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Justice MSA Siddiqui, Ex-Minority Education Commission Chief asks the Centre to Stop All Grants to Fake Madaris as These Grants Are Not Being Spent for the Right Cause

New Age Islam News Bureau

05 October 2021


Justice MSA Siddiqui, Ex-Minority Education Commission Chief


• Had Islam Spread By Sword Not A Single Hindu Would Have Survived: Former Speaker Karnataka Legislative Assembly

• Pak, Afghan Madrasas Breeding Grounds for Terrorists: European Foundation for South Asian Studies Analyst to UN

• Over 100 Musicians Flee Afghanistan, Fearing Taliban Crackdown

• UAE Announces New Space Mission To Explore Venus



• Imran Khan Faces Flak after His Govt Renews Talks with Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan

• COAS pays tribute to martyrs in investiture ceremony at GHQ, says their sacrifices won't go to waste

• Pandora Papers: Opposition calls Imran Khan's investigation cell 'hoax'



• Delhi Govt to HC: Will Update Portal to Register Muslim, Christian Marriages

• Hyderabad: Free Aid in Mosque Clinic Helps Poor save Money, Better Lives

• India slams Pak for raising Kashmir issue at UN, calls it world's biggest destabilising force

• British historian, Indian scholar to receive Sir Syed Excellence Award at AMU on October 17


South Asia

• All ISIL Elements Killed In Last Night's Operation: Taliban Spokesman

• School Graduates Of 2000-2020, Of No Use: Taliban’s Higher Education Minister

• Afghanistan’s problems getting solved gradually: Taliban

• Afghan traders ask for facilitation in trades with neighbouring countries

• Afghanistan to restart issuing passports to citizens: Passport office chief

• Taliban unlawfully killed 13 ethnic Hazaras: Rights group


Arab World

• Grand Imam of Al Azhar Joins Religious Leaders in Launching Joint Environmental Appeal At Vatican Summit

• Internet activists dole out virtual justice for Lebanon collapse

• Play director questioned in Lebanon, fuelling freedom worries

• Syria must admit chemical weapons inspectors: West

• Former Lebanon PM says he gave up shares in company mentioned in ‘Pandora Papers’


North America

• Canadian Judge Jails Man Who Branded Muslim Businessman 'Baby Killer'

• Muslims recall questionable detentions that followed 9/11

• Biden aides to tell Israelis that US will pursue 'other avenues' if Iran diplomacy fails

• Most Americans favour granting Afghans who worked with US refugee status: poll



• Does Muslim Vote Really Weigh-In In French Elections?

• Macron: G20 Must Send Taliban Clear Message on Price Of Recognition

• Turkish Cypriot leader stresses need for sovereign equality on Cyprus

• Greece says EU must abide by its migration commitments to Turkey


Southeast Asia

• National Unity Minister Says Racist Slurs Have No Place in Malaysian Society, After

• Suspected Muslim insurgents attack train in southern Thailand

• Sarawak police chief: 28 reports lodged against preacher who allegedly insulted non-Muslims

• Prosecution: Zahid orchestrated money-laundering scheme, used moneychanger to make bags of cash ‘disappear’ into cheques for own benefit

• Education Ministry must ensure all parties understand National Language Policy, says minister



• FM: Iran Not to Allow Foreigners Disrupt Friendly Ties with Neighbours

• Navy Commander: Iran to Build Modern Destroyers

• Iran Sends Delegation to Armenia to Complete Tatev Road

• Assyrian Lawmaker: Iranian Army's Wargames Sent Clear Message to Israel, ISIL

• US citizen blocked in Iran needs surgery within days: Family

• Bennett spokesman accuses Iran of planning attacks against Israelis living in Cyprus



• Jordan Is Stronger Than Any Campaigns: King Abdullah

• Clashes erupt in Sudan’s Khartoum week after alleged ISIS killings

• Jordan says ‘distorted’ claims in ‘Pandora Papers’ are security threat

• France’s Macron: I hope tensions with Algeria will soon ease

• Algeria prosecutors seek 18 months’ jail for journalist

• Crimes against humanity, war crimes committed in Libya: UN Probe

• 8 soldiers killed, 2 wounded in central-north Burkina Faso

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau



Justice MSA Siddiqui, Ex-Minority Education Commission Chief asks the Centre to Stop All Grants to Fake Madaris as These Grants Are Not Being Spent for the Right Cause

Jeevan Prakash Sharma

05 Oct 2021


Justice MSA Siddiqui, Ex-Minority Education Commission Chief


Justice MSA Siddiqui, who was the chairman of the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions for ten years, from 2004 to 2014, has asked the Centre to stop all grants to Fake Madaris (madrasas) in India as, according to him, these grants are not being spent for the right cause. He says that government must develop a framework to ensure that public money is not being spent on bogus practices.

Justice Siddiqui spoke to Outlook about the status of madrasa education in India and said that Muslim youth are more interested in pursuing a career in Bollywood and want to become Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan but not IAS officers.

What are the major challenges that madrasa education is facing in India today?

I believe it is corruption and the involvement of middlemen in the process of disbursement of government’s grants. When I was the Chairman of the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions from 2004 to 2014, I had flagged this issue to the government but nothing happened. Even after seven years since I have left the commission, these issues are as relevant as they were then. The only way to weed out corruption is to stop giving grants to fake madaris.

Can you elaborate on the kind of corruption prevalent and why it is difficult to eradicate it?

Look, the government grant is being disbursed to madaris through district minority welfare officers (DMWO), who are present in every district. Normally, these officers are hand-in-glove with fake madaris who run on papers by Maulvis. The officers give grants to such Madaris and get a handsome commission from them. I had received complaints from media persons during one of my visits to Meerut when I was in office. They complained that when they went to cover those fake madaris, they were chased by anti-social elements. Pursuant to their complaints, I had asked the Collector, Meerut to conduct an enquiry and we found that about 4000 madaris were running on papers only but getting regular grants from the government.

In fact, one of the most interesting cases I had found was in Gonda where a Pandit Ji was running a primary school but was taking a madrasa grant from the DMWO.

But don’t you think stopping grants will impact the education of several madaris who can’t afford to run on their own?

No, what I mean to say is that government should ensure that the grant is going to the right madrasa. 90 per cent of Madaris don’t accept grants from the government. They run on donations. The big Madaris such as Darul Uloom Deoband and Darul Uloom Nadwatul Ulama in Lucknow don’t take government grants because they are afraid that the government might interfere in their academic matters. But the biggest disadvantage of the grant is that it brings a bad name to madrasa education in India. Fake madaris indulge and promote corrupt practices and soil the reputation of the good ones and the whole system. I have recently heard that 2.5 lakh fake students were enrolled in madaris in Uttarakhand. These Maulvis, who are into corrupt practices, have no respect for the tenets of Islam.

Why is there no state-wise data of madrasa or any registration process to keep a watch on fake and genuine ones?

Some states have madrasa boards that give affiliation to madrasa but many states don’t have any such administrative set up to keep a watch on their existence and activities.

Even all the madaris don’t have any common curriculum, syllabus or any standard teaching method. Why?

Yes, I agree, that’s another challenge. I had proposed a Central Madarsa Board once when I was the Chairman. The purpose was to develop a class-wise and subject-wise common study curriculum for all the madaris but many Muslim scholars raised their objections as they felt that it would undermine their academic independence. Besides, there are ideological differences among Muslim communities which has a direct impact on the madrasa education. So they also oppose the common curriculum.

Do you think poverty is the biggest obstacle in educating Muslim kids in India?

I believe poverty cannot come in the way of getting a good and right education provided youngsters are motivated and driven. We have examples of people like Lal Bahadur Shastri who belonged to an extremely poor family but still, he got education despite all challenges. The problem with Muslim youngsters is that they want to become Bollywood actors like Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan but don’t want to work hard to become IAS officers. My point is that good education is very important both for Muslim boys and girls. I think girls are more focused on education than boys in the Muslim community.

Over a period of time, madaris have adopted modern education, science and English teaching among other things, however, what do you suggest to make them more relevant with the changing time?

Personality development, skill education, information technology, computer education, quality teaching are some of the areas they should focus on. But before that, I think the most important thing is bringing parity with mainstream education and developing a common curriculum. I don’t mind if they continue to impart religious education. That’s also important as a religious person can never be communal and similarly, a communal person can never be religious.

Source: Outlook India

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Had Islam Spread By Sword Not A Single Hindu Would Have Survived: Former Speaker Karnataka Legislative Assembly

4th October 2021


Former speaker of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly K. R.  Ramesh Kumar


Bangalore: Quashing myths floated by communal outfits regarding the spread of Islam through the use of the sword, former speaker of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly K. R.  Ramesh Kumar said that if Islam was spread by the sword, not a single Hindu would have survived in India today.

On September 26, the former Congress MLA and speaker of the Karnataka spoke at a book launch of former Chief Election Commissioner Dr. S.Y. Quraishi, who launched a book called ‘The Population Myth’ in Bangalore. He also called out the communal forces stating, “They are undermining the Constitution of India.”

Kumar went on to say, “It is a completely false propaganda, having no historical basis.” He further stated that attempts are being made to distort India’s Muslim-rule and its history, along with their contribution  to the development of the country.

MS Education Academy

Kumar was the 16th speaker of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly between 2018 to 2019, best known for disqualifying 17 rebel MLAs of Congress and JD(S) in 2019. He is currently the representative of the Srinivaspur assembly constituency of Kolar district in the House.

Expressing his pleasure over Dr. SY Qureshi’s book, Kumar said, “The book is a befitting reply to the propaganda of Muslim population explosion, and that Muslims will overtake Hindus in future,” according to a report by Muslim Mirror

Agreeing with the former speaker’s views, HC Mahadevappa, a former Karnataka minister stated that “The allegation against Muslim rulers that they did spread Islam by force has no basis and historic facts.”

“Muslims ruled this country for 800 years and for 200 years after the Muslim rule, the British ruled the country, but during that period there was no attempt made to declare India as Islamic state or a Christian state” he further stated.

On the occasion of the book launch, the author and former IAS officer S.Y. Qureshi said, “There has been an increasing rhetoric, propagated by the Right-wing, on the growth of Muslim population and this rhetoric has given rise to several myths, which are used to stoke majoritarian fears of a skewed demographic.”

He further stated that he used empirical evidence and government data to demolish myths and demonstrated how a planned population is in the interest of all communities. “It is the first such book in India that evaluates the country’s demography through a religious lens,” he added.

Source: Siasat Daily

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Pak, Afghan Madrasas Breeding Grounds For Terrorists: European Foundation for South Asian Studies Analyst to UN

October 04, 2021

Geneva: A research analyst at the European Foundation for South Asian Studies (EFSAS) has expressed concern over religious schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan becoming breeding grounds for terrorists.

In her virtual speech at the 48th session of UN Human Rights Session Anne Heckendorff said, "It is well-known that the menace of terrorism in South Asia has largely grown out of religious schools, the so-called Madrassas. These schools that often times instill a distorted, ultra-conservative interpretation of Islam still flourish uninhibitedly in Pakistan and Afghanistan".

"The Taliban and the dreaded Haqqani network were born from such Madrassas in Pakistan. Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) and other terrorist organisations continue operating such terror factories in Pakistan under the protection of the country's powerful intelligence agency," she said.

