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Islamic World News ( 19 Nov 2021, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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After UK Govt Labels Him An 'Extremist' Ahmed Abdo Maher, Octogenarian Egyptian Thinker Jailed For Saying Islam Spread By Conquest

New Age Islam News Bureau

20 November 2021

 

The verdict against Ahmed Abdo Maher is final and cannot be appealed before a higher court. [Getty]

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• Jamaat-e-Islami Hind Urge Centre To Withdraw Anti-People And Anti-Constitutional Law Citizenship Amendment Act, After Farm Laws Repeal

• Creation Of Hatred In The Clothing Of Freedom Of Speech Is Something The West Has To Look Upon: Pakistan President

• US Tells Taliban To ‘Earn’ The Release Of Frozen Funds By ‘Earning’ Legitimacy First

• Salman Butt, Chief Editor Of The Islam21c Website 'Shocked' After UK Govt Labels Him An 'Extremist'

 

Arab World

• Iraq churches rebuilt after ISIS destruction

• Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr says he is dissolving armed faction loyal to him

• Lebanon thwarts attempt to smuggle 82 people to Europe

• Turkey re-arrest Syrian singer Souleyman hours after his release

• Lebanese central bank governor Salameh hands audit of his accounts to PM Mikati

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India

• Duo Arrested After Two Muslim Schoolgirls Allegedly Attacked By Over 40 People From Pro-Hindu Organisations

• AIMIM delegation meets Hyderabad top cop, seeks action against Waseem Rizvi over book on Prophet Mohammed

• Gurgaon: Namaz offered at businessman’s shop, not Gurdwaras; protests at another prayer site

• Hyderabad police’s cordon searches affect Dalit, Muslim women most: Report

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Pakistan

• Ruckus as Sindh Assembly resolution opposing ‘secret’ govt-TTP talks passed

• UK, Pakistan finalise accord to repatriate illegal migrants

• Pakistan drops chemical castration as punishment for serial rapists

• Pakistan again lifts ban, fourth so far, on China’s TikTok

• Indian contempt move in Kulbhushan Jadhav case averted: govt

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North America

• US sanctions senior Iran-backed Houthi militia officer Saleh Mesfer Alshaer

• US Senators Move To Block Arms Sales To Saudi Arabia

• Top US defence official to make ‘very clear’ Washington’s commitment to Middle East

• Unspoken US aim at Iran nuclear talks may be winning Chinese, Russian support

• US sanctions 6 Iran nationals, one entity for interfering in 2020 elections

• US committed to deepening cooperation with Turkey: Official

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Europe

• Attempted arson attack on mosque in Germany

• Armenia and Azerbaijan agree to talks in Brussels to overcome tensions: EU

• Greece: Turkey the ‘common denominator’ of region’s troubles

• Turkey summons Bulgarian ambassador over election interference claims

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Mideast

• Hamas, Islamic Jihad Condemn London’s Decision To Designate Resistance Groups As A "Terrorist Organizations"

• Iran-backed Houthis continue to detain US, UN employees: State Department

• Iran calls for depoliticisation of UN nuclear watchdog after France urges it to act

• Iran: Statement by US, EU Not Worth Even to Reply

• Spokesman: New US Sanctions Pursuing Trump's Failed Economic Terrorism against Iran

• Vandals slash tires of Palestinian-owned vehicles in tense Jerusalem neighbourhood

• Thousands of Iranians protest dried-up river in Isfahan

• UN condemns seizure of US Embassy in Yemen by Iran-backed Houthis

• Mossad espionage makes Erdogan choose between de-escalation and own credibility

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South Asia

• Taliban Misconstrued Facts In Letter To Congress For Assets Release, Claims US Envoy

• Key aid group says Afghanistan’s most pressing need is cash

• Afghanistan’s assets must be unfrozen: Pakistan’s UN envoy

• US may return some evacuated Afghan Refugees

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Southeast Asia

• MPs slam FT Minister Over ‘Liquor Ban Not Hurting Non-Muslims’ Remark

• The Struggle Between Two Visions Of Malaysia: The Malayisation Of Malaysia

• Islamic healer challenges TCM Act, claiming it usurps state powers

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Africa

• 4 Villages In South-western Somalia Retaken From Al-Shabaab: Army

• Saudi Arabia reopens embassy in Somalia: State News Agency

• Libya's parliament speaker declares presidential bid

• Libya’s former interior minister registers for presidential bid

• Terrorists who escaped from Kenya’s highly guarded prison arrested

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL:  https://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/ahmed-abdo-maher-extremist-egyptian-uk/d/125807

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After UK Govt Labels Him An 'Extremist' Ahmed Abdo Maher, Octogenarian Egyptian Thinker Jailed For Saying Islam Spread By Conquest

 

The verdict against Ahmed Abdo Maher is final and cannot be appealed before a higher court. [Getty]

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19 November 2021

Thaer Mansour

An Egyptian court sentenced an 80-year-old-intellectual earlier this week to five years in prison over his remarks on the early Islamic conquests, according to local news reports.

Ahmed Abdo Maher, an Islamic thinker, writer and high-profile lawyer, was found guilty by an emergency state security court of “contempt of Islam, stirring up sectarian strife and posing a threat to the national unity,” the reports added.

Maher claimed in many of his speeches, writings, and TV appearances, that the early Islamic conquests were “military invasions”, and called on Egypt's top Islamic institution - Al-Azhar - to apologise on behalf of the Prophet Muhammad’s companions who led the raids.

According to Maher, those “invasions aimed to enslave women rather than spread Islam” around the world.

Maher further disputed Islamic scholars' beliefs about the possibility of the dead being tormented in their graves due to sins.

Earlier in May 2020, lawyer Samir Sabry had filed a complaint against Maher before the prosecutor general, accusing him of contempt of Islam among other related accusations.

Maher was interrogated several times and later referred to trial in October 2021. This week’s verdict is final and cannot be appealed before a higher court.

Based on article 98 of the Egyptian penal code, “whoever exploits religion in order to promote extremist ideology by word of mouth, in writing or in any other manner, with a view to stirring up sedition, or in contempt of any divine religion or its adherents, or undermining national unity shall be punished with prison terms of between six months and five years or a fine of at least 500 Egyptian pounds [about $31]."

Several other intellectuals, writers, and public figures have stood trial or received verdicts over the past few decades for their views under the infamous anti-blasphemy law.

Source: The New Arab

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

https://english.alaraby.co.uk/news/egyptian-thinker-jailed-saying-islam-spread-conquest

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Jamaat-e-Islami Hind Urge Centre To Withdraw Anti-People And Anti-Constitutional Law Citizenship Amendment Act, After Farm Laws Repeal

 


After Farm Laws Repeal, Muslim Leaders Urge Centre To Withdraw The Citizenship Amendment Act | PTI

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19 Nov 2021

The CAA since its passing has been opposed by the people from the Muslim community, and some other sections of the society, alleging that the Act is discriminatory in nature.

Syed Sadatullah Hussaini, President, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, said: "We now urge the government to also look at the other anti-people and anti-Constitutional laws like CAA-NRC etc., and ensure that they too are withdrawn at the earliest. We feel delighted that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has finally acceded to the demands of the farmers. Had it been done earlier, the losses could have been averted."

Welcoming the decision to repeal the three farm laws, the chief of Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind, Arshad Madani, said in a statement: "The CAA movement encouraged the farmers to protest against the farm laws. The government should also withdraw the CAA now. We should congratulate our farmers as they have made great sacrifices. Every effort was made to subdue the peasant movement like all other movements in the country, and conspiracies were hatched to divide the peasants. But they continued to make all kinds of sacrifices and remained steadfast in their stand. "Once again the truth has come to light that if a movement is run with honesty and patience for a legitimate cause, one day success will be achieved."

