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Islamic World News ( 17 Jul 2023, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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'Lightning Rod For Polarisation': Jamaat-e-Islami Hind Opposes Uniform Civil Code

New Age Islam News Bureau

17 July 20123


The statement also brought to notice the timing of the submission, with less than a year to go for the general elections. (Photo: India Today)



• A63-Year-Old BJP And RSS Leader, Mistaken To Be A Muslim, Attacked By Kanwariyas

• Imam Arrested For Offering 'Namaz' On Road Outside A Mosque In UP; 25 Others Booked

• Mehbooba Mufti urges judiciary action against Assam CM's remarks on Muslims

• “A Meeting Against UCC”: Akhilesh Yadav Meets All India Muslim Personal Law Board Chief



• Islamic State and Al-Qaeda plotting terror attacks in UK, government report to warn

• Finland's Islamic Community Demands Government Take Concrete Steps Towards "Zero Tolerance" Of Racism

• A new mosque and community centre has officially opened in Swansea


South Asia

• Russia Invites Acting FM Muttaqi to Upcoming Moscow Format on Afghanistan

• Commission: 15 Members of Previous Govt Returned in Past Week

• Mullah Baradar opens key domestic and foreign expo in Kabul

• Nurul Islam appointed new CAG

• Iran Deports Nearly 5,000 Afghan Migrants

• Iran Reiterates Its Water Rights, Says It Will not ‘Compromise’



• Jihad praises heroic operation of Tuqu', considers it natural response to enemy's crimes

• Groups of Israeli Settlers Invade Al-Aqsa Mosque

• Israeli Foreign Minister Holds Meeting with Leader of Unnamed Islamic Country in Kenya

• Diriyah launches mosque design contest for young Saudi architects

• Grand Imam of Al-Azhar congratulates graduates of Emerging Peacemakers Forum 2023

• The Al-Omari Mosque: A Witness to Gaza’s History and Heritage

• Jerusalem: Israeli Settlers Seize Sab Laban Family’s Home Near Al-Aqsa Mosque


Southeast Asia

• KL High Court frees former radio DJ Ismahalil of drug trafficking charge

• Muslim travel intent trends up, hitting record high


Arab World

• Saudi Students Compete In Prestigious Chemistry Olympiad

• Training program targets Saudi entertainment entrepreneurs

• Video goes viral after Saudis add Ronaldo’s ‘Siuu’ move to traditional dance

• Kishida aide describes PM’s visit as ‘precious opportunity’ to deepen Saudi-Japan ties

• Saudi crown prince receives Japan PM in Jeddah

• Makkah municipality honours Chinese pilgrims

• Saudi Islamic minister meets president of Islamic Sheikhdom of Montenegro

• Saudi authorities announce new strategy for pilgrim service system



• Militant Attack On ZhobCantt Foiled

• 25 Pakistani manufacturers participating in Imam Abu Hanifa Exhibition in Kabul

• TDAP participates in Imam Abu Hanifa 2nd National, Int’l Expo, Trade Fair

• In telephone call, PM thanks Sri Lankan president for support in clinching IMF deal

• Reports of ‘attack on temple’ sow confusion


North America

• Proposal For Private Muslim CemeteryIn Oldham Voted Down

• US Sees India As ‘Indispensable Partner’ – Treasury ChiefJanet Yellen

• Trump outlines ‘24 hour’ Ukraine peace plan



• Sultan directs Muslims to look out for new moon of Muharram

• Osun Muslims Back Gov. Adeleke On Appointment Of Commissioners

• Muslim students tell Tinubu to prevent ASUU strike during his tenure

• Hajj Board Chair visits Ghanaian Pilgrims in Mecca, promises improvements for future experiences

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau



'Lightning Rod For Polarisation': Jamaat-e-Islami Hind Opposes Uniform Civil Code


The statement also brought to notice the timing of the submission, with less than a year to go for the general elections. (Photo: India Today)


Jul 16, 2023

Amit Bhardwaj

By Amit Bhardwaj: The Jamaat-e-Islami Hind on Sunday highlighted that the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) could serve as a "lightning rod for polarisation", in a statement submitted to the Law Commission of India. The statement was issued in response to the Law Commission's request for public opinion on the UCC on July 14.

In its letter, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind urged the Law Commission to maintain its previous stance, which deemed the UCC undesirable. They emphasised that the 21st Law Commission had previously conducted a similar task from 2016 to 2018 and recommended in their consultation paper that the UCC was "neither necessary nor desirable" in the context of respecting India's diversity and pluralism.

The statement also brought to notice the timing of the submission, with less than a year to go for the general elections.

The statement further called on the Law Commission to recommend that the Government of India refrain from interfering with Muslim laws, highlighting that these laws are integral to the religious practices of Muslims and are protected by Article 25 of the Indian Constitution.

"We strongly believe such interference can potentially harm India's cherished unity in diversity," the statement said. It emphasized the importance of upholding personal laws and respecting religious obligations in matters such as marriage, divorce, succession, and related issues.

The organisation also argued that the precise meaning of a 'Uniform Civil Code' remains vague and ambiguous.

“Any imposition of a Uniform Civil Code to the exclusion of faith-based and customary practices in a multi-religious and multicultural country like India would not only be undesirable, but also pose a threat to the very fabric and cohesion of society,” it stated.

Claiming to be one of the largest Muslim organisations in India, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind expressed concerns that imposing a Uniform Civil Code without considering faith-based and customary practices could be detrimental to societal fabric and cohesion.


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‘I’m Muslim, We Don’t Burn’: Muslim Protester Abandons Plan To Desecrate Bible In Sweden


A man talks to the media outside the Isaeli embassy in Stockholm, Sweden, July 15, 2023. (AP)


Jul 16, 2023

The man who said he would burn the Torah and the Bible outside the Israeli Embassy in Stockholm gave up his plan and instead held a one-person demonstration on Saturday against the burning of holy books, the media reported.

At the scene, he said he was a Muslim and threw a lighter he held in his hand to the ground, saying he never intended to burn holy books.

The man, who is in his 30s and had been issued a permit for the protest by Stockholm police, said such an action would be against the Quran, the Muslim holy book, and that he “will not burn,” according to the Swedish news agency TT.

The man, who resides in western Sweden, also said that “no one should do that,” the report said.

Israeli officials had called on the Swedish government to stop the protest and the burning of the holy books on Saturday afternoon outside the diplomatic mission. Israeli President Isaac Herzog and the World Jewish Congress condemned the action in advance as did Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen and Israel’s Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef.

The Times of Israel reported that the man arrived outside the Israeli diplomatic mission on Saturday afternoon holding a copy of the Quran and saying that it was never his intention to burn Jewish or Christian holy books, only to protest the recent burning of the Quran.

Swedish public broadcaster SVT said the man threw a lighter in his hand to the ground and said he didn’t need it.

“I’m a Muslim, we don’t burn (books). I want to show that we have to respect each other,” the man said, according to SVT, adding that he had no intention to realize his original plan.

Sweden has recently faced strong criticism from Muslim countries for allowing protesters to burn the Quran at small anti-Islam demonstrations.

The man who filed the request for Saturday’s protest, said he wanted to burn the Torah and the Bible outside the Israeli Embassy in response to a Quran-burning outside a Stockholm mosque last month by an Iraqi immigrant.

The right to hold public demonstrations is strong in Sweden and protected by the constitution. Blasphemy laws were abandoned in the 1970s. Police give permissions based on whether they believe a public gathering can be held without major disruptions or risks to public safety.

Last month, an Iraqi Christian immigrant burned a Quran outside a Stockholm mosque during the major Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, triggering widespread condemnation in the Islamic world. A similar protest by a far-right activist was held outside Turkey’s Embassy earlier this year, complicating Sweden’s efforts to convince Turkey to let it join NATO.

On Wednesday, the top U.N. human rights body overwhelmingly approved a measure calling on countries to do more to prevent religious hatred in the wake of the Quran-burnings. It was approved despite objections of Western countries who fear tougher steps by governments could trample freedom of expression.


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Ban On Five Islamic Organisations Among 11 Lifted Under Strict Conditions In Sri Lanka


'Black Sunday' demonstration outside a church in Colombo on March 7, 2021, demanding speedy investigations into the 2019 Easter Sunday attacks that killed 279 people at three churches and hotels.(AFP)


16 July 2023

The Government has decided to conditionally lift the ban on five Islamic organisations out of 11 organisations which were banned following the Easter Sunday terrorist attacks on April 21, 2019.

Former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa issued a gazette notification in April 2021 banning these five organisations along with six others under the Prevention of Terrorism Act.

The ban on the five organisations is being lifted in line with recommendations by a committee comprising experts from investigative and intelligence agencies after a probe lasting more than a year, and following talks between representatives of these groups and government authorities.

The ban on five groups was lifted considering the current peaceful situation in the country, subjected to conditions with the aim of religious reconciliation.

Accordingly, the ban on the following Islamic organisations will be lifted subject to strict conditions: Jamiyath ul Ansaari Sunnath ul Mohomadiya (JASM), Sri Lanka Tawheed Jamma’ath (SLTJ), All Ceylon Thawheed Jamma’ath (ACTJ), Ceylon Thawheed Jamma’ath (CTJ) and United Thawheed Jamma’ath (UTJ).

Nevertheless, the expert committee has recommended that even after the ban is lifted, authorities should keep a close watch on the activities of these organisations, their funding and education programmes.

If there is any kind of threat to the national security from these organizations in the future, the committee has recommended to strictly implement the law and reimpose the ban.(DSB)


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 Iran's Morality Police Returns To Street To Enforce Islamic Dress Code

16 JUL 2023

Around 10 months after 22-year-old Mahsa Amini's death in Iran's morality police's custody triggered month of nationwide protests, the morality police personnel are back on the streets in a new campaign to enforce the Islamic dress code.

The protests raged on for months in which women participated in large numbers. Women often publicly tore off their Islamic head covering called hijabs, cut their hair publicly, and burnt their hijabs in defiance of the Iranian regime. The protests, however, largely died down earlier this year after severe crackdown by the Iranian authorities that saw over 500 protesters being killed and around 20,000 being detained.