In Pakistan and Afghanistan, there are numerous illegal "madrasas'' or religious schools which force the youth towards "jihad''. They teach them hatred against other religions and motivate them towards gun culture.

"The International Community must not be appeased with the Taliban's false promises of education. What is schooling worth, if instead of raising a workforce capable of leading their country onto a path of peace and development, creates foot soldiers indoctrinated into a worldview defined by misogyny and hatred?," Ms Heckendorff told UNHRC.

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"The lack of economic independence of the Taliban and their patron State next door has a silver lining: it gives leverage to the international community. Leverage that must be used to prevent the loss of another generation of young Afghans to Madrassa-bred radicalism", she said in her speech.

The research analyst concluded by saying, "Placing conditions on diplomatic and economic engagement to ensure human rights-conform education, without which the right to development can hardly be realized, is the most meaningful investment we can make in Afghanistan's future".

Source: ND TV

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Over 100 musicians flee Afghanistan, fearing Taliban crackdown

October 5, 2021

More than 100 music students and teachers have fled Afghanistan in a nail-biting flight from Kabul following the Taliban's takeover of the country, their institute's founder and principal told AFP.

Fearing a crackdown on music by the country's new leaders, a total 101 members of Afghanistan's top musical institute landed in Doha on Monday evening, Ahmad Sarmast said.

The group, about half of them women and girls, plan to fly to Portugal with the support of the government there, said Sarmast, founder of the Afghanistan National Institute of Music, who now lives in Melbourne.

But the success of the operation was in doubt until the last moment, he said.

With help from the Qatari embassy in Kabul, the musicians had been ferried in small groups to the city's airport, Sarmast said.

In a first hurdle, Taliban forces manning Kabul airport questioned their visas. But Qatari embassy officials managed to resolve the problem.

Then the girls and women were told that they could not leave the country with their temporary “service passports”, which are usually issued to officials.

'Time of many tears'

“My understanding is that it was not so much of the type of the passports but that the girls were fleeing the country,” Sarmast said.

Once again, Qatari officials managed to negotiate their passage.

When the flight finally took off hours later with the musicians, including many from the all-female Zohra orchestra, Sarmast said he was overcome with emotion.

“It was a time of many tears. I was crying endlessly. My family were crying together with me. That was the happiest moment in my entire life,” he said.

The institute's founder said he had lived many memorable moments with his students, who won standing ovations on international concert tours.

“But the feeling and the happiness when I heard that their plane took off the ground is very hard to describe.” The flight was the result of long planning since the Taliban takeover, Sarmast said.

“From the moment the Taliban took power in Kabul the discrimination against music and musicians began. The people of Afghanistan have silenced once again,” he said.

The Taliban, who banned music outright during their oppressive rule from 1996 to 2001, swept back into power on August 15.

They have promised a more moderate brand of rule this time — though they have made clear that they will run Afghanistan within the restrictive limits of their interpretation of sharia law.

The movement's position on music is inconsistent and no clear order has yet been issued.

At a Taliban rally outside Kabul this weekend, for example, religious music was played ahead of speeches by ministers and senior Taliban figures.

Told to stay at home

According to Sarmast, the Taliban have told the musical institute's members to stay at home until further notice. Nearly two months later, they have not been given any further information.

The escape from Kabul was just the first phase, Sarmast said, vowing to work until all 184 remaining faculty and students, past and present, were evacuated and “reunited with the rest of the school”.

During a visit by AFP to the college in Kabul last month, there was no sound of music.

Instead, Taliban soldiers chatted and armed guards cradled Kalashnikovs in the courtyard, shaded by trees with swirling treble clefs spray-painted on to their trunks.

Source: Dawn

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UAE announces new space mission to explore Venus

05 October ,2021

The United Arab Emirates will launch a new space mission to explore Venus and the solar system’s asteroid belt, the UAE government announced in a tweet Tuesday.

Plans include a craft landing on one of the asteroids, marking the first time an Arab space mission has landed on an asteroid, Dubai ruler Mohammed bin Rashid said in a tweet.

“The launch of a new project to explore Venus and the asteroid belt sets an ambitious new goal for our country’s burgeoning space program,” said Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of capital Abu Dhabi in a tweet.

“The UAE is determined to make a meaningful contribution to space exploration, scientific research and our understanding of the solar system.”

Mars has already been targeted by the UAE’s space program with its Hope probe, which entered the red planet’s orbit in February 2021.

Hope is collecting data about Mars’ atmosphere by using various visible light and infrared cameras.

The asteroid mission will involve a 3.6 billion kilometer journey, seven times further from Earth than the Emirates Mars Mission, Mohammed bin Rashid said in a tweet.

Venus, on the other hand, is less than half the distance of Mars from earth, at 128 million kilometers compared to Mars’ 395 million kilometers.

Venus is the closest planet to Earth and was the first to be explored by spacecraft with NASA’s Mariner 2, which flew by in 1962.

Several Soviet craft landed on the planet’s surface, but did not survive long due to the intense air pressure (equivalent to one mile underwater on earth) and temperature, which is around 475 degrees Celsius on the surface.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Delhi govt to HC: Will update portal to register Muslim, Christian marriages

Oct 04, 2021

The Delhi government on Monday informed the Delhi high court that it will issue administrative instructions within two months to update its web portal with the necessary options to register online both Muslim and Christian marriages.

Justice Rekha Palli was informed by advocate Shadan Farasat, additional standing counsel for the Delhi government, that the online software for marriage registration currently has option to register only marriages under the Hindu Marriage Act (HMA) and the Special Marriage Act (SMA).

Farasat said he is writing to the revenue secretary to make the changes across the board as this is a frequently encountered problem.

Farasat’s submissions came while the court was hearing a plea by an NGO, challenging the practice of registering Muslim marriages under the Special Marriage Act (SMA) instead of the Compulsory Registration Marriage Order, which allows for the registration of the alliance as soon as it is solemnised.

The petition, filed by the NGO Dhanak for Humanity, and individual petitioner Mohammad Adnan, has contended that despite being a religious union and not an interfaith wedding, Muslims were being subjected to a 30-day notice period -- to call for objections to the union -- under the Special Marriage Act.

The plea said Adnan and his wife came from their home town to Delhi to solemnise their marriage and was subjected to the 30-day notice period under the SMA.

The plea contended that this violated the fundamental rights of the parties concerned and the requirement of 30-day notice period under the SMA was very cumbersome to persons who came from another place.

Source: Hindustan Times

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Hyderabad: Free aid in mosque clinic helps poor save money, better lives

Oct 4, 2021

HYDERABAD: Osman Nagar in the Old City has become synonymous with misery due to constant flooding during the monsoon, but a local mosque has emerged as the messiah. Come rain or shine, the mosque has been providing shelter to locals and offering free medical facilities through a clinic on its premises. The money saved on medical bills has even helped the poor better their lives and put more food on the table.After treating about 60,000 patients in just nine months since January this year, perhaps a first for a mosque clinic in the country, it is now actively campaigning against dengue. Apart from blood tests to detect the virus, the Masjid Omar Shifa clinic also conducted a massive sanitisation drive in Osman Nagar under Maheshwaram mandal with the help of local civic authorities and NGO Helping Hand Foundation (HHF).

Osman Nagar has been perpetually waterlogged since October 2020 rains. Uncleared garbage, overflowing drains and frequent waterlogging after rains have turned it into a breeding ground for vector-borne diseases, particularly dengue and malaria.

A survey across 700 households by the mosque clinic in association with HHF showed that 95% of the respondents highlighted unhygienic conditions and overflowing drains as the major civic problems affecting the area.

“The survey was taken up after the primary health care centre at the mosque clinic in Osman Nagar received 25 dengue cases of children between 10 and 18 years old within a month,” said HHF managing trustee Mujtaba Hasan Askari.

Another survey earlier in September revealed that the mosque clinic had helped in improving the social indices in Osman Nagar.

Source: Times of India

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India slams Pak for raising Kashmir issue at UN, calls it world's biggest destabilising force

Oct 5, 2021

UNITED NATIONS: Strongly hitting out at Pakistan for again raking up the Kashmir issue at the UN, India has said a constructive contribution cannot be expected from a country that has an established practice of hosting terrorists and is the "epicentre" of global terrorism, and the biggest destabilising force in the world.

Counsellor in India's Permanent Mission to the UN, A Amarnath, said on Monday that India does not need advice from a nation with a proven track record of illicit export of nuclear material and technology.

“Pakistan's desperate attempts to peddle falsehoods and habit of abusing the sanctity of multilateral forums deserves our collective contempt,” he said.

“Pakistan has made a number of futile and unsubstantiated allegations against India, including in relation to the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. These do not merit a response, as they pertain to matters internal to India,” Amarnath said.

India exercised its Right of Reply after Pakistan's envoy to the UN Munir Akram raked up the issue of Jammu and Kashmir during the meeting of the General Assembly's First Committee that deals with disarmament and international security issues.

Amarnath reiterated that the entire union territory of Jammu and Kashmir was, is and will always be an integral and inalienable part of India.

“This includes the areas that are under the illegal occupation of Pakistan. We call upon Pakistan to immediately vacate all areas under its illegal occupation,” he said in the Right of Reply.

“Given its established State practice of hosting, aiding, and actively supporting terrorists, how could one expect any constructive contribution from Pakistan to the First Committee, that deals with important matters of international peace and security,” Amarnath said.

With the Pakistani envoy also referring to India's defence arsenal, New Delhi hit back saying that as a “responsible State, India strictly abides by its obligations under international treaties and needs no advice from a country, which has a proven track record of illicit export of nuclear material and technology.”

“India's security concerns are not confined to a region and, therefore, India has always approached these issues in a global context,” he said.

He said that in contrast to India's constructive approach on disarmament matters, Pakistan has only been “disruptive”.

Amarnath said it is 25 years now that the world is paying the price of Pakistan's obstructionist tactics in the CD (Conference on Disarmament) that have not allowed the conference to adopt a Programme of Work.

Pakistan has the dubious distinction of having single handedly blocked the negotiations on Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT), including in 2009, when the Conference on Disarmament adopted a consensus Programme of Work, he said.

“Having joined the consensus on the Programme of Work, Pakistan revealed its true character by soon taking a complete U-turn and blocking any work by the CD,” Amarnath said.

Pakistan, as the “epicenter” of global terrorism, is the biggest destabilising force in the world and has repeatedly indulged in cross-border terrorism, Amarnath said.

“They have no regard for UN principles. While Pakistan's Permanent Representative speaks about peace and security here, his Prime Minister glorifies global terrorists like Osama bin Ladin as ‘martyrs'. What more could be a better proof of the utter duplicity that this country is infamous for?” he asked.

Amarnath asserted that the General Assembly's First Committee is “not the forum” to address bilateral or regional issues as it has a vast agenda dealing with global issues relating to disarmament and international security.

“We wish to reiterate that regional security issues have no place in the First Committee's considerations,” he said.

He said the Committee should not only categorically reject Pakistan's “nefarious and vicious designs” but collectively condemn Pakistan for its repeated efforts to politicise its work and hijack its mandate.

Source: Times of India

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British historian, Indian scholar to receive Sir Syed Excellence Award at AMU on October 17

Oct 03, 2021

British historian and professor of history of South Asia at the University of London, Dr Francis Christopher Rowland Robinson will receive the International Sir Syed Excellence Award 2021 while former president of the Sahitya Academy, prof Gopi Chand Narang will be given the National Sir Syed Excellence Award during the virtual Sir Syed Day Commemoration ceremony of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) on October 17.

