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Islamic World News ( 23 Jan 2023, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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'Allah Hu Akbar' Slogan at Terror Attack Mock Drill in Maharashtra Upsets Muslim Leaders; Lawyers Submit Objection to Police Authorities

New Age Islam News Bureau

23 January 2023

 

Representative Image

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• Human Rights Organizations Call for Immediate Release of Saudi Activists, Osama Khalid and Ziad Al-Sufyani

• Quran Burning ‘Not Freedom of Speech’ But a ‘Political and Racist Message’ Directed At Muslims: Swedish Scholar in Sociology

• China to Provide Modern Weaponry to Taliban after Terror Attack on Its Nationals in Afghanistan: Report

• Tens of Thousands of Israelis Protest against PM Netanyahu’s Justice Plans

 

India

• Karnataka Hijab Ban:  SC to Consider Listing Muslim Students’ Plea before Three-Judge Bench

• Archaeological Survey of India to Restore Archway at 12th Century Quwwat-Ul-Islam Mosque in Qutub Complex

• Rs 10 Lakh Drone with 5 Kg of Heroin Shot Down On Pakistan Border

• Hizbul Mujahideen militant arrested in J&K's Shopian

• MP: Bajrang Dal Members Barge into Woman’s Flat Alleging Love Jihad, Friends Assaulted

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Arab World

• Al-Azhar Al-Sharif, Arab League, Egypt Condemn Burning Of Muslim Holy Book in Stockholm

• Syria: 13 killed in Aleppo building collapse

• Lebanon Army Declares State Of Alert amid Tension with Israel

• Saudi grand mufti denounces ‘absurd, disgraceful’ Sweden Qur’an burning

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Europe

• France seeks clarification after request to withdraw its troops from Burkina Faso

• Supporters of PKK terror group stage provocative demonstration in Swedish capital

• Yemen blasts UK role in its suffering after envoy's remarks

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South Asia

• Chinese FM asks Taliban to ensure safety of Chinese citizens in Afghanistan

• Afghan Refugees in Islamabad Protest against Detention, Forceful Deportation

• Bangladesh protests Sweden Quran burning as condemnation pours in

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Mideast

• Heads of Iranian Gov't Branches Describe EU's Anti-IRGC Move as Part of Hybrid Warfare

• Israeli expansionism: Extremist minister calls for demolition of hundreds of Palestinian homes

• Iran Launches General Soleimani Satellite Project

• Turkey’s Erdogan announces elections for May 14

• Iran says to put European military on terror list if EU designates IRGC

• Houthi allegations of shelling on Saadah districts baseless: Coalition in Yemen

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Pakistan

• Desecration Of Holy Quran A Plot To Fuel Anti-Muslim Violence: Pakistan PM’s Interfaith Representative

• Pakistan President Calls for Global Resolve against Islamophobia

• ‘Hurtful and Despicable’: Pak PM Sharif Condemns ‘Burning’ Of Quran in Sweden

• Politicians slam burning of Holy Quran in Sweden

• 44 PTI lawmakers to withdraw resignations from National Assembly: Asad Umar

• Pakistan team probing attack on PTI chairman Imran Khan reconstituted again

• Pakistan imported $1.2 billion worth of cars in just six months despite economic crisis: Report

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Southeast Asia

• Malaysia Urges International Community to Combat Islamophobia after Quran-Burning In Sweden

• Interfaith Tolerance: Muslim Man Helps Guard Dharma Bhakti Temple

• Summon Swedish ambassador over Quran burning, govt told

• National character main foundation to deter radicalism: VP Amin

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Africa

• Libya Urges Arabs to Back UN Efforts for Holding Stalled Elections

• Ennahda Leader Calls For Restoring Democracy in Tunisia

• Arab states boycott regional meet in divided Libya’s capital

• Libya’s House of Representatives proposes forming single government

• Security forces end siege at government office in Somali capital

• Casualties feared as bombings, gunfire rock Somali capital

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North America

• US Military Captures Three Islamic State Members during Syrian Helicopter Raid

• Daesh member ‘Jihadi Jack’ to be repatriated to Canada

• US military’s Central Command says two ISIS members captured in Syria

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL:  https://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/allah-akbar-terror-muslim-maharashtra-drill/d/128948

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 'Allah Hu Akbar' Slogan at Terror Attack Mock Drill in Maharashtra Upsets Muslim Leaders; Lawyers Submit Objection to Police Authorities

 

Representative Image

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Jan 23, 2023

An anti-terror mock drill in Maharashtra's Aurangabad has sparked controversy after the dummy terrorists allegedly shouted slogans connected to a particular community. A police mock drill was held on January 11 in a temple in Chandrapur in Maharashtra. Local Muslim leaders said that during the mock drill, police displayed tricks to control terrorists. They alleged that during the mock drill, the police's hatred for the Muslim community came out in public.

On the other hand, a group of lawyers has submitted a memorandum to the district police authorities on the issue, while Superintendent of Police Ravindrasingh Pardeshi on Sunday said all efforts would be taken to ensure such an error is not repeated, reported PTI.

The mock drill, which was conducted on January 11 at the renowned Mahakali Temple here, enacted a scene in which a group of terrorists took over a place of worship and held devotees hostage, before being apprehended by security forces.

A complainant told ANI, "Those playing the role of a terrorist shouted 'Allah-Hu-Akbar' during the mock drill, which we do not like. Muslims have become a soft target. Why are terrorists being shown as Muslims in mock drills? Why are you telling that a terrorist looks like this by putting on beard, moustache, Kurta-Pajama?"

"Videos of the drill showing the personnel who played the part of terrorists in the mock drill shouting particular slogans. This portrays one community in a negative light and makes one believe all terrorists are from this community," said Farat Baig, part of the lawyers' group here.

"We have submitted a memorandum to the office of the district SP against such sloganeering and portrayal. This act of the police amounts to defaming a community. Obviously, the script of the mock drill must have been overseen by the SP and other senior officials," Baig said.

When contacted, SP Ravindrasingh Pardeshi said his department will "take necessary steps to ensure such an error is not repeated". The mock drill was carried out by personnel from the local police, the Anti-Terrorism Squad, the specialised combat unit C-60, among others, officials said.

Source: Zee News

Please click the following URL to read the text of the original story:

https://zeenews.india.com/india/allah-hu-akbar-slogan-at-terror-attack-mock-drill-upsets-muslim-leaders-lawyers-submit-objection-2564644.html

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Human Rights Organizations Call for Immediate Release of Saudi Activists, Osama Khalid and Ziad Al-Sufyani

 

The two doctors and activists Osama Khalid and Ziad Al-Sufyani were imprisoned by Saudi authorities for speaking up on the internet. (File Photo)

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23 January 2023

Several human rights organizations have called for the immediate release of two of Saudi Arabia’s “prisoners of conscience,” as Riyadh is tightening the noose on freedom of speech inside the kingdom.

Access Now, ALQST for Human Rights, ARTICLE 19, Global Voices (GV), the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR), and IFEX called on Saudi Arabia on Thursday to instantly release two Saudi doctors and internet activists who were arrested in 2020 for their online activism.

One of the two activists, Osama Khalid, has been sentenced to more than 30 years in prison.

Khalid is one of Saudi Arabia’s most public-facing and well-known internet freedom advocates. His own Wikipedia page states that his work as part of Wikipedia has had a huge impact on his life, and that defending and promoting internet freedom was one of his priorities.

The other activist, Ziad Al-Sufyani, was sentenced to eight years in prison.

The report, published by ARTICLE 19, was picked up by Twitter users and circulated through social media, where users called for the immediate release of the activists.

The human rights organization said the scale of repression in Saudi Arabia has drastically increased during the past few years, as Saudi authorities made efforts not only to enhance their control of the internet, but also to silence dissenting voices online.

The six human rights NGOs, according to ARTICLE 19, call on the authorities in Saudi Arabia to respect public freedoms including freedom of expression, both online and offline.

On a related note, the “Prisoners of Conscience” account said in a tweet that Saudi activist Mohammad al-Rabiah must be released from prison.

“The legal activist Muhammad al-Rabiah has been in detention for almost two years because of his opinion and human rights activities in support of women’s rights,” the account said.

It published a video showing al-Rabiah talking about the lack of the most basic rights of women in Saudi Arabia, and issues such as women’s freedom, the formation of NGOs to support women and acknowledging their right to drive.

“My opinion on women’s right to drive is that simply, they should be allowed to decide. In my opinion, this topic is not a social problem but rather a demand that must be fulfilled,” he was shown in the video as saying.

Hundreds of Saudi activists, bloggers, intellectuals and others have been arrested since bin Salman took the helm of state affairs in 2017 as the de facto leader.

The aggressive crackdown is an obvious sign of almost zero tolerance for dissent even in the face of international condemnation of the repressive measures.

Riyadh has also redefined its anti-terrorism laws over the past years to target activism.

Source: Press TV

Please click the following URL to read the text of the original story:

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2023/01/23/696829/Human-rights-NGOs-Saudi-activists-must-be-immediately-released-

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Quran Burning ‘Not Freedom of Speech’ But a ‘Political and Racist Message’ Directed At Muslims: Swedish Scholar in Sociology

 

Photo: aa.com

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Leila Nezirevic  

23.01.2023

LONDON

Allowing the burning of a copy of the Quran, the Muslim holy book, in front of Türkiye’s Embassy in Sweden is a ‘political and racist message’ directed at Muslims, said a prominent Swedish expert.

Rasmus Paludan, leader of the Danish far-right political party Hard Line, while surrounded and protected by the police, set the Quran on fire in Sweden’s capital Stockholm on Saturday.

Following a long rant in which he verbally attacked Islam and immigration in Sweden, he shouted: “If you don’t think there should be freedom of expression, you have to live somewhere else.”

Masoud Kamali, a former researcher who was appointed to investigate the question of integration, structural discrimination and power in Sweden, told Anadolu that the burning of the Quran in front of Türkiye’s embassy in Sweden is a “political and racist message” aimed at Muslims that transcends to all European countries and beyond.

Just over a year ago, Paludan embarked on a Quran burning “tour” in Sweden during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, triggering major riots in the country where many took to the streets to protest the Swedish authorities’ decision to allow the plans by the far-right group to burn copies of the Quran.

Swedish police at the time said they would no longer allow Quran burning to take place in the country as societal costs were too much to bear, but Paludan was still allowed to carry out his actions in front of Türkiye's embassy this time around.

Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom expressed concerns that the far-right politician’s act would further risk Türkiye's ratification of Sweden's NATO bid. He added, however, that it would be "very inappropriate" for him to stop a person from carrying out a demonstration, the local newspaper Expressen reported.

In response to Sweden's permission, Ankara has summoned Swedish ambassador Staffan Herrstrom and has canceled Swedish Defense Minister Pal Jonson's upcoming visit to Türkiye.