Appreciating the efforts of the farmers, he said the movement became a success as women and even the elderly people sat on the streets day and night seeking justice. Urging the Centre to repel the CAA, he said: "Our Prime Minister says that the structure of our country is democratic, so now he should pay attention to the laws that have been brought regarding Muslims. Like the agri laws, the CAA should also be withdrawn."

President of Majlis-eMushawarat, Navaid Hamid, said, "All draconian laws, including CAA and UAPA, need to be withdrawn. The minister whose son was involved in the killing of farmers in Lakhimpur Kheri must be immediately sacked and adequate compensation should be given to all the farmers who died during the Kisan Andolan."

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

Source: Outlook India

https://www.outlookindia.com/website/story/after-farm-laws-repeal-muslim-leaders-urge-centre-to-withdraw-the-citizenship-amendment-act/401702

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Creation Of Hatred In The Clothing Of Freedom Of Speech Is Something The West Has To Look Upon: Pakistan President

 

President Dr Arif Alvi addressing the Green Presidency Initiative-ISO 50001 Energy Management Certificate ceremony at Aiwan-e-Sadr in Islamabad on October 15, 2021. PHOTO: PID

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November 20, 2021

ISLAMABAD   -  President Dr Arif Alvi on Friday urged the West to be mindful about the sentiments of Muslims while pursuing the notion of freedom of expression so as to promote interfaith harmony.

“Creation of hatred in the clothing of freedom of speech is something the West has to look upon to increase cooperation among Islam, Christianity, and all other religions,” he said in his virtual address at a conference titled ‘Promoting Interfaith Understanding’.

The conference was organized by Ambassador (retd) Akbar S. Ahmed holding the Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies at American University, in Washington DC to promote an understanding of Islam and the Muslim world in the United States and encourage interfaith dialogue.

President Alvi said as in Europe, it was a crime to talk about certain ethnic atrocities of the past. Similarly, the love of Muslims for their Prophet was of utmost significance. He mentioned that the act of making blasphemous caricatures in the name of freedom of expression was painful for Muslims, which the West needed to be careful about. 

President Alvi said throughout the history of humankind, a conflict between religions translated into bias, which resulted into policy-making on the basis of prejudices.

As the humanity faced dangers such as global warming and pandemic, he said, it was important to encourage tolerance towards each other. “[As mankind] We need to adjust our way of living, rewrite the history which misguides us and also rewrite the future of cooperation and peace,”  he said. The president said Pakistan was a land with its roots embedded in the history of several multi-faith civilizations, including Mohenjodara, Harappa, Mehrgadh and Buddhism.

He mentioned that as the State was established, the founder of Pakistan Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah had declared full religious freedom for people going to their places of worship, may it mosques, temples, churches or synagogues.

He said Pakistan was committed to continue protecting the rights of religious minorities in the country to promote interfaith harmony. President Alvi, however, pointed out the dangerous precedent in India of marginalizing minorities through legislation including discrimination between Hindus and Muslims, thus leading to interfaith friction.

He regretted that the world over, hatred was being encouraged to fulfil a particular political dialogue against other countries. The biggest misconception happening in the world is fake news, which needs to be countered, he added. Amid the flood of information at social media, he said, the new generation must be able to differentiate between truth and fake news. He condemned using religion as a tool of terrorism and extremism to target other people.

He lauded the effort of Ibn Khaldun chair of Islamic Studies at the American University, expressing confidence that it would encourage positive discussions on various issues regarding interfaith understanding and religious harmony.

Ambassador Akbar S. Ahmed, Dean School of International Service, Christine Chin and Assistant Director Kate Arion, and the faculty and students of American University joined the virtual session.

Source: The Nation

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

https://nation.com.pk/20-Nov-2021/west-urged-to-be-mindful-of-muslim-sentiments-in-pursuing-freedom-of-expression

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US Tells Taliban To ‘Earn’ The Release Of Frozen Funds By ‘Earning’ Legitimacy First

  

HOSHANG HASHIMI / AFP Taliban members guard as they walk along a road in the Guzara district of Herat province, Afghanistan, October 20, 2021.

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19 November ,2021

The United States rebuffed Friday an appeal by the Taliban to release Afghan assets frozen after their takeover, saying the new government in Kabul must “earn” legitimacy first.

Thomas West, the US Special Representative for Afghanistan, said in a tweeted statement that Washington had long made clear that if the Taliban claimed power by military force rather than negotiating with the previous US-backed government, that critical non-humanitarian aid would be cut off.

“That is what occurred,” West said.

“Legitimacy & support must be earned by actions to address terrorism, establish an inclusive government, & respect the rights of minorities, women & girls -- including equal access to education & employment,” he said.

In an open letter Wednesday the Taliban called on the US Congress to release Afghan assets frozen after their takeover of the country in August.

Washington seized nearly $9.5 billion in assets belonging to the Afghan central bank, and the aid-dependent economy has effectively collapsed -- with civil servants unpaid for months and the treasury unable to pay for imports.

Taliban Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi said in the letter that the biggest challenge facing Afghanistan was financial insecurity, and warned that economic turmoil at home could lead to trouble abroad.

West said that Afghanistan was already in dire economic and humanitarian straits before the Taliban takeover, due to years of war, drought and the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The US will continue to support the Afghan people with humanitarian aid,” he said, saying $474 million has already been provided this year.

Washington is also “making every effort to help the UN & humanitarian actors scale up to meet needs this winter,” he said.

“We will continue clear-eyed, candid diplomacy with the Taliban,” he added.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2021/11/19/US-tells-Taliban-to-earn-the-release-of-frozen-funds

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Salman Butt, Chief Editor Of The Islam21c Website 'Shocked' After UK Govt Labels Him An 'Extremist'

NOV 19, 2021

 

After being referred to as an "extremist" and targeted in a prime ministerial press release in England in 2015, Salman Butt speaks to an Anadolu Agency correspondent about his experiences in this process, Nov. 19, 2021. (AA Photo)

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A Muslim man accused of being an "extremist preacher" by the British government only to get an official apology six years later says the overused label of "extremism" is based on ignorance.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency (AA) after the end of his six-year legal struggle, Salman Butt, chief editor of the Islam21c website, said that labelling something as extremist is a philosophy of ignorance and tribalism.

"The problem with the word extremism is that it has no objectivity. And it's just a meaningless term now, and this is what we've learned over the last six years," Butt noted.

Recalling the day when he first saw his name along with others labelled as extremists, Butt said he first thought that his picture had been used by mistake. "I just noticed that they were using my picture there first; I thought maybe it's somebody else with the same name. And it just used my picture. But then, as I read more into it, it was actually referring to me, and that was surprising," he added.

After that, he said he launched two legal challenges, a defamation case for the label and false accusation, and a public law challenge.

He explained that launching the public law challenge was meant to determine why the government calls people extremists, what the definition is, exposing the process of secretive government departments, monitoring individuals and establishing definitions about who qualifies as "extremist."

'Word 'extremism' means nothing'

More and more people are realizing that the word "extremism" doesn't actually mean anything, he said, adding that the term is "very subjective."

"This is part of the reason why the government was trying to defend it, in my opinion, and then they just gave up and had to apologize, because it doesn't have a strong, robust operational definition," underlined Butt.

He said that it is very dangerous for governments to start labeling these types of ideas, thoughts and beliefs as extremist since it's only a matter of time before that grows, and more and more people are included in it.

"So this is the main kind of lesson for me in that this word 'extremism,' it doesn't really mean anything, and it shouldn't be used in everyday speech," he added.

