was one of the biggest emerging security threats facing Israel. "Alongside Iran's direct guidance of Hezbollah's actions in the north and Hamas's in the south, Iran is trying also to develop a third front on the Golan Heights via the thousands of Hezbollah fighters who are in southern Syria and over which Iran holds direct command," he said. Speaking at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting, Netanyahu said his ministers were to be briefed on "the security challenges developing around us, first and foremost Iran's attempt to increase its foothold on Israel's borders even as it works to arm itself with nuclear weapons." An Israeli air strike inside the Syrian-controlled sector of the Golan Heights on January 18 killed six members of Hezbollah, which is backed by Iran and allied with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, as well as a general from Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards. Israel neither confirmed nor denied responsibility, but it has carried out several such strikes over the past two years, stressing its policy of preventing arms transfers to militant groups and potential attacks. Full report at: http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/02/22/Netanyahu-Iran-forming-third-front-on-Golan.html ---------- Hadi wants Yemen crisis talks moved outside Sanaa 23 February 2015 Yemen's President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi has demanded talks on the country's political crisis be moved from Sanaa after he escaped house arrest in the militia-controlled capital, a U.N. envoy said. Hadi expressed "reservations about continuing the current negotiations in Sanaa," the envoy Jamal Benomar wrote on his Facebook page, after a telephone conversation between the pair. The Western-backed leader also "requested they be transferred to a 'safe place' to which the parties should agree," he added. Hadi fled to the southern city of Aden on Saturday after sneaking out of Sanaa, where he was being held under house arrest by the Shiite Houthi militia that seized control of the capital. The president renewed his commitment to the political transition process and U.N.-sponsored talks aimed at finding a solution to the worsening crisis in Yemen, according to Benomar. He also welcomed a United Nations Security Council resolution on February 16 demanding the Houthis withdraw their forces and refrain from further unilateral actions. Full report at: http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/02/23/Hadi-wants-Yemen-crisis-talks-moved-outside-Sanaa.html ---------- Iran backing united Yemen in fighting terror: Iranian Diplomat Feb 23, 2015 Iran supports a Yemeni government which is united in the fight against terrorism, a senior Iranian diplomat says. The Islamic Republic of Iran backs a Yemeni government which works toward “national unity, [Yemeni] people’s welfare, and the region’s security and stability”, interacts constructively with its neighbors and is “a strong and united country in the fight against terrorism and extremism,” Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian told Fars news agency on Sunday. On February 6, Yemen’s Houthi movement dissolved the Yemeni parliament and announced a constitutional declaration on the Transitional National Council following weeks of clashes with government forces. The Ansarullah revolutionaries say the Yemeni government has been incapable of properly running the affairs of the country and providing security. The United Nations Special Adviser on Yemen Jamal Benomar announced on Friday that the opposing sides in Yemen’s conflict have agreed on the formation of a democratic transitional council, which will be tasked with making efforts to end the chaos in the Arab country. The development in the Arab country marked a “breakthrough that paves the way towards a comprehensive agreement,” he added. Full report at: http://www.presstv.in/Detail/2015/02/23/398781/Iran-supporting-united-Yemen ----------- India VHP general secretary asserts Ghar wapsi will continue February 22, 2015 Despite controversy surrounding its ‘ghar wapsi’ initiative, VHP national general secretary Ashok Tiwari on Sunday said the programme will continue till all those people who “left their home” have been reconverted. “Ghar wapsi is not a bad thing at all. It will continue till we bring back those people who left their homes,” Tiwari said while addressing a ‘Hindu Sammelan’ in Etah, Uttar Pradesh. “India is a Hindu nation and no power in the world can change that,” he claimed. He also demanded Bangladeshi immigrants in the country must be sent back. “Illegal Bangladeshi immigrants have been influencing elections results. This appeasement policy is proving harmful for the country and they must be sent back,” Tiwari said. http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/vhp-general-secretary-asserts-ghar-wapsi-will-continue/ ---------- 47 Muslims including Rajya Sabha MP Haji Abdul Salam felicitated Feb 23, 2015 Rajya Sabha MP of Manipur Haji Abdul Salam and 46 Manipuri Muslims achievers in different fields were felicitated at a reception ceremony held at Kudimok Community Hall, Khumidok in Imphal East District on February 20, 2015. Rajya Sabha MP Haji Abdul Salam, Commanding Officer (CO) of 6th Indian Reserve Battalion (IRB) Mohd. Firoz Khan, Battalion Commander of Manipur Home Guard Mohd. Habibullah, Principal of Jamia Azizia Islamic Girl’s School Maulana Abdul Karim Kashmi, Pradhan of Kairang Khumidok Gram Panchayat Mohd. Nurzaman (Danny) and Haji Maulana