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Ahmadis Flee Peshawar to Escape the Constant Threat to Their Lives and Their Place of Worship

New Age Islam News Bureau

03 December 2021


The Ahmadi community’s ‘Wall of martyrs’, showing images of all Ahmadis that have been killed for their faith in Pakistan since 1947 [Al Jazeera]


• Pakistan Negotiating A Deal with the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan to Contain Surging Religious Extremism in the Country

• Mosques in France Spray-Painted Wit Red Crosses of Lorraine, Symbol of Gaullism and the Resistance to Spread Hatred and Anti-Muslim Message

• Afghans Are Uncertain Taliban Supreme Leader Hibatullah Akhundzada Is Alive or Dead

• US Is No More World Police, Cannot Impose Its Will on Nations: Hamas Leader

• Court Re-Instates Saif Al-Islam Qaddafi to Libya’s Presidential Race



• Pakistan Summons India Diplomat over ‘Mischievous Spin’ To Gurdwara Shoot Gaffe

• Punjab Assembly seeks acceptance of Gwadar protesters’ demands



• Two dead after militant attack in northern Benin, army says

• Pope to meet Cyprus' Orthodox leader to strengthen ties

• Turkey urges Council of Europe against interfering in its independent judiciary on Kavala case

• UN says Daesh committed war crimes at Iraqi prison


South Asia

• Taliban need domestic legitimacy to be recognized: Karzai

• Taliban: Several Iranian guards dead after Nimroz border clashes



• Imam Khamenei: Besides defending geographical borders, martyrs defend religious, spiritual, cultural borders

• Iran Dismisses S. Arabia's "Baseless" Allegations of Military Presence in Yemen

• Iran gives drafts on sanctions removal, nuclear commitments to European powers

• Israel calls on world powers to halt Iran nuclear talks immediately

• Hamas outlines 3 priorities to support Palestinian cause



• 4 killed, many hurt in roadside blast in Somalia terror attack



• Samastha Kerala Jamaat ul Ulema Not in League with Protest in Mosques Convened by the IUML

• Buddhist-Muslim tensions brewing in Ladakh’s Zanskar region over interfaith marriage

• IS propaganda case: Maharashtra duo to plead guilty

• Omar Abdullah: BJP sees a Pakistani in every Muslim, especially in J&K Muslims

• Mistaken for Muslim, man buried by cops exhumed & cremated after week


Southeast Asia

• Malaysia: Demand for Halal-Certified Products among Non-Muslims on Rise

• Fewer non-Muslims say ‘I do’ as marriages decline by 10% in 2020

• Hamas lauds Malaysia for barring Israeli players from squash event

• ‘Big brother’ attitude not helping MN talks, says PAS veep


Arab World

• Plight of Palestinians Still A Key Focus Of Saudi Foreign Policy, Says Envoy

• Arab Coalition: 45 Houthi militia members killed in Marib

• 7 Peshmerga, 3 civilians killed in Daesh/ISIS attack in northern Iraq

• Oil workers killed in Islamic State attack in Syria

• Five suspects arrested in Kuwait over Hezbollah financing charges

• Iraq's al-Sadr says ready to form 'national majority government'


North America

• US Senators Seek Sanctions on Iran Over Alleged Plot To Kidnap Journalist

• Iran’s recent moves don’t give room for optimism on new deal: Blinken

• ‘No cause for optimism’ on Iran nuclear deal: US

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau



Ahmadis Flee Peshawar to Escape the Constant Threat to Their Lives and Their Place of Worship


The Ahmadi community’s ‘Wall of martyrs’, showing images of all Ahmadis that have been killed for their faith in Pakistan since 1947 [Al Jazeera]


Dec 3, 2021

ISLAMABAD: The majority of Ahmadi families living in Peshawar have sold their properties and fled to safer places to escape the constant threat to their lives from the public in general in Pakistan’s northwest.

An estimated four million Ahmadis live in Pakistan, a country of 220 million, and they face threats of death and intimidation. A sustained hate campaign has been on against them for decades. Members of Pakistan’s Ahmadi community do not reveal or speak about their faith in public. They consider themselves Muslim but are constitutionally barred from declaring and propagating their faith publicly, thus barring them from projecting themselves, directly or indirectly, as Muslims.

While violent attacks against the community’s members and their place of worship have been occurring in most parts of Pakistan, their lives have been threatened by extremist elements in the Pashtun-dominated northwestern belt of the country. A number of them were killed on allegations of blasphemy. An old man, believed by his community to be insane, was gunned down earlier inside a courtroom in Peshawar while proceedings were underway.

This part of Pakistan, adjacent to Afghanistan, has been home to scores of radical madrasas representing their own interpretation of Islam for decades.

Though Pakistan’s different Islamic sects and groups have serious differences among them on a number of religious matters, they all are one on the issue of the Ahmadi faith, considered heretical by many conservative groups who want Ahmadis publicly punished. The resentment against them is so intense that members of the community, accused of blasphemy, have been killed before the dispensation of justice by courts.

The unending killing spree has forced most Ahmadis, living in Peshawar and it’s nearby Achini area, to dispose of their properties and shift to new places to hide their identities. "We no longer feel safe here as people who know about our faith treat us as aliens. Our faith and community are frequently condemned and denounced in religious sermons and speeches in mosques and seminaries," said Asghar Ahmad, a community member who has shifted his family from Peshawar to Punjab. He refused to reveal the name of the city or town where he has shifted his family. "We don’t feel safe even in our new homes but people, at least in new places, are unaware of our identities," Ahmad added.

Most of the properties of Ahmadis in Achni locality were bought by a local builder known locally as "Doctor". While many locals could not afford to buy their lands, some affluent people were reluctant to purchase them.

According to witnesses, the builder who bought the properties much cheaper than the market price, had also bribed local clerics to stay calm to ensure the safe shifting of families from their ancestral homes for their new abodes.

The group, however, blames radical Islamic leaders for often publicly denouncing Ahmadis and promising their killing earns the killer a place in heaven. Human Rights Watch says that Pakistani authorities also routinely arrest, jail and charge Ahmadis for blasphemy and other offences because of their religious beliefs.

Source: Times of India

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Pakistan Negotiating A Deal with the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan to Contain Surging Religious Extremism in the Country


Supporters of Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan/ Photo Diplomat


By Umair Jamal

December 02, 2021

Pakistan’s Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said last month that the Pakistani state and government are not ready to tackle the rising extremism in the country.

“Many people think that the remedial steps taken by us [the government] are inadequate while the truth is that neither the government nor the state is completely ready to fight extremism,” Fawad said, while addressing a seminar organized by the Pakistan Institute of Peace Studies in Islamabad.

Fawad’s admission that growing extremism in the country poses a serious challenge to Pakistan’s stability comes after a series of recent setbacks that forced the state into making deals with right-wing Islamist groups of different sects.

Last month, the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), a Barelvi religious group, forced the government into allowing it to operate as a political party even as the TLP’s workers had killed several law enforcement officials in clashes. In recent years, the group has openly challenged Pakistan’s foreign policy decisions and shown intent to take on the state without any hesitation.

Simultaneously, Pakistan has been negotiating a deal with the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), an organization of the Deobandi sect that has killed thousands of Pakistanis over the last decade. Pakistan’s decision to negotiate with the TTP comes years after the Pakistan military carried out a massive military operation against the group in the country’s tribal areas. The group has not only rebounded from that crippling military offensive but has also managed to unite numerous factions under its leadership.

Some groups in Pakistan carry agendas with an intent to spread their operations globally; others keep Afghanistan as a focus; some are India-oriented while many consider the domestic landscape their target and are sectarian. As a result, some of these groups wouldn’t shy away from inciting violence against the state if their political interests are not fulfilled by the ruling elite.

Some of these groups thrive as they receive support from state institutions. For instance, one of the reasons that the TLP has become a significant challenge for the Pakistani state is that the state itself adheres to the narratives that are propagated by the radical group. Unfortunately, what we see now is a race between different radical groups and the government to prove who the bigger and better Muslim is and win over the public’s support.

A few days ago, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan asked universities to research the harmful effects of Western culture on Pakistan’s family system. There is not a single speech of the prime minister where he doesn’t link Pakistan’s economic troubles with citizens being lesser Muslims.

The issue is further complicated by political parties. They not only make electoral alliances with radical groups but also preach the same sectarian hate when in need of public support against their political foes.

Since the TLP’s restoration as a political party, leaders from all major parties have visited the group’s headquarters. Reportedly, the ruling party could even be considering making an alliance with the TLP in the upcoming local body elections.

On the other hand, when opposition parties need to weaken a government, their go-to weapon is bringing in religion to accuse the ruling party of either working for the United States or Israel. They accuse the government of attempting to make Pakistan a liberal country.

Unable to draw people to join its protest marches with its raising of political and economic issues, the Pakistan Democratic Movement, an opposition alliance, is now calling on the public to join a jihad against the Imran Khan government, as religious rhetoric resonate with the masses. Its main reason for appointing Maulana Fazlur Rehman, the head of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), as the president of the alliance is due to his ability to mobilize and bring onto the streets thousands of students from his massive madrassa network across Pakistan.

These moves by parties in government and the opposition show that there is little will and intent in Pakistan’s political class to tackle the issue of religious extremism as everyone has benefited from radicalism one way or the other.

