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Islamic World News ( 9 Aug 2020, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Maajid Nawaz of Quilliam Foundation Apologises to Muslims And Asks for Forgiveness

New Age Islam News Bureau

9 Aug 2020

Maajid Nawaz, co-founder of Quilliam


• Maajid Nawaz of Quilliam Foundation Apologises to Muslims And Asks for Forgiveness

• Indo-Islamic Cultural Foundation to Invite CM Yogi Adityanath For Hospital, School, Community Kitchen, Library Foundation

• Uttar Pradesh, Jalesar's Hindu, Muslim Artisans Cast 2.1-Tonne Brass Bell for Ram Temple in Ayodhya

• Saba Qamar, Bilal Saeed’s Video in Wazir Khan Mosque Draws People’s Ire

• Faith Leaders from Across the World Unite to Condemn China's Brutal Repression of Its Uighur Muslim Minority

• Ansarullah Leader Congratulates Arab, Islamic Nation on Eid Al-Ghadir

• Sympathy of People of World with Lebanese Led to Humiliation of Zionists

• Christchurch Mosque Attack: Foreign Media Told to Obey Rules


• Maajid Nawaz of Quilliam Foundation Apologises to Muslims And Asks for Forgiveness

• Wrestler Muslim Evloyev not found among militants killed in Ingushetia



• Indo-Islamic Cultural Foundation to Invite CM Yogi Adityanath For Hospital, School, Community Kitchen, Library Foundation

• Uttar Pradesh, Jalesar's Hindu, Muslim Artisans Cast 2.1-Tonne Brass Bell for Ram Temple in Ayodhya

• Rajasthan: 2 Arrested for Thrashing, Forcing Muslim Auto Driver to Chant 'Jai Shri Ram', 'Modi Zindabad' In Sikar

• Muharram mourning processions not to be held in Kashmir

• How can temple be erected over mosque, asks Bengal minister amid CM Mamata's silence

• Bengal Muslims perform last rites of Hindu neighbour



• Saba Qamar, Bilal Saeed’s Video in Wazir Khan Mosque Draws People’s Ire

• Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz Shoots Down Muslim League Reunification Talk

• Who Is Upset with Islamic Content Of Single National Curriculum?

• Lawmakers Say Voted For Tahaffuz-e-Bunyad-e-Islam Bill ‘Without Reading Document’


South Asia

• Faith Leaders from Across the World Unite to Condemn China's Brutal Repression of Its Uighur Muslim Minority

• Bangladesh: How 90 Indigenous Villages In Sylhet Region Keep Coronavirus At Bay

• Intra-Afghan Dialogue to Kick-Off Soon In Doha As Loya Jirga Agrees To Release Another 400 Taliban Prisoners

• Afghan forces suffer heavy casualties in Ghazni city car bomb attack

• members of a single-family wounded in Taliban mortar attack in East of Afghanistan



• Ansarullah Leader Congratulates Arab, Islamic Nation on Eid Al-Ghadir

• Cleric urges Muslims to stick to infallible Imams' guidance

• Iran's President felicitates Eid al-Ghadeer to grand Ayatollahs

• Calls for Realization of Unity among Muslim Leaders

• US responsible for terrorist crimes of Tondar group in Iran: Envoy to UN

• IRGC Quds Force arrests perpetrator of sound bomb blast in Iran's Sistan & Baluchestan


Arab world

• Sympathy of People of World with Lebanese Led to Humiliation of Zionists

• An American National accepts Islam at the hands Sheikh Al-Sudais

• Coronavirus: Saudi Arabia Starts Third Phase Of COVID-19 Vaccine Clinical Trial

• UAE Continues Providing Aid to Victims of Beirut Port Explosion

• Saudi Ophthalmology 2020 Virtual Symposium Concludes Its Sessions

• Egypt Dispatches Second Airlift Plane to Lebanon to Face Beirut Port Explosion Circumstances

• Saudi aid plane arrives in Beirut

• Saudi artist reimagines Jeddah through ’80s pop art


New Zealand

• Christchurch Mosque Attack: Foreign Media Told to Obey Rules


North America

• World Leaders Holding Lebanon Aid Summit After Night of Unrest In Beirut

• Commission rules in favour of 2 Muslim students who wanted prayer at private school

• Alberta Muslim group collects donations for victims of Beirut explosion

• An attack on an imam fractured his shoulder and terrified the Muslim community in Bloomington.



• Chad Says Boko Haram Wreaking Havoc Despite Offensive

• Biafra group warns Miyetti Allah against operating security outfit in South-east, South-south

• Zimbabwe activists decry 'unprecedented clampdown' after arrests


Southeast Asia

• Anak Mindanao, Zambo Lawyers, Artist and Imam File Third Petition From Mindanao Vs Anti-Terror Act

• Hamzah Zainudin: Sabah governor will not abuse position over political crisis

• New party will only divide Malays further, says Rais Yatim

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau



Maajid Nawaz of Quilliam Foundation Apologises to Muslims And Asks for Forgiveness



Maajid Nawaz, co-founder of Quilliam


In a long statement on Facebook, Nawaz said his awakening over the situation of the Uyghurs had profoundly shocked him and had promoted a change of heart.

For over a decade Nawaz and his Quilliam Foundation have been widely criticised by Muslim organisations for targeting the community and putting the emphasis on extremism among Muslims.

On the other hand, Quilliam describes itself as the world’s first counter-extremism organisation which challenges extremism to foster a shared sense of belonging and to advance liberal democratic values.

In his Facebook apology, Nawaz said: “My dearest Muslim Ummah, this is my apology to you all… I am sorry to all of my family, former family and in-laws, Muslim friends and allies, and to my sincere and genuine shuyukh in and out of Egypt…

“This is because I have neglected so many of you. From now on, I will strive to the best of my ability to protect you and serve you. I am sorry for any previous harsh words and for all previous errors. Please forgive me.

“The genocide against our Uyghur Ummah has shocked me. It has shaken me out of my previous state of misguidance and ignorance. After the genocide of Bosnia that I watched in horror as a teenager, for another genocide against Muslims to go ignored by the world in my lifetime has sparked a fire in me that only those formerly close to me have ever witnessed, except this time my fire is fuelled by love, not revenge.

“My vengeful path took me 15 years, with a 5 year illegal term in an Egyptian prison during the War on Terror. The anger exhausted me, because those who knew me saw that I gave it my all. After that journey ended – rightfully so – in failure, I became the one in need of love for the next decade. It is during this period that I failed some of you. It has taken me this long to recover from the cumulative trauma growing up as a British Muslim-minority community in Essex subjected to racist abuse as children, as teenagers, and then of course later with my fellow call-mates in Egypt, where we witnessed torture in jail.”

“My beloved family, friends and fellow Muslims in and out of jail. We have seen too much in life. We have suffered too much. We all have. I have no more room left for hate. I no longer feel any pain. I am a seeker of love.

“I forgive any of you who have previously unjustly harmed me. I also beseech your forgiveness for unjustly harming any of you. Our Uyghur Ummah needs us now. Do not let your anger at me or each other confuse us and divide us against an evil that hates us all equally. An evil that spies on our Uyghur Ummah with the One Eye of technology in order to enslave them, for human greed and consumption.”

5Pillars editor Roshan Muhammed Salih said: “Just saw this rambling ‘apology’ to Muslims from Maajid Nawaz. I’m afraid it will take more than words after all these years he has targeted us. We need action – the immediate dissolution of Quilliam and a long period of silence on all forms of media would be a start.”

Mohammed Shafiq from the Ramadan Foundation said: “When you talk about #Uighurs but choose to ignore the Palestinians and the Kashmiri people then we know your tears and forgiveness are a con.”

@SahidaRiaz said: “How did Maajid Nawaz manage to make the oppression of the Uighur Muslims all about himself? I’d like to also know his opinion on Israeli organ harvesting and child killings, before making a judgment.”

And @RepiakaMoni said: “Just seen #MaajidNawaz’s pleas to the Muslim ummah. Does this plea mean that he is no longer trying to reform Islam & accepts its perfectness? What is his reason for this plea? He seems crazed to want recognition from Muslims now?”


Indo-Islamic Cultural Foundation to Invite CM Yogi Adityanath For Hospital, School , Community Kitchen, Library Foundation

Aug 9, 2020


Uttar Pradesh CM, Yogi Adityanath


AYODHYA: The Indo-Islamic Cultural Foundation, the Trust constituted by Sunni Waqf Board for construction of an alternate mosque in Ayodhya in lieu of Babri Masjid, has decided to invite Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath for inaugurating the hospital, school, community kitchen, library and other public utility facilities on the 5acre mosque complex. The Trust, however, made it clear there would be no foundation laying ceremony for the mosque. This comes just 48 hours after Yogi parried questions from the media on participating in the mosque event, saying — Do you think I will be invited?

Confirming the decision to invite the chief minister to the mosque site at Dhannipur village, secretary of the Trust, Athar Hussain, told TOI “there’s no provision for laying a foundation stone for a mosque in the four schools of thought in Islam — Hanafi, Hanbali, Shafi and Maliki.”

“A hospital, library, community kitchen and a research centre will also be built on the 5acre land in Dhannipur village, allotted for construction of a mosque on Supreme Court's directive. These are public utility projects and we will invite the CM to lay the foundation of these buildings,” said Athar Hussain. He said, the chief minister will not only participate in the programme, but also assist in construction of these public facilities.

Talking about the name of the proposed mosque, Hussain said, the name is yet to be decided. “For Allah, namaz is important, not the name of the mosque.” But, he clarified the mosque won’t be named after Mughal emperor Babar.

Imran Ahmad, member of the trust, said, “Ayodhya district magistrate Anuj Kumar Jha has formally given possession of the land to the mosque trust. We have got a certified copy of the revenue record."


Uttar Pradesh, Jalesar's Hindu, Muslim Artisans Cast 2.1-Tonne Brass Bell for Ram Temple in Ayodhya

09th August 2020


Craftsman Dau Dayal works on a bell, weighing 2,100 kilograms, designed and crafted by -- Iqbal Mistri


JALESAR: Dau Dayal has been making bells of varied shapes and sizes for more than 30 years, but what he and his team have pulled off this time has surprised everyone in Uttar Pradesh's Jalesar town -- a bell weighing 2,100 kg for the Ram temple in Ayodhya.

"When you work on a bell of this size, the difficulty levels increase manifold," Dayal, 50, a fourth-generation bell maker, says.

"It's really hard to ensure you don't make a single mistake in the months-long process. What excited us was that we were making it for the Ram temple, but fear of failure also remained at the back of our mind," he says.

The whole effort goes to waste even if there is a delay of five seconds in pouring the molten metal into the mold, according to Mistri.

"What's unique about it is that it is just a piece, from top to bottom. It doesn't have multiple pieces welded together. This is what made the task much more difficult," the 56-year-old says, reveling in his achievement. The bell is not just brass but made of "ashtadhatu", a combination of eight metals -- gold, silver, copper, zinc, lead, tin, iron and mercury.

