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Muslims Angered By Islamophobic Content In US-Made Video Game, Call Of Duty, With An Insulting Depiction Of The Holy Qur’an

New Age Islam News Bureau

13 November 2021


US video game developer Activision-Blizzard has sparked anger in the Muslim world with an insulting depiction of the holy Qur’an in one of its latest games.


• Muslims Angered By Islamophobic Content In US-Made Video Game, Call Of Duty, With An Insulting Depiction Of The Holy Qur’an

• Purification Commission Of The Islamic Emirate Of Afghanistan Bans Arbitrary Military Operations And Courts

• Shia Cleric: Unity More Important For Muslim Ummah Today Than Before

• 'Hinduism Is Not About Beating Innocents … Says Rahul; BJP Hits Back


North America

• Muslim Advocacy Group Accuses College Democrats Of ‘Islamophobia’For Harassing One Of Their Officers On Social Media Over Pro-Palestinian Comments

• EastEnders spoilers: Tiffany reaches out to Bobby over anti Muslim rant from Aaron

• Republican lawmakers introduce bill to designate Muslim Brotherhood as terror group


South Asia

• Already Fulfilled Delhi Meet Demands, SaysTaliban Foreign Ministry

• US, NATO failed to bring peace, security to Afghanistan: Taliban FM

• At Least 15 Injured In Afghanistan Mosque Bombing

• At least 3 killed as blast hits mosque in eastern Afghanistan



• Bauchi can’t reverse promotion of Sharia judges —Official

• Farooq Kperogi: Bigotry against Yoruba Muslims: Response to responses



• Minorities commission looking into 'poor' portrayal of Christians, Muslims, Sikhs in films

• The birth of Sufism in Kashmir

 • Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma to reach out to 1,000 Muslim women to push reforms

• Rahul: Is Hinduism about beating Sikhs, Muslims: No, Hindutva is

• 4 Booked for Sedition in UP's Gorakhpur for Hoisting 'Pakistani Flag'



• Pakistan’s Punjab Chief Minister Underscores Islam’s Teachings Of Love, Compassion On World Kindness Day

• Will favourably consider: Pakistan PM Imran Khan on wheat from India to Kabul

• Pakistani cricketer presents his Australian Christian coach an English translation of Quran

• Pakistan rejects criticism over acquittal of UN-designated persons

• 3,000 visas to Sikh pilgrims issued


Southeast Asia

• Haram! Over 230 Million Muslims Told To Stay Away From Cryptocurrency Until…

• Indonesia's Largest Crypto Exchange Respond to Ulema's Bitcoin Fatwa


Arab World

• Authorities Foil Giant Drug Smuggling Attempt At Saudi Port

• Saudi FM meets Algerian, Egyptian counterparts in Paris

• ‘Crystal Maze’ experience labelled largest in world opens in Riyadh

• Saudi Arabia: Makkah’s Grand Mosque Disinfected And Sterilized Ten Times A Day



• Over 60,000 Palestinian Muslim Worshipers Perform Friday Prayer At Al-Aqsa Amid Strict Israeli Measures

• Tens of thousands of Palestinians attend funeral of former minister Qabha dead from COVID-19

• Present AhlulBayt (a.s.) pure teachings to world thirsty for truth, spirituality: Ayatollah Safi Golpaygani



• Russian Move To Close Rights Group Memorial Sparks Condemnation At Home, Abroad

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau



Muslims Angered By Islamophobic Content In US-Made Video Game, Call Of Duty, With An Insulting Depiction Of The Holy Qur’an


US video game developer Activision-Blizzard has sparked anger in the Muslim world with an insulting depiction of the holy Qur’an in one of its latest games.


November 13, 2021

AhlulBayt News Agency (ABNA): US video game developer Activision-Blizzard has sparked anger in the Muslim world with an insulting depiction of the holy Qur’an in one of its latest games.

In its newly released series, Call of Duty: Vanguard, the video game giant depicted pages from the Muslim holy book disrespectfully scattered on a floor, with some of them soaked in blood.

The Islamophobic content stoked a furious response on social media earlier this week, with Twitter users creating the trend #NoCallOfDuty.

The Muslim community began to boycott the game, with some saying they will not play until the detail is removed. Others simply deleted the game and vowed not to play.

Activision issued an apology on Thursday, calling the content “insensitive.”

“It should never have appeared as it did in [the] game; we deeply apologize,” it said in a statement published in Arabic.

It subsequently replaced the pages of the holy book with blank sheets.

Activision is no stranger to controversy. A similar scandal emerged in 2012 with another game, Modern Warfare 2, which insulted verses from Hadith — Prophet Mohammad’s quotes for Muslims. The publisher pulled the game from rotation at the time, before removing the offensive content and apologizing to Muslims. The company was also rocked by a scandal earlier this year when it became the subject of a lawsuit that said the company was fostering a culture of widespread gender-based discrimination and harassment.

Muslims make up almost a quarter of the world’s population.


 Purification Commission Of The Islamic Emirate Of Afghanistan Bans Arbitrary Military Operations And Courts


Image: AP/Representative


By Najibullah Lalzoy

Saturday, 13 Nov 2021

The Purification Commission of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan ordered a ban on arbitrary military operations and courts and warned that those accountable will be brought to justice or dissolved.

Members of the Commission gathered at the previous Afghan parliament on Friday, November 12.

The Purification Commission of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan emphasized good behaviour of the Taliban fighters as vital and added that tens of those who ill-treated people were either punished or dissolved.

The members also warned that those who impersonate the Taliban affiliates and annoy people will be identified and punished.

The commission also banned arbitrary courts around the country and ordered the Taliban affiliates to take action against those who do.

The Commission is aimed at purifying the Taliban formation and identifying and dissolving those who mistreat people and do not abide by rules.

The Taliban are willing to create five sub-commissions that will soon be activated in all provinces of Afghanistan.

The members warned that no one is allowed to abuse or beat the former security personnel and that the culprits will be brought to justice.


 Shia cleric: Unity more important for Muslim Ummah today than before

November 13, 2021


The director of the Islamic Center of Zambia said the Muslim Ummah is in need of unity today more than before.


The director of the Islamic Center of Zambia said the Muslim Ummah is in need of unity today more than before.

AhlulBayt News Agency (ABNA): The director of the Islamic Center of Zambia said the Muslim Ummah is in need of unity today more than before.

Seyed Mohsen Mousavizdeh Jazaeyri said unity is a major priority today for the Islamic world because the enmities against Islam and unity have increased considerably.

The representative of the Islamic Culture and Relations Organization in Zambia added that today, the enemy fears the formation of Islamic civilizations in the world.

The enemy is also afraid of Islamic awakening and that is why it makes more attempts at fomenting discord and disunity, he stated.

He referred to statements by Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei, saying the Leader believes that Muslim unity is key in order to resolve the problems of the Islamic community.

Mousavizdeh Jazaeyri said the main component of unity is focusing on commonalities among different Islamic schools of thought and giving priority to them rather than the differences.

He also noted that Islamic unity does not mean renouncing one’s beliefs and principles.

It does not mean avoiding conflicts and disputes per se, either, he added, saying unity also involves respecting one another’s rights.

Elsewhere in his remarks, the cleric underscored the important role of the media in promoting unity and said that given the growing share of the social media in dissemination of information in today’s world, one should make the most of social media in cultural and religious activities, including in strengthening Muslim unity.


'Hinduism Is Not About Beating Innocents … Says Rahul; BJP Hits Back

Nov 12, 2021


(Photo courtesy: The Times of India)


NEW DELHI: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday sought to differentiate between Hinduism and Hindutva to accuse the BJP and the RSS of using the latter to spread a "hateful ideology".

In a video message released by the party, Rahul Gandhi referred to the Akhlaq lynching incident in Uttar Pradesh and said while the scriptures of Hinduism clearly did not suggest killing of an innocent, the ideology of Hindutva stood for it.

"Is Hinduism about beating a Sikh or a Muslim? Hindutva of course is. But is Hinduism about killing Akhlaq? In which book is this written? I have not seen it. I have read the Upanishads, I have not seen it. Where is it written that you should kill an innocent man? I am unable to find this, in Hindu scriptures, in Islamic scriptures, in Sikh scriptures. I can see it in Hindutva," Rahul Gandhi is heard saying in the video.

“…I have read the Upanishad’s…where is it written to kill an innocent man?…”Shri @RahulGandhi

Rahul's remarks drew a sharp retort from the BJP which pointed out that even the Supreme Court had mentioned that Hindutva was a way of life.

"If you thought Salman Khursheed and Rashid Alvi were free agents, demeaning Hindus and Hindutva, here is Rahul Gandhi echoing their abhorrent claims. The Supreme Court called Hindutva a way of life, Rahul calls it violent and equates Hindu scriptures to Islamic writings to justify," senior BJP leader Amit Malviya said.

