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Islamic World News ( 20 March 2023, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Youth Offers Friday Prayers from Shivamogga DC's Office Building Days after Senior BJP Leader Said Azaan Was Disturbing Early-Morning Quiet

New Age Islam News Bureau

20 March 2023


Image used for representational purpose only. Photo:Times of India


• Islamic Leaders Urge Muslims to Pray (Taraweeh) At Home Out Of Respect For Hindus Festival Nyepi (Day of Silence)

• IEA Authorities Ban Nowruz Celebration in Afghanistan, Says “Islam Prohibits the Celebration of Nowruz”

• Khalistani Protesters with Amritpal Singh Posters Pull Down Indian Flag in London

• ‘I’m Not a Muslim but I Will Fast: Charity Invites Non-Muslims to 'Fast for a Day' This Ramadan



• 4 Months, 50 Rallies in Maharashtra, One Theme: ‘Love Jihad’, ‘Land Jihad’ and Economic Boycott by ‘Hindu Jan Aakrosh Morcha’

• Azaan at DC Office: ‘Act of Sedition’, Says Karnataka BJP MLA Eshwarappa

• Karnataka: Man Questioned For Reciting ‘Azaan’ During Protest

• Muslim Students Federation writes to UDF leaders about ending KSU alliance

• Dialogue with Christians to continue, open for talks with Muslims in Kerala: RSS

• PFI recruits underwent 3-stage training programme: NIA chargesheet

• PFI aimed to co-opt 10% of Muslims ‘to subjugate majority community’: NIA


Southeast Asia

• Maldivian President Urges To Utilise Ramadan to Seek Solace and Strength in the Holy Quran

• Conversion to Islam without both parents’ consent: Indira Gandhi, two ‘victims’ file court challenge against such laws

• Maidam retracts mandatory wearing of face masks at mosques, suraus


South Asia

• UK Apologizes for Asking Afghan Interpreters to Approve Asylum Documents from Kabul Authorities

• Islamic Emirate officials debarred from participating in tenders

• Launch of Exclusive Column for ‘Afghan Women’ On Khaama Press Website



• Türkiye welcomes Kosovo-Serbia agreement on implementing EU normalization deal

• Russia sends airmobile hospital to Türkiye’s quake-hit Hatay region

• France welcomes Türkiye's decision to ratify Finland's NATO bid in parliament

• Adidas team up with Muslim hiking group this Ramadan to make the countryside more inclusive



• PTI Supporters Protest outside White House, Asking Govt to Stop Intimidating Imran Khan

• Imran Khan to Stage PTI Power Show at Minar-i-Pakistan Next Week

• Imran Khan-led PTI seeks FIR against Sanaullah, Maryam Nawaz over Zaman Park raid

• 4 died, 12 injured after unidentified shooters attack van in Pakistan

• Minister urges Islamic states to pool resources, expertise


Middle East

• Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad Chiefs Meet in Lebanon for Talks on Closer Coordination against Israel

• Türkiye, Saudi Arabia Sign Trade Agreements in Various Areas

• Israel, Palestinians pledge to curb violence during Egypt security meeting

• Iran's Raisi invited to visit Saudi Arabia after detente

• Hamas, Hezbollah hold talks on Palestinian, regional developments

• Israeli government faces '3 fights', including internal unrest: Netanyahu

• Palestine appeals for US action following settler attack on Jerusalem church

• Hamas slams Palestinian participation in Egypt security meeting with Israel

• Gaza Strip-based Islamic Jihad group accuse Israel of killing Palestinian commander in Syria



• Sudan's Ruling Council Working To Prevent 'Authoritarian Rule' In Sudan, Says President

• Islamic state claims responsibility for killing 10 people in eastern DRC

• Prosecute electoral offenders – Islamic group tells police

• Nigeria counts votes in governorship elections marred by scattered violence

• Libya denounces remarks by Tunisian president on sharing Bouri oil field


North America

• Palestinian Terrorist Attack Casts Pall over Peace Talks on Eve of Ramadan, Passover

• Biden welcomes meeting between Israelis, Palestinians to curb violence in occupied West Bank

• Sisters United Muslim Association creates a supportive and empowering environment


Arab World

• Ramadan in Dubai: Distributing Meals without Permit Will Result In $27,000 Fine

• Hilton launches ‘Green Ramadan’ at Riyadh hotel

• Ramadan Sports Festival in Aspire from March 28

• ‘Hatta Ramadan Championship’ to kick off on 24th March

• Public staff to work 5 hours during Ramadan

• This Ramadan, UAE retailers offer fixed prices on more products to ease shopper concerns

• Ramadan 2023: Which Countries Have The Longest Fasting Hours In The World?

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau



 Youth Offers Friday Prayers from Shivamogga DC's Office Building Days after Senior BJP Leader Said Azaan Was Disturbing Early-Morning Quiet


Image used for representational purpose only. Photo:Times of India


Mar 20, 2023

SHIVAMOGGA: Days after senior BJP leader KS Eshwarappa said Azaan (a public prayer call) was disturbing early-morning quiet and students preparing for examinations, a Muslim youth reportedly offered Friday prayers from the building of the deputy commissioner's office in Shivamogga, the hometown of Eshwarappa.

The Azaan video surfaced on social media on Sunday, leading to a political row. BJP likened the act to separatism, while JD(S) accused the ruling party of promoting enmity on religious lines. Cops have filed a cased against the accused. tnn

Shivamogga police checking video

Shivamogga police have booked a case against the accused, identified as Mousin Ahamed from the city's Ragigudda locality. To condemn the controversial statement made by Eshwarappa about Azaan, a group of Muslim youths gathered in front of the DC's office in Shivamogga -- next to the Jayanagar police station - on Friday and raised slogans.

During the protest, Ahamed allegedly climbed the stairs at the DC's office and started offering prayers even as Azaan was on at a nearby mosque. Some other youths waved flags in his support. After a couple of minutes, police asked the protesters to disperse. This came in for criticism from local Muslim leaders.

Shivamogga SP Mithun Kumar GK told TOI that police officers questioned the accused and released him on station bail. Jayanagar police who have registered a case are verifying the video and its contents.

JD(S) leader and former chief minister HD Kumaraswamy attacked BJP for fomenting enmity among followers of different religions and added that "some youths in the Muslim community" behaved recklessly by offering prayers from the DC's building. Speaking to reporters at a village in Mandya district, Kumaraswamy advised both BJP leaders and Muslim community to maintain decorum in the larger interest of peace and order. He sought legal action against those who instigated the people.

In Chikkamagaluru, BJP national general secretary CT Ravi said the act of offering azaan "displayed the mentality of Pakistan leader Muhammad Ali Jinnah and al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. We know how to curb this tendency."

Source: Times Of India

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Islamic Leaders Urge Muslims to Pray (Taraweeh) At Home Out Of Respect For Hindus Festival Nyepi (Day of Silence)


File photo of a communal prayer performed at a mosque in Malang, East Java. Picture taken in 2021. Photo: Unsplash/Sabilissalam Multimedia.


By Coconuts Bali

Mar 20, 2023

Nyepi Day (Day of Silence) falls on Wednesday this year, coinciding with the start of Ramadan for Muslims. While peace and quiet are mandated throughout the island during Nyepi, officials say there is room for Muslims to carry out their religious duties at the start of the holy month, particularly pertaining to the tarawih prayer.

Tarawih is a non-obligatory evening prayer carried out throughout Ramadan, during which Muslims flock to nearby mosques to observe the communal prayer. The first tarawih prayer is set to take place on Wednesday evening, and questions were raised as to whether or not it would clash with Nyepi, which requires a whole-island shutdown to mark the Hindu new year.

According to the Bali Gubernatorial Regulations on Nyepi Day this year, Muslims on the Island of Gods are encouraged to perform tarawih at home or at nearby mosques as long as they walk to the house of worship (so no motorbikes or cars), avoid the use of loudspeakers, and use minimal lighting.

“We encourage them to observe the prayers at home, unless the mosque is close to their houses then it is okay,” said Bali Police spokesman Stefanus Satake Bayu Setianto to Coconuts Bali in a text message sent today.

Separately, Gianyar Police Operations Chief I Gede Sudyatmaja added that tadarus (Quran recitals) are not allowed at mosques during Nyepi.

“As for the tadarus, it can be performed in their own homes,” he said.

Indonesia is a Muslim-majority country, but Balinese Hindus represent the majority in Bali.

The Bali chapter of Indonesia Ulema Council (MUI), on the other hand, has encouraged Muslims on the island to perform tarawih at home in order to maintain the island’s interreligious harmony.

“It is only one night, we can observe tarawih at homes,” said Samsul Arifin, the head of sermons for MUI Bali, as quoted by RRI.

Source: Coconuts

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IEA Authorities Ban Nowruz Celebration in Afghanistan, Says “Islam Prohibits the Celebration of Nowruz”


Nowruz Celebration? Photo: Khaama Press


Taliban’s Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice in an announcement said the group’s regulators have told people “Islam prohibits the celebration of Nowruz”.

According to this announcement, Taliban observers have met with the worshipers of at least 35 mosques in Daikundi, and have asked them to resist the “Western ideas, Khawarij and rituals that are not in line with Islam”.

In this declaration, Nowruz is attributed to the “era of ignorance” and people are warned that the occasion is promoted by “foreigners” among Muslims.

The ministry of vice and virtue of the Taliban has warned ordinary people to refrain from celebrating “alien and un-Islamic customs, and days that are not holy in Islam”. 

The popular festival was banned during the Taliban’s previous rule between 1996 and 2001. However, last year the group said they will not celebrate the Nowruz, but have no problem with those celebrating it.

Nowruz has been celebrated for more than 3,000 years, observed by adherents of both the main branches of Islam – Sunnis and Shias in Afghanistan, Iran, Central Asia, and parts of the Middle East – and usually marked by a public holiday.

Banning the Nowruz celebration, which marks the arrival of spring in Daikundi, indicates the ruling regime’s opposition to the popular festive, which prompted widespread criticisms in the past as well.

Nowruz celebration is one of the ancient rituals of the people of Afghanistan, being celebrated in different ways, similar to other countries so-called “Nowruz region”.

The United Nations officially recognized the “International Day of Nowruz” with the adoption of Resolution 64/253 by the United Nations General Assembly in February 2010.

Source: Khaama Press

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Khalistani Protesters with Amritpal Singh Posters Pull Down Indian Flag in London


In a video widely shared on social media, an official at the Indian High Commission in London was seen rescuing the Tricolour from a Khalistani supporter and throwing out the Khalistani flag./ Photo: India Today


By Fidel Rahmati

March 20, 2023

 The protestors carried banners and Amritpal Singh posters while shouting slogans: We Want Justice, Release Amritpal Singh, and We Stand with Amritpal Singh were written on the posters that included Singh’s image.

The protest occurred when the Indian Police in Punjab launched an operation to arrest the Khalistani leader and his aide. Sources said the police detained him on Saturday near Jalandhar’s Nokodar, Punjab state of India, but the police have not confirmed it.

Late on Sunday night, India summoned a senior British diplomat to the Foreign Office. It demanded an explanation for the total lack of British security that had earlier in the day allowed separatist and extremist elements to enter the Indian High Commission and replace the Tricolor with the Khalistani flag.

India expressed its concern and told the second-highest ranking diplomat at the UK High Commission that the UK government’s “indifference” to the safety of Indian diplomatic premises and personnel in the country was “unacceptable”, said a statement by the Ministry of External Affairs.

The statement also said that the UK government was expected to take immediate steps to identify, arrest and prosecute each of those involved in the incident and put in place stringent measures to prevent the recurrence of such incidents.”

In a statement, the Ministry of External Affairs said, “the UK Government was expected to take immediate steps to identify, arrest and prosecute each one of those involved in today’s incident, and put in place stringent measures to prevent the recurrence of such incidents.

Source: Khaama Press

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‘I’m Not a Muslim but I Will Fast: Charity Invites Non-Muslims to 'Fast for a Day' This Ramadan


Kim Seggers who took part last year and will take part again (Image: One Voice)


By Shuiab Khan

‘I’m not a Muslim but I will fast (for one day),’ is now in its ninth year, with members of the public, officials from major local organisations from the public and private sector, and One Voice members taking part.

