Tag Archives: ISIS

ISIS jihadis car bombed Prophet Muhammad’s grand daughter Syeda Zeinab’s shrine in Damascus.

Twenty dead in Damascus mosque bombing: ISIS targets holiest Shia shrine in Syria in Ramadan terror outrage

Two bombs went off on Saturday killing at least eight people in Damascus

Shiite Muslims are often targeted by ISIS, which considers them heretics

By CHRIS SUMMERS FOR MAILONLINE

Two bombs killed 20 people outside the Sayyida Zeinab mosque in Damascus, the holiest Shiite shrine in Syria.

The official SANA news agency said a suicide bomber and a car bomb struck at the entrance to the shrine, which is revered by Shiites around the world.

ISIS later claimed responsibility for the attack. The group, sometimes known as Daesh, consider Shiites to be heretics.

But Syria’s Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi blamed Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, for being behind the ‘brutal massacres’.

Read more » DailyMail
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3636528/Eight-dead-bombs-Shia-shrine-Damascus-Sayyida-Zeinab-mosque-come-repeated-attack-ISIS.html

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Is Saudi Arabia to blame for Islamic State?

Is Saudi Arabia to blame for the rise of the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIL)? It is commonly claimed that Wahhabism, the strict form of Islam originating in the Kingdom – and the Saudi state’s aggressive promotion of it – has fuelled terrorism.

Saudi Arabia is also accused of funding IS, either directly or by failing to prevent private donors from sending money to the group.

But Saudi Arabia rejects both accusations, and has announced the formation of a new Islamic anti-terrorism coalition.

Five experts share their views.

Professor Bernard Haykel: IS theology directly linked to Wahhabism

Professor Bernard Haykel is director of the Institute for Transregional Study of the Contemporary Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia at Princeton University.

“The Islamic State’s religious genealogy comes from ‘Jihadi Salafism’, a theological current that is very old in Islam that is quite literalist.

“[Followers are] extremely rigorous, and condemn other Muslims who don’t share their theology. That gives them the hard edge when it comes to violence, because they can justify it theologically.

“Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab is in that Salafist tradition. He was a religious reformer in Arabia who was able to create a religious movement that ended up creating a state.

Read more » BBC
See more » http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-35101612

Isis: Former German militant claims group is planning co-ordinated terror attacks in Europe

‘They want something that happens everywhere at the same time,’ Harry S said.

A German jihadist who fled Isis after witnessing beheadings and executions in Syria has claimed the group is trying to plan a Europe-wide terror attack.

The 27-year-old former militant, named as Harry S, said he and other foreign fighters had been asked if they would “bring jihad to their homeland”.

“They want something that happens everywhere at the same time,” he said.

Harry S was speaking to Der Spiegel from prison, where he is still being questioned by police and the intelligence services after being arrested at Bremen airport on his return in July.

He claimed he fled Isis because he could not stand its brutality after three months with the group in Syria and is now telling German authorities all he knows.

Read more » INDEPENDENT
See more » http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/isis-former-german-militant-claims-group-is-planning-co-ordinated-terror-attacks-in-europe-a6778151.html

Islam and the West

By Kavin Hulbert, former cia chief of station.

What universal values?  Al Qaeda, the Islamic State, and other swaths of the Muslim world fundamentally do not believe in the same values as most Americans.  They fundamentally don’t believe in freedom of religion, democracy, equal protection under the law, freedom of the press, equal rights, or social justice.  They oppress women and despise diversity and liberal thinking; they are against modernity; and they destroy historical artifacts and museums.  They fundamentally don’t believe in the things we hold most dear.

Of course this isn’t a war on Islam.  Like all the great world religions, to include Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and others, Islam is about tolerance and peace—not violence.  I’m sure the President does not want to fall into the trap of using the vernacular that ISIS and Al Qaeda want.  But, we need to face the music and recognize we have a real problem with radicals who have hijacked the Muslim religion.  ISIS now controls and holds vast territory, and they rule over 10 million people.  No, they don’t speak for all Muslims, but they do speak for quite a few.

Muslim extremists are using religion to justify everything from killing non-believers, to raping young Yazidi girls, to killing innocents on the streets in Paris.  The administration keeps saying that this has nothing to do with Islam or religion, and yet the perpetrators of all of these attacks say it has everything to do with Islam and religion.  This doesn’t make them right, but it does make it a fact that we are being repeatedly attacked by people in the name of religion, and in many parts of the Muslim world, things are moving in the wrong direction.

We live in a country that has taken great strides over the last 50 years in everything from civil rights, to women’s rights, to LGBT rights.  We believe in the separation of church and state.   We believe strongly in freedom of religion.  In the Muslim world, I see millions of people going in exactly the opposite direction:  less tolerance, less freedom, less liberty, more fundamentalism, less freedom of religion.