Islamophobic organizations' effects

Butt noted that Islamophobic organizations are among the source of information for the government in this regard.

"It transpired that they were actually taking information from proudly Islamophobic organizations for which 'Muslim' is extreme and should not be allowed to speak on university campuses ... And that's why my name came out and the name of several others, just mainstream normal Muslim people were mentioned by the government."

He called on the British government to process information more carefully. Regardless, he stated that he accepted the apology, despite the fact that six years had passed.

"I accept the apology ... as for clearing my own name, personally, I take that as a welcome apology, even though it's six years late," Butt added.

He noted that the Muslim community should decide what "normal" and "extreme" Islamic opinions are, not anyone else.

The apology

On Monday, the British government apologized to Butt, who was falsely described as an extremist hate preacher in 2015.

"The government accepts that it was wholly false to allege that Butt is an extremist hate preacher who legitimizes terrorism and therefore someone from whose influence students should be protected," Aidan Eardley, legal counsel for Home Secretary Priti Patel, said in a court.

"It is sorry for the harm caused to him and in particular for the fact that the allegation was made and maintained for so long," he added, reading a statement.

Upon Butt's legal challenge to the false accusation by the U.K. government, the Home Office agreed to delete his name from the press release and pay Butt compensation alongside legal costs.

Source: Daily Sabah

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

https://www.dailysabah.com/life/religion/british-muslim-shocked-after-uk-govt-labels-him-an-extremist

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Arab World

 Iraq churches rebuilt after ISIS destruction

20 November ,2021

Cymbals, prayers and Chaldean Catholic liturgy resounded on Friday in Mosul’s Saint George monastery, where Iraqi faithful marked the restoration of two churches destroyed by ISIS in their former stronghold.

Dozens gathered in one of the monastery’s churches that have been rebuilt in stone six years after ISIS pulverized them, in a city home to one of the world’s oldest Christian communities.

For all the latest headlines, follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

It is the latest sign of a slow return to normality in Iraq’s second city.

Mosul was left in ruins after three years of ISIS occupation which ended in 2017 when an Iraqi force backed by US-led coalition air strikes pushed them out.

“We have old memories in this monastery,” said Maan Bassem Ajjaj, 53, a civil servant who moved to Arbil, capital of the neighboring autonomous region of Kurdistan, to escape the terrorists.

“My son and daughter were baptized here,” he said. “Each Friday, Mosul’s Christian families would come here.”

The US Department of State funded the project, which also had support from a Christian non-governmental group, L’Oeuvre d’Orient, according to Samer Yohanna, a superior of the Antonian order of Chaldean monks.

He told AFP that the terrorists destroyed 70 percent of the monastery the year after they occupied Mosul in 2014 and declared the establishment of an Islamic “caliphate.”

The ISIS onslaught forced hundreds of thousands of Christians in Nineveh province surrounding Mosul to flee.

Iraq’s Christian population has shrunk to fewer than 400,000 from around 1.5 million before the US-led invasion of 2003 that toppled dictator Saddam Hussein.

On a visit to Iraq in March, Pope Francis prayed outside another ruined church, one of at least 14 which ISIS destroyed in Nineveh.

Although the churches have been repaired, other parts of the centuries-old monastery still need restoration.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2021/11/20/Iraq-churches-rebuilt-after-ISIS-destruction

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Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr says he is dissolving armed faction loyal to him

19 November ,2021

Populist Iraqi Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr said on Friday he was dissolving the Promised Day Brigade, an armed faction loyal to him, and closing its headquarters, according to a statement published on his Twitter page.

On Thursday, al-Sadr urged paramilitary groups to purge what he called undisciplined members, and said non-state armed groups should hand in their weapons.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2021/11/19/Iraqi-cleric-Moqtada-al-Sadr-says-he-is-dissolving-armed-faction-loyal-to-him

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Lebanon thwarts attempt to smuggle 82 people to Europe

19 November ,2021

Lebanese security forces on Friday said they thwarted an attempt by more than 80 people to illegally cross by sea into Europe from Lebanon.

In a statement, the Internal Security Forces said they raided a “tourist resort” in the Qalamoun area of north Lebanon on Thursday after being tipped off.

They found “82 people, including men, women, and children, who were planning to head to Europe via sea in an illegal manner for a fee of $5,000 per person,” the statement said.

The statement did not specify their nationality or intended destination.

But the Republic of Cyprus, a European Union member just 160 kilometers (100 miles) away, is a common destination for would-be migrants trying to flee Lebanon which is mired in economic and political crisis.

The ISF said it arrested a 31-year-old Lebanese national who it identified as one of the smugglers behind the operation.

It said further investigations are underway.

The number of people attempting to make deadly sea crossings out of Lebanon has surged since the country’s financial crisis began in 2019.

Most of the would-be migrants are already refugees who fled the war in neighboring Syria but an increasing number of Lebanese nationals are also attempting the perilous journey.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2021/11/19/Lebanon-thwarts-attempt-to-smuggle-82-people-to-Europe

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Turkey re-arrest Syrian singer Souleyman hours after his release

19 November ,2021

Celebrated Syrian singer Omar Souleyman was brought back to a detention center on Friday in southeast Turkey just hours after his official release earlier in the day, his lawyer and manager told AFP.

The lawyer and manager said local officials in Sanliurfa province ordered Souleyman’s release on Friday morning but needed the approval of the interior ministry.

“The governorate decided to release him and told the family,” his lawyer Resit Tuna told AFP, adding: “But they needed the approval of the interior ministry and it didn’t come.”

Souleyman’s return to a detention center in Harran district in Sanliurfa was confirmed by his manager, who said he hoped the singer would be released on Saturday morning.

Earlier on Friday, his lawyer said the singer was released at “10am (0700 GMT)” and he was due to return to Akcakale in Sanliurfa, where he lives.

Souleyman was detained on Wednesday in the southern Turkish city of Sanliurfa, where he has been running a bakery since escaping Syria’s civil war which began in 2011.

Police questioned Souleyman over reported claims he had ties to the People’s Protection Units, which Turkey says is the Syrian offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2021/11/19/Turkey-re-arrest-Syrian-singer-Souleyman-hours-after-his-release

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Lebanese central bank governor Salameh hands audit of his accounts to PM Mikati

19 November ,2021

Lebanese central bank governor Riad Salameh has handed an audit of his personal accounts to Prime Minister Najib Mikati, according to a series of tweets by the cabinet's official Twitter account on Friday.

Salameh said on Wednesday that he had ordered an audit of his investments, after increased scrutiny in the media and several judicial probes.

The cabinet's tweets quoted Salameh as saying there was no relation between this move and a separate forensic audit of the central bank itself. International management consultancy Alvarez & Marsal began the audit of the bank in October, a condition for Lebanon to secure foreign aid amid its financial meltdown.

"The forensic audit is moving ahead. What I did was a personal initiative from me ... to refute all we hear and read, all the rumors," Salameh was quoted in the tweets as saying, adding that he will hand over his report to judicial authorities abroad as well.

Salameh, governor for nearly three decades, has faced increased scrutiny of his tenure since the financial system collapsed two years ago, plunging Lebanon into what the World Bank has called one of world history's sharpest depressions.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2021/11/19/Lebanese-central-bank-governor-Salameh-hands-audit-of-his-accounts-to-PM-Mikati

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India

 

Duo Arrested After Two Muslim Schoolgirls Allegedly Attacked By Over 40 People From Pro-Hindu Organisations

19th November 2021

By Pragna GR

MADIKERI: In another case of moral policing in Somwarpet taluk, two Muslim girls were allegedly attacked and assaulted by over 40 people from pro-Hindu organisations. The incident was reported on Thursday evening at KRC Circle in Shanivarsanthe. Meanwhile, the accused have been booked under the POCSO Act and two arrests have been made by the police.