If you thought Salman Khursheed and Rashid Alvi were free agents, demeaning Hindus and Hindutva, here is Rahul Gand…

The former Congress president's comments come at a time when a controversy is raging over senior party leader Salman Khurshid's book which seems to draw a comparison between violent organisations like Boko Haram and Hindutva.

In his video address, which was part of Congress party's digital campaign 'Jan Jagran Abhiyan', Rahul Gandhi claims that the grand old party's ideology is alive and vibrant but has been overshadowed by the BJP's ideology.

"Today, whether we like it or not the hateful ideology of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has overshadowed the loving, affectionate and nationalistic ideology of Congress Party, we have to accept this. Our ideology is alive, vibrant but it has been overshadowed," he claimed in another video clip.

Gandhi said that the ideology had been overshadowed because of a "complete capture of the media" but also because Congress was not able to propagate it amongst its own people.

"So, these are the types of things we have to discuss and these are the types of things we have to spread amongst ourselves. And once we start to spread it effectively amongst ourselves, we will find it will automatically start to spread among others. And this is the mission that you are embarking on," Rahul said.

He tells party workers that there should be a compulsory course for them to understand what it means to be a Congressperson.

"This is the foundational mission of Congress karyakartas. This is going to be central. And in my view, (K C) Venugopal ji and others might have a different opinion, but in my view it should be compulsory. It should be mandatory. Every single person should go through it. It should be a rigorous course and it should develop people who have real understanding of what it means to be a Congressperson," he said.

He said many would already know what it means to be a Congressperson.

"You know it, speak it, live it. You now have to spread it. I am sure this understanding is there intuitively in many of you," he added.

'Factually wrong': Ghulam Nabi Azad disagrees with Khurshid's Hindutva-ISIS comparison

BJP retorts:

Meanwhile, BJP leader Sambit Patra alleged that the Congress leadership nurses a "pathological hatred" for Hinduism. Hitting out at the former Congress president for his criticism of Hindutva, alleged that Gandhi has a history of making critical comments about Hinduism and its culture.

It is in the character of the Congress and the Gandhi family to attack Hinduism at every opportunity, he said.

Citing terms like Hindu Pakistan, Hindu Taliban and saffron terror used by Congress leaders Tharoor and Chidambaram, the BJP leader said they make these remarks at Gandhi's behest. He also referred to Digvijay Singh and Mani Shankar Aiyar in this context.

"What they say is not a coincidence but an experiment. And the headmaster of this experimental lab is Rahul Gandhi.... There is a pathological hatred for Hinduism among Congress leaders, and they get traction for this from the Gandhi family," he alleged.

Patra also referred to a comment of Rahul Gandhi, which had found a mention in the WikiLeaks in 2010, that Hindu extremist groups could pose a bigger danger to India than Islamic terror organisation and some other remarks to attack him.

Gandhi had linked atrocities against women to Indian culture, he claimed.

Khurshid's book:

Rahul's attempt to differentiate between Hinduism and Hindutva comes at a time when the party is facing BJP onslaught over Salman Khurshid's take on the issue, which has already triggered a row.

A passage in Salman Khurshid's book ‘Sunrise Over Ayodhya: Nationhood in Our Times’reads: "Sanatan Dharma and classical Hinduism known to sages and saints were being pushed aside by a robust version of Hindutva, by all standards a political version similar to the jihadist Islam of groups like ISIS and Boko Haram of recent years".

The comment has been made in a chapter titled: The Saffron Sky.

Ayodhya verdict was accepted by both sides and became right judgment: Chidambaram

The BJP has objected to the passage and claimed it hurts Hindu sentiments.

Earlier, during a press conference, BJP spokesperson Gaurav Bhatia, while referring to Khurshid's book, said the remarks not only “hurt the sentiments of Hindus but also deeply hurt the soul of India”.

“Hinduism was compared to ISIS and Boko Haram. Congress is weaving a web like a spider against Hindus… All this happens at the behest of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. Earlier, the term 'Hindu terrorism' was invented in the Congress office,” Bhatia said, adding: "Due to the politics of hatred of Congress, the public will teach a lesson in the assembly polls to be held in 5 states next year.”


North America


Muslim Advocacy Group Accuses College Democrats Of ‘Islamophobia’For Harassing One Of Their Officers On Social Media Over Pro-Palestinian Comments

November 12, 2021

A Muslim advocacy group is accusing the College Democrats of America of “Islamophobia” for harassing one of their officers on social media over pro-Palestinian comments she made online as a child.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) this week called in a letter for the Democratic Party-affiliated group to open an “independent investigation” with the intent of disciplining or expelling the unnamed members who “repeatedly harassed” Rollins College senior Nourhan Mesbah on social media when she ran successfully for national vice president in August.

The harassment includes the members’ “liking” a social media comment that read in part: “Boot this jihadist out, no room for racist totalitarianism,” CAIR says.

In the letter sent this week to College Democrats President Jalen Miller, CAIR’s national deputy director Edward Mitchell also accuses the CDA members of “weaponizing” an “anti-Muslim” political ad against Ms. Mesbah over the pro-Palestinian comment she said she regretted making online as a 13-year-old.

“Anti-Muslim bigotry is not unique to any particular party, and no party is immune to it,” Mr. Mitchell told The Washington Times on Friday.



EastEnders spoilers: Tiffany reaches out to Bobby over anti Muslim rant from Aaron

Calli Kitson

Friday 12 Nov 2021

Tiffany Butcher (Maisie Smith) will be left feeling uncomfortable soon after witnessing Aaron Monroe (Charlie Wernham) question Bobby Beale (Clay Milner Russell) about his religion in EastEnders.

Harvey (Ross Boatman) bumps into Tiff and invites her to the Monroe’s lunch.

Dana (Barbara Smith) wants to invite Bobby, but Aaron tells her not to.

Wanting answers, Dana asks Harvey why Bobby can’t come, but isn’t happy when her dad tells her Bobby is ‘too soft’ to be around Aaron.

The next day, Tiff is feeling nervous about lunch but when she bumps into an apprehensive Bobby, she offers him some words of encouragement.

At lunch, things turn tense when Aaron starts to ask Bobby about his Islamic beliefs.

Fortunately, Bobby is prepared and responds well, but Tiffany can’t help but feel something isn’t right with her new love interest.

After lunch, Tiff bumps into Bobby and apologises about Aaron’s behaviour.

Will Tiffany work out what Aaron is up to?

We know Maisie Smith is set to leave the show soon, will this see the start of Tiffany’s exit storyline as she realises Aaron is a danger?



Republican lawmakers introduce bill to designate Muslim Brotherhood as terror group

(November 12, 2021 / JNS) Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.) have reintroduced legislation that urges the U.S. State Department to designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a foreign terrorist organization.

The measure, which was introduced in the Senate by Cruz with a companion bill in the U.S. House of Representatives by Diaz-Balart, requires the State Department to report to Congress about whether the Muslim Brotherhood meets the legal criteria for designation, and if so, will enable the United States to take action that could stifle the funding they receive to promote their malign activities.

The Senate bill is co-sponsored by Sens. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.). The House bill is cosponsored by Reps. Kay Granger (R-Texas), Chuck Fleishmann (R-Tenn.), Bill Johnson (R-Ohio), Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), Scott DesJarlais (R-Tenn.), Guy Reschenthaler (R-Pa.), John H. Rutherford (R-Fla.), Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), Mike Bost (R-Ill.), Glenn Grothman (R-Wis.), Kat Cammack (R-Fla.) and Pat Fallon (R-Texas).

Several U.S. allies, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, have designated the Muslim Brotherhood as a terror group. Hamas, which is a Palestinian offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, is designated a terrorist organization by the State Department.

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Cruz said in a statement that “it’s high time we join our allies in the Arab world in formally recognizing the Muslim Brotherhood for what they truly are—a terrorist organization. We have a duty to hold the Muslim Brotherhood accountable for their role in financing and promoting terrorism across the Middle East.”

He introduced similar bills in 2015, 2017 and 2020.


South Asia


Already Fulfilled Delhi Meet Demands, SaysTaliban Foreign Ministry

Nov 13, 2021

NEW DELHI: In another reaction to the Afghanistan conference convened in Delhi, the Taliban foreign ministry said the government in Kabul has already fulfilled the demands raised in the meeting and for the second time in two days, the Taliban welcomed the conference and said they won’t allow the country to be used against others.

The Taliban claimed that they have already fulfilled all the demands mentioned at the India conference on Afghanistan, reported TOLO News. The demands made included ensuring Afghanistan did not export terrorism and there was unimpeded access for humanitarian support to people in the country. The Taliban’s claim that it had fulfilled the Delhi Declaration's concerns flies in the face of reports of deprivation and new restrictions in line with religious prescriptions. So far, barring Pakistan, most countries expect the Taliban to provide more evidence that the regime is prepared to be tolerant, inclusive and mindful of civilian distress.

