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'Trump village' in India wants toilets and a cleaner future

In the tiny village of Marora this week, a ceremony was held with all the trappings of a  campaign event . Children lined up along the roads with placards of Donald Trump, village elders were dressed in their finest clothes and loud music belted out devotional music and decorative billboards adorned the walls. 

It is an odd coincidence, considering the US President's  anti-Muslim rhetoric , that 80 percent of  "Trump village's" residents are Muslim. 

Located in Mewat district in the state of Haryana, around 85 kilometers from the capital New Delhi, most of the village's 2,000 residents seem not to be bothered by the renaming of their home as "Trump village."

As part of the ceremony, the village celebrated newly built toilets and a vocational training center for women. Many villagers are poor laborers or construction workers and welcome the small improvements the facilities bring.

"What does it matter if the village has a new name?" a village official, Shukat Ali, questioned. "We want development like schools and better roads. We have no objection otherwise," he told DW.

"I do not care if Trump is a Muslim baiter. All I know is he is against Muslims who cause violence and destroy countries. He is the president of a powerful country," a villager named Zorauddin told DW.

Sanitation sensation

'Trump village' in India wants toilets and a cleaner future

Only 20 out of 165 houses in the village have a toilet

The idea to rebrand Marora "Trump village" was a promotional concept in connection with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision to make villages in India  free from open defecation by 2019.  

Bindeshwar Pathak, the founder of the Indian water and sanitation charity Sulabh International, told DW about how he came up with the idea for Trump village.

"The idea was born when I was in the US recently," said Pathak. "Trump's slogan is 'Make America Great Again' and our Modi's credo is 'Make in India' so I thought why not make a humble beginning honoring the friendship of the two."

Pathak and his NGO are well known for their work on sanitation and he is one of the brand ambassadors for Modi's Clean India Campaign . Sulabh International has also been granted consultative status by the UN Economic and Social Council.

Puneet Ahluwalia, vice-chairman of the Fairfax County Republican Committee in the US and a member of Trump's Asian Pacific American Advisory Committee, was also present at the occasion and inaugurated some of the newly built toilets.

"He is the leader of the free world," Ahluwalia told DW. "This is a great tribute and there are shared ideals between both countries. It will take a while for the name to sink in but it will happen."

Only 20 out of 165 houses in "Trump village" have toilets. The ultimate objective, organizers said, is to make the village free from open defecation and provide it with complete toilet coverage in the coming months.

What is in a name?

The renaming of the village was complicated last month ahead of PM Modi's meeting


Philippines' Rodrigo Duterte: I will never visit 'lousy' US

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte made the declaration Friday after a US Congress hearing about human rights violations committed under his deadly anti-drug campaign .

"There will never be a time during my term when I will be going to America or thereafter," he told reporters.

"I've seen America and it's lousy… it would be good for the US Congress to start with their own investigation of their own violations of the so many civilians killed in the prosecution of the wars in the Middle East," he added.

Massachusetts Congressman James McGovern said Duterte should never have been invited and threatened to lead protests should the Philippine leader decide to visit.

"What makes that guy think I will go to America?" Duterte responded Friday.

Since entering office a year ago, Duterte has been open about his plans to distance his country from its main defense ally, the United States. He once called former US President Barack Obama a "son of a whore" but has been more amenable towards his successor Donald Trump.


China bans Justin Bieber because of 'bad behavior'

The Beijing Municipal Bureau of Culture made its comments after a Bieber fan asked why China was not included on the Asia leg of the singer's tour.


North Korean children face hunger amid worst drought since 2001

North Korea's production of staple crops for 2017 - including rice, maize, potatoes and soybean - has been severely damaged by extended drought conditions, the United Nations' food security agency warned on Thursday.


Indonesia goes after Islamists - finally

Hizb ut-Tahrir (Party for Liberation) has been banned in Germany since 2003. The organization rejects the concept of nation states for Muslims and opposes democratic or secular forms of government. Instead, the Hizb ut-Tahrir wants to establish a global caliphate with Shariah (or Islamic law) as its legal foundation. The group itself does not get involved in violent attacks but instead works to radicalize members of Islamic organizations, including militants groups.

The organization is also active in Indonesia, with tens of thousands of members believed to be part of the HTI, or Hizb ut-Tahrir Indonesia. HTI members have held several anti-government demonstrations, demanding a "caliphate instead of democracy," abolition of liberal capitalism and the replacement of existing legal system with Shariah.

Read: Indonesia cracks down on pro-caliphate Islamic hardliners Hizbut Tahrir

For a long time, Indonesian authorities tolerated the group's activities. But last week, President Joko Widodo, commonly known as Jokowi, paved the way for a decisive action against Hizb ut-Tahrir and other radical groups operating in the country.

In a presidential decree, Jokowi authorized the government to ban all organizations that violate Indonesia's constitution and the official state ideology "Pancasila," which prescribes democracy, social justice and equal treatment for the followers of all religions.

Indonesia goes after Islamists - finally

President Jokowi, through his decree against the HTI, wants to posit himself as a strong leader

It is the first time since the fall of former leader Suharto's regime in 1998 that a decree of this kind has been issued in Indonesia. And it is not the only measure against radical Islamists. At the recent G20 summit in Hamburg, President Jokowi promised to go after radical Islamists with even more power.

A new anti-terrorism act intended to give the Indonesian military more powers to fight extremists is reportedly in the pipeline.

A show of force

The recent steps mark a significant policy change by President Jokowi, who in recent years has often been accused of being complacent with rising Islamist tendencies in his country.

At the beginning of the year, Islamic groups held mass protests against Ahok, Jakarta's former Christian governor, after he was accused of insulted the Muslim holy book, the Koran. Jokowi did not directly support his ally.

Read: Opinion: Blasphemy verdict mainstreams Islamization in Indonesia

Anti-Ahok rallies were organized by a radical organization called the Front for the Defense of Islam (FPI). In the past, the FPI had been involved in attacks on bars, nightclubs, churches and members of the Ahmaddiyyah Muslim sect, but President Jokowi chose to remain silent about the group's activities.

As this inaction has been interpreted by his opponents as his weakness, President Jokowi, through his decree against the HTI, wants to posit himself as a strong leader.

According to the Indonesian magazine Kompas, the government will soon ban other Islamic organizations too. Some experts suggest that the emergence of "Islamic State"-affiliated groups in the Philippines has prompted this shift in Jokowi's thinking.

The "Islamic State" (IS) threat in Indonesia has long been emphasized with security analysts pointing to Indonesian jihadists receiving training from IS