"At this point, Swedish Defense Minister Pal Jonson's visit to Türkiye on Jan. 27 has lost its significance and meaning, so we canceled the visit," Türkiye’s Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said Saturday.

Türkiye's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu strongly criticized Sweden for giving permission to Paludan to burn the Quran.

He emphasized that racism and hate crimes do not count as freedom of thought.

"Despite all our warnings, such permission was unfortunately given to this person. No one can call this freedom of expression and freedom of thought," Cavusoglu told reporters told reporters in the southern Turkish province of Antalya.

According to Kamali, today “freedom of speech” is explicitly used as a pretext by politicians and racist groups to enable them to attack immigrants and Muslims and to allow them “to do and say whatever they want.”

This, he said, is just a “political game” they play.

Racist government

Another point that the scholar raised was that the current Swedish government is dependent on the support of the far-right Sweden Democrats.

The Populist Party was once politically forbidden due to its ties to neo-Nazis, but now they are the second largest party in the Nordic country and part of the ruling right-wing bloc.

Hence, any resistance to actions by racist groups could cause the far right to withdraw from the bloc, which in turn could lead to the government’s collapse and a political crisis, said Kamali.

The Sweden Democrats, however, are not the only racist party within the government as, according to the sociologist, there are very strong racist groups that belong to the Moderates party, the Liberal Party and the Christian Democrat party.

“So the Sweden Democrats are in very good company. (Hence) I'm not surprised that the foreign minister is not going to do anything about preventing this Quran burning,” he added.

‘Crusades influence’

Kamali, who is also a prominent scholar in sociology and social work, was put in charge of a major European Union project that investigated discrimination and racism in Europe.

He pointed out that the main aspect of racism in Europe today essentially translates into “anti-Muslimism,” a term he uses for Islamophobia.

Allowing the burning of the Muslim holy book in front of the embassy and insulting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Türkiye has to do with “anti-Muslimism,” which has been prevalent in Sweden and Europe as a whole “since the Crusades,” Kamali said.

He believes that what we are witnessing is a “Crusades influence” and mentality that was evident for instance at times when questions were raised about Türkiye becoming an EU member.

“Anti-Muslimism has always been a part of European countries’ policies, including Sweden. I have written many times that Türkiye has been a part of Europe for many, many centuries, really at a time when you did not have something called Europe, you had just some countries,” he said.

In his opinion, Nordic countries’ and other European countries’ opposition to EU membership is influenced by the fact that Türkiye is a “Muslim country.”

In his book Racial Discrimination: Institutional Patterns and Politics, Kamali exposed how Muslims are negatively portrayed in schoolbooks in Sweden, Germany, Britain, France, Austria, Poland and the Greek Cypriot Administration.

The Quran burning in Sweden, racist anti-Muslim rhetoric by far-right politicians such as Marine Le Pen in France or the British National Party in the UK is a representation of a long tradition which is rapidly reproducing itself by the “educational and political system” in European countries and beyond, the former independent investigator said.

European racist parties in its core have one thing in common and that is “anti-Muslimism,” he added.

This racist ideology against Muslims “is part of the huge idea about the war” and the mindset “that the European Christian white people should spread and occupy the whole world,” Kamali added.

Ties with Nazi Germany

Sweden has long enjoyed the illusion of innocence, but the idealistic neutrality thought to be maintained during World War II, for instance, is far from the “historical reality,” he said.

For decades, the Nordic country desperately tried to cover up the truth about its collaboration with Nazi Germany, according to Kamali.

Sweden in fact was the last country to cooperate with “Nazi Germany” and had only “left the corporation when Hitler was killed,” he said.

It was the only country in Northern Europe that was not occupied by Germans because “we cooperated with them and allowed them to use railways in their attacks on Finland, Russia or Soviet Union at that time,” said the sociologist.

Several hundreds of Swedish soldiers volunteered to “serve in German army” during the war, he added, and Swedish authorities never attempted to investigate atrocities committed by these soldiers.

The Sweden Democrats lineage traces back to the World War II era Nazism. However, the populist party managed to become the second-largest party and part of the governing coalition in the Nordic country by “pushing its anti- Muslim and anti-immigration narrative,” Kamali said.

Sweden considers itself to be “the most modern, the most liberal, the most diverse and multicultural society. But that's not true,” Kamali further said.

Setting the Quran on fire in Sweden by the racist politician Paludan with the support of Swedish police under the pretext of “free speech” somehow does not come as a surprise taking the “historical context” into the consideration,” he added.

Source: Anadolu Agency

Please click the following URL to read the text of the original story:

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/quran-burning-not-freedom-of-speech-/2794718

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China To Provide Modern Weaponry To Taliban After Terror Attack On Its Nationals In Afghanistan: Report

 

Taliban ousted the US military after decades of unrest which China saw as strategic disadvantage.

Photo: REUTERS

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By: Anurakti Sharma

Jan 23, 2023

Beijing: According to Zafar Iqbal Yousafzai, author of The Troubled Triangle: US-Pakistan Relations under the Taliban's Shadow in The Jamestown Foundation, China is supplying the Taliban with contemporary weapons in response to the Islamic State Khorasan Province's (ISKP) recent attack on a hotel in Kabul that primarily housed Chinese nationals, ANI reported.

In addition, according to Chinese officials cited by Global Times, turbulence and uncertainty could cause Afghanistan to turn into a haven for terrorists. IT wrote, "targeting China's Xinjiang and its interests overseas, such as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects, where enhanced communication and coordination between China and Pakistan is required to tackle potential threats."

ISKP fighters attacked a local hotel in Kabul on December 12 while several Chinese people were staying there. Five Chinese nationals were hurt in the attack, along with 18 other victims, and the three perpetrators were slain by security personnel.

The hotel, which is frequently frequented by Chinese diplomats and entrepreneurs, is reportedly owned and operated by Chinese businesspeople, according to Global Times.

Wang Wenbin, a spokesperson for the People's Republic of China (PRC), said in response that China is greatly outraged by the attack, which is extremely atrocious, and vehemently opposes terrorism in all its forms.

According to Yousafzai, China has attempted to give the Taliban enough assistance to battle all types of terrorism and extremism in Afghanistan in reaction to these difficulties. China has recently increased its support for and involvement with the Taliban as a result of a number of issues.

The US presence in Afghanistan was also seen by China as a strategic danger. The Jamestown Foundation claimed that as a result, the US exit and the Taliban's ascent to power—with whom Beijing has deep ties—were generally viewed as positive geopolitical developments for China.

China seeks to protect its strategic, political, economic, and security interests in Afghanistan. It is advantageous for China if there is a centralised government in Kabul that is at ease with it.

Taliban-China relations are hardly brand-new. For many years, the Taliban have visited China frequently. Beijing cooperated with the Taliban even in the 1990s in order to stop militant infiltration into western China.

Given that it links China to the Persian Gulf and Iran, Afghanistan is significant to Beijing both strategically and economically. Afghanistan is another prospective BRI route with abundant natural resources.

Source: Times Now News

Please click the following URL to read the text of the original story:

https://www.timesnownews.com/world/china-to-provide-modern-weaponry-to-taliban-after-terror-attack-on-its-nationals-in-afghanistan-report-article-97238461

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Tens Of Thousands Of Israelis Protest Against PM Netanyahu’s Justice Plans

 

Israelis protest against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s new right-wing coalition and its proposed judicial reforms to reduce powers of the Supreme Court, in Tel Aviv, Israel January 21, 2023.

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22 January, 2023

Tens of thousands of Israelis joined demonstrations on Saturday against judicial reform plans by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s new government that protesters say will threaten democratic checks and balances on ministers by the courts.

The plans, which the government says are needed to curb overreach by activist judges, have drawn fierce opposition from groups including lawyers, and raised concerns among business leaders, widening already deep political divisions in Israeli society.

“They want to turn us into a dictatorship, they want to destroy democracy,” the head of the Israeli Bar Association, Avi Chimi said. “They want to destroy judicial authority, there is no democratic country without a judicial authority.”

Netanyahu has dismissed the protests, now in their third week, as a refusal by leftist opponents to accept the results of last November’s election, which produced one of the most right-wing governments in Israel’s history.

The protesters say the future of Israeli democracy is at stake if the government succeeds in pushing through the plans, which would tighten political control over judicial appointments and limit the Supreme Court’s powers to overturn government decisions or Knesset laws.

As well as threatening the independence of judges and weakening oversight of the government and parliament, they say the plans will undermine the rights of minorities and open the door to more corruption.

“We are fighting for democracy,” said Amnon Miller, 64, among crowds of protesters, many bearing white and blue Israeli flags. “We fought in this country in the army for 30 years for our freedom and we won’t let this government take our freedom.”

Saturday’s protests, which Israeli media said were expected to draw more than 100,000 people to central Tel Aviv, come days after the Supreme Court ordered Netanyahu to fire Interior Minister Aryeh Deri, who leads the religious Shas party, over a recent tax conviction.

The new government, which took office this month, is an alliance between Netanyahu’s Likud party and a clutch of smaller religious and hard-right nationalist parties which say they have a mandate for sweeping change.

Netanyahu, who is himself on trial on corruption charges which he denies, has defended the judicial reform plans, which are currently being examined by a parliamentary committee, saying they will restore a proper balance between the three branches of government.

Likud politicians have long accused the Supreme Court of being dominated by leftist judges who they say encroach on areas outside their authority for political reasons. The court’s defenders say it plays a vital role in holding the government to account in a country that has no formal constitution.

A survey released by the Israel Democracy Institute last week showed trust in the Supreme Court was markedly higher among left-wing Israelis than among those on the right, but that there was no overall support for weakening the court’s powers.

Source: Al Arabiya

Please click the following URL to read the text of the original story:

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/01/22/Tens-of-thousands-of-Israelis-protest-against-PM-Netanyahu-s-justice-plans

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India

 

Karnataka Hijab Ban:  SC to Consider Listing Muslim Students’ Plea before Three-Judge Bench

January 23, 2023

Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud on Monday said he will consider forming a three-judge Bench soon to hear afresh petitions filed by Muslim students from Karnataka who are seeking a declaration of their right to wear hijab inside their classrooms.

Senior advocate Meenakshi Arora made the oral mentioning for early hearing of the case. She said the students were about to have their practicals on February 6.

A Division Bench of Justices Hemant Gupta and Sudhanshu Dhulia had delivered a split verdict in October last year on whether or not students have a fundamental right to wear hijab in government institutions.

Justice Gupta had upheld the Karnataka’s prohibitive government order, saying "apparent symbols of religious belief cannot be worn to "secular" schools maintained from State funds. He had said ‘secularity’ meant uniformity, manifested by parity among students in terms of uniform.

The judge had held that adherence to uniform was a reasonable restriction to free expression. The discipline re-inforced equality. The State had never forced students out of state schools by restricting hijab. The decision to stay out was a “voluntary act” of the student.