“The Islamic Emirate (Taliban) welcomes the India meeting. We are trying to take solid steps in governance, and countries should not be worried about Afghanistan soil being used against anyone,” deputy spokesman for the foreign ministry, Inamullah Samangani, was quoted as saying.



US, NATO failed to bring peace, security to Afghanistan: Taliban FM

November 13, 2021

Taliban's acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi says the United States and NATO failed to bring peace and security to Afghanistan despite their presence in the country for two decades.

AhlulBayt News Agency (ABNA): Taliban's acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi says the United States and NATO failed to bring peace and security to Afghanistan despite their presence in the country for two decades.

“Despite 50 nations, including the Americans and NATO, with their military, their technological power, present in Afghanistan for 20 years and with a lot of money that was poured in, still they failed to bring peace and security in Afghanistan, or eliminate the islands of power that existed in the country,” Muttaqi said on Friday.

The top Taliban official, who is leading a 20-member delegation on a three-day visit to Pakistan, made the remarks while addressing a seminar hosted by Islamabad-based Pakistani think tank, the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad, where he was a guest speaker.

“Now that we have done all this, we have brought all these changes, and given assurances to the world, I do not understand what else the world wants from us,” Muttaqi added.

The Taliban, who ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, took power again on August 15 as the US was in the middle of a chaotic troop withdrawal. The group announced the formation of a caretaker government on September 7. No country has yet recognized the group’s rule.

The US completed its withdrawal in late August, in what observers saw as a botched exit after a futile military adventure that had lasted 20 years.

“In the past, most previous governments of Afghanistan had problems in two aspects: one, either the government completely submitted itself to foreign powers and bent down to all the requests of the foreigners, to the detriment of their own people,” Muttaqi noted.

“The other type of government was completely local-based and did not take into consideration the demands of the international community at all, which brought them at loggerheads with the outside world. We are currently trying to have a balanced policy where we can address the demands of both sides, without causing a clash with anyone,” Afghanistan’s Taliban-appointed foreign affairs chief further said.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Muttaqi said that Afghanistan no longer needed a large army like the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF), which worked under the previous administration.

“The army that was created by foreign intervention, we are no longer in need of having such large numbers,” he noted, stressing that Afghanistan needed a small army “made up of people with fidelity and commitment and patriotism ingrained in them.”

Afghanistan is facing what UN agencies have described as “one of the world’s worst humanitarian disasters.” Western countries have cut off their aid to the country since the Taliban laid siege to Kabul three months ago, pushing desperate people to the brink of starvation.

Experts believe that with winter knocking on the heels, the crisis is expected to deteriorate.

Muttaqi’s comments came as Afghanistan’s economy slumps due to the stall in most aid and restrictions on the banking system put in place by international governments.

The US-led NATO alliance invaded the South Asian country in 2001 under the pretext of ‘war on terror’, to decimate the Taliban and Al-Qaeda. None of the goals were achieved despite massive investment.

Hundreds of thousands of Afghans died in the US war on the country.

In his first congressional testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee members on September 28, Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, called the war in Afghanistan a “strategic failure”. He added, “There’s no way else to describe that.”



At Least 15 Injured In Afghanistan Mosque Bombing

November 12, 2021

Friday's bombing targeted Sunni Muslims in a province that has been a front line in the battle between the Islamic State group and the Taliban.

A Taliban provincial spokesman says a bomb exploded in a mosque during Friday prayers, wounding at least 15 people in eastern Afghanistan, where Islamic State group militants have been waging a campaign of violence.

Qari Hanif, the government spokesman for Nangarhar Province, said the bomb appeared to have been planted inside the mosque in the town of Traili, located in the mountainous Spin Ghar area outside the provincial capital Jalalabad.

Photos taken by a resident and circulating in social media showed three dead bodies, and the mosque's interior strewn with rubble and broken glass. Hanif did not immediately confirm any deaths.

It was the third major mosque bombing in five weeks in Afghanistan. The earlier attacks came on successive Fridays last month, when IS suicide bombers and gunmen blasted worshippers from Afghanistan's Shiite Muslim minority, first in a mosque in the city of Kunduz, then one in the southern city of Kandahar.

This Friday's bombing targeted Sunni Muslims in a province that has been a front line in the battle between the Islamic State group and the Taliban. IS militants have been carrying out nearly daily shootings and bombings against Taliban fighters in Nangarhar Province.

Since coming to power in Afghanistan three months ago, the Taliban have been waging a counterinsurgency campaign, vowing to put down the threat from IS.

IS is an enemy of the Taliban. The two groups share a hardline interpretation of Islam and over the years engaged in some of the same violent tactics, such as suicide bombings. However, the Taliban have focused on seizing control of Afghanistan, while IS adheres to global jihad.

On Wednesday, a spokesman for the Taliban intelligence service told reporters in Kabul that the agency has arrested close to 600 IS members, including key figures and financial supporters. The spokesman, Khalil Hamraz, said at least 33 IS members have been killed in gun battles with Taliban security forces.



At least 3 killed as blast hits mosque in eastern Afghanistan

November 13, 2021

AhlulBayt News Agency (ABNA): A blast has hit a mosque in Afghanistan's restive province of Nangarhar, leaving at least three people killed.

A hospital official said the explosion, which occurred in Spin Ghar district of Nangarhar on Friday, also wounded 15 people.

"So far three killed, 15 wounded," a doctor at the local hospital told AFP.

"I can confirm a blast during Friday prayers inside a mosque in Spin Ghar district. There are casualties and fatalities," AFP cited a Taliban official as saying.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast.

In recent years, the Daesh terrorist group, a rival to the Taliban, has established a foothold in eastern and northern Afghanistan, particularly in Nangarhar, which is considered as the heartland of Afghanistan's Takfiri group. It has targeted Shia mosques in a series of terrorist bombings which have killed scores of worshipers.

Some believe the United States has hatched a plot to use Daesh to make Afghanistan unsafe for its people and neighbors.

Earlier this month, Daesh claimed responsibility for the deadly bombing attack on a military hospital in the Afghan capital of Kabul that left at least 25 people dead and more than twice as many injured.

The Taliban took power in Afghanistan in mid-August, as the US was in the middle of a chaotic troop withdrawal from the country. The group announced the formation of a caretaker government on September 7.

A UK court has recently heard that top military officers hid evidence that British Special Air Service (SAS) forces were killing detainees during the US-led war in Afghanistan.

The case was brought by Saifullah Yar, a man who says four members of his family were murdered in February 2011.

Richard Hermer QC, representing Yar, told the high court that emails released by the ministry of defense revealed “senior officers were raising concern about the way the SAS was operating”, and that there were “implausible explanations that Afghans were shot and killed after going to their homes and returning with weapons”.

The court is considering whether the reports were probed properly by the armed forces.

Yar’s lawyers were asking the court to order the defense secretary, Ben Wallace, to release further official documents before a full judicial review hearing.




Bauchi can’t reverse promotion of Sharia judges —Official

Armstrong Bakam

12 November 2021

The Bauchi State Judiciary has replied the State House of Assembly that it cannot reverse its recent promotion of 18 Sharia judges to Upper Sharia judges.

A member of the Bauchi State House of Assembly, representing Dambam/Dagauda/Jalam Constituency, Baballe Dambam, had raised the matter on the floor of the Assembly during the week under matters of urgent public importance, praying that the House should halt the “lopsided appointment of judges of upper courts in the State Ministry of Justice.”

But reacting to the allegations, the Chief Registrar of the State High Court, Emmanuel Sublim, told journalists on Friday in his office that the lawmaker got it wrong to have joined the Ministry of Justice –an executive arm of government, with the judiciary arm.

Sublim said, “The seamless and unfair accusations that trail the promotions seem to connote that this modest exercise of promotion was irregular and lopsided.

“We are not here to join issues with anybody but rather we are here to explain to undiscerning minds that the appointment of judges unlike other appointments is an exercise that is highly sensitive and regulated by the National Judicial Policy, Judicial Appointments Guidelines and Code of Conduct for Judicial Officers.

“For the avoidance of doubt, every aspect of judicial appointment process should be such as would command public respect and confidence that the best persons in terms of skill, learning, integrity and courage are appointed as judicial officers.

“It is a basic and fundamental aspect of the Judicial Policy that the judicial appointments process must be transparent and merit-based. Indeed the yardstick for appointment in terms of skill, competence, Integrity and comportment shall not be compromised and shall be strictly observed.”

“The Ministry of Justice is a legal department of the Executive just like any other Ministry. The Ministry of Justice has no supervisory role whatsoever over the Judiciary as that has never been envisaged by our Constitution.

“It, therefore, goes without saying that the Ministry of Justice does not have power to recruit or appoint judges for the State Judiciary,” he added.



