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Islamic World News ( 27 Jan 2023, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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'Those Who Burn Books Will In The End Burn People,' Warn Jewish, Muslim Communities In Sweden

New Age Islam News Bureau

27 January 2023

 

Representative Photo: aa.com

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• Rise Of Islamophobia In Europe Related To Rise Of Nationalism, Says Anti-Islamophobia Group

• At DGP Meet, Police Officers Flag Islamist, Hindutva Outfits For Radicalisation In India

• USAID Grantee In Pakistan Associated With Designated Terrorist Organisations, Alleges Congressman, Michael McCaul

• Terror Cannot Be Used To Impose Sharia Law, Can Be Considered A Rebellion Or Mutiny - Pakistan’s Top Islamic Scholars

 Europe

• Sajid Javid Speaks Of ‘Honour’ At Being First Muslim MP To Lead Commons Holocaust Memorial Day Debate

• Swedish Rabbi Stresses Quran Burning Sought To Provoke, Hurt Muslim Community

• Spanish city mourns after church attack as suspect’s details emerge

• Next tripartite meeting with Sweden, Finland postponed due to 'current political environment': Türkiye

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India

• Islamic State Flag Hoisted In UP On Republic Day; FIR Registered

• India issues notice to Pakistan seeking modification to Indus Waters Treaty

• AMU orders probe into religious slogans on Republic Day

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North America

• USAID Grantee In Pakistan Associated With Designated Terrorist Organisations, Alleges Congressman, Michael McCaul

• Radical Islamic Cleric, Shaikh Abdullah Faisal, Convicted Of Recruiting ISIS Supporters

• US military kills senior Islamic State leader Bilal al-Sudani in Somalia

• Ceremony For Quebec Mosque Attack To Be Held In Prayer Room Where Shooting Occurred

• US criticizes Palestinian move to suspend security ties with Israel after deadly raid

• US says it’s ‘deeply concerned’ after Palestinians killed in Israeli operation

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Pakistan

• Holy Quran Desecration Unbearable For Muslim Ummah: Minister Mufti Abdul Shakoor

• No backchannel talks with India by Sharif govt: Pakistan minister

• Pakistan’s New Blasphemy Laws May Be ‘Weaponised’ Against Minorities, Says Rights Group

• Khar to lead delegation to UN Human Rights Council in Geneva

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South Asia

• Islamic World Worried About Taliban's Interpretation Of Islam: Report

• Iran Deports More Than 3000 Afghan Refugees in a Week

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Mideast

• Iran Adds More EU, British Individuals, Entities to Sanction List over Terror Support

• Netanyahu to hold security assessment meeting amid military operation in Jenin

• Israeli army says its surveillance drone downed during offensive in Jenin, West Bank

• Iran Calls on France to Put Aside Trump's Failed Policy of Maximum Pressure

• Iranian Envoy Calls on UNSC to Compel Israel to End Aggression on Syrian Soil

• Gunman kills security chief, wounds two guards at Azerbaijan embassy in Iran

• Gaza militants fire rockets as Israel strikes in Gaza

• Israel urges NATO to confront Iran threat

• Palestinians end security coordination with Israel after West Bank raid

• 9 Palestinians killed during Israeli operation in Jenin refugee camp

• Israel, Gaza fighters trade fire after deadly West Bank raid

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Southeast Asia

• Dozens Of Muslims, Including Children, Gather In Front Of Swedish Embassy In Kuala Lumpur To Protest Quran Burning In Stockholm

• Wisma Putra summons Swedish envoy after Quran-burning in Sweden

• PM Anwar wants to review Islamic studies in schools to emphasise universal values

• Islamic studies in schools to be reviewed to emphasise universal values and humanity, says Anwar

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Arab World

• Saudi Arabia Strongly Condemns Israeli Raid On West Bank Refugee Camp

• Egyptologists uncover Pharaonic tomb containing possibly oldest mummy found in Egypt

• Syrian Kurdish forces arrest Daesh commander in eastern region

• Lebanese elite bury blast probe, pushing fragile state closer to edge

• Syrian Kurdish forces arrest ISIS commander, dozens of extremists in eastern region

• QatarEnergy to join Lebanon oil and gas exploration consortium: Statement

• Iraq to hang 14 people for ISIS massacre of hundreds of army cadets in 2014

• Saudi heritage event in ancient Uqair port attracts more than 60,000 visitors

• YPG/PKK terror group exploits oil to finance activities in Syria

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Africa

• Ethiopian PM Abiy Ahmed Meets Sudan’s Leaders In Khartoum

• S. Sudan’s displaced hope pope’s visit will bring peace

• Death toll in bomb attack on Nigerian herders climbs to 40: Official

• US government restricts visas to Nigerians ahead of polls

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL:  https://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/jewish-muslim-sweden-books/d/128975

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'Those Who Burn Books Will In The End Burn People,' Warn Jewish, Muslim Communities In Sweden

 

Representative Photo: aa.com

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Dilara Karatas 

26.01.2023

"Those who burn books will in the end burn people," Jewish and Muslim communities in Sweden have warned, quoting famous German Jewish author Heinrich Heine following recent burnings of the Muslim holy book, the Quran.

In a reference to book burnings in Nazi Germany, the Official Council of Swedish Jewish Communities and the AMANAH Muslim Jewish Partnership of Trust said in a joint statement on Wednesday that book burning often indicates the beginning of the normalization of hatred towards a group in society.

"Historically against Jews, now against Muslims," said the statement, warning that racists and extremists are once again "allowed to abuse democracy and Freedom of Speech in order to normalize hate against one of the religious minorities in Sweden, by burning Quran."

Drawing attention to the intensified attacks on Jewish and Muslim people in the country, they expressed concern.

"In a democratic society, every individual has the right to feel safe and appreciated. We hereby wish to express our support to the Swedish Muslim Community and clearly state that every action and sign of prejudice and hatred is unacceptable."

On Saturday, Swedish-Danish right-wing extremist Rasmus Paludan burned a copy of the Muslim holy book in a police-approved protest in the capital Stockholm.

A day later, Edwin Wagensveld, a far-right Dutch politician and leader of the Islamophobic group Pegida, tore out pages from the Quran in The Hague, the administrative capital of the Netherlands. Wagensveld's video on Twitter showed that he burned the torn-out pages of the holy book in a pan.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/those-who-burn-books-will-in-the-end-burn-people-warn-jewish-muslim-communities-in-sweden/2798161

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Rise Of Islamophobia In Europe Related To Rise Of Nationalism, Says Anti-Islamophobia Group

 

Representative Photo: aa.com

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Feiza Ben Mohamed  

26.01.2023

NICE, France

The rise of Islamophobia in Europe is intrinsically related to the rise of nationalism in European countries, according to a report by a Belgium-based anti-Islamophobia group.

The Collective for Countering Islamophobia in Europe (CCIE) said in a report on Wednesday that there was a "remarkable rise of Islamophobia and the policies that it inspires, in 2022."

Underlining that Islamophobia in Europe was often denied and minimized, the organization said that this did not help much to stop the rise of the far right.

It urged the EU Commission to designate a coordinator on anti-Muslim hatred, to "fight effectively against far-right-spurred hatred and racism," and end to suspicions "stemming from the fight against radicalization and separatism."

For the CCIE, more needs to be done to fight discrimination against Muslims in recruitment and education.

The group said it received 787 alerts of Islamophobic cases throughout 2022, including of 527 Islamophobic acts, 467 acts of discrimination, 128 of provocation, 71 of insulting, 59 of moral harassment, 44 of defamation, 27 of physical violence, and 33 linked to the fight against radicalization and separatism.

These occurred mostly in public spaces, particularly in schools, it said.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/rise-of-islamophobia-in-europe-related-to-rise-of-nationalism-says-anti-islamophobia-group/2798376

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At DGP Meet, Police Officers Flag Islamist, Hindutva Outfits For Radicalisation In India

 

Photo Indian Express/ Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah.

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by Deeptiman Tiwary

January 27, 2023

Police officers flagged the role of Islamist and Hindutva organisations in connection with growing radicalisation in the country during the recent conference of Director Generals and Inspector Generals of Police, which was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah.

The role of such organisations were flagged in papers submitted by officers at the conference that was held from January 20-22 in Delhi. All the papers submitted were posted on the conference’s website but removed Wednesday.

One paper described the organisations, such as VHP and Bajrang Dal, as radical. Another listed the Babri Masjid demolition, growth of Hindu nationalism, cases of beef lynching and the “Ghar Vapsi Movement” as breeding grounds for radicalisation of youth. These points were raised in the context of measures to tackle Islamic radicalism and ideologies of organisations such as Popular Front of India (PFI).

Several officers argued for greater representation of minorities in the polity and reservation for Muslims to tackle radicalisation.

In one paper, an SP-rank officer categorised radicalisation under left wing, right wing and Islamist fundamentalism. “Far-right individuals or groups…have an authoritative concept of the state, in which the state and the people, all of which are ethnically homogenous, should merge into a single unit. India though being a plural society as well is being portrayed as inching towards majoritarianism. To name a few are Anand Marg, VHP, Bajrang Dal, Hindu Sena, etc,” the officer said in the paper.

The officer described Islamic fundamentalists as a “looming threat”. “The Islamist outlook is one that essentially divides the world into two distinct spheres: ‘Muslims’ and the ‘rest’. Ex: PFI and frontals, Da’wate-Islami, Towheed, Kerala Nadvathul Mujahideen etc,” his paper said.

Among challenges, the officer flagged “disproportionate usage of security establishment (Police and Intelligence)”; minimal role of “scholars, psychologists, civil society”; “missing synergy between online and offline efforts”; “lack of curative policies”; and, “Framework Flaws”.

To illustrate the point on “framework”, the officer referred to Germany and its “longstanding EXIT Deutschland programme aimed at reforming neo-Nazi radicals”. Referring to Islamophobia in Britain, the officer’s paper questioned “conspiratorial websites and sensationalist reporting” that lead to “negative community perceptions towards the Muslim ‘other’”.

As a solution, the officer argued for platforms, spaces and institutions for people to vent grievances and anger freely and openly.

In a separate paper, another SP-rank officer flagged Islamic fundamentalism and Hindu extremism as challenges, among others. He labelled them under politico-religious radicalism linked to outfits like ISIS; right-wing radicalism linked to fascism, racial supremacism and ultra-nationalism; and, left-wing radicalism associated with Maoist violence.

This paper associated “Jamaat-e-Islami, Jamiyat Ahle-Hadith, alienation and mistrust… advent of social media, role of global Islam, role of mainstream media, Hindu extremism, and civil society activists” with radicalisation.

“The demolition of the Babri Masjid along with the growth of Hindu nationalism, cases of beef lynching and ‘Ghar Vapsi Movement’ has been a breeding ground for extremist groups to recruit and radicalise young minds,” the officer said in his paper.

The paper also referred to the fallout of former BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma’s comments on the Prophet, including the murder of Kanhaiya Lal in Udaipur. “The example of Nupur Sharma’s speech reaction establishes that all should refrain from making religious comments and hate speeches. Similarly, there are regular events of demeaning religious sentiments. So, we have to impart a strong sense of ‘Rule of Law’… The inciting videos and messages that poured in from within the country and abroad played a major role in the radicalisation of the accused in Kanhaiya Lal murder at Udaipur,” the paper said.

Among the solutions listed were: “De-redicalisation, economic growth and equal opportunities”; more opportunities for “minorities…to be part of political and administrative processes”; modernisation of madrasas and the setting up of industrial enterprises “in the areas of minorities”.

Among the other papers submitted, an officer argued that radicalisation is frequently driven by national and international events. These, the paper said, included: plight of Palestinians, Soviet intervention in Afghanistan, America’s invasion of Iraq and incursion in Afghanistan; military operations in Pakistan; the Danish cartoon controversy; liberation of J&K and Hyderabad after Independence; communal riots; demolition of Babri Masjid, 2002 Godhra riots and the Citizenship Amendment Act.

The paper listed “community engagement using secular, patriotic and intelligent Muslim youth” and reservation for the community in education and jobs among the solutions.

Source: Indian Express

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

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/at-dgp-meet-officers-flag-islamist-hindutva-outfits-in-radicalisation-8406869/

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USAID Grantee In Pakistan Associated With Designated Terrorist Organisations, Alleges Congressman, Michael McCaul

 

Image: twitter/tvopk

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Jan 27, 2023

WASHINGTON: NGO based in Pakistan and receiving humanitarian aid from the US Agency for International Development is associated with designated terrorist organisations, an American lawmaker has alleged.

In a letter to USAID Administrator Samantha Power on January 24, Congressman Michael McCaul, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee sought a suspension of the funding to the NGO pending a full and thorough review of these allegations.

“This award must immediately be suspended pending a full and thorough review of these accusations,” McCaul said.

The Congressman, in the letter, expressed deep concern that USAID received information from his office more than eight months ago regarding credible allegations that one of its grantees is associated with designated terrorist organisations.

In October 2021, USAID awarded USD 110,000 to Helping Hand for Relief and Development (HHRD) through the Ocean Freight Reimbursement Program. This award was made despite longstanding, detailed allegations that HHRD is connected to designated terrorist organisations, terror financiers, and extremist groups, he said.

In November 2019, three Members of Congress requested that the State Department review these alleged ties to terrorism in a public letter, he wrote.

“Please immediately personally review this grant to HHRD. I strongly urge you to pause this grant while you complete a thorough review of the allegations, to include coordination with the intelligence community, federal law enforcement, the State Department Counterterrorism Bureau, and the Department of Homeland Security,” McCaul said.

The HHRD, a top 4-Star rated USA NGO is also registered in Pakistan with the Ministry of Interior. It is present in all four provinces -- Balochistan, Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa – of Pakistan, in addition to Pakistan occupied Kashmir.

According to the allegations and media reports, some sponsors of HHRD events in Pakistan include Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation (FIF), the charitable wing of Lashkar-e-Taiba, the terrorist outfit responsible for the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

The US in 2016, had designated FIF as a terrorist organisation.

In 2019, several members of the US Congress sent a letter to the US State Department, calling for further investigations into the HHRD, highlighting Pakistani media reports that the NGO arranged a conference in Pakistan with both Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation and the Milli Muslim League, two branches of Lashkar-e-Taiba that are both designated as terrorist organisations by the US and the UN.

McCaul's letter also raised concerns about the HHRD's relationship with Al-Khidmat, the official charitable arm of Jamaat-e-Islami.