At around 4.15 pm on Thursday, the girls who are 1st PU students of Sacred Heart’s School in Shanivarsanthe were ambushed by over 40 people. The father of one of the girls said, “My daughter and her friend were physically assaulted by boys from the Sangh Pariwar. On Thursday morning, my daughter attended the classes in her college. They have to remove the burqa before entering the classes. Meanwhile, my daughter’s friend lent her burqa to a Christian girl from the same college in the morning. The Christian girl did not attend the college on Thursday. Further, my daughter and her friend were waiting for this Christian girl to return the burqa in the evening. However, while the burqa was being returned, my daughter and her friend were attacked by over 40 goons.” He said that the girls were locked up, beaten, abused and assaulted. The burqa of a girl was torn and they suffered injuries on their back including scratch marks. The girls were later admitted to Kodalipet Hospital.

Meanwhile, the accused have released a video on social media 'policing' the girls for handing over the burqa to a non-Muslim girl.

Source: New Indian Express

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

https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/karnataka/2021/nov/19/duo-arrested-after-two-muslim-schoolgirls-allegedly-attacked-by-members-of-hindu-groups-2385661.html

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AIMIM delegation meets Hyderabad top cop, seeks action against Waseem Rizvi over book on Prophet Mohammed

Nov 17, 2021

The All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) on Wednesday filed a police complaint in Hyderabad against Waseem Rizvi, the former chief of the Uttar Pradesh Shia Waqf Board, seeking action against him over a book which allegedly depicts Prophet Mohammed in bad light. “Today, on behalf of the AIMIM, a delegation of party leaders met the police chief. We represented to him that Rizvi has written a book which is full of lies and bad words for the Prophet. We urged that a case be filed him against under relevant sections of the IPC,” AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi, who led the delegation, said.

The Lok Sabha MP from Hyderabad further said that the officer assured him that the force would register a criminal case against Rizvi. He added, “We hope that once the criminal case is registered, the Telangana government will arrest him as well. This man only wants to provoke Muslims, and is being used as a tool by the anti-Muslim forces. We appeal to peace-loving people and Muslims across the country to file a criminal case against him.”

Taking to Twitter, the AIMIM said that Rizvi’s books and speeches were creating enmity against the Muslims, which, the party, said, is likely to cause a breach in peace. It has sought cases against the former UP Shia Waqf Board chief under sections 153A, 153B, 295A, 504 and 505(1)(c) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Source: Hindustan Times

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

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/aimim-leaders-meet-hyderabad-top-cop-seek-action-against-waseem-rizvi-over-book-101637141441108.html

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Gurgaon: Namaz offered at businessman’s shop, not Gurdwaras; protests at another prayer site

by Abhinaya Harigovind

November 20, 2021

For the second week in a row, members of the Muslim community offered Friday namaz at Akshay Yadav’s vacant shop at Sector 12. Although a committee overseeing five gurdwaras in Gurgaon had offered their premises for prayers, namaz was not offered at any gurdwara on Friday.

Around 2 pm, the shutters to the shop were opened. Yadav, a businessman, was out of town. Mats had already been laid out.

Former Rajya Sabha MP Mohammad Adeeb, who offered namaz at the shop, said, “When the gurdwara offered their premises, radicals pressured them. Last night, we got to know of this and realised the gurdwara was under pressure. They initially said we could do namaz in a nearby school. But if there is mischief… the public will be at the gurdwara. We told them we won’t inconvenience them. So, we went to thank them after the namaz.”

In a statement, Altaf Ahmad of the Gurgaon Muslim Council said, “Since yesterday, members of right-wing groups were using condemnable tactics to mount pressure on the Committee of the Gurdwara to stop Muslims from offering Jumma namaz… Since today was a big festival of the Sikh community, a huge rush of devotees was expected and we didn’t want to jeopardise security. Hence, the committee of Gurdwara Sahib and Gurgaon Muslim Council took a decision this morning to not offer namaz in the gurdwara this week.”

At Sector 37, 15-20 people disrupted namaz being offered at a playground, said police, adding that the protesters claimed they wanted to play cricket at the site. Police at the spot took them to Sector 10 police station and discussed the matter. The protesters are learnt to have told police that they would not allow namaz at the site from next week. The site is on a list of places previously agreed upon by the administration where namaz could be offered. Police said while some people were able to offer namaz, others had to leave.

Asif Khan, a shopkeeper in the automobile market at Sector 12, said most people offering namaz at Yadav’s shop work in the market or in shops nearby: “We prayed here last week as well. The week before that, we prayed outdoors, where trouble was created.” Around 35-40 people offered prayers at Yadav’s shop.

“Christians have also extended support. It’s a gracious gesture on the part of Akshay Yadav, and Sikhs and Christians to open up their places. But we realise it is not a long-term solution.

Source: Indian Express

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

https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/gurgaon-namaz-shop-prayer-site-protest-7631996/

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Hyderabad police’s cordon searches affect Dalit, Muslim women most: Report

19th November 2021

Hyderabad: Vulnerable groups, especially women from lower caste and Muslim households, were most affected due to the city police’s controversial cordon and search operations, a fact finding committee which carried out extensive ground work research on it has found.

A team of civil activists (most of who are from Hyderabad) released a fact-finding report on the perils of giving the city police a free hand with regards cordon searches. Cordon and searches are a military tactic to cordon-off an area and search the premises for weapons or insurgents. It is one of the basic counter-insurgency operations.

Discussing the slums located on the banks of Musi river and Golnaka bridge, the committee brought up the “problematic ways” in which the police stations of Amberpet, Malakpet and Saidabad were carrying out cordon searches. Those were also conducted in the last two months at Yakutpura, Zeba bagh colony-Asif Nagar, Mangalhat, Chikkadpally, Chaderghat, Singareni colony-saidabad, Aram Ghar-Rajendra nagar, Asad Baba Nagar and Bahadurpura.

They committee took into account 236 huts which house 1500 people and noted that most of them migrated to Hyderabad for their livelihood around 40 years ago.

Further, the report mentioning that majority of the families living in the mentioned areas belong to the Madiga caste or hail from Scheduled tribes, Muslim or mala families. They work as either daily wage workers, auto drivers or small scale businessmen.

On October 28, 70 police people, including female cops, from the aforementioned police stations, arrived in some of those areas. They questioned the women on whether they sold ganja, alcohol and gutka. It is important to note that the men of the household were not around for the questioning and as such the women were significantly uncomfortable.

The police also checked the vehicle, Aadhar documents and asked them to show their cell phones and carried out a thorough search of the same. A total of 82 vehicles were seized and three autos were reportedly found to have irregular documents or challans. One shop owner was also asked for his trade license and one child complained that the police used harsh language against him.

The police have in the past argued that under the orders of the Telangana government and Director General of Police, cordon and searches were conducted. By their own admission however, the police have so far not found any contraband material in their searches. They only managed to seize vehicles and gave counseling to 11 rowdy sheeters.

As per the fact finding report, it was discovered that most women were caught unaware by the police and suffered as their privacy was snatched away from them. It also led to defamation for the families and harassment as police presented the area as criminal spaces.

The general law for search and seizure of evidence is found in Sections 93, 94, 97, 100, 102 and

103 of CrPc of the Criminal procedure code (CrPC). Unless a strong urgency was noticed, the police are not supposed to carry out sudden Cordon searches under Section 165 of the CrPC and should secure a search warrant from the district magistrate.