Read more » The Cipher Brief
See more » https://www.thecipherbrief.com/article/islam-and-west

The Chinese man fighting Islamic State with the YPG

When describing the global struggle against the so-called Islamic State (IS), few people would think of China and its citizens.

But one Chinese national claims to have entered Syria to join the Kurdish militia group, the Popular Protection Units (YPG), one of the largest groups fighting against IS.

The YPG is a key ally of the US-led international coalition against IS, and has driven the militants from several Syrian border towns this year, backed by coalition airstrikes.

Ba Si Pan, as he calls himself, may be the first Chinese national fighting IS in Syria with the YPG. He won’t reveal his full name, but says Ba Si is his name in Kurdish.

The 25-year-old says he has fought on the frontline in Kobane twice.

Yet when I spoke with him by phone, he sounded calm and composed – despite not speaking any English or Arabic, and having to communicate with fellow fighters with an electronic dictionary.

Read more » BBC
See more » http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-35036879

Why the west’s view of the Saudis is shifting

The rise of Isis, human rights concerns and less dependence on Arab oil are triggering change

By Gideon Rachman

Something is changing in the west’s relationship with Saudi Arabia. You can read it in the newspapers. You can hear it from politicians. And you can see it in shifts in policy.

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L
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Isis was quick to understand a truth the West must now confront: that the national borders imposed by colonial powers 100 years ago are becoming meaningless, says Robert Fisk

Isis: In a borderless world, the days when we could fight foreign wars and be safe at home may be long gone

By Robert Fisk@indyvoices

Early in 2014, Isis released one of its first videos. Largely unseen in Europe, it had neither the slick, cutting-edge professionalism of its later execution tapes nor the haunting “nasheed” music that accompanies most of its propaganda. Instead, a hand-held camera showed a bulldozer pushing down a rampart of sand that had marked the border between Iraq and Syria. As the machine destroyed the dirt revetment, the camera panned down to a handwritten poster lying in the sand. “End of Sykes-Picot”, it said.

Like many hundreds of thousands of Arabs in the Middle East, for whom Sykes-Picot was an almost cancerous expression, I watched this early Isis video in Beirut. The bloody repercussions of the borders that the British and French diplomats, Mark Sykes and François Georges-Picot, drew in secret during the First World War – originally giving Syria, Mount Lebanon and northern Iraq to the French, and Palestine, Transjordan and the rest of Iraq to the British – are known to every Arab, Christian and Muslim and, indeed, every Jew in the region. They eviscerated the governorates of the old dying Ottoman empire and created artificial nations in which borders, watchtowers and hills of sand separated tribes, families and peoples. They were an Anglo-French colonial production.

Read more » Independent
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Turkey has spent years allowing jihadist groups to flourish – so beware its real reasons for shooting down a Russian plane

Turkey has no interest in the peaceful settlement to the conflict in Syria that world powers are negotiating. As Erdogan gets desperate, he will attempt to bring focus back to Assad

By Ranj Alaaldin@RanjAlaaldin

Turkey is getting desperate. Under President Recep Tayip Erdogan and his party, the Justice and Development Party (AKP), its policies toward the conflict in Syria over the past four years have been misguided and costly. When conflict broke out in 2011, Ankara mistakenly under-estimated the strength of the Assad regime and supported hardline Islamist groups seeking its downfall. In the process, Turkey also marginalised the Kurds and alienated regional powers like Iran.

Read more » INDEPENDENT
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Does ISIS really have nothing to do with Islam? Islamic apologetics carry serious risks.

By Shadi Hamid

Every time the Islamic State commits yet another attack or atrocity, Muslims, particularly Western Muslims, shudder. Attacks like the ones in Paris mean another round of demands that Muslims condemn the acts, as if we should presume guilt, or perhaps some indirect taint.

The impulse to separate Islam from the sins and crimes of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, is understandable, and it often includes statements such as ISIS has “nothing to do with Islam” or that ISIS is merely “using Islam” as a pretext. The sentiment is usually well-intentioned. We live in an age of growing anti-Muslim bigotry, where mainstream politicians now feel licenseto say things that might have once been unimaginable.

To protect Islam – and, by extension, Muslims – from any association with extremists and extremism is a worthy cause.

But saying something for the right reasons doesn’t necessarily make it right. An overwhelming majority of Muslims oppose ISIS and its ideology. But that’s not quite the same as saying that ISIS has nothing to do with Islam, when it very clearly has something to do with it.

If you actually look at ISIS’s approach to governance, it would be difficult – impossible, really – to conclude that it is just making things up as it goes along and then giving it an Islamic luster only after the fact.

Read more » The Washington Post
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Syria conflict: Russia intensifies air strikes

Russia is increasing the number of air strikes against Islamic State in Syria, its defence ministry has said.