"This piece, which is one of the largest bells in India, will be donated to the Ram temple," says Vikas Mittal, the chairman of Jalesar municipal council in Etah district and the owner of the workshop where the bell has been manufactured.

The Mittals got the order to prepare a 2,100-kg bell from the Nirmohi Akhara -- a litigant in the Ayodhya title dispute -- immediately after the matter was decided last November, paving way for the construction of the temple.

"We believe there is some divine reason that this work came to us. So, we decided why don't we donate it to the temple," says Aaditya Mittal, the chairman's brother, adding that it cost them Rs 21 lakh.

The casting of a bell involves multiple, lengthy steps -- determining the shape and measurement painstakingly, cutting out wooden templates to make the mold, preparing metal, tuning, grinding, and fitting the clapper.

A crane was used to pour the alloy into the mold. A team of around 25 workers, Hindus and Muslims both, worked for a month, eight hours a day, to make what could be "among the largest bells" in the country. Before this, Dayal had cast a 101-kg bell that is being used at the Kedarnath temple in Uttarakhand.

"This is the largest and the heaviest bell we have worked on so far. We had also cast a 1,000-kg bell for Mahakaleshwar Temple in Ujjain," he says, as he prepared material to cast a regular six-inch bell used in temples and schools.

The Mittals had also presented a 51-kg bell to Yogi Adityanath, when he came to Etah to address his first public meeting after becoming the chief minister, according to the family.

It aims to encourage indigenous and specialized products and crafts in the state that are found nowhere else -- like the ancient and nutritious 'Kala namak' rice, wheat-stalk craft, and chikankari and zari-zardozi work on clothes.

The bells cast in this soil ring better. The sound of the bell, prepared for the Ram temple, can be heard up to 15 kilometers, he claims.


Saba Qamar, Bilal Saeed’s Video in Wazir Khan Mosque Draws People’s Ire



Saba Qamar and Bilal Saeed at Masjid Wazir Khan


LAHORE: A video of song and dances of actress Saba Qamar and singer Bilal Saeed in the historic mosque ‘Masjid Wazir Khan’ in the provincial capital under the administration of the Punjab Auqaf and Religious Affairs department went viral on social media, which has drawn strong reactions from social and religious circles, Pakistan Today has learnt.

An official of the department, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that a production house had been given permission for the shooting in the mosque by the Assistant Director Tableegh e Tarbiyyat but the higher ups of the department were kept unaware of the shooting of the dance. However, the assistant director claimed that he had given permission for the Nikah scene.

The official added that when the dance shooting started, the mosque administration should have stopped it as such activities are not allowed in mosques.

He said that the shooting took place in the main chambers of Wazir Khan Mosque and complaints of dancing and singing in the mosques under Auqaf department have been received in the past as well.

The official believed that if the video had not been uploaded on Tik Tok by Saba Qamar, perhaps no one would have known about the incident. However, a departmental inquiry has been initiated by the Director General Religious Affairs and Secretary of the department against the production house and those responsible.

The official added that in the past, a ban was imposed in Badshahi Mosque because the department received complaints of dance and inappropriate photography there, but now the ban has been relaxed again.

According to the official, due to the historical status and beauty of Wazir Khan Mosque, many people used to come here for Nikkah ceremonies but the mosque administration was also strictly instructed by the department not to allow inappropriate photography within the premises of the mosque.

He informed that there was a proper procedure to grant permission before even the routine photography of the mosque and no doubt the said shooting took place with the consent of the mosque administration.

However, social media users also reacted strongly to the video going viral and demanded action against the concerned officials and said that immediate action should be taken against those who violated the sanctity of religious places of worship.

Speaking to Pakistan Today, Secretary Auqaf Dr. Irshad Ahmed said that a departmental inquiry has been initiated against the incident and strict action would be taken against those responsible.

Provincial Minister for Auqaf and Religious Affairs Syed Saeed Al Hassan Shah told Pakistan Today that they had taken notice of the video. “The department has ordered the suspension of the responsible officials. The report will be submitted in 3 days after the inquiry. Such irresponsible incidents will not be tolerated at all. The sanctity of mosques, holy places of worship will be maintained.”


Faith leaders from across the world unite to condemn China's brutal repression of its Uighur Muslim minority

9 August 2020

Religious leaders from across the world have united to condemn China’s brutal repression of its Uighur Muslim minority.

Former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams is among a more than 40-strong group demanding a halt to what they called ‘one of the most egregious human tragedies since the Holocaust: the potential genocide of the Uighurs and other Muslims in China’.

Rabbi Julia Neuberger and the representative of the Dalai Lama in Europe also lent their weight to a joint statement last night that condemned the communist regime in Beijing, asserting that ‘the clear aim of the Chinese authorities is to eradicate the Uighur identity’.

They add: ‘At least one million Uighur and other Muslims in China are incarcerated in prison camps facing starvation, torture, murder, sexual violence, slave labour and forced organ extraction.

'Mosques are destroyed, children are separated from their families, and acts as simple as owning a Koran, praying or fasting can result in arrest.’

China’s hardline president Xi Xinping ramped up repression on the pretext of combating terrorism after taking power in 2012.

Despite strong evidence that up to a million Uighurs have been held in detention camps over recent years, the Chinese government has described such claims as baseless.

An academic report in June claimed Beijing had waged a campaign of forced sterilisation or birth control against Uighur women of child-bearing age, prompting calls for the UN to launch an investigation.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab last month accused China of ‘gross and egregious’ human rights abuses against the Muslim group and refused to rule out sanctions against Beijing.

But the coalition of religious heads accused world leaders of failing to act and concluded: ‘After the Holocaust, the world said “Never again.” Today, we repeat those words all over again.’


Ansarullah leader congratulates Arab, Islamic nation on Eid al-Ghadir

August 9, 2020

Leader of the Yemeni Revolution Sayyed Abdulmalik Badr Al-Din al-Houthi on Saturday congratulated the Arab and Islamic nation on the occasion of the Wilayat Day, which falls on the eighteenth of Thu al-Hijjah every year.

This came in his televised speech aired by Al-Masirah TV channel on Saturday afternoon, on the occasion of Al-Ghadeer Day (Wilayat Day), in which he indicated that the Yemeni people celebrated this occasion every year as part of their religious heritage that they preserved it through generations.

Sayyed Abdulmalik emphasized that the principle of Wilayat (guardianship) is what guarantees the continuity of the divine path and bridges the gap in front of the nation’s enemies.

He made it clear that the perfection of religion and the fullness of grace was the one that ensured the continuity of the divine approach, not from the position of the prophecy, but from the position of the guardianship.

In his speech, Sayyed Abdulmalik pointed out that the state of deficiency and distortion led some of the nation sons to turn to the Jews and Christians to solve their problems, and they gave America the tutelage over them.


Sympathy of people of world with Lebanese led to humiliation of Zionists

August 9, 2020

A senior Iraqi source of emulation said, “Some Western politicians are politically blind and don’t see anything in the world other than the usurping Zionist regime and they want all countries to be subjected to that regime.”

In a speech on the Beirut bombing, Ayatollah Sayyed Muhammad-Taqi al-Modaressi, a senior Najaf-based Iraqi source of emulation, said, “What is happening in in terms of successive conflicts and incidents in [the Western Asia] region is a struggle between Satanic powers and humankind, between those who try to return the people to humiliation and dependence on them and between those who follow the guardianship of God. Those who are not satisfied except with the independence and sovereignty of their country.”

He added, “What is happening concerning the conflicts and wars in our region is due to the commands and dictates of these Satanic powers and those who don’t want establishment and security for the country and lure their agents into creating wars and chaos.”

Ayatollah al-Modarresi said, “Some Western politicians are politically blind and don’t see anything in the world other than the usurping Zionist regime and they want all countries to be subjected to that regime. Therefore, the pressures imposed on Lebanon are following such a policy, which is the policy of the house of obedience that means subjugating all countries and they follow this strategy in every ugly manner.”

His Eminence noted, “What happened in Lebanon was a great explosion that left thousands of victims and resulted in the destruction of large parts of the city of Beirut. Far from it being intentional or inadvertent, it must be said that it was an extremely great incident, and those who are responsible for its occurrence must receive their just punishment in this material world, otherwise God will punish them for their actions.”

Referring to the level of international sympathy with the Lebanese people, he added, “These expressions of sympathy demonstrate the position of Lebanon among the nations of the world who persuaded their governments to express their sympathy with Lebanon.”

In the end, Ayatollah al-Modarresi said, “In this atmosphere full of empathy and emotion, some of the harpoons of Satanic powers have shown rejoiced maliciously at the Lebanese people’s sorrow, even more so than the Zionists. However, the sympathy of the people of the world with the Lebanese people led to humiliation of the Zionists. It should be known that the Lebanese people are healing the wounds and overcoming the challenges, rebuilding their country, and the gatherings of evil are turning and hatred and enmity are returning to them and the people of the this valuable region are paying for their independence and dignity and its value is in the hands of God, as God has promised, ‘Whoever takes for his guardians God, His Apostle and the faithful [should know that] the confederates of God are indeed the victorious.’” ‎‎[Holy Quran 5:56]

On the evening of August 4th, a series of explosions occurred in the city of Beirut, the capital of Lebanon. The extremely powerful main blast, at the Port of Beirut, which was preceded by a fire, left at least 154 people dead least 80 more missing, and more than 5,000 injured. Beirut Governor Marwan Abboud estimated that up to 300,000 people were left homeless by the explosion. The government declared a two-week state of emergency.

The explosion was linked to about 2,750 tonnes (3,030 short tons) of ammonium nitrate, equivalent to around 1,155 tonnes of TNT (4,830 gigajoules) that had been confiscated by the government from the abandoned ship MV Rhosus and stored in the port without proper safety measures for six years.


Christchurch mosque attack: Foreign media told to obey rules


A senior journalism lecturer is urging the foreign media to respect strict reporting restrictions for the sentencing of the gunman who carried out the Christchurch mosques' attacks.

Eighteen overseas and 11 New Zealand news organisations plan to cover the sentencing which cannot be reported live, and only under daily embargoes.

Justice Cameron Mander notified media this week that live reporting of the sentencing hearing was banned with coverage of the hearing embargoed until the midday and end-of-day adjournments during what was set down to be a multi-day hearing.

Massey University journalism lecturer Dr Cathy Strong said it was harsh but necessary censorship, and hoped foreign media would respect New Zealand's attempts at forging social justice.

"We're in an unprecedented era here and we've seen overseas how mass shootings have been an epidemic and someone has to do something to stop it and this is one step. It's unprecedented but it may need to be done."

Dr Strong said it remained a concern, particularly because of the speed in which news was distributed online, but she hoped methods by which reporters could cover the sentencing remotely might prevent rule breaches.

The court had made provision for overseas media and victims and their families who could not enter New Zealand due to the COVID-19 pandemic to view the hearing remotely.

"My real worry is the overseas media and I urge them not to be crass, and respect that we're trying to forge a new step in trying to cull mass shootings, because we know that it becomes what's known as 'dark fame' - some people, that's what they want even after they die - they want to be known for being a mass shooter and worse than anyone else."