Source: Daily Siasat

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

https://www.siasat.com/hyderabad-polices-cordon-searches-affect-dalit-muslim-women-most-report-2227733/

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Pakistan

 

Ruckus as Sindh Assembly resolution opposing ‘secret’ govt-TTP talks passed

Tahir Siddiqui

November 20, 2021

KARACHI: The Sindh Assembly on Friday objected to “secretive” talks with the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and demanded that the federal government take on board all stakeholders, parliament and political parties before negotiating with the militant outfit.

The resolution was moved by the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party amidst a noisy protest by opposition lawmakers belonging to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan and Grand Democratic Alliance, who protested against the chair for allowing the PPP MPA to move the resolution by suspending the other agenda.

The opposition members gathered in front of the speaker’s rostrum and chanted slogans when the chair. However, Deputy Speaker Rehana Leghari put the resolution to the house that adopted it with a majority vote.

The resolution said: “This house objects to the unilateral negotiations with banned TTP that are being carried out in the most secretive manner by the federal government which indicates the complete bypass of the parliament as the supreme institution in the country to decide upon such matters of national security. TTP has claimed thousands of innocent lives in the country over the last two decades including innocent civilians, brave soldiers of the armed forces, police officers, religious scholars, non-political prominent people and lest we forget, the APS massacre.”

Mover calls for involving parliament in national security matters; opposition protests over agenda suspension

It added that to initiate talks with such a ruthless organisation indicated federal government’s unwillingness to crush them by means of force. “The prime minister cannot strike a deal with TTP on its own as this matter is of our national interest and must be discussed in the parliament. The house demands the federal government to take on board all relevant stakeholders, political parties and institutions through the parliament and build unanimous consensus over such a consequential move.”

Speaking on the resolution, the mover, Qasim Soomro, expressed serious reservation on the negotiations and said that the federal government had started talks with the TTP before taking parliament and political leadership into confidence, adding that entire nation suffered loss due to the ruthless organisation.

The PPP lawmaker was of the view that talks with such organisations were held in other parts of the world too but with consensus of all stakeholders. He demanded that the matter be discussed in the parliament. “Let it be discussed in the parliament and go (for talks) with consensus. Backdoor dialogues had done the damage,” he added.

Gas crisis

Earlier, giving a policy statement on the acute shortage of gas in the province, Energy Minister Imtiaz Shaikh asked the federal government to hand over the Sui Southern Gas Company Limited to the provincial government if the federal government was not capable of resolving the crisis.

He said that Sindh produced 62 per cent of the country’s total gas yet it was deprived of the basic necessity.

“The people of Sindh are facing hardships due to incompetence of the federal government. There is a shortage of 800 mmcfd gas in the country. If the Centre cannot run the affairs of the SSGCL, hand it over to the provincial government,” he added.

Question Hour

Replying to lawmakers’ verbal and written queries during Question Hour, Forest Minister Taimur Talpur said that the lease of forest land had been cancelled in the province on the orders of the Supreme Court.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1659039/ruckus-as-sindh-assembly-resolution-opposing-secret-govt-ttp-talks-passed

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UK, Pakistan finalise accord to repatriate illegal migrants

Jamal Shahid

November 20, 2021

ISLAMABAD: The federal government on Friday finalised negotiations on a bilateral readmissions agreement with the UK under which former prime minister Nawaz Sharif could also be repatriated for staying illegally in Britain.

Earlier in August, Mr Sharif had filed an appeal with the British immigration tribunal after the country’s Home Department refused to extend his stay in the UK on medical grounds any further.

To reach a new arrangement after Brexit, the permanent secretary of the UK’s Home Office, Matthew Rycroft, paid a two-day visit to Pakistan that was capped off on Thursday with finalisation of an agreement to tackle illegal migration.

Mr Rycroft and Adviser to the Prime Minister on Interior and Accountability Shahzad Akbar finalised the negotiations on UK-Pakistan Readmissions Agreement, which would ensure the return of illegal migrants who had no lawful basis to remain in the country.

Unlike past practice, UK will now share data of people being repatriated

A statement issued by the British High Commission in Islamabad said it had been decided that the agreement would be presented to the Pakistani federal cabinet in the coming weeks to be implemented by the end of the year, subject to the cabinet’s approval.

The agreement would enable the sharing of criminal records between the UK and Pakistani authorities to support effective law enforcement cooperation between the two countries.

The high commission said the UK was committed to working with Pakistan to develop an effective partnership on migration as part of a deep and mutually beneficial relationship.

During his visit, Mr Rycroft also spoke about the UK Home Office’s new immigration system that would level the global playing field to those wishing to travel to the UK. Pakistani students would benefit from new graduate routes providing them an opportunity to enter into skilled roles in the UK job market, the high commission said.

Shahzad Akbar told Dawn that it took a year and a half of inter-ministerial meetings between the two countries to finalise the agreement. Previously, the British government did not share data and other records of people being repatriated to Pakistan.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1659109/uk-pakistan-finalise-accord-to-repatriate-illegal-migrants

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Pakistan drops chemical castration as punishment for serial rapists

Nov 19, 2021

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has removed a clause from a new criminal law that had allowed chemical castration as a possible punishment for serial rapists, a government official said on Friday.

"We have amended the criminal law, and decided that the chemical castration clause will be taken out," Maleeka Bukhari, parliamentary secretary on law, told a news conference in Islamabad.

She said the decision was taken after the Islamic Ideology Council, a state-run body that interprets laws from an Islamic perspective, found chemical castration un-Islamic.

The government of Prime Minister Imran Khan hurriedly passed nearly three dozens laws in a joint session of the parliament on Wednesday, including the anti-rape criminal law.

Chemical castration, which is carried out by the use of drugs and is reversible, can be a punishment for some sex crimes in countries including Poland, South Korea, the Czech Republic and some US states.

Source: Times of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/pakistan-drops-chemical-castration-as-punishment-for-serial-rapists/articleshow/87800633.cms

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Pakistan again lifts ban, fourth so far, on China’s TikTok

November 20, 2021

Pakistan’s media regulating authority on Friday again lifted a ban on TikTok, this time after four months, following assurances from the popular Chinese video-sharing service that it would control the spread of indecent content.

It was the fourth time in the past 15 months that Pakistan Telecommunication Authority imposed and lifted such a ban.

Pakistan first blocked TikTok, which is very popular among Pakistani teens and young adults, in October 2020 over what it described as widespread complaints about allegedly “immoral, obscene and vulgar” content on the app.

The regulatory agency said in a statement on Twitter that TikTok had assured Pakistan it would also block users who upload “unlawful content.” The app, owned by China’s ByteDance, has been downloaded almost 39 million times in Pakistan.

Pakistan, which has close relations with China, has been urging TikTok to develop an effective mechanism to control unlawful content.

Source: India TV

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

https://www.indiatvnews.com/news/world/pakistan-lifts-ban-china-tiktok-latest-international-news-updates-745856

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Indian contempt move in Kulbhushan Jadhav case averted: govt

Malik Asad

November 20, 2021

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minis­ter for Law and Justice Barrister Dr Farogh Naseem has said that the government has averted the Indian move to file a contempt petition before the International Court of Justice against Pakistan for non-compliance with the ICJ decision on Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav.

Addressing a press conference on Friday, he said the bill passed by the joint sitting of parliament and related to Jadhav was not person-specific rather it was a national security issue.

The parliament had passed the International Court of Justice (Review and Reconsideration) Bill, 2021 on Wednesday to provide for the right of review and reconsideration in the Jadhav case in line with the judgement of the ICJ.

“This was the red line for Pakistan. India would have gone to the ICJ and filed a contempt case against us if we have not enacted this law,” the law minister said.

Farogh says ICJ bill passed recently is not person-specific

He said that Pakistan had prevented India from filing a contempt case which was called defiance in the ICJ, adding that India could have moved the United Nations Security Council for imposing sanctions on Pakistan.