It said on Saturday morning that it had hit 55 Islamic State (IS) group targets in Syria in the last 24 hours.

Later, US defence officials said progress had been made during talks with their Russian counterparts on avoiding accidents over Syria.

Read more » BBC
See more » http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-34496583

Syrian rebel groups call for unity, attacks on Russia

A group of 41 Syrian rebel factions have called for their forces to unite against the Assad regime and its backers, Iran and Russia. Meanwhile, the Syria Muslim Brotherhood and Saudi clerics have issued calls for jihad.

The group of 41 rebel factions, including the powerful Islamist groups Ahrar al-Sham, Islam Army and the Levant Front said Russia and Iran were occupying forces and should be attacked.

“All Syrian armed revolutionary factions must realize we are in a war to push an aggressor, a war that makes unifying ranks and word a duty on all brothers,” the factions said a statement. “Any occupation force to our beloved country is a legitimate target.”

The statement of unity from an otherwise fractured Syrian opposition comes as Russia continues to bomb what it says are targets belonging to “Islamic State” group and al-Qaeda’s Syrian branch, al-Nusra. On Monday, the Russian defense ministry said its planes hit nine “Islamic State” targets in the past twenty-four hours.

Russian airstrikes have also reportedly hit Ahrar al-Sham and other groups dubbed by Moscow and Syria as terrorist organizations.

Read more » DW
See more » http://www.dw.com/en/syrian-rebel-groups-call-for-unity-attacks-on-russia/a-18762524?maca=en-rss-en-all-1573-rdf

The ‘moderates’ have disappeared — there are no good guys and bad guys in the Syrian war

BY ROBERT FISK

The Russian air force in Syria has flown straight into the West’s fantasy air space. The Russians, we are now informed, are bombing the “moderates” in Syria – “moderates” whom even the Americans admitted two months ago, no longer existed.

It’s rather like the ISIS (the self-styled Islamic State) fighters who left Europe to fight for the “Caliphate”. Remember them? Scarcely two months ago, our political leaders – and leader writers – were warning us all of the enormous danger posed by “home-grown” Islamists who were leaving Britain and other European countries and America to fight for the monsters of ISIS.

Then the hundreds of thousands of Muslim refugees began trekking up the Balkans towards Europe after risking death in the Mediterranean – and we were all told by the same political leaders to be fearful that ISIS killers were among them.

It’s amazing how European Muslim fighters fly to Turkey to join Isis, and a few weeks later, they’re drowning in leaky boats or tramping back again and taking trains from Hungary to Germany. But if this nonsense was true, where did they get the time for all the terrorist training they need in order to attack us when they get back to Europe?

It is possible, of course, that this was mere story-telling. By contrast, the chorus of horror that has accompanied Russia’s cruel air strikes this past week has gone beyond sanity.

Let’s start with a reality check. The Russian military are killers who go for the jugular. They slaughtered the innocent of Chechnya to crush the Islamist uprising there, and they will cut down the innocent of Syria as they try to crush a new army of Islamists and save the ruthless regime of Bashar al-Assad.

The Syrian army, some of whose members are war criminals, have struggled ferociously to preserve the state – and used barrel bombs to do it. They have also fought to the death.

“American officials” – those creatures beloved of The New York Times – claim that the Syrian army does not fight Isis. If true, who on earth killed the 56,000 Syrian soldiers – the statistic an official secret, but nonetheless true – who have so far died in the Syrian war? The preposterous Free Syrian Army (FSA)?

This rubbish has reached its crescendo in the on-again off-again saga of the Syrian “moderates”. These men were originally military defectors to the FSA, which America and European countries regarded as a possible pro-Western force to be used against the Syrian government army. But the FSA fell to pieces, corrupted, and the “moderates” defected all over again, this time to the Islamist Nusrah Front or to Isis, selling their American-supplied weapons to the highest bidder or merely retiring quietly – and wisely – to the countryside where they maintained a few scattered checkpoints.

Washington admitted their disappearance, bemoaned their fate, concluded thatnew “moderates” were required, persuaded the CIA to arm and train 70 fighters, and this summer packed them off across the Turkish border to fight – whereupon all but 10 were captured by Nusrah and at least two of them were executed by their captors. Just two weeks ago, I heard in person one of the most senior ex-US officers in Iraq – David Petraeus’s former No. 2 in Baghdad – announce that the “moderates” had collapsed long ago. Now you see them – now you don’t.

But within hours of Russia’s air assaults last weekend, Washington, The New York Times, CNN, the poor old BBC and just about every newspaper in the Western world resurrected these ghosts and told us that the Ruskies werebombing the brave “moderates” fighting Bashar’s army in Syria – the very “moderates” who, according to the same storyline from the very same sources a few weeks earlier, no longer existed. Our finest commentators and experts –always a dodgy phrase – joined in the same chorus line.