The award winning campaign began in 2015 with and more than 1,200 people have taken part. This year participants will be asked to record their fast as a video diary.

Ramadan is the holy Islamic month where Muslims forgo food and water between sunrise and sunset.

This year it is due to begin around March 22, and will last for 29 or 30 days, culminating in the Eid festival.

Last year teams of staff from across Blackburn with Darwen Council observed a day of fasting in solidarity with their Muslim friends and colleagues, with chief executive Denise Park taking part.

She said:“Opportunities such as this can help us to understand more about the beliefs and practices of people from different cultural and religious backgrounds to our own, to help our community to be more accepting, tolerant and welcoming – and ultimately stronger.”

Marketing manager at One Voice Blackburn, Sundas Bakhat, said: “Ramadan is the time of year when the Muslim community take time to reflect on their lives and their spirituality.

“We are thrilled to be nearing our tenth anniversary of this unique campaign.

"Community cohesion is a key component of our charity and once again we are overwhelmed with the number of people wanting to take part in the fast. We can’t wait to share their experiences on video.”

Anyone interested in taking part between March 27 to April 20 can email:

Source: Lancashire Telegraph

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 4 Months, 50 Rallies in Maharashtra, One Theme: ‘Love Jihad’, ‘Land Jihad’ and Economic Boycott by ‘Hindu Jan Aakrosh Morcha’

By Nayonika Bose, Zeeshan Shaikh, Alok Deshpande

March 20, 2023

Starting November last year, at least 50 ‘Hindu Jan Aakrosh Morcha’ rallies have been held across Maharashtra, in almost all of the state’s 36 districts. Each of these events has followed a set pattern: a brief march through the heart of the city, amid a sea of saffron flags and caps, followed by a short rally, where speakers on a makeshift dais attack minorities, invoke “love jihad”, “land jihad”, “forced conversions”, and call for the economic boycott of the Muslim community.

For the record, the BJP distances itself from these rallies, saying they are by the Sakal Hindu Samaj, an umbrella body of Hindutva and Sangh organisations, but almost all of these events have had the presence of party leaders, including the local BJP MLA and MP. The speeches, however, are largely delivered by right-wing hardliners, including suspended BJP leader and Telangana MLA T Raja Singh, Kalicharan Maharaj and Kajal Hindustani — at least two of them (Singh and Maharaj) face hate speech cases both in the state and elsewhere.

While Singh was suspended by the BJP in August last year for his remarks on Islam and Prophet Mohammed, he is a familiar face at such rallies in Maharashtra. Kalicharan Maharaj, aka Abhijit Dhananjay Sarang, is from Akola in Maharashtra. A proponent of a ‘Hindu Rashtra’, he was arrested in December 2021 for his speech at a dharam sansad in Raipur, where he allegedly hailed Nathuram Godse. Kajal Hindustani, aka Kajal Shingala, is a Gujarat-based Hindutva activist.

At one such rally, at Mumbai’s Mira Road on March 12, speeches were made against “Islamic aggression”, “love jihad” and “land jihad”, with some of the speakers calling for an economic boycott of Muslims.

“There are three major aspects of Islamic aggression. First is love jihad, second comes land jihad and finally there is the problem of conversion… For these…there is a Ram-led solution – one where you will not be stopped by political leaders, the Supreme Court or even the media. That solution is their economic boycott,” said Kajal Hindustani.

A 2-km march that preceded the speeches was flagged off by Geeta Jain, independent MLA from Mira Bhayandar who is supporting the government. The event was attended by BJP MLA Nitesh Rane along with local BJP leaders and members of outfits such as the VHP and Bajrang Dal.

While Maharashtra Police personnel were seen at most of the rallies recording the speeches, no case has been filed against any of the speakers so far. T Raja Singh has been booked twice by the Maharashtra Police for hate speeches in Latur (February) and Ahmednagar (March), but those were at rallies not held under the banner of the ‘Hindu Jan Aakrosh Morcha’.

“As per Supreme Court’s guidelines, we are video recording everything that is being said at these rallies. We then listen to them thoroughly, seek legal advice from appropriate individuals and accordingly legal action is being taken,” said a senior Maharashtra Police officer.

Despite a February 3 directive by the Supreme Court that the Hindu Jan Aakrosh Morcha would only be allowed if there is “no hate speech”, the speeches at these rallies have called Muslims “unpatriotic”, whose “prime aim is to veer Hindu girls away from their religion by converting them to Islam through marriage”.

Consider these:

November 20, 2022: At the first Hindu Jan Aakrosh Morcha in Parbhani, held in the background of the outrage over the murder of Shraddha Walkar by her partner Aaftab Poonawala, the organisers said the rally was to create awareness in Hindu society about the dangers of ‘love jihad’. Local BJP functionaries and Shiv Sena Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray faction MLA Rahul Patil were among those present.

January 29, 2023: At a rally in Mumbai, open threats were issued to Muslims on issues such as the presence of mosques, alleged pandering of the state to the Waqf Board, and halal meat. Addressing the crowd at Kamgar Maidan, where the rally ended, Telangana MLA T Raja Singh, while urging Hindus to boycott goods from shops run by members of the Muslim community, said: “It is time the Hindu community stands up against the domination by these people. There’s anger in the hearts and minds of people… Our sisters and daughters are falling prey to the systematic designs of the other community.” BJP MLAs Ashish Shelar and Pravin Darekar and MPs Gopal Shetty and Manoj Kotak attended the rally.

February 27: At a rally in Vashi, Navi Mumbai, more anti-Muslim rhetoric was raised. “Oh Abdul, listen to us, these Hindu brothers have decided to boycott you starting today,” Kajal Hindustani said. BJP MLA Ganesh Naik was present at the rally.

March 12: At a rally in Mira Road, Kajal Hindustani claimed Muslim vendors laced vegetables and fruits with toxins. “Today, almost all the vendors in Shanti Nagar, Poonam Garden, Jesal Park have been occupied by jihadi vendors. Spend a little extra money and stop buying from them. Ensure the money goes to a Hindu’s house.” Bhayander Independent MLA Geeta Jain and BJP MLA Nitesh Rane were present at the rally.

Asked about the participation of BJP leaders and ministers at these protests, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had said in January: “In some rallies, our party workers or leaders have been present because they are also Hindus. If a rally is being organised on the problems faced by Hindus, then it is natural that these leaders may participate. But this is not an agenda of (the BJP).”

Speaking on condition of anonymity about the rallies, a senior BJP leader pointed to the changed circumstances since the party joined hands with the Eknath Shinde faction of the Shiv Sena to come to power in the state in June last year.

“Hindutva was cited as the main reason by Eknath Shinde for overthrowing the Uddhav Thackeray-led government. A message needed to be sent out that the new government will give justice to Hindus, that it listens to Hindus and works for Hindus, even more than the previous one,” he said, adding that ‘love jihad’ issues connect with a large section of women.

“He (Uddhav) will always have the advantage of being Balasaheb Thackeray’s son, but the dilemma for him will be that his leaders can neither participate in these rallies nor condemn them,” he said, while pointing out that the BJP has been raising these issues in every state. “Love jihad is a common thread across the country. What Maharashtra is witnessing now is an experiment to check whether these mobilisations will reflect in votes.”

Asked about the hate speeches at these gatherings, BJP’s Kankavli MLA Nitesh Rane, who was present at the Mira Road event on March 12, told The Indian Express that he agreed with the call for economic boycott of Muslims.

“All that money is used by them against the Hindu community. If that money is used for the prosperity of the community, no one would have an issue. But they use money in the name of terrorism, love jihad and a lot of other things against Hindus. So obviously, we had to call out to stop their economic prosperity,” Rane said.

BJP MLA Pravin Darekar, who, too, was seen at many of these rallies, said: “Hindu girls are being lured and converted… this is taking place in large numbers. There are land mafia from a particular community who grab land and make religious places. Hindu society has come together against all this.”

Besides the Morcha rallies, there have been similar rallies across Maharashtra, including the ‘Hindu Rashtra Jagruti Sabhas’ organised by the Hindu Janjagriti Samiti, a Goa-based organisation with a stated aim of establishing a “Hindu nation”. These rallies too witness inflammatory speeches.

Though the organisers of the two gatherings are different, the speakers who get called are the same – T Raja Singh, Kalicharan Maharaj and Kajal Hindustani, among others.

Source: Indian Express

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Azaan at DC office: ‘Act of sedition’, says Karnataka BJP MLA Eshwarappa

20th March 2023

Shivamogga: BJP MLA and former Karnataka Minister K.S. Eshwarappa on Monday triggered a fresh controversy by calling it an ‘act of sedition’, after a video of a Muslim youth performing ‘Azaan’ at the premises of the District Commissioner’s office in Shivamogga district went viral on the social media.

Speaking to the media, Eshwarappa said that the youth, who performed Azaan is associated with the Socialist Democratic Party of India (SDPI). The police had booked the youth under IPC Section 107 and granted him bail.

“I will write a letter in this regard to the Chief Minister and Union Home Minister,” the MLA added.

“They have announced that they will perform Azaan in the premises of the Vidhana Soudha. They are insulting Allah. They are violating the Supreme Court guidelines by performing Azaan on loudspeakers. The students who are writing exams are facing difficulties because of Azaan,” Eshwarappa said.

“This is a system which will destroy democracy. The people who will perform Azaan like this don’t know whether they are living in Pakistan or India. Why do we need government departments if this is what is happening? This incident has caused serious threat to democracy,” he added.

“With total disregard, they have challenged that Azaan will be performed opposite Vidhana Soudha. When I was delivering speeches in Virajpet and Mangaluru, Azaan was performed on loudspeakers,” he said.

“This is against the constitution. The court has given specific directions regarding performing Azaan on loudspeakers.”

Asked about JD (S) leader and former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy criticising him and the BJP for issuing statements on Azaan, Eshwarappa asked him that doesn’t he know the directions of the Supreme Court in this regard?

Azaan in protest against BJP MLA at DC’s office:

The members of Muslim community had staged a protest before the District Commissioner’s office in Shivamogga, condemning the statements of Eshwarappa on Azaan.

One of the young protestors had performed Azaan before the main entrance during the protest. The police had objected to this and there was an exchange of words between police and the protestors.

The community leaders had warned the youth and pacified the situation. Later, the police had sent back the protesters.

JD (S) leader Kumaraswamy had held BJP responsible for the controversy and also slammed the role of a few miscreants.

Earlier, Eshwarappa had stirred a controversy in Karnataka by stating that Allah listens only if the Azaan prayers are done on loudspeakers.

Speaking at a rally organised as part of the Vijay Sankalp Yatra, while delivering a speech at Shantinagar in Kavoor near Mangaluru on Sunday, Eshwarappa made these controversial statements after hearing prayers from mosques.

“Wherever I go, this is a headache,” he had said.

“We call people who need loudspeakers to be heard as deaf. The Supreme Court had given the order in this regard. This problem is going to be solved. There shall be no doubts in this regard,” Eshwarappa added.

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given a call to respect all religions. But, will Allah listen to prayers if done on loudspeakers?” Eshwarappa asked.

“We also carry out worship in our temples. Sholaks and bhajans are performed. Even we have more devoutness and respect towards god than them,” he stated, referring to Muslims.

Source: Siasat Daily

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Karnataka: Man questioned for reciting ‘azaan’ during protest

19th March 2023

Bengaluru: The police in Karnataka’s Shivamogga have questioned a Muslim youth who recited ‘azaan’ during a protest at the Deputy Commissioner’s office two days ago.

A Muslim organisation had staged a protest at the office of the Deputy Commissioner and District Magistrate on March 17 against former minister and BJP legislator K.S. Eshwarappa over his remarks about ‘azaan’, or the Islamic call for prayers.

During the protest, a youth had recited ‘azaan’ and the video of the same had surfaced on social media.

The protesters had reportedly threatened to recite ‘azaan’ in front of the Vidhana Soudha as well.

The police have registered a case against the youth who has been summoned and questioned about the incident, confirmed Shivamogga Superintendent of Police, G.K. Mithun Kumar.