Despite the protests dying down, several incidents of women going about their lives without hijabs and defying the Iranian dress code that requires women to wear hijabs publicly have surfaced.

Gen Saeed Montazerolmahdi, a police spokesman, on Sunday said the morality police would resume notifying and then detaining women not wearing hijab in public, reported the Associated Press, adding that in Tehran, the men and women of the morality police could be seen patrolling the streets in marked vans.

Hijab was imposed as a mandatory part of women's clothing by the Iranian regime after the Islamic Revolution of 1979. As per the Iranian dress code, women are required to wear cover their heads with hijab in public. They are also not supposed to wear tight, form-fitting clothing or one that's revealing. The mingling of men and women in public is also regulated. The Iranian regime does this in the name of a strict interpretation of Islamic law called Sharia.

These changes were introduced after 1979 when the hardline Islamic clergy overthrew the liberal, pro-Western Iranian monarchy. For decades under the Iranian monarchy until 1979, women were free to wear or not wear hijab. Photos from the period show women in skirts and swimsuits as well.

Al Jazeera cited Montazerolmahdi as saying that the morality police would "issue warnings and then introduce to the judicial system people who unfortunately insist on their norm-breaking behaviour without concern for the consequences of their covering that is outside of the norm".

The protests that began after Amini's death last year turned into the biggest challenge to the Iranian regime. Amini, an ethnic Kurd, was out with her brother when she was detained by the morality force for an alleged violation of the Islamic dress code. She later died from alleged custodial torture.

"The battle over the hijab became a powerful rallying cry last fall, with women playing a leading role in the protests. The demonstrations quickly escalated into calls for the overthrow of Iran's clerical rulers, whom the mostly young protesters accuse of being corrupt, repressive and out of touch. Iran's government blamed the protests on a foreign conspiracy, without providing evidence," reported AP.

Al Jazeera reported that the authorities have been deploying surveillance in recent months to crack down on defiance of the law. Over the past several months, several women have taken to going about their lives bare-headed in individual acts of dissent against the Iranian regime.

"Businesses have also been increasingly targeted, with many cafes, restaurants and even sprawling shopping centres facing closures for offering services to women with loose hijabs," reported Al Jazeera.

Besides thousands of common folk, several prominent Iranians, including actors and sportspersons, joined the protests and "Women, Life, Freedom" became the rallying call of their protests.

"Several Iranian actresses were detained after appearing in public without the hijab or expressing support for the protests. In the most recent case, actress AzadehSamadi was barred from social media and ordered by a court to seek psychological treatment for 'antisocial personality disorder' after appearing at a funeral two months ago wearing a cap on her head," reported AP.

Earlier, several sportspersons had defined the hijab law or had expressed solidarity with the protesters.

Reuters reported that top Iranian chess player Sara Khadem had to move to Europe after competing in a tournament abroad without hijab.

Similarly, Iranian chess player AtousaPourkashiyan also competed abroad without a hijab.

In October, Iranian competitive climber ElnazRekabi competed without a hijab in South Korea.

In November, an Iranian basketball team shared a photo without hijab with a caption “Women, Life, Freedom”.

In November, Iranian skater Niloufar Mardani received an award in Turkey without her hijab.

More recently, in February, Iranian singer ShervinHajipour was awarded the Best Song For Social Change award at the 2023 Grammy Awards. He won the award for his song Baraye, which was listened by over 40 million people in less than two days, according to the Grammy website.

Hajipour's song Baraye became the unofficial anthem of the Iranian women-led protests following Amini's death in September last year. US First Lady Jill Biden announced the him as the winner. Announcing the award, she called the song "a powerful and poetic call for freedom and women's right".

She said, "This song became the anthem of Mahsa Amini protests, a powerful and poetic call for women's rights...Shervin was arrested but this song continues to resonate around the world with its powerful theme — women, life, freedom."

In May, Iranian-American model MahlaghaJaberi in May wore a dress with a noose collar to the Cannes Film Festival to bring attention to executions in Iran.

In a post on Instagram, she said, "We wanted to make a fashion statement to observe the glamour of Cannes, but more importantly, to bring media attention to the wrongful executions of Iranian people. Unfortunately, political statements are not allowed at the film festival and the security stopped me from showing the back of my dress, but the 'noose' meaning was well understood."


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 Anwar: Never have I used my powers as PM to betray Malays, Islam


Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim delivers his closing speech at the Penang-level Malaysia Madani seminar in Kepala Batas July 16, 2023. — Bernama pic


Sunday, 16 Jul 2023

KEPALA BATAS, July 16 — Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said he has never used his authority as Prime Minister to betray the Malays and Islam.

Anwar also said that he had never belittled the Malays and Islam just because he was backing Chow KonYeow as the Penang Chief Minister.

“For eight months I have been asking in Parliament, what have I done to betray the Malays and Islam? Is it because I support the Penang Chief Minister? I am not betraying, I am just accepting political realities. I want peace in the country.

“In all the other states, the Malays and Muslims are holding very important positions such as the Yang di-PertuanAgong, Finance Minister, Chief Justice, Attorney General, Bank Negara Governor,” he said in his closing speech at the Penang-level Malaysia Madani seminar here today.

Also present were Chow, Deputy Chief Minister 1 Datuk Zakiyuddin Abdul Rahman, Deputy Chief Minister II Prof Dr P Ramasamy and Penang state secretary Datuk MohdSayuthi Bakar.

Anwar also advised the people not to allow racial enmity to jeopardise the country’s peace and harmony.

“I went through many years of ups and downs, if I am seen as not doing enough, I will fix this in due time. I am not saying that when Anwar becomes Prime Minister, everything will be perfect... no, there will be issues.

“But I am not ready to compromise when it comes to stealing the country’s wealth and allowing corruption to thrive in our country,” he said. — Bernama


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A63-Year-Old BJP And RSS Leader, Mistaken To Be A Muslim, Attacked By Kanwariyas

July 16, 2023

A63-year-old BJP and RSS leader was manhandled and his car vandalized by a group of Kanwariyas in Haridwar who mistook him to be a Muslim.

“My car accidentally hit a ‘Kanwar’ (vessel in which holy water is carried) and those who assaulted me thought I was a Muslim since I was wearing a black cap, have a beard and a burqa-clad woman was accompanying me,” he said.

A widely shared video of the incident, which took place on July 10, purportedly shows the Kanwariyas forcibly pulling the car owner, Pratap Singh, out of the vehicle before overturning the vehicle and hitting it with sticks.

The woman in the car, was a member of the BJP’s local minority wing.

“They let the woman go, but tried to manhandle me,” he said.

A section of the media and social media users claimed that Kanwariyas had assaulted a “Muslim couple”, the Haridwar police claimed there was no communal angle to the incident.

An FIR was registered in connection with the incident under sections 147 (rioting), 148 (rioting, armed with a deadly weapon), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), and 427 (mischief causing damage) of the IPC at Manglaur police station, and two persons have been arrested.

Another FIR was registered under IPC section 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc, and doing acts prejudicial to the maintenance of harmony) against those allegedly trying to spread fake information and causing communal tension.

Singh said he was helping the woman drop her son at a madrasa and was returning when the incident took place.

“On the way, we decided to have lunch and parked my car on the side of the road. When I parked, there was nothing there, but by the time I came back, someone had placed a kanwar right in front of the car,” Singh said.

“When I started the car, it accidentally hit the kanwar, after which a mob gathered and tried to pull me out, calling me a Muslim and asking others to beat me up,” he alleged.

He tried to tell the attackers that he is a Hindu and a member of the BJP and RSS, but they did not listen and vandalised the car.

He said he later went to the local police station and submitted a complaint, after which they arrested two persons.

He said the police dropped him home, but he had lost his phone which was in his car.

Haridwar SSP Ajai Singh said: “A few days ago, local resident Pratap Singh was in his car in Manglaur town, and he accidentally hit a kanwar placed (on the road), causing it to be damaged. Following an altercation, some agitated Kanwariyas vandalised his car and overturned it.”

Singh said he has been an RSS member since 1974, and was a member of the BJP between 1991 and 2002, and again since 2017.

“No one from the RSS or the BJP had called me to enquire about the incident,” he said.

The BJP’s state media in-charge Manveer Chauhan, and the party’s Haridwar district president Sandeep Goyal said they did not know of any incident involving an altercation between Kanwariyas and any member of the BJP.


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Imam Arrested For Offering 'Namaz' On Road Outside A Mosque In UP; 25 Others Booked

JUL 16 2023

An imam has been arrested for allegedly offering 'Namaz' (prayers) on the road outside a mosque here, police said on Sunday.

They said an FIR has also been registered against 25 others after a video of them offering the Friday prayers on the road went viral.

"Maulana Naseem, imam of Rehman mosque, has been arrested under IPC section 341 (wrongful restraint)," Additional SP Ayush Vikram Singh said.

He said the police is trying to identify the others with the help of the viral video.


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Mehbooba Mufti urges judiciary action against Assam CM's remarks on Muslims

Jul 16, 2023

By Press Trust of India: PDP president Mehbooba Mufti on Sunday said Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma blaming Muslims for price rise shows the utter failure of the BJP-led government to control unemployment and inflation.

The former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister added that while the judiciary took action against Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for raising questions on corruption, it should also take suo-motu notice of Sarma’s remarks.

“Assam CM blaming Muslims for crippling price rise shows BJP’s utter failure on unemployment, inflation and lack of development. Himanta Biswa is openly urging Hindus to forcibly take away even their meagre forms of livelihood — vegetable vendors and kirhana shops.

“While the judiciary took quick action against Rahul Gandhi for raising legitimate questions on corruption, what stops them from taking suo moto notice of the Assam CM’s fire stoking statementsâ€æ,” Mufti wrote on Twitter.