So now a few harsh factoids. The Syrian army are drawing up the operational target lists for the Russian air force. But Vladimir Putin has his own enemies in Syria.

Continue reading The ‘moderates’ have disappeared — there are no good guys and bad guys in the Syrian war

ISIS terrorists ambush and behead 10 Taliban fighters in Afghanistan as the bloody rivalry between the terror groups intensifies

ISIS jihadis intercepted and killed Taliban fighters as they fled a firefight
Taliban were trying to escape government troops at the time of the ambush
The attack took place in a remote area in eastern Nangarhar province
ISIS fighters killed at least 10 of the Taliban fighters in brutal beheadings

By JOHN HALL FOR MAILONLINE

Extremists fighting for the Islamic State’s fledgling outpost in Afghanistan have brutally beheaded at least 10 Taliban members, as the bloody rivalry between the two Islamic terror groups intensifies.

The attack took place in a remote area in the eastern province of Nangarhar after ISIS jihadis intercepted at least a dozen Taliban fighters who were fleeing a gun battle with government troops.

The rival terror groups declared war on one another in April after the Afghan Taliban branded ISIS’ self-declared caliphate illegitimate and refused to declare allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

ISIS responded by launching recruitment drives deep into Taliban territory, allowing them to expand rapidly – even reportedly replacing the Taliban as the dominant controlling force in one district.

Details of the mass beheadings were revealed by India.com, who said it came as Taliban fighters fled a remote outpost following a fierce firefight with Afghan security forces nearby.

The report suggested that as many as 12 Taliban fighters may have been beheaded by ISIS, although the official figure remains at 10.

Nangarhar province, which borders Pakistan, is a key target for ISIS as it looks to expand the territory under its control on its mission to build a worldwide caliphate.

Over the past year members of the Pakistani Taliban have displayed for more support for ISIS than their Afghan counterparts have done, with a number of prominent Pakistani jihadi groups going as far as declaring allegiance to ISIS leader al-Baghdadi while insisting they remain part of the Taliban.

The divide between the Afghan and Pakistani branches of the Taliban stems from the former’s desire to keep all non-Afghan influence out of the country, which the latter’s priority is to create a global caliphate, or Islamic state, under which harsh Sharia law would be enforced.

See more » DailyMail
More » http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3114979/ISIS-terrorists-ambush-behead-10-Taliban-fighters-Afghanistan-bloody-rivalry-terror-groups-intensifies.html
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Isis could obtain nuclear weapon from Pakistan, warns India

BY ALEXANDER SEHMER

India’s defence minister has voiced concern that the radical Islamist group Isis could obtain a nuclear weapon from “states like Pakistan”.

Rao Inderjit Singh made the comments on the sidelines of the Shangri-La regional security conference in Singapore,Bloomberg has reported.

“With the rise of Isis in West Asia, one is afraid to an extent that perhaps they might get access to a nuclear arsenal from states like Pakistan,” Bloomberg quoted him as saying.

Earlier in the month Isis suggested it could attempt to buy its first nuclear weapon within a year and that it might come from Pakistan.

Read more » The Independent
See more » http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/india-warns-isis-could-obtain-nuclear-weapon-from-pakistan-10287276.html

Islamic State burned a woman alive for not engaging in an ‘extreme’ sex act, U.N. official says

By Ishaan Tharoor

Amid all the Islamic State’s  atrocities — its massacres of civilians, its beheading of hostages, its pillaging of antiquities — the systematic violence the jihadists have carried out against countless enslaved women and girls never fails to shock. For months now, we’ve heard appalling testimony from women who escaped the Islamic State’s clutches, many of whom endured rape and other hideous acts of violence.

Zainab Bangura, the U.N.’s special representative on sexual violence in conflict, recently conducted a tour of refugee camps in the shadow of the conflicts in Syria and Iraq, war-ravaged countries where the Islamic State commands swaths of territory. She heard a host of horror stories from victims and their families and recounted them in an interview earlier this week withthe Middle East Eye, an independent regional news site.

“They are institutionalizing sexual violence,” Bangura said of the Islamic State. “The brutalization of women and girls is central to their ideology.”

Bangura detailed the processes by which “pretty virgins” captured by the jihadists were bought and sold at auctions. Here’s a chilling excerpt:

After attacking a village, [the Islamic State] splits women from men and executes boys and men aged 14 and over. The women and mothers are separated; girls are stripped naked, tested for virginity and examined for breast size and prettiness. The youngest, and those considered the prettiest virgins fetch higher prices and are sent to Raqqa, the IS stronghold.