Kayamuddin graced the reception ceremony. The felicitation function was organized by Kumidok Athletic and Sporting Club, Khumidok, a prominent Muslim sporting club of the State. The felicitation programme was organized with an aim to recognize and appreciate those Manipuri Muslims who have made rich contributions in the development of the State. Full report at: http://e-pao.net/epSubPageExtractor.asp?src=news_section.Press_Release.Press_Release_2015.47_Muslims_including_Rajya_Sabha_MP_Haji_Abdul_Salam_felicitated_20150223 ------------ Does sale of sex toys violate Section 377, asks Delhi court February 23, 2015 Validation of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code has polarised opinion between an individual’s right of sexual choices and basic privacy, and the clamour of public morality. While a final word is awaited from the Supreme Court on whether re-criminalising homosexuality and intercourse “against the order of the nature” was a correct decision, a new aspect of the sweeping ambit of Section 377 has come up for scrutiny before a Delhi court: Should e-commerce web sites be prosecuted for abetting this offence by selling sex toys and other objects that facilitate “intercourse against the order of nature”? Agreeing to examine this question, the magisterial court has ordered investigation by the police into the online promotion and sale of such products under the sexual wellness category by a few e-tailers named in the complaint by Supreme Court advocate Suhas R Joshi. Metropolitan Magistrate Richa Gusain Solanki recently directed the Station House Officer (SHO) of Sabzi Mandi police station to conduct the preliminary probe. This police station has jurisdiction over the Tis Hazari courts complex, where the lawyer has an office. Full report at: http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/does-sale-of-sex-toys-violate-section-377-asks-delhi-court/99/ ---------- Iraq ordeal ends, 27 workers return February 23, 2015 Twenty-seven Indians who were stranded in Basra, Iraq, after not being paid wages for over nine months returned to India on Sunday evening. While the workers said there was no violence around them, their living conditions in Iraq were terrible and that the supply of food and medicines was erratic. On February 18, 140 Indians who worked in factories in Basra had similarly returned home after the intervention of the Ministry of External Affairs. The 27 workers who arrived at the Indira Gandhi International Airport, Delhi, on Sunday were from Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh. Most of the workers said they had gone to Iraq in the hope of well-paying jobs close to two years ago, but they had not been remunerated for over nine months. Full report at: http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/mea-gets-27-workers-back-from-iraq/ ---------- Pakistan School books to have Quranic verses against corruption Mohammad Ashfaq Feb 23, 2015 PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Textbook Board has incorporated some verses of the holy Quran, Hadith and wise sayings on the inner titles of the school books to discourage corruption and promote harmony in the society. The move is aimed at scaling up awareness about the evil of corruption in society. The verse number 10 of the Surah Al-Hujrat stressing unity among Muslims has also been included on the inner titles of the books which states: “Muslims are brothers, therefore make peace between the two brothers and fear Allah so that the mercy may be shown to you.” Textbook board takes decision with NAB’s consultation By including this verse the authorities intend to discourage sectarianism in the society. Such verses and holy sayings would be part of books from grade-1 to grade-12 to discourage corruption and sectarianism, sources said, adding that the books had been published and would be distributed among students from the academic year starting from coming April. They said that the board had taken the decision to include verses and sayings of the holy Prophet with the consultation of the National Accountability Bureau and Directorate of Curricula and Teachers Education. They said that these verses, Hadith, etc would replace earlier such material against militancy and in favour of peace incorporated in textbooks by the previous government. Full report at: http://www.dawn.com/news/1165380/school-books-to-have-quranic-verses-against-corruption ------------ EU values Pakistan’s sacrifices in anti-terrorism war Feb 23, 2015 TAXILA: The deputy head of delegation of European Union (EU) in Pakistan, Stefano Gatto, here on Sunday said the EU acknowledged Islamabad’s efforts for regional peace and the sacrifices made during the ongoing war against terrorism. He was talking to mediapersons at Zaildar House where diplomats from over 40 countries gathered to celebrate the Spring Orange Festival. He said Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan was invited to the White House to address a summit on countering violent extremism so that the world could know the Pakistan’s contribution for regional peace. Also read: ‘EU scholarships’ raise hopes and confusion He said the EU countries were committed to helping Pakistan under the EU-Pakistan Development Cooperation Programme in the war against terrorism and had provided huge funds, assistance and necessary tools to achieve the target goals of eliminating radicalism from the country, especially KP. He said the EU would also continue supporting Pakistan in the field of social and economic justice, awareness, education