Dr Strong assumed overseas reporters would have to register with the court to get access to the online link, which even though it was an agreement, would be hard to police.

"Once it's out, there's no jurisdiction but a really high ethical one throughout the world for journalism is that if you agree to certain regulations to get information, that you agree to the conditions around that."

She said while mainstream media largely respected the rules, once information broke through the barricade and reached social media platforms, then a freefall occurred.

"Yes, that's true, so it really comes down to who is going to get that link and there are ways of controlling that and you'd have to be pretty amateur in this day and age not to know the restrictions you can place on something like Zoom and who can connect to it - and that would be those who agree to the conditions."

Dr Strong said some mainstream media were so eager to get a "scoop" they would risk violating ethical standards but she hoped they would not do that in this case.





Wrestler Muslim Evloyev not found among militants killed in Ingushetia

08 August 2020

All the militants killed during a counter-terrorist operation in Nazran (Ingushetia) have been identified; a wrestler Muslim Evloyev is not among them. TASS reports with reference to a source in the law enforcement agencies of the republic.

According to the National Anti-Terrorism Committee, during the counter-terrorist operation in Nazran and Malgobek district of Ingushetia, the security forces have liquidated two bandits, one was detained. They intended to commit several terrorist crimes in the republic.

As a law enforcement source previously reported, a native of the region Muslim Evloyev, who represented the national freestyle wrestling team of Kyrgyzstan, could be among the killed.

According to the source of the media outlet, Muslim Evloyev, according to preliminary data, fled. His relative was detained.

The source noted that the special operation was carried out as part of a criminal investigation into the murder of an officer of the National Guard of Russia last week.




Rajasthan: 2 arrested for thrashing, forcing Muslim auto driver to chant 'Jai Shri Ram', 'Modi Zindabad' in Sikar

August 8, 2020

In Rajasthan's Sikar, an autorickshaw driver was allegedly thrashed and made to chant "Modi Zindabad" and "Jai Shri Ram" on Friday.

The driver, 52-year-old Ghaffar Ahmed has registered a complaint in this regard at the Sadar police station in Sikar.

According to his complaint, Ghaffar, who works as an autorickshaw driver was ferrying passengers from Sikar's Kalyan Circle area to Jigri Chhoti village on Friday. Upon his return, he was stopped by miscreants who disembarked from a Mahindra Bolero pick-up. They then allegedly assaulted Ghaffar Ahmed and forced him to chant "Jai Shri Ram" and "Modi Zindabad" as per his statement to the police.

In fact, Ghaffar has also accused the miscreants of yanking his beard and attempting to flee with his autorickshaw.

"I was returning after dropping (passengers) to Chotti Jigar. On the way, people in the pick-up stopped me. I stopped. He (miscreant) said listen to me. The other one said say Modi Zindabad and slapped me. Then said say Jai Shri Ram. I started my autorickshaw and sped away. There is a wheat godown ahead. The vehicle was brought ahead of the wheat godown and stopped in front of me and (miscreants) began assaulting me and I became unconscious," Ghaffar Ahmed told the police in his complaint.

"I have a head injury and have sustained an injury on the waist as well. I was assaulted all over with legs and fists," Ahmed added.

After the assault, Ghaffar managed to reach Sikar city where he narrated his ordeal before the Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Qayoom Qureshi and Congress Councillor Sajaauddin.

Accompanied by the two, Ghaffar Ahmed went to the Sadar police station late in the night where he registered his complaint. The police filed an FIR and arrested two accused on the basis of a preliminary probe.

The two suspects have been identified as Rajendra and Shambhu Dayal, citizens of Jagdalpur and Jigar Chhoti respectively. They also have several cases of physical assault, robbery and SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act registered against them. Police say the Bolero pick-up allegedly used by the accused has also been confiscated.

"Ghaffar Ahmed, an auto driver, who took passengers from Kalyan Circle, was returning after dropping passengers. On the way, two people sitting in camper made him stop and asked him for Zarda. Then, they had an altercation. They were miscreants. After the FIR was registered, within six hours, they were arrested and the camper vehicle used by them was confiscated, "Pushpendra Singh, Station House Officer (SHO) of Sadar police station in Rajasthan's Sikar said.


Muharram mourning processions not to be held in Kashmir

August 9, 2020

The President of All Jammu and Kashmir Shia Association (AJKSA), taking into account that the recent Fatwas by noted Islamic scholars and consultations with Ulemas, decided not to conduct any mourning Majalis or procession under its banner in the lunar Hijri month of Muharram amidst COVID-19 pandemic.

In a statement issued to KNS, Maulana Imran Reza Ansari, the President of AJKSA, said that the decision was taken keeping into consideration the fatwas of Ayatollah Sayyid Ali al-Husayni al-Sistani and Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Hosseini Khamenei to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

Invoking verses of Quran, Mr Ansari said that Allah says in the Holy Quran that, “So ask the people of the reminder if you do not know"

“In the Quran, it is written that if you do not know anything you should go to the people of reminders or people of the Book. These people are scholars, scientists, doctors, administrators and frontline workers,” Ansari said.

He said that Muharram is approaching and as we know traditional commemoration of the Martyrdom of Imam Hussain (AS) involves congregations of varying size.

“Because of a high risk of these congregations becoming super spreading events our respected Marja’s have also very wisely informed the people to strictly follow SOP where ever needed and further decided to refer the matter to experts and asked the people to follow the advice of experts,” he added.

Therefore, after consultations with medical experts, Ansari said that they have come to the conclusion that all congregations whether they are small congregations at home (Majlis) and large congregations as processions should be cancelled.

“As advised by our Maraja (sources of emulation), Majalis and lectures can be held without risk by taking advantage of the modern modes of communication like the internet, TV, social media. In fact, most of our Majalis are already being broadcast live on these media outlets or uploaded for later viewing,” Ansari said.

He said that the respected scholars, orators, zakireen, can continue to do so with the only difference being that they have to do it from their homes or wherever they want while the people participate virtually rather than physically.

He said that they understand that it is a very sensitive and emotional issue but they believe that health and the lives of Azadars (mourners) take precedence over everything.

“We have to behave responsibly as a community hopefully our respected religious leaders will consider these recommendations and base their decisions on them,” he said.

The pandemic has already infected nearly 20 million people and led to about 800,000 deaths. India at present averages nearly 50,000 cases per day.

The pandemic has taken hold in Kashmir also and with an average recording about 500 cases/day with experts predicting that things are going to be much worse in coming times.



How can temple be erected over mosque, asks Bengal minister amid CM Mamata's silence

August 8, 2020

While the Trinamool Congress (TMC) has maintained silence on the issue, a minister in West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee's cabinet has spoken out against the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya.

Siddiqullah Chowdhury, Bengal's Minister of State with independent charge for Mass Education Extension and Library Services while calling Prime Minister Narendra Modi's decision to attend the bhoomi pujan a "mistake" said, "It would be wrong for me not to speak out."

"How can a temple be erected over a mosque?" Chowdhury asked in a video message on behalf of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind, the Bengal unit that he heads in the state.

Chowdhury went further to state, "We are holding on to our patience, it is Allah's mosque; it shall remain so till eternity. It does not matter if a temple is built and PM goes and lays its first stone. No matter what, the whole world knows it is a mosque."

Accusing the BJP of trying to provoke Indian Muslims, Siddiqullah Chowdhury said, "BJP and RSS must be thinking why Muslims are not out on the streets, but Indian Muslims believe in the rule of law, Indian constitution, democracy and national unity. They don't indulge in hate. Those that have done this are trying to divide the country using hate."

"Some think resorting to force will lead to victory and therefore such attempts at forcibly erecting a temple where the mosque was pulled down. Islam is a religion of peace, love, discipline and forgiveness. But people should not think we are weak. We are holding our patience," the Bengal minister added.

Commenting on the Supreme Court's landmark judgment that paved the way for the construction of a temple on the once-disputed site in Uttar Pradesh's Ayodhya, Siddiqullah Chowdhury said, "We did not get justice, we have been subjected to injustice. The PM has committed a mistake."


Bengal Muslims perform last rites of Hindu neighbour

08th August 2020

KOLKATA: In an example of communal harmony and humanity, Muslim neighbours of a Hindu man helped perform his last rites in Jhargram district of West Bengal on Thursday. The 62-year-old man died after suffering a cardiac arrest shortly after being refused treatment by a doctor at the local health centre as he had not gone through a Covid-19 test. From gathering wood for the funeral to carrying the body to the crematorium, the neighbours helped his family perform all rituals.

Jugal Das was taken to Binpur rural hospital on Thursday morning after complaining of chest pain. “There was a lady doctor at the healthcare centre. We told her that my father had fever five days ago. She refused to examine my father and asked us to conduct Covid-19 test first and come only if he tests negative. We had to return home. In the afternoon, he complained of severe chest pain and died,” said Sujit, Jugal’s son.

As the news of his death spread, Jugal’s neighbours arrived at his house to help the family. 

“In our village, there are about 300 Muslims families and 10 Hindu households. I will never forget what they did for us when an educated doctor refused to treat my father,” said Sujit. “We always come forward whenever anyone is in distress. When Jugal was admitted to SSKM Hospital in Kolkata in 2009, I spent three nights at the hospital,” Sheikh Kader, one of Jugal’s neighbours, said. Sheikh Siddiqui said he and others of his community collected wood, bought clothes and other items for Jugal’s last rites.





Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz Shoots Down Muslim League Reunification Talk

Khalid Qayyum

August 09, 2020

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz has refused to be part of any proposed alliance between all Muslim League factions, dealing a blow to proponents of unifying all parties using the Muslim League name.

According to sources privy to developments, the idea of an alliance that leading to possible reunification has resurfaced among Muslim League parties some believe to be ‘pro-establishment’, such as PML-Quaid, PML-Functional and Awami Muslim League (AML). They claim the proposal has even caught the attention certain PML-N members who too are seen as close to the establishment.

“A unified Muslim League can make a stronger bid for power in the 2023 general elections,” one insider said. “If the PML-N agrees, it could use PML-Q to bolster its influence in Punjab and PML-F to increase its presence in Sindh,” he insisted. “A reunification could prop Muslim League as a ‘national party’ and remove any obstacles in the way being a real contender in the next elections.”

PML-N Punjab President Rana Sanaullah, however, shot down the possibility of allying with other Muslim League factions. “We have not even spared a thought on this. This topic has not been discussed at any level within our party,” he maintained. “This is an old dream of the establishment and it will never come true.”

The PML-N leader also rubbished suggestions of a PML-N sans Nawaz Sharif. “Such efforts are destined to fail,” he said. “The vote bank that belongs to PML-N belongs to Nawaz Sharif.”

Asked what he thought of a Muslim League alliance without PML-N, Sanaullah said his party had no qualms. “They can come together if they like. We neither recognise them as Muslim League nor do we see them as a threat,” he said.