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/usaid-grantee-in-pakistan-associated-with-designated-terrorist-organisations-alleges-congressman/articleshow/97363698.cms

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Terror Cannot Be Used To Impose Sharia Law, Can Be Considered A Rebellion Or Mutiny - Pakistan’s Top Islamic Scholars

 

Muslim scholars participate in the national conference on countering violent extremism organized by the Islamic Research Council at the International Islamic University in Islamabad on January 23, 2023. (Hafiz Tahir Ashrafi)

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By Arshad Mehmood

JANUARY 26, 2023

Pakistan‘s top Islamic scholars and clerics declared that the use of force to implement Sharia – Islamic law as derived from the Quran and the traditions of Islam, including armed confrontation against the state, sabotage and all forms of terrorism, are unequivocally forbidden according to Islamic teaching and are considered a rebellion or mutiny.

The country‘s preeminent scholars also called for an effort “to devise a coordinated plan of action to crush armed groups and anti-state actors who are involved in such activities…and want to impose their ideology through militancy.”

The clerics also emphasized the need to take concrete steps to eradicate the trend of terrorism and extremism and to stop anti-state activities in the name of what the armed groups call jihad, or a holy struggle.

Pakistani clerics hold council on countering violent extremism, radicalism and hate speech

The clerics came forward during a national conference on Countering Violent Extremism, Radicalism and Hate Speech organized by the Islamic Research Institute at the International Islamic University in Islamabad. Monday’s conference was held on the theme “Pledge of Unity and a Message of Pakistan.”

The Islamic Research Institute was established in 1960 and is a prominent research arm of the university. The main objectives of the institute are to develop a methodology for research in the various fields of Islamic learning; identify and study contemporary problems; and interpret the teachings of Islam to assist not only Pakistani society but the whole Muslim community to live according to the imperatives of Islam.

Authoritative and learned Islamic scholars and clerics from all over the country participated in Monday’s conference.

Analyzing the current terrorism-related situation in the country, they emphasized the need for a national narrative to deal with such challenges.

Mufti: Armed activity against Pakistan forbidden by Islamic law

Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani is a Karachi-based prominent Islamic scholar. He has served as a judge on the Sharia appellate bench of the Supreme Court of Pakistan and is a permanent member of the Islamic Fiqh Academy in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

In an address to the conference in Islamabad, Usmani issued a fatwa, or Islamic religious decree, that “any armed activity against the state of Pakistan is a rebellion and forbidden (haram) according to Islamic law.”

“Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), who is fighting against the Pakistan Army and is involved in anti-state activities, is a rebel and it has nothing to do with jihad,” he added.

Addressing TTP leadership, Usmani stressed: “It is better for you to come out of the delusion of jihad against Pakistan as soon as possible.”

Usmani also said that “fighting against national security agencies and carrying out anti-state activities falls under mutiny.”

The decree was unanimously adopted by the top scholars of all schools of Islamic thought who participated in the conference.

"This is a war of national survival and the entire nation affirms its full and unconditional support for the Pakistan Armed Forces and other law enforcement agencies,” they declared.

There has not yet been a response from TTP.

Earlier this month, Mufti Noor Wali Mehsud, the commander of the banned TTP Pakistan, sought guidance from clerics on whether the TTP’s declared jihad is right or wrong.

In July 2022, a delegation of Pakistani religious scholars, headed by Usmani, visited Kabul for talks with the leadership of the TTP, which have a safe haven in Afghanistan. 

An Islamabad-based senior Intelligence official confirmed to The Media Line that, “the delegation visited on the initiative of the government of Pakistan, and the main purpose of the visit was to drive forward the cease-fire between Islamabad and the proscribed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).”

The delegation held talks with TTP commanders along with their chief, Mehsud.

“It was agreed during the talks that the security forces and civilians would not be targeted,” according to the official.

Last September, TTP spokesperson Muhammad Khorasani claimed that “due to the non-release of prisoners, continued military operations and lack of communication from the government of Pakistan compelled us to end the cease-fire” with the Pakistan government.

Since the end of the cease-fire, there has been a spike in terror attacks in Pakistan. Dozens of security officials and civilians have been killed and injured so far.

TTP has carried scores of deadly suicide attacks inside Pakistan since the General Pervez Musharraf-led regime became a front-line ally in the US-led invasion of Afghanistan.

Hafiz Muhammad Tahir Mahmood Ashrafi, special envoy to the prime minister on Interfaith Harmony and the Middle East, told The Media Line that “based on self-made demands, nobody is allowed to deny Pakistan's Islamic status. Declaring state officials and security forces as non-Muslim is completely against Islamic laws.”

“Terror attacks against security forces and civilians are not permissible in any way in Sharia, nor can any kind of such violent and armed action within Pakistan be called a jihad,” he said.

Dr. Summer Iqbal Babar, a prominent conflict zone expert and an assistant professor at the School of Politics and International Relations of Quaid-e-Azam University in Islamabad where he teaches modern strategy, peace and conflict resolution, told The Media Line that “this is a very welcome development and not only should it be appreciated, but should be encouraged, to curb this sort of militancy and terrorism in any form in any manner by anybody against the state.”

Babar further told The Media Line that “since 9/11 onward, if the government could be wise enough and be bringing those voices that are against such a sort of terrorism, it could have a better and effective impact.”

He also said that “TTP has been involved in the killing of innocent people in suicide attacks and all had been declared anti-Islam.”

Babar notes that it was very difficult for Muslims in Pakistan after 9/11 when the government “took a U-turn” against the Taliban with the US invasion.

When the US withdrew from Afghanistan a decade later, the Taliban filled the void, “but it also caused the resurgence of other terrorist groups on the jihadist landscape,” Babar said.

He adds that this phenomenon should be publicly acknowledged “so the people could know the real face of those terrorist organizations that are involved in unlawful activities under the self-claimed jihad ideology.”

Zuma Gul, a Rawalpindi-based geostrategic analyst, told The Media Line that according to Article 2A and 227 of the Constitution of Pakistan “every Muslim citizen can demand the implementation of sharia laws from the state, whereas there is no scope for armed struggle in this regard.”

Gul, who is the daughter of General Hamid Gul, Pakistan‘s former director general of the Inter-Services Intelligence who gained global fame during the Russian invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 and was the toughest critic of US policies in the region, explains that the TTP demand to implement Sharia gained impetus after the country unconditionally supported the US-led invasion of neighboring Afghanistan, which TTP believed was un-Islamic. “So, in the support of its Muslim brethren, TTP tried to justify their fight against an oppressor under the garb of jihad. Now, after the US withdrawal, such acts are not acceptable against an Islamic country,” she said.

“In response to the clerics’ decree against them, probably they (TTP) will bring some kind of another decree which will definitely justify their cause,” she said.

Kamal Alam, a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council's South Asia Center, told The Media Line that “the resurgence of the Tehreek e Taliban Pakistan has filled the masses in Pakistan with dread fearing the return to the bad old days when terrorism was surging in all corners of the country.”

“Previously the state was paralyzed and took a while to articulate a national consensus and joint political, military and theological strategy,” he explained.

It was time for the religious leaders to step up, he says.

“After more than a decade of experience and having won a hard-fought kinetic war by the Pakistan army, the job of the clerics and religious scholars is to remove any ambiguity about the nature of the TTP violence,” he said.

Alam also told The Media Line that “any act of violence against the state and innocent people shall not be tolerated from theologian perspectives to nip the problem in the bud regarding religious legitimacy of the TTP.”

Alam said that “TTP knows that, unlike the mid-to-late 2000s, Pakistan Armed Forces are ready and fully capable to eliminate them; common people are firmly against the TTP and now they will not get breathing space in the mosques and schools.”

He claimed that “Kabul’s relationship with General Headquarters and Islamabad will also be important in this regard. If the Taliban does not support or give space to the TTP, it will be impossible for the TTP to mount any meaningful terrorism in Pakistan.”

Dr. Azeem Khalid, an assistant professor of International Relations at the COMSATS University Islamabad, told The Media Line that “Tehreek e Taliban's militancy against the state has changed the scenario, and now the majority sees the Taliban as terror-spreading warmongers.”

He says that the current rise of the TTP led to a clear message this week from Islamic scholars. 

“The statement is significant because it will create a conflicting impression among the public and the TTP. In light of Islamic laws, the public should know the reality of TTP ideology. However, it would be a mere fantasy to hope that the TTP would stop its terrorist activities after such a joint statement.”

“If Kabul really wants to help Islamabad in taming TTP, then there can be a pledge of peace in Pakistan, but unfortunately this seems far-fetched in the current cold tension between the neighboring states,” Khalid concluded.

Source: J Post

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

https://www.jpost.com/international/article-729688

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Europe

 Sajid Javid Speaks Of ‘Honour’ At Being First Muslim MP To Lead Commons Holocaust Memorial Day debate

By LEE HARPIN

January 26, 2023

Sajid Javid has spoken of the “honour” at becoming the first Muslim parliamentarian to lead the Holocaust Memorial Day debate in the House of Commons.

The former cabinet minister told MPs:”At a time when I worry about communities becoming increasingly insular, and when too many young men and women are drawn to divisive voices, our responsibility is to spread the message of understanding and compassion between communities. That responsibility has never been greater.”

He said on Thursday:”Tomorrow will mark the 78th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau—a place of evil, atrocity and inhumanity; a place where more than one million men, women and children arrived but never left.

“More than six million Jews and others lost their lives during the holocaust, and countless more would carry the burden of their persecution.

“Genocide is a dark stain on the conscience of humanity, and the hatred that drives it is a disease of the heart.

“After the holocaust, we vowed, ‘Never again,’ but the killing fields of Cambodia, the butchery of Rwanda, the deathly silence of Srebrenica and the suffering of Darfur show that the disease of hatred lives on.

“Although those dark stains can never be washed out, it is our duty to shine a light on them in this House.”

In a clear reference to the conduct of suspended MP Andrew Bridgen, Javid said:” In the UK, we have seen a rise in anti-vaccine protesters carrying signs reading ‘vaccine holocaust’ and wearing the star of David, and I must say that it angers me that any Member of this House would seek to connect the holocaust with UK public health policy. ”

A succession of moving speeches followed from MPs across all parties.

Labour’s Alex Sobel noted his great-grandfather David, who was in Lviv, Ukraine during the war.

The Leeds West MP said:”To survive, he needed a job, and to get a job, he needed a life number.

“He worked in a hairdresser’s, but he had to bribe the hairdresser and he did not have enough money to bribe them. His valuable belongings were hidden in a safe house and the person who owned the safe house would not give them up, so he could not afford the bribes.

“He lost his job, he lost his life number, and he was sent to Belzec extermination camp and killed. He was an ordinary person doing ordinary things, but betrayed by ordinary people.”

His colleague Christian Wakeford MP noted how fake news “is something we must stand shoulder to shoulder against with our Jewish brothers and sisters, from the rapid development of artificial intelligence, the digital doctoring of pictures and videos of the time, to the holocaust denial spreading like wildfire across social media.”

The MP Bob Stewart referenced his time working as a British United Nations commander in Bosnia.

He recalled:”The first people I met were Bosnian Muslim soldiers on the mountains. When I asked them to please stop fighting because a ceasefire was meant to be in place, they said, ‘No, no, in the village of Ahmići, women and children have been massacred.’

“I said, ‘No, that can’t be. People don’t do that in 1993.’ They said that it had happened.”

Stewart then told how he witnessed the truth himself. “We reckon that about 120 people were killed at Ahmići,”he said.

“I buried in a mass grave what we thought were about 104 people, mainly women and children—Bosnian Muslims, by the way. “The Holocaust is also about Bosnian Muslims.”

Chipping Barnet MP Theresa Villers spoke of how 92 year-old constituent and survivor Mala Tribich “told her story to a gathering in Woodside Park synagogue at the weekend, as she has in hundreds of other settings over many years.

“The MP added:”She told it with incredible poise, dignity, courage and resilience. The gathering was hosted by the shul in partnership with the Barnet Multi Faith Forum, and people of all faiths and backgrounds were there to remember the holocaust and its victims, and to pledge to root out anti-Jewish racism wherever it emerges.”

Charlotte Nichols,the MP for Warrington North also noted:” This Shabbat, Jews in synagogues around the world will be reading Parashat Bo, a Torah portion described by the former Chief Rabbi, Lord Sacks of blessed memory, as ‘among the most revolutionary in the entire history of ideas’ and ‘one of the most counterintuitive passages in all of religious literature.'”

She noted the text of the Parashat adding:”What does ‘zachor’—to remember—mean?

“The Jewish concept of remembering is not passive, but active. We tell the Exodus story to our children

“We re-experience it and understand it through the elaborate rituals of the Pesach Seder. We reflect on it in our recitation of the central daily prayer, the Shema, in the laying of tefillin—a physical ritual with which to commemorate liberation from Egypt daily—and in the mezuzah, which we hammer to our door frames. To truly remember is to act. ”

Sir Peter Bottomley, told MPs the idea that the Holocaust “was the last major genocide we all know is wrong.”

But he also used his speech to challenge the need for a Holocaust memorial to located in Westminster.

He argued:”We should have a new competition for the memorial. It being adjacent to Parliament was not in the minds of the UK Holocaust Memorial Foundation, the committee or the Government eight years ago.

“If it has to be there, we could consider Parliament Square, where the Buxton memorial fountain was first placed before it was moved to Victoria Tower Gardens.

Source: Jewish News

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

https://www.jewishnews.co.uk/sajid-javid-speaks-of-honour-at-being-first-muslim-mp-to-lead-commons-hmd-debate/

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Swedish rabbi stresses Quran burning sought to provoke, hurt Muslim community

Dilara Karatas  

26.01.2023

A Swedish rabbi stressed that the recent burning of the holy Quran in the capital Stockholm was an effort to provoke and hurt the Muslim community.

Calling the burning very disturbing and criticizing Swedish officials for permitting the provocation, Rabbi Moshe-David HaCohen, co-director of the AMANAH Muslim Jewish Partnership of Trust, stressed that it was also a first step in creating “otherness.”

Jews know from their own history how Nazi Germany making them into the “other” eventually led to the Holocaust, he said.

But HaCohen also stressed that Muslims are not alone in this.

“We know how it feels. We are with you 100%,” he said, adding: “Let’s work together and we can create a better future together.”

On Saturday, a Swedish-Danish right-wing extremist burned a copy of the Quran in a police-approved protest in the capital Stockholm.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/swedish-rabbi-stresses-quran-burning-sought-to-provoke-hurt-muslim-community/2798354

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Spanish city mourns after church attack as suspect’s details emerge

January 27, 2023

ALGECIRAS: The city of Algeciras was united in mourning Thursday, a day after a machete-wielding man stormed two churches, killing a verger and seriously wounding a priest in the multicultural southern Spanish port.