In his divergent opinion, Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia had said secularity meant tolerance to "diversity". Wearing or not wearing a hijab to school was "ultimately a matter of choice". For girls from conservative families, “her hijab is her ticket to education”.

“By asking the girls to take off their hijab before they enter the school gates, is first, an invasion of their privacy, then it is an attack on their dignity, and then ultimately it is a denial to them of secular education… There shall be no restriction on the wearing of hijab anywhere in schools and colleges in Karnataka,” Justice Dhulia had held.

Justice Gupta, in his opinion, had said students need to follow the discipline of wearing the school uniform without any “addition, subtraction or modification”. A student cannot claim the right to wear a headscarf to a secular school as a matter of right. “A girl’s right to express herself by wearing a hijab stopped at the school gate”.
Source: The Hindu

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka-hijab-ban-sc-to-consider-listing-muslim-students-plea-before-three-judge-bench/article66422770.ece

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Archaeological Survey of India to Restore Archway at 12th Century Quwwat-Ul-Islam Mosque in Qutub Complex

Jan 23, 2023

By Sadia Akhtar

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is set to initiate conservation efforts at the archway at the Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque in the Qutub complex, officials aware of the matter have said.

Praveen Singh, superintending archaeologist, ASI Delhi Circle, said a conservation team will soon start work at the site to give a fresh lease of life to the archway, which has sustained damage over time.

“We are focusing on core conservation and taking up projects that need urgent attention. Recently, we conserved and repaired the cupola at Qutub Minar. The team will now take up Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque’s archway for conservation. We will repair the damaged portions by following the core principles of conservation so that the original antique and aesthetic look of the historic structure remains intact,” said Singh.

The construction of the Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque was started in 1193 by Qutb-ud-din-Aibak, the founder of the Mamluk dynasty, and was completed in 1196, according to the Gazetteer of the Delhi District (1883-84). The mosque was enlarged during the reign of subsequent rulers Iltutmish and Alaudding Khilji. The prayer hall of the mosque comprises an archway with five arches bearing inscriptions from the Quran and intricate carvings and stones which will be conserved by ASI.

The archway has been constructed using red sandstone, buff stone, and grey stone.

“The Delhi Circle is currently focusing on core conservation and directing its attention towards select projects. The conservation process can be time-taking but we don’t want to compromise on the original attributes of the monument. At Quwwat-ul-Islam, our team will try to replicate the original aesthetics,” Singh said.

Conservation architect Misbah Noorie, who is the ASI in-charge of the Qutub Complex, said work at the archway will start in the first week of February, and is likely to continue for at least six months.

“The ornamental stones engraved on the arch have come off over the years. There are portions where the stones and carvings have been damaged due to weather. Plaster has also been used in some parts, which needs to be removed. As part of the conservation, we will use the original stone and replicate the same design to plug damaged parts,” said Noorie.

Besides the front facade of the arch which comprises ornamental stones and carvings, the ceiling of the arch will also be repaired. “We will use patchwork technique on the arch. The ceiling of the arch is also not in a good shape, due to which seepage is a problem. We will be using lime concrete on the ceiling,” said Noorie.

He added that iron dowels were originally used between stones, but due to rust, the red sandstone on the ceiling had been damaged over the years. “Iron dowels were used to fix stones with one another. However, iron rusts when it comes in contact with moisture or air. Due to rusting, the stone cracks or gets damaged. Nowadays, we use copper as part of conservation,” said Noorie.

Source: Hindustan Times

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/delhi-news/asi-to-restore-archway-at-12th-century-mosque-in-qutub-complex-101674412659793.html

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Rs 10 lakh drone with 5 kg of heroin shot down on Pakistan border

Jan 23, 2023

AMRITSAR: PunjabPolice and the Border Security Force (BSF) teamed up to shoot down ahigh-tech drone estimated to be worth Rs 10 lakh on Saturday night in the Kakkar border outpost (BOP) area. The forces seized 5kg heroin during a search operation after the UAV, ahexacopter, was shot down — the sixth such incident in lessthan two months.

Source: Times Of India

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/rs-10-lakh-drone-with-5-kg-of-heroin-shot-down-on-pakistan-border/articleshow/97237855.cms

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Hizbul Mujahideen militant arrested in J&K's Shopian

Jan 22, 2023

SRINAGAR: Security forces on Sunday arrested one of the longest surviving militants of Hizbul Mujahideen in Shopian district of Jammu and Kashmir, police said. The arrested militant, Nasir Ahmed Sher Gojri alias Qasim Bhai, a resident of Hom Huna Nagbal, has been active since 2017, they said.

"Shopian police and army arrested one of the longest surviving HM terrorists active since 2017 namely Nasir Ahmed Sher Gojri alias Qasim Bhai, a resident of Hom Huna Nagbal, involved in various criminal cases," Kashmir Zone Police said in a tweet.

Source: Times Of India

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/hizbul-mujahideen-militant-arrested-in-jks-shopian/articleshow/97232566.cms

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MP: Bajrang Dal Members Barge into Woman’s Flat Alleging Love Jihad, Friends Assaulted

22nd January 2023

Birthday celebrations were ruined for a 24-year-old woman when her flat was attacked by right-wing organisation Bajrang Dal workers alleging love jihad was going on.

The incident took place in Indore, Madhya Pradesh.

According to police, the woman was celebrating her birthday with her male friends. The party was suddenly interrupted by a large crowd of Bajrang Dal members, all men.

A video has surfaced where the woman is sitting with her face hidden while one of her friends was assaulted by a Bajarang Dal member.

The right-wing workers soon took the woman and her friends to the MIG police station where they forced her to lodge a complaint. But she refused.

While speaking to reporters sub-inspector Seema Sharma refused to comment on love jihad or religious angle and added that investigations are underway.
Source: Siasat Daily

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.siasat.com/mp-bajrang-dal-members-barge-into-womans-flat-alleging-love-jihad-friends-assaulted-2508309/

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Arab World

 

Al-Azhar Al-Sharif, Arab League, Egypt condemn burning of Muslim holy book in Stockholm

GOBRAN MOHAMED

January 22, 2023

CAIRO: Al-Azhar Al-Sharif — Sunni Islam’s oldest and foremost seat of learning — strongly condemned the burning of the Holy Qur’an by Swedish extremists.

It said on Sunday that the Qur’an will “remain in its glory” as a “guiding book for all humanity, guiding them to the values of goodness, truth and beauty.”

The repeated incident “indicates the complicity of Swedish authorities” with far-right figures in an attempt to “repeatedly and deliberately offend religious sanctities and provoke Muslims around the world,” it said.

Right-wing politician Rasmus Paludan burned the holy book outside the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm during a demonstration on Saturday, sparking protests.

The “criminal acts of savagery” will not undermine the sanctity of the Holy Qur’an in the heart of a civilized person, Al-Azhar said.

It added that the “grudges of the misguided criminals and the actions of the promoters of fanaticism and sick souls, who have black records in the history of fanaticism, hatred, and wars of religion, will not affect the sanctity of the Holy Qur’an.”

Al-Azhar called on the international community to stand up to attempts to” tamper with religious sanctities,” urging the condemnation of those behind the burning and an immediate investigation into the incident.

Allowing the burning “impedes efforts to promote peace, interfaith dialogue and communication between East and West, as well as between the Islamic world and the West,” it said.

Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit and the Egyptian government joined the condemnation.

Aboul Gheit said on Twitter: “I condemn in the strongest terms the burning of the Holy Qur’an by an extremist in Stockholm, Sweden.”

He added: “Such extreme and abnormal acts should be condemned and denounced by everyone, especially in Sweden."

“Freedom of speech should not be a pretext for extremists to ignite the fire of hatred between followers of different religions,” said Aboul Gheit, who mentioned the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs Twitter account in his tweet.

Egypt expressed its strong condemnation of the Stockholm incident.

A statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs described it as a “disgraceful act” that provoked the feelings of hundreds of millions of Muslims all over the world.

Egypt warned of the dangers of fueling hate speech and violence.

Source: Arab News

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2237126/middle-east

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Syria: 13 killed in Aleppo building collapse

22 January ,2023

Thirteen people were killed when a residential building collapsed in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo on Sunday and rescue workers were searching for people believed still buried under the rubble, state media said.

The five-storey building in the Sheikh Maksoud district of Syria’s second largest city collapsed due to water leakages that weakened its foundation, government officials were quoted as saying by state media.

It is one of many buildings to collapse in recent years in Aleppo, which bore the brunt of intensive Russian and Syrian aerial bombing of areas under rebel control until rebels were driven out six years ago.

Many displaced Syrians have been moved during the more than decade long conflict to damaged buildings as there has been no systematic reconstruction of residential areas and state services remain minimal, residents say.

The opposition has accused President Bashar al-Assad of withholding services from districts where the rebellion against him flared, in order to punish residents.

Work to renovate war-damaged buildings is in many cases done and paid for by local people, residents say.

Source: Al Arabiya

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/01/22/Syria-Aleppo-building-collapse-leaves-at-least-10-dead-including-one-child

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Lebanon army declares state of alert amid tension with Israel

22.01.2023

BEIRUT, Lebanon

The Lebanese army declared a state of alert on Sunday as Israeli forces approached a “technical fence” that separates Lebanon from Israel.

Lebanon’s state-owned National News Agency said Israeli bulldozers and a military force moved towards the fence near the Hounin Valley in southern Lebanon.

The move came amid tension after Lebanese forces on Thursday stopped Israeli military bulldozers from continuing excavation works in the area after breaching the Blue Line for a distance of two meters near the town of Kfar Kalla in southern Lebanon, according to the Lebanese army.

Forces from the UN peacekeeping mission (UNIFIL) were dispatched to the area to prevent any escalation on the ground.

The Blue Line is the line set by the United Nations for the withdrawal of the Israeli forces from Lebanon in 2000.

Source: Anadolu Agency

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/lebanon-army-declares-state-of-alert-amid-tension-with-israel/2794370

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Saudi grand mufti denounces ‘absurd, disgraceful’ Sweden Qur’an burning

January 22, 2023

RIYADH: The Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia condemned on Sunday the burning of the Holy Qur’an by far-right protesters in Stockholm, Sweden over the weekend.

Sheikh Abdulaziz bin Abdullah Al-Sheikh described the incident as an “absurd and disgraceful act” in remarks carried by the Saudi Press Agency.

“This is a provocative act against one and a half billion Muslims around the world. It fuels strife and serves the advocates of extremism,” Al-Sheikh said.

He praised a statement issued by the Saudi Foreign Ministry that condemned and denunciated Swedish authorities for allowing the Qur’an burning outside the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm.

The Saudi Foreign Ministry reiterated the Kingdom’s position in “calling for the importance of spreading the values of dialogue, tolerance and coexistence, and rejecting hatred and extremism,” the SPA said.