PML-N Punjab chief, however, had a word of caution for Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf. “This alliance or reunification talk is a message to Imran Khan and company. They are no longer needed and efforts are on to find their replacement,” he said.

On the other hand, PML-F Secretary General Muhammad Ali Durrani said consensus of the security and economic challenges plaguing Pakistan would only be possible through a national party. “If the Muslim League factions ally with each other, they would easily form a strong national party,” he said. On being perceived as a ‘pro-establishment’ party, Durrani said, “the Muslim League has been always been pro-Pakistan.”

The idea of bringing parties operation under the Muslim League is not a new one. According to sources, between 2008 and 2013, Nawaz Sharif and PML-Q’s Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain had almost agreed to form an alliance but the move fell through following concerns raised by Shahbaz Sharif Chaudhry Pervez Elahi.


Who Is Upset with Islamic Content Of Single National Curriculum?

Ansar Abbasi

August 9, 2020

ISLAMABAD: The PTI government is informed about a vicious propaganda unleashed by certain elements, who are upset with the Islamic content being introduced in the Single National Curriculum (SNC) with the consensus of Centre and provinces.

Education Minister Shafqat Mehmood and the ministry’s top officials have been informed of this campaign, which the government sources said, is based on false perceptions and is aimed at targeting the Islamic content included in the curriculum.

The development of SNC is driven by the key considerations like teachings of Quran and Sunnah, constitutional framework, vision of Quaid and Iqbal, focus on values, life skills-based and inclusive education, respect and appreciation for different cultures and religions in local and global context, focus on project, inquiry and activity-based learning, development of 21st century skills including analytical, critical and creative thinking.

The SNC is being developed by the National Curriculum Council (NCC), Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training in consultation and collaboration with education departments of all federating units of the country.

The ministry sources said that of late a campaign, based on false perception, has been launched against the SNC. Those leading the campaign are mainly targeting the Islamic content included in the curriculum.

Regarding the propaganda against Islamiat curriculum, the government sources provided The News with facts which are being distorted by the vested interest elements.

It is explained that Islamiat is now a separate subject from grade 1 onwards. Previously for grade 1 and 2, it was part of the integrated curriculum of General Knowledge.

The Islamiat curriculum has been revised by both the representatives of the federating units as well as representatives of Ittehad Tanzimat-e-Madaris Pakistan. It is said that there were no standards and student learning objectives (SLOs) in the previous curriculum 2006. Now, these have been added in the SNC along with their definition.

According to “Compulsory Teaching of the Holy Quran Act 2017” the SLOs have been added in the Islamiat curriculum. In addition to Nazra Quran, a framework for reading of 200 Ahadith from I-XII has been added.

The new curriculum includes an addition of two strands; “Husn-e-Muamlat o Muashrat” and “Islami Taleemat aur Dour-e-Hazir ke Taqazay”. For primary classes, SLOs have been developed keeping in view higher order thinking besides adding instructions for teachers, textbook authors and assessment experts.

These sources shared the following myths and realities about SNC Islamiat.

Myth: Single National Curriculum Islamiat will over-burden the students?

Reality: a) In National Curriculum 2006, Islamiat curriculum was based on merely themes. In that curriculum, the textbook authors were able to interpret the topics as per their own understanding. In SNC Islamiat, standards, benchmarks and students' learning outcomes have been included. It will ensure no misinterpretation on the part of given themes from any author. Overall workload is more or less the same.

b) The portion of Nazra Quran has been added in the curriculum in pursuance of “Teaching of Holy Quran Act 2017”. Duration of completing the Holy Quran is according to the Act and not an addition to the Single National Curriculum.

c) The framework for learning Hadith is only 18 hadith from grade 1 to 5. These are very short and easy to understand Ahadith on values such as honesty, cleanliness, purity of intention, avoiding backbiting, using soft language, good behaviour with neighbours and other such values.

Myth: With the implementation of Single National Curriculum (Islamiat), public schools will be flooded with Madaris graduates?

Reality: Though there is no harm in giving employment to Madaris graduates in contemporary education institutions, it is a totally baseless claim. Certain activities have been given keeping in view the resources of different institutions. For teaching the Holy Quran with proper Tajweed, it has been suggested that a Qari may be arranged or alternatively, recording of recitation from any known Qari may be given. It shows that it is not compulsory for any school to arrange a Qari but they may also go for alternative of using recording of recitation.

Myth: Single National Curriculum has nothing for minorities.

Reality: Previously the subject of Ethics was designated for non-Muslim students in lieu of Islamiat from Grade 3 onwards. Now a new subject Religious Education has been introduced from grade 1 onwards for non-Muslim students belonging to Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism, Bahaism and Kalash community of Pakistan.

Myth: Single National Curriculum for Islamiat will give air to sectarianism.

Reality: For the first time in the history of Pakistan, representatives from all five factions of Ittehad Tanzimatul Madaris Pakistan were part of the curriculum team. They focused on commonalities instead of adding sect-based differences. Hence, this curriculum is free from any bias for any sect of Islam.

Myth: SNC for Islamiat focuses only on rote learning.

Reality: It is an outcome-based and activity-based curriculum. It encourages students to move from passive to active learning. Activities have been added for all types of learners. It is an age and level appropriate curriculum which will help students reach their full potential.



Lawmakers Say Voted For Tahaffuz-e-Bunyad-e-Islam Bill ‘Without Reading Document’

Naya Daur

August 8, 2020

Punjab Assembly lawmakers have expressed remorse over their decision to support the Tahaffuz-e-Bunyad-e-Islam Bill, saying they voted for the bill without ‘reading the draft’.

During the proceedings on Friday, the MPAs from the opposition and treasury benches withdrew their support to the bill, saying they would not endorse a document that would ‘fan sectarian divides in the province’.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) lawmakers termed it a ‘conspiracy’ against the government and demanded that the government amend the bill with the approval of the Federal Shariat Court.

PML-N MPA Ashraf Rasool said that the bill was passed at the behest of Shahzad Akbar, who is a prime minister’s aide on accountability.

The lawmakers said that they could not condone such a documents that would direct a person which sect one should belong to. They demanded recalling and amending the bill by seeking recommendations from a committee of clerics comprising all schools of thought.

Moreover, pointing out flaws in the procedures, the PTI lawmakers argued if the bill was tabled as an official business, then cabinet’s approval for the draft should be presented. And if it was a private member bill, then they demanded to know the standing committee that vetted the bill.

PPP parliamentary leader Syed Hassan Murtaza, who was a member of the committee, also disowned the bill admitting that he was part of the panel but had not been informed about its vetting process.

At this, Raja Basharat, who is the provincial law minister and the member of Pakistan Muslim League-Q, said that objections to the bill had been raised after its approval and that’s why it was not sent to the governor for signing it into law.

Last month, Punjab Assembly passed the bill that the provincial government sweeping powers to censor information by barring any publisher, editor, or translator, from printing or publishing any text that is deemed ‘un-Islamic’ or ‘objectionable’ by the government.

According to the bill, the Directorate General of Public Relations (DGPR) is empowered to visit and inspect the premises of the printing presses, offices of the publication houses and book stores. The DGPR also has the authority to refuse permission to import, print, or publish a book ‘if it is prejudicial to the national interest, culture, religious and sectarian harmony’.



South Asia

Bangladesh: How 90 Indigenous Villages In Sylhet Region Keep Coronavirus At Bay

August 09, 2020

Mintu Deshwara

No Covid-19 patients have been found so far in 90 punjis (villages) in Sylhet, with each completely isolating itself from outsiders and following strict hygiene protocols.

In the rest of the division, 8,497 Covid-19 cases were reported and 153 patients died as of yesterday.

Dr Anisur Rahman, assistant director of the health department in Sylhet division, told this correspondent that there have been no Covid-19 cases so far in the punjis unlike the rest of division.

He termed the complete lockdown and hygiene protocols being employed in the punjis as exemplary. "It is a very good practice; anyone can follow it as an example."

Saju Marchiang, publicity secretary of the Khasi Welfare Association, said entry to the punjis for outsiders has been stopped since the government announced the countrywide shutdown back in March after the country's first coronavirus cases were detected.

In each punji, people are under strict guard with only those sick able to leave. Residents of the punjis who have been elsewhere have to maintain a 14-day quarantine outside before they can enter. Not even relatives of the residents have been allowed in during this time.

These measures have paid off as no one has so far been found to be affected by coronavirus in the punjis.

Isolation from the outside world was crucial for these indigenous communities as the nearest healthcare facilities are distant, said local leaders.

Flora Bably Talang, general secretary of Kubraj, an inter-punji development organisation, said there is a population of around 40,000 who mostly live in hilly punjis in Sylhet division.

"We suffer badly at times due to the poor condition of hilly roads and no electricity facilities. There are so many remote punjis where there are no modern facilities."

"But," he added, "we are following strict health rules during this pandemic for our own safety."

On Thursday, this correspondent was able to secure a visit to three punjis, with special permission and under special arrangement. The nearest of the villages is around 50km from Moulvibazar town.

In the first punji, this correspondent was able to enter through the only open gate and was sprayed down by guards on duty before being allowed in.

Needless to say, he had to keep wearing gloves and a mask all the time and did not enter any house.

"After meeting with all residents, we have been maintaining a complete lockdown with no exceptions," said Welcome Lymba, a resident of Jaflong punji in Gowainghat upazila of Sylhet.

This includes a ban on tourists, who sometimes stray from the popular hill station in Jaflong into the punjis.

Dipu Rema, a resident of Dhanchhara punji in Sreemangal upazila of Moulvibazar, said they met everyone in the village on implementing the lockdown, so that no one is given any special concessions.

"If Covid-19 is able to enter our area, everyone will be severely affected."

Monika Khonglah, myntri (head) of Megatila punji in Kulaura upazila of Moulvibazar, said even sacks of rice and pulses bought from outside are sprayed and kept in a hut adjacent to the punji gate for a week, as a precaution against the virus.

Father Joseph Gomes OMI, central committee member of Bangladesh Paribesh Andolon, and his team are also working in the punjis to spread awareness, under the leadership of Bishop Bejoy N D'Cruze, head of the Sylhet Diocese.

"We are running from one punji to another -- advising everyone to wear masks, maintain social distancing, and adhere to hygiene rules," said Father Joseph.

He said they themselves maintain strict hygiene and use protective gears during the campaigns.

Another precaution has been stopping gathering for public worship in the punjis during the last few months, he added.

ATM Farhad Chowdhury, UNO of Kulaura upazila in Moulvibazar, said the punji residents have been extremely sincere about the Covid-19 issue.

"Their strict rules make us proud. We are also helping them carry out various activities to increase social awareness, including making it compulsory to wear a mask."


Intra-Afghan dialogue to kick-off soon in Doha as Loya Jirga agrees to release another 400 Taliban prisoners

08 Aug 2020

The Traditional Loya Jirga has decided to agree on the release of another 400 Taliban prisoners, Abdullah Abdullah the chairman of Loya Jirga said on Saturday.