and electoral reforms. Diplomats say EU providing funds and equipment to help Pakistan eliminate terrorism and radicalism Full report at: http://www.dawn.com/news/1165357/eu-values-pakistans-sacrifices-in-anti-terrorism-war ------------ Lal Masjid cleric has apologised for defending APS attack: Nisar February 23, 2015 ISLAMABAD: Maulana Abdul Aziz, the imam of Islamabad’s Lal Masjid, has submitted a written apology to police over his implied defence of the December 16 Pakistan Taliban terrorist attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar, local media quoted Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan reported on Sunday. The minister was talking to journalists after ending a three-day visit to Washington. Asked why Islamabad was reluctant to arrest the Lal Masjid cleric, Khan said the government was careful, not reluctant. “It is not difficult to arrest him. But we want to keep our focus on the ongoing operation against militants,” he said. “Any other action at this stage will create a diversion and benefit the militants.” The minister recalled that after the Lal Masjid operation in 2007, the Musharraf government was forced to bring Maulana Aziz back from his village and provide him special security. http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/national/23-Feb-2015/lal-masjid-cleric-has-apologised-for-defending-aps-attack-nisar ------------ Nefarious designs of enemies of peace will be foiled: Shahbaz Sharif February 23, 2015 LAHORE: Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has said that Pakistan is passing through the most difficult phase of its history and terrorism, extremism and sectarianism have caused an irreparable loss to national economy. He said that peace is essential for rapid development and promotion of investment in the country. He said that the whole nation is united in the war against terrorism and the 18 crore people of the country are determined to crush terrorists. He said that implementation of the National Action Plan is yielding positive results. Shahbaz Sharif said that Pak Army is writing a new history of courage in the war against terrorism and the nation is proud of its brave armed forces. Full report at: http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/punjab/23-Feb-2015/nefarious-designs-of-enemies-of-peace-will-be-foiled-cm -------- 4 members of Uzair Baloch, Baba Ladla groups killed February 23, 2015 KARACHI: Rangers and police have killed four suspects belonging to Baba Ladla and Uzair Baloch groups in Kalla Kot area of Karachi in an operation on Sunday. The suspects killed in the encounter also included the acting head of the Uzair Baloch group. The suspects were allegedly involved in Lyari gang war. An important commander of the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban (Swat Group) has also been arrested from Site Area, Karachi. According to the details, the suspect was involved in sectarian target-killing, attacks on Rangers and police, and several other serious crimes. Rangers started a search operation in Kalla Kot area of Lyari on receiving the information. The suspects started firing on the rangers during the search operation. In response, Rangers killed the gang war suspect Suhail aka ‘Khauf’ (Terror) and Shehryar aka Sherry. Both these suspects belonged to Baba Ladla group. In the same area, in an encounter with the police, two members of the Uzair Baloch group were also killed. They were named as Mukhtar aka Lond and Arif. According to police, the suspects attacked on police’s armored car and were killed in response. SSP City said that Mukhtar aka Lond had been running Uzair Baloch’s group in the latter’s absence. Full report at: http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/sindh/23-Feb-2015/4-members-of-uzair-baloch-baba-ladla-groups-killed -------- PML-N will rid country of terrorism, load shedding, price hike: Nawaz February 23, 2015 LAHORE: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has said that the PML-N government will rid the country of terrorism, power load shedding, unemployment and price hike. He was talking to Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif at his Jati Umra residence here on Sunday. The prime minister said that the whole nation and state institutions are united in the fight against terrorism. He made it clear that terrorists would not be allowed to succeed in their nefarious designs and would be eliminated once for all. The Prime Minister vowed to restore peace in the country at all cost. For this purpose he said that full implementation of National Action plan is needed in all the provinces. He said the government has come to power with the votes of the people and was working day and night to resolve their problems. He was confident that the time was not far away when the problems of load shedding and unemployment would be resolved. Full report at: http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/national/23-Feb-2015/pml-n-will-rid-country-of-terrorism-load-shedding-price-hike-nawaz -------- Reuters' Pak-Afghan bureau chief found dead in Islamabad February 23, 2015 ISLAMABAD: Maria Golovnina, the Pakistan and Afghanistan bureau chief of Reuters who was based in Islamabad, was found dead at her office-cum-residence in the capital’s F-8 sector, sources in the police told Dawn. Golovnina had reportedly gone to the toilet, and had not stepped out for a long time when people who were present barged in. She was reportedly lying on the floor covered in vomit. The bureau chief was rushed to Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims) where she was pronounced dead. The hospital will carry out a post-mortem before handing over the body to Russian authorities. The cause of Golovnina's death could not be determined immediately and authorities have launched an investigation to ascertain the facts of the case. http://www.dawn.com/news/1165411/reuters-pak-afghan-bureau-chief-found-dead-in-islamabad ---------- Identity issue haunts Karachi’s Rohingya population February 23, 2015 KARACHI: On an evening, policemen patrolling the Arakan Abad neighborhood of Korangi stopped Shamsul Hassan, a young fisherman, started frisking him and asking questions, and then let him go after taking a bribe of Rs200. “Harassment at the hands of Karachi police has become a routine matter for our community as we do not have Pakistani national identity cards despite having been living in the country for the past 35 years,” says Hassan, a Burmese Muslim known as the Rohingya, who was born in Karachi. Hassan is one of the thousands of young Rohingyas whose parents had fled persecution in Burma (now called Myanmar) over the past 35 years to Karachi. In the early years of their migration, they felt comparatively comfortable and welcome in the Muslim state of Pakistan. Their large-scale migration had made Karachi one of the largest Rohingya population centres outside Myanmar but afterwards the situation started turning against them. Full report at: http://www.dawn.com/news/1165299/identity-issue-haunts-karachis-rohingya-population ----------- South Asia 4 Army soldiers martyred, 45 insurgents killed in fresh military operations Feb 23 2015 Four Afghan National Army soldiers have embraced martyrdom in enemy actions while 45 insurgents have been killed in fresh military operations. The Ministry of Defense issuing a statement on Monday stated that four Army soldiers martyred in separate Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) explosions while on duty. The statement further states that 41 insurgents were killed in fresh military operations in Logar, Maidan Wardak, Kundoz, Helmand, Zabul and Herat provinces. The statement adds that 34 insurgents were also wounded during confrontations with the military and one suspect was arrested. 62 IEDs and seven bags of explosive materials were also discovered by the army, Defense Ministry statement states. Full report at: http://www.khaama.com/4-army-soldiers-martyred-45-insurgents-killed-in-fresh-military-operations-29108 -------- Dr. Abdullah says peace talks with Taliban to kick off soon Feb 23 2015 The Chief Executive Officer Dr. Abdullah has said peace talks with the Taliban militants group will kick off in the near future. Speaking during the cabinet meeting on Monday Dr. Abdullah insisted that no compromise would be made with the 13 years of achievements while negotiating peace with the Taliban group. Dr. Abdullah assured that the peace negotiations would be only for the betterment and stability of the country. According to Abdullah Washington has also shown flexibility in Afghan peace process which has led to satisfaction of the government of Afghanistan. The remarks by Abdullah comes as recent reports suggest that the Taliban leadership has approved preliminary peace talks with the government of Afghanistan in a bid to find a solution to the ongoing violence in the country. Full report at: http://www.khaama.com/dr-abdullah-says-peace-talks-with-taliban-to-kick-off-soon-9323 -------- Pro-ISIS militants attack a shrine and homes in Logar province Feb 23 2015 A group of militants who are apparantly supporting the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group have attacked a historic shrine and residential houses in Logar province. The incident has reportedly taken place in Charkh district of Logar province with the local tribal elders saying that a resident of Charkh was also publicly assassinated by the group. The provincial council chief Hasibullah Stanikzai confirmed that a pro-ISIS militant group has recently launched operations in parts of Charkh district where they carry black flags and are giving speeches in favor of ISIS group. Stanikzai called on the government to take immediate actions in tackling the activities of the group in Logar province. District administrative chief for Charkh Khalil Kamal confirmed that the government’s control in remote districts of Logar province is relatively weak. He said such groups are normally operating during the night time and are even involved in looting the house of the people and their belongins. In the meantime, provincial police chief Gen. Abdul Hakim Ishaqzai said the Afghan security forces will soon launch an operation to tackle the activities of such groups. Logar is among the relatively volatile provinces in central Afghanistan which is located around 60km in south of Kabul province. http://www.khaama.com/pro-isis-militants-attack-a-shrine-and-homes-in-logar-province-8325 -------- Bangladesh arrests five militants in raid on training camp February 23rd, 2015 DHAKA: Bangladeshi special forces raided a training camp in the south-eastern Chittagong district operated by an Islamist militant network that was planning to carry out attacks in the country, senior officials said. In their raid on the camp in Banshkhali, a remote, hilly area covered in forest, the elite Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) arrested five people and found firearms, ammunition and other training material, Lieutenant Colonel Miftah Uddin said. The operation to raid