The country has become so radicalized that any attempt by the state or the government to push back against the rising extremism could very well backfire. Thus, for some, it’s too much risk and for others, it doesn’t even constitute a problem.

The last major opportunity to challenge rising extremism was when the country formed the National Action Plan (NAP) against extremism in 2014. However, that plan has not moved beyond reports and briefings.

For those in power, staying in power at any cost is what matters, but Pakistan is suffering.

Umair Jamal is a correspondent for The Diplomat, based in Lahore, Pakistan.

Source: The Diplomat

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Mosques in France Spray-Painted Wit Red Crosses of Lorraine, Symbol of Gaullism and the Resistance to Spread Hatred and Anti-Muslim Message


In the first week of Oct 2021,an unknown letter of threats and insults was received by “Eyup Sultan”, an under-construction mosque in the French city of Strasbourg. The letter argued that Islam has no place in France and that Muslims of France will have to make a choice between Islam and Christianity.


December 2, 2021

Recently two mosques in Besançon (Eastern France) were spray-painted with six red crosses of Lorraine, symbol of Gaullism and the Resistance.

According to the leaders of these places of worship, these symbols were misused to spread hatred and deliver an anti-Muslim message.

In the first week of Oct 2021,an unknown letter of threats and insults was received by “Eyup Sultan”, an under-construction mosque in the French city of Strasbourg. The letter argued that Islam has no place in France and that Muslims of France will have to make a choice between Islam and Christianity.

Francehas the largest proportion of Muslims in the Western world and thus Islamophobia making headlines in the country holds a political significance.

There is a general perception that these acts (attacking Islam) are a consequence of the presidential election campaign.

Amnesty Intl makes clear that ‘radicalization’ has often been used as a euphemism for ‘devout Muslim’.

In this context, there is a need to highlight the rising Islamophobia in France which is leading to human rights abuse in a country which aggressively propels international watchdogs to put target countries under sanctions or in black listing on the pretext of human rights.

Reportedly, French govt has already shut down one-third of 89 mosques since Nov 2020 while action is in hand to close six more mosques in Sarthe, Meurthe-et-Moselle, Cote-d’Or, Rhone and Gard regions.

Criticisms against Muslims over their religious attire, eating habits and supposed inability to integrate gained a common place in mainstream media, as well as in political discourse. However, it was not restricted to words alone.

Senior officials including the mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi, and other politicians have labeled Muslims as 5th Column (CinquièmeColonne).

Islamophobia became a legal form of discrimination in 2004. France banned headscarves in public and private schools in 2004 and Niqab in 2011; Municipal bans on swimwear for Muslim women are in addition.

Below are two different incidents that are clear manifestation of double standards of French government and their strange ways of honoring free speech.

On the sidelines of the Parisian rally of “yellow vests”, two people were arrested on 20 November 2021 because of an offensive tag on a van featuring cartoon of Emmanuel Macron.

Caricatures of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) are justified because it falls under French legal right of freedom of expression but caricature of President Macroon is an offense. Where is freedom of expression? What a hypocrisy?

In November 2020, French Muslim students aged 8, 9 and 10 had been declared to the local prosecutor for refusing to rise to pay respect to slain Samuel Patty (reference offensive caricatures of holy Prophet of Islam (PBUH).

The school authorities took students’ refusal as disrespect to French values and freedom of expression.

For France, which is home to roughly five million (nearly 1/10th of population) Muslim inhabitants, it is not wise to systematically refer to French Muslims by their racial or geographic origins.

Putting Muslims at the center of public debates has meant that more crucial issues for French citizens have been ignored.

Reveal the gap between legal protections in theory versus what is extended to the Muslim minority community in practical.

In theory, European countries including France have enacted laws that protect the freedom of religion. In practice, however, competing interests from time to time supersede these laws.

Source: ABNA24

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Afghans Are Uncertain Taliban Supreme Leader Hibatullah Akhundzada Is Alive or Dead


Taliban supreme leader Haibatullah Akhundzada


Dec 3, 2021

KANDAHAR, AFGHANISTAN: When the Taliban overran Kabul in mid-August, seizing power for the second time, the years-old mystery over the whereabouts of the movement's supreme leader Hibatullah Akhundzada deepened further.

Whether the elderly cleric is alive or dead is something many Afghans are uncertain about, and even the most dedicated analysts have doubts about who is really leading the group.

AFP went on the trail of the elusive leader, and the findings are inconclusive.

On October 30 - two months after a Taliban spokesman insisted Akhundzada was alive and well in Kandahar - rumours swirled in the southern city that the "emir" had delivered a speech at a Koranic school, or madrassa.

Taliban officials gave their stamp of authenticity to his appearance at the Hakimia madrassa, releasing a crackling audio recording lasting more than 10 minutes.

"May God reward the oppressed people of Afghanistan who fought the infidels and the oppressors for 20 years," intones an aged and echoing voice, said to be that of Akhundzada.

His public profile had previously been largely limited to annual written messages released for Islamic holidays.

In one of the poorest suburbs of Kandahar, between a litter-strewn stream and a dirt track, two Taliban fighters stand guard in front of the Hakimia madrassa's blue-and-white gate.

It has become something of a magnet since October 30, attracting curious - albeit respectfully distant - crowds of Taliban supporters.

When the supreme leader visited, he was "armed" and accompanied by "three security guards", the madrassa's head of security Massum Shakrullah told AFP.

"Even cellphones and sound recorders" were not allowed into the venue, he added.

One of the students, Mohammed, 19, said "we all were watching him and were just crying".

Asked if he could confirm that it was definitely Akhundzada, Mohammed said he and his peers were so overjoyed that they "forgot to watch... his face".

The need for Taliban leaders to keep vanishingly low profiles became especially pronounced in the last decade of war, as deadly US drone strikes multiplied.

Akhundzada rose to the top spot after one such strike killed his predecessor, Mullah Akhtar Mansour, in 2016.

He quickly secured the backing of al-Qaida chief Ayman al-Zawahiri, who called him "the emir of the faithful".

This endorsement by Osama bin Laden's heir helped seal his jihadist credentials with the Taliban's long-time allies.

The Taliban have released just one photograph of Akhundzada - five years ago, when he took the group's reins.

And even that photo, depicting him with a grey beard, white turban and a forceful gaze, was taken two decades prior, according to the Taliban.

The supreme leader's appearance scotched "rumours and propaganda" about his death, said Maulvi Said Ahmad, who heads the madrassa where Akhundzada reportedly appeared.

He looked "exactly the same" as in the famous photo, said Mohammad Musa, 13, who watched from afar.

Officials of the ousted Afghan regime and many Western analysts are sceptical, believing that Akhundzada died years ago.

For them the madrassa visit was a carefully choreographed deception.

There is a precedent - the Taliban pretended founder Mullah Omar was alive for two years following his death in 2013.

Akhundzada himself "has long been dead and had no role before the takeover of Kabul", one security official of the former regime told AFP.

He was killed alongside his brother in a suicide attack in Quetta, Pakistan, "about three years ago", the source believes.

This theory, sometimes with slight variations, is seen as credible by several foreign intelligence agencies.

A separate regional security source told AFP that "nobody would confirm and nobody would deny" Akhundzada's purported death.

The Pentagon and the CIA, meanwhile, did not respond to AFP's request for comment on the rumours of Akhundzada's death.

In Panjwai, a district on a vast arid plateau near Kandahar, everyone knows of the Akhundzadas, a line of respected theologians.

The emir was born in the village of Sperwan.

"At the time of the Soviet invasion (1979) fighting broke out in the village and Hibatullah left for Pakistan," Niamatullah, a young fighter and former student of the supreme leader, told AFP.

After this first move to Pakistan, Akhundzada became a respected scholar and earned the title "Sheikh al-Hadith", a distinction reserved for the most eminent scholars of the Prophet Mohammed's sayings.

In the early 1990s, as the Islamist insurgency was taking hold in the wake of the Soviet occupation, Akhundzada, then in his thirties, returned to the village.

He would hold consultations with visitors from "the city and from Pakistan", remembers Abdul Qayum, a 65-year-old villager.

According to snippets from his official biography, his rise was meteoric after the Taliban took power in Kabul in 1996.

After running the local madrassa, he became a judge at Kandahar provincial court, then head of the military court in Nangarhar in eastern Afghanistan until 2000.

By the time the Taliban were forced from power in late 2001, he was heading Kabul's military court.

Akhundzada then fled to Pakistan, finding sanctuary in Quetta.

His mastery of Islamic law made him the head of the Taliban's shadow justice system and the acclaimed trainer of a whole generation of fighters who graduated through Quetta.

Akhundzada was "the centre of gravity for the Taliban ... keeping the group intact", one Pakistan-based Taliban member told AFP.

According to this source, who says he has met the supreme leader three times -- the last time in 2020 -- Akhundzada does not use modern technology.

He prefers to make phone calls on landlines and communicates via letters to the Taliban officials who now make up the government and with whom he retains a strong rapport.

He would have given the green light to the final offensive against the old regime and kept track of operations from Kandahar, where he had already been discreetly installed for several months, the Pakistani source said.

The continued fear of elimination, even after the end of the war with the Americans, explains Akhundzada's continued low profile, several Taliban sources say.

And if he were already dead, a regional security source said, concerns over the rival Sunni extremist group, the Islamic State's local chapter (IS-K), would in part explain the Taliban concealing the news -- as any such announcement could prompt defections.