The SP said the youth was advised not to repeat such activity. The officer also clarified that the youth has not been arrested.

The police are checking the antecedents of those who participated in the protest. The SP said action would be taken if the police find anything suspicious about them.

Source: Siasat Daily

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Muslim Students Federation writes to UDF leaders about ending KSU alliance

Mar 20, 2023

KOZHIKODE: Muslim Students Federation (MSF), the student wing of IUML, has decided to sever its alliance with KSU over erosion of KSU votes for the candidates of United Democratic Students Federation (UDSF) alliance in the recently-held Calicut University student union elections.

MSF leaders said they have written to UDF leaders in state about their decision to end the alliance and go ahead after getting the approval from UDF leaders.

Sources said MSF state president PK Navas, who is the convener of UDSF, has sent his resignation letter from the post.

MSF leaders alleged that while university union councillors (UUCs) belonging to KSU from Thrissur didn't vote in full for MSF candidates, KSU also failed to secure their votes in Kozhikode.

They added that while all votes were polled for the chairperson candidate who belonged to KSU, there was erosion in KSU votes polled for general secretary candidate from MSF.

Meanwhile, KSU leaders denied the charge and added that the total number of votes for UDSF was 226 and the candidates who contested in the general seats had it and additional votes, secured by some candidates, were personal votes.

Source: Times Of India

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Dialogue with Christians to continue, open for talks with Muslims in Kerala: RSS

by Shaju Philip

March 19, 2023

In a bid to get closer to the prominent minority communities in Kerala ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, RSS on Saturday said dialogues with Christians will continue and indicated that it was also ready for opening talks with Muslims in the state.

RSS state prantha karyavahak P N Eswaran and prantha sangh chalak K K Balram told the media that the Christian community in Kerala is no more afraid of the RSS. “There had been a time when the Christian community had been afraid of RSS. We have held several rounds of discussions with the Christian leaders and the dialogue will continue. We have formed state and district-level mechanisms for dialogues with Christians,’’ they said.

Dropping hints that the RSS is keen on engaging with the Muslims in Kerala, the RSS leaders said that Muslim leaders in the state have not come forward for any discussion so far. “If they come forward, we can consider it depending upon the issue at stake. At the same time, there will not be any dialogue with anti-nationals,’’ said the RSS leaders.

Eswaran said the RSS did not see Indian Union Muslim League (an ally of Congress) as an extremist outfit. “IUML does not have the extremist approach even though it has communal interests. It is a democratic party. There was a talk with an IUML legislator in Malappuram,” he said.

Referring to its dialogue with various Muslim organisations in Delhi in January this year, Eswaran said the dialogue was not with Jamaat-e-Islami alone. Their (Jamaat) representative was among the Muslim intellectuals who came for the dialogue with the RSS. A discussion with Jamaat would happen only if they are ready to abandon their extreme stand, he said.

Recently, the Jamaat-e-Islami presence in the RSS dialogue with Muslim organisations in Delhi had triggered a political controversy in Kerala with ruling CPI(M) flaying the dialogue. CPI(M) was of the view that the dialogue would not help minorities at a time the secular community in the country was fighting against the Hindutva agenda of the RSS.

Source: Indian Express

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PFI recruits underwent 3-stage training programme: NIA chargesheet

March 20, 2023

The banned Popular Front of India (PFI) had put in place a “three-stage screening and grooming programme to radicalise gullible Muslim youth”, according to the latest chargesheet filed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in a Delhi court.

According to the chargesheet, PFI had charted a systematic process to first identify prospective members, drill its ideology into them, and prepare them to sacrifice their lives for the organisation. This assessment was based on the confessions of those arrested and information from other witnesses.

The chargesheet said the initiation would start with the standard questions pertaining to knowledge of Islam and the history of Muslim rule in India, among other things. NIA said the newcomers would also be apprised about the “prevailing poor situation of Muslims in India, atrocities committed on them by right-wing organisations and possible solutions to alleviate the situation”.

Once satisfied, PFI ideologues would take the new recruits to ‘Second Class’. “Later the accused would further radicalise and provoke them (recruits) with communally hateful speeches against the Indian government and every other group or organisation which opposes the extremist and Jihadi ideology of PFI. To substantiate their theory, they cited the incidents of different communal riots, Babri Masjid demolition and various other incidents to invoke fear and insecurity in the minds of impressionable Muslim youth and portray the Indian government and people of non-Muslim communities in a bad light,” the chargesheet added.

According to NIA, the ‘Third Class’ is for those who have already attended the first two classes and complied with the instructions given to them. “During this period, they are taught about the importance of the organisation… This functions like a Shura Council under Shariat Law and they are asked to be faithful to the organisation and its leaders. They are also asked to be ready to sacrifice everything, including family and their own life, for the organisation so that after death they will get entry into paradise. An oath called ‘Bayat’ is taken by holding the hand of the chairman or his representative to this effect,” the chargesheet said.

One of the arrested men, identified as Mohammed Yusuf has recorded his statement before the magistrate under Section 164 of CrPC. Yusuf, a lawyer, said he was a member of the Manitha Neethi Pasarai (MNP) of Tamil Nadu from 2001 till its merger with the National Development Front (NDF) of Kerala and Karnataka Forum for Dignity (KFD) to form PFI in 2006. “Yusuf said the national executive council is the top decision-making body in PFI. To achieve its objectives – freedom, justice and security of the Muslim community – PFI launched various social welfare schemes, but these were the front face to hide their anti-national and violent terrorist activities,” the chargesheet said.

“Advocate Yusuf also said that the real objective of PFI was to overthrow the democratically elected government and replace it with a Shariat-based social order for converting India into an Islamic nation. To achieve their objective, the PFI leadership was also providing basic and advanced-level physical efficiency training to its cadres in different states across India,” it added.

In his statement, Yusuf also claimed that during the basic and advanced-level PE training, cadres were taught about warm-up, stretching exercises, Yoga poses, and different types of kicks and punches for self-defence. “The participants in these exercises are also trained in the use of easy-to-wield weapons such as sticks, knife and sickle to kill a person by attacking his vulnerable body parts. Usually, the basic training course continues for five days, while the advance-level training was given for a period of six months to one year, during which the participants were trained in the defensive and offensive forms of martial arts as well as the use of weapons for self-defence and to attack vulnerable persons during mob violence,” according to the chargesheet.

“Yusuf also said that those PFI cadres who successfully completed the advanced training course were inducted into the hit squads or service teams of PFI. They operated at the district level under the direct supervision of PFI’s district president. Members of PFI’s service teams were tasked to identify and target the local area leaders of other organisations who oppose the activities of PFI. For organising these training camps across India and for purchase of weapons to carry out murders of the identified persons, the necessary funding is arranged by the NEC members in cash as well as bank transfers,” the chargesheet said.

Source: Indian Express

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PFI aimed to co-opt 10% of Muslims ‘to subjugate majority community’: NIA

Mar 20, 2023

NEW DELHI: Popular Front of India (PFI) was aiming to associate at least 10% of the country’s Muslim population with itself ”to subjugate the majority community and bring back the glory of Islam,” according to the chargesheet filed by NIA on Saturday against PFI and its 19 office-bearers led by chairman O M A Salam.

NIA submitted that the objective of the radical Islamic outfit, now banned under UAPA, was to unveil a new Constitution based on the Islamic Shariah law, “with the help of external forces”, once its goal of establishment of Islamic government in India was realised by the 100th year of India’s Independence.

As reported by TOIon Sunday, the PFI’s vision document titled ‘India 2047: Establishing Rule of Islam in India’ — seized during one of the NIA raids against PFI — there would be four stages of progression towards Islamic rule — uniting Muslims and providing weapons training to PFIcadres; selective use of violence to demonstrate strength and terrorise opponents; alliances with SCs/STs/OBCs to divide Hindus for political gains; and infiltrating the police, Army and judiciary.

NIA sources said that a protected witness who was once a member of the core team of PFI, disclosed that the chargesheeted accused in the sessions held by them had mentioned that in case of any disturbance from Pakistan, the Indian Army would be busy in the north, and with PFI’s training they can capture the south, and move towards the north. “This indicates the PFI’s intention of waging war against India and to overthrow thedemocratically established government,” it stated.

The PFI vision document records its intent to acquire plots of land in Muslim-dominated localities or remote locations for training and stockpiling of weapons and explosives. The outfit, it adds, trains and funds cadres for the identification, reconnaissance and elimination of all those who do not believe in the establishment of Islamic rule in India.

The chargesheet reveals how accused leaders and cadres of PFI, to further the criminal conspiracy to drive a communal wedge and carry out an armed rebellion to dismember the country, overthrow its democratic government and establish Islamic rule, sought to raise funds through monthly donations (Baith-Ul-Maal) from cadres, Masjid collection during Friday prayers, Ramzan collection, bucket collection, public collection and collection in the name of relief (cyclone etc. ) funds. These funds were distributed to PFI trainers and service teams from six PFIbank accounts, as per money trail established by NIA.

It was also revealed that these money transfers — done with the connivance and consent of accused members of the national executive committee, the apex body of PFI — were for funding weapons training and terrorist camps organised by PFI for its cadres across the country, gathering of arms & ammunition and explosive substances for causing bomb blasts and murdering innocent people.

While probe into PFI accounts revealed that arrested accused PFI trainer Anshad Badruddin had between January 2018 and January 2021 received a total amount of Rs. 3. 5 lakh into his two accounts.

NIA probe found that PFI cadres are imparted weapons training — under the guise of yoga classes and ‘Healthy People Healthy Nation’ campaign — in three stages. They are taught from three books codenamed as Book-1, Book-2 and Book-3 relating to training in knife, rods and sickle/ sword respectively. An assessment of the members is taken on the final day to select persons for advanced training who can be chosen to be members of service team or hit squad to attack targets — basically anyone opposing the idea of Islamic rule — identified by the organisation.

Source: Times Of India

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Southeast Asia


Maldivian President Urges To Utilise Ramadan to Seek Solace and Strength in the Holy Quran

20 March 2023

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih called on the public on Monday to make the best use of the fasting month of Ramadan, to seek solace and strength in the beacon of light that is the Holy Quran, and to remain steadfast in the path of religious practices and good behaviour. He made these remarks while speaking at the closing ceremony of the 35th National Quran Recitation Competition.

At the ceremony in the Islamic Centre, President Solih congratulated the winners and stated the importance of memorising and practising the Tajweed rules of the Holy Quran for the present and the hereafter. He also urged the participants of the competition to continue on their paths.

President Solih also noted the high number of Hafizes in the country and spoke about the importance of doing more to maintain their prestige. He also asked the public to question the reason behind the need to invite Hafizes from other countries to lead the Tarawih prayers during Ramadan.

Reaffirming the administration’s commitment to upholding and preserving the true values and principles of Islam and the Holy Quran, President Solih urged all to strive hard towards instilling those in young children. Speaking in this regard, the President called on higher education institutions to promote the teachings of the Holy Quran and the message of Islam, supported by scientific research and technological advancements in the modern world.

Source: Presidency

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Conversion to Islam without both parents’ consent: Indira Gandhi, two ‘victims’ file court challenge against such laws

By Ida Lim

Monday, 20 Mar 2023

KUALA LUMPUR, March 20 — Two women who claimed to have been “victims” of unilateral conversion where they were converted to be Muslims as children without both parents’ consent, as well as Hindu mother M. Indira Gandhi have filed a lawsuit against eight laws enabling unilateral conversion to Islam in seven states and Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Labuan.

Indira, the two women named Aisyah Muhammad Ali and Mimi Mastura Abdullah, and 11 others filed the lawsuit at the High Court in Kuala Lumpur on March 3 through an originating summons.

The eight respondents in the lawsuit were named as the state governments of Perlis, Kedah, Melaka, Negeri Sembilan, Pahang, Perak, Johor and the government of the federal territories of Malaysia.

In the lawsuit, Indira and the 13 others are seeking for the High Court to declare the state enactments which allow the unilateral conversion of children into Islam as being void or invalid due to its breaching of the Federal Constitution, especially Article 12(4) and in light of the Federal Court’s 2018 decision.