the camp was launched after police arrested 25 students on Feb 19 at their madressah in the town of Hathazari in Chittagong, he said. Full report at: http://www.dawn.com/news/1165330/bangladesh-arrests-five-militants-in-raid-on-training-camp ------------ BNP-Jamaat planning grenade attacks February 23, 2015 The BNP-Jamaat-e-Islami alliance is now planning to attack innocent people with grenades as their petrol bombs yielded nothing in their favour, alleged Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday. "I have asked the intelligence to find those who said this,” she told officials of the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs at Bangladesh Secretariat. “They are not getting any support from home and abroad…they thought there will be something from abroad and they will be placed in power. But those who kill people hurling petrol bombs never get support from anywhere. Full report at: http://www.thedailystar.net/city/bnp-jamaat-planning-grenade-attacks-66214 ------------ Nasheed denied right to appoint lawyer and appeal “arbitrary” arrest warrant, contend lawyers By Zaheena Rasheed | February 23rd, 2015 Former President Mohamed Nasheed is being denied the constitutional right to appoint a lawyer as well as the right to appeal the Criminal Court’s “arbitrary” arrest warrant ahead of a surprise terrorism trial due to commence today, contends the opposition leader’s legal team. At a press conference this afternoon, Nasheed’s legal team revealed that the Criminal Court informed the lawyers this morning that they had to register at the court two days in advance despite being unaware of the trial until the former president’s arrest less than 24 hours ago. “How can we submit forms two days ahead for a trial we did not know would take place two days before? It is clear to any sane person, this is absolute nonsense,” said Hisaan Hussain. Nasheed was arrested at 2:30pm from his residence Yagoothuge yesterday (February 22). The warrant issued by the Criminal Court stated that Nasheed was being arrested on suspicion that he may abscond from trial. Prosecutor General (PG) Muhthaz Muhsin filed terrorism charges against the former president yesterday over the military’s controversial detention of Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed in January 2012. Full report at: http://minivannews.com/politics/nasheed-denied-right-to-appoint-lawyer-and-appeal-arbitrary-arrest-warrant-contend-lawyers-92928 --------- Southeast Asia Islamic tourism can draw more visitors: Indonesia February 23, 2015 SENGGIGI - Just a short hop from the Indonesian holiday hotspot of Bali, a Saudi tourist and his family listen to the call to prayer as the sun goes down on Lombok, the self-styled ‘island of 1,000 mosques’. Lombok is at the centre of an Islamic tourism drive in Indonesia, which has the world’s biggest Muslim population and is hoping to boost the number of visitors from wealthy Middle Eastern countries. While aiming to continue to attract Western tourists who flock to its pristine beaches, the island is also seeking to promote its Islamic heritage, from numerous places of worship to shrines dedicated to ancient Muslim preachers. ‘I love it here because I can hear the azan and people go to the mosque to pray,’ said 58-year-old Sulaiman, the Saudi tourist, who gave only one name and was accompanied by his wife. Full report at: http://nation.com.pk/international/23-Feb-2015/islamic-tourism-can-draw-more-visitors-indonesia ------------ Indonesia prays Islamic tourism drive can draw more visitors February 22, 2015 Senggigi (Indonesia) (AFP) - Just a short hop from the Indonesian holiday hotspot of Bali, a Saudi tourist and his family listen to the call to prayer as the sun goes down on Lombok, the self-styled "island of 1,000 mosques". Lombok is at the centre of an Islamic tourism drive in Indonesia, which has the world's biggest Muslim population and is hoping to boost the number of visitors from wealthy Middle Eastern countries. While aiming to continue to attract Western tourists who flock to its pristine beaches, the island is also seeking to promote its Islamic heritage, from numerous places of worship to shrines dedicated to ancient Muslim preachers. "I love it here because I can hear the azan (call to prayer) and people go to the mosque to pray," said 58-year-old Sulaiman, the Saudi tourist, who gave only one name and was accompanied by his wife who was wearing an all-encompassing burqa. Indonesia is the world's biggest archipelago nation, made up of more than 17,000 islands, but has long lagged behind smaller, more developed countries in Southeast Asia, such as Malaysia and Thailand, in attracting tourists. Full report at: http://news.yahoo.com/indonesia-prays-islamic-tourism-drive-draw-more-visitors-050807841.html ------------ Opposition Leader Courts Muslim Vote in New Eastern Province FEBRUARY 23, 2015 Drawing on the majority-Muslim nations of Indonesia and Malaysia as examples for Cambodia to emulate for better government, opposition leader Sam Rainsy led a group of lawmakers stumping for votes in Cham Muslim villages in Tbong Khmum province on Saturday. The ruling CPP has long had a stranglehold on the Cham vote, with influential community elders remaining loyal to the party for its unprejudiced treatment of Muslims after the downfall of the Khmer Rouge, which had pursued policies of forced and violent assimilation. A couple hundred Cham Muslims nevertheless turned out to see Mr. Rainsy speak in Dambe district’s Seda commune on Saturday, with the opposition