Abdullah Abdullah, the chairman of the 2020 Afghanistan peace Loya Jirga and the head of Afghan peace reconciliation office announce on the second day of the meeting that Jirga has decided to agree on the release of another 400 Taliban prisoners.

“None of the 50 committees of the jirga categorically opposed release of 400 high-value Taliban prisoners, a Taliban precondition to allow intra-Afghan negotiations begin”, Abdullah said.

According to Abdullah the first round of the intra-Afghan negotiations will be held in Doha, if the release of the prisoners is completed promptly.

President Ghani said the other day that the Intra-Afghan dialogue will kick-off within 3 days after the 400 remaining Taliban prisoners are released.

This comes as the Afghan government had earlier released 4,600 out of 5,000 Taliban prisoners as per the US-Taliban agreement signed in February.

President Ghani refused to release the remaining 400 Taliban prisoners saying their crimes were ‘very serious’ and he cannot make any decision by himself to release them, thus he called for Loya Jirga, a traditional gathering of people’s representatives from all over the country.


Afghan forces suffer heavy casualties in Ghazni city car bomb attack

09 Aug 2020

The Afghan security forces suffered heavy casualties in a car bomb attack in Ghazni city, the provincial capital of South-eastern Ghazni province.

Tariq Arian, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Interior, confirmed that a group of militants detonated a car packed with explosives in Ghazni city late on Saturday night.

Arian further added that the militants detonated the car bomb close to a unit of the Public Order forces in Kotal-e Rawza area of Ghazni city at around 7:45 pm local time.

He also added that a number of assailants attempted to storm the compound of the security forces but the security personnel reacted and killed all the assailants.

However, he said the explosion left at least 7 security personnel dead including 3 policemen and 4 security guards of the Public Order forces.

According to Arian, the attack also left at least 16 personnel wounded.

No individual or group including Taliban has so far claimed responsibility for the attack.


9 members of a single family wounded in Taliban mortar attack in East of Afghanistan

09 Aug 2020

A mortar round fired by Taliban militants landed on a civilian house in East of Afghanistan leaving at least 9 members of the family wounded.

The 201st Silab Corps in a statement said the Taliban militants fired a mortar round which impacted a civilian house in Sherzad district of Nangarhar province.

The statement further added that the Taliban militants fired the mortar round on Saturday which landed on a civilian house Angar area of Sherzad district.

According to 201st Silab Corps, the attack left at least 9 members of a single family wounded.




Cleric urges Muslims to stick to infallible Imams' guidance

Aug 9, 2020

TEHRAN, Aug. 09 (MNA) – Bahrain's leading Shia cleric called on the Muslim community to grasp to the teachings of the Infallible Imams to reach prosperity.

“Islam teaches us that it is not possible to survive except in the presence of an Imam who is as great in value as Islam itself,” Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Ahmed Qassim said on Saturday on the occasion of the Eid al-Ghadir.

He added that during the absence of the Infallible Imam, Islam obliges the closest person to him in knowledge, guidance, sincerity, justice, and piety to guide people and promote them toward prosperity.

Underlining the importance of having infallible Imams in the society, the prominent cleric said, “Throughout the history, the onset of all problems of the Ummah has emerged when rulers did not respect the divine rights and trampled the value or religion without any fear.”

“They are not pleased with God, nor is God pleased with them, and they do not hesitate to commit what is prohibited.”

Saturday marked Eid al-Ghadir, which is the day when the Prophet of Islam appointed Ali ibn Abi Talib (PBUM) – the first Shia Imam – as his successor and Muslims’ next leader.

Prophet Mohammad announced his appointment on the way back from his last Hajj pilgrimage fourteen centuries ago.

Eid al-Ghadir comes eight days after another great festivity, called Eid al-Adha or the Feast of Sacrifice – an important festival on the Islamic calendar that marks the climax of the annual hajj pilgrimage in Mecca and Medina.


Iran's President felicitates Eid al-Ghadeer to grand Ayatollahs

August 9, 2020

In telephone calls with the grand maraji, the President congratulated them on Eid al-Ghadeer and wished them good health and days full of blessings and success.

In separate phone calls with the Grand Ayatollahs "Safi Golpayegani", "Vahid Khorasani", "Makarem Shirazi", "Shobeyri Zanjani", "Javadi Amoli", "Sobhani", "Noori Hamedani", "Alavi Gorgani" and "Mazaheri" Dr Hassan Rouhani thanked the support and attention of the grand maraji to the government.

In these talks, the President expressed hope that by relying on God and with the capital of the prayers of the virtuous and pure, the care of the Ahl al-Bayt (AS) and with the support and assistance of the maraji, empathy of branches and institutions and public support and participation, we will overcome current problems.

The grand maraji also congratulated the president on Eid al-Ghadeer and wished him success in serving the people more, especially the lower-income classes.


Speaker Calls for Realization of Unity among Muslim Leaders

Aug 08, 2020

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Parliament Speaker Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf congratulated Eid al-Ghadir to the political and religious figures of the Shiite world, and called for the materialization of unity among Muslim countries.

In separate messages to political and religious figures of the Shiite world on Saturday, Qalibaf congratulated the arrival of Eid al-Ghadir.

"In the current critical situation of the Islamic world and in the shadow of adhering to the Holy Quran and the Ahl al-Bayt (PBUH), it is necessary to take and realize our strong and unifying steps with unity and practice of the teachings of pure Islam," the Iranian parliament speaker said.

Saturday marks Eid al-Ghadir, which is the day when the Prophet of Islam appointed Ali ibn Abi Talib (PBUM) -- the first Shiite Imam - as his successor and Muslims’ next leader.

Prophet Mohammad announced his appointment on the way back from his last Hajj pilgrimage fourteen centuries ago.

Shia Muslims celebrate this auspicious occasion around the world.

Eid al-Ghadir comes eight days after another great festivity, called Eid al-Adha or the Feast of Sacrifice – an important festival on the Islamic calendar that marks the climax of the annual hajj pilgrimage in Mecca and Medina.


US responsible for terrorist crimes of Tondar group in Iran: Envoy to UN

08 August 2020

A senior Iranian diplomat says Washington is responsible for terrorist crimes committed by a US-based anti-Iran group, calling on the United Nations to compel the US administration to stop its support for the outfit, named Tondar (Thunder).

In a letter to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, Iran's Ambassador to the United Nations Majid Takht Ravanchi said that as admitted by the group, it has carried out several terrorist attacks in the country that killed or injured a number of civilians, IRNA reported.

However, the group is still conducting its acts of terror from inside the United States and is even training terrorists to carry out acts of sabotage in Iran, he added.

He emphasized that Iran has on numerous occasions informed the United States of the group's terrorist crimes through the Swiss Embassy in Tehran, which represents the US’ interests section, but Washington has so far carried out no measure to prevent acts of terror by the group's members or extradite them to Iran for trial.

Based on the international law, countries are committed not to support terrorists and allow them to use their soil for terrorist acts against other states, Takht Ravanchi said.

The Iranian envoy added that the continuation of the US support for the Tondar group leaves no doubt that Washington is blatantly violating all its international obligations and therefore is liable for all criminal acts committed by the group's members in Iran.

The Iranian Intelligence Ministry said on August 1 that it had arrested Jamshid Sharmahd, the ringleader of the Tondar terrorist group.

In a statement, the ministry said Iranian security forces had managed to arrest Sharmahd, who directed "armed operations and acts of sabotage" in Iran from the US.

Following a complicated operation, the ringleader of the group, was arrested and he is "now in the powerful hands" of Iranian security forces, it added.

Upon his arrest, Sharmahd admitted providing explosives for a 2008 attack against a religious congregation center in the southern Iranian city of Shiraz, Fars Province, in 2008, that killed 14 people and wounded 215 others.

Upon arrest, the ringleader of a US-based anti-Iran terrorist group admits providing explosives for a 2008 attack in southern Iran.

“I was called before the bomb was about to be set off. They were in a good position. They [just] needed explosives that we provided for them,” Sharmahd said.


IRGC Quds Force arrests perpetrator of sound bomb blast in Iran's Sistan & Baluchestan

08 August 2020

The Quds Force of Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) has arrested the main perpetrator of a recent sound bomb explosion in the country's southeastern city of Zahedan in Sistan and Baluchestan Province.

In a statement on Saturday, the IRGC's Quds Force said that security forces, who maintain a constant surveillance of the area, captured the main element who had planted a sound bomb on Sadra street in Zibashahr neighborhood in Zahedan a few days ago.

It added that the necessary follow-up is underway to arrest other elements involved in this "terrorist act."

On August 5, members of a terrorist group planted explosives in a ditch on Sadra street and then called the police to report an incident. Immediately after the police forces reached the site, the terrorists detonated the explosives, injuring four offices and damaging a police car.

IRGC forces regularly engage in clashes with terrorists seeking to carry out acts of sabotage across the country. 

Back in May, the IRGC’s Hamzeh Seyed al-Shohada Base said in a statement that a number of terrorists had been killed as the IRGC forces carried out a security operation in the western province of Kordestan, which borders Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region.

Iran’s IRGC forces kill a number of ‘counter-revolutionary’ terrorists in Divandarreh County of the western province of Kordestan.

It added that several “counter-revolutionary’ terrorists were killed during clashes in Divandarreh County.



Arab world

An American National accepts Islam at the hands Sheikh Al-Sudais

08 Aug, 2020

Steve, an American tourist, embraced Islam at the hands of Sheikh Dr. Abdur-Rahman Al-Sudais, Chief of the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Grand Mosque in Makkah and Majid Nabawi in Madina .

Steve pronounced his Shahadah (testimony of accepting Islam) before Sheikh Sudais recently and expressed his immense joy and gratitude for his new found faith. He profusely thanked and expressed his gratitude towards Sheikh Sudais, who in turn praised the Almighty Allah for opening Steve's heart, and enabling him to accept the true religion of God.

Sheikh Sudais further said that Steve "was now his brother in Islam" adding that what casted a lasting impression on Steve's mind was the purity of Islam and it's sublime teachings of the Oneness of God. Additionally, he described how Steve was extremely impressed with the level of tolerance and peaceful coexistence amongst those of different faiths within the Kingdom. The key factors that stood out for Steve during his visit were the Islamic teachings of good neighborliness and Saudi hospitality.

Steve, who works in the tourism sector in Miami, was visiting Abha alongside some of his closest friends. Providentially, and as if as pre-destined, Steve lived in the same neighborhood as Sheikh Sudais, who at the time was also spending some days in Abha. It was Saad Al-Matrafi, Sheikh Sudais' translator, who met with Steve and gave him Zamzam and dates as a gift from Sheikh Sudais.

Al-Matrafi said that Steve showed keen interest in knowing more about Islam and kept reading books about the Islamic teachings. He also briefed Sheikh Sudais about his tête-à-tête with the American tourist and Sheikh Al-Sudais was so impressed that he requested to meet with his American neighbor. During his discourse with Steve, Sh Sudais referred to several Qur'anic verses and Prophetic narrations that enjoined Muslims to be good to their neighbors and the rights they have over each other. He specifically mentioned the story of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and the Jewish lady;

Our beloved Prophet(peace be upon him) had a Jewish neighbor who used to throw garbage at him. Instead of reacting with anger, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) showed kindness. When the Prophet learned one day that the neighbor was sick, he went to visit/care for that neighbor. This is an invaluable life lesson for all of us on the rights of our neighbors.