There is a hierarchy: sheikhs get first choice, then emirs, then fighters. They often take three or four girls each and keep them for a month or so, until they grow tired of a girl, when she goes back to market. At slave auctions, buyers haggle fiercely, driving down prices by disparaging girls as flat-chested or unattractive.

We heard about one girl who was traded 22 times, and another, who had escaped, told us that the sheikh who had captured her wrote his name on the back of her hand to show that she was his “property.”

Estimates vary, but there are believed to be somewhere between 3,000 and 5,000 women enslaved by the Islamic State. Many are Yazidis, a persecuted minority sect that the extremist Islamic State considers to be apostate “devil-worshippers,” in part because of the Yazidis’ ancient connection to the region’s pre-Islamic past. The jihadists’ treatment of Yazidi women, in particular, has been marked out by its contempt and savagery.

Here’s Bangura again:

They commit rape, sexual slavery, forced prostitution and other acts of extreme brutality. We heard one case of a 20-year-old girl who was burned alive because she refused to perform an extreme sex act. We learned of many other sadistic sexual acts. We struggled to understand the mentality of people who commit such crimes.

Hundreds of Yazidi women and girls have escaped their captors, either by running away, or being ransomed and rescued by their families. Bangura has urged international assistance in providing proper medical and “psychosocial” support to the escaped women, who have experienced terrible trauma.

News courtesy » The Washington Post
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Slaughter on the beach: ISIS behead and shoot Ethiopian Christians in sickening new propaganda video

Video seems to show militants in Libya holding one group of at least 16 captive on a beach and 12 others in a desert
Before the killings a masked fighter in black brandishes a pistol as he vows to kill Christians if they do not convert
Ethiopia unable to confirm its citizens were killed by militants in the footage but condemned the ‘atrocious act’
It comes two months after 21 Egyptian Christians were beheaded by extremists in a similar video from Libya

By LYDIA WILLGRESS FOR MAILONLINE

A shocking new video appearing to show at least 30 Christians being beheaded and shot by ISIS in Libya has been released.

The 29-minute video, titled ‘Until It Came To Them – Clear Evidence’, shows dozens of militants holding two separate groups captive, thought to be in the south and the west of the country.

At least 16 men, described by Islamic State as the ‘followers of the cross from the enemy Ethiopian Church’, are lined up and shot in a desert area while 12 others are filmed being forced to walk down a beach before being beheaded.

This follows another video in February of the beheading of a group of 21 Coptic Christians on the beach in Libya, though that terrain was rockier than the one shown in the latest film.

It raises fears that ISIS is consolidating its presence on the ‘doorstep of Europe’, as Libya is just a few hundred miles from the coast of Italy.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3045711/Slaughter-beach-ISIS-behead-shoot-Ethiopian-Christians-sickening-new-propaganda-video.html#ixzz3XnCSUvBO

Nimrud: Outcry as IS bulldozers attack ancient Iraq site

Archaeologists and officials have expressed outrage about the bulldozing of the ancient Assyrian city of Nimrud by Islamic State militants in Iraq.

IS began demolishing the site, which was founded in the 13th Century BC, on Thursday, according to Iraqi officials.

The head of the UN’s cultural agency condemned the “systematic” destruction in Iraq as a “war crime”.

IS, which controls large areas of Iraq and Syria, says shrines and statues are “false idols” that have to be smashed.

“They are erasing our history,” said Iraqi archaeologist Lamia al-Gailani.

Read more » BBC
See more » http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-31760656

Isis fighters throw another ‘gay’ man off a tower – and stone him to death when he survives fall

Isis fighters threw a man accused of homosexuality from a building and stoned him to death when he survived the fall, a Syrian monitoring group has claimed.

The man was reportedly thrown from a tower in the Syrian city of al- Tabaqa, west of the group’s defacto stronghold of Raqqa, according to the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR). The Observatory collects information from activists living in  Isis-controlled territories.

The killing reportedly took place in front of a huge crowd of people gathered below the building on Tuesday.

Read more » The Independent
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Islamic State poses a Dangerous Threat to the world

By GURMEET KANWAL

On February 16, 2015, the terrorist group that calls itself the Islamic Caliphate (also known as ISIS, ISIL and Daesh) released a video showing the gruesome execution of 21 Egyptian citizens in Libya. All of them were Coptic Christians. Egypt promptly joined the fight against ISIS by launching air strikes in Derna, a hotbed of terrorism. Egypt has already been fighting terrorists in the Sinai Peninsula where many Army personnel have been killed since President Mohammed Morsi was overthrown in July 2013.

A few days earlier, ISIS fighters had burnt alive a captured Jordanian pilot because Jordan had refused to be blackmailed into releasing Sajida Al-Rishawi, a jailed ISIS activist. And, a week before that brutal execution, the ISIS had beheaded the second of two Japanese hostages.