Many Muslim countries condemned the Qur’an burning.

Morocco said it was “astonished” that authorities had allowed the incident to take place “in front of the Swedish forces of order.”

Indonesia, Jordan, Oman, Kuwait and the UAE also issued condemnatory statements, as did the Gulf Cooperation Council, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and the Muslim World League.

The Arab Parliament also strongly condemned the incident and stressed its “total rejection of such disgraceful acts, which are considered a violation of all international laws and covenants on the need to respect people’s sanctities, beliefs and religions.”

Source: Arab News

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2236856/saudi-arabia

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Europe

 

France seeks clarification after request to withdraw its troops from Burkina Faso

Aurore Bonny  

23.01.2023

France’s president said Sunday that he is waiting for an explanation from Burkina Faso after its military government reportedly said it wanted French troops to leave the country within a month.

"We are waiting for clarification," Macron was quoted as saying by French media at the end of a meeting of the Franco-German Council of Ministers on Sunday at the Elysee Palace.

His statement comes a day after the Burkinabe government reportedly demanded the withdrawal of French troops present in Burkina Faso in the fight against terrorism.

Macron said there is "great confusion" over the remarks reported in the media and called for “a lot of prudence.”

Relations between France and Burkina Faso have been tense, and people in the West African country have demonstrated a number of times against the French military presence, which they believe is ineffective against the terrorism that has been raging in the country since 2015.

Previously, authorities in Burkina Faso also demanded "a new interlocutor" to replace the French ambassador.

But France has decided to deal with the issue through diplomatic channels, according to French Secretary of State Chrysoula Zacharopoulou, who was in the capital Ouagadougou on Jan. 10.

"France does not impose anything. It is possible to invent a future together," she said.

Source: Anadolu Agency

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/france-seeks-clarification-after-request-to-withdraw-its-troops-from-burkina-faso/2794610

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Supporters of PKK terror group stage provocative demonstration in Swedish capital

Atilla Altuntas 

21.01.2023

STOCKHOLM

Supporters of the YPG/PKK terror group on Saturday staged another provocative demonstration in the Swedish capital.

Having gathered at Norra Bantorget Square in Stockholm, supporters of the terror group demanded the cancellation of the memorandum of understanding that was signed between Sweden, Finland, and Türkiye last summer to address Ankara’s concern about the PKK’s operations in the two Nordic countries.

The supporters were carrying pieces of cloth symbolizing the terrorist group and posters of its ringleader Abdullah Ocalan. They also hung a puppet likened to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Another puppet likened to Erdogan was shown carrying a piece of cloth symbolizing the YPG/PKK terror group.

Accompanied by police, supporters of the YPG/PKK terror group marched to the Medborgarplatsen area.

Earlier this month and last November, PKK supporters in the country also staged similar demonstrations which drew a strong reaction from Ankara.

In its more than 35-year terror campaign against Türkiye, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Türkiye, the US, and EU -- has been responsible for the deaths of more than 40,000 people, including women, children and infants. The YPG is its Syrian offshoot.

Türkiye and the two Nordic countries signed a memorandum last June at the NATO summit in Madrid to address Ankara's legitimate security concerns, paving the way for their eventual membership in the alliance.

Source: Anadolu Agency

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/supporters-of-pkk-terror-group-stage-provocative-demonstration-in-swedish-capital/2793891

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Yemen blasts UK role in its suffering after envoy's remarks

21 January 2023

The foreign ministry of Yemen’s National Salvation Government has severely censured the United Kingdom over its “criminal approach” towards the impoverished and war-wracked Arab country, stating that its policies have led to the serious deterioration of people’s sufferings as it torpedoes any attempt aimed at establishment of nationwide peace.

The ministry said in a statement that London is involved in everyday hostilities being committed against the Yemeni nation, and stands brazenly on the side of Saudi-backed thieves and terrorists who were deposed by Yemenis.

It stressed that the latest remarks by British Ambassador to Yemen Richard Oppenheim clearly attests to London’s criminal role in exacerbating the sufferings of Yemenis, and explicitly show that British is chiefly accountable for the maximum pressures campaign against Yemen, the blockade on Yemen, and starvation of people.

The statement pointed out that Oppenheim’s comments have brought shame on all Britons, and acknowledges Britain’s in engaged in war crimes being perpetrated against Yemenis.

“These crimes which are being committed without any reservations, give the Yemeni nation the full right to pursue and punish British officials through all available legal channels,” it read.

The head and deputy head of Yemen’s so-called Presidential Leadership Council (PLC) reviewed the current situation in the country in a meeting with Oppenheim in the Saudi capital of Riyadh on January 10.

Good to meet with President Rashad Alimi today. Going into the new year, I reiterated UK support to the Government of Yemen in the wake of Houthi pressure and to coordinate our efforts to ensure 2023 is a year of peace for Yemen 🇾🇪 🇬🇧 #YemenCantWait https://t.co/FTaHnfooyS

— Richard Oppenheim (@RJOppenheim) January 10, 2023

The PLC chairman Rashad al-Alimi briefed the British ambassador to Yemen on retaliatory attacks on oil facilities and “the implications of these attacks on the humanitarian and economic situation” in Yemen.

Oppenheim said the UK supports the Saudi-backed government of Yemen, and alleged he co-ordination of efforts “to ensure that 2023 is a year of peace for Yemen.”

The Yemeni foreign ministry stressed that Britain is apparently prolonging the Yemen conflict, further deteriorating the miseries of Yemenis, impeding peace efforts, and resuming vicious military assaults.

It held Britain, the US and their allies fully responsible for the status quo in Yemen, and warned against the rise of tensions. 

The ministry finally called on the United Nations and all freedom-loving people of the world to condemn Britain’s flagrant intervention in Yemeni domestic affairs, which significantly obstruct restoration of peace.

It underlined the need for a balanced and thorough assessment of the economic situation in Yemen, and effective measures to address the sufferings of the Yemeni nation.

Saudi Arabia, in collaboration with its Arab allies and with arms and logistics support from the US and other Western states, launched the devastating war on Yemen in March 2015.

The objective was to crush the popular Ansarullah resistance movement, which has been running state affairs in the absence of a functional government in Yemen, and reinstall the Riyadh-friendly regime of Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi.

Source: Press TV

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2023/01/21/696729/Britain-censured-over-obstructing-Yemeni-nations%E2%80%99-sufferings,-obstructing-peace-efforts

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South Asia

 

Chinese FM asks Taliban to ensure safety of Chinese citizens in Afghanistan

22 January, 2023

Beijing [China], January 22 (ANI): Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang on Saturday held a phone conversation with Taliban acting foreign minister Amir Khan Muttaqi and asked him to ensure the safety of Chinese citizens in Afghanistan.

Qin said that China attaches great importance to the safety of Chinese personnel and institutions in Afghanistan as the Spring Festival approaches, hoping that the Afghan side will take strong measures to ensure their safety, Xinhua news agency reported.

Muttaqi said that Afghanistan prohibits any forces from using its territory for activities that sabotage the Afghanistan-China friendship and undermine China’s interests.

“The country will resolutely combat all forms of terrorism and take strong measures to ensure the safety of Chinese personnel and institutions in Afghanistan,” he added.

Qin said China highly values cooperation with Afghanistan and always respects the independent choices made by the Afghan people, their religious beliefs and ethnic customs.

The Taliban earlier this month announced a deal with a Chinese company to enable oil extraction in the Amu Darya basin in northern Afghanistan, raising alarm bells in the west.

The signing ceremony of the over USD 500 million deal took place on January 5 in the presence of the Chinese envoy to Afghanistan Wang Yu, and other high-ranking Taliban officials, including Abdul Ghani Baradar, the acting deputy prime minister for economic affairs.

“The agreement, the Taliban’s first major energy investment contract since its 2021 takeover, represents China’s growing strategic interest in the Islamic Emirate,” wrote, Washington-based researcher Kyle Sajoyan in the “19fortyfive” publication.

“Despite the growing number of terrorist attacks targeting Chinese nationals in the region, the PRC is showing no signs of stopping its global imperial project in the Muslim world,” he added.

This deal comes amid rising violence against Chinese nationals in Taliban-run Afghanistan. Last month, gunmen from ISIS-K targeted a Kabul hotel popular with Chinese businessmen.

Source: The Print

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://theprint.in/world/chinese-fm-asks-taliban-to-ensure-safety-of-chinese-citizens-in-afghanistan/1328962/

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Afghan Refugees in Islamabad Protest Against Detention, Forceful Deportation

By Nizamuddin Rezahi

January 22, 2023

Many Afghan social activists and refugees in Islamabad protested on Saturday against Pakistan’s forceful deportation policy and asked the host country to treat refugees with decency.

Khaama Press has received footage from yesterday’s gathering showing some Afghan women gathered in the capital Islamabad, urging the Pakistani government to stop forcefully extraditing Afghan refugees.

The demonstrators stated that they have not wishfully left their country, but were forced due to the imposition of bans restricting women and girls from education, employment, and public spaces. 

This comes as the detention and deportation of Afghan migrants have unprecedentedly increased in Pakistan in the recent past in Sindh province in particular, prompting widespread condemnations within Pakistan and beyond.

In response to the imprisonment of Afghan citizens, the United Nation and refugee advocacy organizations called on the Pakistani government to respect human rights and treat Afghan refugees with decency.

“Pakistan government should not forcefully expel Afghan refugees because they cannot return to Afghanistan with the gender-based restrictions in place. We ask the International Community to drive immediate attention to the living conditions of women in Afghanistan,” a female protestor said.

“Seek asylum is a human right, therefore, Afghans should not be deprived of this very basic right outside their home country,” another protestor said.

The illegal movement of Afghan refugees to the neighboring countries of Iran and Pakistan has spiked over the past two years. Gender apartheid, discrimination, and restrictions on women’s education and work are the key reasons for the mass migration to these two destinations.

Source: Khaama Press

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.khaama.com/afghan-refugees-in-islamabad-protest-against-detention-forceful-deportation/

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Bangladesh protests Sweden Quran burning as condemnation pours in

January 22, 2023

Bangladesh has strongly condemned the burning of the Holy Quran by a far-right leader in front of the Turkish embassy in Stockholm, Sweden.

The reaction comes as a number of Muslim countries condemned the act. Far-right politician Rasmus Paludan set fire to a copy of the Muslim holy book on Saturday.

“Bangladesh expresses grave concern over the act of insulting the sacred values of the Muslims all over the world in the guise of freedom of expression,” said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Sunday.

“Islam is a religion of peace and tolerance,” it added.

Paludan, a Swedish-Danish activist who has already been convicted for racist abuse, provoked rioting in Sweden last year when he went on a tour of the country and publicly burned copies of the Quran. 

Bangladesh believes that freedom of religion must be upheld and respected under any circumstance, said the foreign ministry.