The attacks took place on Wednesday evening as worshippers met to celebrate the Eucharist at two churches near each other in the city. Police arrested the alleged assailant, a 25-year-old Moroccan, at the scene.

As investigators pressed ahead with a terrorism probe, police carried out an early-morning raid on his home.

The interior ministry said he had been served with a deportation order in June but had no prior convictions and had not been under surveillance.

In 2019, he had been deported from Gibraltar on grounds of illegal entry, a government statement from the tiny British enclave said.

He was deported on Aug 8 along with three other immigrants, it said.

Tearful vigil

At midday, several hundred mourners gathered in stunned silence outside Nuestra Senora de La Palma church where the verger Diego Valencia was killed, many of them in tears.

Flowers were laid and candles lit in the square, and a minute’s silence was observed while the church bells rang.

“We have lived here for years and we have always been very welcomed,” said Nawal Montaguikie, a Moroccan woman in her 40s who remembered Valencia as “a gentle person”.

“What did he do to deserve this?” she said, her voice trembling with emotion.

“We condemn this man and what he’s done. I hope he rots in jail.”

Also present was Juan Jose Marina, La Palma’s parish priest, who had been conducting a service elsewhere when the attack that claimed his verger’s life occurred.

“If I am alive, it’s because Diego died instead of me. I was supposed to be there,” he said, his eyes swollen from weeping.

Many in the crowd were visibly moved, among them family members, police officers, town council employees and several veiled women who could not hold back their tears.

Local media said the suspect lived near the churches, which are just 300m apart in the town of around 120,000 residents.

A well-known figure

Although Spain’s top criminal court has opened a terrorism investigation, interior minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska said it was not yet possible to say whether the incident was of a “terrorist nature”.

The suspect was not listed in Spain – or in neighbouring countries – as a radical, but authorities were ruling nothing out, Grande-Marlaska said while on a visit to the city. No one else had been involved in the attack, he said.

The suspect, seen in police footage with a beard and wearing a black, white and grey hoodie, entered the church of San Isidro armed with a machete just after 7pm (1800 GMT).

He “attacked the priest, leaving him seriously wounded”, the interior ministry said.

“Subsequently, he entered the church of Nuestra Senora de La Palma in which, after causing damage, he attacked the verger (who) managed to get out of the church, but was caught by the attacker outside and sustained mortal injuries.”

Witnesses told local media the attacker was shouting and started hurling icons, crosses and candles to the floor.

The priest, 74-year-old Antonio Rodriguez, sustained injuries to the neck while celebrating the Eucharist at San Isidro church, his parish said, describing his condition as “serious but stable”.

Outside the church, mourners laid flowers and lit candles in memory of a man who was a well-known figure within the local Catholic community.

‘Harrowing atrocity’

“In Algeciras, we’ve always boasted about the fact that we have people from 129 different nationalities living together in peace and harmony and we’ve never had any incident or tension,” mayor Jose Ignacio Landaluce told TeleMadrid TV.

“What has happened now is more than we can take in, it grieves us and worries us because when a fuse like this is lit, it has to be put out quickly to prevent it from causing damage that nobody wants.”

Speaking at the rally, local Muslim community spokesman Dris Mohamed Amar said they were there to “publicly show our pain in the face of this harrowing atrocity”.

“We robustly condemn this murderous act against a man of peace, an unarmed man, a noble man,” he said.

“We hope this act does not bring into question the harmony that exists between different communities in Algeciras.”

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/world/2023/01/27/spanish-city-mourns-after-church-attack-as-suspects-details-emerge/

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Next tripartite meeting with Sweden, Finland postponed due to 'current political environment': Türkiye

Faruk Zorlu  

26.01.2023

The Turkish foreign minister said Thursday that the next tripartite meeting slated for February with Sweden and Finland on their NATO bids was postponed due to the "current political environment."

In this environment, a meeting, to be held under the June 2022 tripartite memorandum signed by Türkiye, Finland, and Sweden, is "meaningless," Mevlut Cavusoglu said in a joint news conference with his Serbian counterpart Ivica Dacic, referring to the increased number of occasions where Sweden failed to fulfill its commitments under the deal.

"The purpose of this mechanism is to see which conditions in the memorandum are fulfilled or not. But this was postponed as it would not be a sound meeting because the environment in this situation would overshadow it," he said.

The first meeting of the Permanent Joint Mechanism established under the memorandum was held on Aug. 26, 2022 in Vantaa, Finland, while the second meeting on Nov. 26, 2022 in Stockholm.

So, there is "no use in that either," he said, adding that Sweden has not taken any serious steps to implement the memorandum.

Sweden must choose either to de-mine its route to joining NATO or step on those mines and blow up its chances, Cavusoglu stressed.

About the recent desecration of the Muslim holy book, the Quran, he said: "The vile attack in Sweden is a racist attack that has nothing to do with freedom of thought," adding: "The Swedish government has taken part in this crime by allowing this vile act."

The aim of the PKK/YPG terror group and the far-left parties supporting terrorism in Sweden is to prevent Stockholm from joining NATO, Cavusoglu said.

"There are politicians that I know from the Council of Europe, Finland, and Sweden, who believe in the far-left ideology. They also call me and say 'block the NATO membership of our countries'," he said.

On Jan. 21, Rasmus Paludan, an extreme-right Swedish-Danish politician, burned a copy of the Muslim holy book, the Quran, outside the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm, under police protection and with permission from the authorities, drawing a wave of condemnations from across the Arab and Islamic worlds.

On the following day, Edwin Wagensveld, a far-right Dutch politician and the leader of the Islamophobic group Pegida, tore out pages from a copy of the Quran in The Hague. Wagensveld's video on Twitter showed that he burned the torn-out pages of the holy book in a pan.

Sweden and Finland formally applied to join NATO last May, abandoning decades of military non-alignment, a decision spurred by Russia's war on Ukraine, which started on Feb. 24, 2022.

But Türkiye – a NATO member for more than 70 years – voiced objections, accusing the two countries of tolerating and even supporting terrorist groups including the PKK and the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the group behind the July 15, 2016 coup attempt in Türkiye.

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

In the memorandum, Sweden and Finland agreed not to provide support to the YPG/PYD and FETO, to prevent all activities of the terror groups, the extradition of terror suspects, to introduce new legislation to punish terrorist crimes, and not to implement national arms embargoes among the three countries.

Also, on Israel's attack that resulted in civilian killings in the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank, Cavusoglu called on Israel to abandon "such attacks and provocations."

The Israeli side claims that this is a counter-terrorism operation, but there are also old women among the people killed there, he said.

Various provocations are ongoing since the new government took office in Israel, he said, expressing his condolences.

The Palestinian Health Ministry said in a statement that nine people were killed and 20 injured in the Jenin refugee camp on Thursday, adding that an elderly woman is among the victims.

Tensions have been running high across the West Bank in recent weeks amid repeated Israeli raids to detain what they say "wanted Palestinians" or to demolish Palestinian homes. The raids have sparked clashes with Palestinians, causing several fatalities.

Türkiye-Serbia bilateral relations

Praising the two countries' relationship, Cavusoglu said: "We are experiencing the best period in our relationships. I had the opportunity to speak with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic on the phone shortly before. As Vucic said, our relationships are experiencing a golden age."

The trade volume between the two countries increased rapidly, nearing $2.5 billion last year, he said, recalling that the two countries have also set a target of $5 billion.

"We would like to hold the 4th Joint Economic Commission Meeting this year to discuss extendedly the dimensions of our economic cooperation," he said.

Speaking about the stability and peace in the Balkans, he said a new government is being formed not to increase the tension in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The role of Türkiye and Serbia is very important for stability and peace in the region, Cavusoglu added.

In particular, the tripartite mechanism among Türkiye, Serbia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina has been very beneficial, he added.

About the visa exemption between the two states, Serbia's Dacic said the bilateral ties continue based on mutual trust, reminding that visa exemption and free trade agreements were signed 10 years ago.

Enabling citizens of the two countries to cross state borders with a valid biometric ID card was discussed in the Serbian parliament, Dacic said, adding that "this will hopefully progress quickly" so that it can be applied in the upcoming tourism season.

"The EU asks us (Serbia) to re-apply the visa condition for Turkish citizens. We refused this because we do not think that it will be good for us. We know how important this visa exemption is for the entire region," he said.

Serbia is ready to do what is necessary for stability and peace in the Balkans, he said, underlining that Türkiye plays an important role in the region.

The two countries have signed many projects when it comes to investments and that many people are employed, Dacic said.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/next-tripartite-meeting-with-sweden-finland-postponed-due-to-current-political-environment-turkiye/2798323

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India

 

Islamic State Flag Hoisted In UP On Republic Day; FIR Registered

January 26, 2023

In a major act of sedition, some anti-social elements hoisted an Islamic State flag on the occasion of the Republic Day in the Hydergarh area of the Barabanki district on Thursday.

An FIR has been registered in connection with the incident and a suspect has been detained.

The Islamic State flag was hoisted on a building located in Rampur Hussainabad village under the Subeha police station area. After unfurling the flag, sweets were distributed among children.

As soon as the information was received, the police reached the spot and started investigation. A suspect has been taken into custody while search for the organiser is on .

Source: The Statesman

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https://www.thestatesman.com/india/islamic-state-flag-hoisted-in-up-on-republic-day-fir-registered-1503150059.html

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India issues notice to Pakistan seeking modification to Indus Waters Treaty

Jan 27, 2023

NEW DELHI: India has issued a notice to Pakistan for modification of the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) of September 1960 following Islamabad's "intransigence" on its implementation, government sources said on Friday.

The notice was sent on January 25 through respective commissioners for Indus waters, they said.

The sources said India has always been a steadfast supporter and a responsible partner in implementing the IWT in letter and spirit.

"However, Pakistan's actions have adversely impinged on the provisions of IWT and their implementation, and forced India to issue an appropriate notice for modification of the pact," said a source.

India and Pakistan signed the treaty in 1960 after nine years of negotiations, with the World Bank being a signatory of the pact.

The treaty sets out a mechanism for cooperation and information exchange between the two countries regarding use of waters of a number of rivers.

In 2015, Pakistan requested for appointment of a neutral expert to examine its technical objections to India's Kishenganga and Ratle Hydro Electric Projects (HEPs).

In 2016, Pakistan unilaterally retracted this request and proposed that a Court of Arbitration adjudicate on its objections, the sources said.

'They said this unilateral action by Pakistan is in contravention of the graded mechanism of dispute settlement envisaged by Article IX of the IWT.

Accordingly, India made a separate request for the matter to be referred to a neutral expert.

"The initiation of two simultaneous processes on the same questions and the potential of their inconsistent or contradictory outcomes creates an unprecedented and legally untenable situation, which risks endangering the IWT itself," the source said.

"The World Bank acknowledged this itself in 2016, and took a decision to 'pause' the initiation of two parallel processes and request India and Pakistan to seek an amicable way out," it said.

The sources said that despite repeated efforts by India to find a mutually agreeable way forward, Pakistan refused to discuss the issue during the five meetings of the Permanent Indus Commission from 2017 to 2022

At Pakistan's continuing insistence, the World Bank has recently initiated actions on both the neutral expert and Court of Arbitration processes, they said.

The sources added that such parallel consideration of the same issues is not covered under any provision of IWT.

Source: Times Of India

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https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/india-issues-notice-to-pakistan-seeking-modification-to-indus-waters-treaty/articleshow/97365909.cms

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AMU orders probe into religious slogans on Republic Day

27th January 2023

Aligarh: A video from Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) that went viral on social media, shows several students purportedly chanting ‘Allah-hu-Akbar’ (God is great) during the Republic Day celebrations.

Clad in the National Cadet Corps (NCC) uniforms, the students are heard chanting the slogan after the hoisting of the tricolour on campus, outside Strachey Hall.

The Proctor of Aligarh Muslim University, Wasim Ali, said an order has been issued to investigate the matter.

“Further action will be taken after the investigation. The police have also gathered information about the incident,” Wasim Ali said.

Aligarh S.P. Kuldeep Singh Gunawat said the university has been directed to take cognizance of the incident.

Source: Siasat Daily

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https://www.siasat.com/amu-orders-probe-into-religious-slogans-on-republic-day-2511641/

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North America

 

Radical Islamic Cleric, Shaikh Abdullah Faisal, Convicted Of Recruiting ISIS Supporters

By Patrick Reilly

January 26, 2023

A radical Islamic cleric was convicted of recruiting and providing support for ISIS, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg announced on Thursday.

Shaikh Abdullah Faisal, 59, an Islamic State recruiter and marriage broker was found guilty of “far reaching crimes” of terrorism following New York state’s first ever terrorism trial, according to the DA’s office.

Faisal, a Jamaica native who prosecutors described as “one of the most influential English speaking terrorists of our times,” preached violent jihad and pushed for ISIS recruitment on his social media platforms and tried to inspire others to commit acts of terror themselves in ISIS’ name.

He additionally provided instructions on how potential fighters could best travel to Syria and Iraq undetected and worked as a matchmaker for women looking to get hitched to Islamic militants.

Faisal was arrested in Jamaica in 2017 and then extradited to New York City following a joint investigation by the NYPD’s Intelligence Bureau and the Manhattan DA’s Office’s Counter Terrorism Program — which was established in 2015 to investigate extremists and thwart terror plots, according to the DA’s office.

In 2016, Faisal began communicating with an undercover NYPD officer via email, text and video chat from his home in Jamaica in a bid to encourage her to travel to the Middle East to join ISIS and carry out attacks. He also offered to introduce the woman — who was posing as a would-be jihadist — to a suitable husband within the terror group.

The militant, who previously went by Trevor William Forrest, urged the undercover officer to listen to his online speeches and lectures in which he encouraged followers to wage jihad against enemies of Islam and even kill Americans, Jews and Hindus.

“The way forward is not the ballot. The way forward is the bullet,” he said in one speech, according to his indictment. In another he urged followers to “cut the throats” of nonbelievers with machetes.

Faisal was previously convicted in the United Kingdom in 2003 for inciting murder and using racially charged, hateful rhetoric to support terrorist ideologies.

“This case was about the far reach of crimes committed by Shaikh Faisal and the promotion of terrorism. Faisal aided ISIS as it committed horrific violence against innocent people,” said District Attorney Bragg in a statement.