Farooq Kperogi: Bigotry against Yoruba Muslims: Response to responses


NOVEMBER 13, 2021

Last week’s column on the enduring symbolic, cultural, and economic violence against Yoruba Muslims in spite of strategically romanticised and hyperbolised media narratives of unexampled religious ecumenicalism in Yorubaland has stirred a profusion of impassioned responses that invite one last response from me.

First, it’s flattering that such a large number of people found what I wrote important enough to deserve responding with such overpoweringly concentrated emotions. I thank both people who condemned me and those who commended me because only people who find your views worth engaging with will insult or praise you for them. I tell my journalism students here in the U.S. that editors would rather have a cornucopia of angry reactions to stories than none at all because that means people are engaging with the stories.

Having said that, in response to critics who have imputed sinister, conspirative motives to me, let me establish my bona fides for starting this conversation in the demotic public sphere. First, my ideological impulses impel me to always identify with the underdog, the marginalised, the alienated, and the ostracised.

Before I wrote last week’s column, which was actuated by what we call a “news peg” in journalism, i.e., a current event that exemplifies a trend, I was working on an article on Hausa and Fulani Christians in Nigeria’s Northwest and have gathered a lot of information on this. Bishop Hassan Matthew Kukah will bear me witness that I reached out to him for data. I’m also working on Igbo Muslims whose identity momentarily flashed into our public consciousness in the aftermath of the death of Alhaji Abdulaziz Chibuzor Ude in September.

I’ve always written about and lent my moral weight on subaltern populations, including northern Christians. Check the archives. To expect that I won’t bring to light the oppression of Yoruba Muslims just because I also happen to be a Muslim is both churlish and narrowminded.

Second, I come from a part of Borgu that shares geographic and even cultural boundaries with the predominantly Muslim Oke-Ogun area of Oyo State. I have intimate familiarity with the experiential realities of perpetual symbolic and cultural violence that Muslims in that area endure. Oke-Ogun also happens to be the least developed part of Western Nigeria, and several people there, rightly or wrongly, attribute their marginality to the fact of their being predominantly Muslim.

Third, my late wife, Zainab, was a Yoruba Muslim who graduated from the University of Ibadan. She introduced me to her circle of Yoruba Muslim friends whose experiences of unvarnished hostility and or casual rhetorical inferiorisation (with statements like “you don’t look like a Muslim,” “you don’t behave like a Muslim,” “you’re too brilliant to be a Muslim,” etc. often calculated to inspire low self-esteem and instill diminished self-worth for purposes of proselytisation) are eerily congruent with what I’d been familiar with in my associations with Oke-Ogun Muslims.

Finally, I’m from Kwara State and know for a fact that the University of Ilorin, although located in the historic Muslim city of Ilorin, used to be one of the most inexplicably anti-Muslim universities in Nigeria. Because it started life as a satellite campus of the University of Ibadan (which is ironically the most merit-driven university in Nigeria), the University of Ilorin was an exclusivist enclave of extremist Pentecostal Yoruba Christians who intentionally shut out Muslims from studentships and from the professoriate. The school was run from churches and Christian fellowships, and only few Muslims were admitted as students and employed as lecturers, mostly as token gestures of paternalistic accommodation.

That stopped in 1997 after Professor Shuaibu Oba Abdulraheem became the institution’s first Ilorin Muslim vice chancellor. He broadened the school’s focus and made it a truly federal institution with some sensitivity to its immediate environment. Kwara State indigenes who never bothered to apply to the school before embraced it for the first time.

But although Abdulraheem was sometimes extreme in his corrective policies, which was understandable given that he was trying to stamp out a deep-seated culture of religiously-based exclusion of people, he was vilified, ridiculed, libeled, and demonised in the media. He was framed in the media as a violent, intolerant, know-nothing “jihadist.” I couldn’t recognise the soft-spoken, brilliant, compassionate, mild-mannered, even-tempered man who taught me at Bayero University, Kano, in the media portrayals of him.

People who said I’m animated by an agenda to disrupt the praiseworthy (but in reality make-belief) interreligious harmony of Yoruba land by centralising the taboo conversation about the symbolic and substantive oppression of Yoruba Muslims in their own land are at once unreflective, escapist, and insensitive.

If just one column by a geographically distant columnist is all it takes to explode the glorious edifice of religious harmony in Yoruba land, then there wasn’t one in the first. If there was one, it was a phony edifice of harmony that could be knocked down by the faintest wind of scrutiny.

It’s like white Southerners in the United States who used to say there was racial harmony in the South because Black people, who knew “their place,” didn’t stage mass revolts against slavery and later segregation, and that that it was busybody Northern liberals who sowed seeds of discord in the South by letting Black people think they were oppressed. If someone telling you are oppressed causes you to think you’re oppressed, you’re truly oppressed.

I received literally hundreds of messages from scores of Yoruba Muslims affirming what I wrote. To delegitimise their anguish and angst because you don’t feel what they feel is to be callous and boorish, not to mention disrespectful.

But I understand what is happening. When you rupture the sedate boundaries of people’s settled and simplistic certainties, when you disturb the taken-for-granted myths that they have internalised and caused to percolate into the public consciousness, they’ll lash out with all the emotional energies they can summon.

People who have persuaded themselves that they own the exclusive copyright to victimhood and that Muslims can only be villains, not victims, will certainly have a hard time wrapping their heads around the notion that others, too, can be victims, and that they, too, can be oppressors.

Nothing in what I wrote was intended to suggest that Yoruba Christians are uniformly monsters of structural violence against their Muslim brothers and sisters—or that Yoruba Muslims are angels of innocence who are unblemished by the faintest blot of bigotry themselves.

But it’s undeniable that there is a symbolic power asymmetry between Yoruba Muslims and Yoruba Christians and that Yoruba Christians have instrumentalised their superior symbolic power to evangelise, inferiorise, exoticise, marginalise and even dehumanise their Muslim brothers and sisters.

Many years ago, former Youth Minister Bolaji Abdullahi related an intriguing encounter he had with the late Afenifere leader Pa Abraham Adesanya when he was an editor at ThisDay. Pa Adesanya called the newspaper and Bolaji Abdullahi picked the phone. Pa Adesanya asked who was on the line and Bolaji Abdullahi answered. “Bolaji what?” Adesanya shot back.

As Abdullahi made clear, Pa Adesanya heard him clearly. He just didn’t think “Bolaji” and “Abdullahi” should collocate in the Yoruba onomastic cosmology, which is ironic because Yoruba people have been bearing “Abdullahi” at least three centuries before they started bearing “Abraham.” And if bearing “Abdullahi” as a last name was the cause of the late sage’s consternation, it would be interesting if he thought the same of name combinations like “Bode Smith” and “Mobolaji Johnson.”

Microaggressions like that from wielders of cultural and symbolic power in Yorubaland are constant companions of Muslims.

To be sure, Muslims do the same to Christians in the Muslim North. But discourses of Muslim oppression of Christian minorities in the North are mainstream in the Nigerian public sphere. Plus, Northern Christians have allies in the dominant news media formation in the country and among progressive Muslims.

Colonel Dangiwa Umar, to give just one example from this year, went out of his way to fight for one Justice Monica Dongban Mensem who was going to be passed over as president of the Court of Appeal on account of her Christianity. In several columns, I provoked the displeasure of fellow Northern Muslims for bringing attention to the systematic exclusion of Northern Christians in northern Nigeria.

But the exclusion of Yoruba Muslims in mainstream Yoruba land wasn’t even a topic of national discourse until last week. If we must solve a problem, we must first admit it exists. The reality is that the cultural, symbolic, and media elites of the region oppress Muslims by making a subliminal association between the negative image of Islam in the Middle East (and elsewhere) and Yoruba Muslims.

They then exteriorise the transgressions of Muslims in distant lands to their own brothers and sisters, which provides justifications to alienate and “other” them. It’s almost like they’re made to suffer vicarious retribution for the sins of their geographically distant co-religionists even though Yorubaland’s sociological soil is infertile for the growth of the seeds of violent Islamic extremism.

This issue isn’t new in the scholarly public sphere. For example, in her 2009 book titled “Political Spiritualities: The Pentecostal Revolution in Nigeria,” Professor Ruth Marshall talks of “the growing interreligious intolerance in the highly mixed Yoruba community” and said this “is undoubtedly linked to the evangelical zeal of young Yoruba Born-Agains and their increasingly aggressive public presence” (p. 226).

Professor Ebenezer Obadare of the University of Kansas also brilliantly captured this tensile stress in his 2018 book titled “Pentecostal Republic: Religion and the Struggle for State Power in Nigeria.” I am glad that I’ve caused this conversation to spill over to the public sphere.




Minorities commission looking into 'poor' portrayal of Christians, Muslims, Sikhs in films

13th November 2021

By Sana Shakil

NEW DELHI: The National Commission for Minorities is likely to recommend inclusion of people from minority communities in film clearing boards to curb projection of minorities in "poor light" in movies across different languages.