The emergence of the ISIS is only the latest manifestation of the continuing conflict in the arc of instability known as West Asia or the Middle East. The triumphant march of the virulently radical Sunni terrorists of the ISIS in 2014 was finally halted virtually on the gates of Baghdad. The ISIS, numbering between 20,000 and 30,000, now controls a large area straddling the Syria-Iraq border and have seized key border crossings on the Syrian border with Jordan. After capturing Faluja in January 2014, ISIS fighters made rapid progress in advancing along the Euphrates River in Anbar province of Iraq.

Read more » NITI Central
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Barack Obama says US ‘at war with those perverting Islam’

US President Barack Obama says the US is “not at war with Islam – we are at war with the people who have perverted Islam”.

He was speaking to representatives from 60 nations attending a three-day event on extremism that follows attacks in Denmark and France.

Mr Obama said the world had to confront the ideologies that radicalise people.

He said those heading groups like Islamic State and al-Qaeda were not religious leaders but terrorists.

Mr Obama said associating Islamic State or al-Qaeda with Islam would be buying into the propaganda of those groups, challenging critics who have questioned him for not describing recent attacks as the work of “Islamic radicals”.

Read more » BBC
See more » http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-3152321

 

Islamist State fighters seize western Iraqi town – officials

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Islamic State insurgents took control on Thursday of most of the western Iraqi town of al-Baghdadi, threatening an air base where U.S. Marines are training Iraqi troops, officials said.

Al-Baghdadi, about 85 km (50 miles) northwest of Ramadi in Anbar province, had been besieged for months by the radical Sunni Islamist militants who captured vast swathes of Iraq’s north and west last year.

“Ninety percent of al-Baghdadi district has fallen under the control of the insurgents,” district manager Naji Arak told Reuters by phone.

Militants attacked al-Baghdadi from two directions earlier in the day and then advanced on the town, intelligence sources and officials in the Jazeera and Badiya operations commands said.

The officials said another group of insurgents then attacked the heavily-guarded Ain al-Asad air base five km southwest of the town, but were unable to break into it.

About 320 U.S. Marines are training members of the Iraqi 7th Division at the base, which has been struck by mortrar fire on at least one previous occasion since December.

U.S. officials in Iraq were not immediately available for comment, and a defence ministry spokesman declined to comment on the situation in Anbar.

The death toll from the fighting was not immediately clear.

Most of the surrounding towns in Anbar fell under Islamic State control after the group’s rapid advance across the Syrian border last summer.

(Reporting by Saif Hameed; Writing by Stephen Kalin; Editing by Andrew Roche)

News courtesy: Reuters
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Islamic radicalisation in UK frightening: Prince Charles

By PTI

London: Britain’s Prince Charles has described as “frightening” the growing radicalisation of British Muslim youth who have been joining the Islamic State extremists in Syria and Iraq, partly due to “crazy stuff” available on the internet.

The heir to Britain’s throne said the radicalisation was “one of the greatest worries” that could not be swept “under the carpet” but expressed his hope to build bridges between different faiths in an interview to the BBC broadcast today.

Asked about the radicalisation of young people in the UK, Prince Charles said: “Well, of course, this is one of the greatest worries, I think, and the extent to which this is happening is the alarming part. And particularly in a country like ours, where you know the values we hold dear.

“You think that the people who have come here, (are) born here, go to school here, would imbibe those values and outlooks.

“The frightening part is that people can be so radicalised either through contact with somebody else or through the internet, and the extraordinary amount of crazy stuff which is on the internet,” he said.

Read more » Hindustan Times
See more » http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/islamic-radicalisation-in-uk-frightening-prince-charles/article1-1314896.aspx

Islamic State executes three of its Chinese militants: China paper

By Reuters

BEIJING (Reuters) – The Islamic State has killed three Chinese militants who joined its ranks in Syria and Iraq and later attempted to flee, a Chinese state-run newspaper said, the latest account of fighters from China embroiled in the Middle East conflict.

China has expressed concern about the rise of the Islamic State, nervous about the effect it could have on its Xinjiang region, which borders Pakistan and Afghanistan.

But Beijing has also shown no sign of wanting to take part in the U.S.-led coalition’s efforts to use military force against the militant group.

Around 300 Chinese extremists were fighting with the Islamic State after traveling to Turkey, the Global Times, a tabloid run by China’s ruling Communist Party’s official newspaper, said in December.

The paper on Thursday cited an unnamed Kurdish security official as saying that a Chinese man was “arrested, tried and shot dead” in Syria in late September by the Islamic State after he became disillusioned with jihad and attempted to return to Turkey to attend university.

“Another two Chinese militants were beheaded in late December in Iraq, along with 11 others from six countries. The Islamic State charged them with treason and accused them of trying to escape,” the official said, according to the paper.