Bangladesh also urged all concerned to refrain from unwarranted provocation for the sake of harmony and peaceful coexistence.

Meanwhile, Sweden's prime minister has condemned as "deeply disrespectful" the burning of a Quran in Stockholm, which has raised tensions with Turkey as the Nordic country courts Ankara over its Nato bid.

Furious that Paludan had been permitted by Swedish police to carry out the protest, Ankara cancelled a visit by Sweden's defence minister and summoned Stockholm's ambassador.

Late on Saturday, Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson tweeted: "Freedom of expression is a fundamental part of democracy. But what is legal is not necessarily appropriate. Burning books that are holy to many is a deeply disrespectful act."

"I want to express my sympathy for all Muslims who are offended by what has happened in Stockholm today."

Paludan's demonstration has further damaged relations as Stockholm tries to convince Nato member Turkey to approve Sweden and Finland joining the military alliance.

Sweden's bid has been stalled amid Ankara's demands that Stockholm hand over Kurdish activists and prevent rallies attacking Turkey's leadership.

Arab world furious

Many Muslim countries said they were outraged by the burning of the Quran.

Morocco said it was "astonished" the authorities had allowed it to take place "in front of the Swedish forces of order".

Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and the UAE also condemned it, as did the Gulf Cooperation Council and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.

Jakarta said "the act of blasphemy against the holy book has hurt and tarnished religious tolerance", adding that "freedom of expression must be exercised in a responsible manner".

Source: Dhaka Tribune

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.dhakatribune.com/nation/2022/12/26/rajshahi-man-sued-for-placing-holy-quran-in-church

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Mideast

 

Heads of Iranian Gov't Branches Describe EU's Anti-IRGC Move as Part of Hybrid Warfare

2023-January-22

President Seyed Ebrahim Rayeesi, Parliament Speaker Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf and Judiciary Chief Gholam Hossein Mohseni Eje'i held their weekly meeting on Saturday, discussing key issues of the country.

Their meeting was held days after the European Parliament passed a resolution that called for designating the IRGC as a foreign terrorist organization.

The top Iranian officials called the resolution part of media, psychological and economic warfare in which enemies have been defeated due to vigilance of the Iranian people, as well as their support for the revolution and achievements of the Islamic system.

Raisi, Qalibaf and Mohseni Eje'i stressed that the IRGC is part of Iran’s military might and armed forces, which has served the country over the past four decades and has a good record of defending Iran.

On Wednesday, the European Parliament's members backed an amendment added to an annual foreign policy report, calling for "the EU and its member states to include the IRGC in the EU's terror list". The step was passed by a vote of 598 in favor and nine against, with 31 abstentions.

The amendment will urge Brussels to blacklist the IRGC military force, the volunteer Basij force, and the IRGC's Quds Force.

Tehran has repeatedly announced that the IRGC is an official state body which has had and will continue to have an important and key role in ensuring the security of Iran and the region.

Iranian officials have warned the EU that its plan to blacklist the IRGC as a “terrorist organization” may have unbearable consequences, urging Europe to avoid repeating the past mistakes.

They cautioned the European governments against falling into the trap of a plot hatched by the US and Israel, calling on the EU to maintain its independence from the US.

Tehran stresses the European states enjoy safety because of the elite forces' efforts in the fight against terror groups in the region.

The move has been strongly condemned by Iranian officials, commanders and the Armed Forces.

Source: Fars News Agency

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14011102000196/Heads-f-Iranian-Gv'-Branches-Describe-EU's-Ani-IRGC-Mve-as-Par-f

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Israeli expansionism: Extremist minister calls for demolition of hundreds of Palestinian homes

23 January 2023

A far-right Israeli minister has called for the demolition of hundreds of Palestinian homes, in a move that reflects escalating Israeli extremism against Palestinians in the occupied territories amid unhindered expansionism.

Orit Strook, minister of settlement in the Israeli cabinet, claimed these homes, as well as “tens of neighborhoods” approved by the Palestinian authorities, are in fact “located on land belonging to the Jewish people,” making a reference to the “Area C” of the occupied West Bank which is classified as Israeli-owned by the Israeli apartheid regime.

She also claimed that the Palestinians who build on their lands are “carrying out illegal construction without permits.” She called on the Israeli Minister of Security, Yoav Galant to destroy these houses.

On the other hand, the far-right politician told Israeli radio that the regime’s cabinet will try to recognize dozens of places occupied by illegal settlers and put prefabricated houses as new illegal Israeli settlements as soon as possible.

Despite admitting that settlement outposts like “Or Chaim” are illegal, Strook said that the current cabinet of the Israeli regime, based on an agreement of the coalition cabinet, will try to quickly recognize dozens of settlement outposts and approve construction operations to facilitate settlement building in the West Bank, the areas where the settlers are called “Hilltop youth.”

On a related note, Daniela Weis, one of the leaders of the settlement support movement known as “Gush Imonim,” said in an interview with Yediot Aharonot newspaper that, “The time has come for the return of settlement construction activity in Israel.”

Israel routinely demolishes Palestinian houses in the occupied West Bank and East al-Quds, claiming that the structures have been built without the so-called Israeli permits, which are almost impossible to obtain. They also sometimes order Palestinian owners to demolish their own houses or pay the costs of the demolition if they do not.

Almost 75 percent of applications for a permit by Palestinian residents of al-Quds are rejected by the Israeli municipality, according to rights groups.

The Tel Aviv regime plans to force out Palestinian families from different neighborhoods in East al-Quds in an attempt to replace them with settlers.

More than 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East al-Quds.

Source: Press TV

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2023/01/23/696823/Extremist-Israeli-minister-calls-demolition-hundreds-Palestinian-owned-homes'

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Iran Launches General Soleimani Satellite Project

2023-January-22

Salarieh made the announcement on the Agency’s official website on Sunday as he elaborated on the latest implementation status of General Soleimani’s project, which is part of Iran’s ongoing 10-year space program.

“Based on the 10-year space program and in order to provide services to people, government institutions, and organizations as well as to provide services to private sector companies, the Iranian Space Agency has been tasked with placing a telecommunication satellite system in Earth's orbit,” Salarieh said.

“The implementation of the project, which is called ‘Martyr Soleimani Project’ and is considered to be the first satellite system project of our country, is of great importance owing to the achievements in the production of satellite series and their network formation,” he added.

He said that the Iranian Space Agency had prepared the operational plan of the project and codified the executive program of a narrowband telecommunication system with limited service long ago and even before the finalization of the country's 10-year space program.

“In less than a month since the approval of the 10-year space program, one of the most important clauses of which is the implementation of the Martyr Soleimani Project, … the implementation phase of the project was officially launched,” Salarieh said.

Hailing the steps taken by the Agency to build small satellites, Salarieh said, "It is axiomatic that upon success in this step, the way to complete and develop satellite systems and provide more services will be paved in the next steps."

Iran launched its first satellite Omid (Hope) in 2009 and its Rasad (Observation) satellite was sent into orbit in 2011.

In 2012, the Islamic Republic successfully put its third domestically-made satellite, Navid (Good News), into orbit.

Source: Fars News Agency

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14011102000806/Iran-Lanches-General-Sleimani-Saellie-Prjec

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Turkey’s Erdogan announces elections for May 14

22 January ,2023

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has announced that Turkey’s elections will be held on May 14 -- a month earlier than scheduled -- according to a video shared by his office Sunday.

“This is not an early election but bringing it forward,” Erdogan said in a video from his meeting with young people in Bursa this weekend, shared by the presidency.

Erdogan said he would use his authority to go for elections on May 14 -- an adjustment he said was decided considering school exams.

This will be the most challenging election for the Turkish strongman who has been in power for two decades shaping the predominantly Muslim but officially secular country’s politics.

The May 14 election date was also supported by opposition alliance still arguing over the choice of a united candidate against the 68-year-old leader.

Source: Al Arabiya

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/01/22/Turkey-s-Erdogan-announces-elections-for-May-14

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Iran says to put European military on terror list if EU designates IRGC

Syed Zafar Mehdi 

22.01.2023

TEHRAN, Iran

Iran's parliament on Sunday warned of a "decisive and prompt" response to the European Parliament's move to designate the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organization.

Speaking during a special session, which also saw Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and IRGC chief General Hossein Salami in attendance, Parliament Speaker Baqer Qalibaf said Iran will respond to any move sanctioning or listing the IRGC as a terrorist organization.

As part of the response, he stressed, the European military deployed in the region would be designated as "terrorist groups", while urging the Western countries to "not close the window of diplomacy."

In a non-binding vote last week, the European Parliament condemned the IRGC for its crackdown on protesters amid the months-long unrest in the country as well as the supply of drones to Russia for use in Ukraine.

MEPs overwhelmingly voted for a resolution that calls for “the EU and its member states to include the IRGC on the EU’s terrorist list".

However, according to reports, it is unlikely to figure in the next round of sanctions on Iranian individuals and entities expected to be approved by the EU on Monday.

Iran maintains that designating the elite force as a terrorist organization would be a "completely illegal” move as it is the official military branch of the Iranian government.

Qalibaf, a former IRGC Navy commander and a top conservative leader, said the European countries have "taken the wrong path" while hailing the elite force for "eliminating the Daesh/ISIS".

Amir-Abdollahian in a Twitter post said the country's parliament is mulling over placing the armies of European countries on the terror list as a "counter-measure".

The top Iranian diplomat told reporters that "all countermeasures are conceivable", including Iran's exit from the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT), "if Europe does not change its stance" on the IRGC's black-listing.

Iran-EU tensions

While the IRGC is designated as a "foreign terrorist group" by the US, European countries have so far been hesitant to push ahead with the move due to legal issues.

The issue came back into the limelight in recent months in the wake of protests in Iran triggered by the death of a young woman in police custody, arrest of a number of European nationals as well as reports about Iran's drone supplies to close ally Russia.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen also announced her support for blacklisting the IRGC last week, after top officials of France, Britain and Germany said they were considering the move.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said earlier this month that a new round of sanctions against Iran would not be enough, backing the move to designate the IRGC.

"Listing the Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization is politically important and makes sense," she wrote on Twitter, while also referring to legal obstacles.

In his phone call with the European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell on Thursday, Amir-Abdollahian termed the move to blacklist the IRGC as "inappropriate", adding that the European Parliament "shot itself in the foot" with the move.

He also warned of a "strong legal response" to the move, while urging the European Parliament to "consider its adverse consequences".

On Saturday, the heads of three branches of the Iranian government during their weekly meeting dubbed the EU's move as "part of the bigger anti-Iran hybrid war".

President Ebrahim Raisi in separate remarks said the move was "out of desperation" and "against the UN Charter".