Mr Naseem criticised the opposition parties for politicising the issue and said they lacked vision to differentiate between right and wrong.

Anti-rape law

Meanwhile, parliamentary secretary for law and justice Maleeka Bukhari, who also spoke at the presser, congratulated the nation on the adoption of the landmark anti-rape legislation by the parliament.

However, she said that the proposal of chemical castration of sex offenders had been dropped in the criminal law amendments after the Council of Islamic Ideology declared it against Islamic injunctions, adding that the constitution barred any un-Islamic legislation.

She lamented the lowest conviction rate of sex offenders saying that it was about one or two per cent. Besides other issues, she explained, out of court settlement in rape cases was a major reason for the lowest conviction and higher acquittal rate. Ms Bukhari expressed hope that the new legislation would discourage out of court settlement.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1659113/indian-contempt-move-in-kulbhushan-jadhav-case-averted-govt

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North America

 

US sanctions senior Iran-backed Houthi militia officer Saleh Mesfer Alshaer

18 November ,2021

The Biden administration has designated a senior Houthi militia officer for overseeing the illegal seizure of property worth more than $100 million, the Treasury Department announced on Thursday.

Saleh Mesfer Alshaer, commander of the Houthi-controlled logistics support organization, was sanctioned for what the US said was using “a variety of unlawful tactics, including extortion.”

For the latest headlines, follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

“This campaign of extortion, which was used to fund the Houthi [militia] effort, is yet another example of Houthi actions fueling instability and increasing the already extraordinary suffering of the Yemeni people,” a statement from the Treasury Department read.

Last week, the UN also sanctioned Alshaer along with two other Houthi officials.

“Saleh Mesfer Alshaer is the principal Houthi [militia] officer responsible for pilfering assets from Yemeni citizens and directing a campaign of seizures that further prolongs the ongoing conflict in Yemen by obstructing its resolution,” said Director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) Andrea Gacki.

Alshaer is a close ally of Houthi leader Abdel Malik al-Houthi. Treasury said that he has unlawfully forced banks, companies, and money exchange businesses to withdraw and identify customer assets.

“Those who have defied Alshaer have been detained and held indefinitely by the Houthi-controlled ‘National Security Bureau’ and have been falsely labeled as spies,” according to the statement.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/gulf/2021/11/18/US-sanctions-senior-Iran-backed-Houthi-military-officer-Saleh-Mesfer-Alshaer

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US senators move to block arms sales to Saudi Arabia

November 20, 2021

A group of US senators are opposing the Biden administration’s first major arms sale to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia over Riyadh’s involvement in the conflict in Yemen, senators announced on Thursday.

Senators Rand Paul and Bernie Sanders are working together to block an arms sale to Saudi Arabia worth billions.

The Kentucky Republican and the former Democratic presidential candidate introduced a resolution of disapproval. Senator Paul says the sale includes 280 air-to-air missiles, 596 missile launchers among other weapons with an estimated cost of $650 billion.

Source: ABNA24

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

https://en.abna24.com/news//us-senators-move-to-block-arms-sales-to-saudi-arabia_1200242.html

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Top US defence official to make ‘very clear’ Washington’s commitment to Middle East

19 November ,2021

The top US defense official will make “very clear” that Washington remains committed to the Middle East and its strategic partnership with countries in the region, the Pentagon said.

Speaking ahead of Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s trip to Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, a senior defense official told reporters that ties with Middle East countries were more than a US force presence.

“This is a strategic partnership, and it is more than a US force presence… US commitment is more than posture,” the official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said.

Austin will highlight that the US still has “tens of thousands” of forces on many bases across the region, including Bahrain.

“More broadly, he will talk about our efforts to keep US forces in Iraq and Syria where ISIS no longer holds territory but is not defeated. Our resolve to maintain forces there is part of our mission to help them fight ISIS,” the official said.

The US defense secretary is also planning to lay out the different threats that the US and regional countries share in common.

Iran

This includes the use of drones by Iran and Tehran’s malign activities at sea. “He [Austin] will call for more cooperation, more sharing of defense, more engagement on a multilateral level to challenge and address… the challenges of the 21st century,” the official said.

There will not be any new agreements on specific mechanisms to deal with Iran or confront its malign activity, but confronting Iran is more than pushing back on Iranian force, the official said.

“It requires whole of government partnerships in the Middle East.”

Citing multiple US officials currently in the region to consult on Iran, the senior defense official said “there is an intense desire to discuss Iran and other issues.”

Iraq

Washington has no plans to leave Iraq, and its commitment to remain in the country was based on an agreement that troops would advise and assist Iraqi troops.

The combat troops would no longer be present in Iraq by the end of the year, and “we are on track being faithful to that commitment and will adhere to it.”

However, the official said, Iraqis still require support from the US and advice on how to counter ISIS and no changes or requests have been made.

“Now, I think there are certain spoilers and adversaries who are going to exploit this and attempt to make it something different,” the official said about Iran-backed militias.

“The US forces are there to advise and assist the Iraqi security forces; they will not be there for a combat role. It means that US forces are still going to be there next year. This is an evolution in mission,” the official said.

Lebanon

The official praised the Lebanese Armed Forces for continuing to carry out their duties “despite the unbelievable pressure of the situation there.”

“They are under extreme distress, unable to provide for families, yet still going to work and providing humanity response,” the official said, adding that what the LAF commander Gen. Joseph Aoun heard during his recent trip to Washington was that the US would continue to support him and the LAF.

Asked if the US was considering helping pay the salaries of Lebanese soldiers, the official said: “I cannot answer that; he asked for support.”

UAE: F-35s and Syria

Echoing recent comments by another senior US official, the senior defense official said there was no timeframe for the delivery of F-35 fighter jets to the UAE. “It’s a mutual decision for the timeframe. That’s just how it works.”

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2021/11/19/Top-US-defense-official-to-make-very-clear-Washington-s-commitment-to-Middle-East

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Unspoken US aim at Iran nuclear talks may be winning Chinese, Russian support

19 November ,2021

The stated US aim when indirect US-Iranian talks resume this month is to see if the two can revive a 2015 nuclear deal, but Washington’s unspoken goal may be to win support from China and Russia to pressure Iran if the talks fail, diplomats said.

Western diplomats have said time is running low to resurrect the pact, which then-US President Donald Trump abandoned in 2018, earning Iran’s fury and the dismay of the remaining major powers in the pact - Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia.

For the latest headlines, follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

Under the agreement, Iran limited its nuclear program in exchange for relief from US, EU and UN economic sanctions. Trump’s 2018 decision to reimpose harsh US sanctions prompted Tehran to begin breaching the deal’s nuclear restrictions.

The three European nations have worked hand in glove with the United States to try to restore the deal and Russia has been supportive, notably at the Vienna-based UN nuclear watchdog that monitors Iran’s eroding compliance.

China, however, has undercut US leverage by buying Iranian oil, throwing Tehran an economic lifeline in violation of US sanctions.

One way to pressure Iran to rejoin the original pact or, if that is not possible, to accept another arrangement would be to persuade Beijing and Moscow that Tehran, not Washington, is the obstacle, diplomats said.

“They need China and Russia,” said a Western diplomat on condition of anonymity.

Shifting the onus

While Washington initially got blamed for Trump’s withdrawal and reimposition of sanctions on Iran, the onus may gradually be shifting to Tehran as US President Joe Biden seeks to restore the pact.

US and Iranian officials held six rounds of indirect talks in Vienna between April and June. A new round begins on Nov. 29 after a five-month hiatus triggered by the election of a new Iranian president, Ebrahim Raisi, a hardline cleric who said this month that Iran would not back down in nuclear talks.