Vice chancellor prof Tariq Mansoor on the recommendation of a jury comprising prof Asghar Abbas, prof Ishtiaq Ahmad Zilli, prof A R Kidwai, prof Ali Mohammad Naqvi, Dr Mohammad Shahid, Tariq Hasan and prof M Shafey Kidwai selected the awardees.

These International and National Sir Syed Excellence Awards carry cash award ₹2,00,000 and ₹1,00,000 respectively are given to scholars for outstanding works in areas including Sir Syed studies, South Asian studies, Muslim issues, literature, medieval history, social reform, communal harmony, journalism and inter-faith dialogue.

Professor Robinson’s research has been focused on the Muslim world. He has explored the great movement of revival and reform in the Muslim world among other things. Prof Francis is a visiting professor at Oxford University and the University of Washington.

He has served as president of the Royal Asiatic Society from 1997-2000 and 2003-06 and was the vice-principal of Royal Holloway College, University of London, from 1997-2004. He also served as the head of the History Department at the college from 1990-96.

Prof Gopi Chand Narang, the recipient of the National Sir Syed Excellence Award is a literary critic who writes in Urdu and English with a range of modern theoretical frameworks including stylistics, structuralism, post-structuralism and eastern poetics.

His recent books on Ghalib (Oxford University Press), Urdu Ghazal (Oxford University Press) and Mir Taqi Mir (Penguin) have got widespread acclaim across the globe. He has published more than 60 scholarly and critical books on language, literature, poetics and cultural studies; many have been translated into other Indian languages.

He has been bestowed with the Padma Bhushan (2004), Padma Shri (1990), Sahitya Akademi Award (1995), Ghalib Award (1985), Urdu Academy’s Bahadur Shah Zafar Award (2010), Bharatiya Bhasha Parishad Award (2010), Madhya Pradesh Iqbal Samman (2011) and the Bharatiya Jananpith Moorti Devi Award (2012). The Sahitya Akademi conferred on Dr Narang its highest honour, the Fellowship, in 2009.

Former CJI to be the chief guest at Sir Syed Day event

Former Chief Justice of India (CJI), TS Thakur will be the chief guest at the Sir Syed Day celebrations in the University on October 17. A connoisseur of Urdu literature, Justice Thakur was the 43rd Chief Justice of India.

In wake of Covid-19 pandemic, the functions will be held in virtual mode. The event will be webcast for public viewing.

Aligarh Muslim University celebrates Sir Syed day to mark the birth anniversary of its founder Sir Syed Ahmed Khan (1817-1898).

Source: Hindustan Times

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Imran Khan faces flak after his govt renews talks with Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan

Oct 4, 2021

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan is facing flak after he said that his government started talks with some groups of the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) with the aim of having the group lay down their weapons, local media said.

On Friday, Imran Khan had said that the government would "forgive" TTP members and they would become normal citizens" if they lay down arms.

Reacting to this statement, Pakistan People Party (PPP) rebuked Imran Khan for holding talks with banned TTP, terming the move similar to "sprinkling salt on the wounds of dead soldiers' families".

Why Pakistan's parliament was not taken into confidence over this 'sensitive issue', the party questioned.

Usama Khilji, Director of advocacy, and research group stated that some Pakistani militant groups have offered ceasefire, but their crimes must never be forgiven by the state. "Clearly, the life of Pakistani citizens is not worth much to the PM who has continued to advocate for negotiations with terrorist groups," said Khilji as quoted by Dawn.

"Terrorism wreaked havoc in Pakistan for nearly a decade, killing over 80,000 Pakistani civilians, policemen, soldiers, and children. What gives the PM the right to forgive butchers so easily?"

PPP Vice President Sherry Rehman asked Khan whether Imran Khan "asked the parliament what we think about that". PPP also called the government to clarify in the parliament the 'terms' under which the talks were being taken place with TTP.

PPP's secretary general Nayyar Bokhari said that Khan's announcement about talks being held with TTP was a 'very sensitive statement' and also demanded that a session of parliament should be called immediately to discuss it, reported Dawn.

He pointed out that parliament had been 'bypassed' and questioned, "Why were parliament and political parties kept uninformed about negotiations with the TTP?"

Experts have cautioned Pakistan to tread carefully in the wake of recent developments in Afghanistan post-Taliban takeover and asked Islamabad to avoid oversimplifying the Afghan issue.

Source: Times of India

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COAS pays tribute to martyrs in investiture ceremony at GHQ, says their sacrifices won't go to waste

October 5, 2021

Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa has said Pakistan "owes [its] peace and stability to the selfless devotion and sacrifices" of its martyrs.

He made the comment during an investiture ceremony held at the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said in a statement on Tuesday.

Terming the martyrs the real heroes of the country, the army chief said, "there is no cause more noble than laying one's life for defence of motherland and sacrifices of our martyrs won't go [to] waste."

Gen Bajwa conferred awards on army personnel for their acts of bravery during operations and meritorious services rendered to the nation, the ISPR statement said.

Senior army officers, families of those receiving awards, as well as martyrs' families attended the ceremony, it said.

According to the statement, 47 officers were awarded Sitara-i-Imtiaz, while six officers, seven junior commissioned officers (JCOs) and 12 soldiers were awarded Tamgha-i-Basalat.

Medals that were awarded to martyrs were received by their families, it further stated.

Exercise with Chinese troops concludes

Meanwhile, the closing ceremony of the two-week-long Joint Anti-Terro­rist Exercise 2021 was held on Monday at the National Co­unter Terrorism Centre, Pabbi, where the troops from China and Pakistani armed forces took part in the drill.

Source: Dawn

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Pandora Papers: Opposition calls Imran Khan's investigation cell 'hoax'

5 October 2021

Islamabad [Pakistan], October 5 (ANI): Pakistan's opposition parties on Monday termed Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan's move to establish a cell to investigate the Pakistani nationals whose names appeared in the Pandora Papers "a hoax" and called for an inquiry through a judicial commission or an independent commission like that of Panama Papers.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Awami National Party (ANP) said that the investigation cell established by Khan was nothing but a "hoax" and a move to protect the ministers and other people associated with Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and its allies, Dawn reported.

Pandora Papers were released by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) on Sunday.

The rejection from opposition comes after Pakistan's Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry on Monday announced that a high-level commission would be set up to investigate Pakistanis named in the Pandora Papers.

"The high-level cell under the Prime Minister's Inspection Commission will investigate all individuals mentioned in the Pandora Papers and will present facts before the nation," Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said on Twitter, The Express Tribune reported.

PML-N Information Secretary Marriyum Aurangzeb on Twitter said that the investigation of the Pandora Papers was not possible, as long as Khan remained the prime minister, Dawn reported.

Source: Yahoo News

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South Asia


All ISIL Elements Killed In Last Night's Operation: Taliban Spokesman

October 4, 2021

A Taliban spokesman said all of the terrorists had been killed during operations by Taliban Special Forces against ISIL elements.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the group's Special Forces killed all ISIL elements in an operation last night in northern Kabul, Al-Jazeera reported.

Simultaneously, Ofoq News Agency quoted a Taliban official as saying that ISIL terrorists had moved into a house in the Khair Khaneh area of Kabul.

According to the official, the operation ended with the killing of all ISIL elements.

Further details of the operation have not been released. Local residents also reported an explosion.

The news came as Afghan media reported yesterday evening that there had been a severe explosion and shooting in the Kariz area, north of the capital.

Shortly before, the Taliban reported an explosion near a mosque in Kabul that killed several civilians. The explosion rocked "Eidgah" Mosque in Kabul on Sunday afternoon.

Source: ABNA

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School graduates of 2000-2020, of no use: Taliban’s higher education minister

04 Oct 2021

The acting minister of the higher education of the Taliban Abdul Baqi Haqqani said that those who have graduated from high schools during the past twenty years are of no use.

The acting minister is meant by the graduates who have studied during the non-Taliban era when they were fighting the US-backed governments of Hamid Karzai and Ashraf Ghani.

Abdul Baqi Haqqani made the statements in a meeting with the university lecturers in Kabul.

Haqqani said that they must hire teachers who instill the students and incoming generations the values that are of use in the country and Afghanistan can utilize their talents in the future.

Earlier, the acting minister of higher education had said that the Master’s and Ph.D. holders of modern studies are less valuable than those who have studied in madrasas and have religious studies in Afghanistan.

Source: Khaama Press

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Afghanistan’s problems getting solved gradually: Taliban

04 Oct 2021

The administration of affairs of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan in its official Facebook page said that the governance in Afghanistan is getting better and all the problems of the country will be resolved with the help of ALLAH.

The administration has accused the so-called “anti-Taliban media” of defaming the IEA and making the fake news public.

The Facebook post reads that the media took advantage of the recent situation in Afghanistan and used it against the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.

“The anti-Taliban media outlets were trying to indicate to the world the situation of Afghanistan as disappointing.” Reads the Facebook post.

The administration of affairs will be responsible for addressing the affairs of the high directorate of the ministers- office of the Premier.

Source: Khaama Press

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Afghan traders ask for facilitation in trades with neighbouring countries

05 Oct 2021

Afghanistan’s chamber of commerce and industry in a statement on Monday, October 4 said that they want more facilitation between them and the traders of the neighboring countries.

The Afghan traders said that the recent political changes in the country stained their relations with not only the neighboring countries but all countries in the world.

They said that their ongoing relations with the neighboring traders have negatively affected demand and supply in Afghanistan’s market and have caused a spike in prices particularly in the prices of fuel.

The statement reads that, as winter is approaching there is high demand for fuel and firewood in the country but their supply from the neighboring countries is at its lowest level.

The statement warns that people will face serious problems in winter if the problem is not addressed.

Source: Khaama Press

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Afghanistan to restart issuing passports to citizens: Passport office chief

05 October ,2021

Afghanistan will start issuing passports to its citizens again on Tuesday after months of delays, a senior official said.

Alam Gul Haqqani, the passport office’s acting head, told reporters in Kabul they would issue between 5,000 and 6,000 passports a day and women would be employed to handle the processing of female citizens’ documents.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Taliban unlawfully killed 13 ethnic Hazaras: Rights group

05 October ,2021

Taliban forces unlawfully killed 13 ethnic Hazaras, most of them Afghan soldiers who had surrendered to the group, a prominent rights group said Tuesday.

The killings took place in the village of Kahor in Daykundi province in central Afghanistan on August 30, according to an investigation by Amnesty International. Eleven of the victims were members of the Afghan national security forces and two were civilians, among them a 17-year-old girl.

The reported killings took place about two weeks after the Taliban took control of Afghanistan in a blitz campaign, culminating in their takeover of Kabul. At the time, Taliban leaders sought to reassure Afghans that they had changed from their previous harsh rule of the country in the late 1990s.

The world has been watching whether the Taliban would live up to their initial promises of tolerance and inclusiveness toward women and ethnic minorities, among them the Shia Hazaras. However, Taliban actions so far, such as renewed restrictions on women and the appointment of an all-male government, have been met with dismay by the international community.

Hazaras make up around 9 percent of Afghanistan’s 36 million people. They are often targeted because they are Shia Muslims in a Sunni-majority country.

Amnesty’s secretary general, Agnes Callamard, said that “these cold-blooded executions (of the Hazaras) are further proof that the Taliban are committing the same horrific abuses they were notorious for during their previous rule of Afghanistan.”