"If they announce Akhundzada is no more and we are looking for a new emir, it will factionalise the Taliban and IS-K could take advantage," he said.

Despite the speculation, the Taliban insist nothing is untoward.

The emir is "leading in an orderly manner", a spokesman told AFP, adding "it is not necessary" for him to appear publicly.

Source: Times of India

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US Is No More World Police, Cannot Impose Its Will On Nations: Hamas Leader


Ismail Haniyeh, the leader of the political bureau of Palestinian Hamas resistance movement (file photo)


02 December 2021

The leader of the political bureau of Palestinian Hamas resistance movement says the recent withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan proved that the United States is no more the world police and cannot impose its will on other nations.

Ismail Haniyeh made the remarks while addressing a ceremony in Turkey in which he elaborated on the latest regional and international developments.

Haniyeh said US forces’ retreat from Afghanistan will be followed with similar troop pullouts from other parts of the world, as a result of which Washington’s allies, especially the Zionist regime, will find themselves in a weaker position.

“The US is no more the world police and cannot impose its will on other nations,” the Hamas chief pointed out.

The US military withdrew its forces from Afghanistan 20 years after they invaded the country to topple the Taliban, in a war that killed, according to one estimate, between 897,000 and 929,000 people.

Since the Taliban regained power in Afghanistan, the US and its allies have imposed sanctions on the Central Asian country and deprived Afghans of any aid and assistance on the pretext of pressuring the Taliban.

However, human rights activists maintain that economic sanctions generally do not punish the rulers, but rather, hurt the population, lead to mass starvation, and fuel extremism in the targeted country.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Haniyeh underscored that Arab and Muslim nations have three priorities, that is, boosting the status of Israeli-occupied al-Quds and al-Aqsa Mosque, supporting the Palestinian resistance front, and thwarting efforts made by some Arab countries to normalize their relations with the Tel Aviv regime.

The Hamas leader went on to call resistance a strategic and long-standing option.

He emphasized that cooperation among Muslim nations against the occupying Israeli regime is a true partnership, and that Muslims have never shirked their responsibility to defend al-Quds and Palestine.

“It is high time to wage the historic battle with the Zionist enemy,” the Hamas leader said.

Haniyeh stressed that Muslim nations urgently need to form a united front against Israel, and to draw up a complete plan to prevent normalization of relations with the Zionist regime.

Source: Press TV

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Court Re-Instates Saif Al-Islam Qaddafi To Libya’s Presidential Race


Saif Al-Islam Qaddafi, son of deposed dictator Muamar Qaddafi, has been allowed to stand in Libya’s presidential elections planned for 24 December 2021 (Photo: HNEC).


By Sami Zaptia

02 December 2021

The Sebha Court of Appeal today reinstated Saif Al-Islam Qaddafi, son of the late dictator Muamar Qaddafi, to Libya’s presidential elections planned for 24 December 2021.

The court session had been delayed for a week after armed groups/militias/ soldiers identified as being aligned to Khalifa Hafter had initially prevented the case from going ahead.

International pressure as well as reinforcements from the Tripoli government ensured that the judges were able to sit today.

The judges accepted Saif’s appeal against his disqualification by the High National Elections Commission (HNEC).

The court was surrounded by Saif’s supporters who celebrated the court decision.

It will be recalled that HNEC had disqualified Saif on 24 November (along with another 24 applicants) from standing in the presidential elections by virtue of articles 10/7, for having a previous final conviction of a crime, and 17/5, for failing to obtain a certificate for no previous judgements.

Source: Libya Herald

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 Pakistan summons India diplomat over ‘mischievous spin’ to gurdwara shoot gaffe

December 2, 2021

ISLAMABAD: A senior diplomat of the India diplomat mission was summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) Thursday to convey Pakistan’s “categorical rejection of the mischievous spin given by India to an isolated incident” at Gurdwara Darbar Sahib.

Last week, a model, Sauleha Imtiaz, who describes herself as a digital creator on her Instagram profile, had posted bareheaded photos and videos of herself at Gurdwara Darbar Sahib. The pictures were also shared by a clothing brand.

The model came under scrutiny after the pictures went viral on social media platforms, inviting criticism from Sikh circles.

The gurdwara — built at the site where Guru Nanak Dev, the founder of Sikhism, is believed to have died in 1539 — is one of the holiest shrines for Sikhs.

Realising the gaffe, Imtiaz Tuesday issued an apology on her Instagram account. “It wasn’t done to hurt anyone sentiments or anything for that matter. However, if I have hurt anyone or they think that I don’t respect [their] culture. I am sorry,” she wrote.

The same day, the spokesperson of India’s foreign ministry, Arindam Bagchi, said the “reprehensible incident” had deeply hurt the sentiments of the Sikh community in India and across the world.

“Such continued incidents of desecration and disrespect of places of religious worship of the minority communities in Pakistan highlight the lack of respect for the faith of these communities,” Bagchi added.

in its statement today, the Foreign Office said: “It was conveyed to the Indian diplomat that the incident was swiftly addressed and clarified.”

It said the government accorded “highest primacy to the rights of the minorities”. “Sanctity of religious places and revered sites of every community is ensured in Pakistan.”

Source: Pakistan Today

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Punjab Assembly seeks acceptance of Gwadar protesters’ demands

December 3, 2021

LAHORE: A resolution in the Punjab Assembly has urged the federal government to accept the demands of the people of Gwadar without any delay.

PML-N MPA Samiullah Khan submitted the resolution in the PA on Thursday. It said this House demanded from the federal government to listen to the grievances of the people of Gwadar who had been protesting for the last many days and address their problems on a priority basis.

The resolution said it was a matter of concern that the protesters included a large number of women and children and they had taken to the street for their just demands. Gwadar played an important role in the progress of the country and ignoring its residents would not be wise on the part of the government, it said and demanded that the federal government must act immediately to improve the law and order situation after redressing the grievances of the protesters.

A large number of women along with their children had been taking to the street of the port city since Monday last in solidarity with the movement launched for the rights of the people of Gwadar and other areas of Makran. The demonstrators including women who reached Gwadar city from Turbat, Ormara, Jewani, Pasni and other areas of Gwadar district, staged a sit-in. The protesters say the people of Gwadar have been deceived in the name of CPEC (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor) as they have not benefited from it.

Source: Dawn

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Two dead after militant attack in northern Benin, army says

02 December 2021

Two people were killed and several wounded when Islamist militants attacked an army position in northern Benin on Wednesday night, the army said.

The attack in Porga region was the second in Benin this week, after militants attacked an army patrol in the department of Alibori on Tuesday morning, said army chief Colonel Fructueux Gbaguidi, in an internal statement seen by Reuters.

One jihadist was killed by troops in Tuesday's attack, he said, and one assailant also died on Wednesday night.

Militant attacks are uncommon in Benin, but groups linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State are active in its northern neighbours Burkina Faso and Niger and have made increasing incursions south.

Islamist militant violence has ravaged much of West Africa's Sahel region, and states such as Benin, Togo, Ivory Coast and Ghana have been on guard for the militants to attempt to extend their reach towards the Gulf of Guinea.

"This new test reminds us in blood and pain that the danger on the ground is real," said Gbaguidi in his note to officers.

Source: The New Arab

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Pope to meet Cyprus' Orthodox leader to strengthen ties

Dec 3, 2021

NICOSIA: Cyprus, Pope Francis plans to meet with the leader of Cyprus' Greek Orthodox Church on Friday with the aim of further mending an ideological and political rift between the Catholic West and the Orthodox East that dates back nearly a millennium.

Francis and Archbishop Chrysostomos II are meeting on the second day of the pope's three-day Cyprus trip. The two will join the Holy Synod, the highest decision-making body of the Greek Orthodox Church. Francis is scheduled to preside over an ecumenical prayer service with migrants later in the day.

Although Cyprus comprises a tiny part of the Eastern Orthodox community with around 800,000 faithful, Cypriot church leaders point to the Mediterranean island's role as the "gateway" to Christianity's westward expansion owing to its proximity to the faith's birthplace.

Christianity first spread to Cyprus in 45 AD, when the Apostle Paul converted the island's Roman governor, Sergius Paulus, while on the first stop of his first mission to spread the faith. The Cypriot Church was itself said to have been founded by another apostle, Barnabas.

Francis has made Cyprus' connection to the roots of Christianity a focal point of his visit. Cypriot Church leaders are keen to strengthen ties with the Holy See since minority Christian communities in nearby countries fear that their faith is under attack amid armed conflicts.

Cyprus itself carries the scars of war. The nation divided along ethnic lines in 1974 when Turkey invaded following a coup aimed at uniting the island with Greece. After the ethnic split, 170,000 Christians fled the breakaway Turkish Cypriot north, where churches, monasteries and other Christian monuments have been destroyed.

Tens of thousands of Muslim Turkish Cypriots fled northward following the end of hostilities.

The destruction of Christian places of worship is among the key issues that Archbishop Chrysostomos is expected to raise with Francis in hopes that the pontiff's political muscle will help reignite stalled talks to reunify Cyprus.

Upon his arrival on Thursday, Francis urged Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots to resume the talks, saying threats and shows of force only prolong the "terrible laceration" the island's people have endured for nearly a half-century.

"Let us nurture hope by the power of gestures, rather than by gestures of power," Francis told Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and other government leaders at the presidential palace, located in the internally recognized, Greek Cypriot-led south.