Responding to reporters’ questions on the high price of vegetables in Guwahati, Sarma recently said, “Vegetables are not priced so high in villages. Here, the Miya vendors charge us more. Had it been Assamese vendors selling vegetables, they would not have fleeced their own people.” “I will clear all the footpaths of Guwahati and I urge our Assamese people to come forward and start their businesses,” he had added.

Miya is originally a pejorative term used for Bengali-speaking Muslims in Assam. In recent years, activists from the community have started adopting this term in a gesture of defiance.

Opposition parties in Assam have slammed Sarma for his comments, accusing the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader of playing communal politics.


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“A meeting against UCC”: Akhilesh Yadav meets All India Muslim Personal Law Board chief

July 16, 2023

Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav on Sunday met the president of All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) Maulana Khalid Saifullah Rahmani in Uttar Pradesh’s Lucknow.

“A meeting against UCC,” Akhilesh Yadav tweeted.

After the meeting, the president of AIMPLB Maulana Khalid Saifullah Rahmani said that today he met SP National President Akhilesh Yadav and discussed the issues regarding Uniform Civil Code.

“Today we met SP national president Akhilesh Yadav and discussed many issues including Uniform Civil Code (UCC),” the AIMPLB chief said.

Earlier today, All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) targeted the Centre over the Uniform Civil Code, saying the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party was “raking up a new issue” ahead of the assembly elections in five states due later this year and Lok Sabha polls in 2024.

Article 44 of the Constitution of India says that the state shall endeavour to secure a Uniform Civil Code (UCC) throughout the territory of India.

The UCC proposes a common set of laws dealing with marriage, inheritance, adoption and other matters.

Even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a strong case for the implementation of the UCC at a recent public meeting, several leaders in the Opposition voiced opposition to the proposed legislation.

With regard to a reference sent by the Ministry of Law and Justice on June 17, 2016, the 22nd Law Commission of India examined the subject matter of the proposed Uniform Civil Code (UCC).


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Islamic State and Al-Qaeda plotting terror attacks in UK, government report to warn


Elsa Maishman

17 July 2023

Islamic State and Al-Qaeda are both plotting terror attacks in the UK, the Government is set to warn on Monday.

In an update to Contest, the UK’s counter-terrorism strategy, the Home Secretary will describe the threat of Islamist terrorism as the “most severe” in the UK, accounting for three quarters of Mi5’s time, according to The Times.

SuellaBraverman will reportedly warn that while “Islamist terrorism remains the predominant threat, terrorism is becoming increasingly unpredictable, making cases harder to detect and investigate”.

She will also say that countries including Russia are an increasing threat, and that they are using terrorism to sow division in the UK.

Extremist activity is becoming more difficult to track and investigate, she is expected to say, with the inspiration for attacks now often coming online.

There are around 800 live counter-terrorism policing investigations ongoing, and last year 169 arrests were made for terror-related offences.

Last month, the Daily Mirror reported that British Islamic State terrorists were planning a lethal attack on a public gathering.

The Iraqi Counter Terror Service revealed the plot, which they said they had informed Western authorities about.

A Whitehall source told The Times: “This is the first [report] of its kind for five years and is a comprehensive update for the UK’s response to terrorism. It’s about how the fragmentation of Islamic State and al-Qaeda is now posing a very different threat to our people, while state actors like Russia and Iran will increasingly try to capitalise on terrorism here in the UK.

“We can’t be complacent, the terrorists are morphing and we have to keep our vigilance up.”

The current UK terror threat level set by Mi5 is substantial, the third-highest of the five classifications. This means an attack is “likely”.

It was reduced in February 2022, after having been been raised to severe in November 2021.


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Finland's Islamic community demands government take concrete steps towards "zero tolerance" of racism

A group of Islamic communities and organisations in Finland have issued a joint statement calling on the government to take concrete steps towards achieving "zero tolerance" on racism.

"We call on the Finnish government and especially Prime Minister Petteri Orpo (NCP) to be more active in condemning the normalisation of open hate speech and to act to eradicate racist thinking," the statement reads.

The phrase "zero tolerance" has been much reported and discussed in Finnish media over the past week after President SauliNiinistö said the Finnish government "would be wise to adopt a clear zero-tolerance stance on racism" in response to racist and violent comments written by Finance Minister and Deputy PM RiikkaPurra (Finns) on a blog in 2008.

PM Orpo repeated the phrase during a joint press conference held with Purra last week, as the government parties moved to respond to the controversy surrounding the Finns Party leader's comments.

"In such a serious matter, nothing should be left open to interpretation," the Islamic communities' statement added.

The statement also referenced comments Purra wrote on her own blog in 2019 criticising how Muslim women dress, which the Islamic organisations described as racist, degrading and discriminatory in tone.

Purra has apologised for the comments she wrote in 2008, but has not issued an apology for the 2019 text on her own blog.

PM Orpo said he has discussed the 2019 blog post with Purra, adding that he himself would not use the same language that Purra used in the text.

The statement — which has been signed by a total of 26 Islamic communities and organisations — also cited Finland's law on freedom of religion, meaning everyone has a right to practice their own religion.


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"This includes the freedom to dress according to one's religion," the statement noted.



A new mosque and community centre has officially opened in Swansea

16 JUL 2023

A new mosque and community centre has opened in Swansea. On Friday, Sketty Mosque and Community Centre held its official inauguration ceremony. First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford presided over the event with guests such as the Lord Lieutenant, the Lord Mayor and other civil and uniformed dignitaries.

The historic Bethel United Reformed Church has been transformed into the Sketty Mosque and Community Centre. The revitalisation project was funded by £400k raised with the Swansea Muslim community in just three weeks and supplemented by a £300k Community Cohesion matching fund from the Welsh Government.

With an overall project value of approximately £1.3 million, the Sketty Mosque and Community Centre provides a space for up to 400 individuals to congregate at a time, and features the second-largest female prayer room in Wales. The facility also includes a multipurpose room capable of hosting various events for up to 120 attendees.

Read more: The Muslim hiking group walking the Welsh coastline to celebrate nature and bring people together

The mosque and community centre has been described as "monumental milestone" for the local community, and is said to be a testimony to the hard work, dedication and unity of the people in Sketty. Dr MahaboobBasha BEM is vice chair focusing on community engagement, membership and communication at the mosque and community centre.

He said he was looking forward to see how the hub can strengthen community cohesion within the Swansea community. He said: "Today was a remarkable event. It was good to see dignitaries from the Welsh Government invited to the mosque, coming to the mosque and getting to know the things happening in the mosque.

"What is important here is that the Muslim community engages greater with other diverse communities, and when I say other diverse communities, I mean the local community. 20 years ago, perhaps not many people knew what were happening in mosques. But in the last five years, there's been a remarkable change and the coronavirus pandemic opened that gateway to community cohesion and engagement with the wider community.

"We all worked together, we all needed each other. Bringing people together - especially in a time of need and working together as a team, is our vision as a mosque and community centre."


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South Asia


Russia Invites Acting FM Muttaqi to Upcoming Moscow Format on Afghanistan

July 16, 2023

According to a statement from the Ministry, the Russian envoy in Kabul briefed Muttaqi on the upcoming Moscow format meeting on Afghanistan.

The Moscow format is one of many forums on Afghanistan, which started before the Taliban took control of Kabul, and the next meeting is scheduled to be held in October.

For his part, Muttaqi thanked Russian Ambassador for the invitation and asked facilitation of Russian visas for Afghanistan nationals so that business people could travel to the country without any concerns.

The Moscow Format Consultation is a regional platform in Afghanistan; it was established in 2017 and brought together the special envoys of Russia, Afghanistan, India, Iran, China, and Pakistan.

Its duties include establishing peace, ensuring regional security, and assisting in political reconciliation between the Taliban and the Kabul administration, which was later supported by the international community. Due to its national interests and concerns in Afghanistan, particularly concerning two crucial problems, Moscow assumed the initiative in this process.

The first concern was the possible dangers posed by the escalating unrest, violence, and extremism in Afghanistan and the rest of Central Asia.

Critics also say that Afghan representatives of human rights and women’s rights advocates have been included in this meeting to express the people’s aspirations.


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Commission: 15 Members of Previous Govt Returned in Past Week

The "Commission for the Return and Communications with Former Afghan Officials and Political Figures” said that in the past week, 15 members of the previous government, including political and military figures, returned to the country.

Ahmadullah Wasiq, the commission's spokesperson, told TOLOnews that over 600 Afghans living abroad, including high-ranking officials of the previous government, have filled out forms in order to return to Afghanistan.

"So far, 605 individuals have returned to their country, of which 15 people returned in the last week alone. These figures include former ministers, governors, deputies, and members of parliament,” Wasiq said.

Meanwhile, some political figures who have returned to the country asked the current government to provide work to professionals in the country.

"The commission plan is very successful, but the government should provide work opportunities to those who come to the country based on their competence and professionalism,” said Aziz Safi, the former secretary of the Kapisa Provincial Council in the previous government.

Other political figures who have returned to the country emphasize that the Islamic Emirate should further facilitate the return of the country's citizens.

"Those who have returned to the country should be in direct contact with the relevant institutions so that they can be used in a positive way," said Amanullah Ghalib, former head of Breshna Company.

"It would be good that a constitution is made in Afghanistan and the security institutions regulate the duties under their authority, as well as if the problem of caretakers as ministers is resolved and the rights of the Afghan people are clarified. Then, every political figure in Afghanistan will feel safe and consider the government to be their own,” said Kamal Nasser Osoli, a former member of the house of representatives in the previous government.

According to the figures of the "Commission for the Return and Communications with Former Afghan Officials and Political Figures”, 605 people have returned to the country since the beginning of the commission's activity.


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Mullah Baradar opens key domestic and foreign expo in Kabul

July 16, 2023

Addressing guests at the event, Baradar noted the significance of expos in showcasing a country’s industrial and agricultural products to the public and said that governments also organize such events in order to facilitate domestic and international marketing efforts.

The Islamic Emirate has initiated a series of expos, both at home and abroad, to introduce Afghanistan’s industrial and agricultural products to the market, a statement read.