leader lauding Indonesia and Malaysia’s political systems. “I respect these two countries, which we can take as a model for Cambodia right now to make the country clean,” Mr. Rainsy said, before listing the lessons he said Cambodia could learn from its neighbors. Full report at: https://www.cambodiadaily.com/news/opposition-leader-courts-muslim-vote-in-new-eastern-province-78504/ ------------ Indonesia considers new collateral for sukuk February 23 2015 The Indonesian government plans to broaden the underlying assets used for its Islamic debt papers (sukuk) as it seeks improve liquidity in the sharia-compliant bonds market in the world’s most Muslim-populated nation. The government is studying using state-owned goods and services as underlying assets for sukuk issuances, which have normally used infrastructure projects as collateral, says Robert Pakpahan, the head of the Finance Ministry’s financing and risk management office (DJPR). “So far, sukuk has utilized only infrastructure projects as its underlying assets, and now we are studying the possibility of utilizing the procurement of goods and services such as tables, chairs, computers and cars,” he said at his Jakarta office recently. Sukuk adhere to Islamic investing principles, which forbid interest rate payments but instead offer bondholders ownership in various government assets and infrastructure projects as collateral. Full report at: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2015/02/23/indonesia-considers-new-collateral-sukuk.html ------------ Haul up Anwar prosecutor for qazaf, Muslim preacher tells Jais BY JOSEPH SIPALAN February 23, 2015 SHAH ALAM, Feb 23 — An independent Muslim preacher and another individual demanded today Selangor’s Islamic authority take in prominent lawyer Tan Sri Shafee Abdullah whom they claim had violated Shariah laws by accusing Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim of being a homosexual without proof. Wan Ji Wan Hussin and Ahmad Auzaie Arshad both claimed that Shafee had committed qazaf, which is false accusation of adultery and a crime under Islamic law, by publicly accusing Anwar of having committed homosexual acts without providing four witnesses as demanded by the Syariah Criminal Enactment (State of Selangor) 1995. “Jais should take action, because this is definitely a crime under Shariah law,” Wan Ji said, referring to the Selangor Islamic Department by its Malay acronym. Full report at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/haul-up-anwar-prosecutor-for-qazaf-muslim-preacher-tells-jais ------------ Diplomatic Spats Antagonize Indonesians Feb 23, 2015 Jakarta. Brazil and Australia’s protests against Indonesia’s executions of their citizens have triggered a nationalistic campaign across the archipelago in which Indonesian lawmakers and netizens alike are doubling down on their support of the death penalty for drug offenses. Lawmaker Tantowi Yahya of the opposition Golkar Party, the second-largest caucus in the House of Representatives, on Saturday applauded the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ move of withdrawing Indonesia’s new ambassador-designate to Brazil, Toto Riyanto, after Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff accepted the credentials of ambassadors from El Salvador, Panama, Venezuela, Senegal and Greece in a ceremony on Friday — and not those of Indonesia’s chief of mission. Indonesia’s ambassador-designate was only informed that his credentials would not be accepted after he had arrived at the president’s palace, expecting to become an ambassador. “What we did was delay a bit the acceptance of credentials, that’s all,” President Rousseff said, adding that the postponement was conditional, not retaliatory. “We think it’s important for there to be an evolution in the situation, for us to have some clarity.” Full report at: http://thejakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/news/diplomatic-spats-antagonize-indonesians-2/ ------------ Malaysia PM under scrutiny over wealth, opposition crackdown February 23, 2015 MALAYSIA’S premier is under mounting scrutiny for cracking down on opponents, troubles in a strategic development fund and questions over his family assets, with even ruling-party conservatives questioning his leadership. Prime Minister Najib Razak, 61, took the helm of the multi-ethnic country’s long-ruling regime in 2009, promising to soothe racial tensions and bolster democracy. But he is under fire from progressives for abandoning such pledges and from ruling-party hardliners over 1MDB — a development vehicle he launched that is believed to be in a precarious state. “People are beginning to doubt whether he is the sort of leader who can address Malaysia’s problems,” said Wan Saiful Wan Jan, head of Malaysian think-tank IDEAS. Malaysia also drew international criticism after opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim was jailed for five years last week on a sodomy conviction widely considered politically motivated, the latest in a crackdown on Najib’s opponents. 1MDB, meanwhile, has missed repeated deadlines to pay down billions of dollars in debts, according to Malaysian media reports, with questions swirling around the whereabouts of huge sums. Full report at: http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/region/23-Feb-2015/malaysia-pm-under-scrutiny-over-wealth-opposition-crackdown ------------ URL: http://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/over-100,000-manuscripts,-books-burnt-by-isil-across-iraq-s-anbar/d/101659