Under Article 12(4), the religion of a person aged under 18 is to be decided by his “parent or guardian”.

The Federal Court had on January 29, 2018 already decided in a case — involving Indira’s successful challenge against her three children’s unilateral conversion into Islam by the Muslim convert ex-husband without her knowledge or consent — that the word “parent” in Article 12(4) is to be interpreted as “parents” if both are still alive.

In other words, the Federal Court had decided in 2018 in the Indira case that for children born from a civil marriage or a couple who were both non-Muslims, the consent of both the mother and the father (if both are still living) is required before a certificate of conversion to Islam can be issued to such children.

The other court orders that Indira and the 13 others are seeking include a declaration that the practice of unilateral conversion is unconstitutional and contrary to Article 12(4).

If the High Court declares the state laws enabling unilateral conversion to be invalid and declares unilateral conversion to be an unconstitutional practice, Indira and the 13 others are seeking for a further declaration that any and all unilateral conversions that took place in Malaysia before the Federal Court’s January 2018 decision in Indira’s case to be void or invalid for breaching Article 12(4).

Alternatively if the first two orders are granted, they want the court to require any and all unilateral conversions in Malaysia — after the Federal Court’s 2018 Indira decision — to require the consent of both parents, and to reverse the unilateral conversion of these children if either parent refuses to grant consent within a one-year period from the date of the court’s order in this lawsuit.

Indira and the 13 others who filed the lawsuit listed the eight laws which they say are unconstitutional due to their enabling of unilateral conversions of children to Islam with just the consent of either the mother or father, instead of requiring both parents to consent.

These eight laws are Perlis’s Administration of the Religion of Islam Enactment 2006’s Section 117, and its equivalent in other states: Administration of Islamic Law (Kedah Darul Aman) Enactment 2008’s Section 80; Administration of the Religion of Islam (State of Malacca) Enactment 2002’s Section 105; Administration of the Religion of Islam (Negeri Sembilan) Enactment 2003’s Section 117; Pahang’s Administration of Islamic Law Enactment 1991’s Section 103; Administration of the Religion of Islam (Perak) Enactment 2004’s Section 106; Administration of the Religion of Islam (State of Johor) Enactment 2003’s Section 117 and Administration of Islamic Law (Federal Territories) Act 1993’s Section 95.

Apart from Ipoh-based Indira and the two women, the others who filed the lawsuit include former Malaysian Hindu Sangam president and former Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) president S. Mohan; Arumugam Dorasamy or Arun Dorasamy who chairs the Indira Gandhi Action Team (I.N.G.A.T) and is a former Malaysia Hindu Sangam youth leader; and non-governmental organisation Pertubuhan Hindu Agamam Ani Malaysia dealing with the Hindu community’s social welfare.

The rest are all residents in the seven states and federal territories where the state laws are being challenged: Perlis, Kedah, Melaka, Negeri Sembilan, Pahang, Perak, Johor and Kuala Lumpur.

In the lawsuit, Indira and the 13 others said that these state laws’ provisions for unilateral conversion of children is “unconstitutional” and has “led to, is leading and will lead to violation of rights” of those who had filed the lawsuit and every non-Muslim citizen of Malaysia “whose child or children may be unilaterally converted to Islam”.

In an affidavit by Aisyah, she said her father had converted her to Islam when she was aged nine at the Johor Islamic Religious Department at Kota Tinggi without her mother’s consent, adding however that she does not profess or practise Islam but instead practises Hinduism.

Similarly, Aisyah said Mimi Mastura was converted to Islam by her mother at the age of 10 without the father’s consent at the Johor Islamic Religious Department at Johor Bahru, but added that the latter also practises Hinduism and had at all times neither professed nor practised Islam.

Aisyah cited the Federal Constitution’s Article 4(1) which states the Federal Constitution to be Malaysia’s supreme law and states that any law inconsistent with it shall be made void or invalid, and also cited Article 75 where the federal law will prevail if any state law is inconsistent with federal laws.

Based on those two provisions, Aisyah said the courts can declare the eight listed legal provisions as being unconstitutional due to their contradiction with the Federal Constitution’s Article 12(4).

Source: Malay Mail

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Maidam retracts mandatory wearing of face masks at mosques, suraus

20-03- 2023

KUALA TERENGGANU: All mosque or surau congregants in Terengganu no longer have to wear face masks from today.

The instruction to abolish the guideline was made by the Terrengganu Islamic Religious and Malay Customs Council (Maidam) with the consent of Sultan of Terengganu, Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin.

Maidam president Datuk Shaikh Harun Shaikh Ismail said the retraction was made after considering the current declining Covid-19 cases.

“On Sept 7, 2020, Maidam issued an instruction making the wearing of face masks mandatory among mosque or surau congregants that remained in effect till today.

“After considering the current situation and guidelines from the Terengganu state health department, we retract the instruction and congregants have a choice to continue wearing face masks,” he said in a statement today. Shaikh Harun said that those with symptoms like cough, fever or cold are encouraged to wear face masks to avoid infecting others.

Source: The Sun Daily

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South Asia


UK Apologizes for Asking Afghan Interpreters to Approve Asylum Documents from Kabul Authorities

Fidel Rahmati

March 20, 2023

The British government confirmed on Sunday that 37 applicants to the Afghan Relocation and Assistance Police (ARAP) scheme, designed to relocate those who directly assisted British forces, asked to validate their documents with the Taliban government. However, the UK refuses to recognize the Taliban’s government.

Several applicants have received emails from officials requesting documentation to be sent with stamps from the Afghan government.

Following an earlier denial of the practice, the MoD has now expressed its “unreservedly for this error”. One MP compared the request to “asking them to sign their death warrant”, and charities said that individuals were trying to flee the country and were being put in danger.

However, the Ministry finally admitted to the mistake “we corrected the mistake and urgently strengthened our internal guidelines to ensure this does not happen again”. The MoD spokesperson said. “We apologize unreservedly and continue to work tirelessly to move eligible people to safety,” he added, reported by Guardian.

Source: Khaama Press

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Islamic Emirate officials debarred from participating in tenders

Noorullah Zazai

19 Mar 2023

KABUL (Pajhwok): In yet another decree, Islamic Emirate supreme leader Maulvi Haibatullah Akhundzada has debarred government officials from participating in public tenders as bidders.

The Office of Administrative Affairs wrote on its twitter page that government officials could not participate in tenders to secure procurement and other contracts.

“The leader of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, Amirul Momineen Sheikhul Hadith Haibatullah Akhundzada has prohibited (Islamic) Emirate officials from participating in procurement and contracts of ministries and institutions in a new decree”.

According to the decree, Emirati officials could not directly or indirectly participate as bidders in the procurement of goods, services and building materials, mining and other contracts.

Source: Pajhwok

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Launch of exclusive column for ‘Afghan women’ on Khaama Press website

March 20, 2023

We are thrilled to announce the initiation of a dedicated webpage on our website focusing exclusively on the situation of women and girls in Afghanistan. Our goal is to empower, inform, and create awareness around the challenges and triumphs faced by Afghan women.

Khaama Press remains deeply committed to supporting women and girls and promoting the ideas of a free society in Afghanistan. We believe in being a voice for the voiceless and strive to make a positive impact on the lives of Afghan women by bringing their stories to the forefront.

This new webpage will serve as a platform to bring attention to the latest news, stories, and events related to the lives of women in Afghanistan. It will feature articles, interviews, and multimedia content that highlight the resilience, strength, and accomplishments of Afghan women while also addressing the hardships they continue to endure.

We firmly believe that by amplifying their voices and shedding light on their experiences, we can contribute to positive change and foster a more just and equitable society for all. To make this webpage as comprehensive and inclusive as possible, we invite you to submit any news, stories, or updates related to women in Afghanistan that could affect their lives. Please share your stories, concerns and news or insights to our dedicated email address:

Source: Khaama Press

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Türkiye welcomes Kosovo-Serbia agreement on implementing EU normalization deal

Dilara Hamit 


Türkiye on Sunday welcomed an agreement reached between Kosovo and Serbia on implementing an EU-backed deal to normalize ties.

“We welcome that in the wake of reaching agreement on the normalization of relations between Kosovo and Serbia in Brussels on February 27, 2023, within the framework of the European Union roadmap, the leaders of Kosovo and Serbia agreed on the implementation annex of the said agreement on March 18, 2023 in Ohrid,” a Turkish Foreign Ministry statement said.

The ministry expressed hope that the parties will “fully comply with the provisions of the said agreement and achieve concrete results in the coming period.”

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Russia sends airmobile hospital to Türkiye’s quake-hit Hatay region

Burc Eruygur 


Russia on Sunday announced that it has sent an airmobile hospital to Türkiye to provide assistance to earthquake victims.

“The hospital will be deployed in the Erzin district of the province of Hatay,” a statement by the Russian Embassy in Ankara read on Telegram.

More than 49,500 people were killed in Türkiye by magnitude 7.7 and 7.6 quakes that hit on Feb. 6, according to officials.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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France welcomes Türkiye's decision to ratify Finland's NATO bid in parliament

Esra Taskin 



France on Saturday welcomed Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's announcement to move ahead with Finland's NATO membership bid.

In a written statement, the Foreign Ministry said both Finland and Sweden have important and interoperable military capacities, and strengthening of NATO is beneficial for all allies.

Türkiye on Friday said it is starting the approval process of Finland's NATO membership in its parliament.

For Sweden, however, Erdogan said the process "will be directly linked to the concrete steps" which it will take.

Abandoning decades of military non-alignment, Finland and Sweden formally applied to join NATO last May.

But Türkiye, a longstanding NATO member, asked the two Nordic states to take concrete action against terror groups.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Adidas team up with Muslim hiking group this Ramadan to make the countryside more inclusive

Zesha Saleem

Monday 20 Mar 2023

Ahead of Ramadan this week, Adidas have teamed up with walking group, Muslim Hikers, in a bid to make the outdoors a more inclusive space.

Signs to Mecca have been installed along a popular Peak District hiking route, and a new prayer mat has been launched.

Along with global sports retailer, Wiggle, Adidas TERREX – which offers specialist gear for outdoor pursuits – has worked closely with Muslim Hikers to identify the obstacles they face in the countryside.

Muslim Hikers is a community walking group, set up in 2020, to encourage Muslims to get outside – although everyone is welcome.

Ethnic minorities account for only 1% of visitors to national parks, and a diversity review commissioned by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) found that while people from ethnic minority backgrounds valued the natural environment of the countryside, they felt excluded in what was seen as an ‘exclusively English environment’.

Shockingly, Muslim Hikers have faced online abuse and were accused of ‘not being proper walkers’ following a Christmas Day hike in 2021.

Now, more is being done to support Muslims in the countryside – in particular, the new campaign focuses on facilitating prayer whilst outdoors.

Muslims pray in the direction of Mecca up to five times a day, so signs pointing to the holy city have been introduced along Cave Dale, in Derbyshire.

Alongside that, a new prayer mat – designed by a 7th generation Muslim craftsman – will be launched on Wiggle’s website.

Currently 100 prayer mats have been donated to Muslim Hikers as part of the partnership.

If you want one yourself, they will be on Wiggle’s website in April 2023, for £20 each.

Specifically made to withstand the outdoors, it comes with pockets in four corners to insert rocks in to keep it down.

As well as that, these waterproof mats are very compact, so you can roll it into your backpack for storage.

Compared to using jackets and makeshift alternatives, these new prayer mats will let Muslims pray comfortably while hiking.

‘Working with Wiggle and adidas TERREX has allowed us to take a huge step in the right direction when it comes to promoting inclusivity in the outdoors,’ said Haroon Mota, founder of the Muslim Hikers.

Source: Metro UK

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PTI Supporters Protest Outside White House, Asking Govt to Stop Intimidating Imran Khan


Nizamuddin Rezahi

March 20, 2023

The protest came after Imran Khan’s Zaman Park residence in Lahore was stormed by Punjab police in large numbers, while Khan was in Islamabad to attend a judge’s hearing regarding the Toshakhana case on Saturday. 