Source: New York Post

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

https://nypost.com/2023/01/26/shaikh-abdullah-faisal-convicted-of-recruiting-isis-supporters-by-manhattan-district-attorney-alvin-bragg/

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US military kills senior Islamic State leader Bilal al-Sudani in Somalia

January 27, 2023

US special operations forces have killed a senior Islamic State group official and 10 other terrorist operatives in remote northern Somalia, the Biden administration has announced.

The operation carried out on Wednesday targeted Bilal al-Sudani, a key financial facilitator for the global terrorist organisation, in a mountainous cave complex.

This action leaves the United States and its partners safer and more secure, and it reflects our steadfast commitment to protecting Americans from the threat of terrorism at home and abroad, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a statement.

President Joe Biden was briefed last week about the proposed mission, which came together after months of planning.

He gave final approval to carry out the operation this week following the recommendation of Austin and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army Gen. Mark Milley, according to two senior Biden administration officials who briefed reporters on the operation on the condition of anonymity.

Al-Sudani, who has been on the radar of US intelligence officials for years, played a key role in helping to fund IS operations in Africa as well as the ISIS-K terrorist branch operating in Afghanistan, Austin said.

The US Treasury Department alleged last year that al-Sudani had worked closely with another IS operative, Abdella Hussein Abadigga, who had recruited young men in South Africa and sent them to a weapons training camp.

Abadigga, who controlled two mosques in South Africa, used his position to extort money from members of the mosques. Al-Sudani considered Abadigga a trusted supporter who could help the IS supporters in South Africa become better organised and recruit new members, according to Treasury.

Al-Sudani had originally been designated to the Treasury Department in 2012 for his role with al-Shabab, another terrorist organisation operating in Somalia. He helped foreign fighters travel to an al-Shabab training camp and facilitated financing for violent extremists in Somalia, according to a senior administration official.

No civilians were injured or killed in the operation, Pentagon officials said. One American involved in the operation was bitten by a military dog but was not seriously injured, according to an administration official.

US officials provided scant details about how the operation was carried out or the circumstances surrounding al-Sudani's killing. One official said that US forces had intended to capture al-Sudani but that did not prove to be feasible as the operation was carried out.

The operation comes days after Africa Command said it had conducted a collective self-defence strike northeast of Mogadishu, the capital, near Galcad. In that incident, Somalia National Army forces were engaged in heavy fighting following an extended and intense attack by more than 100 al-Shabab fighters.

The US estimated approximately 30 al-Shabab fighters were killed in that operation.

Source: The Week

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

https://www.theweek.in/news/world/2023/01/27/us-military-kills-senior-isis-leader-bilal-al-sudani-in-somalia.html

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Ceremony for Quebec mosque attack to be held in prayer room where shooting occurred

Jan. 26, 2023

QUEBEC - A commemoration planned for Sunday to mark the sixth anniversary of the Quebec City mosque shooting will be held for the first time inside the prayer room where six men were killed.

Mamadou Tanou Barry, Ibrahima Barry, Khaled Belkacemi, Abdelkrim Hassane, Azzeddine Soufiane and Aboubaker Thabti were gunned down shortly after evening prayers had ended at the Islamic Cultural Centre on Jan. 29, 2017.

Maryam Bessiri, a spokesperson for the citizens’ committee organizing the event, said that holding the commemoration in the prayer room was an emotional and difficult decision, but an important one.

“For us, this return to the prayer room is very significant,” Bessiri said. “Together, we can honour the memory of the victims and reflect on the inclusive society we want to build.”

Five other men who were seriously injured and 35 other people who were present live with memories of the bloodshed.

Ahmed Cheddadi, a survivor of the mosque shooting, said showing openness must not fall solely on the Muslim community, but on Quebec society as a whole.

“I’m here because I really feel a responsibility to my brothers who fell right next to me,” said Cheddadi, who has been heavily involved with the survivors’ association since the attack. “It is an event that we must never forget, and this responsibility must also be continuously shared by society.”

He said many things have improved since the attack, notably the creation by the federal government of the National Day of Remembrance of the Québec City Mosque Attack and Action against Islamophobia. Ottawa also brought in gun laws in response to the 2017 rampage.

Mohamed Labidi, president of the mosque, said there was the “duty of memory towards the victims who fell in this mosque by the bullets of hatred” and the annual event is necessary to promote good relations.

He called on the Quebec government to do more.

Labidi said that while steps are being taken to foster inclusiveness and eliminate Islamophobia, legislation like Quebec’s Bill 21 has the opposite effect. The province’s secularism law bans the wearing of religious symbols such as hijabs, kippas and turbans by teachers, judges, police and other government employees deemed to be in positions of authority.

“It does a lot of harm to our community,” Labidi said. “Our brothers and sisters all feel targeted by this law, which violates our rights and freedoms.”

Labidi said he knows of about 50 people who have left Quebec City over the law, which was passed in June 2019. Cheddadi recounted a recent conversation with his teenage daughter, who asked if deciding to wear a hijab would cut short her dream of being a teacher.

“I told her, sadly my girl, you will lose it here in Quebec, but you have a solution. You can go to Ontario or another province,” Cheddadi said.

This week, the mosque in the Quebec City borough of Ste-Foy is holding open houses in an effort to demystify the community to the local population.

In addition to politicians and other dignitaries, the anniversary event will hear from youth from the Quebec City mosque and young people from London, Ont., where in 2021 a Muslim family was run down in an alleged terrorism-related murder.

Bessiri said it is a way to ensure the continuity of the commemoration by involving younger generations and “ensuring that there will be a succession and to look to the future,” she said.

Source: The Star

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

https://www.thestar.com/politics/2023/01/26/ceremony-for-quebec-mosque-attack-to-be-held-in-prayer-room-where-shooting-occurred.html

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US criticizes Palestinian move to suspend security ties with Israel after deadly raid

26 January ,2023

The top US diplomat for the Middle East criticized the Palestinian decision to cut off security coordination with Israel after Israeli forces killed several Palestinians during a raid.

“We don’t think this is the right step to take at this moment,” Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Barbara Leaf said.

Speaking to reporters ahead of Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s trip to Cairo, Ramallah and Jerusalem this weekend, Leaf described the Israeli killings of civilians as “regrettable.”

Israel says it was conducting a raid into Jenin to detain members of a group suspected of being behind a number of terror operations.

Later Thursday, the Palestinian Authorities announced that they would be suspending security coordination with Israel.

“Far from stepping back on security coordination, we believe it’s quite important that the parties retain and, if anything, deepen security coordination,” Leaf said.

Leaf called for calm from both sides and said Blinken’s weekend trip would be an opportunity for him to stress the Biden administration’s commitment to a two-state solution.

Tensions and violence have been increasing over the last several months, and fears are growing that the situation could once again spiral out of control following the new Israeli government, headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and seen as one of the most right-wing cabinets in recent history.

Other nations, including Saudi Arabia, condemned the Israeli raid on Jenin.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/01/26/US-criticizes-Palestinian-move-to-suspend-security-ties-with-Israel-after-deadly-raid

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US says it’s ‘deeply concerned’ after Palestinians killed in Israeli operation

Rabia Iclal Turan  

27.01.2023

WASHINGTON

The US said Thursday it was “deeply concerned” after Israel carried out a military operation in the city of Jenin in the northern occupied West Bank, urging “all parties” to de-escalate.

“We mourn the loss of innocent lives as well as injuries to civilians and are deeply concerned by the cycle of violence in the West Bank,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a written statement.

“We underscore the urgent need for all parties to de-escalate, prevent further loss of civilian life, and work together to improve the security situation in the West Bank,” he said.

“Palestinians and Israelis equally deserve to live safely and securely.”

The statement noted that nine Palestinians, including at least one civilian, were killed in Jenin on Thursday, adding: “We recognize the very real security challenges facing Israel and the Palestinian Authority and condemn terrorist groups planning and carrying out attacks against civilians.”

The Israeli army on Thursday carried out a large-scale military offensive in the Jenin refugee camp in the northern West Bank which left nine people dead, dozens of wounded and great damage to buildings and property.

The attacks came as US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will travel to Egypt, Israel and the West Bank this weekend.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/americas/us-says-it-s-deeply-concerned-after-palestinians-killed-in-israeli-operation/2798752

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Pakistan

 

Holy Quran desecration unbearable for Muslim Ummah: Minister Mufti Abdul Shakoor

JANUARY 26, 2023

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Mufti Abdul Shakoor said the Holy Quran desecration was an unbearable act for Muslim Ummah across the world.

He was addressing the video link conference of the ministers of religious affairs of Muslim countries on the invitation of Head of Turkish Religious Affairs Dr Ali Arbash the other day.

The ministers of religious affairs of Islamic countries including Malaysia, Sudan, Djibouti, Iran, and Palestine participated in the conference.

Condemning the desecration of the Holy Quran in Sweden, Minister Abdul Shakoor said the divine command was our basis and foundation and no Muslim could tolerate its desecration anyway.

He said similar incidents had also happened in Canada, New Zealand and other countries but the recent hateful incident of desecration of the Holy Quran in Sweden was not acceptable at all. “Islam is a religion of peace and tolerance and we respect everyone,” he added.

He said we thanked the head of Turkish religious affairs for realizing the sensitivity of this issue and uniting his counterparts of various Islamic countries and important personalities to discuss the permanent solution of such incidents.

Minister Abdul Shakoor said the government, scholars and people of Pakistan strongly condemned this loathsome incident.

He said it was natural for Muslims to be concerned about this and adopt a firm and aggressive stance on it.

He said it was the responsibility of the United Nations and major countries to play their role as there was a dire need to make permanent and effective legislation on this matter.

Source: Daily Times

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

https://dailytimes.com.pk/1056092/holy-quran-desecration-unbearable-for-muslim-ummah-minister-mufti-abdul-shakoor/

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No backchannel talks with India by Sharif govt: Pakistan minister

Jan 27, 2023

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan had no backchannel diplomacy with India since PM Shehbaz Sharif's government took office in April last year, junior foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar said Thursday, in what is seen as an attempt to assuage domestic contempt over the PM's recent remarks that the nation has learned its lesson after three wars with India and wants peace now.

Khar blamed "provocative steps" by India for straining relations between the two nations. "The messages that we are getting are all conflagratory. Pakistan has the largest interest in unleashing the potential of this region but when you have a government on the other side, whose prime minister says that their nuclear assets are not for Diwali, then what can we do," she said. Khar's statement followed New Delhi's invitation Wednesday to foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial to attend the foreign ministers' and chief justices' meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation in Goa this May.

PM Sharif had said last week in an interview with Dubai-based Al Arabiya TV that PM Modi should hold serious talks to address all "burning points", including Kashmir, and the UAE could play an important role in bringing the two countries to the table.

A day later, the PM's office changed its position and stated that talks with India can happen only after it reverses its action of abrogating J&K's special constitutional status in August 2019.

Junior minister Khar told the senate during question hour Thursday that Pakistan had always taken initiatives to promote peace. "At this moment, there is no such thing (backchannel diplomacy) under way...Right now, the cross-border hostility (from India) is of a unique type."

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/no-backchannel-talks-with-india-by-sharif-govt-pakistan-minister/articleshow/97359728.cms

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Pakistan’s new blasphemy laws may be ‘weaponised’ against minorities, says rights group

Jan 26, 2023

Pakistan has further strengthened its already harsh blasphemy laws to punish anyone convicted of insulting people connected to Prophet Muhammad.

The Pakistan National Assembly unanimously passed the Criminal Laws (Amendment) Act 2023 last week, enhancing the minimum punishment for those who insult the revered personalities of Islam from three to 10 years along with a fine of Rs 1 million. It also makes the charge of blasphemy an offence for which bail is not possible.

This latest piece of legislation has left human rights activists alarmed, as they fear the laws would be misused to settle scores and further persecute religious minorities like Hindus and Christians in Pakistan.

Pakistan's blasphemy laws carry a potential death sentence for anyone who insults Islam and its founder, Prophet Muhammad. The laws have also been used to target minority faiths in the Muslim-majority country.

Expressing deep concern over the tightening of blasphemy laws, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan Chairperson Hina Jilani said, “While the stated aim of this bill is to curb sectarianism, HRCP believes it is likely to exacerbate the persecution of Pakistan’s beleaguered religious minorities and minority sects.”

Making blasphemy a non-bailable offence directly violates the constitutionally guaranteed right to personal liberty under Article 9, the HRCP said.

“Given Pakistan’s troubled record of the misuse of such laws, these amendments are likely to be weaponised disproportionately against religious minorities and sects, resulting in false FIRs, harassment and persecution,” it said.

The human rights body said that increasing the penalty for alleged blasphemy will aggravate misuse of the law to settle personal vendetta. It is also feared that it will increase mob lynchings of those accused of blasphemy.

“At a time when civil society has been calling for amendments to these laws to prevent their abuse, strengthening this punishment will do the exact opposite,” it said.

PAKISTAN’S STRICT BLASPHEMY LAWS

Offences relating to religion were first codified by India's British rulers in 1860, and were expanded in 1927. Pakistan inherited these laws when it came into existence after the partition of India in 1947.

In the 1980s, the blasphemy laws were expanded by the addition of a number of clauses by the military government of General Zia-ul Haq.

Source: India Today

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

https://www.indiatoday.in/world/story/pakistan-new-blasphemy-laws-may-be-weaponised-against-minorities-2326730-2023-01-26

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Khar to lead delegation to UN Human Rights Council in Geneva

January 26, 2023

ISLAMABAD: Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar will lead the Pakistan delegation to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on 30th of this month.

Foreign Office Spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch has stated this during her weekly news briefing in Islamabad on Thursday.

Source: Pakistan Today

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https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2023/01/26/khar-to-lead-delegation-to-un-human-rights-council-in-geneva/

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South Asia

 

Islamic world worried about Taliban's interpretation of Islam: Report

Jan 26, 2023

ABU DHABI [UAE]: The Islamic world is worried about the Taliban's interpretation of Islam as it poses political challenges. The Taliban has enforced Sharia laws based on their own interpretation of Islam, according to Dubai-based media network Al Arabiya Post.

Taliban leaders, however, insist that their policies are based on Islamic jurisprudence.

Columnist Mohammed Amir Rana, writing for the Dawn newspaper, claimed that Pakistan is among those Muslim countries that have distanced themselves from the Afghan Taliban's conception and enforcement of Islamic laws.

The ideological influence of the Taliban, a hard-line Sunni organization in Pakistan, is today visible in the form of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). Every step that the Taliban has taken to enforce Sharia and make the women of Afghanistan outcasts in their own land, pushes Pakistan further away from its historical links with the Taliban much to its discomfort, according to Al Arabiya Post.