The minority’s panel has sought responses from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B Ministry) and the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) after having received a series of complaints from Muslim, Christian and Sikh communities over the objectionable portrayal of these communities in films.

"We are considering making a proposal to the I&B ministry and CBFC that members of minority communities, with the knowledge of the history and philosophy of their respective communities, be included in the CBFC’s movie screening committees in all of its nine regional centers," said a commission official.

Sources said that Muslim petitioners have highlighted the demonization of the community in films and the commission has also received complaints against television channel Sudarshan News for airing ‘fake news against Muslims’.

Sikh religious leaders have petitioned the Commission over the "funny, disparaging and unfavourable"  representation of Sikhs in several films and said the portrayals were not in line with the tenets of Sikh religion or practice. The community has also written to the commission against frequent portrayal of Sikhs as alcoholics in movies. One such complaint has been made by a petitioner from Tamil Nadu with respect to ‘negative portrayal of Christians’ in Tamil film 'Rudra Tandav'.

NCM chairperson Iqbal Singh Lalpura said that the commission has taken up the issue of improper depiction of members of minority communities in films with CBFC and I&B Ministry. "We have received several representations from the Sikh, Muslim and Christian community complaining that the communities are portrayed in ‘poor light’ in films," Lalpura said.

The NCM last discussed the matter on November 10 and called for a detailed report from the CBFC and I&B Ministry about the procedure followed while certifying films and the structure of censor board membership. The next meeting in the issue is scheduled for December 21.

Currently, a five-member panel headed by the censor board’s regional director along with four members, including a woman member, certifies films.



Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma to reach out to 1,000 Muslim women to push reforms

Nov 13, 2021

As part of the Assam government's outreach programme for Muslims, chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma is likely to meet over 1,000 Muslim women from across the state, in Guwahati next month, to discuss ways to increase their confidence in his government's welfare and reform measures.

The focus will be to increase their access to legal aid, ensure their financial inclusion, and listen to their problems, according to an official in know of the matter. "The government has taken many decisioons, and Assam being a state with 37% Muslim population, Muslim women play a key role in the state's development. We want to ensure that roadblocks to their progress are removed so that the state progresses. Development of the state will be slower if Muslim families, many of whom are very poor, are not taken along. We want to tell women that the government is fair on all counts, and they should look at ways to empower themselves through education and jobs, despite family pressure".

The event is likely to be held in the first week of December. This comes at a time when the Sarma-led BJP government in Assam has announced a ban on government grants to Madrasas, and launched a drive to evict people, mostly Muslims from Bangladesh from forest land. The state has already announced that it will gradually implement the two-children policy, and violators would not be able to contest any local or panchayat elections or be eligible for government jobs, or some government welfare programmes.

A similar rule already exists in the state for contesting for panchayat elections and for eligibility in state government jobs.

Sarma had then said that population is the root cause of every social menace and if that is controlled, many issues will automatically be resolved.



Rahul: Is Hinduism about beating Sikhs, Muslims: No, Hindutva is

Nov 13, 2021

'We have to accept that the BJP-RSS has spread hatred in today's India,' said Gandhi

Wardha/New Delhi: “Is Hinduism about beating a Sikh, or a Muslim?” Of course not, but Hindutva is, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said on Friday in an address to his party workers and leaders, irking the BJP which has been trying to present Hindu religion and the political ideology of Hindutva as one and the same.

Addressing a four-day All India Congress Committee (AICC) orientation programme in Sevagram Ashram, Wardha, Mr Gandhi drew a clear distinction between Hinduism and the RSS-BJP’s Hindutva, saying that the Congress’ ideology is like a "beautiful jewel" with unending power, while the ruling party’s ideology was being used to spread “hatred”.

The Congress leader said in today's India, the ideological fight has become very important and urged party leaders to learn themselves and train others in what it means to be a Congress leader.

"We have to accept that there are two ideologies in India - the Congress ideology and the RSS ideology. We have to accept that the BJP-RSS has spread hatred in today's India,” Mr Gandhi said, and added, "The Congress ideology… the ideology it follows has been existing in India for thousands of years. Just like the RSS has its icons, the Congress has its own icons… It is our strength… it is why we exist and it is important we discover it. They (BJP) have discovered their ideology and crystalized it. We have to crystalize our ideology and the moment we do that it will envelope their ideology. The hate that is being spread today will vanish and the future which seems uncertain will become certain.”

Recalling his conversation with former Uttarakhand minister Yashpal Arya, who returned to the party fold last month, Mr Gandhi said Arya told him for a Congressman, it is very suffocating to survive in the BJP.

His comments come ahead of crucial Assembly polls which usually see a lot of movement of leaders from one party to another. Elections are due in five states, including Uttar Pradesh, in 2022.

The BJP’s national spokesperson, Sambit Patra, alleged that Congress and its leaders “mistrust” Hindu religion. Ignoring the distinction between Hindutva and Hinduism, he said, “Mr Gandhi’s remarks as revealed by WikiLeaks in 2010 had hurt the nation when he had said that Hindus were bigger threat than terrorism and how he had said (later) that Congress was a party of Muslims… Salman Khurshid compares Boko Haram and ISIS with Hinduism… Shashi Tharoor says 'Hindu Taliban'. Leaders like Digvijaya Singh and Mani Shankar Aiyar use words like 'saffron terrorism' against Hinduism. This is no coincidence. It is Rahul Gandhi, the leader, who has taught others to make such statements against Hinduism.” 

“We say there is a difference between Hindutva and Hindu religion. It is a simple logic -- if you are a Hindu then why do you need Hindutva? Why do you need this new name?… Is Hinduism about beating a Sikh or a Muslim? Hindutva, of course, is," the Congress leader told the gathering during his virtual address.

Mr Gandhi admitted that the Congress did not propagate its ideas properly and that its ideology has been overshadowed by the BJP. 

"The BJP has overshadowed the loving, affectionate and nationalistic ideology of the Congress… partly because of the complete capture of the media and complete capture of the Indian nation. It has also been overshadowed as we have not propagated our ideology among our own people aggressively," the Lok Sabha MP from Wayanad in Kerala said.

“Ideologically training of party workers, in my view, should be made mandatory irrespective of seniority… The Congress ideology, if studied and propagated deeply in the organisation, has answers to all questions related to various issues of public concern — ranging from Article 370, terrorism to nationalism,” Mr Gandhi said.

“These are the types of things we need to explore and develop… 100, 200, 300, 500 people who deeply understand these differences, who can apply these differences to issues, behaviour, to action,” he added.



4 Booked for Sedition in UP's Gorakhpur for Hoisting 'Pakistani Flag'

12 Nov 2021

The Gorakhpur Police on Wednesday, 10 November, booked four people for treason after a Hindu outfit Brahmin Jan Kalyan Samiti filed a complaint about the hoisting of a 'Pakistani flag' at a house in Uttar Pradesh's Chauri Chaura.

A complaint against the flag was filed with the police by a local. Four persons – Taleem, Pappu, Aashiq, and Arif – have been arrested by the police for sedition, Superintendent of Police North Gorakhpur Manoj Awasthi told reporters.

"After a report of a Pakistani flag being hoisted in Chauri Chaura, a group of people collected there. Police immediately rushed to the site and ensured law and order. After a complaint was filed by a youth, a case has been lodged against four people, and the flag has been taken into police custody," the Gorakhpur police said in a statement.

The owners of the house said that the flag in question was an Islamic flag, unrelated to Pakistan, News18 reported, citing the police.




Pakistan’s Punjab Chief Minister Underscores Islam’s Teachings Of Love, Compassion On World Kindness Day

November 13, 2021

LAHORE - Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar has said that the religion of Islam teaches love and compassion towards all human beings.

In his message issued on Friday, the CM said Allah Almighty loves those who serve the people and do well with others. “Mercy and benevolence are effective means of promoting love and brotherhood in society,” he noted. He said the PTI-led government is taking steps to promote empathy in society. “Helping the poor and weak has a merciful reward,” he said and added a network of shelter homes and almonries is being established to accommodate the poor and unattended strata.

“Love for other human beings and societal norms of kindness and benevolence make life easier,” he affirmed. “We have to pay tributes to those who prefer others to themselves. Today, we all need to promote the norms of kindness, brotherhood and tolerance in society to reaffirm one’s commitment to the purpose of life,” he concluded.



Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar has returned home after performing Umrah in Saudi Arabia along with his family members.



Will favourably consider: Pakistan PM Imran Khan on wheat from India to Kabul

Written by Shubhajit Roy

November 13, 2021

More than a month after India reached out to Pakistan for sending food grains to Afghanistan through the land route, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan Friday told a Taliban delegation in Islamabad that his country would “favourably consider” a request by “Afghan brothers” for transportation of wheat from India via Pakistan “on exceptional basis”.

Sources told The Indian Express that conversations are being held on the modalities, given the “urgent situation” in Afghanistan due to the approaching winter.