Prospects for unifying the island have rarely been as bleak as they are now. Turkish Cypriots, under their newly elected leader Ersin Tatar, changed their prerequisites for peace and demanded recognition of a separate state before any deal can even be discussed.

Source: Times of India

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Turkey urges Council of Europe against interfering in its independent judiciary on Kavala case

Beyza Binnur Dönmez 


Turkey on Thursday urged the Council of Europe against interfering in the country's independent judiciary on the case of Osman Kavala.

"In line with the principle of respect for pending judicial proceedings, we call on the Council of Europe to avoid taking further steps (on the Kavala case), which would mean interference in the independent judiciary," said a statement by the Foreign Ministry.

The statement came after the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe said it would refer to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) the question of whether Turkey had executed a previous judgement by the court on Kavala.

"Everyone, and above all the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe should respect and trust in legal proceedings conducted by independent and impartial courts," said the ministry.

It underlined that, as a founding member of the Council of Europe, Turkey is "aware of its responsibilities stemming from the European Convention on Human Rights" and noted that the country had so far executed 3,674 judgments by the court, including 128 this year.

"The Committee of Ministers, which supervises the execution of European Court of Human Rights judgments, has currently a large number of cases on its agenda. We view it as an inconsistent approach to regularly keep the Kavala judgment on the agenda, while there are older judgments concerning variety of issues, which are yet to be executed by other States," said the ministry.

It also added that taking steps against certain countries "based on political considerations rather than legal and equitable criteria" undermines the reputation of Council of Europe.

"If the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe wishes to maintain the effectiveness of the human rights system, it should stop this biased and selective approach and address the execution of ECtHR judgments in an impartial way with respect to all member States," said the statement.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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UN says Daesh committed war crimes at Iraqi prison

December 03, 2021

UNITED NATIONS: The head of a UN team investigating atrocities in Iraq said that Daesh extremists committed crimes against humanity and war crimes at a prison in Mosul in June 2014, where at least 1,000 predominantly Shiite Muslim prisoners were systematically killed.

Christian Ritscher told the UN Security Council on Thursday that evidence collected from mass graves containing the remains of victims of executions carried out at Badush Central Prison and from survivors shows detailed preparations of the attack by senior Daesh members followed by an assault on the morning of June 10 that year.

“Prisoners captured were led to sites close to the prison, separated based on their religion and humiliated,” he said. “At least 1,000 predominantly Shiite prisoners were then systematically killed.”

Ritscher said the investigators’ analysis of digital, documentary, survivors and forensic evidence, including Daesh documents, has identified a number of members from the extremist group, also known as IS or ISIL, who were responsible for the crimes.

As a result of the investigations, he said the UN Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes committed by the Daesh group in Iraq has concluded that Daesh committed “crimes against humanity of murder, extermination, torture, enforced disappearances, persecution and other inhumane acts” at Badush prison as well as the “war crimes of willful killing, torture, inhumane treatment, and outrage upon personal dignity.”

Daesh fighters seized Iraqi cities and declared a self-styled caliphate in a large swathe of territory in Syria and Iraq in 2014. The group was formally declared defeated in Iraq in 2017 following a three-year bloody battle that left tens of thousands dead and cities in ruins, but its sleeper cells continue to launch attacks in different parts of Iraq.

In May, Ritscher’s predecessor Karim Khan told the council that investigators had found “clear and compelling evidence” that Daesh extremists committed genocide against the Yazidi minority in 2014. He also said the militant group successfully developed chemical weapons and used mustard gas.

Ritscher hailed the “landmark moment” two days ago that saw the first-ever conviction of a Daesh member for the crime of genocide at the regional court in Frankfurt, Germany. The 29-year-old Iraqi was also convicted of crimes against humanity, war crimes and bodily harm resulting in death over the death of a 5-year-old Yazidi girl he had purchased as a slave with her mother and then chained up in the hot sun to die.

“We now have the chance, collectively, to make such prosecutions the norm, not a celebrated exception,” Ritscher said. “In cooperation with Iraqi authorities and those of the Kurdistan region, together with survivors and with the support of this council, we are building the evidence that can deliver meaningful justice for all those who suffered from ISIL crimes in Iraq.”

Ritscher said evidence collected relating to the Badush prison attacks underlined the detailed planning by Daesh in carrying out their atrocities.

The extremist group’s approach “is seen even more clearly in two other key lines of investigation that have accelerated in the last six months: the development and use of chemical and biological weapons by ISIL, and the financial mechanisms through which it sustained its campaign of violence,” he said.

The team’s evidence also “shows that ISIL clearly identified and then seized chemical production factories and other sources of precursor material, while also overtaking the University of Mosul campus as a hub for research and development,” Ritscher said.

The extremist group’s program became more sophisticated and investigators have identified more than 3.000 victims of Daesh chemical weapons attacks as well as its use of rocket artillery projectiles containing a mustard sulfur agent, he said.

In his next briefing to the Security Council, Ritscher said he will present the team’s findings on Daesh’s use of chemical weapons including the crimes it committed.

Source: Arab News

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South Asia


Taliban need domestic legitimacy to be recognized: Karzai

02 Dec 2021

Afghanistan’s former president Hamid Karzai in his recent interview said the Taliban’s government must represent the entire Afghan population and gain domestic legitimacy to be recognized by the International Community.

Hamid Karzai said the Taliban need grand assembly-Loya Jirga- to gain legitimacy inside the country.

The former president asked for the recognition of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan but added that domestic legitimacy is vital and these two should happen parallel.

“There are some non-Taliban figures in Afghanistan’s government but the situation should get better and the government be inclusive and include women in the apparatus.” Said, Karzai.

Karzai said that the Afghan people do not want inference in their internal issues and that the world must engage with the Taliban to be supported.

Source: Khaama Press

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Taliban: Several Iranian guards dead after Nimroz border clashes

December 02, 2021

KABUL: Taliban authorities said on Thursday that Iranian forces had suffered at least nine casualties during clashes on the Afghanistan-Iran border after fuel smuggling attempts from the Iranian side.

Fighting between the two countries’ respective security forces broke out in Konjak, Nimroz province in southwestern Afghanistan on Wednesday at around midday, and continued until the late evening. Local authorities and witnesses said the Taliban seized three Iranian check posts.

In a statement, Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said the clashes were triggered by “a misunderstanding at the local level” and that “the situation is now under control with the understanding of both sides.”

The spokesperson for the governor of Nimroz, Salahudin Ayobi, told Arab News tensions had been resolved and the “misunderstanding” had been over fuel smuggling.

“The main issue of this misunderstanding was smuggling fuel to Afghanistan. During this battle at least nine Iranian border forces were killed and injured,” he said, adding that one Taliban fighter was wounded.

Iranian authorities did not confirm the numbers.

Qiam Mawlawi, a Taliban commander in the Konjak district of Nimroz, said the clash was prompted by the Iranians.

“We responded to their misbehavior,” he said. “Currently the situation has turned back to normal, but we are on standby.”

While Iranian media reported the fighting started following a dispute among residents and denied the capture of border check posts, locals said Taliban forces had crossed the border into Iran.

“The Taliban were able to capture Borjak, Melak and Shah Balak check posts from Iranian forces, and heavy (gun)fire (took place) between both sides,” Abdul Satar, Konjak resident, told Arab News.

Sabrina Zory, a civil activist in Nimroz, said the clashes started when Taliban forces stopped a fuel tanker crossing through Borjak. “

Source: Arab News

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Imam Khamenei: Besides defending geographical borders, martyrs defend religious, spiritual, cultural borders

December 2, 2021

The officials in charge of holding the Martyrs of Ilam Commemoration Ceremony met with the Leader of the Islamic Revolution in the Imam Khomeini Hussainiyyah on Sunday, November 21, 2021. Imam Khamenei's statements in this meeting were broadcast on Thursday, December 2, at the site of the Martyrs of Ilam Commemoration Ceremony.

The following is the full text of the speech delivered on November 21, 2021, by Imam Khamenei, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution:

In the Name of God, the Beneficent, the Merciful

Praise God, the Lord of the Worlds, and peace and greetings be upon our Master, Muhammad, and upon his pure Household.

You are very welcome here, dear brothers and sisters. I thank you very much for organizing this Commemoration Ceremony and for making this very valuable move. I saw the exhibition before coming into the Hussainiyyah, and the services rendered are very good. Of course, these peripheral, promotional activities should be carried out very much at such commemoration ceremonies, and I hope God will help you to do so.

During the Sacred Defense, Ilam was like a strong fortress. Although some cities of the province were lost for a short period of time – some areas of the province were occupied by the vicious Munafiqeen [MEK] – the province stood firm like a mountain, similar to the Meimak Summit which I stood on and where I witnessed the magnificent work done by our dear soldiers. The province of Ilam stood up to the vicious enemy, Saddam and his collaborators, just like that summit.

First of all, the province was attacked sooner than other provinces, as mentioned by the gentlemen in this meeting. The enemy attacked Ilam before it officially attacked Tehran and other parts of the country. And the first martyr – martyred on a Saturday, as pointed out by one of the gentlemen – was actually martyred before the outbreak of the war in Ilam. In other words, the entire population of the province of Ilam were among those involved in the Sacred Defense.

Later on too, some unique events took place in Ilam. Unfortunately, our own people are not aware of these events, let alone other nations which are interested to know about the incidents and events that have taken place in our country. Even our own people are not aware of these events, much less those nations. One of those events was the bombardment of a soccer match where children were playing soccer in the year 1365 AH [1987 AD].