Source: Anadolu Agency

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/iran-says-to-put-european-military-on-terror-list-if-eu-designates-irgc/2794214

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Houthi allegations of shelling on Saadah districts baseless: Coalition in Yemen

January 22, 2023

RIYADH: Houthi allegations of shelling on the Saadah districts of Shada and Munabbih are “baseless,” the Coalition to Restore Legitimacy in Yemen said on Sunday.

“What is being circulated comes within the context of ongoing Houthi allegations in areas under its control that represent hotspots for disputes,” the coalition said.

The statement also said that crime was rife in areas managed by the Houthis.

Source: Arab News

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2237056/middle-east

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Pakistan

 

Desecration Of Holy Quran A Plot To Fuel Anti-Muslim Violence: Pakistan PM’s Interfaith Representative

January 22, 2023

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister’s Special Representative for Interfaith Harmony and Middle East Hafiz Muhammad Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi on Sunday said the abhorrent act of the Holy Quran’s desecration in Sweden badly hurt the religious sentiments of 1.5 billion Muslims on the globe.

Condemning the incident in the strongest terms while talking to APP, Ashrafi who is also the Chairman of Pakistan Ulema Council said it could be a plot to fuel the anti-Muslim violence under the pretext of advocating freedom of speech in the world.

He urged the Swedish government to adopt the measures to prevent recurrence of such disgraceful incidents in the future and should not allow extremists and radical elements to spread hatred against Islamic sanctities and values.

He said such actions had nothing to do with freedom of expression and under the international human rights law, nobody was allowed to carry out hate speech and incite people to violence.

He also urged the United Nations, Organization of Islamic Cooperation and United States Commission on International Religious Freedom to take punitive action against the far-right politician in Sweden for desecrating the divine command.

Source: Pakistan Today

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2023/01/22/abhorrent-act-of-holy-qurans-desecration-hurt-religious-sentiments-of-muslims-globally-ashrafi/

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Pakistan President Calls For Global Resolve Against Islamophobia

Muhammad Irfan

January 23, 2023

ISLAMABAD, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 23rd Jan, 2023): President Dr Arif Alvi on Monday urged the international community to show a common resolve against Islamophobia and work towards consolidating the values of tolerance and coexistence.

Strongly condemning the desecration of the Holy Quran in Sweden, the president said the abhorrent incident insulted the holy scripture of islam and hurt the feelings of billions of Muslims under the guise of freedom of expression.

He termed the act as senseless, provocative and Islamophobic which hurt the religious sensitivities of Muslims around the world.

Dr Alvi called upon the world to criminalize all acts that promote the ideology of hatred and not allow extremist and radical elements to spread hatred against Islamic sanctities and values.

He termed the act as senseless, provocative and Islamophobic which hurt the religious sensitivities of Muslims around the world.

The president, in a statement, stressed that the immoral incident was an act of needless incitement and a serious provocation to the feelings of Muslims in the world.

This is against the internationally accepted norms and principles of legitimate expression of the right to freedom of expression or opinion, which obliged everyone to not resort to hate speech and incite people to violence, he said.

Source: Urdu Point

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.urdupoint.com/en/pakistan/president-calls-for-global-resolve-against-is-1629918.html

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‘Hurtful And Despicable’: Pak PM Sharif Condemns ‘Burning’ Of Quran In Sweden

22 January, 2023

Islamabad [Pakistan], January 22 (ANI): Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Sunday criticised the alleged burning of the Quran during a protest outside the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm, Pakistan-based news organisation, The News International, reported adding that he termed the incident extremely hurtful and despicable.

According to news report, Turkey and Saudi Arabia joined several other Muslim countries to condemn the incident.

The report quoted the Pakistan PM as tweeting, “No words are enough to adequately condemn the abhorrable act of desecration of the Holy Quran by a right-wing extremist in Sweden. The garb of the freedom of expression cannot be used to hurt the religious emotions of 1.5 billion Muslims across the world. This is unacceptable”.

Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, too, issued a statement on the alleged Quran burning, saying the sentiments of 1.5 billion Muslims across the globe have been hurt, the report said, adding that Turkey and several Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Kuwait, too, denounced the alleged desecration of the Quran.

Turkey called the protest in Sweden a ‘vile act’. It released a statement saying that the Swedish government’s decision to allow the protest to go ahead was ‘completely unacceptable’.

It further said, “Permitting this anti-Islam act, which targets Muslims and insults our sacred values, under the guise of ‘freedom of expression’ is completely unacceptable.”

The Pakistan foreign ministry, meanwhile, called upon the international community to show a common resolve against “Islamophobia, xenophobia, intolerance, and incitement to violence on the basis of religion or belief, and work together for promoting inter-faith harmony and peaceful coexistence”.

The Saudi Foreign Ministry said in a statement, “Saudi Arabia calls for spreading the values of dialogue, tolerance, and coexistence, and rejects hatred and extremism.”

Further, according to the news report, the alleged desecration of the Quran also resulted in the cancellation of Swedish Defence minister’s visit to Turkey.

Source: The Print

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://theprint.in/world/hurtful-and-despicable-pak-pm-sharif-condemns-burning-of-quran-in-sweden/1329409/

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Politicians slam burning of Holy Quran in Sweden

January 23, 2023

LAHORE: Political leaders across the party line have condemned the burning of the Holy Quran during a right-wing protest in Sweden.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, PTI Chairman Imran Khan, outgoing Punjab chief minister Parvez Elahi, and the OIC secretary-general str­ongly condemned the hurtful act on Sunday.

The prime minister strongly condemned the despicable act of desecration of the Holy Quran by a right-wing extremist in Sweden the other day.

“No words are enough to adequately condemn the abhorrable act of desecration of the Holy Quran by a right-wing extremist in Sweden. The garb of the freedom of expression cannot be used to hurt the religious emotions of 1.5 billion Muslims across the world. This is unacceptable,” the premier said in a tweet posted on his official account.

Former prime minister Imran Khan “strongly condemned” the act and said his government had sponsored a landmark resolution in the UN to combat Islamophobia.

PM Shehbaz, PTI chairman and OIC head denounce the act

“Strongly condemn [the] burning of Holy Quran yesterday at a protest in Sweden. Last March on our govt’s initiative the UNGA passed OIC sponsored landmark [resolution] on International Day to Combat Isla­mophobia. It recognised that Islam­ophobic acts were not an expression of freedom of speech,” he said in a tweet.

Parvez Elahi also took to Twitter to condemn the act.

“[I] strongly condemn the desecration of the Holy Quran in Sweden,” he said in a series of tweets while calling the act “despicable” and “hurtful”.

“There should be no space for such acts in civilised societies. No civilised society could even think of desecrating a holy book.”

He added that the reverence for the Holy Quran was part of every Muslim’s faith and such acts cannot be tolerated in the garb of freedom of speech.

PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry asserted that such acts by “hatemongers” were a threat to the world’s peace. “World need[s] peace [but] hate mongers are trying to burn the world peace in the fire of their hate,” he tweeted.

“[The] Stockholm incident has hurt the sentiments of 1.5bn Muslims, those responsible should be booked in criminal offences for inciting hatred and sabotaging peace.”

National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf and Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani also condemned the burning of a copy of the Holy Quran and asked the Swedish government to take action against those involved in hurting the sentiments of Muslims all over the world under the guise of freedom of expression.

OIC Secretary-General Hissein Brahim Taha condemned the act “in the strongest terms” and urged the Swedish authorities to take necessary action against the perpetrators of this “hate crime”, a release from the OIC Secretariat in Jeddah quoted him as saying.

He called for increased international efforts to prevent the rec­u­rrence of such acts and for solidarity in the fight against Islamophobia.

Source: Dawn

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1733149/politicians-slam-burning-of-holy-quran-in-sweden

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44 PTI lawmakers to withdraw resignations from National Assembly: Asad Umar

Nadir Guramani

January 23, 2023

PTI leader Asad Umar said on Monday that 44 party lawmakers have decided to withdraw their resignations from the National Assembly and emails in this regard have been sent to Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf.

The decision, he said, was taken on orders of PTI chairman and former prime minister Imran Khan after the speaker refused to accept all the resignations together.

“The next step will be the nomination of the opposition leader,” Umar tweeted.

The lawmakers who have decided to withdraw their resignations — shared by Umar — include Muhammad Riaz Khan, Muhammad Yaqoob Sheikh, Shaheen Niaz, Nasarullah Dareshar, Zulfiqar Ali Khan, Nafeesa Inayat Khan, Malik Anwar, Saleh Mohammad, Jai Parkash, Tahir Sadiq, Niaz Ahmed, Raza Nasarullah, Javed Iqbal, Munaza Hasan, Lal Chand Malhi, Sajida Zulfiqar, Sardar Muhammad Khan, Uzma Riaz, Tashfeen Safadar, Jawad Hussain and Nausheen Hamid.

Meanwhile, PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry said 45 lawmakers had decided to withdraw their resignations so that the party could take back the posts of the leader of the opposition and parliamentary party leader.

He added that the aim of the move was to get rid of the “fake” NA opposition leader and prevent “turncoats” from voting for Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif in the vote of confidence.

After Umar’s announcement, PTI lawmakers staged a sit-in outside the NA speaker’s house, demanding that their requests should be immediately accepted.

As many as 123 PTI MNAs had resigned en masse from the lower house of parliament following the ouster of PTI chief Imran Khan in April last year.

Subsequently, NA speaker Ashraf accepted only 11 of the resignations, stating that the remaining lawmakers would be summoned individually for verification.

After stalling the process for eight months, Ashraf last week, accepted the resignations of 69 more PTI MNAs and Awami Muslim League chief Sheikh Rashid as the party hinted it would “test” the incumbent prime minister with a confidence vote. The total number of PTI MNAs whose resignations have been accepted stands at 80 so far.

Source: Dawn

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1733212/44-pti-lawmakers-to-withdraw-resignations-from-national-assembly-asad-umar

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Pakistan team probing attack on PTI chairman Imran Khan reconstituted again

Jan 23, 2023

ISLAMABAD: A joint investigation team asked to probe the attempted assassination attack on former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has been was reconstituted once again, The News International reported.

The joint team was reconstituted again on Sunday after four members of the team levelled allegations against the team's head Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Ghulam Mahmood Dogar. Differences between Dogar and members started after objections were raised on the former's "politically-inclined" conduct.

The newly constituted JIT team includes Dera Ghazi Khan's District Police Officer (DPO) Muhammad Akmal, Superintendent of Police (SP) Anjum Kamal, and Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) CIA Jhang Nasir Nawaz. The notification said that the decision to appoint the fourth member of any department rests with the JIT, according to The News International.

The former members of JIT accused Ghulam Mahmood Dogar of conducting the investigation on political grounds, The News International reported citing sources. Advocate Mian Dawood, the counsel of the suspect involved in the gun attack on Imran Khan, claimed that Ghulam Mahmood Dogar was investigating the case according to the will of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader.