Taliban spokespersons Zabihullah Mujahid and Bilal Karimi did not respond to calls from The Associated Press seeking comment.

The rights group said Sadiqullah Abed, the Taliban-appointed chief of police for Daykundi, denied any killings had happened and only said that a member of the Taliban had been wounded in an attack in the province.

The Taliban took control of Daykundi province on August 14, according to the Amnesty report, and an estimated 34 former soldiers sought safety in Khidir district. The soldiers, who had government military equipment and weaponry with them, agreed to surrender to the Taliban.

Mohammad Azim Sedaqat, who led the group’s surrender, arranged to decommission the weapons in the presence of Taliban members.

On August 30, an estimated 300 Taliban fighters arrived in a convoy close to Dahani Qul village, where the security forces members were staying, some with family members, according to Amnesty’s report. As the security forces attempted to leave the area with their families, Taliban fighters caught up with them and opened fire on the crowd, killing a 17-year-old girl named Masuma. One soldier fired back, killing a Taliban fighter and wounding another.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Arab World


Grand Imam of Al Azhar joins religious leaders in launching joint environmental appeal at Vatican summit


VATICAN, 4th October, 2021 (WAM) -- His Eminence Dr. Ahmed el-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, signed a joint appeal launched by religious leaders participating in a meeting themed Vatican’s "Faith and Science: Towards COP26 Summit", which was held today prior to the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26).

Pope Francis and dozens of religious leaders on Monday signed a joint appeal to governments to commit to ambitious targets at the upcoming U.N. climate conference, while promising to do their own part to lead their faithful into more sustainable behavior.

"We have inherited a garden; we must not leave a desert to our children," said the appeal, which was signed at a formal ceremony in the Apostolic Palace before being handed over to the head of the COP26 conference, Alok Sharma.

The joint appeal launched by religious leaders participating in COP26, to be held next month in Glasgow, Scotland, urged those concerned to create effective solutions to save Earth from an "unprecedented ecological crisis," and to work hard to reinforce the solidarity between developing and developed countries, to reduce the risks posed by climate change and promote common ethical values to address this critical crisis.

Source: Emirates News Agency

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Internet activists dole out virtual justice for Lebanon collapse

05 October ,2021

Livestreams of politicians being harangued at restaurants and screenshots of bankers’ addresses: frustrated by the lack of accountability for their country’s collapse, Lebanon’s digital activists are doling out their own form of virtual justice.

These activists are sharing the personal details and real-time locations of those they blame for Lebanon’s financial tailspin, which has pushed more than three-quarters of the population into poverty, and for last year’s Beirut port explosion, which left more than 200 dead.

The posts - a practice known as “doxxing” - often encourage anyone nearby to approach those pictured and berate them for playing a role in the country’s meltdown.

The hope, they say, is that a public naming-and-shaming could provide relief for grieving families or serve as a temporary stand-in for justice through the courts.

“When we see posts coming from these digital vigilante groups, we feel we’re not alone,” said Paul Naggear, an engineer whose 3-year-old daughter, Alexandra, was killed when a massive stockpile of combustible chemicals stored unsafely at Beirut’s port exploded on Aug. 4, 2020.

He spoke to the Thomson Reuters Foundation just days after Lebanese authorities suspended an investigation meant to uncover who knew about the huge quantity of ammonium nitrate that had been stored at the port.

“In a country where justice is non-existent, I cannot think of another way (other than doxxing). It means the population takes justice – and the execution of justice – into their own hands,” he said.

Lebanon’s justice minister could not immediately be reached for comment.

Public interest in the private wealth of political figures has grown since Lebanon’s deepening economic crisis.

A massive leak of financial documents was published by several major news organizations on Sunday that allegedly tie world leaders to secret stores of wealth, including Prime Minister Najib Mikati, ex-premier Hassan Diab, and central bank governor Riad Salemeh.

Spotted and spat at

The most prominent among the virtual vigilantes is ThawraMap, an Instagram page established in 2019 by anonymous activists who wanted to provide logistical support to anti-establishment protests in Lebanon.

“This evolved into helping spot politicians in public spaces and taking more responsibilities, such as showing their luxurious lifestyles and travels while (regular) people cannot access their own money,” a page administrator said in written responses via Instagram.

The comments were referring to banking restrictions that have locked most Lebanese out of their savings over the last two years.

Using “live” reels, the platform crowdsources and publishes information on everything from a banker’s lunch order and the names of Lebanese security guards seen beating up protesters to the company catering a politician’s daughter’s wedding.

Then it asks its more than 50,000 followers to shun the targets.

Lebanon’s political elite are feeling the heat.

May Khreich, a senior official in the Free Patriotic Movement, Lebanon’s biggest Christian political party, said she “goes out less” after having her whereabouts posted on line and being accosted three times in different parts of the country over the past 18 months.

“It’s always tense – if I’m out somewhere and (anti-government Lebanese) are there, sometimes they come near me and other times they don’t, they just stare at me,” she said in a phone interview.

In July, Mikati said politicians were “ashamed to walk on the streets,” and other officials have banned photos from events they are attending to avoid leaks.

That means the push for accountability is working, said Gino Raidy, a prominent blogger who earlier this year encouraged people to boycott a list of restaurants and venues whose owners he said were politically affiliated.

“These people are criminals, and they shouldn’t be able to live their lives normally or go out as if they did nothing, when they are implicated in all the problems Lebanon is facing,” he said.


These activists are treading a precarious legal line, said Linda Kassem, a policy adviser at the economy ministry who co-drafted Lebanon’s 2018 digital privacy law.

Some posts sharing private information could be considered illegal, she explained.

“If they don’t have the consent of the subject, this means that they are violating the law,” Kassem said.

The 2018 privacy law slaps violators with up to three years in prison and a fine of between 1 million and 30 million Lebanese pounds, currently equivalent to a real market rate of roughly $70 to $2,000.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Play director questioned in Lebanon, fuelling freedom worries

05 October ,2021

A theater director whose play was reported to the Lebanese authorities for allegedly criticizing the president was released without charge after questioning on Monday, his lawyer said, in a case that has fueled worry about freedom of expression in Lebanon.

The director, Awad Awad, was also summoned on the grounds the play was staged without the permission of a security agency that must approve performances under the country’s censorship laws, the lawyer, Ayman Raad, said.

Presented as part of a student workshop at Beirut’s Al Madina Theatre on Friday, the improvised performance dealt with the relationship between people and the authorities in oppressive regimes around the world, Awad said.

He said the play did not mention anybody in Lebanon and if anyone felt targeted, that was their problem. Awad told Reuters after he was questioned on Monday he would secure the official permission needed to stage the performance.

Reuters could not independently verify what the play was about. A statement issued about the incident by General Security, the agency which implements Lebanon’s censorship laws, did not provide details about its content.

In the statement, General Security rejected what it described as attempts to portray the matter as a violation of freedoms, saying that it was applying the law and would continue to do so.

General Security said that the play by Awad, a Palestinian, had been performed “without passing through the legal path” via the media office in the General Security directorate.

The Lebanese state says it respects freedom of expression, but human rights groups have expressed concern in recent years over the issue in a country where media have traditionally operated more openly than in many other Arab states.

Social media activists, commentators and journalists were summoned by security agencies in dozens of cases between 2019 and 2020 for allegedly defaming President Michel Aoun and criticizing the army or parliamentarians, said Sahar Mandour, Lebanon researcher at Amnesty International.

While the number of such cases had dipped in the wake of last year’s catastrophic Beirut port explosion and as Lebanon descended deeper into an economic meltdown, she expressed worry that this could mark the start of a new wave.

“We are very concerned with today’s summoning,” she said on Monday.

“This is a scary warning that the iron fist is in the making again.”

Nidal Al Achkar, the founder and art director at Al Madina Theatre, said somebody in the audience had “told security that we are doing something against the government and president”.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Syria must admit chemical weapons inspectors: West

04 October ,2021

Western countries on Monday called on Syria to allow in chemical arms inspectors, saying Damascus continued to breach its obligations to the world’s toxic weapons watchdog.

Britain, the United States and other allies also pushed Russia for clarity on last year’s poisoning of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, in which Western experts said the Soviet-designed nerve agent Novichok was used.

Syria faces fresh pressure at the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) after refusing a visa for a member of an inspection team that was meant to deploy to Damascus later this month.

“It is imperative that Syria issues visas... without obstruction or delay,” Britain’s ambassador Joanna Roper said at a meeting at The Hague of the OPCW’s executive council of member states.

Roper also called on Syria to “explain” the fate of two chlorine cylinders identified as evidence in a chemical weapons attack on the town of Douma in 2018.

Damascus recently told the OPCW the two cylinders had been destroyed in an unspecified attack on one of its own chemical weapons facilities in June this year.

More than 40 people were killed in the Douma incident, prompting Western nations to unleash a barrage of missiles at three suspected chemical weapons facilities run by President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

OPCW director general Fernando Arias said the watchdog “noted with concern” the delays in discussions with Damascus.

The regulator would not send the inspection team to Syria unless it got visas for all members, he said.

Arias added that Syria’s declaration on its remaining chemical weapons “cannot be considered accurate and complete” due to what he called “gaps, inconsistencies and discrepancies that remain unresolved.”

Source: Al Arabiya

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Former Lebanon PM says he gave up shares in company mentioned in ‘Pandora Papers’

04 October ,2021

Lebanon’s former PM Hassan Diab said on Monday he had given up shares in a company he was linked to in a leak of financial documents and denied wrongdoing.

A statement by his office said he had taken part in founding the company in 2015 and owned 17 shares, but that the firm had no activity since then and he had since resigned his management role and sold his stake.

A Lebanese news organization, Daraj, was one of a number of international media outlets that reported the “Pandora Papers,” a set of leaked documents purported to reveal offshore transactions involving global political and business figures.

Reuters has not verified the reports or the documents. The use of offshore companies is not illegal and not evidence of wrongdoing on its own, but the news organizations that published the trove said such arrangements could be intended to hide transactions from tax collectors or other authorities.

Daraj reported that top political figures in Lebanon, including Prime Minister Najib Mikati, had embraced offshore havens.

“Is founding a company against the law?” Diab said, adding that he reserved the right to sue anyone who tries to defame him.

Source: Al Arabiya

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North America


Canadian judge jails man who branded Muslim businessman 'baby killer'

Barry Ellsworth 



A man with a history of promoting hate was sentenced in a Canadian court Monday to 18 months behind bars for contravening six court orders to stop making defamatory comments about restaurant owner Mohamad Fakih.

Kevin J. Johnston, a mayoral candidate for the city of Calgary, Alberta, was jailed by Justice Fred Myers for breaking a 2019 court order to stop defaming Fakih, something he continued to do six times after the order.

"Almost all the evidence against Mr. Johnston comes from his own mouth," Myers said in pronouncing the sentence.

"Mr. Johnston's words are classic hate speech. They draw on tropes to assign negative characteristics based on ugly stereotypes like branding Muslims as terrorists, for example."

Johnston, who also labelled Fakih a "terrorist" and a “baby killer,” had been ordered in 2019 to pay CAN$2.5 million for defaming the restauranteur in a series of comments and videos Johnston posted on his website beginning in 2017.

Johnston contended that he was a victim of liberal media labelling him as bad. But Myers was having none of it.