On February 12, 1987, two young teams from Ilam played in a soccer match in commemoration of the 7th victory of the Revolution. The people had gathered there as well as spectators, but an Iraqi plane struck them from up close. In other words, it knew what was happening there. It is not the case that it dropped bombs by accident. It dropped them on purpose, and as a result, 10 of those soccer players were martyred. The referee, a number of children and some spectators were martyred as well. This is not a minor incident. This is a very important event.

It is necessary for these events to be made known to people on a global level. They should be repeatedly mentioned here and there, because this is the message of the innocence of our athletic martyrs whose only crime was that they had organized a soccer match for the Islamic Republic. With the support of which power did the malicious Saddam commit that appalling, brazen crime? Who was behind him?

The same people who used to support that bloodthirsty wolf on that day are claiming to be advocates of human rights today! They describe themselves as the guardians of human rights throughout the whole world. There is so much brazenness and shamelessness in the actions of these powers. Who should reveal their true colors? Who should reveal these truths? Our artists and our writers have a heavy load on their shoulders. They have a heavy duty. These things should be presented to the world using art as the medium. They should make films about these events. In the case of the massacre at the soccer match, they should write stories, make films and compose memoirs. These actions should be taken.

One of the unique characteristics of the province of Ilam is that there are families with two, three, four, five, six or ten martyrs – as pointed out by the gentlemen. There is one family with ten martyrs, another with nine, another with eight and some with five or six martyrs. This is only easy in words, but it is truly difficult to even think about it. Ilam is like this. There are such families in Ilam. It was mentioned that some members of these families are present in this Commemoration Ceremony. I hope that God will bestow His mercy and grace on all of you.

Another characteristic of Ilam was the wholehearted presence of people from all social backgrounds, from scholars to the common people. For instance, the late Sheikh Abdulrahman Heidari (may God’s mercy be upon him) was with me on the Meimak Hills. He was with me at the top of that summit. He was with me everywhere I went. I visited Ilam several times, both before and after my presidency. He was always present in the field of battle as long as he was alive. He would take his gun and was ready to fight at all times in the true sense of the word.

The same is true of the common people and the numerous tribes in Ilam. Those who could fight were present in the field and the masses of the people helped in the resistance. One of the gentlemen in the meeting stated that the people did not leave the city. I myself saw this with my own eyes in the city of Ilam. The enemy planes would regularly strike the city repeatedly. In those times, no one would remain on the streets and the people would go to one of the deserts or forests around the city. After the bombardment had finished, they would go back to the city. That is, this way of leaving and coming back to the city had become a routine activity for the people. But they never completely left the city or the province, and they stood firm.

It was during the time of those bombardments and in that difficult situation that a genius, namely Martyr Rezaei-Nejad, grew up. Martyr Rezaei-Nejad was a nuclear scientist who was martyred. His scientific importance was so immense that the enemy felt his existence would help the Islamic Republic progress, and so they assassinated him. They martyred him in front of his wife and small daughter. That young scientist had spent his youth witnessing those bombardments and those difficult circumstances in Ilam. In other words, the pressures brought by the enemy and the war could not stop the people of this province from showing their talents. This is very important. People like this dear martyr – Martyr Rezaei-Nejad – have a high spiritual status as well as a scientific status. The reason for their high spiritual status is the fact that they were martyred, because martyrdom is not achieved easily. Martyrdom and obtaining this rank require the existence of certain prerequisites in the nature and actions of individuals. Without these prerequisites, martyrdom is not granted to anyone. That young scientist possessed that high spiritual status, and that was why he was martyred. Otherwise, one will not become a martyr without these qualities.

An important point is that the province of Ilam has given over three thousand martyrs. Other provinces too have each given many martyrs in proportion with their population and their situation. We should understand the concept of martyrdom correctly because martyrdom does not mean merely being a victim of the war. Well, there are many people who participate in wars and who are killed in their countries’ wars. Many of them are killed in defending the geographical borders of their country and are remembered as patriots and heroes. Of course, some are mercenaries, but the rest are remembered as I’ve said.

However, our martyrs are not like this. Those of our soldiers who were martyred or disabled were not just trying to defend the geographical borders of the country. They were also struggling to defend the borders of belief, morality, religion, culture and the spiritual borders. Of course, defending the borders of the country is a valuable act in itself. This has value, but it is not as important as both fighting for these important concepts and defending the borders of the country. Our martyrs are like this.

If we want to look at this at a higher level, our martyrs are in fact the manifestation of this verse, “Indeed Allah has bought from the faithful their souls and their possessions for paradise to be theirs.” [Holy Qur’an, 9:111] In other words, they have dealt with their lives with God. This is how martyrs are. There is another holy verse which says, “Among the faithful are men who fulfill what they have pledged to Allah. Of them are some who have fulfilled their pledge, and of them are some who still wait.” [Holy Qur’an, 33:23] They were true to the pledge they had made with God, the Exalted. A martyr is like this. Martyrdom is an act of making a pledge and dealing with God.

That is why you see that the soldiers who are fighting in the way of God are different from other common soldiers in the world. Those of you who have witnessed the Sacred Defense and those of you have read books on this topic surely know that the pious soldiers in the Sacred Defense, or the soldiers who have defended in other areas such as defending the Holy Shrines and the like, are purer during fighting and in the field of battle than at other times. They also rely more on God, show more humility and observe the divine limits more carefully.

It is common in the world for a victorious army to loot, plunder and inflict great cruelty in a city, but this is not the case for our soldiers. Even if those who fight in the way of God win, not only does their piety not decrease and they do not stop observing the divine limits, they are even more careful to observe God’s limits because of their gratefulness for their victory. Our soldiers would take some of the enemy captive. This was the same enemy who would torture and harass our captives from the time they took them captive up until the time they entered the camp where they were to be kept. And it is clear what they did to them in those camps. But if our soldiers took those same people captive, they would heal them if they were injured and they would give them water if they were thirsty. They would treat them as if they were one of themselves. So, these are very important points.

The Islamic lifestyle seen in the behavior of our soldiers and our martyrs is too important to be disregarded. There are so many inspirational points to be seen in the lives of our martyrs that our artists should truly portray an artistic picture of this for the whole world. They should introduce the Iranian soldiers to the world. They should place our soldiers in front of the eyes of the people throughout the world with their great artistic works.

Well, the Commemoration Ceremony that you have organized should open our ears to the message of the martyrs. They tell us, “[The martyrs are] rejoicing for those who have not yet joined them from [those left] behind them that they will have no fear, nor will they grieve.” [Holy Qur’an, 3:170] This path is one that is free from any fear, worry and concern because it is the path of God.

We should be steadfast on this path and move with strength. We should not falter on this path with the temptations of the enemies. The Iranian nation should increase its unity, solidarity, motivation and efforts when it hears the martyrs’ message. This is the message of the martyrs to us. When hearing the message of the martyrs, the officials of the Islamic Republic should feel more responsible toward society and ensure security in the way the martyrs did. Everyone should feel responsible. And all of us should pay attention to this fact that no nation will get anywhere without diligence, struggling in the way of God and enduring hardships. If there are any hardships, enduring those hardships will help the Iranian nation reach the peak, God willing.

Source: ABNA24

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Iran Dismisses S. Arabia's "Baseless" Allegations of Military Presence in Yemen


Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh made the remarks on Wednesday after the Saudi-led coalition that has been invading Yemen since 2015 alleged it had struck "legitimate military" targets in the Yemeni capital Sana'a, including a "secret site" belonging to Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC).

He denied existence of any military ties between Iran and Yemen, asserting, "The Islamic Republic has never maintained a military presence in Yemen that could be targeted by the invaders".

He called the allegations "baseless" claims that were meant to divert the public opinion across the region and elsewhere in the world from "the invading countries' atrocities".

Such allegations, he added, do not serve to change the fact that the invading countries have made a "strategic mistake" in taking on the Arab world's already most impoverished nation.

The raid is one of the several that the Saudi-led coalition has carried out against the densely-populated Yemeni capital this month.

The coalition launched the war in March 2015 to restore power in Yemen to Riyadh's former favorite officials. It has stopped way short of the goal, while killing tens of thousands of Yemenis and turning the entire country into the scene of the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

Source: Fars News Agency

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Iran gives drafts on sanctions removal, nuclear commitments to European powers

02 December ,2021

Iran has provided European powers involved in its tattered nuclear deal with drafts on sanctions removal and nuclear commitments, Iran’s top nuclear negotiator said on Thursday, as world powers and Tehran try to reinstate the pact.

The announcement came on the fourth day of indirect talks between Iran and the United States on bringing both fully back into the deal. The talks resumed after a five-month hiatus prompted by the election in June of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, an anti-Western hardliner.

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“We have delivered two proposed drafts to them...Of course they need to check the texts that we have provided to them. If they are ready to continue the talks, we are in Vienna to continue the talks,” Ali Bagheri Kani told reporters.

A European diplomat in Vienna confirmed draft documents had been handed over.

Under the pact, Tehran limited its uranium enrichment program, a potential pathway to nuclear weapons though Iran says it seeks only civilian atomic energy, in exchange for relief from US, European Union and UN economic sanctions.

But in 2018, then-US President Donald Trump abandoned the deal, calling it too soft on Iran, and reimposed harsh US sanctions, spurring Tehran to breach nuclear limits in the pact.