At the event, Baradar highlighted that this expo has been organized after the re-establishment of IEA rule, and is the largest one to date. Over 600 industrial and agricultural products are on display.

Baradar also said the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) expressed interest in participating in this expo, which the caretaker government deeply appreciates. Baradar emphasized that the re-establishment of IEA rule has created a secure environment, serving as a strong foundation for investment and mineral extraction throughout the country. As a result, Afghanistan has entered a new phase of recovery, he said.

He also assured Central and South Asian countries that Afghanistan offers a safe transit route for goods and in addition to other infrastructure development projects, the Islamic Emirate has started the process of reconstructing highways – including the key Salang Pass highway and the Kabul-Kandahar highway.

Baradar also spoke about the expansion of domestic businesses and the challenges faced by entrepreneurs.

He mentioned the recent establishment of Chambers of Commerce in Uruzgan and Zabul provinces to facilitate this purpose. Furthermore, he directed the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce & Investment (ACCI) to promptly establish a chamber in Baghlan province and provide necessary personnel.

Baradar extended an invitation to all Afghan and foreign investors to come and invest in Afghanistan and assured foreign investors that they would receive the same privileges as Afghan investors.

The ACCI, with the support of the government, organized this event in Kabul in the hope of promoting Afghan products, supporting national investors, fostering relationships between national and international businessmen, and engaging citizens.

The expo aims to showcase various domestic products such as agriculture, construction, handicrafts, medical devices, medicines, and other national goods. Notably, alongside domestic industrialists, industrialists from Iran, Turkmenistan, Turkey, Pakistan, and several other countries are also showcasing their products.

According to the office, this expo will run from July 16th to July 22nd.


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Nurul Islam appointed new CAG

Sun Jul 16, 2023

The government has appointed Md Nurul Islam as the new Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of Bangladesh.

Islam, who is currently serving as the Controller General of Accounts (CGA), will serve as the CAG for the next five years, according to a circular of the government issued on July 13.

He will replace Mohammad Muslim Chowdhury, whose tenure ends today.

Islam, who worked in various capacities at the Audit and Accounts Department, joined as the CGA on January 31, 2021.

Previously, he served as the controller general of defence finance, additional director-general (Finance) at the office of the Additional Director General (Finance), senior finance controller (Army) at the Dhaka cantonment, and additional controller general for accounts at the office of the Controller General of Accounts.

Islam joined the Bangladesh Civil Service in December 1989 as an audit and accounts cadre of the 8th batch.


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Iran Deports Nearly 5,000 Afghan Migrants

July 17, 2023

Nearly 5,000 Afghan migrants have been deported within 24 hours through the Milak border crossing in Sistan and Baluchistan province.

According to an Iranian border commander, 4,767 “illegal” Afghan immigrants have reportedly been sent back to Afghanistan at the Milak border crossing in the province of Sistan and Baluchistan in the past 24 hours.

Immigration officials cited “illegal entry, stay, and passport expiration” as the main reasons for deporting the migrants.

According to ParvizGhasemzada, Iran’s border commander for the area, Foreigners must enter, remain and leave Iran legally, Tasnim News Agency reported.

He warned that anyone trying to enter Iran illegally would be turned over to the authorities and deported from the country.

He added, “Combating the illegal residence of unauthorized foreigners in Sistan and Baluchistan is seriously on the agenda.”

Khorasan Razavi, general director of Iran’s foreign national and immigrant affairs, reportedly said that more than 90,000 Afghans had returned home over the DogharunTaybad border this year.

Since the return of the Taliban in August 2021, around 3.6 million Afghans left their country, with 70 per cent of them travelling to Iran.

Most migrants leave the country due to prosecution, lack of job opportunities, economic crisis, and security threats.


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Iran Reiterates Its Water Rights, Says It Will not ‘Compromise’

July 17, 2023

Ali Akbar Mehrabian, Iran’s minister of energy, said that Iran would not compromise on its water rights to the Helmand River.

Mehrabian said on Saturday, “Despite the fact that our water share has not been given, we are taking necessary measures to supply water to the people.”

Earlier, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian said he discussed the disputed water resource with his Afghan counterpart Amir Khan Muttaqi.

He said both sides agreed to take immediate action based on the 1973 agreement, and Afghanistan is committed to Iran’s water rights.

Since the Taliban took control of the country, Iran has undertaken several rounds of negotiations with the Taliban authorities. At the same time, Iran criticized Afghanistan for not complying with the terms of the agreement.

The Helmand River originates in the Hindu Kush Mountains close to Kabul and flows through Afghanistan before entering Iran’s Hamoun wetlands in Sistan-Baluchistan province. One of the largest wetlands in the world, Lake Hamoun, once stretched across 4,000 square kilometres between Iran and Afghanistan.

The main source of conflict for years has been the river, which is essential to Afghanistan and Iran’s ability to produce food and provide clean water.

Due to four decades of unrest in Afghanistan, the treaty was never enacted. As a result, all the rivers, including Helmand, flow to the neighbouring countries.

According to figures from the previous administration’s Ministry of Water and Energy, Afghanistan currently only consumes 20% of its available water resources, with the remaining 80% flows to its neighbours, including Iran and Pakistan.


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Jihad praises heroic operation of Tuqu', considers it natural response to enemy's crimes


GAZA July 16. 2023 (Saba) - The Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine on Sunday blessed the heroic operation carried out by the Palestinian resistance at Tuqu' military checkpoint in Bethlehem province.

In a statement reported by Palestine Today news agency, movement's spokesman Tariq Selmi,considered that the heroic operation carried out by the resistance at Tuqu' military checkpoint in Bethlehem came as a natural and legitimate response to the crimes of the Zionist enemy army and settlers and their incursions into the blessed al-Aqsa Mosque.

Selmi praised the performance of the resistance and the courage of the fighters and their determination to fight and confront the occupation.

The media of the Zionist enemy had announced that three settlers have been injured, including a serious condition, in the shooting at the Tuqu' checkpoint near Bethlehem.


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Groups of Israeli Settlers Invade Al-Aqsa Mosque

 17 July, 2023

A group of Israeli settlers, accompanied by Israeli occupation forces IOF, invaded the courtyards of Al-Aqsa Mosque through the Al-Maghariba gate, on Monday, July 10, 2023.

The Department of Islamic Endowments in occupied Jerusalem confirmed that a significant number of Israeli settlers conducted provocative rituals in the courtyards of Al-Aqsa Mosque under the protection of IOF.

The Israeli settlers’ raids onto the holy site have become a growing concern. The settlers frequently perform Talmudic rituals, which are viewed by the Muslim Palestinian community as provocative and an infringement upon the sanctity of the site.

In addition, the repeated incursions into the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound are seen as deliberate attempts to establish a temporal and spatial division within the sacred grounds.

However, such a proposal is vehemently rejected and condemned by the Muslim Palestinian community, as it threatens the unity and integrity of the site.

Recent reports in June have brought to light a proposed Israeli plan to divide the Al-Aqsa Mosque between Jews and Muslims, intensifying tensions and exacerbating existing concerns.

These developments have spurred Palestinians in occupied Jerusalem to amplify their calls for mobilization at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, aiming to counter the planned mass incursions by Israeli settlers and protect the sanctity of the holy site.

Based on the report from the Jerusalem-based “Al-Qastal” news network, a significant number of around 4,000 Israeli settlers invaded the Al-Aqsa Mosque during the month of June 2023.


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Israeli Foreign Minister Holds Meeting with Leader of Unnamed Islamic Country in Kenya


Shafaq News/ Israeli media reported that Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen met with the leader of an Islamic country that does not currently maintain diplomatic relations with Israel.

The meeting took place during Cohen's official visit to Nairobi, Kenya, following an invitation from Kenyan President William Ruto and Foreign Minister Alfred NgangaMutua, coinciding with the semi-annual meeting of the Organization of the African Union.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry confirmed that Cohen engaged in discussions with African officials, although their identities were not disclosed. The purpose of these talks was stated as an effort to expand the circle of countries normalizing relations with Israel.

The ministry further stated that contacts are ongoing for normalization with several African nations, including Niger, Mali, and Mauritania.

During his meeting with Mutua, Cohen focused on strengthening relations between Israel, Kenya, and the broader African continent, emphasizing the desire to expand the circle of peace with other nations.

Cohen highlighted the potential for enhancing economic cooperation, particularly in cyber defense and increased flights between Israel and Kenya during the tourism season.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry emphasized Kenya's crucial role as a central ally in East Africa, contributing to the expansion of peace, normalization, and Israel's status as an observer in the African Union.

Cohen also stressed the regional and strategic significance of his political visit to Kenya in light of Iran's efforts to extend its influence on the continent. Kenya's membership in the International Atomic Energy Agency positions it to influence international monitoring of Iranian nuclear program violations.

Cohen expressed gratitude to President Ruto and Foreign Minister Mutua for their efforts to advance Israel's position on the continent and to open doors to countries that have not yet established diplomatic relations with Israel to promote closer ties.


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Diriyah launches mosque design contest for young Saudi architects

The Diriyah Company today (July 16) kicked off a Local Mosque Design Competition in Diriyah, the Saudi City of Earth, for young Saudi architects offering them a unique opportunity to showcase their skills and contribute to the architectural landscape of the city, reported SPA.

Scheduled to run until December 31, 2023, this landmark competition invites participants to design two identical mosques constructed in two locations within the Diriyah.

Beyond serving the local community and visitors, the mosques will also represent Diriyah's rich cultural, architectural heritage and the region's significance.

The competition is part of Diriyah Company's commitment to promoting Najdi architecture and fostering community engagement through the development of Diriyah.

Diriyah Company said as per the rules, the architects will have to construct these mosques using traditional Najdi construction techniques and materials.

It will be open exclusively to Saudi architecture students in their junior and senior years of an accredited architecture programme, who can participate individually or in a group of three to five members.

Diriyah Company said it is encouraging participants to incorporate sustainable building practices into their designs. By integrating elements of sustainability, the competition aims to raise awareness and inspire innovative solutions for eco-friendly architecture.