US and European diplomats are frustrated by what they view as Iran’s unrealistic demands, including what one described as a recent insistence that all US and EU sanctions imposed since 2017 be dropped, and their expectations for the talks are low.

This month’s talks will be a chance to gauge whether Iran wants to revive the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and, if not, for Washington to try to garner greater support from China and, to a lesser degree, Russia to put pressure on Tehran.

“(The) Russians are a more helpful partner than China,” said a second Western diplomat on condition of anonymity. The best way to get China’s support was via diplomacy rather sanctioning Chinese companies that buy Iran’s oil, the envoy added.

“We have to talk to China and get them on side,” this diplomat said.

Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping discussed how to “align” their positions before the Vienna talks during their virtual summit this week.

‘Good old college try’

The major powers believe the greater their cohesion, the better the chances of bringing Iran back into the deal, said a third Western diplomat.

“It becomes more important when we come to a crucial point in the discussions,” the diplomat added, referring to the next round and Western hopes that China might eventually trim its oil purchases.

Brookings Institution analyst Robert Einhorn suggested Washington may wish to show it had gone the extra mile to revive the agreement.

“(The idea is to) make a good old college try ... but if that doesn’t work, make sure that the world sees Iran as the reason for failure,” Einhorn said.

Shifting the onus to Tehran could prove helpful even if Washington concludes the original deal is dead but tries to fashion another agreement.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2021/11/19/Unspoken-US-aim-at-Iran-nuclear-talks-may-be-winning-Chinese-Russian-support

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US sanctions 6 Iran nationals, one entity for interfering in 2020 elections

18 November ,2021

The US sanctioned six Iran nationals and one Iranian entity for their efforts to interfere in the 2020 presidential elections, the Treasury Department said on Thursday.

“The United States identified attempted cyber-enabled intrusions by state-sponsored actors, including Iranian actors who sought to sow discord and undermine voters’ faith in the US electoral process,” a statement from the Treasury Department read. “The actors also disseminated disinformation on social media and sent threatening emails as well as a fraudulent video.”

For the latest headlines, follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

The Iranian cyber company Emennet Pasargad was the leader of the efforts, according to the Treasury Department. Emennet was previously designated under its former name, Net Peygard Samavat Company, in 2019 for assisting or providing support to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Electronic Warfare and Cyber Defense Organization (IRGC-EWCD).

“The company rebranded itself to evade US sanctions and continue its disruptive cyber operations against the United States,” the Treasury Department said.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2021/11/18/US-sanctions-6-Iran-nationals-one-entity-for-interfering-in-2020-elections

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US committed to deepening cooperation with Turkey: Official

Nazli Yuzbasioglu  

19.11.2021

The US is committed to deepening cooperation with Turkey, and the two countries have so many common interests, the US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs said.

Speaking exclusively to Anadolu Agency during her visit to Turkey, Karen Donfried said she is relatively new in her position and visiting Turkey as early in her tenure as she could is very important to her.

"And that reflects the fact that Turkey is such a longstanding and valued NATO partner. We share so many common interests, and there's so much we can do together. So I was eager to get to Ankara and start those conversations in person," she said.

Responding to a question regarding the dialogue mechanisms between the two countries, Donfried said the timing of her visit is "auspicious" because it came after the in-person meeting between US President Joe Biden and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Rome on the margins of the G20 Summit.

"That conversation led both to agree that we should deepen our dialogue on the many issues where we can work effectively together. So most of my conversations at the Foreign Ministry focused on that topic of how it is that we can fill out that conversation the two presidents had with a concrete proposal. I'm very much looking forward to continuing that discussion," she said.

'Dialogue continues on a very regular basis between the US and Turkey'

Regarding whether there are any planned high-level visits from the US to Turkey after her visit, Donfried said, "there certainly will be continued opportunities."

Recalling the recent high-level Defense Group meeting in Washington, she said: "So I want to point out that this dialogue continues on a very regular basis between the US and Turkey. And the next opportunity for that senior-level dialogue will be at the NATO foreign ministerial, which will take place in late November, early December. And certainly, our two foreign ministers will be working together in that NATO context on the very important agenda that unites us there."

Stating that the next NATO summit that will take place in June 2022 in Madrid will focus on a new strategic direction of the alliance for the next ten years, Donfried said: "I think that provides a wonderful opportunity for the US and Turkey, together with all of our NATO allies, to think strategically about both the regional and global challenges that face us today."

'We are committed to deepening our cooperation with Turkey'

Donfried was also asked about the increase of the US military presence in Greece, which caused discomfort in Turkey. A letter sent by the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis after the signing of the National Defense Cooperation Agreement includes the wording "firm determination of the two countries against actions that threaten peace," which raises the issue of whether the United States is taking a position with Greece against Turkey.

"I am very sorry to hear that it caused concern in Turkey. That's because I think to deeper the US engagement in any NATO ally is a good thing. And the US is equally interested in deepening our cooperation here in Turkey. Certainly, the purpose of my visit is to think together with our Turkish partners -- how is it that the US and Turkey can work more closely. And I think the cooperation with Greece should be seen absolutely in that light.

"You'll remember that when President Biden came into office, he talked about America being back and the United States wanting to deepen our engagement with our key allies, reinvigorate our alliances and partnerships, and that is very much the spirit of what the US is doing with its Greek ally. And we are as committed to deepening our cooperation with Turkey," she added.

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-committed-to-deepening-cooperation-with-turkey-official/2425218

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Europe

 

Attempted arson attack on mosque in Germany

Ayhan Simsek  

19.11.2021

BERLIN

An unidentified arsonist tried to set fire to a mosque in the western city of Cologne, police said on Friday.

Security guards spotted the suspect in the early hours of the day outside the Cologne Central Mosque while he was pouring a liquid, police said in a statement.

The suspect fled on foot after being spotted, and left behind his bicycle with a can of gasoline and several lighters.

The police appealed for witnesses and said camera records will be reviewed to identify the suspect.

Cologne’s most prominent mosque, which is run by Turkish-Muslim umbrella organization DITIB, received numerous threat letters in recent years from right-wing extremists and neo-Nazi groups.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/attempted-arson-attack-on-mosque-in-germany/2425594

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Armenia and Azerbaijan agree to talks in Brussels to overcome tensions: EU

20 November ,2021

The leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan will meet in Brussels in mid-December to discuss tensions that have led to border clashes with several troops, the European Union said on Friday.

“Leaders have agreed to meet in Brussels to discuss the regional situation and ways of overcoming tensions for a prosperous and stable South Caucasus, which the EU supports,” a spokesman for Charles Michel, the president of the European Council representing EU member states, said in a statement.

The meeting is to take place in the margins of the EU’s Eastern Partnership Summit in Brussels on Dec. 15.

The announcement came after talks between Michel and Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev as well as Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan on Friday.

“During the phone calls, the Armenian and Azerbaijani leaders have also agreed to establish a direct communication line, at the level of respective Ministers of Defense, to serve as an incident prevention mechanism,” the EU said.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/world/2021/11/20/Armenia-and-Azerbaijan-agree-to-talks-in-Brussels-to-overcome-tensions-EU

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Greece: Turkey the ‘common denominator’ of region’s troubles

19 November ,2021

Greece’s foreign minister Friday called neighbor Turkey “the common denominator” of threats to stability in the region, including the use of migrants as a lever to apply geopolitical pressure.

Nikos Dendias accused Belarus of copying tactics used by Ankara last year when a tense stand off at the Greek-Turkish land border was triggered by the arrival of thousands of migrants and asylum seekers.