Hour-long clashes between PTI workers and policemen broke out, which resulted in the injury of at least 25 people. 30 automobiles, including motorbikes, and a police chowki was set on fire during the clashes in the federal capital. The recent treatment of PTI leaders and supporters by Pakistani police prompted widespread criticisms in Pakistan and beyond.

Following the recent clashes and the government’s effort to arrest the PTI Chairman, a considerable number of Pakistanis in the US gathered in front of the White House and raised their voice in support of Imran Khan. The protestors included a large number of women.

“We are here to draw attention to the deteriorating human rights situation and the threat to democracy in Pakistan,” said Junaid Bashir, a senior PTI leader in Virginia. “We want the government to stop intimidating Imran Khan immediately.”

“What we witness during the last few days in Pakistan is not politics. It’s an attack on democracy and democratic values, which needs to be condemned in strongest terms” Karman Rizvi, a Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) said.

Source: Khaama Press

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Imran Khan to Stage PTI Power Show at Minar-i-Pakistan Next Week


Nizamuddin Rezahi

March 19, 2023

He added the rally would take place on Wednesday (March 22), and it would be a “referendum” on where the nation stood.

On Saturday, as Khan arrived at the Federal Judicial Complex (FJC) to attend a hearing in the Toshakhana case, clashes between his supporters and police broke out. At least 25 people were injured, 30 automobiles, including motorbikes, and a police chowki was set on fire during hours-long clashes in the federal capital.

Meanwhile, Punjab police conducted a search operation in Imran Khan’s residence in Lahore while he was in Islamabad to appear before the judge. Khan said the entire nation knew he always respected the law, and he alleged that 96 cases had been registered against him.

“Whenever I leave the house, more cases are registered against me. Who is doing this? The criminals responsible for doing this to the country are the ones registering cases against me,” Imran Khan said.

Khan alleged the coalition government for an attempt on his life in Wazirabad, adding they had backup of handlers. Imran said that he was ready to hand himself over to the police but he was stopped from doing so by his party workers who feared harm would befall the party chief. 

“Yesterday, when I left my house, I said my goodbyes to my wife. I knew that I’d either be arrested or killed. With that thought in mind, I left my home.”

The chaos at Zaman Park residence in Lahore was disappointing for many reasons according to PTI members and government opposition. The party chief’s house was attacked similarly to that of terrorist hideouts. Police rangers and armored vehicles had surrounded Khan’s residence from three directions, and police used water cannons and tear gas to disperse the crowd.

Talking to reporters, Dr. Uzma Kha­num, Imran Khan’s sister had said the policemen “seemed blood-thirsty” as they brutally thrashed un­­a­rmed people in the house and alleged that the pol­ice also abducted her hus­­­band and some servants.

Furthermore, a Lahore court on Sunday directed the police to present 102 detained PTI workers before an Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) tomorrow, a day after they were arrested during the raid that took place at Imran Khan’s Zaman Park residence when the police forced its way into his house.

Source: Khaama Press

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Imran Khan-led PTI seeks FIR against Sanaullah, Maryam Nawaz over Zaman Park raid

Mar 20, 2023

ISLAMABAD: Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has sought the registration of a First Information Report (FIR) against Rana Sanaullah and Maryam Nawaz in the Zaman Park raid that took place in Lahore on Saturday, ARY News reported.

The application filed against Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) chief organizer Maryam Nawaz blamed the two leaders for the raid, followed by clashes at Imran Khan's Zaman Park residence.

In order to file a police report (FIR) against Maryam Nawaz, Rana Sanaullah, Punjab Chief Minister (CM) Mohsin Naqvi, and Inspector General (IG) Punjab, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) submitted a request to the Race Course police station, ARY News reported.

The application was filed by the caretaker of Imran Khan's residence.

It included the names of CCPO Lahore Bilal Siddique Kamyana, DIG Operations Afzal Kausar, SSP Operations Sohaib Ashraf, Superintendents Police (SPs) of CIA, headquarters, and Saddar, reported ARY News.

While addressing the nation, a day after a search operation was conducted at his residence after Khan visited the court, the former PM said that the officials broke into his house when his wife 'Bushra Bibi' was alone.

"I want to ask everyone, police, army officers, the judges of this country and the people [about] the respect of chaddor and char dewari in Islam," Khan said. He said he wanted to address the matter last night but could not. "It was good that I didn't because I was angry. And a person should not talk when he is angry," he added.

Source: Times Of India

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4 died, 12 injured after unidentified shooters attack van in Pakistan

Mar 20, 2023

BALOCHISTAN: In Pakistan, unidentified attackers opened indiscriminate fire at a van carrying a wedding party in Balochistan's Nasirabad district, leaving 4 people dead and 12 people injured, Dawn reported.

According to the local police, around 20 people, including children and women, were going to Gandawah on Saturday, but when they reached the Soheje Levies checkpoint, the motorcycle-riding attackers opened fire at the van using automatic weapons.

Giving details about the case, Jhal Magsi's deputy commissioner said that as a result of the attack, four people, including a woman were killed on spot and 12 others sustained injuries.

The bodies and the injured were shifted to the district hospital in Gandawah. Hospital officials said the condition of four injured people was critical and they were being shifted to Quetta.

The police said that they still had no clue regarding the motive of the attack. However, Jhal Magsi's deputy commissioner said there could be tribal enmity behind the killings, according to Dawn.

Authorities were investigating the incident and a search operation was launched by the forces to trace the attackers.

Balochistan Chief Minister Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo has taken notice of the incident and sought a report from Jhal Magsi's deputy commissioner about the incident.

He has directed officials to immediately arrest the culprits and provide the injured with the best possible treatment.

On the same day, seven people, including a tribal elder and his two brothers, were killed after unidentified shooters sprayed their vehicle with bullets in Balochistan's Zhob district, Dawn reported.

According to Dawn, the deceased tribal elder, identified as Ahmed Khan Kibzai, was traveling in the vehicle along with his two brothers and some other people. When his vehicle reached the Khurlam, located close to the Pakistan-Afghan border, unidentified shooters attacked them with automatic weapons leaving seven people dead on the spot, and one person injured.

"The victims tried to escape from the vehicle but were not given a chance to save their lives," a senior Levies official said, adding that the bodies of Kibzai and his two brothers were charred after the vehicle later caught fire due to firing.

Levies officials rushed to the site after receiving information about the incident and shifted the bodies and injured to the district hospital in Zhob.

"We have received seven bodies and one injured in the hospital," hospital sources said, adding that all victims died of multiple bullet injuries, reported Dawn.

Source: Times Of India

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Minister urges Islamic states to pool resources, expertise

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Education and Professional Training Rana Tanveer Hussain on Sunday emphasized the role of universities in developing skills among youth and responding more effectively to the rapidly developing realities and challenges.

The minister was speaking at the inaugural session of the 5th Vice-Chancellors’ Forum of Universities in the Islamic World on the theme “Towards Disruptive Technology in a Globalised World” on Sunday.

Over 250 Vice Chancellors, including 40 from 20 OIC countries are participating in the Forum, which is aimed at sharing experiences, pooling resources, fostering collaborations, strengthening networks between universities, and promoting dialogue on the future of higher education in the Islamic World.

The VC Forum 2023 is being jointly organized by the Higher Education Commission (HEC) Pakistan, Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training, Islamabad, COMSATS University Islamabad (CUI), Islamic World Educational, and Scientific and Cultural Organization (ICESCO), and British Council Pakistan.

Speaking on the occasion, the minister called upon all Islamic countries to pool resources and expertise to benefit the entire Muslim Ummah.

He said the most important outcome of education is the development of a good moral character.

He highlighted the need to develop a framework for mutual recognition of degrees among OIC member states, which can potentially facilitate greater movement of skilled manpower and increase collaborative research between Islamic countries.

In his video message, President of Pakistan Dr. Arif Alvi highlighted the huge potential of the youth bulge of the country and called for setting a vision for higher education.

He said the Muslims could not keep pace with adoption of technology, which needs to change on war-footing.

He added that in the last 10 years, sectors focusing on natural resources were overtaken by large technological conglomerates like Amazon and Google.

These companies have attracted intellectual capital from the world and raised the need for greater access to quality online education particularly in developing countries.

Dr Salim M. AlMalik, Director General, ICESCO, while referring to the Holy Quran said that Mankind has been given limited knowledge, yet this little knowledge has caused great disruption such that what is taught in universities is almost redundant by the time students’ graduate.

He informed the audience that the development of robotics would make 97 million jobs obsolete in the next 10 years, 375 million people would have to switch their jobs, causing immense disruption and increasing the digital divide.

Dr. AlMalik also emphasised the need to reconstruct the glorious Islamic heritage in science.

Chairman HEC, Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed urged the participants to contemplate how the Muslim Ummah can be steered into the right direction. He reminisced the immense contributions of early Muslims, that were fundamental to advances in science and technology being at the root of global development today.

He gave an overview for establishing the platform of VC Forum and how it will help higher education institutions in the Islamic world to collaborate and contribute to socio-economic development.

Dr. Ahmed called for devising tangible initiatives and support of the governments for reshaping the higher education landscape in the Islamic world.

In his welcome note, Rector Comsats University Islamabad, Prof Dr Muhammad T. Afzal emphasized the importance of curriculum development and providing equal opportunities to students.

He urged the government to allocate at least 4 percent of the GDP to education only then would the country be able to reverse the current negative trend of brain drain.

He lauded the Government’s initiatives for creating internship opportunities for the youth and called for making internships an integral part of the curriculum.

He strongly recommended addressing the challenges of access, quality and relevance of teaching and research as well as financial sustainability of universities in the Muslim world.

Advisor to the President of Council of Higher Education, Turkiye, Mustafa Turker Ari informed the audience about the havoc caused by recent earthquakes in Turkiye that has affected 9 percent of the entire student population and how the country was responding by initially resorting to online education, which would gradually lead to hybrid mode.

He said that his country laid great emphasis on Techno Parks in view of the strong global competition for creating entrepreneurial opportunities for the youth.

Maria Rehman, Country Director, British Council Pakistan talked about reforming the educational system, building partnerships for increasing access to quality learning, which is quite a challenge. She pointed out the disconnect between universities and industry and the need to bridge this gap.

A Memorandum of Understanding between the HEC and the World Business Angels Investment Forum (WBAF) was signed during the opening ceremony.

Source: Brecorder

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Middle East


Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad Chiefs Meet in Lebanon for Talks on Closer Coordination Against Israel


TEHRAN (FNA)- Secretary-General of the Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movement, Seyed Hassan Nasrallah, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad Chief Ziyad Nakhalah discussed increased cooperation between the two groups in the face of the Israeli regime and talked over the latest developments in the Middle East.

The two sides reviewed the challenges facing the Palestinian resistance during a meeting in a Southern suburb of Beirut on Saturday and underlined the need for greater future cooperation between the two movements in a way that would further bolster the resistance front to counter Israeli plots, Lebanon’s Arabic-language Al-Mayadeen television news network reported.

Nasrallah and Nakhalah also praised the heroism of the Palestinian nation, and the bravery of resistance fighters “who have been courageously standing up against Israeli militia groups and military forces across the occupied Palestinian territories, especially in Al-Quds and the West Bank”.

Last week, the Hezbollah leader stressed the significance of all developments taking place throughout Palestinian lands.

“Special attention should now be paid to rendering assistance to Palestinian resistance fighters, who are trying to push the occupying Israeli regime into the abyss,” he said at the time.

Over the past months, Israel has ramped up attacks on Palestinian towns and cities throughout the occupied territories. As a result of these attacks, dozens of Palestinians have lost their lives and many others have been arrested.

Most of the raids have focused on Nablus and Jenin, where Israeli forces have been trying to stifle a growing Palestinian resistance in the occupied cities.

Source: Fars News Agency

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Türkiye, Saudi Arabia sign trade agreements in various areas

İbrahim Khazen, Hacer Başer 


Türkiye and Saudi Arabia signed trade agreements in various areas at the Saudi-Turkish Business Forum on Sunday.

More than 450 companies from both countries participated in the forum as well as Saudi Commerce Minister Majid Bin Abdullah Al Qasabi and Turkish Trade Minister Mehmet Mus, according to the Saudi Arabian official news agency SPA.