It also encourages the kingdom's future architects to explore new solutions to transform Diriyah into a destination actively dedicated to sustainable practices.

Aspiring participants can access comprehensive information, including eligibility criteria and submission guidelines, on the competition's dedicated website, where they can also register and submit their entries.

The submission process will involve a review by a specialized committee of the Diriyah Company, aiming to identify the top 10 entries that best encapsulate the spirit of Diriyah. The shortlisted participants will then present their completed plans to a panel of experts from the architectural, construction and design industries, said the SPA report.

The judges will determine three winning entries and present each of the winners with a cash prize, acknowledging their work and contribution to Diriyah, it stated.

Diriyah Company said engaging the Saudi youth in the development of  'City of Earth' is a key objective for the company.

The competition will foster the talents of future architects and seeks to create a sense of ownership and a sense of pride within the community. Through this initiative, Diriyah Company aims to forge a deeper connection between Diriyah's cultural heritage and the aspirations of the kingdom's youth, it added.

The registeration for the Local Mosque Competition will run until July 25.


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Grand Imam of Al-Azhar congratulates graduates of Emerging Peacemakers Forum 2023

Sun 16-07-2023

GENEVA, 16th July, 2023 (WAM) -- His Eminence Dr. Ahmed Al Tayeb, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar and the Chairman of the Muslim Council of Elders, has issued a congratulatory message to the graduates of the second edition of the Emerging Peacemakers Forum, which was organised by the Muslim Council of Elders in partnership with the World Council of Churches and the Rose Castle Foundation, and which took place in Geneva from 6th to 14th July.

His Eminence called upon the young graduates to practically apply what they have learned at the forum and to carry the banner of peace and spread it among their peers and community. The Grand Imam also emphasised the importance of the participants' constructive efforts and initiatives to serve as role models, in order to overcome contemporary challenges facing the world.

The Grand Imam of Al-Azhar affirmed that the hope for a better future for humanity rests upon the youth, stressing his firm belief in the importance of empowering them within societies, harnessing their potential for the benefit of nations and humanity at large, and creating opportunities for their positive engagement and the realisation of their aspirations and dreams for a world characterised by fraternity, understanding, and coexistence.

His Eminence expressed his appreciation for the efforts of the Secretary-General of the Muslim Council of Elders Judge Mohamed Abdelsalam for the various initiatives and projects undertaken by the Council to help the youth further understand various global issues, enhance their capabilities to face contemporary challenges, and establish youth entities capable of promoting peace and disseminating the values of dialogue, peace, coexistence, respect, acceptance of others, and rejection of racism, prejudice, and discrimination.

He also extended his appreciation to the partners involved in organising the Emerging Peacemakers Forum, including the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Justin Welby, the World Council of Churches and its General Secretary, Reverend Dr. Jerry Pillai, and the Rose Castle Foundation represented by Cannon Sarah Snyder and all youth organisers.


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The Al-Omari Mosque: A Witness to Gaza’s History and Heritage

16 July, 2023

Gaza City, one of the oldest and most densely populated cities in the world, is home to a remarkable architectural treasure: the Al-Omari Mosque. This ancient mosque, which covers an area of 4100 square meters, is not only a place of worship for Muslims, but also a living testimony to the rich and diverse history of Gaza and its people.

The mosque stands on the ruins of a Roman temple, where the people of Gaza used to worship idols in the pre-Christian era. The temple was dedicated to Marnas, the god of rain and fertility, who was considered the patron deity of Gaza. The temple was later converted into a Byzantine church, named after the Empress Eudoxia, who sent 42 marble columns from Greece to adorn it.

However, the church was destroyed by the Persians in the 7th century AD, and soon after, Gaza was conquered by the Muslim army led by Amr ibn al-As. He built the Al-Omari Mosque on the site of the church, using some of the remaining columns. He named it after Omar ibn al-Khattab, the second caliph of Islam, who visited Gaza and prayed in the mosque.

The mosque witnessed many changes and renovations over the centuries, as Gaza was ruled by different dynasties and empires. The Crusaders turned it into a church again, called Saint John’s Church, which still exists inside the mosque as a basilica. The Mamluks restored it to a mosque and added a library that contained thousands of books and manuscripts. The Ottomans expanded it and added new features such as iwans (vaulted halls) and minarets.

The mosque survived wars and natural disasters, such as earthquakes and floods, but also suffered damages and destructions. It was restored several times by local authorities and religious figures, who preserved its original style and character. The mosque is still in use today, and it attracts visitors from all over the world who admire its beauty and history.

The Al-Omari Mosque is more than just a building; it is a symbol of Gaza’s resilience and identity. It reflects the cultural diversity and religious tolerance that have characterized Gaza throughout its history. It is a source of pride and inspiration for its people, who cherish their heritage and hope for peace.

The Legendary Philistine Roots

According to tradition, the mosque stands on the site of the Philistine temple dedicated to Dagon —the god of fertility—which Samson toppled in the Book of Judges. Later, a temple dedicated to Marnas —god of rain and grain—was erected. Local legend today claims that Samson is buried under the present mosque.

The Byzantine Church

The building was constructed in 406 AD as a large Byzantine church by Empress AeliaEudocia, although it is also possible that the church was built by Emperor Marcian. The church appeared on the 6th-century Madaba Map of the Holy Land.

The Early Muslim Mosque

The Byzantine church was transformed into a mosque in the 7th century by Omar ibn al-Khattab’s generals, in the early years of Rashidun rule. The mosque is still named “al-Omari”, in honour of Omar ibn al-Khattab who was caliph during the Muslim conquest of Palestine.

The Crusader Church

In 1149, after capturing Gaza from the Fatimids, King Baldwin III of Jerusalem turned the mosque into a church again, called Saint John’s Church. He also built a castle near it to protect it from Muslim attacks. The church was decorated with Gothic elements and had three naves separated by columns.

The Mamluk Mosque

In 1187, after defeating the Crusaders at Hattin, Salah al-Din (Saladin) recaptured Gaza and restored it to a mosque. However, it was not until 1260 that his successors, the Mamluks, rebuilt it completely after it was destroyed by the Mongols. They added a library that contained thousands of books and manuscripts on various subjects such as religion, history, medicine, astronomy and poetry.

The Ottoman Mosque

In 1516, Gaza became part of the Ottoman Empire, which ruled it for four centuries. During this period, the mosque was expanded and renovated several times by different governors and sultans. They added new features such as iwans (vaulted halls), minarets, domes, fountains and courtyards. They also embellished it with tiles, inscriptions and paintings.

The Modern Mosque

In 1917, during World War I, British forces bombarded Gaza and damaged parts of the mosque. In 1925, under British Mandate rule, the Supreme Muslim Council restored it with the help of donations from the local community. In 1948, after the establishment of Israel, Gaza came under Egyptian administration, which also contributed to the maintenance of the mosque. In 1967, after the Six-Day War, Gaza was occupied by Israel, which imposed restrictions on the access and use of the mosque. In 1994, after the Oslo Accords, Gaza was transferred to the Palestinian Authority, which took over the responsibility of preserving and managing the mosque. In 2007, after Hamas seized control of Gaza, the mosque was affected by the Israeli blockade and siege, which limited its supplies and services.

The Future Mosque

Despite the challenges and hardships that Gaza faces, the Al-Omari Mosque remains a beacon of hope and faith for its people. It continues to serve as a place of worship, education and socialization for Muslims. It also welcomes visitors from other faiths and backgrounds who wish to learn about its history and culture. It is hoped that one day, the mosque will witness the end of the conflict and the dawn of peace in Gaza and beyond.


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Jerusalem: Israeli Settlers Seize Sab Laban Family’s Home Near Al-Aqsa Mosque

16 July, 2023

Israeli settlers have forcefully taken control of the residence belonging to the Sab Laban family, situated in the Old City of Jerusalem and overlooking Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Israeli occupation forces IOF provided protection for settlers to take over the home, depriving the Palestinian family of their home that has been in their possession for over 70 years.

This distressing development adds to the long history of attempts by Israeli settlers to displace the Sab Laban family from their property since the Israeli occupation of Jerusalem in 1967.

In a deeply controversial move, the Israeli Supreme Court ruled in 2021 in favor of the settlers, ordering the eviction of the family and the transfer of the property to them.

The Sab Laban is one among several Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah facing the threat of eviction, igniting local and international support for their struggle against forced displacement in East Jerusalem.

Despite the family’s relentless efforts to protect their home, the settlers ultimately succeeded in seizing the property, triggering widespread protests denouncing the injustice and condemning the settlers as thieves.


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Southeast Asia



KL High Court frees former radio DJ Ismahalil of drug trafficking charge

Monday, 17 Jul 2023

KUALA LUMPUR, July 17 — Former radio presenter Ismahalil Hamzah wept and performed the ‘sujud syukur’ or prostration of gratitude after the High Court today acquitted and discharged him of a drug trafficking charge.

Judge Datuk Muhammad Jamil Hussin made the ruling after finding that the defence had succeeded in raising reasonable doubt at the end of the defence case.

“The prosecution failed to prove that the accused (Ismahalil) had control and possession of drugs in a bag that was in a room in his rented house.

“The prosecution also failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt on its case that the accused had trafficked the drugs,” said the judge.

Ismahalil, 50, had pleaded not guilty to a charge of trafficking cannabis weighing an estimated 374.6g at a house in JalanSemarak, WangsaMaju here, at 5.35pm on August 27, 2021.

Ismahalil was charged under Section 39B(1)(A) of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 and punishable under Section 39B(2) of the same act which provides the death penalty, if found guilty.

In his judgement, Muhammad Jamil said the fourth prosecution witness (investigating officer) did not investigate who had access to a room in the rental house and did not know that the room was the room of radio presenters.

“I accepted the accused’s testimony that the room was accessible to other radio presenters, crew and guests of Bapakku FM (which operates in the house). The testimony of the accused was supported by the testimony of four defence witnesses.