Islamic State, which has seized parts of northern and eastern Syria as well as northern and western Iraq, has killed hundreds off the battlefield since the end of June, when it declared a caliphate.

Chinese officials blame separatists from the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) for carrying out attacks in Xinjiang, home to the Muslim Uighur people. But they are vague about how many people from China are fighting in the Middle East.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei did not comment on the report at a regular press briefing, but said China was opposed to “all forms of terrorism”.

“China is willing to work with the international community to combat terrorist forces, including ETIM, and safeguard global peace, security and stability,” Hong said.

Human rights advocates say economic marginalization of Uighurs and curbs on their culture and religion are the main causes of ethnic violence in Xinjiang and around China that has killed hundreds of people in recent years. China denies these assertions.

China has criticized the Turkish government for offering shelter to Uighur refugees who have fled through southeast Asia, saying it creates a global security risk.

(Reporting by Michael Martina and Sui-Lee Wee; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

Courtesy: Reuters
Read more » http://news.yahoo.com/islamic-state-executes-three-chinese-militants-china-paper-083953180.html?soc_src=mediacontentstory&soc_trk=tw

ISIS burns alive Jordanian pilot it kept hostage – reports

The Islamic State has released a video, purportedly showing Moath al-Kasasbeh, the Jordanian pilot captured in December, being burned alive. The Jordanian government had pleaded with IS to release the hostage in exchange for a captured terrorist.

A member of al-Kasasbeh’s family has been informed by the head of the Jordanian armed forces that he has been killed, Reuters reported. According to national television, Jordan now believes he was executed as far back as January 3, exactly one month ago, though the government has refused to directly confirm the news to Western news agencies.

The video itself, which was posted on social media, but is not being shared by RT for ethical reasons, appears to have been a carefully staged production, shot from several angles, and sound tracked with religious hymns. It shows al-Kasasbeh being led out into a square in front of a squadron of masked men, before being placed in a cage. A rope lying outside the cage is then lit up, and the hostage is engulfed in flames. The execution is in contrast with the customary beheadings, practiced by the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS).

Read more » RT
See more » http://rt.com/news/229007-isis-burns-jordan-pilot/

Terror attacks cannot save Islam’s ‘honour’

By Husain Haqqani

Soon after the terrorist attack on Charlie Hebdo, Islamist sympathizers on social media unleashed familiar rhetoric. AlQaida and ISIS supporters used Arabic language hashtags like “our revenge for the messenger (Muhammad)”, “Paris is the messenger (Muhammad)”, “Paris is Burning”, “Paris under Fire” and “Lions of Tawheed (monotheism)”. One self-styled jihadi tweeted, “This is the first reaction. You’ll not live in safety again.” Another said: “This proves that the Islamic State can strike deep in Europe whenever it wishes.” Someone styling himself as Abu Sari alIraqi put up a graphic of the Islamic State’s black flag on the Eiffel Tower, with the slogan in French: “We are everywhere.”

Such bombast reflects the emptiness of the Islamist dream. The killing of unarmed cartoonists and journalists is hardly an act of courage. Paris did not, in fact, burn and this latest act of terrorism mobilized the French against the jihadis just as terrorist attacks in New York, London and Mumbai had united people against them in the past.

More important, terrorism is unlikely to dissuade anyone so inclined to refrain from insulting Islam, its prophet or Muslims. Like followers of any other religion, Muslims do not like insults to their faith or to their prophet. But threats and actual attacks of the type witnessed in Paris last week have been limited to Islamists.

Contrary to the assertion of some, such violence has nothing to do with recent wars or the policies of great powers in Iraq, Afghanistan or Syria. A man named Alam Din from Lahore was proclaimed a ‘ghazi’ for killing a Hindu publisher of a book insulting Prophet Muhammad in 1929. Salman Rushdie’s ‘Satanic Verses’ prompted fatwas and violent protests 50 years later. These incidents cannot be attributed as reaction to US military intervention.

Of course, not all of the world’s over one billion Muslims react to real or perceived insults to their religion in the same manner. Believers in different deities and prophets have often slandered each other’s faiths. Islam has endured its share of criticism and abuse over the centuries, especially from Christians, against whom they fought the Crusades and the Ottoman wars.

But in earlier times, Muslims responded to religious affronts by pointing out flaws in other religions and outlining their own perfect faith. Their armies were violent but so were the armies of others. When Muslim emperors ruled over large non-Muslim populations, preachers and Sufi mystics worked to win converts to Islam. There is no record in those days of targeted attacks in retaliation for blasphemy against the prophet or Islam in distant lands.