As we continued talking to Steve regarding his journey to Islam, it quickly became very clear the level of joy and happiness that beamed on his face, upon accepting Islam and pronouncing the Shahadah. He mentioned that "the Islamic teachings of fairness, tolerance, compassion, and mercy impressed him a lot". To add, he expressed his immense gratitude and appreciation for the kindness and hospitality he found with the Saudi people, describing them as "simple" and caring". In an array of emotions he continued to share his experience and said he felt like he was with his own family, his own "brothers". Steve, who was visiting the Kingdom for leisure purposes and in his own words to "explore the beauty spread over the length and breadth of the whole country" stated that he was curious to know about the birthplace of Islam and the major development and progress of the country's 2030 Vision.

Al-Matrafi who also played a major role in leading Steve to accept Islam by the permission of Allah, shared his encounter;

As soon as Sheikh Sudais arrived at his lodging in Abha, he inquired about his neighbor. On inquiries, I found out that our neighbor was an American national, Sheikh Sudais suggested sending some Zamzam, Arabic coffee, and dates to him as a gift. The initiative surprised Steve and he asked what was the reasoning for the gifts? Al-Matrafi explained to him that Islam teaches good conduct and kindness towards one's neighbor. Moreover, Al-Matrafi said during his several meetings with Steve he found out that the American national had previously read extensively about Islam and Muslims. As his relations with Steve continued and during one of their morning walks in a nearby park they discussed Islam and the parameters it sets around all worldly affairs.

The next morning Steve informed Al-Matrafi that he spent much of the night thinking about Islam and decided that he was ready to accept Islam as his faith, after three years of studying the religion Upon hearing this, Al-Matrafi was elated with joy and suggested that he takes the Shahadah in the presence of Sheikh Sudais, to which he immediately agreed. Al-Matrafi then took him to Sheikh Sudais who said the words of the Shahadah and Steve repeated after him. Later, Sheikh Sudais gave instructions to host Steve to perform Umrah in Makkah and to visit the Prophet's Mosque in Madinah as well.


Coronavirus: Saudi Arabia starts third phase of COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial

09 August 2020

Tuqa Khalid

Saudi Arabia will start the third phase of a clinical trial for a coronavirus vaccine in cooperation with China’s vaccine developing company CanSino, the Kingdom’s Ministry of Health said on Saturday.

The trial will target 5,000 healthy volunteers in Saudi Arabia over the age of 18 years old, and the ministry is currently working on preparing to launch operations in three main cities: Riyadh, Dammam, and Mecca.

The first and second phases of the clinical trial of the Ad5-nCOV potential vaccine were conducted in China.

The first phase conducted between 16-27 March included 108 volunteers, and the second phase conducted between 11-16 April involved 603 volunteers.

CanSino’s vaccine uses a modified common cold virus to carry genetic material from the coronavirus into the human body. It elicits antibody and T-cell immune responses and did not prompt any serious side effects.

King Abdullah International Medical Research Center (KAIMRC) had invited in July Saudi hospitals to participate in several COVID-19 clinical trials approved by the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA).

The first study “Avi Mild 19” involves the drug favipiravir which was manufactured in Japan and used in cases of mild illness, according to SPA.

The second was labelled “FACT”, involving a combination of favipiravir and the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine.

The third is based on convalescent plasma and the fourth is a comparative study to assess the efficacy of each of the different coronavirus treatment protocols.


UAE Continues Providing Aid to Victims of Beirut Port Explosion


Abu Dhabi, August 08, 2020, SPA -- A UAE plane carrying 40 tons of medical and food supplies as well as nutritional supplements for kids has arrived in Beirut in support of the victims of the massive explosion that rocked the Lebanese capital on Tuesday.

The Emirates Red Crescent had rushed to provide the assistance from the country's strategic emergency relief reserve immediately following the blast, in implementation of the directives of the UAE leadership.


Saudi Ophthalmology 2020 Virtual Symposium Concludes Its Sessions


Riyadh, August 08, 2020, SPA -- The Saudi Ophthalmology 2020 Virtual Symposium concluded its scientific sessions today.

The virtual symposium was held for 3 days from August 6-8, 2020, and co-organized by the Saudi Ophthalmologic Society and King Khaled Eye Specialist Hospital in cooperation with the Department of Ophthalmology at College of Medicine of King Saud University, where these scientific efforts are part of the Saudi Vision 2030.

The scientific program of the symposium reviewed the developments in all disciplines of ophthalmology, and included 38 scientific sessions, 112 scientific papers, 10 training courses, 6 workshops, 26 scientific posters and 6 videos, with participation of a number of speakers from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and abroad, including 13 international professors of ophthalmology.


Egypt Dispatches Second Airlift Plane to Lebanon to Face Beirut Port Explosion Circumstances


Cairo, August 08, 2020, SPA -- Egypt dispatched the second military plane, which was loaded with an urgent aid shipment containing large quantities of medical supplies and foodstuffs, heading to Lebanon.

Egypt Armed Forces said in a statement issued today, that this comes within the framework of support and solidarity with brotherly countries, and as an implementation of the Egyptian President Abdelfattah El-Sisi's directives to open an air bridge to send urgent aid to Lebanon to face the Beirut Port explosion circumstances.


Third Saudi aid plane arrives in Beirut

August 09, 2020

RIYADH: A third King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) plane loaded with aid arrived in Beirut on Saturday as part of a relief air bridge that was set up to help the people in wake of the Beirut blasts.

The air bridge was established on the directives of King Salman to provide urgent humanitarian aid to Lebanon.

KSRelief Adviser Dr. Ali bin Hamed Al-Ghamdi said the third plane is loaded with ventilators, hospital and medical equipment, as well as various medicines and disinfectants. It also contains food, tents, mattresses, blankets and cooking supplies.

So far, 200 tons of aid from the Kingdom have been flown to Lebanon with specialized teams to follow up and supervise the distribution operations.

Earlier, two Saudi aircraft carrying more than 120 tons of medicines, equipment, and emergency supplies were dispatched to Beirut.

KSRelief Supervisor General Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah said in a statement that the assistance highlights the pivotal role of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in providing humanitarian assistance to all people in need around the world with complete impartiality.

The twin blasts devastated large areas of the Lebanese capital and destroyed vital infrastructure, including grain storage silos and port facilities.

Lebanon, already reeling from an economic and currency collapse, now faces the threat of food shortages and a major hit to exports and imports.

The secretary-general of the High Relief Commission in Lebanon, Maj. Gen. Mohammad Khair, thanked the Kingdom for the urgent humanitarian aid provided through KSRelief.

In a press statement, he praised the historical relations between the two countries, noting the Saudi aid will help alleviate the suffering of Lebanese people.

Residents in the Kingdom can also help Lebanon by making donations through KSRelief’s website.


Saudi artist reimagines Jeddah through ’80s pop art


August 09, 2020

JEDDAH: Every Jeddawi has an obsession with their city; the elderly reminisce about historic Jeddah in the old days, while the youth romanticize the modern city through photography and social media.

One Saudi artist, Zaina Hassan, 23, who goes by the name ZHA on social media, chose to express her attachment to Jeddah by reimagining it through ’80s pop art.

“To many of us, Jeddah is a city too familiar for words, for beautiful odes and formal praise. Yet, the love and belonging we feel toward it are very real and deserve to be illuminated,” she told Arab News.

She added: “My deep affection toward the city only grew while I was away, and all its beauty that was previously hidden in plain sight became visible to me in my nostalgia.”

The artist has completed eight pieces; the first artwork, shared on Instagram is called “Show You the World” and portrays two people walking toward the Globe Roundabout in northern Jeddah.

“This piece is dedicated to people who dream of seeing the world but find themselves stuck in one place. A gentle reminder that there is much to see and feel, even without getting on a plane and traveling thousands of kilometers,” she said.

The other pieces follow the same idea, where the location reflects certain feelings or emotions of the characters in the artwork.

“Deep Blue” is an artwork that portrays a girl walking along the new Corniche with the sea as her background. “It speaks of moments when you feel melancholic or blue for reasons unknown to you,” Hassan said.

“Rosie” is another artwork that shows a couple standing together lovingly, with the old Saudi airplane monument behind them. The monument symbolizes how every relationship is a journey, she added.

Hassan chose ’80s pop art as her medium because it combines youthful content with a vintage appearance, which she is very fond of.

“For the love of everything vintage. Comic book art or ’80s pop art has a nostalgic yet youthful and modern look to it, so it was the perfect artistic style to merge the old with the new.”

The artist began sharing her work on Instagram during the difficult period of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown.

“I first thought of the theme behind the first few pieces in the midst of the COVID-19 avalanche, when isolation and uncertainty were still unexplored territories to most of us; the main incentive behind the theme was homesickness,” Hassan added.

She said it was not artwork by other artists that inspired her, but things from her daily life such as songs, movies and stories.

“I found that listening to certain songs inspires me so much more vividly than looking at or studying actual art pieces. Obviously, comic book illustrators have inspired me enough to use this specific style and guided me with regard to colors and composition, but I believe that the real inspiration behind my artworks’ ideas come from songs, as well as movie scenes, pictures and stories,” she said.

“Basically, anything that is able to transport you to an alternative reality for a period of time. So many things inspire me and influence me daily, it’s hard to pinpoint the exact source.”

Hassan said the illustrations were figments, romanticizing the streets people know well, but they exposed the genuine fondness Jeddawis carry in their hearts for this coastal city.

To many people, she said, the landmarks portrayed in Hassan’s artworks carry many memories of their youth — their favorite childhood place, where they used to hang out in their teenage years, or even a place they used to pass by on their way to their loved ones’ old houses. “It’s amazing how memories connect people to places on such a deep level.”

The main theme of her collection is not solely romantic as much as it is soulful, and it encompasses romance, friendship, adventure, and even melancholy.



North America

World leaders holding Lebanon aid summit after night of unrest in Beirut


President Trump was due to attend on Sunday an online world leaders summit organized by his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron and the United Nations on raising aid for Lebanon following last week's deadly explosion.

The big picture: The talks come after massive protests Saturday night that saw demonstrators storm government ministries and attack the offices of the Association of Lebanese Banks, as anger grows of the explosion that killed 158 people and wounded over 6,000 others, per Reuters. At least 728 people were wounded and one officer killed in overnight clashes between police and protesters, Al Jazeera reports. The Lebanese government has blamed poorly stored ammonium nitrate for the blast.


Commission rules in favour of 2 Muslim students who wanted prayer at private school

Aug 07, 2020

The Alberta Human Rights Commission tribunal has again ruled in favour of two Muslim students who sought prayer space at a non-denominational private school in Calgary.