“It is not only the accused who has access to the room but other individuals also have access to the room. So, it is not only the accused who has custody and control over the drugs found in the room, other individuals also have custody and control over the drugs in the room,” he said.

According to Muhammad Jamil, the fifth prosecution witness (police officer) also confirmed that there were no personal belongings of the accused in the bag containing drugs and there was no evidence to show that the bag had anything to do with the accused.

“The defence and the testimony of four defence witnesses have raised reasonable doubts regarding the custody and control of the accused over the drugs,” he said.

At today’s proceedings, deputy public prosecutor Noor Dayana Mohamad prosecuted, while Ismahalil was represented by lawyers Datuk Ahmad ZaharilMuhaiyar and AdiZulkarnainZulkafli. — Bernama


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Muslim travel intent trends up, hitting record high

17 July, 2023

Throughout the survey periods, the MTIT scores have demonstrated a positive upward trend. The initial round of monthly surveys conducted from August 2021 to January 2022 revealed a gradual increase in travel intent, with scores ranging from 65.7 to 77.7. Notably, December 2021 recorded the highest score of 77.7, indicating a growing desire among respondents to engage in travel activities during the latter months.

The subsequent period from February 2023 to July 2023 showcased even higher MTIT scores, ranging from 71.2 to 82.7. The surge in travel intent during June and July, represented by the July 2023 score of 82.7, signifies a huge increase in the willingness to travel among Muslim consumers. These findings underline a positive shift in travel behavior post-pandemic and present promising prospects for the travel industry, particularly within the Muslim travel market.

The MTIT survey responses provide a comprehensive understanding of travel intent across different time frames. Notably, the intent to travel in the current month ranged from 40.5% to 62.2%, with December 2021 exhibiting the highest percentage. The intent percentages for the subsequent time frames, such as one month up to 3 months and three months up to 6 months, ranged from 11.1% to 24.7% and 6.0% to 21.4%, respectively. The respondents displayed a steady interest in future travel plans, highlighting the evolving preferences of Muslim travelers.

Additionally, the survey responses shed light on the destination preferences of Muslim travelers. Saudi Arabia emerged as a prominent choice, reflecting the strong desire to perform Hajj and Umrah, as witnessed by the increased numbers in 2022. Other destinations mentioned frequently include the UK, Spain, Japan, the US, Australia, and Canada.

The MTIT serves as a valuable tool for industry stakeholders, offering insights into the evolving needs and preferences of Muslim travelers. By tracking and publishing the MTIT score on a monthly basis, HalalTrip aims to keep industry professionals informed about current trends, anticipate future demand, and identify growth opportunities in the Muslim travel market.


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Arab World


Saudi students compete in prestigious chemistry Olympiad

July 16, 2023

JEDDAH: A Saudi team is participating in the International Chemistry Olympiad, which is being held in Switzerland from July 16-25.

The team is participating with the support of the Saudi Education Ministry and the King Abdulaziz and His Companions Foundation for Giftedness and Creativity, known as Mawhiba.

On Sunday, the team embarked on its journey with the aim of achieving success and recognition while representing the Kingdom on a global platform.

Saudi Arabia has accumulated a commendable track record in previous editions of the Olympiad, securing 10 silver medals, 25 bronze medals and two certificates of appreciation.

This year, the Saudi team’s participation is also intended to familiarize members with the organizational aspects of the event in preparation for hosting it next year.

Following the Olympiad’s conclusion, the Kingdom will receive the flag symbolizing its role as host of the 56th edition, scheduled to take place in Riyadh from July 22 to Aug. 1, 2024.

Badr Al-Majrathi, manager of the Competitions Department at Mawhiba, said the Saudi team went through a rigorous journey of training and qualification through forums and camps.

These activities were conducted under the guidance of a team of Saudi and international coaches, with the aim of competing for top positions and securing prizes at the competition. A recent training camp took place in Budapest, Hungary.

The Olympiad is an annual competition for high school students that occurs at the end of the academic year and spans 10 days.

It consists of two exams — one theoretical and one practical — each lasting five hours. The host country is responsible for organizing and preparing the questions.

Each participating country forms a team of up to four students, with participants being under the age of 20 and not yet enrolled in university.

The Olympiad’s primary goals are to foster communication and collaboration among students, and facilitate the exchange of educational and scientific experiences between nations.

The concept originated in Czechoslovakia in 1968, when chemistry Olympiads were integrated into the secondary education system across Soviet bloc countries. Initially, only countries from the bloc were invited to participate.


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Training program targets Saudi entertainment entrepreneurs

July 16, 2023

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s General Entertainment Authority has opened registration for the second Entertainment Business Accelerator, which will run from July 24 until the end of October.

The program will cater to entrepreneurs with emerging projects in the entertainment industry.

It will offer developmental benefits to many sectors in the entertainment industry such as technical solutions, support services, event organization, facility operations and development of artistic talents in the Kingdom.

The accelerator program involves three phases, beginning with registration, which closes on July 20. The second phase is a training camp from July 24 to July 26.

The third phase is the launch of the accelerator on Aug. 3, which will conclude at the end of October.

Selected trainees will be enrolled in a specialized training program instructed by a group of professionals in the entertainment sector.

According to a report by the Saudi Press Agency, the accelerator will include training camps, orientation sessions, consulting services and workshops to help increase the effectiveness of investment in the entertainment industry.

In the first launch, the authority saw the registration of 260 projects, of which 60 qualified for the initial interviews. In the next stage, 22 projects were nominated for presentation to the jury. The process concluded with the approval of 14 projects.

Those interested in taking part in the Entertainment Business Accelerator can register at


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Video goes viral after Saudis add Ronaldo’s ‘Siuu’ move to traditional dance

July 16, 2023

MAKKAH: Revellers in Taif who combined international footballer Cristiano Ronaldo’s well-known “Siuu” goal celebration with a traditional dance known as “majroor” have seen the resulting video go viral on social media.

One of the organizers, Fahd Al-Qurashi, also known as Sawt Al-Hejaz (the Voice of Hejaz), told Arab News that the group was honoring a member of the tribe in Taif who had received recognition for service to the nation.

After dinner, they decided to revive Taif’s heritage, the majroor dance, with its beautiful movements, and energetic and melodic musical rhythms, he said.

“Some performers decided to conclude the final moves of the performance, known as Al-Qafla, in the style of Saudi Arabia’s Al-Nassr football player Ronaldo, and his ‘Siuu’ celebration.

“As a singer of this art form, I found that the rhythm of Al-Qafla is quite similar to Ronaldo’s celebration. So, we decided to merge them, especially since it was an intimate celebration within the tribe with no external guests.”

Al-Qurashi expressed surprise at people’s reaction, saying that the video went viral not only in the Kingdom but also internationally, with some clips gaining millions of views.

He said nobody expected that a small and simple celebration in Taif would reach people around the world, and generate such interest in the combination of folkloric dance and the signature celebration of one football’s greatest players.

Taif is home to various authentic folk arts, including majroor, which is characterized by unique rhythms that have made it highly popular in the Makkah region as well.

“The people of Taif have excelled in this art, and the name of majroor has become closely associated with them to the point where some of its melodies are now referred to as the ‘Taifimajroor.’ It is one of the ancient arts in the Arabian Peninsula,” Al-Qurashi said.

Another performer, Safwan Al-Qurashi, said that the idea behind the video was innovative and unconventional.

“The majroor is one of the most important folk arts in Taif, where two rows face each other and sing a poetic verse to the beat of the drum, harmoniously creating a special artistic performance distinct from other folk arts,” he said.

“It has become a tradition for any occasion or festival in Taif to feature the majroor dance.”


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Kishida aide describes PM’s visit as ‘precious opportunity’ to deepen Saudi-Japan ties

July 16, 2023

JEDDAH: Japan hopes a visit by its prime minister to Saudi Arabia will help accelerate bilateral cooperation in several fields, Noriyuki Shikata, Cabinet secretary for public affairs to the prime minister of Japan, told Arab News Japan on Sunday.

Shikata also said he is aware of the reforms happening in Saudi Arabia, which has recently surpassed Japan when it comes to closing the gender gap, according to recent figures released by the World Economic Forum.

Japan is aware of its need to do more with regards to gender equality, Shikata said, adding that the two countries can learn from each other.

“As Saudi Arabia introduces new policy measures related to gender equality, we can learn from each other,” he said.

Shikata’s comments came as Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida arrived in Jeddah on Sunday afternoon.

He was joined by a Japanese delegation of businesspeople, ready to explore a Saudi Arabia brimming with investment and cooperation opportunities.

Later on Sunday, Kishida, who is on a tour of Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar, attended the Saudi-Japan Roundtable Meeting along with Saudi Minister of Investment Khalid Al-Falih.

The main objective of the event was to strengthen economic and investment ties between Saudi Arabia and Japan.

Shikata described Kishida’s visit as a “precious opportunity” to deepen ties between the two nations. “In Jeddah, Kishida is discussing how we can grow our cooperation, including in economic areas,” he said.

“Saudi Arabia has been working hard on Vision 2030 for the reform of (the) Saudi economy and diversification of its industries.”

Shikata explained that Japan has been dependent on Saudi Arabia for oil imports, but the plan is to build on it. “We wish to move on to new areas of decarbonized energy, including hydrogen or ammonia. We see Saudi Arabia as a great opportunity for producing either green or blue energy for the future,” he said.

“We are hoping this visit would accelerate exchanges between the two countries.”

According to Shikata, one of Kishida’s major topics of discussion is the transition to clean energy, a field Japan wants to further collaborate on with Saudi Arabia.

“We need to encourage growth in green energy. Some of the Japanese companies currently visiting Jeddah are looking to develop new solutions for green transition,” he said.

“We think if more Japanese people, including businesspeople, visit Saudi Arabia, they will find more opportunities for cooperation.”

Shikata said Kishida planned to propose a “global green energy hub.”

He added: “This global green energy journey could include hydrogen in the supply chain or green materials, like green steel and all that is related to the supply chain.

“We hope to reach agreements on this topic. We are hopeful Kishida is likely to propose this idea.”