Estimating that 70-80 percent of a draft agreement was completed when Iran and world powers last met in June, a senior European diplomat said on Tuesday that it remained unclear if Tehran would resume talks where they left off.

While Bagheri Kani had said everything negotiated during six rounds of talks between April and June was open for discussion, a member of Iran’s delegation said “elements in the previous unapproved draft that were in conflict with the nuclear deal were revised and gaps were filled” in Iran’s submitted drafts.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Israel calls on world powers to halt Iran nuclear talks immediately

02 December ,2021

Israel on Thursday called on world powers to halt nuclear negotiations with Iran immediately, citing a UN watchdog’s announcement that Tehran has started producing enriched uranium with more advanced centrifuges.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Hamas outlines 3 priorities to support Palestinian cause

Mohammad Sheikh Yousef


Ismail Haniyeh, the head of the Palestinian resistance movement, Hamas, said Thursday there are developments in the region that are in the interest of the Palestinian cause that will curb normalization deals with Israel.

Haniyeh made the comments at the opening session of the 12th conference on Jerusalem entitled, "The Vanguards of Jerusalem hold its Sword," in Istanbul that saw the participation of 400 officials, lawmakers and activists from 40 countries.

Haniyeh started his talk with a vocal appreciation for Turkey's supportive role.

"From the land of the beloved Turkey which is always etched in the conscience of our [Muslim] ummah (community) ... we feel proud to participate in this conference," said Haniyeh.

He said there are "three important changes that surround us at the level of the [Palestinian] cause, the region and the ummah, and I think they are present in this conference and we read them positively as important developments for our cause and our ummah."

The first is the outcomes of the "Jerusalem Sword operation," he said, in reference to fighting between Palestinian resistance groups in Gaza with Israel in May. Gaza responded to calls to protect Jerusalem.

The second is represented with the US withdrawal from Afghanistan in August that will weaken the US’ allies in the region regarding Israel.

The third is the Istanbul conference because it confronts Israeli attempts to break Arab and Islamic nations.

Haniyeh said based on the three changes, there are three priorities for the Palestinian cause: To raise the status of Jerusalem and keep it at the forefront of the Palestinian cause. Second, to support Palestinian resistance as a strategic option for the Palestinian cause.

The third priority that Haniyeh outlined is to down efforts of normalization with Israel.

He called for "setting a complete plan to topple the normalization which took the shape of military and security alliance with some Arab countries."

Israel secured diplomatic ties with six Arab countries in 2020 after former US President Donald Trump's administration brokered normalization deals between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco, in addition to the existing ties with Egypt and Jordan.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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4 killed, many hurt in roadside blast in Somalia terror attack

Mohammed Dhaysane 



At least four people were killed and several others wounded in a roadside bomb attack targeting a water hauling vehicle meant for drought victims in Somalia's Lower Juba region on Thursday, state media and police said.

The IED was planted by the al-Shabaab terror group on the outskirts of Kismayo, a port city in the region, according to the Somali National Television.

The attack came hours after overnight gunfight and mortar shelling in central Somalia resulted in the death of at least two children.

The attackers targeted a military base of Djiboutian forces serving under the African Union Mission to Somalia in the town of Beledweyne, the capital of the Hiraan region, 344 kilometers (213 miles) from Mogadishu.

"After midnight, al-Shabaab terrorists attacked our security forces base in Beledweyne, but we were able to repulse the attack and inflicted heavy casualties," a security official in Beledweyne told Anadolu Agency.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Samastha Kerala Jamaat ul Ulema Not in League with Protest in Mosques Convened by the IUML

03rd December 2021

KOZHIKODE: Samastha Kerala Jamaat ul Ulema state president Syed Muhammad Jiffiri Muthukoya Thangal has poured cold water over the IUML’s protest against the government’s decision to entrust the Public Service Commission (PSC) with making appointments to the Waqf Board. Thangal asserted that it is inappropriate to stage protest against the government inside the mosques. The core committee of the Muslim organisations convened by the IUML had declared that “awareness programmes” will be held in all mosques in the state against the decision on Waqf Board.

Inaugurating the declaration of protest by the feeder organisations of the Samastha here on Thursday, Thangal said nothing should be done that harms the sanctity of the mosques. “We could have explained things through the speeches in the mosques, but the situation now is not suited for such a move,” he said.

He added that the Mujahid groups and Jamaat-e-Islami have clarified that they did not call for protest in the mosques. “If any untoward thing happens, the entire blame will be on the Samastha,” he said, adding that the agitation can be held elsewhere.   Thangal said he had a telephonic conversation with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who had assured him that everything would be sorted out. If the outcome of the discussion is not positive, Samastha will intensify the agitation, he said.

Source: New Indian Express

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Buddhist-Muslim tensions brewing in Ladakh’s Zanskar region over interfaith marriage

Dec 3, 2021

SRINAGAR: Tensions are mounting in Zanskar, a mountainous region of Ladakh with a population of 20,000-vast majority of them Buddhists-over an interfaith marriage.

The woman’s family has lodged a missing person’s complaint at the local police station after the girl eloped with a Muslim man and married him.

A local imam performed nikah after the Buddhist woman Sonam Angmo converted to Islam and took Summaya Kousar as her Muslim name to marry Abdul Qadir Wani, 31, a Muslim man of Padum, the main town of Zanskar, on November 20.

However, the woman’s family has alleged that she is a minor and that Wani has kidnapped and forcibly married her. The local police has detained father Muhammad Shaffi and brother Mudassir Shaffi of Wani and launched a manhunt for the couple. However, SSP Kargil Anayat Chaudhary while speaking to this correspondent over the phone said that he father-son duo was only being called to the police station for questioning as the couple is “absconding”.

He said that on the basis of the complaint lodged by the parents of the woman the police has registered an FIR under relevant provisions of the law and took up investigations. “We want the couple to record their statements at the police station. But the family of the accused and their lawyer are not disclosing their whereabouts nor do they themselves come forward. We’re being compelled to act. We don’t want any tensions between communities here. We want to see the issue resolved amicably and without it disturbing peace,” the police officer said.

Local Buddhist groups have threatened agitation unless the woman is recovered and restored to her parents. On Wednesday, the Ladakh Buddhist Association (LBA) submitted a memorandum to Lieutenant Governor, Radha Krishna Mathur, alleging the Muslim man from Padum has ‘forcibly’ married the Buddhist girl. It demanded that the girl should be recovered and handed back to the family and said that if the authorities fail to do so it could cause communal disturbances in the region. The LBA has also alleged that the sole motive of interfaith marriages is forceful conversion.

The minority Muslim community of Zanskar has been facing a “social boycott” from the majority Buddhist community since October 2012 after four Buddhist families, comprising of 22 members, converted to Islam.

But the groom's family and attorney Muhammad Ismail have denied the charge of kidnapping and forcible marriage or that the woman is minor.  They said that Wani and Ms. Kousar (Sonam Angmo) have married out of “their own free will and consent” and accused the family and the relatives of the latter of harassment and threats in a petition filed before the High Court in Srinagar. Mr. Ismail told this newspaper, “The woman is 22 years old as is corroborated from her school records. She has willingly accepted Islam to marry a man of her choice as per her free will”.

He said that the High Court of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh on November 26 ordered protection to the couple after they approached it following harassment by interested parties. The couple, according to the court order, had entered into the marriage out of their “own free will and consent”. It further reads, “The statement has been recorded before the judicial register of this court in front of their council.”

Source: Deccan Chronicle

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IS propaganda case: Maharashtra duo to plead guilty

Dec 3, 2021

MUMBAI: Two men, who were accused of instigating youth from Malwani in Malad to join the terror group IS in 2015, told the special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court on Thursday they wanted to plead guilty.

The court directed the duo to submit a written application on December 8. Rizwan Ahmed (24) and Mohsin Sayyed (33) have been in jail since their arrest in 2016. So far, they have not assigned any reason for their decision, their former lawyers said.

Source: Times of India

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Omar Abdullah: BJP sees a Pakistani in every Muslim, especially in J&K Muslims

December 2, 2021

National Conference vice president and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah Thursday accused the BJP of ‘seeing a Pakistani in every Muslim’, especially Muslims of J&K.

Addressing a public rally at Ramban during his week-long tour of Chenab Valley, comprising Kishtwar, Doda and Ramban districts, Abdullah said that “when we talk of fighting a constitutional battle in Supreme Court, BJP leaders say we speak the language of Pakistan.” “These days, it is very easy for the BJP leaders to say this as they see a Pakistani in every Muslim, especially Muslims of Jammu and Kashmir,’’ he added.

Saying “he does not know what they will have to do” to prove they are not with Pakistan, Abdullah said they established a relationship with India in 1947 and since then have made “sacrifices with their own blood” to keep this relationship. “What wrong are we saying if we ask for protecting the promises given to Jammu and Kashmir and which were given a constitutional shape under Article 370 so as to maintain that relationship?” he asked. “We do not ask for anything expect that you do justice with us,’’ the NC leader said.

“Is it not true that on August 5, 2019 two Union Territories were carved out of one Jammu and Kashmir State – Jammu Kashmir and Ladakh? Tell me that why there are two different laws for them in matters of land, jobs, scholarships and the state subject. When we were told that the motive behind abrogating Article 370 was to have a uniform system in the entire country, then why two different systems in one erstwhile state?” he asked.