In his speech at the forum held in the Saudi capital Riyadh, Qasabi said the forum will contribute to the creation of new opportunities for economic cooperation between the two countries.

Three trade cooperation agreements were signed between representatives of the Saudi and Turkish business world.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Israel, Palestinians pledge to curb violence during Egypt security meeting

Ibrahim al-Khazen 


Israel and the Palestinians pledged during a security meeting in Egypt’s Red Sea city of Sharm El-Sheikh on Sunday to curb violence and incitement amid rising tensions in the occupied West Bank.

The meeting brought together delegates from Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Egypt, Jordan and the United States.

“The parties reaffirmed their commitment to advancing security, stability and peace for Israelis and Palestinians alike,” read a joint statement issued following the meeting.

The two sides also recognized “the necessity of de-escalation on the ground, the prevention of further violence, as well as of pursuing confidence building measures, enhancing mutual trust, creating political horizon, and addressing outstanding issues through direct dialogue,” it added.

The Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority also reiterated commitment to immediately work to end unilateral measures for a period of 3-6 months.

“This includes an Israeli commitment to stop discussion of any new settlement units for 4 months, and to stop authorization of any outposts for 6 months,” the statement said.

The Israeli and Palestinian sides also agreed “to develop a mechanism to curb and counter violence, incitement, and inflammatory statements and actions, which will report to the quintet leadership in April, in a resumed session of the meeting in Sharm El Sheikh.”

“The two sides reaffirmed their commitment to all previous agreements between them, and reaffirmed their agreement to address all outstanding issues through direct dialogue,” the statement said.

The two sides also agreed to establish a mechanism to improve the economic conditions of the Palestinian people and to significantly enhance the fiscal situation of the Palestinian Authority.

“They also reiterated the commitment of upholding unchanged the historic status quo at the Holy Sites in Jerusalem, both in word and in practice,” the statement said. “They emphasized the necessity of both Israelis and Palestinians to actively prevent any actions that would disrupt the sanctity of these sites, inter alia during the upcoming Holy Month of Ramadan, which coincides with Easter and Passover this year.”

Sunday’s security meeting was held as tension was rising high across the occupied West Bank in recent months amid repeated Israeli military raids into Palestinian towns.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Iran's Raisi invited to visit Saudi Arabia after detente

Syed Zafar Mehdi 



Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz has welcomed the Tehran-Riyadh detente and called for economic and regional cooperation between the two countries, the Iranian president's top aide said Sunday.

In a post on Twitter, Mohammad Jamshidi, the deputy chief of staff for political affairs in the Iranian president's office, said the Saudi king in a letter to President Ebrahim Raisi invited him to visit the Arab country.

King Salman "called for strong economic and regional cooperation" between the two countries that severed ties in January 2016, he added.

Raisi, for his part, "welcomed the invitation and stressed Iran's readiness to expand cooperation".

There has been no official comment on the letter from the Saudi government yet.

Iran and Saudi Arabia, two regional arch-foes, last week reached an agreement in Beijing to restore diplomatic ties and re-open embassies after two years of marathon talks in Iraq and Oman.

The final round of talks, brokered by China, that led to the breakthrough was spearheaded by top security officials of the two countries.

Earlier on Sunday, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said he will meet his Saudi counterpart soon, adding that three places have been proposed for holding the high-profile meeting.

The top Iranian diplomat said Tehran and Riyadh have so far agreed to have technical teams visit the diplomatic missions in order to re-open them as agreed by the two sides in the joint statement last week.

The diplomatic breakthrough between Tehran and Riyadh has set off a wave of tension-easing talks between Iran and its estranged Persian Gulf neighbors, including Saudi Arabia's key ally, Bahrain.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Hamas, Hezbollah hold talks on Palestinian, regional developments

Nour Abu Eisha 


GAZA CITY, Palestine

Palestinian movement Hamas held talks on Sunday with Lebanese group Hezbollah on developments in the occupied territories, the movement said in a statement.

A Hamas delegation led by political deputy chief Saleh al-Arouri met with Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah in Lebanon.

"Both sides reviewed the latest developments in occupied Palestine, especially the resistance in the West Bank and Jerusalem, and the internal events inside Israel,” the Hamas statement said.

Israel has seen mass protests over the past two months over a planned judicial overhaul by the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, seen by the opposition as an attempt to reduce the powers of the judicial authority in favor of the executive authority.

Sunday’s meeting came as tensions have been rising across the occupied West Bank in recent months amid repeated Israeli raids into Palestinian towns.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Israeli government faces '3 fights', including internal unrest: Netanyahu

Abdelraouf Arnaout 



Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday his cabinet is experiencing "three fights", including internal unrest amid mass protests against his government’s plan for judicial overhaul.

Speaking at his weekly cabinet meeting, Netanyahu described the ongoing protests against the judicial reform plan as "anarchy."

"We won't accept anarchy," he added.

The Israeli premier said the two other fights his government is dealing with are the Palestinian attacks and Iran's nuclear program.

Netanyahu called on the Israeli police to take a tougher stance against the anti-government protests, and to not allow protesters to block roads. He also urged the army chief of staff to contain a wave of protests within the military.

"I expect from the military chief of staff and the heads of the branches of the security services to aggressively combat the refusal to serve. There's no place for refusal to serve in the public discourse," he said. "A state that wishes to exist can't tolerate such phenomena and we will not tolerate it as well."

For more than two months, thousands of Israelis have taken to the streets to protest Netanyahu’s plan for judicial overhaul, seen by the opposition as an attempt to reduce the powers of the judicial authority in favor of the executive authority.

Proposed by Justice Minister Yariv Levin, the reform, if enacted, would be the most radical change ever in the system of government in Israel.

The planned change would severely limit the power of the Supreme Court of Justice, give the government the power to choose judges, and end the appointment of legal advisers to ministries by the attorney general.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Palestine appeals for US action following settler attack on Jerusalem church

Awad al-Rujoub 


RAMALLAH, Palestine

Palestine on Sunday appealed for US and international action to halt Israeli settler attacks against holy sites in occupied East Jerusalem.

Two Israeli settlers on Sunday broke into the Church of Gethsemane in Jerusalem and attempted to sabotage the content inside, but were confronted by a Palestinian man who was present at the church, according to the Governorate of Jerusalem.

In a statement, the Palestinian Foreign Ministry strongly condemned the settler attack on the church.

“The repetition of these assaults is part of the official Israeli targeting of Jerusalem and its Christian and Islamic holy sites,” the statement said.

“These assaults are part of Israel’s Judaization of Jerusalem and attempts to impose Israeli sovereignty [on Jerusalem] and detach the city from its Palestinian surrounding," it added.

The ministry called on the United Nations to activate international protection for the Palestinians amid continuing Israeli attacks.

Israeli police, meanwhile, said a settler had been arrested for breaking into the church and threatening visitors with a sharp object.

Tensions have been running high across the occupied West Bank in recent months amid repeated Israeli raids into Palestinian towns.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Hamas slams Palestinian participation in Egypt security meeting with Israel

Nour Abu Eisha 


GAZA CITY, Palestine

Palestinian group Hamas on Sunday condemned the participation of the Palestinian Authority (PA) in a planned security meeting with Israel in Egypt’s Red Sea resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh.

The five-party meeting on Sunday will be attended by delegates from the PA, Israel, Egypt, Jordan and the US.

Egypt said the meeting aims to follow up on efforts to ease tensions between the Palestinians and Israel.

"We condemn the PA participation in the Sharm El-Sheikh security meeting with Israel, which escalates its aggression against the Palestinian people," Hamas said in a statement.

The group also condemned what it described as the “PA insistence on deviating from the [Palestinian] national consensus."

Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, renewed its call for the Ramallah-based authority to halt its security coordination with Israel and “stop participating in dangerous security schemes that target the Palestinian resistance”.

Tensions have been running high across the occupied West Bank in recent months amid repeated Israeli raids into Palestinian towns.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Gaza Strip-based Islamic Jihad group accuse Israel of killing Palestinian commander in Syria

19 March, 2023

Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad said on Sunday that one of its commanders had been shot dead in Syria in an assassination that the Iran-backed group blamed on Israeli agents.

The Gaza Strip-based group said Ali Ramzi al-Aswad, 31, was killed Sunday morning "by agents of the Zionist (Israeli) enemy" in the countryside outside the Syrian capital Damascus.

"The assassination was carried out by direct shooting near his house," an Islamic Jihad official, who asked not to be named, told AFP.

Aswad, a Palestinian refugee living in a Syrian camp and also known as Abu Abed al-Rahman, was a member of the group's Al-Quds Brigade armed wing, it said.

Many of the group's senior leaders have been based in Damascus, and the killing is the latest reported targeting of the group by Israel.

Since civil war erupted in Syria in 2011, Israel has carried out hundreds of strikes in the neighbouring country, targeting government troops as well as Iran-backed forces and Lebanon's Hezbollah fighters.

The Israeli military rarely comments on individual strikes against Syria but has vowed repeatedly to keep up its air campaign to stop arch-foe Iran from consolidating its presence.

Last week, Israeli airstrikes targeting a weapons depot in Syria killed an army officer and two pro-Iran fighters, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor.

Source: The New Arab

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Sudan's ruling council working to prevent 'authoritarian rule' in Sudan, says president

Adel Abdel-Rahim 



Sudan's president said on Saturday that the country's Transitional Sovereign Council was working to establish civilian rule and prevent tyranny.

"The country's leadership is striving to establish a civilian rule that relies on the support of the armed forces and people (...) and to prevent the establishment of an authoritarian rule in the future," Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan said, according to a statement by the council.

He also stressed that the Sudanese army would always be on the side of the people, adding that the army was "part of them and is the backbone for the state and people."

On Jan. 8, political dialogue kicked off in Sudan, based on a framework agreement signed between Sudan's military and political forces on Dec. 5 to resolve the country's months-long crisis.

The deal pledges a two-year transition period and the appointment of a civilian prime minister by the political parties that signed the agreement, as well as reforming and unifying the military.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Islamic state claims responsibility for killing 10 people in eastern DRC

March 19 (Reuters) - Islamic State claimed responsibility for an attack that took place in an eastern village in the Democratic Republic of Congo killing 10 people and injuring many others, a telegram account for the group said on Sunday.

Source: Reuters

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Prosecute electoral offenders – Islamic group tells police

March 19, 2023

The Muslim Media Watch Group of Nigeria, MMWG, has called on the police authorities to ensure that those arrested for electoral crimes during Saturday’s governorship and state House of Assembly elections throughout the country face the full wrath of the law.

This was even as the group called on the 9th National Assembly to pass the Executive Bill forwarded to it for the establishment of National Electoral Offences’ Commission, NEOC before the end of its tenure.

MMWG, in a statement signed by its National Coordinator, Alhaji Ibrahim Abdullahi and issued on Sunday, particularly warned that the offenders “must not be freed but tried appropriately in the court of law.”

“In all elections held in the country so far, prosecution and punishment for election offences have been non-existent; this year’s election must not go the same way as we now have revised an electoral law that punishes electoral offenders,” it stated.

The group commended the electorate for turning out to vote in the two elections conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, across the country.

It also hailed INEC and security agencies on the success of the elections, pointing out that their officials performed creditably.

MMWG, therefore, appealed to all to accept the results of the elections as might be released by the INEC in line with the peace accord signed before the exercise.

Similarly, it commended President Muhammadu Buhari on his fight against corruption including vote-buying, but urged him to give a presidential order immediately to the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, to end the artificial scarcity of new and old naira created by the apex bank.

The group further stated that “with the election over, locking out of customers from the gates of commercial banks must come to an end from tomorrow (20th March, 2023) as Nigerians of all categories have been highly tormented and humiliated with difficulties they had in accessing their funds in various banks for the past six weeks.

“Only God can save most Nigerians from dangers arising from the hardship imposed on them by the CBN for its decision not to fund commercial banks sufficiently even after the Supreme Court’s judgment since 3rd March this year.

Source: Daily Post Nigeria

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Nigeria counts votes in governorship elections marred by scattered violence

Olanrewaju Kola



Nigeria’s election commission officials counted ballots after polls to elect new state governors closed on Saturday, amid reports of violence in several parts of the country.