Shikata believes the relationship between the Kingdom and Japan stands on the cusp of a transformation. He put it this way: Japan has been importing much of its oil from Saudi Arabia, but in 10 to 20 years’ time, the energy supply chain composition could be different.

“Since Japan is so dependent on the Kingdom for energy, we think this close partnership could be a great basis for future plans,” he said.

In terms of regional security and peace, Shikata said Japan “welcomes” the new agreement between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

“We have diplomatic ties with Iran, so when better relations emerged between the two nations, that was good news for the region,” he said

Japan has been proactive in ensuring peace and security in the region, especially with regard to the Israel-Palestine conflict.

“Japan has been trying to be constructive in the Middle East peace process and we are against any change in the status quo from any parties,” Shikata said.

“Japan has been proactive in providing humanitarian assistance to Palestinian refugees. We are hopeful that there will be peaceful settlement of issues. We wish to be supportive.”

He added that Japan is aware of Saudi Arabia’s stance on the situation, and the Asian country is “eager” to support the Kingdom’s efforts.

Japan is also engaging in some recovery projects in Yemen through the UN and hoping to promote peace there as well.

Moving on to the other geopolitical topics, Shikata pointed out that Kishida has imposed sanctions against Russia since its invasion of Ukraine in February of last year.

“Because Japan has suffered from a nuclear power-plant disaster in 2011, there has been expectation from the Ukrainian side to support recovery and reconstruction of the country after a ceasefire,” Shikata said.

As Japan and Saudi Arabia cooperate on fields such as renewable energy, Shikata told Arab News Japan that cultural developments are important as well.

“I understand that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is a big fan of anime,” he said, pointing out that the Saudi sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund, has made “investments in the entertainment industry,” one of them being “a substantial one in Nintendo.”

Elaborating on the topic, Shikata said: “Given this appreciation of Saudi people for Japanese pop culture or anime, I think there’s room for young Saudi students to come to Japan and start studying Japanese because they are interested in anime.”

He added that appreciation for the hit anime “Captain Tsubasa,” or “Captain Majid,” in the Arab world can be an opportunity for cultural exchanges.

As Saudi Arabia aims to host the World Expo in 2030, several countries have voiced their support for its bid ahead of the final vote in November.

“Saudi Arabia is a very good candidate, and we hope that at the Osaka, Kansai Expo 2025, the Saudi pavilion will be very popular,” Shikata said.

“I’m sure Saudi (Arabia) will be a very competitive candidate in terms of hosting such events.”

Kishida will travel to the UAE and Qatar to continue his first trip to the Middle East since assuming office in 2021.


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Saudi crown prince receives Japan PM in Jeddah

July 16, 2023

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman received Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida at Al-Salam Palace in Jeddah on Sunday.

An official reception ceremony was held in honour of the prime minister and the two leaders held a session of discussions.

Kishida started a three-day visit to the Middle East on Sunday and he will subsequently travel to the UAE and Qatar.

Saudi Arabia and Japan are expected to diversify their long-standing trade relations in the energy sector as both countries work together to pursue goals of common interest, Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said as Kishida’s visit got underway.


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Makkah municipality honors Chinese pilgrims

July 16, 2023

MAKKAH: Makkah municipality leaders have hailed a group of Chinese pilgrims for keeping their camps at Arafat clean and picking up trash from a tunnel during Hajj.

Honoring the worshippers at his office, the deputy mayor of Makkah, Ibrahim Al-Ghamdi, thanked the pilgrims for their efforts in helping to keep the holy sites tidy, work recorded in a video that went viral on several social media platforms.

Mahmoud Damanhori, a member of the board of directors of Mashariq Co., responsible for overseeing the Chinese pilgrims this year, lauded the China Hajj Affairs office and its officials for their exceptional organization, coordination, leadership, and cooperation with service providers.

He told Arab News: “They left a lasting impression on everyone they interacted with. Before departing from Arafat to Muzdalifah, they ensured the camp was spotless, neatly arranging the mattresses to the side and thoroughly cleaning the area they occupied in Arafat.

“Through their actions, they set a wonderful example for everyone, demonstrating their refined behavior,” he said.

Around 9,770 Chinese pilgrims performed the spiritual journey this year.

Damanhori noted that Islam promoted cleanliness and high ethical standards, and the Chinese pilgrims had adhered to the principles without being prompted.

Musa Boi Long, secretary-general of the China Hajj affairs office, thanked the CEO of Mashariq, Waheed Murad, for the services provided to the Chinese pilgrims during this year’s Hajj season.


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Saudi Islamic minister meets president of Islamic Sheikhdom of Montenegro

July 16, 2023

RIYADH: Saudi Islamic Minister Sheikh Abdullatif Al-Asheikh met with the President of the Islamic Sheikhdom and Grand Mufti of Montenegro, RifaatVizic, in Podgorica, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Sunday.

Al-Asheikh said that the Kingdom, under the leadership of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, provides great services to Muslims in various countries.

He added that the Kingdom is keen to build bridges of communication with other countries, stemming from its moral and religious duty, and relentless pursuit to serve Islam and Muslims everywhere.

Vizic thanked the Saudi government for its effort to serve Muslims around the world, particularly Muslims in Montenegro, adding that his country is keen to boost cooperation with the Kingdom and benefit from its pioneering experience.

The meeting was attended by the Saudi Ambassador to Albania, non-resident in Montenegro, Faisal bin Ghazi Hefzi.


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Saudi authorities announce new strategy for pilgrim service system

July 16, 2023

JEDDAH: Sheikh Abdurrahman Al-Sudais, head of the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques, has announced that the presidency’s service system will adopt a new strategy and modern identity.

“With the beginning of the new year 1445 AH, the presidency will witness a new strategy … enriching the experience of (pilgrims and worshippers) and … empowering young men and women in line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030,” he said in a statement.

The strategy is set to be implemented at the beginning of the new Islamic year on Wednesday, July 19, the authority said.

Al-Sudais noted the significant developments in the agency’s system of services in recent years and emphasized the need for the presidency to continue to prioritize the convenience and comfort of pilgrims.


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Proposal For Private Muslim CemeteryIn Oldham Voted Down

16 July 2023

A Conservative proposal to create a private Muslim cemetery in Oldham has been voted down following a debate in which councillors branded the motion ‘divisive’ and ‘scaremongering’.

One of the three new Tory Councillors for Hollinwood ward, Kamran Ghafoor, had moved a motion at full council on Wednesday entitled ‘Request for Land to build a Muslim Cemetery’.

It called on the council to ask the chief executive to identify land in the borough to be used as graveyard for Muslims and that this be donated to the Oldham Muslim Cemetery Committee.

However, leading Labour councillors, including council leader Arooj Shah, said the motion was causing needless anxiety within Oldham’s Muslim community as the existing cemeteries – including Chadderton which contains a Muslim section – had enough capacity for the next five years.

Addressing councillors, Councillor Ghafoor said a dedicated cemetery would also address other issues, such as delays to burials which went against Islamic principles under which a person needed to be buried as soon as possible.

He told the meeting it was of ‘utmost importance to the community and reflects the values of inclusivity, diversity and respect’.

“We propose that a voluntary charitable organisation take over the running of its own cemetery,” he said.

“The reasoning behind this is simple – for the Muslim community to be able to bury their loved ones in the Islamic way.

“When a loved one passes it is the intention of every Muslim to bury them as soon as possible.

"If this charitable organisation that I propose that runs the new cemetery had control of the burials we could bury until the late evening, this is a real issue that we face here today.”

The motion was seconded by Saddleworth North councillor Pam Byrne, who said she had spoken to people and carried research into the issue, which convinced her to support it.

“This motion covers more than just burials, but certain rights such as burials within 24 hours,” she added.

“We cannot deny considerations at the end of life for 25 pc of our Oldham residents.

“That their end is with dignity and expectation of burial according to their faith.

"I expect that as a forward-thinking borough in these matters we have some plans  for the next 50 years and hope that the proposals in this motion can be considered.”

An amendment was tabled by independent councillor Marc Hince, who represents Shaw ward, which wanted to change the motion to state that the council would commit to finding a new plot of land for a cemetery for residents of all faiths, with provision for Muslim sections in all existing council-run cemeteries.

He said: “Everybody knows Oldham’s biggest ongoing challenge is community cohesion, bringing communities together despite their religion, creed or sex.

“I believe that at the very least in death, the divisiveness that existed in our lives no longer hung over us as anyone who existed in this town could be buried at any one of the borough’s seven existing cemeteries as equals irrespective of the religious or non-religious path they choose.”

“If we continue on this dangerous path we might as well build a wall across the town and have done with it,” he added.

However, his comments during the meeting also courted controversy, as he alleged the motion was more about ‘making profit’ than religion.

Seconding the amendment, Failsworth Independent Party leader CounHobin said: “To me the very idea of this is divisive,” he says.

“This really smacks of dealing with one part of the community to the detriment of others.

"We’re all struggling for land, we’re all struggling to bury our dead.

“It’s not of the rule of this council to be providing land or to be giving charitable status to anybody doing it for a certain section of the community."

Werneth Labour CounShoab Akhtar said the motion contained ‘fundamental misinformation’ about Oldham’s cemeteries and policies.

“The council has seven cemeteries across the borough and there is capacity in all of those cemeteries for burials at present,” he added.

“We have a further five to ten years capacity in the Muslim section and that could be extended even further.

“There’s expansion opportunities not only at Chadderton but at the remaining six cemeteries as well.

"There are no restrictions of who can be buried or where at any of our sites.”

Fellow Werneth ward Coun Nyla Ibrahim (above) said it was ‘clearly an important topic’ but told the meeting she was ‘disappointed’ that it had ‘come before full council in this way’.

“There has been an attempt to scaremonger the community into thinking there is no capacity in Oldham cemeteries for Muslims,” she said.

“This is categorically not true.

“I’ve had residents reach out to me worried that if any of their family members ‘dropped dead this week’ that they would have to bury them out of the borough and away from their loved ones.