A statement by Khan’s office said: “The Prime Minister conveyed that in the current context, Pakistan would favourably consider the request by Afghan brothers for transportation of wheat offered by India through Pakistan on exceptional basis for humanitarian purposes and as per modalities to be worked out.”

The statement was released after Taliban Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi met Khan along with the group’s Finance and Commerce & Industry ministers and senior members of the delegation. Khan “reaffirmed Pakistan’s support to Afghanistan and the Afghan people in overcoming the dire challenges being faced by their country,” the Pakistan PMO statement said.

India had reached out to Pakistan in the first week of October by sending a note verbale for allowing movement of trucks carrying 50,000 metric tonnes of wheat to Afghanistan. With winter almost here, and a financial crisis crippling Afghanistan, food shortages are believed to be imminent in that country.

Some countries like China and Turkey have already started distributing food to Afghans. And India, which has a lot of goodwill among the Afghan people, also wants to do its bit, sources said.

Officials said the task of moving 50,000 metric tonnes of wheat to Afghanistan would require sending 5,000 trucks via Pakistan. Islamabad is looking at the proposal but is said to have pointed out that the scale — in terms of trucks and roads — needs to be worked out.

According to sources, the logistics suggest that Indian trucks may have to be allowed since it would otherwise require the wheat to be unloaded and loaded again at Zero Point on the Wagah-Attari border.

Pakistan’s statement came even as Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid spoke favourably about the meeting on Afghanistan of National Security Advisors of key countries in the region, except China and Pakistan, that was held in Delhi Wednesday.

According to a transcript of his comments, obtained by The Indian Express, Mujahid said: “Regarding the conference being held in India, the region must have taken notice of the security of Afghanistan and considers the economic stability of Afghanistan is in greater benefit of the region. India is also a very important country in the region and we want good diplomatic ties with them. The policy of Islamic Emirates of Afghanistan is that its land will not be used against any country. We want mutual cooperation.”

He said: “Though we are not present in this conference but we firmly believe that this conference is in the better interest of Afghanistan as the entire region is considerate of the current Afghan situation, and the participating countries also must be thoughtful of improving and safeguarding the security situation in Afghanistan and helping the current government to ensure security in the country on its own.”

Responding to questions, the spokesperson said: “Moreover, cooperation in business and economy is also a need of the hour for the regional countries for establishing security in Afghanistan. We do not have any objection or anxiety with the conference being held in India and we are hopeful that positive outcomes of this conference will be utilised and implemented.”



Pakistani cricketer presents his Australian Christian coach an English translation of Quran

November 13, 2021

Pakistan’s wicket-keeper batter Mohammad Rizwan has gifted an English translation of the Holy Quran to consultant coach Matthew Hayden.

AhlulBayt News Agency (ABNA): Pakistan’s wicket-keeper batter Mohammad Rizwan has gifted an English translation of the Holy Quran to consultant coach Matthew Hayden.

Hayden has revealed in his latest interview that he was curious about Islam and Rizwan gifted him the Holy Quran with English translation.

“It was Rizzy (Mohammad Rizwan) and I have to say it was a beautiful moment I will never forget. I am curious about Islam even though I am a Christian. One follows Christ and the other Muhammad and in a sense never shall meet but he presented me with an English version of the Quran. We sat on the floor for half an hour and talked through it. I am reading a bit of it each day. Rizzy is one of my favourite individuals, a champion human being,” Hayden said.

As per reports, Matthew Hayden has been impressed by the humbleness of the Pakistan cricket team, saying that they connect to a higher level.

“I was taken aback by how neutral and humble these guys are. How everything is just meant to be. It has been great fun. They are really coachable athletes as well. It stems from a deep sense of spirituality. As a westerner, you don’t realise the implications of having that commitment and faith. Even their salat – their five different prayer sessions a day. You can be outside a lift or even in a lift and if it is time for salat, that is what happens. These guys connect at a higher level. It’s not like ‘how ya going, today mate?'” Hayden added.

“Inside the changing room I’ve never seen a more disciplined and more humble approach to winning,” he added.

The former Australian cricketer also lauded Babar and Rizwan in a previous interview, saying: ” Babar and Rizwan have created a unique opening for themselves.”

In 2021, skipper Babar and Rizwan have amassed 826 runs in 14 Twenty20 international partnerships. They put on an unbroken 152-run stand, their third as an opening pair, as Pakistan trounced India in Dubai by 10 wickets. This is their first win over their arch-rivals in 13 World Cup matches.

Now both Babar and Rizwan are the heart and soul of the Pakistan team as they target a second T20 World Cup title.

The Green Shirts will be facing Australia in the second semi-final of the ongoing ICC T20 World Cup. If they’ll win this match, they will be playing against New Zealand in the finals.



Pakistan rejects criticism over acquittal of UN-designated persons

November 13, 2021

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Friday rejected the criticism by India over acquittal of UN-designated persons by the Lahore High Court.

“This is not the first time that the Indian media has tried to sensationalise legal proceedings of UN-designated persons and this is basically designed to serve a vested agenda,” Foreign Office spokesman Asim Iftikhar told the weekly press briefing.

He said Pakistan’s criminal justice system was grounded on the principle of due process and the rule of law.

“It allows even the convicted individuals the fundamental right to exhaust all legal means that are available to them. The cases reported by the Indian media have not reached finality,” he said.

He pointed out that UN-designated persons related to this case continued to be interned after being convicted in other cases.

“The Indian media reports are trying to twist the facts…”, he deplored.

Referring to the second anniversary of the opening of the Kartarpur Corridor, dubbed the ‘Corridor of Hope’ by the UN secretary general, he said the corridor was a shining example of Pakistan’s efforts to promote interfaith harmony and it was reflective of the primacy Pakistan accorded to religious minorities in the country.

“The corridor is open from the Pakistan side since June 2020. We expect that India, in the same spirit, will allow pilgrims to avail the corridor to visit Kartarpur Sahib,” he added.

He said Pakistan was all set to welcome thousands of devotees from India and around the world coming to Pakistan for the coming birth anniversary celebrations of Baba Guru Nanak from Nov 17-26 for which elaborate arrangements had been put in place.

“As the minorities in Pakistan celebrate their religious festivities and enjoy freedom of religion, we note with growing concern how minorities in India, particularly Muslims, are being systematically persecuted and ostracised under the Hindutva driven ideology of the BJP-RSS combine,” he said.

The spokesman said it was reprehensible that targeting of Muslims, their properties and houses of worship had been continuing since last month.

“The extent of impunity and state complicity is such that draconian laws are being slapped against those drawing attention towards the ongoing blatant violations,” he deplored.

He said besides closing its eyes to radical mobs, the Indian authorities were also pursuing anti-Muslim citizenship-related policies and actions, including the mischievous NRC scheme which was meant to disenfranchise millions of Muslims.



3,000 visas to Sikh pilgrims issued

November 13, 2021

NEW DELHI: Pakistan High Commission on Friday issued about 3,000 visas to Indian Sikh pilgrims to enable them to participate in the 552nd birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Nanak in Pakistan on Nov 17-26.

According to a press release issued by the High Commission, the Sikh pilgrims during their stay in Pakistan will visit different Gurdwaras, including Gurd­wara Janam Asthan in Nan­kana Sahib and Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur.

Visas to the Sikh pilgrims have been issued under the Pakistan-India Protocol on Visits to Religious Shrines of 1974, which provides for visit of 3,000 Sikh pilgrims from India for birthday celebrations of Guru Nanak.

Thousands of Sikh pilgrims residing in countries other than India will also be visiting Pakistan to attend the event.

Prime Minister Imran Khan has taken several initiatives to facilitate Sikh pilgrims, including the historic opening of the visa-free Kartarpur Sahib Corridor in November 2019 on the occasion of 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak. The newly built Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib complex was a gift by the people of Pakistan and their leadership to the Sikh community from India and worldwide.

Meanwhile, Pakistan High Commission in India extends felicitations to the Sikh community on the 552nd birth anniversary of the founder of Sikh religion. The High Commission also wish­­es a spiritually rewarding Yatra to the pilgrims visiting Pakistan on this occasion.

The issuance of maximum number of pilgrimage visas is in line with the government’s efforts for promoting visits to religious shrines in Pakistan.


Southeast Asia


Haram! Over 230 Million Muslims Told To Stay Away From Cryptocurrency Until…

By Collins K.O -November 12, 2021

Indonesia’s umbrella Muslim council — The Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) — has passed a vote of no approval on cryptocurrency for all religious faithful in the country. The body which wields significant influence over close to a quarter of a billion Muslims residing in the world’s fourth most populous nation, gave the instruction on Thursday, through Asrorun Niam Sholeh, the current Fatwa head of religious decrees. Asrorun was quoted as saying:

“The results of deliberations determined the use of cryptocurrencies was haram as currency bec it contained gharar, dharar, and was contrary to law number 7 of 2011 and Bank of Indonesia regulation number 17 of 2015.”