"He says that he's been painted as a bad person by the liberal media…If Mr. Johnston's portrait has been painted, he supplied the paint," Myers said.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Muslims recall questionable detentions that followed 9/11

October 4, 2021

Around New York City in the weeks after the September 11 attacks, as an eerie quiet settled over ground zero, South Asian and Arab men started vanishing.

Soon, more than 1,000 were arrested in sweeps across the metropolitan area and nationwide.

Most were charged only with overstaying visas and deported back to their home countries. But before that happened, many were held in detention for months, with little outside contact, especially with their families. Others would live with a different anxiety, forced to sign what was effectively a Muslim registry with no idea what might follow.

While the remembrances and memorials of 9/11’s 20th anniversary slip into the past, hundreds of Muslim men and their families face difficult 20-year anniversaries of their own.


In the attacks’ aftermath, the immigrant advocacy group Desis Rising Up and Moving, or DRUM, anticipated a rise in hate crimes and harassment. So it set up a hotline and placed flyers primarily in South Asian neighbourhoods.

“We started getting calls from women saying, Last night, law enforcement busted into our apartment and took my husband and my brother.’ Children calling us and saying, My father left for work four days ago and he hasn’t come home, and we haven’t heard anything,” executive director Fahd Ahmed recalls.

“There were people who were just disappearing from our communities,” he says, “and nobody knew what was happening to them or where they were going”.

They were, according to the 9/11 Commission report, arrested as “special interest” detainees. Immigration hearings were closed, detainee communication was limited and bond was denied until the detainees were cleared of terrorist connections. Identities were kept secret.

A review conducted by the Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General said the Justice Department’s “hold until cleared” policy meant a significant percentage of the detainees stayed for months despite immigration officials questioning the legality of the prolonged detentions and even though there were no indications they were connected to terrorism.

Compounding that, they faced “a pattern of physical and verbal abuse” particularly at the Metropolitan Detention Centre in Brooklyn, New York. Conditions were, the report said, “unduly harsh”.

Detainees were swept up a myriad of ways, the report said. Three were stopped on a traffic violation and found with school drafting plans. Their boss explained they were working on a construction project and were supposed to have them, but authorities arrested and detained them anyway. Another was arrested because he seemed too anxious to buy a car.

Although many of those who were held had come into the US illegally or overstayed visas, “it was unlikely that most if not all” would have been pursued if not for the attack investigation, the report said.

The “blunderbuss approach” of rounding up Muslims and presuming there would be terrorists among them was “pure racism and xenophobia in operation”, says Rachel Meeropol, senior staff attorney with the Centre for Constitutional Rights, who filed a lawsuit in 2002 on behalf of several of the men and continues to fight for additional plaintiffs to this day.

“It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that it didn’t work,” Meeropol says. “Of course, what it did do was destroy whole communities and not to mention the lives of all the individuals rounded up.”


Yasser Ebrahim, an original plaintiff in the lawsuit, was at a shop in his neighbourhood and noticed people intently watching the television. “I saw these images on the screen, and for a moment there was like some kind of a movie or something,” he recalls. “I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.”

He had been in the United States since 1992 and enjoyed his life. “I loved everything about America,” he said by Zoom from Egypt. As a teenager, even before arriving, he idolised American popular culture.

“The food, the music, the movies, everything was so attractive, and everybody wanted to go to America,” he said.

After learning the hijackers were Muslims, he reassured his mother in a phone call that he and his brother would be fine. In other countries there might be problems, but America was a place of legal rights, where evidence mattered, he said. “We still had faith in the system in America at that point,” he said.

That ended on September 30, 2001. Several federal agents showed up at his door in Brooklyn. He says he had requested an extension of his tourist visa, but agents told him they had no record of it. He thought the matter would be straightened out quickly, or he would be deported. He stayed in custody until the following June.

For three months, his family did not know what happened to him or his brother. A neighbour ended that mystery, explaining they had been taken into custody. Even then there was little outside communication. And some officers at the facility in Brooklyn were physically and verbally abusive. It was months before he saw his brother. “There was the general feeling that we’re going to be here forever,” he says.

Ebrahim’s brother was deported first. When Ebrahim was finally allowed to leave, he was given clothes several sizes too big, including pants he had to physically hold up with his hands.

He was placed on a plane without knowing the destination. On board, he realized no one looked Egyptian. The plane went to Greece and after spending a night in the custody of Greek authorities, he boarded a flight for Cairo, with no money. Another Egyptian, deported from Texas, gave him $20 to eat and contact his family to let them know he was home.

In 2009 he and four others, including his brother, reached a $1.26 million settlement on the lawsuit. Though not an apology, he says, “we thought it was sort of admitting that something wrong was done to us”.


Umar Anser was 14 as he and math classmates watched on a classroom television as the twin towers fell.

“You can’t accept something like that happening on American soil,” Anser says. “You know you’re safe in the U.S. but then something like that happens and you really question how safe you are, especially when you’re that young.”

His father, Anser Mehmood, left Pakistan in 1988 during a time of political turmoil, looking toward the safety and promise of the United States. He worked as a truck driver and sometimes drove a taxi. The family settled in Bayonne, New Jersey.

Anser came home from school on October 3, 2001, and found his mom nearly catatonic, his home ransacked and the family’s computers and his father gone. His uncle had disappeared in a similar way days earlier.

“We didn’t know where our father was for the next three months,” Anser says.

He was, it turned out, in solitary confinement — in the special housing unit of Metropolitan Detention Centre in Brooklyn, the same place chronicled by the inspector general, Anser says. When the family did see him again, they encountered a different man.

“He was so weak…I couldn’t see my dad like that,” Anser says. “It was very emotional for me.” For the remainder of his detention, he wrote letters, talked about the difficulties and told his family to be strong and support their mother. “He told us, Allah is there for us. He will be the provider; everything will be OK.’ I think he had to give us hope so we didn’t lose hope.”

Anser and his brothers attended protests with their mother organised by DRUM. But with their father gone, there was no financial support for the family. The sons were bullied at school; neighbours harassed them at home. It became untenable and the family returned to Pakistan, leaving Mehmood behind, in jail.

“My mother was extremely heartbroken to leave the country because she knew the amount of effort and the amount of work that my father put in to make everything happen for us,” Anser says.

Mehmood eventually pleaded guilty to working with an unauthorised Social Security number and was sentenced to eight months in prison. He was transferred to Passaic County Jail before finally being deported on May 10, 2002, to Pakistan, where the family now lives.


For Sultana Jahangir, there was a different anxiety.

It was one that intensified when her husband, Mohammed Alam, was called to register through the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System, or NSEERS, a government policy introduced in 2002 as part of the war on terror. Some would call it a “Muslim registry”.

It required all noncitizen males 16 or older from 25 countries to register with the US government. The only country among them that did not have an Arab or Muslim majority was North Korea.

Jahangir, now living in Toronto with her husband and family, came to the US in 1994 from Bangladesh to visit her sister. During their stay, her sister’s husband died unexpectedly, and Jahangir and her husband stayed to help.

“We worked like crazy — many days, I wouldn’t see the sun,” she says. “The evening comes, I don’t see the sunset. My life was stuck in a dark place.”

They worked quietly this way for years — Jahangir at a cafe, Alam driving taxis — all the while trying to apply for political asylum.

In the days that followed the September 11 attacks, Jahangir’s co-worker called her “Bin Laden’s sister”. Shortly after, her manager let her go. She struggled to find work after that. “Nobody,” she says, “wanted to hire a Muslim then”.

Meanwhile, she and her family would hear reports of Muslim men being taken off the street by law enforcement without explanation, and they worried for Alam.

When Alam responded to the call to register for NSEERS, he was held for hours and then released with a deportation order. Paranoid about what might follow, he retreated from public life. “It didn’t feel safe for him to go out and drive the taxi,” Jahangir says.

“We discouraged him from going out. He stayed home with the children and I had to take on more responsibility.”

Ultimately, the family was able to avoid being deported to Bangladesh by arranging a visa for Canada.

In the end, NSEERS resulted in no terrorism convictions. It was suspended in 2011 and completely dissolved in 2016. It did, however, land more than 13,000 boys and men in deportation proceedings.


Two decades later, no terror attack in the US has come close to the scale of September 11. The most serious threats have come from lone wolves. The most public of threats have been from Americans, not foreigners.

Joshua Dratel, co-chair of the National Association of Criminal Defence Lawyers’ national security committee, says the detentions are a foundational piece of something troubling — an acceptance of more invasive law enforcement for protection from terrorists.

Searches at airports, in buildings, even on subways — “these are things that were once exceptional and extraordinary, and now the exception has become the norm. I think that has put us in a position of vulnerability to more of it and a more malevolent version of it.”

Shirin Sinnar, a law professor at Stanford University, says the extreme measures taken after 9/11 have been normalized to the point that “now we don’t even talk about them. They’ve just become part of the kinds of surveillance and deprivation of rights and profiling that we expect to see”.

The positive, she says: More people seem willing to challenge that.

To a degree, that is true. Attitudes have trended toward people being more wary of the government’s counterterrorism efforts. But a recent poll by The Associated Press-NORC Centre for Public Affairs Research shows that a majority of Americans, 54%, still believe it is sometimes necessary to sacrifice rights and freedom to fight terrorism.

The long-running lawsuit in which additional plaintiffs were added after the first five were awarded a settlement has continued. It has ricocheted through the court system with mixed results.

Source: Indian Express

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Biden aides to tell Israelis that US will pursue 'other avenues' if Iran diplomacy fails

October 5, 2021

Top US officials will tell their Israeli counterparts on Tuesday that the Biden administration remains committed to diplomacy with Iran, but if necessary would be prepared to pursue "other avenues" to ensure Tehran does not acquire a nuclear weapon, a senior US official said.

A visit to Washington by Israel's national security adviser, Eyal Hulata, will allow the two allies to share intelligence and develop a "baseline assessment" of how far Tehran's nuclear programme has advanced, the official said.

Under a 2015 deal, Iran curbed its uranium enrichment programme, a possible pathway to nuclear arms, in return for the lifting of economic sanctions. Then-US President Donald Trump quit the deal in 2018 and the Israeli government opposes US efforts to revive it.

In broad terms, US experts believe the time it would take Iran to achieve nuclear "breakout" — enough enriched uranium to build a nuclear bomb — has "gone from about 12 months down to a period of about a few months" since Trump pulled out of the pact, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

"Obviously that is quite alarming," the official told reporters ahead of Hulata's talks with US national security adviser Jake Sullivan.

Iran has consistently denied it is developing nuclear weapons.

Echoing President Joe Biden's comments in a White House meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett in August, the official said: "We of course remain committed to a diplomatic path."

"But obviously if that doesn't work there are other avenues to pursue, and we are fully committed to ensuring that Iran never develops a nuclear weapon."

Asked what actions were under consideration and whether that included military options, the official said "we'll be prepared to take measures that are necessary" but did not elaborate.

The official said that Iran was "sending indications to a number of parties that they are preparing to come back to Vienna", where the United States and Iran held indirect talks earlier this year that stalled.

But signalling that obstacles remain, Iran's foreign minister said on Saturday that the United States must first release $10 billion of Tehran's frozen funds as a sign of goodwill, something the Biden administration has shown no willingness to do.

Bennett, a far-right politician who ended Benjamin Netanyahu's 12-year run as prime minister in June, has made clear he wants Biden to harden his stance against Iran, Israel's regional arch-foe.