Even the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), took notice of the Taliban's actions against Afghan women and reminded the Taliban to mend its ways.

The 57 OIC member countries in December 2022, held a special meeting on Afghanistan and urged the Taliban to abide by the "principles and purposes" enshrined in the United Nations Charter.

The OIC also called on the Taliban to reconsider the "un-Islamic" ban on women's education and launched a campaign to teach the Taliban the real Islam that encourages education for women, according to the Al Arabiya Post.

It said that the OIC Executive Committee, headed by Saudi Arabia, met again in January 2023 to discuss Afghanistan. The meeting inter alia recalled that "the right of women and girls to access all levels of education, including university level, is a fundamental right in keeping with the teachings of the noble Islamic shariah".

The Taliban's ban on women's education contradicted Islamic law, according to the Grand Imam of Egypt's Al-Azhar University.

According to the Al Arabiya Post, the Islamic world is thus rightly worried about the Taliban's interpretation of Islam as it poses a political challenge. Today, many Islamic societies have developed compatibility with modern values of freedom and human rights. However, the Taliban leaders insist that their policies are based on Islamic jurisprudence.

Earlier, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday called on the Taliban in Afghanistan to reverse the ban on girls' access to secondary and higher education.

Calling education a fundamental right, Guterres said that now is the time for all nations to ensure actual steps to develop welcoming and inclusive learning environments for all.

Source: Times Of India

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https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/islamic-world-worried-about-talibans-interpretation-of-islam-report/articleshow/97343736.cms

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Iran Deports More Than 3000 Afghan Refugees in a Week

By Nizamuddin Rezahi

January 26, 2023

The Ministry of Refugee and Repatriation of Afghanistan has announced that more than 3,000 Afghan refugees were deported from Iran through Islam Qala and Pule Abrishum borders to the country.

In a statement, the Ministry of Refugee announced that 3123 Afghan migrants have been expelled from Iran on January 24th and 25th respectively. In the recent past in Iran, Afghan nationals have been detained and forcefully deported to Afghanistan.

Taliban officials have confirmed that returnees have entered Afghanistan through Herat and Nimruz provinces, and have called on Iranian officials to respect human rights and treat Afghan refugees with decency.

Thousands of Afghans fled the country fearing their survival and the dire economic situation that has already choked the county under the ruling regime. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Iran, currently, more than four million Afghans reside in Iran.

Iran is one of the countries accused of violating human rights by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Since the overthrow of the previous regime in August 2021, thousands of Afghans fled the country fearing persecution and death at the hands of the Taliban. Iran and Pakistan are the two neighboring countries of Afghanistan which saw waves of mass migration After the Taliban returned to power.

Source: Khaama Press

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https://www.khaama.com/iran-deports-more-than-3000-afghan-refugees-in-a-week/

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Mideast

 

Iran Adds More EU, British Individuals, Entities to Sanction List over Terror Support

2023-January-26

Iran on Wednesday announced sanctions against 34 individuals and entities from the European Union and the United Kingdom, days after Brussels and London imposed a fresh round of sanctions targeting Iranian officials and organizations.

The ministry said the individuals and entities were designated because of “supporting terrorism and terrorist groups, instigating and encouragement to terrorist acts and violence against Iranian people, interference in domestic affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran, inciting violence and unrest in Iran, dissemination of false information about Iran and participation in the escalation of cruel sanctions against Iranian people as an economic terrorism".

Among the 22 EU individuals and three entities who face the travel ban and asset freeze include the Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo, the publishing manager of Charlie Hebdo magazine Laurent Sourisseau, notorious journalist Bernard-Henri Levy, as well as Danish far-right politician Rasmus Paludan.

The foreign ministry also announced sanctions against a British entity and eight individuals, including the attorney general for England and Wales Victoria Prentis, former head of MI6 spy agency Richard Dearlove, and head of the British Army Patrick Sanders.

Tehran slammed London and Brussels for supporting, facilitating, and failing to counter the destructive acts of the sanctioned individuals and entities, noting that such measures are in contravention of international obligations regarding the fight against terrorism.

The EU and UK sanctions, read the statement, are “obvious violation of fundamental principles of international law set forth in the United Nations charter".

The announcement came days after the EU, the US and the UK announced sanctions on dozens of Iranian officials and organizations over alleged human rights violations.

Protests erupted in several cities across Iran over the death of Mahsa Amini who fainted at a police station in mid-September and days later was pronounced dead at a hospital. The demonstrations soon turned violent.

Iranian officials blame Western countries for orchestrating the riots to destabilize the country.

The unrest has claimed the lives of dozens of people and security forces, while also allowing acts of terror and sabotage across the country. Iran's Interior Ministry has confirmed the enemy waged a hybrid war against the country to weaken national solidarity and hinder the country's progress, stressing that some 200 people lost their lives in the riots sparked by separatist and terrorist groups.

Source: Fars News Agency

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https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14011106000098/Iran-Adds-Mre-EU-Briish-Individals-Eniies-Sancin-Lis-ver-Terrr-Sppr

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Netanyahu to hold security assessment meeting amid military operation in Jenin

Abdelraouf Arna'out 

26.01.2023

JERUSALEM

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to hold a security assessment meeting late on Thursday after Israel's military offensive on the city of Jenin in the northern occupied West Bank.

Israeli public broadcaster KAN reported fears in the government that clashes could escalate and expand if the Islamic Jihad group retaliates to the attack by firing rockets from Gaza.

Islamic Jihad informed mediators that Israel was responsible for the attack and that if the Israeli offensive does not stop, "all options are possible," according to the report.

Israeli forces are preparing for a possible escalation across the West Bank following the developments in Jenin, said a separate report by the Tel Aviv-based daily Yedioth Ahronoth.

Nine Palestinians have been killed and 20 injured by the Israeli forces as they stormed the Jenin Refugees camp, the Palestinian Health Ministry said.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/netanyahu-to-hold-security-assessment-meeting-amid-military-operation-in-jenin/2798481

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Israeli army says its surveillance drone downed during offensive in Jenin, West Bank

Abdelraouf Arna'out  

26.01.2023

The Israeli army radio on Thursday said an army surveillance drone was downed during Israel's offensive in Jenin, in the northern region of the occupied West Bank.

The radio, however, did not give further details on how the drone was downed in Jenin, adding that there is no fear of leakage of information.

The Israeli public broadcaster KAN said the Israeli army has launched an offensive in Jenin as the group Islamic Jihad was allegedly preparing for a massive attack, without providing further detail.
Source: Anadolu Agency

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https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/israeli-army-says-its-surveillance-drone-downed-during-offensive-in-jenin-west-bank/2798420

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Iran Calls on France to Put Aside Trump's Failed Policy of Maximum Pressure

2023-January-26

Amir Abdollahian made the remarks in a phone call with his French counterpart Catherine Colonna on Wednesday.

The high-ranking Iranian diplomat criticized the stance of France in “instigating riot” in Iran as “unfriendly”.

Slamming the meddlesome remarks by some French officials, he stated Tehran "always prefers the path of dialogue and diplomacy, however, as you can witness, in [case of] a confrontational approach, our measures are immediate, effective, and reciprocal".

Tensions between Iran and the European Union (EU) hit a new high when the European Parliament asked the EU to designate the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) as a “terrorist organization” in a non-binding vote last Wednesday. EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell, however, clarified on Monday that the bloc cannot list the IRGC as a “terrorist” entity without an EU court ruling.

Criticizing the “unconstructive” measure of the European Parliament with regard to the IRGC, Amir Abdollahian stressed the elite forces have had an “important role in maintaining regional security and truly fighting against terrorism".

“The Islamic Republic of Iran is closely monitoring the EU behavior and will take its next steps accordingly,” added the top diplomat.

“Do not repeat the failed Trump’s policy of sanctions,” he advised the French diplomat.

Trump scrapped the 2015 Iran nuclear deal in May 2018 and imposed severe economic sanctions on Tehran under the so-called “maximum pressure campaign” to force Tehran into a new deal but to no avail. Iranian officials, however, say US attempts to disturb Tehran's trade through sanctions have failed. They state Washington has been defeated in the maximum pressure policy against their country.

Amir Abdollahian also slammed Chalie Hebdo’s insult to religious sanctities, noting that the desecration of the Holy Quran in Sweden and the Netherlands is in line with the same approach.

Charlie Hebdo published derogatory cartoons of Iran’s religious authority in a special issue this month. The vulgar act was met with strong condemnation from Iranian people and officials.

Colonna, for her part, claimed that France has not intervened in Iran’s internal affairs.

She also called for the release of a number of French citizens who are imprisoned in Iran on spying and security-related charges.

Tehran and Paris have been engaged in a diplomatic row over French meddlesome stance on recent unrest Iran.

President Emmanuel Macron also held a meeting with a number of anti-Tehran figures, including Masih Alinejad, at the Elysée. In the meeting, the French president described the recent unrest in Iran as a "revolution".

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Nasser Kana'ani condemned Macron for meeting several anti-Tehran individuals at the Elysee Palace, and cautioned that the move will surely remain in the memory of the Iranian nation.

“It is surprising that the president of a country claiming to support freedom, lowers his level and meets with a hated pawn who, in the recent months, has clearly tried to spread hatred, violence and terrorist acts in the Islamic Republic of Iran and also against its diplomatic missions as well as diplomats of the Islamic Republic abroad,” Kana'ani said.

The diplomat called the statements quoted from Macron that he supports the so-called revolution, led by these people, as "regretful" and "a cause for shame".

The spokesperson added the meeting is a flagrant violation of France’s international responsibilities in fighting terrorism and violence, and is regarded as a promotion of these vicious phenomena.

He emphasized that such anti-Tehran measures will undoubtedly be kept in the memory of the great Iranian nation, who are well aware of the selective approaches of some European leaders, going against human rights.

Protests erupted in several cities across Iran over the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian woman who fainted at a police station in mid-September and days later was pronounced dead at a hospital. The demonstrations soon turned violent.

An official report by Iran’s Legal Medicine Organization announced that Amini’s controversial death was caused by an illness rather than alleged blows to the head or other vital body organs.

Iranian officials blame Western countries for orchestrating the riots to destabilize the country.

Source: Fars News Agency

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https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14011106000174/Iran-Calls-n-France-P-Aside-Trmp's-Failed-Plicy-f-Maximm-Pressre

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Iranian Envoy Calls on UNSC to Compel Israel to End Aggression on Syrian Soil

2023-January-26

Iravani was addressing the UN Security Council meeting on Wednesday on political and humanitarian developments in Syria.

The Damascus government in recent months has re-established diplomatic ties with several regional countries, including the United Arab Emirates, after more than a decade.

"A secure, stable and developed Syria benefits the Syrian people, as well as the region and the international community," the Iranian diplomat stated.

He reiterated that the crisis in Syria should be resolved based on international law.

"A political solution based on Syrians’ leadership and under their guidance, which is facilitated by the UN, is the only way out of this crisis," the envoy continued.

He stressed that "such a process should fully protect the Syrian Arab Republic’s unity as well as its national sovereignty and territorial integrity".

Iravani referred to terrorism, calling it a serious threat to Syria and the region, but underlined that foreign forces present in northern Syria should not use the fight against terrorism as an excuse to violate the Arab country’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity.

"Such an illegal presence continues to violate the UN Charter and international law while creating ideal conditions for terror activities. It should come to an end," Iravani noted.

The Iranian envoy also referred to Israel’s attacks on Syrian territory, urging the UN Security Council to “immediately” force the regime to stop its acts of aggression against Syria.

He underscored that Iran strongly condemns the Israeli attacks which threaten international and regional peace and stability, and have continued despite Damascus’ repeated calls on the Security Council to denounce them.

Iran's diplomat voiced Tehran's support for the Astana peace process, as well as the international humanitarian efforts ongoing in Syria, saying that political conditions should not be an obstacle to reaching out to those in need in the Arab country.

He called for the removal of unilateral coercive measures against Syria, especially the measures that are targeting ordinary people and patients, warning that such “illegal” actions have made it difficult to dispatch humanitarian aid to Syria and would delay the return of refugees and the internally displaced people to their homes.

"Iran demands the international community increase funds required for humanitarian efforts in Syria, especially with regard to harsh winter conditions," the envoy added.

Iravani also expressed support and gratitude to the Syrian government over its efforts on national reconciliation, calling them a key step in restoring stability in Syria.

The ambassador stated that Syria has always played a key role in West Asia and has been one of the main pillars of peace and security there.

“Iran backs Syria’s position in the region and the country’s diplomatic rapprochement because we believe that a secure, stable and developed Syria benefits its people, the region, and the international community,” he continued.

Since 2011, Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy, as a result of which Daesh (also known as ISIS or ISIL) and other terrorist groups emerged in the country.

Israel frequently targets military positions inside Syria, especially those of the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah which has played a key role in helping the Syrian Army in its fight against foreign-backed terrorists.

The Tel Aviv regime rarely comments on its cowardly attacks on Syrian territories, which many see as a knee-jerk reaction to the Syrian government’s success in confronting and decimating terrorism.

Source: Fars News Agency

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https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14011106000275/Iranian-Envy-Calls-n-UNSC-Cmpel-Israel-End-Aggressin-n-Syrian-Sil

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Gunman kills security chief, wounds two guards at Azerbaijan embassy in Iran

27 January ,2023

A man armed with a Kalashnikov-style rifle attacked the Azerbaijan embassy in Iran’s capital Friday, killing the head of security at the diplomatic post and wounding two guards, authorities said.

No one immediately offered a motive for the attack in Tehran. Video purportedly taken at the scene showed a lifeless body just inside of the embassy past a metal detector.

Iranian state media did not immediately acknowledge the attack.

A statement from Azerbaijan’s foreign ministry said that “an investigation is currently underway into this treacherous attack.” It also described the attacker as destroying a guard post with assault rifle fire.

Azerbaijan borders Iran to its northwest. There have been tensions between the two countries as Azerbaijan and Armenia have fought over the Nagorno-Karabakh region.

Source: Al Arabiya

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https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/01/27/One-killed-two-injured-in-shooting-at-Azerbaijan-s-embassy-in-Iran

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Gaza militants fire rockets as Israel strikes in Gaza

27 January ,2023

Palestinian militants on Friday fired two rockets from the Gaza Strip towards southern Israel that were intercepted by missile defenses, and Israel then carried out strikes in Gaza.