At least 19 ad hoc electoral officials were kidnaped and later rescued in the southeastern Imo state, said Chinenye Chijioke, the spokesperson of the Independence National Electrical Commission (INEC) in the state.

Also, local media reported that two people were killed in the city of Bori in the southern Rivers State when police opened fire to disperse voters protesting alleged election irregularities.

Voting in Lagos, Nigeria's business hub also witnesses violence.

In a video message, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, the governorship candidate of the opposition Labour Party (LP) in the state, said his party agent was shot dead.

Police spokesman Olumuyiwa Adejobi told Anadolu that the details of violence will be released later.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Libya denounces remarks by Tunisian president on sharing Bouri oil field



Libya on Sunday decried remarks by Tunisian President Kais Saied about sharing the Bouri oil field.

In a statement, Libyan Oil and Gas Minister Mohammed Oun said the case of the Bouri oil field was decided by a verdict from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in 1982 in favor of Libya.

He added that the maritime borders between Libya and Tunisia were also defined and that the ICJ's verdict was based on an agreement between the two countries.

Oun also indicated that Libya's top leadership would respond to Saied's remarks.

Meanwhile, the head of the Energy Committee of the Libyan parliament, Issa al-Oraibi, said his committee is reviewing the Tunisian president's remarks in order to officially respond.

Saied claimed last week that Tunisia gets little benefit from the Bouri oil field, adding there was an intention to share the field with Libya.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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North America


Palestinian Terrorist Attack Casts Pall Over Peace Talks on Eve of Ramadan, Passover

Sunday, March 19, 2023

A Palestinian terrorist opened fire at an Israeli vehicle in the West Bank on Sunday, wounding two people, Israeli officials said. The attack cast a shadow over Egyptian-mediated efforts to lower tensions ahead of a sensitive holiday period beginning this week.

The shooting came as Israeli and Palestinian officials were meeting in the Egyptian resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh in a bid to rein in a spiral of violence as the Muslim holy month of Ramadan begins this week. The shooting immediately raised questions about the prospects for the new talks.

The meeting was the second attempt by the sides, shepherded by regional allies Egypt and Jordan as well as the United States, to end a year-long spasm of violence that has seen more than 200 Palestinians killed by Israeli fire and more than 40 Israelis and foreigners killed in Palestinian attacks.

Whatever progress emerged out of the previous meeting in Jordan late last month, which ended with pledges to de-escalate tensions, was quickly derailed when a new burst of violence erupted on the same day. A Palestinian gunman shot and killed two Israelis in the West Bank and Jewish settlers in response rioted in a Palestinian town.

As Sunday’s talks were underway, a Palestinian gunman opened fire on an Israeli car in the same town — Hawara — as last month’s violence, the Israeli military said. Israeli medics said a man was shot in the upper body and was seriously wounded while his wife was slightly injured.

The Israeli army said the suspect was shot — either by the wounded man or by soldiers — and arrested. His condition was not immediately known. Hawara lies on a busy road in the northern part of the West Bank that is used by Israeli residents of nearby Jewish settlements.

Bloodshed has been surging since last month’s meeting in Jordan, making expectations for Sunday’s second installment low.

The killing of an Islamic Jihad terrorist in neighboring Syria added to the tensions Sunday. The militant group, which is active in the northern West Bank, accused Israel of assassinating the commander. Israel had no comment.

Still, mediators want to ease tensions ahead of Ramadan, which starts this week and which will coincide next month with the weeklong Jewish holiday of Passover.

Ahmed Abu Zaid, a spokesman for the Egyptian foreign ministry, said Sunday’s meeting would be attended by “high-level political and security officials” from each side, as well as from Egypt, Jordan and the United States. He wrote on Twitter that the talks are part of efforts to achieve and support calm between Israel and the Palestinians.

Mr. Abu Zaid said regional and international participation in the meeting aims at establishing “mechanisms” to follow and activate what the parties agree on, but provided no additional details.

The talks are part of efforts to support “dialogue between the Palestinian and Israeli sides to work towards ceasing unilateral measures and escalation, and to break the existing cycle of violence and achieve calm,” he said.

Prime Minister Netanyahu made no mention of the summit in his weekly Cabinet meeting. Israeli media said senior security officials were set to attend.

The upcoming period is sensitive because large numbers of Jewish and Muslim faithful pour into Jerusalem’s Old City, the emotional heart of the conflict and a flashpoint for violence, increasing friction points. Large numbers of Jews are also expected to visit a key Jerusalem holy site, the Temple Mount. Clashes at the site in 2021 helped trigger an 11-day war between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip.

While the latest violence began under the previous Israeli government, it has intensified in the first two months of the new government, headed by Mr. Netanyahu and his coalition. The violence is one of the worst rounds between Israel and the Palestinians in the West Bank and Jerusalem in years.

Source: NYSUN

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Biden welcomes meeting between Israelis, Palestinians to curb violence in occupied West Bank

Muhammed Enes Calli 



US President Joe Biden welcomed a meeting Sunday between Israelis and Palestinians in Egypt’s Red Sea resort city of Sharm El-Sheikh to discuss ways to curb violence in the occupied West Bank.

Biden spoke to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the phone following the meeting, which brought together delegates from Israel and the Palestinian Authority and was attended by Egyptian, US and Jordanian officials.

"The President reinforced the need for all sides to take urgent, collaborative steps to enhance security coordination, condemn all acts of terrorism, and maintain the viability of a two-state solution," the White House said in a statement.

"The President also underscored his belief that democratic values have always been, and must remain, a hallmark of the U.S.-Israel relationship, that democratic societies are strengthened by genuine checks and balances, and that fundamental changes should be pursued with the broadest possible base of popular support."

Sunday’s security meeting was held as tensions have been sharply rising across the occupied West Bank in recent months amid repeated Israeli military raids into Palestinian towns.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Sisters United Muslim Association creates a supportive and empowering environment


MARCH 20, 2023

Sisterhood, family, happy place and love – these are the words used by Sisters United Muslim Association (SUMA) members to describe what the organization means to them, according to SUMA president Juwayriyya Dayala.

When Dayala ended up in the hospital after an accident, the caring nature exhibited by her fellow members confirmed the truth behind those words. “You have such an amazing family,” the paramedics told her upon seeing the gathering of girls that followed her to the hospital. Dayala said that what the paramedics didn’t know is that the sisterhood among them was not based on blood relations, but something stronger.

Dayala initially attended SUMA meetings upon receiving invitations from friends. She said discovering the organization also meant finding her place at USF after moving from Chicago for college.

Sharing the same values discussed in weekly gatherings is one of the reasons why these girls responded to her struggle in such a helpful way, and what makes them a true sisterhood, according to Dayala.

The positive impact of SUMA on her life led Dayala to run for president of the organization, where she said she hoped to extend the family experience to more people at USF. She wanted to offer students something to look forward to amid the hardships of college life and contribute to building a more intimate relationship with God and religion in a lighter way, both for Muslims and non-Muslims. As a representative of Islam, she said clearing up misconceptions about Muslim women is also a part of her mission. “I wear my hijab like a flag. I know I’m representing my religion. It keeps me conscious,” Dayala said. “It also means to me freedom because I’m getting to control how much I’m showing.”

“Wearing my religion like a flag allows others to become more familiar with it, and USF is all about empowering other people and cultures.”

A prime example of this is “Hijab Day for Everybody,” where the organization sets up a stand at each Wednesday’s Bulls Market in association with other Muslim organizations offering hijabs for anyone interested in trying.

“Everyone was really excited about it, and people would say ‘I had no idea how beautiful I could feel in it,'” Dayala said.

For Cuban-American member Salma Borges, wearing her hijab is like wearing a crown.

“I learned that a Muslim woman covered and wearing her veil is compared to a hidden pearl in its shell and I found it so beautiful,” Borges said.

It was after her first meeting with SUMA that she decided to take her shahada – the declaration of faith to become Muslim. The support from SUMA has been crucial for her during the challenges of choosing to wear different clothing.

“Regardless, it’s not like you have to wear something to fit in or be appreciated or loved by the girls. And we have many Muslims who choose not to wear the veil as well. But we know that sitting among these girls, it’s going to inspire them. I’m coming to these gatherings to be inspired by others as well,” Dayala said.

As an organization with a focus on inspiring and reaching out to others, this has always been at the core of SUMA. The club was founded in 1995 by USF alum Najia Kurdi, who said it was necessary given that there was not much Muslim presence on campus at the time. Inspired by her advisor, Kurdi started the club with the support of two non-Muslim friends. Initially called Sister’s Ummah, the name carried the Arabic word for community.

“It was an organization that was out there to try to help build those bridges and those ties of friendship, helping people to recognize the similarities we had and not the differences,” Kurdi said.

She wanted to change the feeling of being an “oddball” she had experienced since elementary school, where she was the only Muslim student, according to Kurdi. To establish means to be seen as she wanted, rather than what the media or others would say — a place where people could reach her on her own terms — was a motivation for creating SUMA.

The group’s events, filled with Islamic art and food, created a safe space for those who were curious, and their active work helped them become a powerful voice, both inside and outside of USF.

This was especially true following the events of Sept. 11, 2001, according to Kurdi. The organization was thrust into the forefront of public discourse, as Kurdi was asked to be a spokesperson in a time and place that was extremely uncomfortable and dangerous. From speaking against claims that “Muslim women are oppressed” or “just weird,” the shift to being labeled as “evil” is something Kurdi said made the organization an important representation of who they really were.

Although more information has become available and the Muslim presence at USF has grown exponentially, new struggles have arisen. As the organization has blossomed from three people to hundreds, the need for a designated space for their activities has yet to be fulfilled, according to Dayala.

“Having our own space would give us a sense of belonging when compared to being allocated to an all-purpose room,” Dayala said.

Furthermore, although there are some good options when it comes to halal food on campus, there definitely could be more offerings that aren’t mixed with meat contamination, according to Dayala.

Thursdays are still the favorite day of the week for many of the girls that attend the Halaqa meetings, which boost their energy and confidence along with the other events, according to Dayala. Sitting in a circle, they deepen their relationships with their faith and with one another. Against the backdrop of a colorful sunset sky and students returning from classes on the MSC lawn, Dayala said girls of all ages, from different places around the world and with different faiths, come together in support of their sisterhood, their community, their Ummah.

Source: US Foracle

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Arab World


Ramadan in Dubai: Distributing meals without permit will result in $27,000 fine

20 March ,2023

Dubai residents who plan to distribute Iftar meals during Ramadan this year have been advised to obtain a permit to avoid a hefty fine of 100,000 AED ($27,227).

The Department of Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities in Dubai announced this during a press conference on Friday, citing the need to ensure the safety of donated meals.

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Ramadan is a significant month for the Muslim community, marked by fasting during daylight hours and ending with Iftar, the evening meal that breaks the fast. This year, it is expected to fall on March 22 or 23.

Muslims around the world gather to share Iftar meals, often donated by individuals, restaurants, or charitable organizations.

During the holy month, Muslims typically engage in acts of charity such as providing assistance to the underprivileged through the donation of food and funds.

Mohammed Mosabh Dahi, deputy director for charitable activities at the Department of Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities, told local media that any person or institution distributing meals without a permit will be considered an unauthorized charitable act.

Violators will be subject to legal accountability, as stated in the decree regulating fundraising in the Emirate of Dubai for the year 2015.

The penalties for advertising or collecting donations without a license are between 5,000 AED and 100,000 AED, or a jail term of not less than a month and not over a year, or any of the two penalties.

To obtain a permit, people can get in touch with the department and provide information about the localities and date they plan to distribute meals. This will allow the authorities to guide others to different localities to distribute the Iftar meals safely.

The department has outlined the application process, which requires the following:

Applications can be submitted through the department's website or by calling 800600.

The decision to require permits for Iftar meal distribution is aimed at ensuring the safety of donated meals. The authorities have also stressed the importance of following the required rules on food distribution during Ramadan.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Hilton launches ‘Green Ramadan’ at Riyadh hotel

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia

Hilton has marked a global first in launching its new Green Ramadan, which aims to improve local sourcing and reduce food waste across hotels in KSA, Qatar and the UAE, at Hilton Riyadh Hotel & Residences.