Source: Dawn

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Most Americans favour granting Afghans who worked with US refugee status: poll

Michael Hernandez



An overwhelming majority of Americans approve of granting refugee status to Afghans who aided the US prior to their country's violent takeover by the Taliban, according to a poll released on Monday.

A full 72% of Americans are in favor of granting refugee status to Afghans who "worked with the U.S. or Afghan governments during the war," according to the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs survey. Support is near identical along party lines with 76% of Democrats agreeing to the proposal, compared to 74% of Republicans.

But when asked about granting refugee status to "other people who fear living in Afghanistan under Taliban rule," support dramatically drops to 57% of Democrats, and just one-in-four Republicans.

Turning to US President Joe Biden's withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan, roughly 45% of respondents said they "strongly/somewhat approve" compared to 39% who said they "strongly/somewhat disapprove." Fourteen percent said they "neither approve nor disapprove."

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Does Muslim vote really weigh-in in French elections?

OCT 05, 2021

France is facing a substantial leadership crisis and a dearth of political ideas and movements. In light of the presidential elections to be held next spring, there is no clear frontrunner nor an underdog, a political mood that has provoked blurry political progress. However, with these alarming elements, an undeclared hysterical political campaign has set the tone for the voters in the coming seven months. Analysts argue that France has the opportunity to reshape its politics, and reach out to voters who are totally shunning the conventional political parties, as a result, they are lost in the populist discourse of the darling boy of anti-Muslims and Islam voices in France, Eric Zemmour.

Throughout the ongoing undeclared campaign, different visions of the declared and undeclared candidates like Zemmour can be seen. The controversial journalist, Zemmour, who is loudly imposing his posture as a political and "image" adviser on national TV, radio talk shows and print, as was seen in the latest Paris-Match Magazine’s front page, has a message based on two words: Islam and immigration. In his recent book, "La France n'a pas dit son dernier mot" (France did not say its last word), he expresses the wish to reinvigorate Napoleon’s 1803 law, to ban all Muslim names and replace them with Christian ones.

Zemmour factor

Zemmour is a phenomenon that has become a political reality thanks to the media. He positioned himself in the political “debate” as a credible and audible voice for the anti-Muslim and Arab voters. The question of racism in France politically has slipped from its ethnic expression to a religious imperative post the so-called controversy in the country over the scarf known as l'affaire du voile (the veil affair) of 1989.

Ever since, the French right, far- and extremist-right politicians and voters have been in conflict with Muslims in France. Where the question is no longer taboo in the French political and media lexicon, on the contrary, it has become a banal scapegoating tactic used by politicians and pundits.

How are the Muslim voters responding to Zemmour and the far-right propaganda machine? Muslim voters are divided: They vote according to their ideology, social status, ethnic origin and demography. Though those who are active on social media, for instance on Twitter, are blaming the media and the political establishment for letting Zemmour take a free ride. The leader of the leftist party la France Insoumise (LFI), Jean-Luc Melenchon challenged Zemmour in a debate, Melenchon tried to slow down Zemmour’s rolling bulldozer truck.

The rise of Zemmour in national opinion polls is, however, traumatizing for both potential contender candidates in the run-off to next spring's election: incumbent President Emmanuel Macron vs. Marine Le Pen, the leader of the National Rally Party (RN), according to the leading national polls since last summer. A remake of the 2017 presidential election that Macron is desperately praying for!

Nonetheless, seven months in politics is an eternity, the surprise effect factor is still valid and French undecided voters are still waiting for the providential man to show up.

Following the Zemmour factor, Marine’s confusion and Macron’s panic mode, how would Muslims vote in the next spring presidential election? This thorny question raises the paradoxical Muslim vote’s orientation in French elections in general. Basically, Muslim voters are willing this time to go en masse and vote for Melenchon who appears to be their “champion” – nevertheless, Muslims in France are not organized in one political block for the reasons stated earlier. They do not constitute an electoral block either.

Prisoners of the semantic and politics

Semantically, before one speaks about the Muslim vote, it should be said that the Muslim “community” is a victim of its communities’ leaders and recently of the republic's new laws that aimed to domesticate Islam in France in general and French Muslims in particular.

Consequently, there is no single Muslim community in France, but there are Muslim communities whose votes tend to be divided among the contenders. In medium-sized cities, the majority of the Muslim

vote goes to RN candidates while in the so-called immigrant hubs (banlieues) of large cities, and in the main large city administrative districts, the Muslim vote is split between left-wing and ecology candidates and the Republicans Party (LR). This is the most ideal scenario that one could hope for because in the last municipal and regional elections of summer 2020 and spring 2021, one out of 10 Muslim voters did not even bother to register to vote, notably, mostly the youth and first-time voters who recently became eligible to vote.

For this reason, the Muslim vote should not be seen as a religious vote but rather as a social and demographic one like the rest of their fellow citizens, who are highly cynical about politics and politicians. According to a survey conducted by Institut Montaigne Parisian think tank, and the French Institute of Public Opinion (IFOP) in May 2016, there is no Muslim community in France. There are French citizens who share both Muslim culture values and faith, hence implicitly Muslims in France and in particular, the third generation of those originating from Sahel and Maghreb countries, are stuck in the dichotomy of identity and origin.

This is a clear observation among the youths. Muslims over the age of 18 represent around 6% of the French 67 million population, among the 6% only 69% are French citizens. Some 87% of voters living in France are registered to vote, therefore, the Muslim vote represents 3% in France. However, only two-thirds of Muslim voters participated in the 2012 presidential election, which amount to 2% of the French population, 24% abstained and 8% cast a blank ballot. Out of the 36 million who voted in 2012, 1.3 million were Muslim.

Complex political context

In 2012, 86% of Muslim voters voted for the Socialist candidate Francois Hollande in the second round, he was elected with 51.56% of the votes. One could see that the Muslim vote played a part in Hollande's victory. Eighty-six percent from 3.6% amounts to 3.1% of the total vote. It’s likely that many of these voters cast their ballot for Jean-Luc Melenchon in the first round.

In 2017, there was a very high turnout of Muslim voters at 62%, and 92% voted for the candidate of La Republique En Marche (LREM), Macron. According to Opinion Way, Macron got 2.1 million of the Muslim

votes, whereas his opponent Le Pen got 200,000. Subsequently, without the Muslim vote, Hollande would have had been beaten in 2012 by ex-incumbent President Nicolas Sarkozy and Le Pen would undoubtedly have come out on top in the first round of 2017.

Analysts are estimating that in the next presidential election in April 2022, the Muslim vote will undoubtedly make up around 10% of the votes. This means that the candidate who does not benefit from this vote would have to get about 60% of the non-Muslim votes to win. An assumption that can already feed the strategies of political campaign managers, who are unfortunately not paying attention to the Muslim vote, especially the right, far- and extreme-right and even Macron’s party and government. Managers of these candidates are doing everything to alienate Muslim votes further. Because of purely political calculation, genuine manifestation from the far and the extreme-right candidates, and finally electoral gesticulation from the government, one could argue it’s a first round strategy’s complex communication politics.

Source: Daily Sabah

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Macron: G20 must send Taliban clear message on price of recognition

05 October ,2021

France’s President Emmanuel Macron said the forthcoming G20 summit must send a clear message to Afghanistan’s Taliban on the conditions for international recognition.

In an interview with France Inter radio station broadcast on Tuesday, Macron said those conditions must include equality for women, access for foreign humanitarian operations and non-cooperation with terror groups.

“I believe international recognition should have a price, and the dignity of Afghan women, equality between men and women, should be one of the points on which we insist, and should be a condition for us,” Macron said.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Turkish Cypriot leader stresses need for sovereign equality on Cyprus

Deniz Açık, Sinan Balcıkoca  


The president of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) on Monday stressed the importance of sovereign equality for the Turkish Cypriot people on Cyprus.

Ersin Tatar delivered the opening lecture of the semester on the history of the Turkish presence on the island at Anadolu University in the central province of Eskisehir in Turkey, where he was also bestowed an honorary doctorate.

Speaking on the history of Turkish Cypriots' "struggle for existence" on the island, Tatar underlined that their sovereignty on Cyprus was just as legal as that of Greek Cypriots.

He argued that for years, there have been efforts to turn Cyprus into a Greek island. "We wanted to exist, to live on this island together. We always accepted that they (Greek Cypriots) are also valuable but, unfortunately, we did not receive the same understanding from them," said Tatar.

Adding that "games" were being played on Cyprus for a federal-based outcome on the island, he said: "So, they're saying that once there is a federal-based agreement, the Turkish Cypriots will be equal, according to them, but I don't think there would be any equality as they don't even accept a rotating presidency (between Turkish and Greek Cypriots).

"Therefore, that federal-based agreement will basically make us a minority in a short time, later annihilating us and with Turkey's withdrawal from the island (leave us with) zero soldiers, zero guarantor-ship," he said.

Tatar said the TRNC is "face to face with such a mentality, a selfishness, an audacity that would take us back to before 1974 and even 1960," referring to an era of ethnic attacks against Turkish Cypriots.

"So, it isn't possible for us to say 'yes' to such a thing (federal-based agreement)," he added, arguing that efforts to get Turkey to leave the region were part of a "set-up" to turn it into a "Greek lake."

Cyprus issue

Cyprus has been mired in a decades-long dispute between Greek and Turkish Cypriots, despite a series of diplomatic efforts by the UN to achieve a comprehensive settlement.

In the face of ethnic attacks, Turkish Cypriots were forced to withdraw into enclaves for their safety.

In 1974, a Greek Cypriot coup aiming at Greece's annexation led to Turkey's military intervention as a guarantor power to protect Turkish Cypriots from persecution and violence.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Greece says EU must abide by its migration commitments to Turkey

Ayhan Simsek  



Europeans must honor their commitments to Turkey as part of a migration deal signed in 2016, the Greek minister for migration and asylum said on Monday.

Notis Mitarachi said the EU-Turkey migration deal must be implemented by both sides to manage the refugee flows and stem illegal trafficking in the Aegean Sea.

"The EU has also made promises to Turkey, with regards to visa liberalization and trade, and it must abide by these commitments. And we are expecting Turkey to implement what was agreed upon," he told German daily Die Welt.

Mitarachi argued that Turkey should take back nearly 1,900 failed asylum seekers as part of the agreement, and also called for stronger action against human traffickers.

The EU-Turkey refugee agreement effectively stopped irregular refugee flows into Europe, but Ankara has repeatedly criticized its European partners for not honoring their commitments.

Turkish officials said while Ankara upheld its end of the pact, the EU did not, including not fully providing €6 billion ($7 billion) in aid and backing away from their political commitments.

As part of the deal, the EU had promised to accelerate Turkey's accession process, start negotiations on modernizing the Customs Union, and provide visa-free travel for Turkish nationals within the Schengen area.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Southeast Asia


National unity minister says racist slurs have no place in Malaysian society, after derogatory remarks against national shuttler S. Kisona

05 Oct 2021


KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 5 — National Unity Minister Datuk Halimah Mohamed Sadique today condemned the racial slurs that a Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) member allegedly made towards national women singles shuttler S. Kisona.

When asked to comment on the issue by Rasah MP Cha Kee Chin, Halimah said such comments did not represent Malaysian culture and went against the very concept of national unity.

She also expressed regret that the comments had involved a national athlete.

“Sports has long been a platform for national integration that unites us all regardless of our background, race or religion.