The cross-border fire came after an Israeli raid in the occupied West Bank on Thursday that led to the largest single death toll in years of fighting.

The overnight rockets triggered sirens in Israeli communities near the border with Gaza, warning residents to take shelter. There were no reports of injuries.

Israel’s Channel 12 aired footage of Israeli interceptor missiles being launched into the night sky above the city of Ashkelon, about 12 km (7 miles) north of Gaza, which is controlled by the Islamist militant group Hamas.

A few hours later, Israel’s military said it had carried out strikes in Gaza. Palestinian witnesses said Israeli aircraft had targeted a Hamas training camp. No injuries were reported.

Tensions flared after Israeli commandos killed seven gunmen and two civilians during the raid on the flashpoint town of Jenin. Hamas and the smaller militant group Islamic Jihad promised a response, but there was no immediate claim for the rocket fire.

After the Jenin violence, the Palestinian Authority said it was ending its security coordination with Israel, an arrangement that is widely credited with helping to keep order in the West Bank and preventing attacks against Israel. It has frozen the cooperation numerous times in protest.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel was not looking to escalate the situation, though he ordered security forces to be on alert.

US, UN and Arab officials spoke with Israel and Palestinian factions to try to keep the clash in Jenin, among areas of the West Bank that have seen intensified Israeli operations, from sparking a broader confrontation.

Violence has surged since a series of lethal Palestinian street attacks in Israel last March and April.

Source: Al Arabiya

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https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/01/27/Gaza-militants-fire-rockets-as-Israel-strikes-in-Gaza

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Israel urges NATO to confront Iran threat

26 January ,2023

Israeli President Isaac Herzog on Thursday urged the NATO military alliance to toughen its approach to Iran, as Tehran supplies drones to Russia for its war on Ukraine.

“The crisis there goes beyond the boundaries of Ukraine, with the Iranian threat now at Europe’s doorstep,” Herzog said on a visit to NATO headquarters in Brussels.

“The illusion of distance can no longer hold. NATO must take the strongest possible stance against the Iranian regime including through economic, legal and political sanctions and credible military deterrence.”

The figurehead leader became on Thursday the first Israeli president to brief NATO’s main decision-making body.

Members of the Western alliance have pressed Israel to take a firmer stance against Russia over the war in Ukraine.

But Israel has refused to arm Kyiv as it is afraid of angering Moscow, which plays a key role in its neighbor Syria.

“A terrible war continues to cause needless human suffering and compromise the well-being and welfare of millions,” Herzog said, without explicitly condemning Russia.

“Our hearts continue to go out to the people of Ukraine as they defend their homes and their country,” he said.

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said he had discussed “our support for Ukraine” with Herzog.

“The Ukrainian people are bravely defending their homeland and NATO allies and partners are helping to support their right to self defense,” he said.

The NATO secretary general said Herzog’s visit was a sign of the US-led alliance’s “deepening partnership” with Israel.

Herzog pointed to bolstering cooperation on cyber-security, threats from space, drones, and energy resilience.

Source: Al Arabiya

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https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/01/26/Israel-urges-NATO-to-confront-Iran-threat

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Palestinians end security coordination with Israel after West Bank raid

26 January ,2023

The Palestinians ended security coordination with Israel in the occupied West Bank after a deadly Israeli military raid in a flashpoint city on Thursday, according to a spokesperson for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

“In light of the repeated aggression against our people, and the undermining of signed agreements, including security, we consider that security coordination with the Israeli occupation government no longer exists as of now,” said a statement issued after a meeting of Palestinian leadership.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia on Thursday strongly condemned a raid by Israeli commandos on the Palestinian town of Jenin that killed seven people and injured two, state news agency SPA reported.

The Saudi foreign ministry said it denounced Israeli forces’ “storming of the city” that led to “the fall of a number of victims.”

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/01/26/Palestinians-end-security-coordination-with-Israel-after-West-Bank-raid

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9 Palestinians killed during Israeli operation in Jenin refugee camp

MOHAMMED NAJIB

January 26, 2023

RAMALLAH: Israeli forces killed nine Palestinians, including an elderly woman, and wounded 20, four of them seriously, during a raid in Jenin refugee camp on Thursday, the Palestinian Ministry of Health said.

Meanwhile, Youssef Muheisen, 22, died after being shot by Israeli soldiers during clashes in Al-Ram, in Jerusalem governorate, raising the day’s death toll to 10.

The bloodshed, which marked the West Bank’s deadliest day in more than a year, brought to 30 the total number of Palestinians killed this year by Israeli operations.

Security forces said they entered the camp to apprehend three Palestinian militants from the Islamic Jihad organization who, according to intelligence information, intended to carry out a significant attack against an Israeli target.

The Palestinian Red Crescent said Israeli officials initially prevented medics from entering the camp, making it difficult to reach the injured, four of whom were in critical condition. It said Israeli forces had fired tear gas canisters at the Jenin Government Hospital, resulting in inhalation injuries among children.

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh called on the UN and international human rights organizations to “intervene urgently to provide protection … and stop the bloodshed of children, youth and women.” He added that the occupying forces continue to commit killings and executions with impunity.

Tor Wennesland, the UN’s special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, said: “I am deeply alarmed and saddened by the continuing cycle of violence in the occupied West Bank. Today’s deaths of nine Palestinians, including militants and one woman, during an Israeli arrest operation in Jenin is another stark example.”

He urged the Israeli and Palestinian authorities to de-escalate tensions, restore calm and avoid further conflict.

A general strike was called in the West Bank to mourn the dead. Large crowds attended the funerals of the nine victims, amid calls for revenge. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced three days of mourning, during which flags will fly at half-mast.

Separately, nine people were injured during clashes that broke out between dozens of Palestinians and Israeli forces near Bethlehem and Ramallah, during which live bullets and tear gas canisters were used to disperse crowds throwing stones.

An EU official in Jerusalem described the situation in the West Bank as complex and heading toward a dangerous curve. The official added that the EU has consistently called for immediate investigations into military operations that result in civilian casualties and for the results of such probes to be publicly announced.

The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said: “If the international community and the US administration do not move now, when these brutal crimes are committed by the occupying forces, then when will they move?”

Maj. Gen. Akram Rajoub, the governor of Jenin, described the Israeli operation at the camp there as “the bloodiest and most violent in more than a year.”

He said great sadness, pain and anger prevails in the city and the camp, and the repeated Israeli incursions are weakening the roles of the Palestinian security services and the Palestinian Authority.

A Palestinian security officer at the Jenin camp, who asked to remain anonymous, told Arab News that a dairy truck with Palestinian number plates had arrived at about 7 a.m. on Thursday. Inside, there were about 30 members of the Israeli Special Forces. When young residents of the camp spotted the hidden force they attacked it with a barrage of stones, he said. Then reinforcements arrived, including more than 80 Israeli military vehicles and bulldozers, and a drone to monitor the camp.

He said the operation continued for more than four hours, during which the forces surrounded houses and targeted them with heavy gunfire and rockets.

“The camp was like a battlefield and reminded us of what happened in 2002,” the source said.

Following the operation in Jenin, Israeli troops in the West Bank and along the borders with Gaza were put on high alert amid fears of Palestinian retaliation, Israeli defense forces said.

Nabil Aburudeineh, spokesperson for the Palestinian presidency, described the killings as a “massacre” and condemned the silence of the international community over such incidents, “which encourages the Israeli government to commit more massacres against the Palestinian people and continue the escalation policy.”

Abdullatif Al-Qanou, who belongs to Hamas, the organization that rules Gaza, said: “The behavior of the extremist occupation government, the escalation of its crimes, and its transgression against our people will inevitably lead us to the battle of Jerusalem to defend our land, our families and our sanctities.”

Daoud Shehab, a senior leader of Islamic Jihad, said: “The Jenin camp is the most prominent address of challenge and steadfastness throughout Palestine, and Jenin affirms that the resistance continues despite the arrogance and crimes of the occupation.”

Islamic Jihad is a powerful presence in the Jenin camp, where it operates a “Jenin Brigade” of about 300 well-trained fighters that coordinate with all other Palestinian militants in the camps.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2239266/middle-east

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Israel, Gaza fighters trade fire after deadly West Bank raid

January 27, 2023

JERUSALEM: Gaza militants fired rockets and Israel carried out airstrikes early Friday as tensions soared following an Israeli raid in the occupied West Bank that killed nine Palestinians, including at least seven militants and a 61-year-old woman.

It was the deadliest single raid in the territory in over two decades. The flare-up in violence poses an early test for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s far-right government and casts a shadow on US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s expected trip to the region next week.

Palestinian militants fired five rockets at Israel, the military said. Three were intercepted, one fell in an open area and another fell short inside Gaza. Israel carried out a series of airstrikes at what it said were militant targets. There were no immediate reports of casualties.

Thursday’s deadly raid in the Jenin refugee camp was likely to reverberate on Friday as Palestinians gather for weekly Muslim prayers that are often followed by protests. Hamas, the Islamic militant group that controls Gaza, had earlier threatened revenge for the raid.

Raising the stakes, the Palestinian Authority said it would halt the ties that its security forces maintain with Israel in a shared effort to contain Islamic militants. Previous threats have been short-lived, in part because of the benefits the authority enjoys from the relationship and also due to US and Israeli pressure to maintain it.

The Palestinian Authority already has limited control over scattered enclaves in the West Bank, and almost none over militant strongholds like the Jenin camp. But the announcement could pave the way for Israel to step up operations it says are needed to prevent attacks.

The Israeli strikes early Friday targeted training sites for Palestinian militant groups, the military said. Witnesses and local media reported that Israeli drones fired two missiles at a Hamas militant base before fighter jets struck it, causing four large explosions.

Air raid sirens went off in southern Israel as the initial two rockets were fired and then again after the airstrikes, when the militants fired the other three rockets.

On Thursday, Israeli forces went on heightened alert as Palestinians filled the streets across the West Bank, chanting in solidarity with Jenin. President Mahmoud Abbas declared three days of mourning, and in the refugee camp, residents dug a mass grave for the dead.

Palestinian Authority spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh said Abbas had decided to cut security coordination in “light of the repeated aggression against our people.” He also said the Palestinians planned to file complaints with the UN Security Council, International Criminal Court and other international bodies.

Barbara Leaf, the top US diplomat for the Middle East, said the Biden administration was deeply concerned about the situation and that civilian casualties reported in Jenin were “quite regrettable.” But she also said the Palestinian announcement to suspend security ties and to pursue the matter at international organizations was a mistake.

Thursday’s gunbattle that left nine dead and 20 wounded erupted when Israel’s military conducted a rare daytime operation in the Jenin camp that it said was meant to prevent an imminent attack on Israelis. The camp, where the Palestinian Islamic Jihad militant group has a major foothold, has been a focus of near-nightly Israeli arrest raids.

Hamas’ armed wing claimed four of the dead as members, while Islamic Jihad claimed three others. An earlier statement from the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade, a militia loosely affiliated with Abbas’ secular Fatah party, claimed one of the dead was a fighter named Izz Al-Din Salahat, but it was unclear if he was among those seven militants.

The Palestinian Health Ministry identified the 61-year-old woman killed as Magda Obaid, and the Israeli military said it was looking into reports of her death.

The Israeli military circulated aerial video it said was taken during the battle, showing what appeared to be Palestinians on rooftops hurling stones and firebombs on Israeli forces below. At least one Palestinian can be seen opening fire from a rooftop.

Later in the day, Israeli forces fatally shot a 22-year-old and wounded two others, the Palestinian Health Ministry said, as Palestinians confronted Israeli troops north of Jerusalem to protest Thursday’s raid. Israel’s paramilitary Border Police said they opened fire on Palestinians who launched fireworks at them from close range.

Tensions have soared since Israel stepped up raids in the West Bank last spring, following a series of Palestinian attacks.

Israel’s new national security minister, far-right politician Itamar Ben-Gvir, who seeks to grant legal immunity to Israeli soldiers who shoot Palestinians, posted a video of himself beaming triumphantly and congratulating security forces.

The raid left a trail of destruction in Jenin. A two-story building, apparently the operation’s target, was a charred wreck. The military said it entered the building to detonate explosives.

Palestinian Health Minister May Al-Kaila said paramedics struggled to reach the wounded during the fighting, while Akram Rajoub, the governor of Jenin, said the military prevented emergency workers from evacuating them.

Both accused the military of firing tear gas at the pediatric ward of a hospital, causing children to choke. Video at the hospital showed women carrying children into a corridor.

The military said forces closed roads to aid the operation, which may have complicated rescue efforts, and that tear gas had likely wafted into the hospital from nearby clashes.

The Israeli rights group B’Tselem said Thursday marked the single bloodiest West Bank incursion since 2002, at the height of an intense wave of violence known as the Second Intifada, or Palestinian uprising, which left scars still visible in Jenin.

UN Middle East envoy Tor Wennesland said he was “deeply alarmed and saddened” by the violence. Condemnations came from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and Turkiye, which recently reestablished full diplomatic ties with Israel. Neighboring Jordan, as well as Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries also condemned the Israeli raid.

The Islamic Jihad branch in Gaza has repeatedly fought against Israel, most recently in a fierce three-day clash last summer that killed dozens of Palestinians and disrupted the lives of hundreds of thousands of Israelis. Hamas, which seized power from the Palestinian Authority in Gaza in 2007, has fought four wars and several smaller skirmishes with Israel.

Nearly 150 Palestinians were killed in the West Bank and east Jerusalem last year, making 2022 the deadliest in those territories since 2004, according to B’Tselem. So far this year, 30 Palestinians have been killed.

Israel says most of the dead were militants. But youths protesting the incursions and others not involved in the confrontations also have been killed. So far this year, not including Thursday, one-third of the Palestinians killed by Israeli troops or civilians had ties to armed groups.

Last year, 30 people were killed in Palestinian attacks against Israelis.

Israel says its raids are meant to dismantle militant networks and thwart attacks. The Palestinians say they further entrench Israel’s 55-year, open-ended occupation of the West Bank, which Israel captured along with east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip in the 1967 Mideast war. The Palestinians claim those territories for their hoped-for state.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2239856/middle-east

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Southeast Asia

 

Dozens Of Muslims, Including Children, Gather In Front Of Swedish Embassy In Kuala Lumpur To Protest Quran Burning In Stockholm

By Shahrin Aizat Noorshahrizam

27 Jan 2023

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 27 — Some 80 people from a local hardline Muslim group calling itself Hizbut Tahrir have gathered in front of the Swedish Embassy here in a show of protest against the burning of the Quran in Stockholm last week.