In a statement, Naveed Meher's counsel said that retaining Ghulam Mahmood Dogar as head of the JIT was based on "malice." He termed it necessary to remove Dogar as well from the JIT. The lawyer raised question on why the previous members of the body were presenting the suspects in the court when a new joint investigation team has been made, as per the news report.

"The nation already considers Ghulam Mehmood Dogar responsible for botching the investigation of the case," The News International quoted Naveed Meher's counsel as saying.The PTI chairman Imran Khan was attacked in Wazirabad on November 23 while he was leading the "Azadi March" against the PML-N demanding snap polls. The law enforcement agencies arrested suspect Naveed Meher from the site of the attack. The suspect also admitted to opening fire on the PTI leadership.

The first information report of the incident was lodged on November 7 under the Anti-Terrorism Act 1997. The probe into the assassination attempt on Imran Khan had been handed over to an anti-corruption officer by Dogar, as per the sources within the JIT.

Source: Times Of India

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/pakistan-team-probing-attack-on-pti-chairman-imran-khan-reconstituted-again/articleshow/97243169.cms

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Pakistan imported $1.2 billion worth of cars in just six months despite economic crisis: Report

Jan 22, 2023

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan spent $1.2 billion on the import of transportation items, including luxury cars, high-end electric vehicles, and their parts, during the last six months amidst sinking reserves and fear of default, according to a media report.

The country is in the middle of a financial crunch with the foreign exchange reserves depleting to as low as $4 billion, forcing the central bank to slow down the import of even essential items.

The News reported that despite the overall reduction in imports of transportation vehicles and other items compared with last year, the economy was still burdened with heavy outflows for buying expensive luxury vehicles and useless items.During these six months, the country imported completely built units (CBU), completely knocked down/semi knocked down (CKD/SKD) of $530.5 million equivalent to Rs 118.2 billion.

Since CKD kits are not allowed to be imported, yet millions of dollars of these kits are being imported, harming the local industry and their production.

The economy is suffering, but hefty spending on cars and other vehicle imports is raising a lot of questions about the government's policy of halting imports related to the industrial and commercial sectors.

Under the completely built units (CBU) during July-Dec 2022-23 imports of buses, trucks and other heavy vehicles imports were $75 million (Rs16.6bn), motor cars with $32.6 million.

Under the CKD/SKD, imports of buses, trucks, and other heavy vehicles imports were $722.5 million (Rs161 billion), while motor car imports were recorded at $498 million (Rs111 billion). Motorcycle imports also stood at $27.6 million.

Besides, the parts and accessories imports stood at $188.6 million (Rs42 billion). Similarly, $47.7 million were spent on the import of aircraft, ships, and boats.

Only in December, the transport sector's imports stood at $140.7 million (Rs31.6 billion). Of this, $47.5 million or 11.3 billion rupees were spent on the imports of cars, $27 million on parts and accessories, $3.6 million on motorcycles import, $25 million on buses, trucks, and heavy vehicles, and another $22.4 million on the import of aircraft, ships, and boats.

Source: Times Of India

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/pakistan-imported-1-2-billion-worth-of-cars-in-just-six-months-despite-economic-crisis-report/articleshow/97232898.cms
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Southeast Asia

 

Malaysia Urges International Community To Combat Islamophobia After Quran-Burning In Sweden

23 Jan 2023

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 23 — Malaysia has urged the international community to work together to combat Islamophobia and promote harmonious relations and peaceful coexistence among people of different faiths in a diverse global community.

Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Zambry Abdul Kadir said Malaysia will continue to work closely with fellow members of the international community to prevent and eliminate all forms of violence and hatred against Islam, including Islamophobic sentiments and extremism.

He said this in response to the Islamophobic act by an extremist SwedishDanish far-right politician Rasmus Paludan in burning a copy of the Quran in Stockholm, Sweden on Saturday (Jan 21), which Malaysia condemns in the strongest terms.

“This vile act is clearly an outright attack against Islam and Muslims worldwide, which has gone beyond moral limits and norms of the right to freedom of speech and expression.

“Bigotry, racism and vile desecration of such holy scripture, regardless of religion, is unacceptable and should be condemned. Malaysia reiterates that freedom of expression cannot be equated with freedom to insult. It goes against the universal principle of respect for religions.” he said in a statement issued by Malaysia’s foreign ministry (Wisma Putra).

Zambry urged the Swedish government to take immediate action against the perpetrators of this heinous crime and to undertake serious measures to combat the worrisome rise of Islamophobia in the country.

“The Swedish government’s ignorance to stop this dreadful and wicked act despite several protests from various parties is utterly unacceptable and could have serious repercussions on relations between Sweden and Muslims around the world.

“We urge the Swedish government to take immediate action against the perpetrators of this heinous crime and to undertake serious measures to combat the worrisome rise of Islamophobia in Sweden,” he added.

Source: Malay Mail

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2023/01/23/zambry-urges-international-community-to-combat-islamophobia-after-quran-burning-in-sweden/51609

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Interfaith Tolerance: Muslim Man Helps Guard Dharma Bhakti Temple

BY :ASIA AHMED

JANUARY 22, 2023

Jakarta. Respecting others’ spiritual beliefs is key to maintaining peace in a multireligious nation like Indonesia, and the Dharma Bhakti Temple in Jakarta’s Chinatown Glodok becomes a testament to the country’s interfaith tolerance.

Meet Idrus Samalegu, one of the security guards at the Dharma Bhakti Temple. Idrus was on duty when the Jakarta Globe came to visit the temple on Tuesday.

At the time, it was just less than a week before the Chinese New Year, locally known as Imlek, so the temple was having a spring clean. Some worshippers visited the temple to pray and make offerings. As a guard, Idrus made sure that the worshippers could pray in peace.

Idrus’ adaptability to secure the place of worship for many has put him in the spotlight. He is well-versed in the practices of those of the Buddhist faith, and also understands their devotion. But what came as a surprise was that Idrus, who has been guarding the temple for seven years, is a Muslim.

“We are all human, therefore, regardless of religion, you should accept one another's beliefs,” Idrus told the Globe on Tuesday.

“We are all blessed by God. What makes people different from one another is their hearts and minds,” Idrus said.

Despite having a different religious belief, Idrus was delighted to see individuals return to normalcy and celebrate the important occasion.

Worshiping in temples is one of the many important traditions during the Chinese New Year.

It is believed that doing so brings good fortune for the entire year. The Covid-19 pandemic had taken a significant toll on the proceedings since there had been major restrictions in previous years. Idrus said that last year the worshippers had to take turns praying at the altar on the second floor.

Idrus said the temple had also geared up to welcome the crowds of worshippers for this Imlek, which would fall on Jan. 22. According to Idrus, the temple had already done most of its deep cleaning over the weekend. They were polishing the rest of the statues by the time when the Globe dropped by the temple.

Over the past years of being the temple guard, Idrus has seen many visitors from all sorts of different backgrounds and nationalities.

“Many foreign tourists visit the historic Dharma Bhakti Temple,” Idrus said while adding that Former Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan also came to the temple during the 2019 Imlek celebrations.

Source: Jakarta Globe

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://jakartaglobe.id/lifestyle/interfaith-tolerance-muslim-man-helps-guard-dharma-bhakti-temple

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Summon Swedish ambassador over Quran burning, govt told

January 23, 2023

KUALA LUMPUR: Opposition leader Hamzah Zainudin has urged the government to summon the Swedish ambassador over the burning of the Quran at a demonstration led by a far-right politician in Stockholm.

Hamzah said the opposition MPs are in solidarity with the government to defend the sanctity of Islam and stand against any form of Islamophobia, extremism, radicalism, hate and violence.

“Thus, it is important for Putrajaya to summon the Swedish ambassador to officially express Malaysia’s objection and disappointment over the incident and demand immediate action against the perpetrators,” he said in a statement.

Hamzah said the opposition MPs want the government to be more proactive on the international stage in opposing Islamophobia and xenophobic acts, as well as speaking up against policies that incite violence.

“This blatant hate crime should not be allowed or tolerated under the guise of freedom of speech. Sweden must take action to punish all those involved as this is not the first incident orchestrated by Rasmus Paludan and Stram Kurs,” he said, referring to the Swedish-Danish politician and the far-right party he leads in the Scandinavian nation.

Last night, Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim said Malaysia strongly condemns the burning of the Quran at a demonstration led by Paludan in Stockholm.

He called for immediate action by Swedish authorities against Paludan to check what he called an alarming rise of Islamophobia in the country.

Earlier today, foreign minister Zambry Abdul Kadir said Malaysia will continue to work closely with fellow members of the international community to prevent and eliminate all forms of violence and hatred against Islam, including Islamophobic sentiments and extremism.

“Bigotry, racism and vile desecration of such holy scripture, regardless of religion, is unacceptable and should be condemned.

“Malaysia reiterates that freedom of expression cannot be equated with freedom to insult. It goes against the universal principle of respect for religions,” he said in a statement issued by Wisma Putra on the incident.

Paludan was reported to have burned the holy book at a demonstration held in front of the Turkish embassy in the Swedish capital on Saturday.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2023/01/23/summon-swedish-ambassador-over-quran-burning-govt-told/

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National character main foundation to deter radicalism: VP Amin

Jakarta (ANTARA) - Vice President Ma'ruf Amin highlighted the importance of national character building as it is the main foundation to save Indonesia's younger generation from the threats of radicalism.

"The national character is the primary foundation and essential filter to deter radicalism and other ideologies that are in opposition to Pancasila," he said in his speech that he delivered virtually at the Shalahuddin Al-Ayyubi Islamic Academy's undergraduate graduation ceremony here Sunday.

Amin urged universities in Indonesia, including Shalahuddin Al-Ayyubi Islamic Academy, to instill the national character in their students to make them part of the country's advanced future generation.

Enhancing the national character is inevitable amid the rapid flows of information and values of foreign cultures as nurturing nationalism and patriotism among members of younger generation is not a task that will get completed in a day, he said.

"The character development, particularly the national character, needs a long process and time, and it must be nurtured and developed continuously," Amin said.

He emphasised the importance of proper religious education, including knowledge, behaviour, and faith aspects. These all must be instilled in concurrence with tolerance, respect for differences, and national unity values.

Amin also highlighted that the Islamic higher educational institutions play an important role in developing a democratic Indonesian character.

He pointed out that many Indonesian Muslim figures who have become the spokespersons for peaceful, friendly, and civilised Islamic values at international level are educated at Islamic educational institutions.

Amin expressed hope that the Islamic educational institutions, such as the Shalahuddin Al-Ayyubi Islamic Academy, continue instilling noble values in their students at they will elevate Islamic values and Indonesia's prestige to the global community in the future.