Over 100,000 Manuscripts, Books Burnt By ISIL across Iraq's Anbar


Photo: Over 100,000 Manuscripts, Books Burnt By ISIL across Iraq's Anbar










Arab World
Over 100,000 Manuscripts, Books Burnt by ISIL across Iraq's Anbar
Top Muslim cleric Ahmed al-Tayeb urges education reform to counter extremism
Saudi king: ‘terrorism fueled international opinion against Islam’
New ISIS video shows Kurd fighters in cages
Egypt charges 215 Muslim Brotherhood supporters
Kurdish Fighters Recapture Villages from ISIL in NE Syria
Iraqi Troops Claim Lives of over 25 ISIL Terrorists
Egypt charges 215 Muslim Brotherhood supporters
Saudi king: ‘terrorism fueled international opinion against Islam’
Egypt’s leader says need growing for joint Arab force

North America
Homeland Secretary Johnson suggests term 'violent extremism' used at behest of Muslim leaders
Pundit Fact: Why Obama won't label ISIS 'Islamic extremists'
‘We will never be gone from Afghanistan’, US defense secretary says
Kerry and Zarif aim to narrow gaps in nuclear talks

Australia
Muslim leaders outraged by Tony Abbott's chiding over extremism

Europe
'Baroness Warsi gave official roles to people with links to extremist groups'
Election should galvanise British Muslims
Charlie Hebdo team struggles to heal after massacre
Russia offers Iran latest anti-aircraft missiles
France deploys aircraft carrier for ISIS fight
Six French have passports confiscated for planning Syria trip