About 15 young children were spotted among the protesters who began assembling here at about 8.30am.

The group held up an assortment of flags, banners and posters – some which read “Does your religion teach you to insult others?” and “Our Prophet, Our Honour” – while chanting anti-Western sentiments in Malay like “hancur Sweden, hancur Barat” (destroy Sweden, destroy the West).

Some 40 policemen stood watch nearby. The pro-caliphate group leader Mu’adz Abu Thalhah who was equipped with a cordless microphone said three representatives from Hizbut Tahrir will hand over a memorandum of their objections to the Quran burning to the Swedish Embassy officials.

Last Saturday, Swedish-Danish far-right politician Rasmus Paludan who leads a Danish party called Stram Kurs (which means Hard Line) burnt a copy of the Quran outside the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm, sparking outrage across the Muslim world.

However, Swedish authorities have said Paludan’s act did not violate its laws.

In his speech, Mu’adz said Hizbut Tahrir will continue to hold peaceful demonstrations until the Swedish government makes Paludan apologise for burning the Quran.

“We call on the Swedish government to order Paludan to issue an apology to Muslims for his cruel insult to Islam which has angered Muslims around the world.

“As long as there is no apology, we will continue to hold demonstrations,” he said as the crowd cheered in agreement.

Mu’adz also urged the Malaysian government to mobilise its military forces to “teach” the Westerners a “lesson”.

“The only viable response is to teach them a lesson through jihad,” he said, referring to those who belittle Islam.

The group is expected to head to the Dutch Embassy here around 2pm today after the weekly Islamic Friday prayers to hand over another similar memorandum of objection.

Malaysia has condemned the Quran burning with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim calling it a vile act and a hate crime last Monday, in a “grave provocation” to the more than two billion Muslims worldwide.

Yesterday, Anwar expressed his support for Muslims to hold protests against the Swedish government even as he stressed the need for Muslims to bridge the divide with non-believers through intellectual engagements by educating critics about Islam.

The United Nations Alliance of Civilizations has also put out a statement deploring Paludan’s action as “an expression of hatred towards Muslims”.

Source: Malay Mail

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

https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2023/01/27/dozens-of-muslims-including-children-gather-in-front-of-swedish-embassy-in-kl-to-protest-quran-burning-in-stockholm-video/52107

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Wisma Putra summons Swedish envoy after Quran-burning in Sweden

January 26, 2023

PETALING JAYA: The foreign ministry summoned the charge d’affaires ad interim of the Swedish embassy in Kuala Lumpur this morning to reaffirm the country’s strong condemnation over a Swedish far-right politician’s “vile act” of burning the Quran in Stockholm.

“The ministry conveyed Malaysia’s objection and disappointment with the Swedish authorities’ continuous refusal to take action, allowing Rasmus Paludan to indulge in his foul antics, including a similar incident in April 2022, despite strong protests from the international community,” it said in a statement.

The ministry said it urged the Swedish authorities to undertake serious measures to combat all forms of violence and hatred against Islam in Sweden.

It warned that the spirit of peaceful coexistence in a multi-religious society could be undermined if Islamophobia and xenophobia continued to prevail.

“The charge d’affaires ad interim took note of the Malaysian government’s protest and said he would convey the views to Stockholm.”

The ministry noted that a briefing session was hosted by deputy Swedish foreign minister Jan Knutsson on Jan 23 and attended by the representatives from the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) member countries in Stockholm, including Malaysia.

It called for concrete initiatives by the Swedish government to streamline their position in respecting the Muslim community as a whole.

Earlier this week, Swedish far-right politician Paludan’s burning of the Quran at a demonstration sparked outrage among Muslims around the world.

Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim today condemned Paludan’s act and called for action to be taken against the politician to check what he called an alarming rise of Islamophobia in Sweden.

“We in Malaysia will not tolerate the burning of the Quran, Bible and Hindu texts,” said Anwar.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2023/01/26/wisma-putra-summons-swedish-envoy-after-quran-burning-in-sweden/

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PM Anwar wants to review Islamic studies in schools to emphasise universal values

JAN 26, 2023

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia’s Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim said on Thursday that Islamic religious studies being taught in schools and higher educational institutions should be reviewed to emphasise universal values and humanity.

There should be better understanding of religions among the masses to ensure the survival of a multiracial and multireligious Malaysia, he said at the launching of a book at the International Islamic University.

Muslim-majority Malaysia has turned more conservative in recent decades, partly caused by the teaching of a narrow interpretation of Islam in educational institutions.

The prime minister last week launched a new slogan for his administration – called Malaysia Madani – saying he wanted to reset the country’s attitude towards race and religion, a mainstay of Malaysian politics. The word “madani” in Arabic carries the general meaning of civilised or modern.

“There are suggestions from scholars such as Professor Osman who stated that the Islamic religious studies being taught in schools must be re-looked at and reviewed to ensure that what is taught gives a better understanding of the issues of values, character and universal human values. These have to be emphasised,” Datuk Seri Anwar said, referring to a top local Islamic professor.

“This is so because many a time, Islam is taught by quoting authorities and fatwas are issued (by authorities) based on their own understanding. Sometimes, when we question (the fatwas), they said that it is not right (to do so).

“If the main teachers take a wrong action, it must be questioned. Just because that person is a head of a political party, that does not mean all his statements are right. Islam did not teach us to do so.

Mr Anwar did not mention any political parties but was likely referring to leaders of opposition Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS), as some of them are prominent clerics.

Mr Anwar heads a multiracial coalition in Parliament, with the opposition comprising Islamists from PAS and Malay-Muslim based Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia.

PM Anwar, earlier in a speech before the launching of the book, said that there must be continuous engagement between different religions to ensure harmony in the country between races and religions.

Source: Straits Times

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

https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/pm-anwar-wants-to-review-islamic-studies-in-schools-to-emphasise-universal-values

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Islamic studies in schools to be reviewed to emphasise universal values and humanity, says Anwar

By ZAKIAH KOYA

26 Jan 2023

KUALA LUMPUR: There should be better understanding of religions among the masses to ensure the survival of a multiracial and multireligious Malaysia, says Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

The Prime Minister also stated that Islamic civilisation studies are long overdue in the national curriculum.

He stated that the Islamic religious studies currently being taught in schools and higher education institutions should be reviewed to ensure that universal values and humanity are taught so as to avoid students from blindly following those who claim authority.

He said this at the launch of the book "Knowledge, Tradition and Civilisation: Essays in honour of Professor Osman Bakar at the International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilisation-International Islamic University Malaysia (Istac-IIUM) here Thursday (Jan 26).

“There are suggestions from scholars such as Professor Osman who stated that the Islamic religious studies being taught in schools must be re-looked at and reviewed to ensure that what is taught gives a better understanding of the issues of values, character and universal humanity values. These have to be emphasised.

“This is so because many a time, Islam is taught by quoting authorities and fatwas are issued (by authorities) based on their own understanding. Sometimes, when we question (the fatwas), they said that it is not right (to do so).

“If the main teachers take a wrong action, it must be questioned. Just because that person is a head of a political party, that does not mean all his statements are right. Islam did not teach us to do so (follow blindly).

“Islamic religious education should be based on deep understanding of the Quran, sunnah (traditions and practices of Prophet Muhammad) and the earliest of ulamas. The interpretations must be questioned and corrected if need be. That is the tradition of seeking knowledge,” said Anwar.

Although Anwar did not mention any names of political parties, it is likely he was referring to PAS leaders, as some of them are also known as “ulamas” among their followers.

Earlier in his speech before the launching of the book, Anwar said that there must be continuous engagement between different religions to ensure harmony in the country between races and religions.

"The pursuit of civilisational dialogue is necessary for survival of a multireligious and multiracial country.

"We must also be wary of forced goals in top universities in Malaysia as they must have both soul and excellence. It is not enough to have soul but no excellence or excellence and no soul.

"Character and ethics are both important in education.

"Islamic civilisation too is long overdue in the national curriculum at all levels," said Anwar.

Also present at the event were Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin and top heads of IIUM.

Source: The Star

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

https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2023/01/26/islamic-studies-in-schools-to-be-reviewed-to-emphasise-universal-values-and-humanity-says-anwar

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Arab World

 

Saudi Arabia strongly condemns Israeli raid on West Bank refugee camp

January 26, 2023

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia strongly condemned and denounced an Israeli raid on a Jenin refugee camp that led to at least nine Palestinians being killed.

The bloodiest day in the West Bank in years erupted during a raid on the crowded refugee camp in the northern city of Jenin, where gunshots rang through the streets and smoke billowed from burning street barricades.

The Palestinian health ministry said the death toll from the clashes rose to nine, including a woman, and that 20 people were wounded before the Israeli forces withdrew mid-morning.

The Israeli military also fatally shot a 22-year-old Palestinian later in a separate incident.

The Kingdom’s foreign ministry said it rejected the serious violations of international law carried out by Israeli forces, stressing its call on the international community to assume its responsibilities to end the occupation, stop escalation and Israeli aggressions, and provide necessary protection for civilians.

The ministry also expressed the Kingdom’s sincere condolences and sympathy to the families of the victims and to the government and people of Palestine, wishing the injured a speedy recovery.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2239581/saudi-arabia

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Egyptologists uncover Pharaonic tomb containing possibly oldest mummy found in Egypt

26 January ,2023

Egyptologists have uncovered a Pharaonic tomb near the capital Cairo containing what may be the oldest and “most complete” mummy yet to be discovered in the country, the excavation team leader said on Thursday.

The 4,300-year-old mummy was found at the bottom of a 15-meter shaft in a recently uncovered group of fifth and sixth dynasty tombs near the Step Pyramid at Saqqara, Zahi Hawass, director of the team, told reporters.

The mummy, of a man named Hekashepes, was in a limestone sarcophagus that had been sealed in mortar.

“This mummy may be the oldest and most complete mummy found in Egypt to date,” Hawass, one of Egypt’s former ministers of antiquities, said in a statement.

Among other tombs found was one belonging to Khnumdjedef, an inspector of officials, a supervisor of nobles and a priest during the reign of Unas, last pharaoh of the fifth dynasty. It was decorated with scenes of daily life.

Another tomb belonged to Meri, “keeper of the secrets and assistant to the great leader of the palace.”

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/life-style/art-and-culture/2023/01/26/Egyptologists-uncover-Pharaonic-tomb-containing-possibly-oldest-mummy-found-in-Egypt
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Syrian Kurdish forces arrest Daesh commander in eastern region

January 26, 2023

RAQQA: Syrian Kurdish-led forces captured a local commander of Daesh in eastern Syria as part of an ongoing operation targeting sleeper cells in the city of Raqqa, the US-backed forces announced on Thursday.

The commander served as the chief of the extremist group’s faction for Raqqa and was among the 68 militants detained in the operation, the Syrian Democratic Forces said.

The operation started earlier this week, in response to a December attack by Daesh that targeted military and security buildings in Raqqa and killed at least six Syrian Kurdish fighters.

A Kurdish commander, Mazloum Abdi, said they had indications of “serious preparations” by Daesh for attacks.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based opposition war monitor, said Daesh also targeted a military intelligence prison holding some 200 militants in the December attack.

Daesh lost all territorial control in Iraq and Syria in 2019, following a yearslong US-backed campaign that defeated the so-called caliphate, where Raqqa was once the Daesh de facto capital.

However, militant sleeper cells persist and have since killed scores of Iraqis and Syrians.

Syrian Kurdish and US forces frequently conduct raids targeting Daesh sleeper cells in northern and eastern Syria.

The captured Daesh commander was identified as Atallah Al-Maythan.

Syrian Kurdish forces said he headed the militant group’s operations across Raqqa province, and allegedly “confessed to his involvement in planning and leading terrorist acts,” extorted money from residents in the area and kept Daesh sleeper cells in contact.

Some 5,000 Syrian Kurdish-led fighters are involved in the operation, and have already raided some 80 locations, said their spokesperson, Farhad Shami.

The US-led coalition was providing air support, reconnaissance, and gathering intelligence, Shami added.

This is the second recent operation by the US-backed forces in Syria. In late December, the Syrian Kurdish-led fighters targeted Daesh cells in Al-Hol and Tal Hamis, following a surge in militant attacks.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2239721/middle-east

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Lebanese elite bury blast probe, pushing fragile state closer to edge

26 January ,2023

In their move to bury an investigation into the Beirut port blast, Lebanon’s ruling elite have driven another nail in the coffin of the collapsing state, stirring conflict in the judiciary as they try to avoid accountability at any cost.

Long-simmering tensions over the investigation have boiled over since Judge Tarek Bitar brought charges against some of the most influential people in the land, defying political pressure as he resumed his inquiry.

With friends and allies of Lebanon’s most powerful factions, including Hezbollah, among those charged, the establishment struck back swiftly on Wednesday, when the prosecutor general charged Bitar with usurping powers.

Critics called it “a coup” against his investigation.

It leaves little hope of justice ever being served over the explosion that killed 220 people and devastated swathes of Beirut, raising concern the case will go the way of countless others in a country where impunity has long been the norm.

With deep fissures in the judiciary exposed, the tussle adds to the unravelling of a state accelerated by a three-year-long financial crisis, left to fester by the ruling elite.

“This is the destruction of the judiciary,” said Nabil Boumonsef, deputy editor-in-chief of Annahar newspaper. “I fear they are dismantling the country. There is nothing left called a state. We face anarchy and the law of the jungle.”

Lebanon has been rocked by one crisis after another since its financial system caved in, marking the start of its most destabilizing phase since the 1975-90 civil war.

A currency collapse of more than 97 percent since 2019 has picked up speed in recent days, impoverishing ever more people.

Some 2.3 million people - 42 percent of the population - will face acute food insecurity in the first quarter of this year, according to a UN-backed study.

Foreign aid has become ever more critical to keeping people fed and the security forces on the streets: the United States and Qatar are helping pay soldiers’ salaries.

Ruling politicians have meanwhile done little to nothing to address the crisis, putting vested interests ahead of reform.

Establishment shields itself

On the political front, factional rivalries, many of which date to the civil war, have spawned an unprecedented government crisis laced with sectarianism.

The presidency, reserved for a Maronite Christian, has been vacant for months. Maronite leaders, warning against any move to bypass their sect, have objected to meetings of the Sunni Muslim-led caretaker cabinet.

Against this backdrop, European prosecutors are digging ever deeper into allegations that central bank governor Riad Salameh - a financial linchpin for Lebanon’s rulers with deep political ties - embezzled hundreds of millions of dollars during his 30-year-long tenure. Salameh denies any wrongdoing.