Source: Antara News

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://en.antaranews.com/news/270318/national-character-main-foundation-to-deter-radicalism-vp-amin

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Africa

 

Libya urges Arabs to back UN efforts for holding stalled elections

22.01.2023

TRIPOLI, Libya

Libyan Foreign Minister Najla Al-Mangoush on Sunday called for Arab support to UN efforts for holding the country’s stalled elections.

The call was made at the opening of a meeting of Arab foreign ministers in the Libyan capital Tripoli. UN envoy Abdoulaye Bathily took part in the meeting.

“Libya insists on practicing its full rights in the Arab League,” Al-Mangoush said, rejecting what she called “politicization of the work rules” in the pan-Arab league.

The Libyan diplomat called on the Arab League to support efforts aimed at activating the role of the UN mission in Libya “to create a favorable atmosphere for holding the elections and ending the transitional periods peacefully.”

Sunday’s meeting was attended by a number of Arab countries, including Algeria, Tunisia and Qatar. Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul-Gheit were not present.

Last week, Libya’s Parliament Speaker Aguila Saleh said the country’s stalled elections will be held before November after an agreement with the Tripoli-based High Council of State.

Oil-rich Libya has remained in turmoil since 2011 when longtime ruler Muammar Gaddafi was ousted after four decades in power.

Source: Anadolu Agency

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/libya-urges-arabs-to-back-un-efforts-for-holding-stalled-elections/2794434

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Ennahda leader calls for restoring democracy in Tunisia

Adel Al Thabiti  

22.01.2023

TUNIS, Tunisia

Leader of Tunisia’s Ennahda movement, Rached Ghannouchi, has called for restoring democracy in the country, rejecting any foreign interference in the nation’s affairs.

In an interview with the private Zitouna TV channel, Ghannouchi termed the positions of the European Union, the US and Canada on Tunisia’s democratic transition as “positive”.

“We do not wait for foreign armies to support democracy in Tunisia,” Ghannouchi, a former parliament speaker, said. “Tunisians are the ones who brought democracy and they are the ones who will restore it,” he added.

“Tunisia still needs reconciliation. Tunisians must recognize each other,” Ghannouchi said.

Tunisia has been in the throes of a deep political crisis that aggravated the country's economy since 2021, when President Kais Saied ousted the government and dissolved parliament.

Since then, Saied held a referendum to draft a new constitution last July and parliamentary elections last December.

Source: Anadolu Agency

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/ennahda-leader-calls-for-restoring-democracy-in-tunisia/2794390

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Arab states boycott regional meet in divided Libya’s capital

22 January ,2023

Arab states boycotted a meeting hosted by Libya’s unity government on Sunday, with just five of the Arab League’s 22 members sending their top diplomats and even the bloc’s secretary general staying away.

The snub underlines Arab divisions over the Tripoli-based government, whose legitimacy is contested by a rival administration in the war-torn country’s east.

Regional heavyweights Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates were not represented at all at the gathering -- a preparatory session ahead of a foreign ministers’ meeting in Cairo.

Four members sent lower-ranking ministers or ambassadors while Arab League chief Ahmed Aboul Gheit was also absent.

Najla al-Mangoush, foreign minister in the Tripoli-based administration, condemned what she called “attempts by certain sides to crush Libyans’ desire to transform Arab solidarity into a reality.”

Libya, which holds the rotating presidency of the organization, is “determined to play its role in the Arab League (and) rejects any attempt to politicize the League’s founding documents,” she said.

Libya fell into a decade of violence following the 2011 overthrow of dictator Muammar Gaddafi in a NATO-backed rebellion.

The resulting power grab gave rise to myriad home-grown militias and prompted interventions by Arab powers as well as Turkey, Russia, and Western states.

Since March last year, an administration in Libya’s east backed by military leader Khalifa Haftar -- who has been close to Russia and Egypt -- has challenged the government of Prime Minister Abdulhamid Dbeibah, arguing it has outlived its mandate.

Source: Al Arabiya

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/north-africa/2023/01/22/Arab-states-boycott-regional-meet-in-divided-Libya-s-capital-

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Libya’s House of Representatives proposes forming single government

Gulsen Topcu  

23.01.2023

TRIPOLI, Libya

The Speaker of Libya’s House of Representatives said Sunday that they submitted a proposal to the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) on forming a new, single government instead of opting for a dual government system.

"There is still an opportunity to form a new government. A proposal has been submitted to the UN mission on the mechanism for forming a new government," the House of Representatives cited Aguila Saleh as saying on its official Facebook page.

Saleh stressed that elections that are planned to take place in the country should be held under the umbrella of a single government.

No statements have been issued so far by the Libyan High Council of State or the UN mission on Saleh's remarks.

Last week, Saleh said the country’s stalled elections would be held before November after an agreement with the Tripoli-based high council.

Oil-rich Libya has remained in turmoil since 2011, when longtime ruler Muammar Gaddafi was ousted after four decades in power.

Source: Anadolu Agency

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/libya-s-house-of-representatives-proposes-forming-single-government/2794605

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Security forces end siege at government office in Somali capital

Mohammed Dhaysane  

23.01.2023

MOGADISHU, Somalia

Somali security forces ended a siege by members of the al-Shabaab terrorist organization Sunday at the Banadir Regional Administration headquarters in the capital Mogadishu.

The attack by al-Shabaab, which left five people dead, began with a suicide bombing before the terrorists stormed the headquarters and exchanged fire with security guards.

Somalia’s Information Ministry issued a statement after the siege ended, saying security forces shot dead all six terrorist attackers and managed to rescue regional officials after a multifaceted operation was conducted.

The ministry said five civilians were killed and four others wounded in the attack.

The attackers came on foot disguised as government troops, the ministry said in a statement.

Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack and said it killed 34 people, including officials from the Mogadishu municipality and federal government as well as senior security officials.

It marked the first deadly complex attack carried out by the terrorist group in Mogadishu this year.

In late November last year, Al-Shabaab attacked the busy Villa Rays Hotel near Somalia’s presidential palace.

Security forces ended the attack after a more than 20-hour operation that killed five terrorists.

Eight civilians were killed in the attack.

The group has intensified its attacks, mainly targeting security personnel and their bases since the national army, backed by residents, started its offensive against them.

President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud declared a “total war” on all fronts against the terrorists, and since his announcement, the army has scored significant victories against them.

Recently, the army liberated the strategic seaside town of Harardhere, which had been under the control of the terrorist group for more than a decade.

Somalia has been plagued by insecurity for years, with al-Shabaab and Daesh/ISIS being among the main threats.

Source: Anadolu Agency

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/security-forces-end-siege-at-government-office-in-somali-capital/2794604

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Casualties feared as bombings, gunfire rock Somali capital

Mohammed Dhaysane  

22.01.2023

MOGADISHU, Somalia

Bombings followed by gunfire in Somalia's capital targeted the Banadir Regional Administration headquarters on Sunday, with multiple casualties feared, an official said.

Abdifatah Ilmi, a security official in Mogadishu, told Anadolu that authorities suspected the attack involved three heavy explosions before armed men stormed the heavily fortified municipality headquarters.

"It's very early to say how many people have been killed or wounded but there are casualties and the attack in ongoing," Elmi said.

Nimco Ahmed Bashir, an eyewitness and street vendor who also told Anadolu that she saw several wounded people.

Source: Anadolu Agency

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/casualties-feared-as-bombings-gunfire-rock-somali-capital/2794208

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North America


US military captures three Islamic State members during Syrian helicopter raid

Jan 23, 2023

The US military forces have said they have captured two Islamic State (IS) members in east Syria during a helicopter and ground raid.

The US military's Central Command (CENTCOM) said the terrorists were arrested a day earlier and were identified as logisticians, facilitators, and associates of the jihadist group, reported Wion.

The raid happened on Saturday and one civilian received "minor injuries" during the attack. He was treated at a nearby medical facility before being released back to his family, Col. Joe Buccino, a Central Command spokesperson, was quoted as saying by Reuters.

CENTCOM hinted at the presence of "partner forces" - language which in the past has been used to refer to the Syrian Democratic Forces, the Syrian Kurdish armed group that helped the US and its allies defeat Islamic State.

An international coalition led by Washington is combating IS in Syria.

IS remnants in Syria largely withdrew into desert hideouts in the country's east after the jihadists lost their last pockets of land in March 2019 following a military attack supported by the alliance.

Since then, they have continued to carry out strikes in Iraq while using these concealed places to ambush forces headed by the Kurds and troops of the Syrian government.

Source: India Today

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.indiatoday.in/world/story/us-military-captures-three-islamic-state-members-during-syrian-helicopter-raid-2325005-2023-01-23

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Daesh member ‘Jihadi Jack’ to be repatriated to Canada

January 22, 2023

LONDON: Canada’s government has announced it will repatriate the infamous British-born Daesh member known as “Jihadi Jack,” along with 22 other people being held in Daesh camps in Syria.

The 28-year-old Muslim convert, Jack Letts, held dual British and Canadian citizenship before the UK Home Office stripped him of his citizenship in 2019 after he declared himself an “enemy of Britain.”

He traveled to Syria to join the terror group as a teenager.

After Letts was captured in 2017 by Kurdish forces, he lost his British citizenship and legally became the responsibility of the Canadian government, who accused the UK of taking “unilateral action to offload their responsibilities.”

Letts argued he should be allowed to return to the UK, insisting he had “no intention” of killing Britons.

Alongside Letts, 22 other Canadian citizens — six women, 13 infants, and three men — will be repatriated after a successful challenge by their families against the Canadian government.

According to its ruling, the Canadian federal court said preventing the prisoners from entering Canada would violate their constitutional rights, citing “conditions of the prison and the fact that the men have not been charged and brought to trial,” the Telegraph reported.

Letts’ parents were reported to be “overjoyed” at the news, with his mother Sally adding: “The federal government has been ordered to go to the region to bring back the men, and the judge has said this has to happen ‘as soon as possible.’”

She continued: “(Judge Henry Brown) referred to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, international humanitarian law, and the Magna Carta in his judgment, so this case will have global implications for the cases of all the other detainees, particularly the men.

Source: Arab News

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2236921/world

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US military’s Central Command says two ISIS members captured in Syria

23 January ,2023

American forces have captured two ISIS members during an air and ground assault in eastern Syria, the US military’s Central Command said in a statement released on Sunday.

The raid happened on Saturday, according to Col. Joe Buccino, a Central Command spokesperson, adding that one civilian received “minor injuries” during the attack and was treated at a nearby medical facility before being released back to his family.

Few other details of the raid were disclosed. Central Command alluded to the presence of “partner forces” - language which in the past has been used to refer to the Syrian Democratic Forces, the Syrian Kurdish armed group that helped the US and its allies defeat ISIS.

Source: Al Arabiya

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/01/23/US-military-s-Central-Command-says-two-ISIS-members-captured-in-Syria

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URL:  https://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/allah-akbar-terror-muslim-maharashtra-drill/d/128948

 

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