Abdullah said fingers “are raised even for demanding equitable treatment”.

Source: Indian Express

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Mistaken for Muslim, man buried by cops exhumed & cremated after week

Dec 3, 2021

Agra: The body of a 55-year-old man -- buried by police in Aligarh last week after assuming it to be of a Muslim as no one came forward to identify it -- was exhumed and cremated according to Hindu rites on Wednesday after the family identified him in a video circulated on social media. Police claimed the body was mistakenly presumed to be that of a Muslim man as he was wearing a skull cap and sporting a beard.

Brahmajeet Singh worked with the agriculture department in Aligarh and was a resident of Kawarsi nearby. He had left his house on November 22 but did not return. His body was found in the basement of a local market on Ramghat road on November 23. The postmortem report revealed that the cause of death was chronic lung and liver disease, said police.

When no one came forward to claim the body within the mandated 72 hours, police contacted an NGO, Manav Upkar, to bury the remains as per Muslim rituals because the body appeared to be that of a man belonging to that faith.

Singh’s son Guarav Kumar lodged a missing complaint at Kawarsi police station on November 23 after the family failed to locate him. However, three days later, the Kawarsi police contacted the NGO to bury the unclaimed body. President of the NGO, Vishnu Kumar, said, “Police had given me in writing to bury the body.”

Singh’s younger brother Ramesh Chand said they had received some videos of the unidentified body on WhatsApp on November 28 and contacted the police, but by that time the body had already been buried. Chand added that the administration later exhumed the body and provided help to cremate it as per Hindu rituals.

Source: Times of India

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Southeast Asia


Malaysia: Demand for halal-certified products among non-Muslims on rise

December 2, 2021

AS THE consumption of Muslims worldwide continues to rise, the demand for halal-certified products in the non-Muslim market have also gradually increased, according to the Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (ACCCIM).

ACCCIM secretary general Datuk Tan Tian Meng said this was because non-Muslim consumers realise the importance of halal certification for their products as part of the trend of healthy eating and safe to consume compared to non-halal products.

He said the recent development and growth of the halal market has changed the perception and acceptance of non-Muslim consumers towards halal consumption.

Supported by growing demand, Tan said Malaysia’s halal sector is poised to be one of the main drivers of the country’s economic growth moving forward.

He noted that there are an estimated 1.9 billion Muslims in the world today, making up roughly 26% of the global population.

“This figure tells us that halal products have great potential in the global market.

“I am certain that the halal sector can become a strong contributor and act as a catalyst through its various value propositions in the global economic recovery.

“This is because the halal industry has now expanded beyond the food sector to include beverages, pharmaceuticals, fashions, cosmetics, health products, toiletries and medical devices, as well as service sector components such as logistics, marketing, print and electronic media and many more,” he said during a webinar session on “Halal Certification Prospects and Opportunities of Halal World Market” organised by ACCCIM yesterday.

Additionally, Tan said the halal sector is considered one of the most important industries in Malaysia and the market for halal products is also rapidly growing.

Therefore, he emphasised that the government should continue to strive to maintain its position as a leading halal-related industry to encourage more foreign and local investments into the country.

“Having a halal certificate is a great marketing tool to help penetrate such a huge consumer market, as well as providing an expansion path to enter the global market.

“In view of this, organising webinars and sharing sessions related to the halal industry will enhance the knowledge of people on the recent trends in the global halal market, as well as to secure the opportunity to learn the business opportunities in the industry,” he noted.

According to reports from the Economic Planning Unit in the Prime Minister’s Department, the halal market is projected to contribute 8.1% of GDP by generating exports of RM56 billion by 2025.

In 2020 alone, the halal industry contributed RM9.7 billion to the country’s GDP.

On a global level, the halal market is expected to grow from US$3.1 trillion (RM13.03 trillion) in 2018 to US$5 trillion by 2030, while the Malaysian halal market was estimated at US$68.4 billion in 2018 and will continue to grow to a size of US$113.2 billion by 2030.

Previously, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jakim) is developing a RM3.4 million Halal Integrated Information System to serve as a database for halal products, in order to strengthen Malaysian halal certification.

Source: ABNA24

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Fewer non-Muslims say ‘I do’ as marriages decline by 10% in 2020

December 3, 2021

PETALING JAYA: The number of marriages in the country declined substantially last year, especially among non-Muslims, the statistics department revealed today.

According to the Marriage and Divorce Statistics, Malaysia, 2021 Report, there was an overall decline of almost 10% in marriages in 2020, compared with the year before.

“The number of marriages in 2020 was 184,589, compared with 203,661 in 2019. That is a decline of 9.4%,” Chief Statistician Mohd Uzir Mahidin said in a statement.

“However, the number of non-Muslim marriages declined at a higher rate of 29.4%.”

Uzir said Johor showed the highest decline in non-Muslim marriages with a drop of 38.4%, followed by Sabah (-36.9%) and Pahang (-36.3%).

As for Muslim marriages, he said, the overall decline was minimal with some states seeing more Muslims getting married.

“There was a 1.8% decline in the overall number of Muslim marriages, with three states or federal territories recording the highest drop, namely Sabah (-19.3%), Labuan (-14.3%) and Selangor (-5.9%).

“On the other hand, there was a substantial increase in the rate of Muslim marriages in Putrajaya, which was up by 14%, followed by Perlis (12.4%) and Kedah (8.4%),” he said.

The report attributed the drop in marriages to the movement control orders (MCOs) and strict SOPs put in place because of the Covid-19 pandemic since March 2020.

The first MCO with a full lockdown was implemented from March 18 to May 3 and a conditional MCO and recovery MCO followed until the end of the year.

“The number of marriages dropped significantly by 88% in April, with only 1,694 taking place, compared with 14,056 in 2019,” he said.

According to Uzir, the trend in fewer marriages in 2020 also showed up in terms of inter-ethnic couples, with a drop of 35.6% compared with the year before.

The report showed that the age demographic for couples getting married was consistent with previous years, with the highest number of marriages involving those aged 25 to 29 for both grooms and brides.

“We also found that the oldest groom was 92 while the oldest bride tied the knot at the age of 84 in 2020,” he said.

Uzir said the trend in marrying late was more prevalent in urban areas.

“The current scenario shows that the tendency for late marriages is among the educated and working population. They tend to prefer strengthening their financial positions, particularly those living in urban areas, prior to getting married,” he said.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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Hamas lauds Malaysia for barring Israeli players from squash event

02 December 2021

Hamas has hailed Malaysia’s rejection of any normalization with Israel and its recent refusal to allow Israeli squash players to enter the Southeast Asian country.

In a statement, the resistance movement lauded Malaysia's historic position as it denounced Israeli crimes across the occupied Palestinian lands.

“The criminal Zionist entity, which attacks the Palestinian land and its people, desecrates the holy sites, commits crimes against the Palestinian youths and seeks to destroy the Palestinian sports sector, does not deserve to participate in international events,” the statement read.

Hamas also voiced support for Malaysia's right to host international sports events without having to accept Israeli delegations on its territory. The movement expressed its regret over a decision by a sports governing body to scrap the tournament in Malaysia.

The World Team Championship for men was due to take place in Kuala Lumpur from Dec 7-12, with 26 squads participating. The World Squash Federation (WSF) and Malaysia's squash body said the event had been axed.

The tournament had been moved to Malaysia from New Zealand earlier this year because of coronavirus-related travel restrictions.

In 2019, Malaysia was stripped of the right to host the World Para Swimming Championships for refusing to allow Israeli athletes.

And in 2015, Israeli windsurfers had to pull out of a competition on the island of Langkawi after being refused visas.

The Palestinian cause enjoys widespread support in Muslim-majority Malaysia where visits to the country with an Israeli passport is forbidden.

Former Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu signed normalization agreements with Emirati Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani during an official ceremony hosted by ex-US president Donald Trump at the White House on September 15 last year.

In January, Sudan's ruling military junta officially signed the Abraham Accords to normalize ties with Israel.

Source: Press TV

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‘Big brother’ attitude not helping MN talks, says PAS veep

November 28, 2021

PETALING JAYA: Negotiations between PAS and Umno under its Muafakat Nasional (MN) pact will face challenges in the near future if some party leaders want to act like a “big brother”, says PAS vice-president Ahmad Samsuri Mokhtar.

The Terengganu menteri besar said such an attitude would hinder PAS’ efforts and greater goal of establishing political cooperation among all Malay-Muslim parties in the nation.

“If there is a ‘big brother’, then it will be tough. PAS adopts an open attitude because our bigger objective is to foster political cooperation among all Malay-Muslim parties,” he said, according to Utusan Malaysia.

Nonetheless, Samsuri said PAS would continue its efforts to bring together both Umno and Bersatu under a form of political cooperation through negotiations.

He said the party would not give up on this endeavour and would continue with its agenda of uniting the ummah.

“I’m optimistic that if we work on it, all parties will hold discussions to achieve some form of cooperation.”

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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Arab World


Plight of Palestinians still a key focus of Saudi foreign policy, says envoy

December 02, 2021

NEW YORK: The Palestinian issue will remain a major focus of Saudi Arabian foreign policy until Palestinians regain their rights and succeed in establishing a state of their own with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital, the Kingdom’s permanent representative to the UN said.

Abdallah Al-Mouallimi also reiterated Riyadh’s rejection and denunciation of the continuing confiscation of Palestinian homes and land by Israel, along with its violation of the sanctity of the Temple Mount and attempts to obliterate its Arab and Islamic identity.