"This is just not true and our residents deserve better than this.

"They shouldn’t try and create a frenzy that makes our residents needlessly anxious.”

She added two sites for new cemeteries were being identified in Oldham’s local plan which would give another 30 years of burial capacity.

Coun Shah said: “I really do empathise with community concerns and I know members of my group have been lobbied strongly about this as it’s a really sensitive and emotive issue for people of all faiths and none.

“Asking the chief executive to identify a piece of land to donate to a group is a very, very tall order.

"The council isn’t in the business of donating land and can not commit to do so.

“The motion and the campaign around it has caused a considerable amount of tension in the community with people now worried there is no burial capacity in the borough.

"We do have a duty to tell the truth to residents and not whip up that unnecessary fear.”

She said they were speaking to different communities and faith leaders about current cemetery fees and access.

However, Coun Ghafoor responded: “We’re not scaremongering people at all. We’ve been told by the council officers that there are five years remaining.

"My residents, the people who voted for me, have asked for this.”

Following a recorded vote, the motion was defeated by a majority of councillors.


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US Sees India As ‘Indispensable Partner’ – Treasury ChiefJanet Yellen

16 Jul, 2023

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has claimed that India is a key ally under Washington’s so-called “friendshoring” strategy of relying increasingly on friendly countries for raw materials and other trade to create more stable supply chains.

“Friendshoring is an important foundation of our approach to increasing the resilience of our supply chains, and we see India as an indispensable partner in that,” Yellen told reporters on Sunday during her visit to Gandhinagar, India, for a meeting of G20 finance ministers and central bank governors. She added that she hoped to use her trip to deepen the already significant “friendshoring” relationship between Washington and New Delhi.

The US has sought to boost economic ties with “trusted partners” such as India and Vietnam amid rising tensions with China. Yellen, who held talks with Chinese officials earlier this month in Beijing, has visited India three times in the past nine months, and is scheduled to make a stop in Hanoi later this week.

Washington and its allies have sought to block advances in China’s semiconductor industry by restricting exports of advanced equipment and technology. China responded earlier this month, announcing new controls on its exports of key raw materials used in chipmaking and other electronics. Those materials include gallium, a metal that the US hasn’t produced for decades and imports primarily from China.

“De-risking and friendshoring is an important priority for the United States, and it’s something that we’re promoting here in India, and we will be discussing in Vietnam in the next leg of our trip,” Yellen said. She added that the US is India’s largest export market, and that the two countries reached an all-time high in trade volumes with each other last year.

While friendshoring has been billed by the International Monetary Fund as relying more on countries that share “similar values,” some have questioned whether the US and India have such a match. US President Joe Biden was criticized last month for hosting a visit by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi without publicly condemning his guest’s handling of human rights and “democratic values.” At least six Democrat lawmakers boycotted Modi’s speech to Congress, saying: “We must never sacrifice human rights at the altar of political expediency.”


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Trump outlines ‘24 hour’ Ukraine peace plan

16 Jul, 2023

After repeatedly claiming that he could end the Russia-Ukraine conflict within 24 hours if elected US president again in 2024, former commander-in-chief Donald Trump has outlined his plan for bringing about a negotiated peace agreement.

Trump, currently the leading candidate for the Republican Party’s 2024 presidential nomination, argued that he has enough influence with Presidents Vladimir Putin of Russia and Vladimir Zelensky of Ukraine to stop the bloodshed. With the right prodding from the White House, the two leaders would see no point in continuing the conflict, he said on Sunday in a Fox News interview.

“I know Zelensky very well, and I know Putin very well, even better,” Trump told Fox host Maria Bartiromo. “And I had a good relationship, very good with both of them. I would tell Zelensky, no more, you got to make a deal. I would tell Putin, if you don’t make a deal, we’re going to give him a lot. We’re going to give them more than they ever got if we have to. I will have the deal done in one day – one day.”

Trump argued that his successor, President Joe Biden, is being outsmarted and outmaneuvered by world leaders such as Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping, and French President Emmanuel Macron. “These people are sharp, tough and generally vicious, they’re vicious, and they’re at the top of their game. We have a man who has no clue what’s happening. It’s the most dangerous time in the history of our country.”

The former president reiterated his claim that the Russia-Ukraine conflict wouldn’t have happened had he remained in office.

Meaningful negotiations between Moscow and Kiev broke down in the spring of 2022, with both sides blaming each other. No progress has been made since, apart from semi-regular prisoner swaps.

Kiev has repeatedly insisted that there is no point in negotiating with Moscow as long as it refuses to surrender Crimea and four other regions that voted to join Russia in 2014 and 2022, respectively. Moscow has said that such terms are absolutely unacceptable.


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Sultan directs Muslims to look out for new moon of Muharram

July 16, 2023

By Muhammad Nasir

The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, on Sunday directed Muslims to look out for the new moon of Muharram from Monday.

The Sultan, who is also the President General, Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), gave the directive in a statement issued by the Advisory Committee on Religious Affairs Sultanate Council, Sokoto.

The statement said: “This is to inform the Muslim Ummah that Monday July 17, which is equivalent to 29th day of Dhul-Qadah 1444 AH (Islamic Calender) shall be the day to look for the new moon of Muharram 1445 AH.

“Muslims are, therefore, requested to start looking for the new moon of Muharram 1445 AH on Monday and report its sighting to the nearest District or Village Head for onward communication to the Sultan,” it said.

The Sultan prayed Allah to help all Muslims in the discharge of their religious duties.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Muharram is the first month of the Islamic calendar, and identified as one of the four sacred months of the year. (NAN)


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Osun Muslims Back Gov. Adeleke On Appointment Of Commissioners

16 July 2023

The Muslim community in Osun State under the umbrella of the Osun State Muslim Community (OSMC) says Governor AdemolaAdeleke has not marginalized Muslims in the appointment of cabinet members in his administration.

The OSMC rather applauded the Governor for maintaining balance in the appointments made so far.

The group in a statement by its president, Sheikh Mustapha Olayiwola as part of the one week event to mark the 1445 Hijrah Calendar advised that more Muslims should be involved in politics.

His words; “The Governor had first appointed his kitchen cabinet who are all Muslims. His Chief of Staff, the Secretary to the State Government and his Spokesperson are all Muslims and powerful members of the administration.

“Besides, appointment of commissioners is not an exclusive duty of the governor, so many factors are considered in reaching a conclusion, but so far, we believe the governor has done well and has not marginalized the Muslims in the state. Many appointments would still be done and more Muslims would be appointed.

“Our advise is that more Muslims should be involved in politics rather than staying away from it under the guise that it is a dirty game”.

Olayiwola also commended the move by the state government to conduct a staff audit but urged that Friday be excluded from the days for the exercise so civil servants can attend the Jumat prayers.


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Muslim students tell Tinubu to prevent ASUU strike during his tenure

JULY 17, 2023

The Muslim Students Society of Nigeria (MSSN) has called on President Bola Tinubu to make as one of its priorities a determination never to allow the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and other education unions to embark on strike again.

MiftaudeenThanni, immediate past Amir of MSSN in Lagos, made the call on Sunday during its Annual Conference, which was held on Sunday at the Main Auditorium of the University of Lagos.

“We are reminding President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to prioritise education, youth empowerment, security of lives and property, economic and infrastructural development,” Mr Thanni noted.

According to him, investing in the education sector is not a luxury but a necessity.

“As we move into a new dispensation of ‘Renewed Hope’ in our national polity, we are urging the federal government to pay more attention and improve on the education investment. We don’t want strikes again, and this can be achieved by investing more in education,” stated Mr Thanni.

He added, “It’s a way to invest in peace, as educated individuals are more likely to embrace dialogue, reject extremism, and work towards resolving conflicts through peaceful means.”

Niyi Yusuf, chairman of Nigeria Economic Summit Group (NESG), stressed that as youths, the time had “come for us to stop taking the back seat in leadership positions because are still very young, some of our prophets were still very young when they started contributing to Islam.”

The chairman advised the MSS members to be united, pay serious attention to education as part of efforts to revive the good old days of Islam, referred them to read the ‘Golden Age of Islam’, which according to him, talked about when Muslims were the leaders of the world.


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Hajj Board Chair visits Ghanaian Pilgrims in Mecca, promises improvements for future experiences

Jul - 16 - 2023

Approximately 50% of the Ghanaian pilgrims from the northern region have already returned home, and the remaining individuals are scheduled to arrive in Accra on Monday, July 16, 2023.

On Sunday evening, Ben Abdallah Banda, accompanied by several board members, paid a visit to the various Ghanaian camps in Mecca to engage with the pilgrims.

During these interactions, he provided the pilgrims with updates regarding their transportation arrangements for the journey back to Ghana, while also discussing the overall Hajj operations for the year.

Recognizing that the Hajj Board, as a human institution, may not have met all the expectations of the pilgrims, he apologized on behalf of the board for any inconvenience caused throughout the process.

He assured the pilgrims that the board is committed to making changes to address these challenges and improve the quality of Hajj services.

"Ghana Hajj Board is a human institution, and surely, we could not have had everything right," he stated. "I want to take this opportunity to apologize to you all, on behalf of the board, for any inconvenience our actions or inactions may have caused you throughout this process."

To prevent the repetition of mistakes, he emphasized that necessary changes would be implemented to ensure an enhanced Hajj experience for Ghanaians.

"The status quo is not going to remain. In shaa Allah, things will change, and we will witness a marked improvement in our operations."

The first flight carrying pilgrims back to Accra is scheduled to depart on Monday, followed by four additional daily flights. Around two thousand pilgrims from the northern sector of Ghana have already returned home via Tamale.

This year's Hajj marks the first time that Saudi authorities have allowed a full Hajj without restrictions since the outbreak of COVID-19.

Accompanying the Board Chairman were several board members, including Abdul Aziz HarunaFuta, Chief SaddiqueJimala, AlhajiYunusah Osman, Sheikh Amin Bonsu, Dr. Zakaria Seidu, and Ahmed Abdulai Abu.


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