The tribunal had previously found in 2015 that Webber Academy in southwest Calgary unlawfully discriminated against the students, fining the school $26,000.

The school appealed that decision, though it was upheld by a judge.

In 2018, however, the Court of Appeal of Alberta ruled that the original decision contained a number of errors, including a mistake in evaluating the level of accommodation being asked of Webber Academy.

Webber Academy to get new human rights hearing in dispute over Muslim prayer

The new tribunal also ruled in favour of the two students, Sarmad Amir and Naman Siddiqui, who had previously told the tribunal that praying is mandatory in their Sunni religion.

"I had this intense sense of shame and humiliation, despite that I was just exercising my right as a Canadian citizen, as a human being, to practise my faith," Siddiqui testified before the human rights tribunal.

New appeal

School president Neil Webber said Webber Academy planned on immediately appealing the decision to the Alberta Court of Queen's Bench, adding that the school's lawyer believes that the new decision also contains errors of law.

"We feel that we should have the right, as a private school, to have youngsters here of many different faiths and backgrounds together, free of religious practices," he said.

"Parents have choices in terms of sending their kids to schools that have a denominational belief, so I don't see any difference for Webber Academy to be able to have a school where their kids are in an environment that's free of religious practices."

Webber said that he believes that if the complainants win the case, it would set a precedent.

"I think it sets a [situation] where schools right across the country will have to provide prayer space for youngsters coming into their school. It's not just an impact on Webber Academy, it's going to have implications across the country," he said.


Alberta Muslim group collects donations for victims of Beirut explosion

Aug 08, 2020

Mohamad Awada said he cries every time he watches the news about the explosion in Lebanon — his home country.

"I felt like the explosion fled overseas and reached me," he said. "It's emotional in every aspect."

Awada volunteers with the Alberta Muslim Social Association in Calgary, which is collecting donations to support the victims of last week's devastating explosion.

The explosion happened when 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate, a highly explosive chemical used in fertilizer, ignited. At least 150 people were killed, thousands injured and 300,000 displaced from their homes. An investigation into the disaster will focus on possible negligence around the explosive material's storage.

Men stand at the site of the explosion in the port of Beirut on Aug. 6, 2020, two days after a massive explosion devastated the Lebanese capital in a disaster that has sparked grief and fury. (Thibault Camus/AFP/Getty Images)

The blast also destroyed medical supplies and food at the capital city's port, at a time when Lebanon was already in the throes of a financial crisis.

"I can't imagine how bad it is right now," said Mahmoud Mourra, the association's chairman. "When I talk to my friend and my brother back home … they tell me no matter how bad you can imagine, it is worse."

"God bless us that that explosion took place after 6 o'clock, and the port closes at 3:30 p.m. If this thing had blown up at 3 o'clock, the number could have been way worse," he said.

The Alberta Muslim Social Association is collecting donations to send to Lebanon, to support the victims of the explosion in Beirut. (Hala Ghonaim/CBC)

"I'm so proud to be Canadian … but it's also very hard to see your mom in pain, and that's how I feel about Lebanon," Awada said. "To the Calgary community, please be generous, please try to help as much as you can … good things always bring good things. What you do for good will come back to you as good."

The association is accepting monetary donations, which will be sent directly to the Lebanese Red Cross or other non-governmental organizations, as well as non-perishable food and other essential items that will be shipped overseas by Aug. 20.

More than 10,300 Albertans were born in Lebanon, according to Statistics Canada's 2016 census. Of those, more than 4,000 live in Calgary.

Items can be dropped of between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. at 521 35th Avenue N.E., or donors can request pickup by contacting the association.


An attack on an imam fractured his shoulder and terrified the Muslim community in Bloomington.


AUGUST 7, 2020

An imam at Dar Al Farooq in Bloomington was walking across the street from his home to the mosque Thursday for the evening prayer. Before he made it to the door, two people approached from behind and started kicking, punching and cursing him. They fractured the imam’s shoulder before fleeing.

The attack on Imam Mohamed Mukhtar is the latest in a series of incidents surrounding the mosque, some violent and some examples of non-violent harassment, that have left Bloomington’s Muslim community in a state of worry.

“The reality is, it’s not one incident we’re trying to make meaning of,” said Mohamed Omar, the executive director of Dar Al Farooq. “This is not something new.”

Since it opened in 2011, a blog run by a neighbor has tracked complaints about the mosque, most of them about traffic. The building was firebombed in 2017. A few weeks ago, a man set up camp in a park behind the mosque and raised a Confederate flag on a nearby tree. Mosque leadership said the incident was a feeble attempt to intimidate.

One mosque visitor also on his way to the prayer late Thursday saw Imam Mohamed, 50, struggling to walk after the assailants escaped, and helped him to the front steps of the mosque. He had left his shoes, glasses and hat at the site of the attack. Imam Mohamed’s family, on a walk in a nearby park, saw his belongings and immediately knew something was wrong.

After the family called 911, an ambulance took Imam Mohamed to M Health Fairview Southdale Hospital. The Bloomington Police Department is investigating the incident. After arriving on the scene shortly after 10 p.m. Thursday, police could not find the two suspects, who were described as being in their late teens or early twenties.

“This is terrorizing our community. Please pray for us. We did everything to secure our community but God knows how long we will be feeling this fear,” Mohamed Omar said in the post.

A medical examiner said Imam Mohamed had a fractured shoulder. He has left the hospital and is now recovering from home, according to Mohamed Omar.

“I visited him this morning,” Mohamed Omar said. “He was feeling okay but he was in a lot of pain because of the fracture in his shoulder.”

“It makes me feel angry and also sad, because we lost a sense of security and safety,” Mohamed Omar said. “Our place of worship is not safe anymore.”

Bloomington Police Deputy Chief Mike Hartley said “as far as the investigation goes, it’s early,” and could not disclose more details about the case. Bloomington Police said they would be interviewing witnesses, the imam, reviewing any available security footage and following up with mosque leaders.

In a press release Friday, CAIR-MN urged the police to investigate the possibility that the attack was motivated by anti-Muslim bias.

“We are thankful that the assault victim did not suffer life-threatening injuries,” said CAIR-MN executive director Jaylani Hussein. “We urge public officials to uncover the motivation behind the assault and to take concrete steps to ensure that Muslim and minority communities will be safe from such attacks in the future.”

The Federal Emergency Management Agency approved Dar Al Farooq for a grant to support improved security at the mosque last year, but the money hasn’t arrived yet. Mohamed Omar said he has spoken to multiple state departments involved in distributing the federal grant, to no avail.

“For some reason the state has been holding it. This is part of the problem,” Mohamed Omar said. “When the system is not recognizing the problems and not seeing our issues and when you have been subjected to these attacks, then you become more vulnerable.”

He added the mosque’s primarily immigrant and low-income community does not have enough resources to protect their place of worship.

“We are where we are because of how the system is treating us,” Mohamed Omar said. “We have a system that’s ignoring us and other groups are attacking us.”

Sophia Rashid, a member of the mosque, heard about the incident after she saw Mohamed’s Facebook post. She said the mosque has been on edge, especially since the bombing.

In August 2017, three members of an Illinois-based far-right group calling itself the Patriot Freedom Fighters militia threw a fire-bomb through the window of the mosque and into the imam’s office. No injuries were reported. Two of three men charged with bombing the mosque pleaded guilty in January 2019.

“As Muslims, we’re known to have attacks on our own community,” Sophia said. “To wait out in the dark for someone who literally represents the Muslim community, who speaks for and stands for your community, it’s terrifying.”




Chad says Boko Haram wreaking havoc despite offensive

August 9, 2020

Chad's President Idriss Deby said Saturday that Boko Haram jihadists would continue to wreak havoc in the Lake Chad region despite a huge military offensive against the group earlier this year.

Lake Chad -- a marshy region dotted with islands near the border of Niger, Nigeria and Cameroon -- has been battered by attacks from jihadists crossing from Nigeria.

"We will have this Boko Haram phenomenon for a long time yet," Deby told Radio France Internationale in an interview.

"The incursions will continue," he said, adding that the group "will continue to cause great damage," in the Lake Chad area.

Boko Haram's insurgency, launched in northeast Nigeria in 2009, has killed more than 36,000 people and displaced more than two million from their homes.

The violence has since spread to Niger, Chad and Cameroon.

In March, Chad's armed forces suffered their biggest single-day loss, when 98 soldiers were massacred in their base at Bohoma, on the banks of Lake Chad.

In response, Deby launched an offensive from March 31 to April 3, declaring at its end that there was "not a single jihadist left" in the Lake Chad region.

But sporadic violence has continued, with an attack attributed to Boko Haram on an army vehicle earlier last month killing eight Chadian soldiers.

Deby on Saturday insisted that there were no Boko Haram fighters left on Chadian territory but that cross-border raids from Nigeria and Niger were continuing at night.


Biafra group warns Miyetti Allah against operating security outfit in South-east, South-south

August 8, 2020

By Seun Opejobi

The Biafra Nations Youth League, BNYL, on Saturday, warned Miyetti Allah Kautal Haure not to allow the Fulani Security group to operate in the Southeast and Southsouth avoid bloody confrontation by both groups.

BNYL Chief Press Secretary, Dianabasi Odung, gave the warning while speaking in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, and was contained in a statement he forwarded to DAILY POST.

The group said it will effectively use its grassroots structures to checkmate the activities of the herdsmen and the security group in the Southeast and Southsouth.

“We dare them to be more visible, we want to see them, if they’re man enough let them be visible like normal security group and face confrontations from us.

“But if they chose to operate like terrorists that they have always been known for, then we shall meet in the bushes. Their actions will only risk the lives of the cattle breeders” the BNYL warned.



Zimbabwe activists decry 'unprecedented clampdown' after arrests

by Fidelis Mbah


Zimbabwean investigative journalist Hopewell Chin'ono has over the years leveraged his large social media following to share posts about human rights abuses and alleged government corruption.

On June 20, after a series of tweets in the run-up to an opposition-organised protest, police arrived at his home in the capital, Harare.

The 49-year-old was charged with inciting the public to commit violence for his role in promoting the demonstrations against corruption and a worsening economic crisis under President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Chin'ono, who in June helped expose the alleged non-transparent awarding of contracts for essential supplies to battle the coronavirus pandemic, denies the charges. On Thursday, he was denied bail for a second time.

"Journalism is not a crime, but a crucial pillar of any democratic society and of the fight against corruption. Journalists and freedom of expression deserve protection," the European Union embassy in Zimbabwe said after Chin'ono's arrest that coincided with the detention of opposition politician Jacob Ngarivhume, who had called for the protests.

The planned demonstrations on July 31 were denounced by Mnangagwa as "an insurrection to overthrow our democratically elected government", while the police banned them, citing coronavirus restrictions.

As hundreds of soldiers and police officers were deployed in major cities, several people, including award-winning author Tsitsi Dangarembga, defied the police order and took to the streets in their neighbourhoods to protest. They were swiftly arrested and have since been released on bail.