The phenomenon of violent outrage over insults to Islam seems to have started during western colonial rule, with Muslim politicians seeking issues to mobilize their constituents. Contemporary jihadism seems to have grown out of the slogan ‘Islam in Danger’, which has been periodically invoked as a rallying cry for Islamist politics.

Ironically, it is the Islamists who draw attention to otherwise obscure attacks on Islam and then use those to muster popular support. The reaction makes more people aware of a book like Rushdie’s or a film like ‘The Innocence of Muhammad’. Charlie Hebdo regularly published only 45,000 copies but will likely be read by hundreds of thousands now.

The violence over ‘Islam’s honour’ is a function of the collective Muslim narrative of grievance. Decline, weakness, impotence, and helplessness are phrases most frequently repeated in the speeches and writings of today’s Muslim leaders. The view is shared by Islamists, who consider Islam a political ideology , and other Muslims who don’t. The terrorists are just the most extreme element among the Islamists. As a community , Muslims are obsessed with their past pre-eminence, which stands in stark contrast with their current weakness. The bravado of beheading blasphemers and thinking a terrorist attack can change the global order are ways of reclaiming a glory that is vividly recalled but not seen by Muslims in recent centuries.

Like all national and community narratives, this one has elements of truth. But it is equally true that Muslims have made no serious effort to understand the causes and remedies of their decline over the past 300 years. Outrage, resentment and violence -and the conspiracy theories that inform them -serve as palliatives for an Ummah that reads little, writes even less, hasn’t invented much in recent centuries, and wields little political or military power in the contemporary world. Dealing with the causes of Muslim decline, not random or orchestrated acts of terrorism, would be the real way forward in saving Muslims from dishonour.

The writer is former Pakistan envoy to the US.

Courtesy: The Times of India
Learn more » http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/stoi/all-that-matters/Terror-attacks-cannot-save-Islams-honour/articleshow/45839372.cms

UN probe: ISIS committing ‘crimes against humanity’ in Syria

GENEVA: ISIS is committing war crimes and crimes against humanity on a large scale in areas under its control in war-ravaged Syria, U.N. investigators said Friday.

In its first report focused squarely on acts by ISIS, the U.N. Commission of Inquiry on Syria presented a horrifying picture of what life is like in areas controlled by the extremist jihadists, including massacres, beheadings, torture, sexual enslavement and forced pregnancy.

“The commanders of ISIS have acted wilfully, perpetrating these war crimes and crimes against humanity with clear intent of attacking persons with awareness of their civilian or ‘hors de combat’ (non-combat) status,” the report said.

“They are individually criminally responsible for these crimes,” it stated, and called on the perpetrators to be brought to justice, for instance before the International Criminal Court.

Based on more than 300 interviews with people who have fled areas under the control of the jihadists, as well as photographs and video footage released by ISIS itself, the report paints a blood-chilling picture of life under its rule.

Read more: http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2014/Nov-14/277641-un-probe-isis-committing-crimes-against-humanity-in-syria.ashx#ixzz3J3GQOLLf
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The new fascisms in the making

By Farooq Tariq

Mathews N Lyons, an independent researcher and scholar on reactionary movements, has defined fascism as: “… a form of extreme right wing ideology that celebrates the nation or the race as an organic community transcending all other loyalties. It emphasises a myth of national or racial rebirth after a period of decline or destruction. To this end, fascism calls for a ‘spiritual revolution’ against signs of moral decay such as individualism and materialism, and seeks to purge ‘alien’ forces and groups that threaten the organic community. Fascism tends to celebrate masculinity, youth, mystical unity, and the regenerative power of violence. Often, but not always, it promotes racial superiority doctrines, ethnic persecution, imperialist expansion, and genocide”.

Various forms of new fascism have emerged worldwide during the last 30 years. Among them are the Taliban and co. One of the first consequences of the phenomenal destabilising power of capitalist globalisation is the spectacular rise of new fascisms with a potential mass base. Some take relatively classical forms, like the Golden Dawn in Greece, situating themselves in new xenophobic and identity-based reflexes.

But the phenomenon that is now dominant is the assertion of fascist currents with religious references – and not with people/state, race and nation. These now pose a considerable threat in countries like India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Sri Lanka and several other African and Asian countries.

The Muslim world does not have a monopoly in this field; but it is certainly in the Muslim world that this has taken on a particular international dimension, with ‘trans-border’ movements like the Islamic State or the Taliban with their mass presence in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan and networks that are connected more or less formally from Morocco to Indonesia and even in the south of Philippines.

Fascist movements are not organically related to ‘big capital’ as was the case in Nazi Germany, but they exert fascist terror, including in daily life. Where they exist, they occupy the ‘political niche’ of fascism – and they pose new political problems for our generations of anti-fascist resistance on a large scale.

Read more » The News
http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-9-281777-The-new-fascisms-in-the-making