“These aggressive Israeli measures will undermine the chances of peace,” Al-Mouallimi told the UN General Assembly in New York late on Wednesday, during a plenary meeting to discuss the Palestinian question and the situation in the wider Middle East.

“The policy of settlement building and colonial expansion carried out by the occupying Israeli authorities on Palestinian land is liable to destroy the possibility of peaceful coexistence,” he said.

“Israel’s unilateral measures will lead to a disruption of security and stability, particularly in Palestine but also in the wider Middle East.”

The plenary session took place days after the 74th anniversary of resolution 181, which was passed by the General Assembly on Nov. 29, 1947. It called for the partition of Palestine into Arab and Jewish states, with the city of Jerusalem a separate entity to be governed by an international regime.

“More than 75 years have passed since the establishment of the United Nations in 1945,” and for more than 70 years the issue of Palestine has been on its agenda, Al-Mouallimi said. Saudi Arabia’s historical position of support for “the inalienable and legitimate rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination, including (their) right to establish their independent state, with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital, (in line with) the relevant Security Council resolutions and the Arab Peace Initiative” remains unchanged, he added.

The Saudi envoy once again stressed the need for the international community to live up to its responsibilities and call on Israel to end its occupation of Arab land in Palestine, the Golan and Lebanon.

“It is unfortunate that the Israeli occupation authorities continue to violate the rights of the Palestinian people, and practice the most heinous forms of crimes, (including the use of) excessive force against a defenseless people,” Al-Mouallimi said.

He described Israel’s settlement expansions as “a clear violation and disregard for the international community” and called on that global community to protect the Palestinian people.

Al-Mouallimi thanked the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East for its work, which he said is conducted “despite the dangers and difficult conditions in the Occupied Palestinian Territories as a result of the stifling measures by the occupation authorities.”

Source: Arab News

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Arab Coalition: 45 Houthi militia members killed in Marib

02 December ,2021

The Arab Coalition on Thursday said more than 45 Iran-backed Houthi militia members died after the coalition conducted nine target operations in Yemen’s Marib in 24 hours.

The coalition added that it had destroyed six military vehicles belonging to the militia.

On Tuesday, the Arab Coalition said it targeted a training camp belonging to the Iran-backed Houthi militia south of Yemen’s Mahliya in Marib.

Source: Al Arabiya

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7 Peshmerga, 3 civilians killed in Daesh/ISIS attack in northern Iraq


Seven Peshmerga soldiers of the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) and three civilians were killed early Friday in an attack by Daesh/ISIS terrorists in northern Iraq, according to security sources.

Members of the terrorist group initially targeted a village near Mosul's Mahmur district, killing three civilians.

Peshmerga forces who were transferred to the region following the attack fell into an ambush set by the terror group, Peshmerga Commander Nejat Hule told Erbil-based broadcaster Rudaw.

Seven soldiers were killed in the clashes, Hule said.

On Sunday, five Peshmerga soldiers were killed in a separate suspected Daesh/ISIS attack in Kolju district in the Garmian region of northern Iraq, a KRG officer said on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to brief the media.

He said four other soldiers were wounded in the attack.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Oil workers killed in Islamic State attack in Syria

December 3, 2021

Several oil workers were killed by the Islamic State (IS) in eastern Syria today.

IS fighters ambushed two buses carrying the workers back from work in the al-Kharata oil field in the southwest of the Deir ez-Zor province. Ten were killed and another was injured, Syria’s official news outlet SANA reported.

IS lost its final territory in Syria in 2019, but continues to operate in the country. The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) also hold thousands of IS fighters in detention centers in northeast Syria. The Islamic State is particularly active in Deir ez-Zor, and killed two Iranian military advisers there in June. The SDF controls eastern Deir ez-Zor, while the Syrian government controls the west.

Source: Al Monitor

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Five suspects arrested in Kuwait over Hezbollah financing charges

02 December ,2021

Five suspects were arrested in Kuwait for financing Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah group, a month after 18 individuals were arrested for the same charges, Kuwaiti newspaper al-Qabas reported Thursday.

For the latest headlines, follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

Al-Qabas said the number of people accused in the Hezbollah financing case in Kuwait is “increasing and new names may be involved.”

Citing an informed source, the newspapers that five new individuals were arrested in this case, bringing the total number to 23 accused, 12 of whom will continue to be imprisoned until later this month.

“The source said that investigations are underway with other defendants to infer their relationship with those who had been accused, but the case has been classified as a state security issue,” al-Qabas reported.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Iraq's al-Sadr says ready to form 'national majority government'

Ali Jawad 



Prominent Iraqi Shia politician Muqtada al-Sadr on Thursday voiced his intention to form a national majority government without foreign interference.

"Neither Eastern nor Western, a national majority government," al-Sadr posted on Twitter following a meeting with political actors rejecting the outcome of recent parliamentary polls that the Shia cleric's Sairoon Alliance dominated.

Al-Sadr's party won the Oct. 10 elections with 73 seats in the 329-member parliament, followed by the Taqaddum (progress) bloc of parliament speaker Mohamed al-Halbousi with 37 seats.

On Tuesday, the Coordination Committee of the Iraqi Resistance, an umbrella organization of prominent Shia political parties excluding al-Sadr’s movement, said in a statement that it categorically rejected the elections' final results.

In a separate statement on Thursday, the committee said the meeting with al-Sadr "confirmed that foreign forces (in Iraq) will leave according to a (set) timetable."

In the elections, pro-Iranian factions, which also form part of the committee, saw their seats decline from 47 in the 2018 elections to around 20.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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North America


US senators seek sanctions on Iran over alleged plot to kidnap journalist

02 December ,2021

Democratic and Republican US senators announced legislation on Thursday that would impose sanctions over an alleged plot by Iranian intelligence agents to kidnap Iranian-born US journalist Masih Alinejad.

Democrat Ben Cardin and Republican Pat Toomey said their legislation would seek to hold Iran accountable for the plot and prevent any further attempted kidnappings on US soil by imposing mandatory sanctions on those involved and authorizing secondary sanctions on banks doing business with them.

US prosecutors charged four Iranian operatives in July with plotting to kidnap Alinejad, a journalist who was critical of Tehran. Iran has called the allegation “baseless.”

“If you dare to attempt to come to our nation and kidnap an American citizen, there will be dire consequences,” Cardin told a news conference with Toomey and Alinejad, who said she came out of hiding for the event at the US Capitol.

The US Treasury department said in September it had sanctioned the four Iranian intelligence operatives behind the failed plot.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Iran’s recent moves don’t give room for optimism on new deal: Blinken

02 December ,2021

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Thursday it will be known in “the very near future” whether Iran intends to engage in good faith in talks to return to the 2015 nuclear deal, but that recent rhetoric did not give cause for optimism.

“I have to tell you, recent moves, recent rhetoric, don’t give us a lot of cause for optimism,” he said.

Speaking to reporters in Sweden, where he attended meetings of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, Blinken said he discussed Iran in meetings with his counterparts from Russia and Israel on Thursday.

Source: Al Arabiya

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‘No cause for optimism’ on Iran nuclear deal: US

December 02, 2021

STOCKHOLM: The United States appeared Thursday to play down the possibility of reviving a nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, even as Tehran tabled draft proposals following the resumption of talks in Vienna.

“We’re going to know very, very quickly, I think in the next day or two, whether Iran is serious or not,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told reporters in Stockholm on the sidelines of a meeting of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

“In the very near future, the next day or so, we will be in a position to judge whether Iran actually intends now to engage in good faith.”

But he cautioned: “I have to tell you, recent moves, recent rhetoric, don’t give us a lot of cause for optimism.”

In a phone call with Blinken on Thursday, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett had called for the “immediate cessation” of talks, which resumed on Monday.

Blinken declined to comment directly on the request.

“But even though the hour is getting very late, it is not too late for Iran to reverse course,” Blinken said.

“What Iran can’t do is sustain the status quo of building their nuclear program while dragging their feet on talks. That... will not happen.”

“That’s also not our view alone. It’s very clearly the view of our European partners. I have to say I had a good conversation as well” with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

“I think Russia shares our basic perspective on this.”

The 2015 agreement — known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA — offered Iran a lifting of economic sanctions in return for strict curbs on its nuclear activities.

The goal was to make it practically impossible for Iran to build an atomic bomb, while allowing it to pursue a civilian nuclear program.

But the deal started to unravel in 2018 when then US president Donald Trump pulled out and began imposing sanctions on the Islamic republic.

In turn, Iran, which denies it wants to acquire a nuclear arsenal, has gradually abandoned its commitments since 2019.

US President Joe Biden has said he is willing to return to the deal as long as Iran also resumes the original terms.

Iran said on Thursday it had handed European powers two draft proposals to try to revive the JCPOA.

Lead negotiator Ali Bagheri told Iranian state television the proposals — submitted on Wednesday, the third day of the talks in Vienna — concerned two main issues facing the pact: the lifting of sanctions and Iran’s nuclear commitments

“The first document sums up the Islamic republic’s point of view concerning the lifting of sanctions, while the second is about Iran’s nuclear actions,” Bagheri told IRIB TV.

“Now the other side must examine these documents and prepare itself to hold negotiations with Iran based on these documents,” said Bagheri.

Source: Arab News

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