Government critics and rights groups say the recent wave of arrests and alleged rights abuses are reminiscent of the heavy-handed tactics used by Mnangagwa's predecessor, longtime President Robert Mugabe.

"Zimbabweans are witnessing unprecedented abuses that may very well be worse than witnessed under Mugabe," said Mavhinga, citing "a sharp increase in abductions, torture and sexual abuse targeting government critics and involving security forces".

Mavhinga added that "the latest crackdown on anti-corruption protesters and government critics is a clear sign that the Mnangagwa administration does not respect human rights and the rule of law".

Human rights lawyers, meanwhile, decried "an unprecedented clampdown" on dissent while social media users used the #Zimbabweanlivesmatter hashtag to highlight the arrests. Some activists, meanwhile, said they had gone into hiding.

"Several attempts have been made to abduct and murder us. It is imperative that we remain outside to coordinate and provide the required leadership," said political activist Promise Mkwananzi.

"We are worried and vehemently opposed to the wanton arrests of human rights activists and anti-corruption whistle-blowers," Mkwananzi added

But government spokesman Nick Mangwana dismissed the allegations, saying "there were no premeditated plots to arrest people in Zimbabwe".

"Nothing informs the arrest of suspected criminals in our country other than the commission of a crime. Anyone who is arrested in Zimbabwe will have charges levelled against him or her, and all the cases are speedily taken to court," Mangwana said.

"As far as we are concerned, no opposing voices have been stifled in Zimbabwe. You can attest to the fact that Zimbabweans enjoy freedom of expression and are the most vocal people in the continent."

Mnangagwa came to power after the military removed Mugabe in November 2017. He went on to win a disputed election the following year, promising to tackle corruption and revive the country's shattered economy.

But two years on, Zimbabwe is facing a severe economic crisis marked by soaring inflation, foreign exchange shortages and a local currency that is rapidly depreciating against the US dollar. An estimated 90 percent of Zimbabweans are without formal employment.

This week, UN chief Antonio Guterres urged the government "to ensure the protection of all fundamental human rights" while South African President Cyril Ramaphosa named two new special envoys to the neighbouring country "following recent reports of difficulties that the Republic of Zimbabwe is experiencing".

Despite the mounting international pressure, Mnangagwa on Tuesday issued a warning to his political opponents: "Bad apples who have attempted to divide our people and to weaken our systems will be flushed out," he said in a televised address to the nation.

The president's speech came as he appointed his deputy, Constantino Chiwenga, to replace Health Minister Obadiah Moyo who was removed from his post amid allegations of corruption related to the government's procurement of medical equipment for the coronavirus pandemic. Moyo was arrested in June but was later freed on bail.

"President Mnangagwa revitalised the fight against corruption by appointing new members of the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission and furnishing them with the requisite equipment and wherewithal to undertake their noble mission," Mangwana said.

But the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has condemned Chiwenga's appointment, saying he is not the right man for the job at a time when the coronavirus pandemic is further stretching Zimbabwe's already fragile healthcare system.

The country has so far recorded more than 4,450 confirmed coronavirus cases and 102 related deaths.



Southeast Asia

Anak Mindanao, Zambo lawyers, artist and Imam file third petition from Mindanao vs Anti-Terror Act


AUGUST 7, 2020

DAVAO CITY– Anak Mindanao (AMIN) party-list, two Basilan-based Representatives to Congress, four Moro lawyers, an artist and an Imam have filed a petition before the Supreme Court asking it to declare unconstitutional RA 11479 or the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, the third petition filed by Mindanawons, the second this week.

In their petition mailed on Tuesday, the petitioners – AMIN, represented by party-list Rep. Amihilda Sangcopan; Basilan’s lone district Rep. and House Deputy Speaker Mujiv Hataman; lawyers Satrina Mohammad, Jamar Kulayan, Alman-Najar Namla and Bensaud Degusman;  Rameer Tawasil, visual artist/designer and peace advocate; and Sheikh Jamsir Jainal, an Imam who regularly gives Friday sermons in a mosque – cited seven points why the law should be declared unconstitutional, including lack of quorum, with only 25 members present at the House of Representatives when it voted on the then House Bill 6875 on June 5.

The petitioners said the Congress “gravely abused its discretion or exceeded its jurisdiction” when it enacted RA 11479 despite lack of quorum;  “when the means it employed to prevent terrorism are both unreasonable and unconstitutional;” that by punishing inciting and proposal to commit terrorism, the law “curtails petitioners’ right to free exercise and free expression;”  that Congress gravely abused its discretion in granting the Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC) the power to designate and proscribe terror suspects on mere suspicion; in granting the ATC “the power to issue written authority to take custody of persons suspected of committing terrorism or conspiracy thereof;” in granting the ATC the “power to detain, without charge, terror suspects beyond three days; and that the law is “replete with unclear and vague provisions and definitions violating the people’s right to be informed of what constitute the punishable act/acts.”

The petition for Certiorari and Prohibition under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court and Article VIII, Section 16 of the 1987 Constitution with application for Temporary Restraining Order and/or Writ of Injunction was filed against the Anti-Terrorism Council,  composed of Executive Secretary and ATC chair Salvador Medialdea, National Security Adviser and ATC Vice Chair Hermogenes Esperon Jr., and ATC members Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr., Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Local Governments Secretary Eduardo Ano, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, Information and Communications Technology Secretary Gregorio Honasan, and ATC Secretariat members Executive Director Mel Georgie Racilla of the Anti-Money Laundering Council,  Director-General Alex Paul Monteagudo of the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency; and the Senate and House of Representatives headed by Senate President Vicente Sotto III and House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano.

Sangcopan and Hataman, who voted against the passage of the anti-terror bill, said the House “did not have the required quorum” when it passed then House Bill 6875 and they were also “prevented from introducing any amendment.”

HB 6875 was approved on final reading on June 5 with only 25 members physically present in the session hall in Quezon City while the rest voted remotely “using the ‘Zoom’ and their ‘Viber Chat Group.”

Kulayan told MindaNews that the House did not revise its rules on physical presence of members in session unlike the Senate which revised its rules to allow participation and voting online.

Kulayan and fellow lawyers Mohammad, Namla and Degusman are members of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines who swore to support the Constitution and are also enforcing the same rights to “free exercise” and of “free expression”

Tawasil is a visual artist promoting Tausug culture and history. The petition said some of his artworks depict the horrors of war and violence that Moros endured over the centuries. “The assailed law threatens the continued free exercise of his profession as his artworks may be construed as promoting terrorism and violence,” it said.

Jainal is an imam who regularly gives Friday sermons in mosque.  The law “threatens to punish him for inciting terrorism once he discusses Jihad during Friday sermons or whenever he give lectures on the subject.”

“Collectively, petitioners are restrained by the assailed law from freely and openly discussing their religious beliefs and conveying the same,” the petition said.

The first was filed on July 23 by Moro lawyers Algamar Latiph, Bantuas Lucman, Musa Malayang, and Dalomilang Parahiman. The second on August 3 by five Mindanawons — a Moro leader, a human rights worker and three journalists — and an organization catering to the education of Indigenous Peoples or Lumads, noting that “counter-terrorism with no regard for human rights cannot win the hearts and minds of the people against terrorism nor can it suppress violent extremism.”

The fourth with petitioners from MIndnao, was filed on Friday,  the 26th petition nationwide.  It was filed by 15 petitioners, nine of them Lumads (Indigenous Peoples) and Moro in Mindanao.

Other Mindanawons who went to the Supreme Court to question the constitutionality of the Anti-Terrorism Act are retired Senior Justice Antonio Carpio, who hails from Davao City; and Bayan Muna Reps. Carlos Isagani  Zarate of Davao and General Santos cities and Eufemia Cullamat  of Surigao del Sur.


Hamzah Zainudin: Sabah governor will not abuse position over political crisis

08 Aug 2020


KOTA KINABALU, Aug 8 — Bersatu secretary-general Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin today said that Sabah governor Tun Juhar Mahiruddin will not abuse his position in resolving the political crisis in the state.

The Home Minister said the governor is responsible for his actions, “but what is important is that if it were true we need to face a state election, then we will face it”.

Asked if he had met with Juhar prior to the dissolution, he said Juhar has been a good friend of his since the 1990s and therefore not wrong for him to visit a friend.

“Tun Juhar is has been a good friend since the 1990s. There’s nothing wrong with me visiting him. We discussed many things including the future of Sabah.

“But the details — let it be between me and him. I know what we said and he knows what told him.

“I am confident he will not abuse his position and to be the Head of State, let him be responsible for his actions,” he said.

Hamzah added that Bersatu was ready to face the election.

“What’s important to me also is Allah will know who did the right things and who abused their position,” he said.

Hamzah was asked to comment on claims that he and the Prime Minister’s political secretary had met with Juhar to inform him that former chief minister Tan Sri Musa Aman had the support of a simple majority in the State Assembly and wanted to form the government.

Musa had claimed in a press conference on July 29, that he had the support to form a new state government.

However the same night, Chief Minister Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal met with Juhar in a bid to dissolve the state assembly to prevent the toppling and pave way for snap polls.

Juhar had consented to the dissolution of the state assembly on July 30, paving the way for an election within 60 days.

Musa and the 32 assemblymen said to be aligned to him filed an application for a judicial review of the decision to dissolve the assembly.

Yesterday, the High Court said it wanted to hear further arguments on whether it has the judicial authority to listen and decide over the challenge to the authority of the governor to dissolve the assembly.


New party will only divide Malays further, says Rais Yatim

08 Aug 2020

KUANTAN, Aug 8 — The move by former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to set up another Malay-based political party will further split the Malays in the country.

Negeri Sembilan Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) chairman Tan Sri Dr Rais Yatim said that this is because there are already quite a few Malay-based political parties, adding that the basic formation on Dr Mahathir’s new party was also less clear.

“In reality, to establish a political party is not easy and it takes time ... and besides, why would Tun want to establish another Malay-based political party as he has already led Bersatu (which he founded) before. So, I think the best thing for him is to return to Bersatu or Umno.

“Personally, I think the setting up of a Malay-based political party has no basis anymore as we all want to find unity. We respect him (Dr Mahathir) when it comes to being innovative but this is not the case,” he said.

Rais, who is also the Yayasan Budi chairman and founder, said this to reporters after attending the ‘Serlahan Budi’ photography competition prize presentation ceremony at Taman Teluk Cempedak here today.

Yesterday, Dr Mahathir announced the formation of a new party that is not aligned to either Pakatan Harapan or the Perikatan Nasional.

Meanwhile, in a separate development, Rais said that he had formally submitted an application to Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun to enforce a ban on the use of abusive and rude language during the Dewan Rakyat sitting.

“If we continue to behave like this, students and leaders at the lower level will emulate such behaviour which will eventually cause the country to be known for its leaders who behave badly,” he said.

Apart from that, Rais also said that a Jawi script working committee was established by his party to implement various programmes to revive and cultivate the traditional script.

“The implementation is expected to be carried out ahead of Malaysia Day. We want to popularise Jawi script by holding various competitions such as composing in Jawi, making posters and street names,” he said.




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