Asrorun further discredited the idea of trading digital tokens and commodities, stating that the absence of physical structure, relatively stable value and general uncertainty makes cryptocurrency more harmful than helpful — much more like gambling, according to CNN reports.

The MUI holds significant influence over the decisions of an Indonesian government dominated by politicians and policymakers that identify as Muslims. With the latest release, observers anticipate a drawback from willing investors and a drastic decline in the usage of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies which contributed over 65 trillion rupiah ($4.5billion) throughout 2020 and has almost reached a figure six times higher from increasing activities in the current year.

Indonesia’s religious stand against crypto comes in sharp contrast with many other Muslim countries like the UAE and Bahrain which have kept their cities more open and crypto-friendly over the last few years. Even Saudi Arabia, which had earlier expressed some resentment for crypto-related activities back in 2020, has now joined forces with the UAE to attract more investors and make both countries the bastion of blockchain technology in the Middle East. The UAE is already on the last lap of finalizing its crypto regulations and has already given a good number of crypto exchange service providers permission to carry out business within its shores.

Asrorun, however, left a ray of hope after he stated that the MUI would only give a thumbs up to cryptocurrencies and digital assets once it begins to make efforts to change and conform to the dictates of sharia law —  which means having clearly stated benefits, relative stability, and a connection to a tangible backbone asset.

At present, Crypto is still a major component of the activities of Indonesian financial sectors and is still being exchanged at the country’s futures and commodities market. Jakarta has an active 7.4 million crypto users.



Indonesia's Largest Crypto Exchange Respond to Ulema's Bitcoin Fatwa

NOVEMBER 12, 2021

Jakarta. Indodax, Indonesia's largest crypto asset exchange by the number of users, has reacted to the latest fatwa from one of Indonesia's largest Islamic scholars bodies that declared crypto assets, like bitcoin, ethereum, or Cardano, used as a medium of transactions as haram or forbidden by Islamic law.

According to Indonesia Ulema Council (MUI), cryptocurrencies are still halal as long as they are used as assets or investments under certain circumstances, not as a means of payment. Fatwa is a nonbinding ruling from a recognized authority on an issue in Islamic law.

MUI said only crypto assets with similar properties as sil'ah, or goods, are allowed to be traded.

In response, Indodax CEO Oscar Darmawan emphasized that crypto assets are not used as currency within Indonesia anyway.

"In Indonesia, crypto assets are indeed not for currency as Bank Indonesia regulations align with MUI deliberations which forbid crypto as a currency. In Indonesia, the Rupiah is the only recognized currency," he said.

"At Indodax, we trade many types of crypto assets. The largest trading volume at Indodax comes from crypto assets that have physical assets as underlying assets," Oscar said.

Oscar Darmawan also explained that almost all crypto assets have their own underlying assets.

"All crypto assets have an underlying. There are only those whose underlying is easy to understand in physical assets such as USDT, LGold, LSILVER, XSGD, but there are also those with underlying in the form of issuance fees such as bitcoin."

Darmawan continued by explaining the digital costs of Bitcoin assets, including bitcoin mining fees for the verification process and bitcoin issuance, which requires electricity costs of 150 TeraWatt per hour.

"This is technological innovation. Now, money doesn't have a physical form, just digital like e-money. So because there is a production cost, bitcoin doesn't just appear, so don't be surprised if the price of bitcoin keeps going up," Oscar said.


Arab World


Authorities foil giant drug smuggling attempt at Saudi port

November 13, 2021

RIYADH: The Zakat, Tax and Customs Authority at Al-Haditha port has foiled an attempt to smuggle more than 2.3 million Captagon pills into the Kingdom.

The drugs were discovered hidden inside a truck at the port.

The authority said that during the inspection process, 2,302,325 Captagon pills were seized.

It added that it is continuing to tighten customs controls over the Kingdom’s imports and exports as part of its strategy.

The authority praised work to unify and enhance efforts with the General Directorate of Narcotics Control to combat narcotics smuggling in all its forms.

It called on members of the public to help its mission and protect society by contacting the designated number for security reports (1910), email ( or by using the international number (00966114208417).

Whistleblowers can report smuggling and customs violations through these channels in strict confidentiality, and will receive a financial reward if their information is correct.



Saudi FM meets Algerian, Egyptian counterparts in Paris

November 13, 2021

PARIS: Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan met his Algerian counterpart Ramdane Lamamra, on the sidelines of the fourth Paris Peace Forum.

The meeting discussed opportunities to promote relationships between the two countries as well as items on the forum’s agenda.

Prince Faisal also met with his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry, exchanging views on ways to promote the relationships between the two countries and topics listed on the forum’s agenda.

The meeting also discussed the latest regional and international developments.

Both meetings were attended by the Kingdom’s Ambassador to France Fahad Al-Ruwaily.



‘Crystal Maze’ experience labelled largest in world opens in Riyadh

November 12, 2021

RIYADH: Saudis are being given the chance to test their dexterity and courage in an interactive problem-solving experience based on the hit British TV game show, “The Crystal Maze.”

First screened in the 1990s, the show’s themed challenges can now be tackled by members of the public in Riyadh Boulevard at what has been described as the largest maze experience of its kind in the world.

Studio director, Feda Al-Mulhimm, told Arab News: “‘The Crystal Maze’ is a very old show that we used to watch when we were younger, and the maze we have here in Riyadh is similar to the one that we have in London and Manchester.

“We have four zones, Aztec, future, industrial, and medieval, each containing eight rooms, and guests will spend a total of 15 minutes in each zone.”

Maze operational manager, Abdullah Al-Magrabi, said: “What is so unique is that the original ‘The Crystal Maze’ show took two days to film, but we are giving guests the entire experience in just 90 minutes.

“We took the best games from London and Manchester and brought them here. It’s the largest one in the world with 32 games.”

Six contestants compete in a series of games that test their mystery solving, physical, and mental skills.

The UK-based show became a hit in Saudi Arabia when it was aired on Channel 2 during the early 1990s and 2000s, and similarly each game will award crystals that will allow the contestants more time in the final crystal dome at the end of the game.

“The Saudi maze is the only location that has an entire Aztec section filled with 100 percent real sand, and the only location globally with games entirely filled with sand,” Al-Magrabi added.

The giant venue for the Riyadh game was built in just two months and the dome in which the final round is played is 10 centimeters bigger than the Manchester and London versions.

Similar to the UK show, a host will accompany guests around the obstacle courses offering encouragement in the style of original host Richard O’Brien.

Cannonball, egg in a tree, kings stable, eggy in a swamp, and the classic crystal dome are some of the games — which vary in difficulty and time allowed — featured in the Riyadh Boulevard experience.

Al-Magrabi said: “My favorite game is egg in a swamp because there is a lot of physical work, a lot of fun jumping around and holding balance.”

The minimum age for the attraction is 12 and participants must be at least 120cm tall to take part. Situated near to Boulevard Studios it will be open for the remainder of the year.



Saudi Arabia: Makkah’s Grand Mosque Disinfected And Sterilized Ten Times A Day

November 13, 2021

The Grand Mosque in Makkah is disinfected and sterilized ten times a day to keep pilgrims and worshippers safe, Saudi Press Agency reported.

4,000 male and female workers carry out the cleaning operations and are supervized by 200 senior employees.

During the last Islamic month, 300 washing and disinfection operations were carried out at the Grand Mosque and its courtyards using 2,400,000 liters of high-quality disinfectant and cleaning products.

The mosque was also perfumed with 45,000 liters of scent, and 100 fragrance diffusers were used inside it, the report added.

500 appliances and pieces of equipment were used during the cleaning operations and each operation took 25 minutes to ensure that worshippers were not disturbed.




Over 60,000 Palestinian Muslim worshipers perform Friday prayer at al-Aqsa amid strict Israeli measures

November 13, 2021

Over 60,000 Palestinian Muslim worshipers perform Friday prayer at al-Aqsa amid strict Israeli measures

Thousands of Muslim worshipers reached Al-Aqsa Mosque in Occupied al-Quds (Jerusalem) and performed Friday prayer in its courtyards amid strict Israeli security measures.

AhlulBayt News Agency (ABNA): Thousands of Muslim worshipers reached Al-Aqsa Mosque in Occupied al-Quds (Jerusalem) and performed Friday prayer in its courtyards amid strict Israeli security measures.

Local sources estimated that more than 60,000 Muslim worshipers have performed the prayers.

The worshipers have also performed the rain prayer at the holy site.

Earlier Friday, a group of Jewish settlers performed Talmudic rituals near the Asbat Gate of the holy Islamic site in total provocation to Palestinian worshipers.

Meanwhile, large numbers of Palestinians performed Friday prayers outside the five-story building threatened with eviction in al-Tur neighborhood in Occupied al-Quds.