“The comments against Kisona should not have happened and cannot be accepted in our Malaysian culture that is multiracial,” she said in Dewan Rakyat today.

This came after a Bersatu member allegedly made the remarks on a social media post on Sunday that was accompanied by a picture of Kisona in action during her semi-final match at the Sudirman Cup 2021 in Finland.

The posting had criticised the shuttler for losing the match, in racially derogatory terms. It was later deleted but no before it was widely shared by other social media users.

Halimah today advised social media users to be more mindful when posting comments online, urging them to avoid using sensitive terms deemed insulting to others.

“Do not raise the spectre of hatred to incite anger with any single race. Avoid using words that can hurt the feelings of other races to make sure we maintain national unity,” she said.

Source: Malay Mail

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Suspected Muslim insurgents attack train in southern Thailand

October 05, 2021

Suspected Muslim separatists attacked a passenger train in southern Thailand, causing a temporary halt to local services during the longest-running insurgency in the predominantly Buddhist nation.

The passenger train left Su-ngai Kolok, a border town in the restive Muslim-majority province of Narathiwat, and was on its way to Yala, another Muslim-majority province in Thailand’s southernmost region bordering Malaysia, when gunmen opened fire at the locomotive from bushes by the tracks, according to the train’s driver.

The attackers damaged the train’s airbrake system but there were no reported injuries in the Oct. 3 incident.

Local defense volunteers aboard the train returned fire and security forces were dispatched to the scene, but none of the suspected insurgents were apprehended.

In late August, a bomb was set off as a cargo train approached a railway station in Narathiwat, badly damaging the locomotive but causing no injuries.

These attacks suggest that suspected separatists are stepping up their campaign of hit-and-run attacks during a long-running insurgency that has seen well over 7,000 people, both Buddhists and Muslims, killed and thousands of others injured since its inception in 2004.

Some analysts have speculated that the recent withdrawal of US military forces from Afghanistan, which has given rise to control of the country by Islamist hardliners in the ranks of the Taliban, could re-energize Muslim separatist movements in countries such as Thailand.

“The southern tracts of Thailand, particularly in places like Pattani, Narathiwat, Yala [the three southernmost provinces] bordering Malaysia have always been in adverse light due to sporadic cases of hate and violence targeting Thai security forces,” Shantanu Mukharji, a security analyst who was a national security adviser to the prime minister of Mauritius, wrote in an op-ed earlier this month.

“The Taliban’s return to power after the 20-year war with US has boosted the morale of militants in Southeast Asia, inspiring some to make plans to go to the country and undertake military and other training, though experts say this is a difficult prospect for now amid pandemic-related travel restrictions.”

Over the nearly two decades-long insurgency, Islamic separatists have routinely targeted both security forces and civilians, including Buddhist monks, teachers and officials.

These attacks have drawn widespread condemnation from rights advocates, as have Thai security forces’ heavy-handed tactics, including suspected and reported cases of extrajudicial killings, unlawful detentions and torture.

The government of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, a former army chief, “has followed previous Thai governments in dismissing the root causes of ethnic Malay Muslims’ grievances, specifically a lack of accountability for the government’s human rights abuses in the region,” Sunai Phasuk, a Bangkok-based senior researcher for Human Rights Watch, has noted.  

Source: UCA News

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Sarawak police chief: 28 reports lodged against preacher who allegedly insulted non-Muslims

05 Oct 2021

MIRI, Oct 5 — Twenty-eight police reports have been lodged in Sarawak so far over the incident of a preacher, who is alleged to have insulted the non-Muslims as well as the Dayak community.

In disclosing this, Sarawak police commissioner Datuk Aidi Ismail said of the 28, four were lodged at Bukit Sentosa police station.

“The police stations at Mile 10 (near Kota Padawan), Tabuan Jaya (Kuching) and Bau register three police reports each, while the stations at Sri Aman and Batu Kawa (Kuching) receive two reports each,” he said when contacted yesterday.

The police stations at Satok, Gita (both in Kuching), Kota Samarahan, Engkilili (near Simanggang), Skrang, Kidurong (Bintulu), Sepaoh, Debak, Sarikei, Kanowit and Lutong (Miri) each received one report, he added.

All these police reports were lodged against the preacher, who is alleged to have made inflammatory remarks against the non-Muslim religion and the Dayak community in a one-minute video clip, which uploaded online recently and had since gone viral on social media.

Source: Malay Mail

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Prosecution: Zahid orchestrated money-laundering scheme, used moneychanger to make bags of cash ‘disappear’ into cheques for own benefit

05 Oct 2021


KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 5 — Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was the one who allegedly created a scheme to launder illegal funds, and who used the services of a money changer who helped convert millions of ringgit in bags of cash into cheques, the prosecution argued in the High Court today.

The prosecution said that the “disappearance” of the cash into cheques were then later sent to a law firm to be placed in fixed deposits in the bank, arguing that the complex mixture of funds from various other illegal activities that were channelled into the fixed deposits would then result in Ahmad Zahid being able to tap into the funds.

In this trial, Ahmad Zahid is facing 27 money laundering charges relating to funds allegedly from unlawful activities, including 25 charges involving his alleged instructions to law firm Lewis & Co on 25 separate occasions to put over RM53 million into fixed deposit accounts.

The 26th charge is over Ahmad Zahid’s alleged instructions to buy two bungalows worth RM5.9 million via a cheque involving unlawful funds, while the 27th charge involves his alleged instructions to moneychanger Omar Ali Abdullah to convert RM7.5 million of illegal funds into 35 cheques that were then given to the same law firm to be placed in fixed deposits.

Deputy public prosecutor Harris Ong Mohd Jeffery Ong today suggested that the alleged money laundering activities under all 27 charges are interrelated, and argued that the High Court should look at the flow of these funds in the context of Ahmad Zahid standing to have the most benefit.

“For today’s charges, we are looking for the enjoyment of the illegal proceeds. In the end, who benefits the most? For example, Omar Ali might receive some commission but in the end all the money converted into cash and ended up in Lewis & Co, ended up as fixed deposits which the accused will have power to dispose of the fixed deposits.

“We have evidence how the accused demonstrated that he could use fixed deposits by way of purchase of two units of bungalows. It is important to look at how the money-laundering charges interact with each other.

“The way how money is mingled around to be cashed in together, to be applied to buy fixed deposits, it clearly shows the whole scheme is money laundering orchestrated by the accused,” Harris said, referring to Ahmad Zahid as the accused.

Among other things, Harris had spoken about Omar Ali’s role in Ahmad Zahid’s alleged money-laundering scheme, describing Omar Ali — whose wife is from the same hometown as Ahmad Zahid — as being a man on a mission to help convert the cash into cheques.

Harris urged the High Court to consider the whole chain of events starting from Ahmad Zahid’s alleged instructions to Omar Ali, the method in which cash was delivered to Omar Ali and the latter’s subsequent conversion of RM7.5 million cash into cheques, and Ahmad Zahid’s acceptance of all the “suspicious cheques” from Omar Ali and how it ended up in the law firm Lewis & Co.

Omar Ali, who was the 81th prosecution witness in this trial, had previously testified that multiple unknown individuals that Ahmad Zahid had told him were from Yayasan Al Bukhary had handed him cash at a shopping mall and hotel lobbies, with the first involving a piece of luggage which he recalled had cash possibly in the range of RM1.5 million.

“I further submit that the evidence of Omar Ali’s action in converting the cash should be weighed and considered not in isolation, but with careful care in the light of money laundering schemes operated by the accused.

“Omar Ali is on the mission. He needs to think fast, act smooth, make sure all the cash money disappears and finally deliver the ‘proceeds’ to the accused according to the plan,” Harris said.

Source: Malay Mail

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Education Ministry must ensure all parties understand National Language Policy, says minister

05 Oct 2021

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 5 ― The Ministry of Education (MoE) is responsible for implementing various efforts to ensure that everyone, especially those in the education sector understand the National Language Policy.

Senior Education Minister Datuk Radzi Jidin said the MoE has an important role in ensuring that the Malay language is upheld as the national language in line with Article 152 of the Federal Constitution.

“In this regard, the Malay Language Education Roadmap 2016-2025 was clearly and thoroughly drafted so that all parties will together uphold the Malay language,” he said when officiating the 2021 Education Sector National Language Decade (DBK) celebration online, today.

He said as the Malay language has been set as the medium of instruction in the national education system, according to the National Education Policy, it was important for Malay language teachers to cultivate in the new generation a sense of love and pride for the language.

He added that to strengthen the Malay language as the national language the responsibility should not rest entirely on Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, as every individual in the community, including MoE staff were equally responsible.

He said a language could be the main platform or medium to foster unity among the multi-racial communities in the context of the ‘Malaysian Family’ as understanding and harmony could be developed when communicating with the same language.

On the DBK celebration, Radzi was confident that the initiative taken by DBK would be able to instill  love and pride for the Malay language as the national language, thus strengthening unity in line with the spirit of  the “Malaysian Family”.

Source: Malay Mail

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FM: Iran Not to Allow Foreigners Disrupt Friendly Ties with Neighbours


Amir Abdollahian made the remarks in a joint press conference with his Armenian counterpart Ararat Mirzoyan in Tehran on Monday.

"We will not allow some foreign states to affect Iran's relations with its neighbors, including Armenia. Our region will by no means tolerate new excessive demands. The problems of the region must be resolved by the people of the region without any foreign intervention," Amir Abdollahian said.

"Today we agreed to develop cooperation in all areas of economy, trade and tourism. Trade and operating the Armenian transit route are among the issues of mutual concern to both countries," he added.

Amir Abdollahian and Mirzoyan in a meeting in Tehran on Monday underlined the need to broaden mutual cooperation in different fields.

During the meeting in the Iranian capital today, the Iranian and Armenian foreign ministers explored avenues for bolstering and reinvigorating bilateral relations in various areas.

Source: Fars News Agency

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Navy Commander: Iran to Build Modern Destroyers


"The process of building and modernizing destroyer in Navy Force and defense industries of the country is going ahead and the country has attained self-sufficiency in the field of construction of destroyer in accordance with its operational requirements," Admiral Irani said.

He, meantime, pointed to the presence of the naval fleet of the country in strategic waters of the world, including the Atlantic Ocean, and said, "Iran's Navy Force can be present in any part of the world using sea with utmost power and might."

Admiral Irani reiterated that the Iranian Navy's fleet showcases the high capability and authority of Iran in the international arena and is the harbinger of peace, security and friendship.

In relevant remarks last month, Admiral Irani said Iran stands at the forefront of the campaign to establish and promote international peace and friendship.

Source: Fars News Agency

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Iran Sends Delegation to Armenia to Complete Tatev Road


Azerbaijan is controlling and claiming ownership for approximately 20 km out of a 400 km route streching from Norduz (in Iran) to Yerevan. Since last month, Azerbaijan has imposed strict regulations to Iranian drivers which are posing major problems for them passing through 20-kilometer section of Armenia’s Goris-Kapan Road including paying tolls levied by Azerbaijani border guards.

Thus, Iranian delegation in Armenia is considering particiaption for completing Tatev Road as an alternative route to Goris-Kapan Road.

With completion of Tatev Road (less than 15 km remaining), Iran and Armenia will bypass Azerbaijan for their traffic. Moreover, this route is strategic for Iran in terms of transit and commerce as it links Iran to Russia and Europe. Thus, Iran has declared its preparedness to complete the remaining part of Tatev Road in Armenian territory as soon as possible.