Africa
Offensive against Boko Haram continuing: Nigeria army
2 bombs explode at residence of Iran envoy in Libya
Boko Haram violence hits fish industry in NE Nigeria
In South Sudan, a chance to be children again
US Homeland Security casts doubt on al-Shabab threat

Mideast
Israeli Forces Shoot 7 Palestinians with Live Bullets in Bethlehem
Turkish troops enter Syria to rescue besieged colleagues
Palestinians threaten to end security ties with Israel
Iran parliament agrees bill to tax religious groups
Hamas Says Not to Engage in Conflict with Any 'Arab Side'
Iran Strongly Condemns US Unrelenting Support for Terrorists in Syria
Netanyahu: Iran forming ‘third front’ on Golan
Hadi wants Yemen crisis talks moved outside Sanaa
Iran backing united Yemen in fighting terror: Diplomat

India
VHP general secretary asserts Ghar wapsi will continue
47 Muslims including Rajya Sabha MP Haji Abdul Salam felicitated
Does sale of sex toys violate Section 377, asks Delhi court
Iraq ordeal ends, 27 workers return

Pakistan
School books to have Quranic verses against corruption
EU values Pakistan’s sacrifices in anti-terrorism war
Lal Masjid cleric has apologised for defending APS attack: Nisar
Nefarious designs of enemies of peace will be foiled: Shahbaz Sharif
4 members of Uzair Baloch, Baba Ladla groups killed
PML-N will rid country of terrorism, load shedding, price hike: Nawaz
Reuters' Pak-Afghan bureau chief found dead in Islamabad
Identity issue haunts Karachi’s Rohingya population
EU values Pakistan’s sacrifices in anti-terrorism war

South Asia
4 Army soldiers martyred, 45 insurgents killed in fresh military operations
Dr. Abdullah says peace talks with Taliban to kick off soon
Pro-ISIS militants attack a shrine and homes in Logar province
Bangladesh arrests five militants in raid on training camp
Abdul Jabbar verdict tomorrow
BNP-Jamaat planning grenade attacks
Nasheed denied right to appoint lawyer and appeal “arbitrary” arrest warrant, contend lawyers

Southeast Asia
Islamic tourism can draw more visitors: Indonesia
Indonesia prays Islamic tourism drive can draw more visitors
Opposition Leader Courts Muslim Vote in New Eastern Province
Indonesia considers new collateral for sukuk
Haul up Anwar prosecutor for qazaf, Muslim preacher tells Jais
Diplomatic Spats Antagonize Indonesians
Malaysia PM under scrutiny over wealth, opposition crackdown
Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

------------
Arab World

Over 100,000 Manuscripts, Books Burnt by ISIL across Iraq's Anbar
Feb 23, 2015
Over 100,000 books and manuscripts perished across Iraq's Anbar Province in a series of fires of the region's libraries set by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) terrorist group, the online newspaper Elaph reported Monday.
The London-based Arabic language online publication quoted Anbar Provincial Council Member Amal Fahadway as saying that as of Sunday, the ISIL has burnt more than 100,000 books, including rare and important manuscripts, across ISIL-held region.
"Armed elements of the Daash (Arabic designation for ISIL) bombed the public library in the Faisaliah area East of Mosul on Saturday, using improvised explosive devices," Ghanem Taan, director of Mosul's public library, was quoted as saying in a press statement, RIA Novosti reported.
The library director added the Mosul public library has about 8,000 cultural, historical and philosophical and scientific books, as well as a variety of poetry books.
The ISIL Takfiri terrorists currently control shrinking swathes of Syria and Iraq. They have threatened all communities, including Shiites, Sunnis, Kurds, Christians, Ezadi Kurds and others, as they continue their atrocities in Iraq.
Senior Iraqi officials have blamed Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and some Persian Gulf Arab states for the growing terrorism in their country.
The ISIL has links with Saudi intelligence and is believed to be indirectly supported by the Israeli regime.
http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13931204000637
----------

Top Muslim cleric Ahmed al-Tayeb urges education reform to counter extremism
February 23, 2015
The head of Al-Azhar, Sunni Islam’s most prestigious seat of learning, has called for education reform in Muslim countries in an effort to contain the spread of religious extremism.
Speaking at counter-terrorism forum in the Saudi holy city of Mecca, Al-Azhar grand imam Ahmed al-Tayeb linked extremism to “bad interp