Hilton partnered with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) West Asia and Winnow, to launch the initiative towards reduction in food waste across key markets.

With reports from UNEP West Asia showing that food waste increases by 25% - 50% in the region during religious and social festivities, Hilton is introducing measures to minimise waste during the holy month of Ramadan and drive awareness around local sourcing and food waste. The initiative is in line with Hilton’s Travel with Purpose 2030 Goals to reduce food waste sent to landfill by 50%.

The partnership will combine Hilton’s drive towards a net zero future, UNEP’s ‘Recipe of Change’ food waste reduction campaign and Winnow’s AI technology – allowing for digitally led tracking of food waste throughout Ramadan. In doing so, Hilton will gather data to predict future procurement and production needs while also minimising its long-term environmental impact.

As part of the initiative, participating Hilton hotels across KSA, Qatar and the UAE will compost excess food waste, prioritise local food sourcing within a 50-mile radius, promote plant-based dishes, restrict plastic use across operations, and partner with food banks.

In Riyadh, Hilton Riyadh Hotel & Residences will offer guests a tasteful dining experience at Amara, its Ramadan tent, which will feature local produce from Nadec and Pure Harvest Smart Farms as part of a thoughtfully curated menu that helps to significantly cut food-related emissions. The hotel is also partnering with the Ita’am Food Bank to reinforce charitable giving and will donate 100 meals per day throughout Ramadan. Additionally, the hotel will collaborate with Black Cow to collect and compost Iftar buffet leftovers to be used as organic fertilisers locally.

Emma Banks, vice president, F&B strategy & development, EMEA, Hilton, said: “As a global hospitality brand, Hilton has a responsibility to lead the industry in the pursuit of sustainable solutions. We are delighted to embrace the holy month of Ramadan with the introduction of the Green Ramadan initiative. Our partner, Winnow, will play a crucial role in this digital-first approach to collecting food waste data and using it to inform our local procurement requirements. We’re also aligning closely with UNEP West Asia’s ongoing ‘Recipe of Change’ campaign aimed at reducing food waste across the value chain.”

“We hope that Hilton’s Green Ramadan initiative will set the standard for years to come by encouraging local food sourcing and reducing food waste,” added Banks.

Sami Dimassi, UNEP representative and regional director, West Asia, said: “We are very pleased to collaborate with Hilton to activate this campaign across its key markets in the Middle East. Reducing food waste is not only about saving food, but also about saving resources. The only way forward is to work hand-in-hand by engaging the local community, private sector, and influencers. Today, every plate counts and so does every wasted plate. Let us all fight food waste and work towards a more sustainable future.”

Source: Trade Arabia

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Ramadan Sports Festival in Aspire from March 28

20 Mar 2023

Doha: Ramadan Sports Festival in Aspire is back on its ninth edition and will run from March 28 to April 8.

Aspire Zone Foundation announced this on its official social media accounts where it emphasised that the 12-day festival features eight activities in total that range from sports competition to physical challenges.

“These trigger the interest of active leisure seekers. All competitions will be held from 9:30pm until midnight,” it said. Moreover, it added that amazing prizes await for people who are exercising their passion on sports.

Source: The Peninsula Qatar

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‘Hatta Ramadan Championship’ to kick off on 24th March

Mon 20-03-2023

DUBAI, 20th March, 2023 (WAM) -- The “Hatta Ramadan Championship” is set to take place from 24th March to 14th April in Hatta with participation of huge numbers of athletes and remarkable presence of fans.

The Championship is held annually during the Holy Month of Ramadan, and it is organised by the Team Games Co. in Hatta Sports Club with the support of Dubai Sports Council.

The event is held at Al Dhahra School for Basic and Secondary Education in Hatta and it comprises three sports competitions; these are: futsal, volleyball and running.

The volleyball and futsal competitions will kick off on the 2nd day of Ramadan. The futsal competition will be held with participation of 16 teams; to be classified into four groups and it will be arranged in collaboration with Hatta Cultural Club, while the volleyball competition will be contested by eight teams.

The running competition is scheduled on the 9th day of Ramadan, and the participants in this competition are classified into four groups; as follows: the 6 km men and women categories and the 2 km boys and girls categories.

Registration door for participating in all competitions will be closed on Monday 20th March. The draw ceremony for the futsal and volleyball competitions is scheduled on 21st March at Hatta Community Centre.

Several accompanying events will be held for families and children on the sideline of the Championship, including sports activities and entretaining competitions. Daily withdrawals will be arranged for public to win valuable prizes.

A walkathon for elderly locals besides children’s activities will all take place at the new Walk Tracks in Hatta. An exhibition for the sale of families’ products will be arranged in collaboration with the Community Development Authority.

The Championship is held in collaboration with DSC and Dubai Police in Hatta which is assigned to deal with the security sides and to ensure the flow of fans’ entry to watch the Championship’s competitions. The event is sponsored by Hatta Kayak, Hatta Guest House and Al Shaafar Investment.

Source: WAM

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Public staff to work 5 hours during Ramadan

MARCH 20, 2023

HE Mohamed bin Abdullah Al Sulaiti, Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs, issued today a circular specifying working hours during the holy month of Ramadan for ministries, government agencies, public bodies and institutions.

The circular stated that, on the occasion of the advent of the blessed month of Ramadan for the year 1444 AH, it was decided that the number of official working hours during the holy month for civil servants will be five hours per day, starting from nine in the morning until two in the afternoon.

Source: Gulf Times

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This Ramadan, UAE retailers offer fixed prices on more products to ease shopper concerns

March 20, 2023

Manoj Nair, Business Editor

Dubai: UAE hypermarket operators and food commodity retailers in the UAE are focusing on keep prices constant where possible during the Ramadan phase, and ensure that consumers do not feel the need to hold back on spending because of inflationary-led price gains.

In this regard, major retailers have expanded the scope of ‘fixed-price’ promotions through the next few weeks. At Lulu Group, “This Ramadan, we have 200 products where prices will remain the same,” said V. Nandakumar, Director of Marketing with the Abu Dhabi headquartered retailer. “In the past, we typically kept constant pricing on about 100 products as part of the Ramadan campaign.

“We made the change to 200 because we noticed slight shifts in consumer spending even on daily/weekly essentials, especially food purchases. We have dealt with inflationary price increases in the best way possible by keeping prices constant on most food items.” (On the non-food side too, the strategy is being followed on what could constitute as essential purchases during Ramadan.)

Tackle costs

Other supermarket chains too have got into the swing of things for their own Ramadan promotions, by tackling the cost factor. Not surprisingly, straightforward discounts remain the most popular option, while there are banks offering cashback opportunities on grocery spending done through their credit cards.

But cost spirals remain a heavy concern for businesses. Last week, the UAE authorities allowed retail prices on eggs and other poultry products to be increased ‘temporarily’ after fielding requests from local producers on the steep increase in costs at their operations. And that without end-user prices being increased, it could result in more losses sustained by the businesses.

According to retail industry sources, the hike on egg and poultry prices is a one-off, and as has been made clear by the authorities, this is being seen as a temporary measure.

On imported food staples, retailers say that the still strong dollar makes inward shipments into the UAE manageable. “Plus, shipping costs have come down drastically since October 2022, and that also eases the pressure on prices for the UAE consumer,” said one food trader.

Major Ramadan campaigns are on

The Ramadan-related promotions, especially from supermarket and online marketplaces, have been running for a few days now. According to Kamal Vachani, Group Director at Dubai-based Al Maya Group, the early start always helps with the bulk buys made before the actual start of Ramadan.

“We strategized in-store offerings with three major promotion cycles,” said Vachani. “The pre-Ramadan bulk purchases and deals, and then once Ramadan starts, the emphasis naturally shifts to repeat purchases, with offers on top up buying.”

“Then the promotions focus on the ‘deep offerings’ towards buying vital products and the best possible deals on Eid purchases.”

Also, where possible, food importers and wholesalers are opting to place higher orders to ensure there are adequate supplies at all times. “Placing higher orders means more costs – but we have learnt the lessons of having sufficient stocks at all times,” said one trader. “We foresee a heavier spending pattern through the next few weeks and lasting beyond Eid. We need to be prepared for the shopper rush.”

Source: Gulf News

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Ramadan 2023: Which countries have the longest fasting hours in the world?

Ismaeel Naar

Mar 20, 2023

Ramadan is expected to begin on March 23 this year and more than a billion Muslims will start observing a month-long fast during daylight hours.

The holy month begins almost two weeks earlier each year and, for half the world, it will move away from the longer, hotter days of summer towards the shorter, cooler winter.

So, which countries, especially in the Arab and Muslim world, will have the most daylight hours and which nations will have the shortest fast?

Shortest Ramadan fast in 2023

This year, Muslims in Chile will face the shortest fasting hours during Ramadan with an average of 11 hours and 30 minutes.

Being in the southern hemisphere, New Zealand, Argentina and South Africa are also looking at a shorter fasting period, between 11 and 12 hours a day during the month.

Longest Ramadan fast in 2023

Muslims in the city of Reykjavík, Iceland, will have the record this year of being residents of the city with the longest fasting hours.

They are expected to endure 16 hours and 50 minutes a day of fasting during the holy month.

How can you fast for Ramadan when it never gets dark?

While nowhere is expecting a midnight sun this Ramadan, Muslims in countries with exceptionally long daytimes during the holy month cannot actually adhere to a 20-plus hour fast.

So, what do they do?

In countries where the sunset and sunrise are less than three hours apart, fatwas have been declared in order to allow residents to follow the schedule of other cities. Many, for example, will follow the fast times of Makkah in Saudi Arabia.

Then there are the extremes ― UAE astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi will be on the International Space Station for the month of Ramadan.

The ISS hurtles around the Earth at aout 17,500kph, meaning astronauts will experience 16 sunrises and sunsets a day.

“I’m in the definition of a traveller, and we can actually break fast and it’s not compulsory," Dr Al Neyadi told a press conference ahead of the launch in January.

He said he plans to observe some fasts but others he will need to eat to focus on the mission. Like those in extreme places, Dr Al Neyadi can follow the GMT timezone or the time in Makkah.

This year, Saudi Arabia and much of the Middle East will be fasting for about 13.5-14 hours a day.

Tunisians will experience the longest fast day of Ramadan at 14 hours and 55 minutes.

Tunisia: Shortest day – 13 hours and 44 minutes, longest day – 14 hours and 55 minutes

Algeria: Shortest day – 13 hours and 30 minutes, longest day – 14 hours and 56 minutes

Libya: Shortest day – 13 hours and 42 minutes, longest day – 14 hours and 42 minutes

Morocco: Shortest day – 13 hours and 37 minutes, longest day – 14 hours and 41 minutes

Egypt: Shortest day – 13 hours and 39 minutes, longest day – 14 hours and 34 minutes

Iraq: Shortest day – 13 hours and 39 minutes, longest day – 14 hours and 41 minutes

Bahrain: Shortest day – 13 hours and 30 minutes, longest day – 14 hours and 17 minutes

UAE: Shortest day – 13 hours and 30 minutes, longest day – 14 hours and 13 minutes

Saudi Arabia: Shortest day – 13 hours and 29 minutes, longest day – 14 hours and 11 minutes

Oman: Shortest day – 13 hours and 31 minutes, longest day – 14 hours and 13 minutes

Kuwait: Shortest day – 13 hours and 31 minutes, longest day – 14 hours and 23 minutes

Lebanon: Shortest day – 13 hours and 45 minutes, longest day - 14 hours and 48 minutes

Jordan: Shortest day – 13 hours and 40 minutes, longest day – 14 hours and 40 minutes

Palestine: Shortest day – 13 hours and 53 minutes, longest day – 14 hours and 52 minutes

Syria: Shortest day – 13 hours and 44 minutes, longest day – 14 hours and 47 minutes

Qatar: Shortest day – 13 hours and 29 minutes, longest day – 14 hours and 13 minutes

Mauritania: Shortest day – 13 hours and 28 minutes, longest day – 14 hours

Source: The National News

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