Armenia Deputy PM, Suren Papikiyan, in his previous meeting with Ambassador of Iran to Armenia, Abbas Badakhshan Zohouri, highly appreciated Iran’s stance for establishing stability and peace in the region. He also called Armenian-Iranian relations strategically important.

Source: Fars News Agency

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Assyrian Lawmaker: Iranian Army's Wargames Sent Clear Message to Israel, ISIL


"The Army’s drill along the Northwestern borders of Iran was a display of power indicating Iran’s preparedness to thwart any aggression through borders," Anouyeh Tekyeh said.

The coincidence of the war game with some movements in Northern neighboring countries caused some misunderstandings, the Iranian lawmaker said, adding that the Islamic Republic of Iran recognizes territorial integrity of all countries in the region.

The lawmaker pointed out that the military exercise showcased Iranian military scientists' self-sufficiency, specialty, and capacity in every defensive industrial field, the Assyrian MP said.

Iranian Army Ground Force held massive military wargames in North-West Iran near the border with Azerbaijan on Friday.

The military drill entitled ‘Fatehan (Conquerors) of Kheibar’ is underway by Iran’s Army Ground Forces in Northwestern Iran.

The Iranian Army Ground Forces' armored and artillery units, as well as drones with the support of Army Air Force helicopters are taking part in the military drills.

In a relevant development on Thursday, Commander of the Iranian Army Ground Force Brigadier General Kiomars Heidari announced that military exercises of the Armed Forces of the country are held in line with a detailed planning and based on scheduled program aimed at testing weapons, military equipment and assessing the combat readiness of the Armed Forces in the bordering areas of the country.

The military exercises will be held by using certain equipment and combat capabilities of Army Ground Forces units with the aim of improving the combat readiness in this region, he said.

Source: Fars News Agency

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US citizen blocked in Iran needs surgery within days: Family

04 October ,2021

A US citizen blocked from leaving Iran risks death unless he has surgery within days, his family said Monday, appealing for him to be permitted to leave.

An Iranian court early last year commuted the sentence of Baquer Namazi, a former UNICEF official, but his lawyers said authorities have refused to issue him an Iranian passport, which he needs to leave as Tehran does not recognize dual nationality.

Namazi, 84, whose son remains imprisoned, has a blockage in 95-97 percent of one of the main arteries that supply blood to his brain and needs surgery in seven to 10 days, his family said.

Breaking down with tears, another son, Babak Namazi, said the family was “devastated” and that the situation was “a type of torture I would not wish upon my worst enemy.”

“This is not and has never has been the ending my father deserves. My father is a selfless individual who spent his life in public service,” he told a virtual press conference.

In a letter to the UN special rapporteur on the right to health, lawyers for the family said Baquer’s case was “dire and extremely urgent.”

“In his current state, Baquer is at extreme risk of having a stroke, which could easily prove fatal,” it said.

Namazi can undergo the surgery in Iran but his lawyers said the environment was too stressful after four years in detention and that there was a high risk of COVID-19.

Jared Genser, an international counsel to the Namazis, said that Baquer Namazi was “a free man” and should be allowed to leave Iran.

He said the family had made appeals directly to members of President Joe Biden’s administration.

“The time for action is now. I call on President Biden to engage personally to make this happen,” Genser said.

Baquer Namazi was taken into custody in February 2016 when he traveled to Tehran in hopes of assisting son Siamak Namazi, a businessman who had been detained.

Siamak Namazi is still serving a 10-year sentence for alleged collaboration with a hostile government.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Bennett spokesman accuses Iran of planning attacks against Israelis living in Cyprus

04 October ,2021

Israel accused Iran on Monday of orchestrating an attempted attack against Israelis in Cyprus after police on the island said an armed individual had been arrested.

“This was a terrorist incident directed by Iran against Israeli businesspeople living in Cyprus,” Matan Sidi, spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, said in a statement.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Jordan is stronger than any campaigns: King Abdullah

04 October ,2021

Jordan’s King Abdullah said there is an ongoing campaign against his country and that it was not the first one, according to statements after meeting with citizens in the country’s central Badia area.

Jordan’s royal court Monday rejected as “distorted” claims made in the “Pandora Papers” that King Abdullah II created a network of offshore companies to build a $100 million overseas property empire.

The Royal Court of Jordan said “the failure to announce the real estate properties of His Majesty the King comes from the matter of privacy and not from the matter of confidentiality or with the intention of concealing it.”

“The cost of these properties and all related expenditures have been personally funded by His Majesty. None of these expenses have been funded by the state budget or treasury,” the royal court added.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Clashes erupt in Sudan’s Khartoum week after alleged ISIS killings

04 October ,2021

Clashes erupted Monday in the Sudanese capital between security forces and alleged extremists, state media and an AFP correspondent reported, a week after five officers were killed in the same area.

The shootout in the Jabra district of southern Khartoum prompted security forces to seal off streets, the correspondent at the scene said.

It was not immediately clear if there were any casualties, but ambulances were seen rushing to the site.

State media including Sudan TV said “an armed clash with a terrorist cell broke out in Jabra.”

On September 28, Sudan’s intelligence services said five counter-terrorism officers were killed during a raid in Jabra targeting “a cell linked to the Islamic State (IS) group.”

It said 11 militants from different “foreign countries” were arrested while four others escaped.

The following day, a little-known extremist group claimed responsibility for killing the intelligence officers.

The latest clashes came with Sudan in the midst of a rocky transition following the April 2019 ouster of ex-president Omar al-Bashir.

Under Bashir, Sudan adopted a more radical brand of Islam and became an international pariah over links to international “terrorist” organizations and for hosting extremist militant groups.

Between 1992 and 1996, it also hosted Al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden who was expelled under US pressure after Washington placed Sudan on its list of “state sponsors of terrorism.”

Source: Al Arabiya

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Jordan says ‘distorted’ claims in ‘Pandora Papers’ are security threat

04 October ,2021

Jordan’s royal court Monday rejected as “distorted” claims made in the “Pandora Papers” that King Abdullah II created a network of offshore companies to build a $100 million overseas property empire.

It said that the reports “included inaccuracies and distorted and exaggerated the facts”, and that revealing the properties’ addresses was “a flagrant security breach and a threat to His Majesty’s and his family’s safety.”

The statement also said that the king had “personally funded” the properties and all related expenses.

The investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), involving some 600 journalists from media worldwide, is based on the leak of some 11.9 million documents from 14 financial services companies.

While not alleging criminal wrong doing by Abdullah II, the reports allege he created a network of offshore companies to quietly purchase luxury residences from Malibu and California to Washington and London.

Jordan’s Royal Hashemite Court said in its statement that “it is no secret that His Majesty owns a number of apartments and residences in the US and the United Kingdom. This is not unusual nor improper.”

The statement added, “His Majesty uses these properties during official visits and hosts officials and foreign dignitaries there. The King and his family members also stay in some of these properties during private visits.”

Source: Al Arabiya

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France’s Macron: I hope tensions with Algeria will soon ease

05 October ,2021

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday that he hoped diplomatic tensions with Algeria would soon ease.

“My wish is that is that we can calm things down because I think it is better to talk to one another, and to make progress,” Macron told France Inter radio in an interview, adding he had “very cordial” relations with Algeria’s President.

On Saturday, Algeria recalled its ambassador to Paris, citing comments attributed to Macron, who was quoted in the Le Monde newspaper as saying Algeria’s rulers had rewritten the history of its colonization based on “a hatred of France”.

The following day, Algeria closed its airspace to French military planes, according to France’s military.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Algeria prosecutors seek 18 months’ jail for journalist

04 October ,2021

Algerian prosecutors are seeking an 18-month prison sentence against journalist Rabah Kareche for spreading “false news,” one of his lawyers said Monday as his appeal trial opened.

The verdict will be announced on October 11, Zoubida Assoul told AFP after the hearing in the southern city of Tamanrasset.

Kareche, of the daily newspaper Liberte, was sentenced on August 12 to eight months behind bars plus four months suspended, for “spreading false information liable to damage public order.”

He was also accused of posting reports that could trigger “segregation and hatred within society.”

Kareche was arrested in April after reporting that the Tuareg, a Berber minority who have long complained of economic and social marginalization, had protested over “expropriation” of their historical lands.

His detention triggered protests from fellow journalists, especially after President Abdelmadjid Tebboune described Kareche as an “arsonist” in an interview before his sentencing.

Kareche is one of several Algerian journalists currently behind bars.

They include his colleague Mohamed Mouloudj, detained last month for “belonging to a terrorist organization” and “spreading false information.”

Source: Al Arabiya

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Crimes against humanity, war crimes committed in Libya: UN Probe

04 October ,2021

War crimes and crimes against humanity have been committed in Libya since 2016, a United Nations investigation revealed on Monday.

The Independent Fact-Finding Mission on Libya, commissioned by the UN Human Rights Council, said migrants and detainees were particularly exposed to violations.

“There are reasonable grounds to believe that war crimes have been committed in Libya, while violence perpetrated in prisons and against migrants there may amount to crimes against humanity,” the mission said in a statement.

The unrest in the north African country has had a dramatic impact on Libyans’ economic, social and cultural rights, as borne by attacks on hospitals and schools.

“All parties to the conflicts, including third states, foreign fighters and mercenaries, have violated international humanitarian law, in particular the principles of proportionality and distinction, and some have also committed war crimes,” said Mohamed Auajjar, who chaired the three-person mission.

The mission said it had identified individuals and groups -- both Libyan and foreign -- who may bear responsibility for the violations, abuses and crimes.

However, it said the list would remain confidential until it could be shared with appropriate accountability mechanisms.

Though the Libyan judicial authorities are investigating most of the cases documented in the report, the process “faces significant challenges”, the experts said.

In June 2020, the Human Rights Council -- the UN’s top rights body -- adopted a resolution calling for a fact-finding mission to be sent to Libya. The move had Tripoli’s support.

The experts, appointed in August last year, were charged with investigating alleged violations and abuses of international human rights law and international humanitarian law committed in Libya since 2016.

Auajjar was joined by and fellow human rights experts Chaloka Beyani and Tracy Robinson.

They gathered and reviewed hundreds of documents, interviewed more than 150 individuals and conducted investigations in Libya, Tunisia and Italy.'

Their report documents the recruitment and direct participation of children in hostilities, plus the enforced disappearance and extrajudicial killings of prominent women.

Oil-rich Libya has been torn by conflict since the 2011 toppling and killing of dictator Moamer Kadhafi in a NATO-backed uprising, with rival administrations vying for power.

The experts said anti-personnel mines left by mercenaries in residential areas have killed and maimed civilians.

Source: Al Arabiya

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8 soldiers killed, 2 wounded in central-north Burkina Faso

James Tasamba  


At least eight Burkina Faso soldiers were killed on Monday morning in an armed attack on a military unit in the central-north Sanmatenga province, local media reported.

The attack on the Yirgou military detachment took place at around 5 a.m. local time (0500GMT) and left two other soldiers wounded, state television said, quoting security sources.

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, but sources said search operations are underway to find the attackers.

Last month, Burkina Faso's authorities said unidentified armed men killed six gendarmeries and wounded seven others in an attack on a convoy of vehicles returning from a gold mine in the eastern part of the country.

Groups with links to the Daesh/ISIS terror group are known to frequently carry out similar attacks in the country.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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