The 10 Jerusalemite families threatened with displacement from their five-story apartment building in the east al-Quds neighborhood of at-Tur have announced their rejection of the Israeli threats to fine them and demolish their homes.

The families now live in a constant state of fear because they expect the demolition of their building at any moment.



Tens of thousands of Palestinians attend funeral of former minister Qabha dead from COVID-19

November 13, 2021

Tens of thousands of Palestinians attended in Jenin on Friday the funeral of former Minister of Prisoners' Affairs Wasfi Qabha who died yesterday from COVID-19 at the age of 62.

AhlulBayt News Agency (ABNA): Tens of thousands of Palestinians attended in Jenin on Friday the funeral of former Minister of Prisoners' Affairs Wasfi Qabha who died yesterday from COVID-19 at the age of 62.

Leaders of the Hamas Movement, MPs, and national leaders from various political factions also attended the funeral.

During the funeral, the leader in Hamas Movement Sheikh Mustafa Abu Arra hailed the deceased’s strong positions in defense of Palestinian prisoners' issue.

He pointed out that Qabha had long been enjoying high spirits despite spending long years in Israeli jails.

For his part, MP Khaled Saeed Kamla said that Qabha was always defending the rights of the oppressed.

The MP Ibrahim Abu Salem stressed during the funeral ceremony that the deceased was a symbol of national unity.

The leader of the Islamic Jihad Movement, Khader Adnan, also praised Qabha's strong positions in defense of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.

On Thursday, top Hamas official Wasfi Qabha passed away at the age of 62 after suffering from COVID-19 complications.

In recent weeks, Qabha’s health seriously worsened and he had been placed under total anesthesia and attached to a ventilator.

Qabha is a former minister of prisoners’ affairs in the tenth Palestinian government (Ismail Haneyya’s government). He was exposed to several serious assaults and survived assassination attempts. He was also arrested several times and spent about 14 years in Israeli jails.



Present AhlulBayt (a.s.) pure teachings to world thirsty for truth, spirituality: Ayatollah Safi Golpaygani

November 13, 2021

Expressing that the teachings of the AhlulBayt (a.s.) are a great and valuable wealth in our hands, the grand Shiite source of Emulation said to Ayatollah Ramazani, “Present the pure teachings of the AhlulBayt (a.s.) to a world that is thirsty for truth and spirituality.”

AhlulBayt News Agency (ABNA): Expressing that the teachings of the AhlulBayt (a.s.) are a great and valuable wealth in our hands, the grand Shiite source of Emulation said to Ayatollah Ramazani, “Present the pure teachings of the AhlulBayt (a.s.) to a world that is thirsty for truth and spirituality.”

In a meeting with Shiite grand source of emulation, Ayatollah Safi Golpaygani in his house, Ayatollah Reza Ramazani, Secretary-General of the AhlulBayt (a.s.) World Assembly presented a report on the past activities and future plans of the Assembly.

In this meeting, while emphasizing the high position of the Marjaiat in Shia, he said, “Throughout the history of Shia, the Marjaiat has always been revered and sacred, and people have referred to the Maraje (Sources of Emulation) in their affairs.”

“Marjaiat is a religious and spiritual position that goes to a person because of the merits he finds, and one cannot approach this position. It is the same in your Excellency. You have always been the beloved of the elites of the society, as well as the religious people in general, and Marjaiat came to you,” Ramazani stated, praising this prominent figure.

“Your concern for the Islamic Revolution, Imam Khomeini, the Supreme Leader, as well as the valuable services you have rendered, will never be forgotten,” he also said, while emphasizing Ayatollah Safi Golpaygani’s services to Islam and the Islamic Revolution.

“I ask God Almighty to sustain you with a blessed life and to grant you a long life with dignity,” said the Secretary-General of the AhlulBayt (a.s.) World Assembly, considering the Assembly as a “link between the Marjaiat and the followers of AhlulBayt (a.s.) in the world.

The spiritual wealth of Shia makes us needless of other schools

After the report of the Secretary-General of the AhlulBayt (a.s.) World Assembly, appreciating the activities done, Ayatollah Safi Golpaygani said, “The achievements of the AhlulBayt (a.s.) World Assembly in promoting and disseminating the enlightened teachings of the AhlulBayt (a.s.) are commendable.”

“These activities must increase day by day,” he stressed, “By the grace of the Quranic and the AhlulBayt (a.s.) teachings, Alhamdulillah, we have many valuable spiritual resources and wealth that make us needless of other schools.”

“Now that we have these great treasures in our hands, we must present them to a world that is thirsty for truth and spirituality. You must try to do this important thing in the best possible way,” said the excellent source of the emulation.

“God willing, the success of you and your colleagues in publishing the high knowledge of the AhlulBayt (a.s.) will increase day by day, and all of you will benefit the special grace of Imam Mahdi (may God hasten his Reappearance),” said His Holiness at the end of the meeting, while praying for Mr. Ramazani and his colleagues in the AhlulBayt (a.s.) World Assembly.




Russian Move To Close Rights Group Memorial Sparks Condemnation At Home, Abroad

November 12, 2021

Russia's move to close down the rights group Memorial has sparked widespread condemnation, even from within the country, amid concerns over the government's widening crackdown on civil society.

The request by the Russian Prosecutor-General's Office asking for the Supreme Court to shut down part of one of the country's most prominent human rights groups was called "regrettable" by the head of the Council of Europe (CoE) on November 12, while German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said he was shocked by the news.

Even the Kremlin's own rights council questioned the wisdom of the move of shutting down a respected organization founded by rights activists including renowned scientist and Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov, calling it "unjust."

The office said it made the request because International Memorial, a part of the rights group, had failed to comply with requirements of the controversial law on "foreign agents," legislation that Marija Pejcinovic Buric, the secretary-general of the CoE, a pan-European rights body, said "stigmatizes" NGOs, media, and individuals and "has had a repressive impact on civil society in Russia over recent years."

Memorial is among several investigative news outlets, journalists and rights organizations to have been labelled foreign agents in what is seen as a historic crackdown on independent organizations that oppose the government or uncover corruption by authorities.

The group said on November 12 that it had received the official 11-page claim and 180-page annex filed by the Prosecutor-General's Office.

It said the text included the claim that Memorial's materials contain "signs of justifying extremism and terrorism" including the activities of Islamic groups like Hizb ut-Tahrir, Tablighi Jamaat, and At-Takfir Wal Hijra -- all of which are labeled as terrorist groups and banned in Russia. It also cited the Jehovah's Witnesses and Artpodgotovka (Artillery Bombardment), which are also designated as extremist by Russian authorities.

Memorial says it recognized some of the members of the named groups as political prisoners, noting that Russian authorities have used terrorism and extremism charges to clamp down on dissent for years.

"The liquidation of International Memorial would deal a further devastating blow to civil society, which is an essential pillar of any democracy," Pejcinovic Buric said in the statement.

Russia's so-called "foreign agent" legislation was adopted in 2012 and has been modified repeatedly.

It requires nongovernmental organizations that receive foreign assistance and that the government deems to be engaged in political activity to be registered, to identify themselves as “foreign agents,” and to submit to audits.

International Memorial, which said a hearing on the case will be held on November 25, was added to the "foreign agents" registry in October 2016.

The group -- along with many officials from countries in the West -- says the "foreign agents" legislation was meant to suppress independent organizations and that it saw no legal basis for it to be dismantled.

"We have repeatedly emphasized that the Russian foreign agent legislation is unlawful and consciously designed to suppress civil society. We have insisted that this law must be repealed. Yet, as long as it is in force, we are obliged to fulfill its requirements," the group said in a statement on November 11 when it announced it faced liquidation proceedings.

"The decision to abolish International Memorial is politically motivated. It aims to destroy the organization, which deals with the political repressions of the past and fights for human rights today," the statement added.

"The politically motivated persecution of critical civil society must end," Germany's Maas said.

The Russian Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights, which is usually aligned with the policies of the Kremlin, also expressed concerns over the move on November 12, calling it an "extreme measure."

"The proposed sanction is unjust and disproportionate to the cumulative violations, as over the past 14 months the surveillance bodies have not revealed a single violation by International Memorial of its legal obligations, while only two minor violations have been found at the Memorial human rights center," the statement said.

The Memorial human rights center -- another branch of the highly respected Moscow-based organization -- was placed on the government's "foreign agent" register in November 2015.

A movement rather than a centralized structure, Memorial was established in the late 1980s during the "glasnost" and "perestroika" reforms initiated by the last Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev.

By 2018, Memorial had more than 60 branches and affiliated organizations scattered across Russia, with a quarter of them established in 2014 or later.

The branches share the same interest in respectiong human rights, documenting the past, and marking Days of Remembrance for the victims of political repression.

The “foreign agents” laws also require those designated to label their content with an intrusive disclaimer, with criminal fines for not doing so.

The label has forced several NGOs, media organizations, and other groups to shut down as they lose revenues from spooked advertisers.




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