Attempts by a Lebanese judge to investigate Salameh have hit obstacles in Lebanon, where politicians have big sway over the judiciary.

The difficulties echo the problems faced by Bitar, appointed to investigate the blast two years ago. His predecessor was ousted after complaints against him by officials he had charged.

“There is a systemic attempt by the establishment to protect its members from the port explosion, from the financial implosions, and from all ... they have actually been responsible for,” Policy Initiative Director Sami Atallah said.

The blast was caused by hundreds of tons of improperly stored chemicals of which the president and prime minister at the time were aware, among other officials.

All those charged deny wrongdoing.

Bitar’s inquiry was frozen when judges retired from a court that must rule on complaints filed against him by officials he had charged, including top members of Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri’s Amal Movement.

The Berri-backed finance minister held off signing a decree appointing new judges, prompting fears of an indefinite limbo.

Resuming his work on Monday, Bitar charged more officials including Prosecutor General Ghassan Oweidat and Major General Abbas Ibrahim, a security official with good ties to the powerful, heavily armed Shia Muslim Hezbollah group.

Oweidat had earlier recused himself from any involvement in the case as his brother-in-law, an Amal member and former minister, was among those charged.

This week Oweidat hit back at Bitar, including by ordering the release of people detained since the port explosion.

“This is like a coup - a person charged by a judge decided to defend himself by pushing aside the judge who charged him and releasing all the detainees,” said Nizar Saghieh of the Legal Agenda civic group.

Sectarian tensions

Doubting local authorities will bring anyone to account over the explosion, some Lebanese called for an international inquiry from the start.

It would not be the first: a UN-backed tribunal set up after the 2005 Rafik al-Hariri assassination ultimately convicted a Hezbollah member of conspiracy to kill him.

The Iran-backed Hezbollah, which always denied any role, condemned the tribunal as a tool of its enemies.

In opposing Bitar, Hezbollah has accused the United States of meddling in the investigation and Bitar of political bias.

Washington denies interfering.

Hezbollah believes Bitar’s decision to resume the inquiry stemmed from his recent meeting with French judges investigating the blast, which killed two French citizens, according to a source familiar with Hezbollah’s view.

Bitar could not be reached for comment.

In 2021, a Hezbollah official sent a message to Bitar vowing to “uproot” him, and its supporters marched in an anti-Bitar rally that prompted deadly violence along an old civil war front line between Christian and Shia neighborhoods.

Mohanad Hage Ali of the Carnegie Middle East Center think tank said derailing the inquiry could worsen sectarian tensions. He noted that while the blast had killed Lebanese of all sects, the worst damage was largely in Christian-majority areas and the Maronite patriarch had called for justice.

With the presidency empty, sectarian rhetoric sharpening, the currency tumbling, and people taking security into their own hands in some areas, Hage Ali said “the ingredients are there” for any street clashes to be worse than in 2021.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/01/27/Analysis-Lebanese-elite-bury-blast-probe-pushing-fragile-state-closer-to-edge

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Syrian Kurdish forces arrest ISIS commander, dozens of extremists in eastern region

26 January ,2023

Syrian Kurdish-led forces captured a local commander of ISIS in eastern Syria as part of an ongoing operation targeting sleeper cells in the city of Raqqa, the US-backed forces announced Thursday.

The commander served as the chief of the extremist group’s faction for Raqqa and was among the 68 militants detained in the operation, the Syrian Democratic Forces said.

The operation started earlier this week, in response to a December attack by ISIS that targeted military and security buildings in Raqqa and killed at least six Syrian Kurdish fighters. A Kurdish commander, Mazloum Abdi, said they had indications of “serious preparations" by ISIS for attacks.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based opposition war monitor, said ISIS militants also targeted a military intelligence prison holding some 200 militants in the December attack.

ISIS lost all territorial control in Iraq and Syria in 2019, following a yearslong US-backed campaign that defeated the so-called “caliphate,” where Raqqa was once the ISIS de facto capital.

However, militant sleeper cells persist and have since killed scores of Iraqis and Syrians. Syrian Kurdish and US forces frequently conduct raids targeting ISIS sleeper cells in northern and eastern Syria.

The captured ISIS commander was identified as Atallah al-Maythan. Syrian Kurdish forces said he headed the militant group’s operations across Raqqa province, and allegedly “confessed to his involvement in planning and leading terrorist acts,” extorted money from residents in the area and kept ISIS sleeper cells in contact.

Some 5,000 Syrian Kurdish-led fighters are involved in the operation, and have already raided some 80 locations, their spokesperson, Farhad Shami, told The Associated Press. The US-led coalition was providing air support, reconnaissance, and gathering intelligence, Shami added.

This is the second recent operation by the US -backed forces in Syria. In late December, the Syrian Kurdish-led fighters targeted ISIS cells in al-Hol and Tal Hamis, following a surge in militant attacks.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/01/26/Syrian-Kurdish-forces-arrest-ISIS-commander-dozens-of-extremists-in-eastern-region

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QatarEnergy to join Lebanon oil and gas exploration consortium: Statement

26 January ,2023

QatarEnergy will join TotalEnergies and Eni in a three-way consortium to explore oil and gas in two maritime blocks off the coast of Lebanon, the Lebanese energy ministry said on Thursday.

The announcement said agreements would be signed on Sunday.

“This will be a major positive development,” Lebanon’s Energy Minister Walid Fayad told Reuters, adding that it could bring forward the launch of exploration activities from November.

Following months of talks, QatarEnergy is set to take a 30 percent stake, leaving France’s TotalEnergies and Italy’s Eni with 35 percent each.

QatarEnergy, TotalEnergies and Eni did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Lebanon’s first licensing round in 2017 saw a consortium of TotalEnergies, Eni and Russia’s Novatek win bids to explore in the offshore 4 and 9 blocks.

Novatek pulled out in September 2022, leaving its 20 percent stake in the hands of the Lebanese government.

The following month, Lebanon and Israel agreed to a landmark agreement brokered by the US to delineate their long-disputed maritime border.

Block 9 lies mostly in Lebanese waters but a segment lies south of the newly delineated border with Israel. Total and Israel have agreed a separate deal for any revenues generated from there.

The deal stipulated that no Lebanese or Israeli corporations would operate in the zone below the new border, prompting a transfer of the TotalEnergies and government stakes to two companies described as “vehicles” of TotalEnergies and the search for a new consortium partner.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/business/energy/2023/01/26/QatarEnergy-to-join-Lebanon-oil-and-gas-exploration-consortium-Statement

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Iraq to hang 14 people for ISIS massacre of hundreds of army cadets in 2014

26 January ,2023

Iraq has sentenced 14 people to death by hanging for their role in the ISIS terrorist group massacre of hundreds of army cadets in 2014, judicial officials said Thursday.

The massacre, one of the worst committed by ISIS in Iraq, saw the extremists in June 2014 abduct up to 1,700 mainly Shia cadets from the Speicher military base in the Tikrit region and execute them.

The Al-Rusafa Criminal Court in the capital Baghdad “issued death sentences against 14 criminal terrorists for their participation in the Camp Speicher massacre in 2014,” the judicial authority said in a statement, without specifying their nationalities.

The 14 men have 30 days to appeal the sentence. Decrees authorizing executions must also be signed by the president.

In 2016, 36 men were hanged for their participation in the massacre.

The Speicher massacre took place in the early days of the group’s offensive in Iraq, when its forces seized the second city Mosul and turned it into its stronghold – until it was driven out by the Iraqi army and an international coalition in 2017.

According to propaganda images released by ISIS, the terrorists executed the recruits one by one.

Some bodies had been thrown into the Tigris River, which runs through Tikrit, while others were buried in mass graves.

The massacre prompted a surge of Shia volunteers to enlist in militias fighting the terrorists.

While Iraqi authorities do not give figures, several thousand people accused or convicted of ISIS links are detained in Iraqi prisons.

The United Nations estimated in 2018 that more than 12,000 Iraqi and foreign “combatants” were being held in Iraqi prisons.

Iraq has been previously criticized for carrying out hundreds of what rights groups say are fast-track trials using confessions obtained under torture or without proper defense.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/01/26/Iraq-to-hang-14-people-for-ISIS-massacre-of-hundreds-of-army-cadets-in-2014

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Saudi heritage event in ancient Uqair port attracts more than 60,000 visitors

January 27, 2023

RIYADH: The “Uqair Inscriptions” event held along the banks of the ancient seaport city in Al-Ahsa in the Eastern Province concluded on Wednesday with more than 60,000 visitors attending, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Thursday.

The event, organized by the Kingdom’s Heritage Commission in cooperation with the Culture and Arts Association in Al-Ahsa, included heritage and folklore performances and traditional handicrafts unique to Al-Ahsa through dramatized scenes of life from the past in the historic port.

The scenes also depicted its position as an important commercial gateway on the coast of the Arabian Gulf, from the arrival of sailboats to the port to loading the camel convoys with goods headed toward Al-Ahsa and Najd.

The event also included a photographic exhibition displaying pictures of the founding king in Uqair in 1915.

Uqair is the first seaport in the east of the Kingdom on the Arabian Gulf coast, the economic gateway since the beginning of the establishment of the state, and the main port to reach the east and center of the Kingdom.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2239796/saudi-arabia

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YPG/PKK terror group exploits oil to finance activities in Syria

Muhammad Tosun 

26.01.2023

The PKK/YPG terrorist organization exploits the oil in the areas it occupies east of the Euphrates River in Syria as a funding source.

Turkish intelligence sources told Anadolu that "there are many companies active in exploration and production linked to the Jazeera Oil Company affiliated to the PKK/YPG terrorist group."

PKK militants, who were previously active in Iraq, supervise the oil trade in Syria.

Shahoz Hassan, the former co-chair of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), manages the Jazeera Oil Company as he held talks with companies in several countries for marketing Syrian oil.

In December of last year, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Syrian regime, in a letter sent to the UN Security Council, accused the US and the terrorist organization of stealing Syrian oil and natural gas.

The YPG/PKK/PYD terror group continues to occupy more than 70% of the oil resources in Syria with the support of the US.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/economy/ypg-pkk-terror-group-exploits-oil-to-finance-activities-in-syria/2798286

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Africa

 

Ethiopian PM Abiy Ahmed meets Sudan’s leaders in Khartoum

26 January ,2023

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed held talks with various Sudanese leaders in Khartoum on Thursday, a sign of rekindling ties between the neighboring African countries, authorities said.

For several years Sudan has been at odds with Ethiopia over border disputes and its construction of a massive dam on the Blue Nile that also has caused tensions with downstream Egypt.

According to Sudan’s official news outlet, Suna, both the “Renaissance Dam’’ and the border were discussed in a meeting between Ahmed and Sudan’s ruling general, Abdel-Fattah al-Burhan.

Ethiopia says the multibillion dollar ‘‘Renaissance Dam’’ is needed to bring electricity to millions of Ethiopians who lack power. Sudan and Egypt fear it will reduce the amount of water they receive from the Nile River.

During his visit, Ahmed met with various other Sudanese political leaders, many of whom are participating in talks seeking to end more than a year of military rule in Khartoum.

Sudan was plunged into turmoil in October 2021 after al-Burhan led a coup that derailed the country’s democratic transition. The ruling military and a number of other political forces signed an initial agreement last December vowing to install a new civilian government. Talks to reach a final more inclusive deal are ongoing.

In a tweet published on his official Twitter on Thursday, Ahmed said Ethiopia was “non-interventionist” and that “he encouraged the people of Sudan and all political parties to find homegrown solutions.”

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/world/2023/01/26/Ethiopian-PM-Abiy-Ahmed-meets-Sudan-s-leaders-in-Khartoum

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S. Sudan’s displaced hope pope’s visit will bring peace

January 26, 2023

JUBA: After spending nearly a decade in a camp for the displaced in South Sudan’s Juba, Mayen Galuak hopes that Pope Francis’ visit to the capital city next week will inspire political leaders to finally restore peace, allowing him to go home.

The 44-year-old entered the UN camp, just a few kilometers from his residence, in search of safety three days after conflict broke out in 2013.

In the ensuing years, he has watched as South Sudan’s leaders forged peace deals and broke them; as militias carried out and denied ethnic massacres; and as relentless conflict pushed parts of the country into famine.

Pope Francis is due to go to Congo from Jan. 31 to Feb. 3 and then spend two days in South Sudan.

The pope has wanted to visit South Sudan for years but plans were postponed due to the instability there and a scheduled trip last June was canceled due to the pope’s knee ailment.

The Vatican’s envoy to the Democratic Republic of Congo has said the trip will remind the world not to ignore decades-long conflicts.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2239731/middle-east

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Death toll in bomb attack on Nigerian herders climbs to 40: Official

Olanrewaju Kola 

27.01.2023

LAGOS, Nigeria

The death toll from a bomb blast that struck a group of herders and their cattle in Nigeria's Nasarawa state has risen to 40, an official said Thursday.

The Secretary-General of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), Usman Baba-Ngelzerma, said 40 corpses were recovered from the site of the bomb attack in the village of Rukubi in the Doma Local Government Area of the north-central state.

"The people involved in the incident are 40. A total of 40 died as a result of the bomb," Baba-Ngelzerma told a local TV station.

Some members of MACBAN had blamed a military airstrike for the incident.

The country's Director of Defense Media Operations, Maj. Gen. Musa Danmadami, exonerated the military, however. He said they were not involved in the alleged airstrike or bomb attack on the herders even though troops carry out operations against bandits in the area.

"The Armed Forces of Nigeria is professional. The conduct of our operations are intelligence-driven," he added.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/death-toll-in-bomb-attack-on-nigerian-herders-climbs-to-40-official/2798741

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US government restricts visas to Nigerians ahead of polls

Ibrahim Garba Shuaibu  

26.01.2023

KANO, Nigeria

The United States has announced the restriction of visas to Nigerians weeks ahead of general elections in the African nation.

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said in a statement: "To support Nigeria’s upcoming elections, today I am announcing visa restrictions for those involved in undermining democracy in Nigeria.The United States supports Nigerian aspirations to combat corruption and strengthen democracy and the rule of law."

"Those believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, undermining democracy in Nigeria" will face visa restrictions, he added.

The restrictions are specific to certain individuals and not "the Nigerian people or the Government of Nigeria.”

International politics analyst Bashir Mohammed said: "the decision by the US government is a welcomed development that will help for the smooth conduct of free and fair elections in Nigeria."

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/us-government-restricts-visas-to-nigerians-ahead-of-polls/2798219

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