“Unfortunately, the common denominator of many of the challenges that we face in this region ... is our neighbor Turkey,” Dendias said at a meeting in Athens with the foreign ministers of France, Egypt and Cyprus, Jean-Yves Le Drian, Sameh Shoukry and Nikos Christodoulides.

Greece and Turkey resumed high-level diplomatic talks in January for first time in nearly five years to try and ease tension over long standing boundary disputes in the Aegean Sea and eastern Mediterranean. But they remain sharply at odds and Greece has launched a multi-billion military modernization program with large navy and air force orders from France and the United States.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/world/2021/11/19/Greece-Turkey-the-common-denominator-of-region-s-troubles

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Turkey summons Bulgarian ambassador over election interference claims

Büşra Nur Çakmak 

19.11.2021

Turkey summoned the Bulgarian ambassador to the Foreign Ministry late Thursday over allegations that Turkey interfered in Bulgaria’s presidential and parliamentary elections and internal affairs.

According to diplomatic sources, Turkey’s Deputy Foreign Minister Faruk Kaymakci, who is in charge of EU affairs, summoned Hristov Tcholakov after the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry summoned Turkish ambassador to Bulgaria Aylin Sekizkok.

Kaymakci told Tcholakov that Turkey rejects all allegations that Bulgarian voters were directed by Turkish authorities during the country’s Nov. 14 presidential and parliamentary polls and that Turkey interfered in Bulgaria’s internal affairs.

Turkey has shown great cooperation and provided the necessary conveniences for Bulgarian voters to cast their votes in Turkey, he added.

Sources said a diplomatic note was delivered to the ambassador and was told that Turkey expects the voting in Turkey not to be abused in Bulgarian domestic politics.

Tcholakov was also told that Turkey finds it strange that the Turkish ambassador to Bulgaria was summoned to Bulgaria’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs with such groundless accusations.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/turkey-summons-bulgarian-ambassador-over-election-interference-claims/2424933

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Mideast

 

Hamas, Islamic Jihad condemn London’s decision to designate resistance groups as a "terrorist organizations"

November 20, 2021

The Palestinian resistance movements Hamas and Islamic Jihad denounced Britain’s decision to designate Hamas as a “terrorist organization”, calling on London to end its support for the Zionist regime’s crimes.

In a statement on Friday, Hamas described the move as continuation of Britain’s previous stupidities.

It said that instead of apologizing to the Palestinian nation and correcting its historical errors and injustices against the nation, Britain is supporting the aggressors and occupiers against the oppressed.

Hamas underlined that resistance against occupiers by all possible means, including armed resistance, is a legitimate rights of nations according to international laws.

Enumerating the Israeli regime’s crimes against Palestinians, the statement said the Palestinian nation will continue its path toward freedom and liberation of its lands.

It also called on all nations and supporters of Palestine to condemn the British move against Hamas.

In a separate statement, the Islamic Jihad movement regretted that instead of making up for its past mistakes, Britain adopts hostile stances against Palestine.

It reiterated the legitimacy of the Palestinian nation’s resistance and strongly condemned the blacklisting of Hamas.

Resistance is the right of Palestinian people and support for occupiers by oppressive and hypocritical governments will have no effect on the resolve of Palestinians to counter occupation, the movement stated.

The British government announced on Friday that it intended to label Hamas “a terrorist organization”, joining the United States, Canada and the European Union in fully banning the Gaza-based Palestinian resistance group, which plays a significant role in defending Palestinian rights against frequent Israel aggression.

London has since 2001 banned the group’s military wing, known as the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, across the UK, but it is the first time that the British government sets to ban Hamas’ political wing.

Earlier on Friday, British Home Secretary Priti Patel tweeted that she had “acted to proscribe Hamas in its entirety”, saying there is no difference between the group’s military and political wings.

Source: ABNA24

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https://en.abna24.com/news//hamas-islamic-jihad-condemn-london%e2%80%99s-decision-to-designate-resistance-groups-as-a-terrorist-organizations_1200272.html

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Iran-backed Houthis continue to detain US, UN employees: State Department

19 November ,2021

The Iran-backed Houthis have yet to release the remaining Yemeni detainees employed by the US government, a State Department official said Friday.

Meanwhile, the United Nations has slammed the group for its detention of locally employed staff and its breach of the US Embassy in Sanaa.

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“The members of the Security Council condemned in the strongest terms the very recent and ongoing seizure of and intrusion into the compound formerly used as the US Embassy in Sana’a, Yemen, by the Houthis, during which dozens of local employees were detained,” the Security Council said in a statement on Thursday.

Yemen’s Houthi militia had detained US Embassy staff and seized property from the US Embassy compound, a State Department official told Al Arabiya English last week.

On Friday, a State Department spokesperson said a majority of the detained had been released, “but the Houthis continue to detain additional Yemeni employees of the Embassy.”

“We are concerned that Yemeni staff of the US Embassy in Sana’a continue to be detained without explanation and we call for their immediate release,” the official added.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken later released a statement criticizing the Houthis’ detention and mistreatment of “dozens of Yemeni citizens and their family members simply because they have worked for the United States.”

Several of these employees are still being held, he said.

“These actions are an affront to the entire international community. The Houthis must immediately release unharmed all Yemeni employees of the United States, vacate the Embassy compound, return seized property, and cease their threats,” Blinken said.

Bloomberg reported that at least 25 Yemenis were detained by the Houthis in recent weeks, citing two people familiar with the matter.

Separately, it was revealed on Wednesday that the Houthis have also detained UN staff members, Spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters.

Two UN employees, both Yemenis, are still being held by the Houthis, despite being told by Houthi officials that they would be freed.

The US employees “are in addition to the UN employees who are detained,” the State Department official told Al Arabiya English.

US Special Envoy for Yemen Tim Lenderking is also in the region as part of his shuttle diplomacy to help end the yearslong war between the Iran-backed Houthis and the internationally recognized Yemeni government.

Washington’s renewed diplomatic efforts came after the election of President Joe Biden; however, one of his first foreign policy moves saw the Houthis removed from the terror blacklist. Additionally, the Biden administration lifted senior Houthi officials’ names off the Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) list.

Source: Al Arabiya

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https://english.alarabiya.net/News/gulf/2021/11/19/Iran-backed-Houthis-continue-to-detain-US-UN-employees-State-Department

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Iran calls for depoliticisation of UN nuclear watchdog after France urges it to act

19 November ,2021

Iran called on Friday for the depoliticization of the UN nuclear watchdog, after France had urged the organization to “send a strong message to Tehran” over disputed nuclear activities and a lack of cooperation.

The International Atomic Energy Agency’s 35-nation governing board is due to begin meeting on Nov. 24 in Vienna, five days before talks are due to resume on reviving Iran’s nuclear deal with global powers.

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Complaints from the UN body that Iran has not fully cooperated with monitors could make it more difficult to revive the agreement, under which Iran accepted curbs on its nuclear program in return for the lifting of international sanctions.

“As a responsible member of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Iran has always emphasized that the IAEA’s reputation as a technical and specialized body of the United Nations must be free of any political conduct,” said an Iranian Foreign Ministry statement in a twitter feed.

French Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Anne-Claire Legendre had said on Thursday that the watchdog’s governing board should act, after agency reports highlighted issues over Tehran’s nuclear program. Western nations say they fear it has military aims while Tehran insists it is purely peaceful.

According to IAEA reports on Wednesday, Iran had still not granted IAEA inspectors access it promised two months ago to re-install monitoring cameras at a workshop that was the site of apparent sabotage in June.

Legendre said Iran “must return without delay to fulfilling all its commitments and obligations to the IAEA, resume cooperation with the agency and return to full implementation” of the 2015 nuclear deal.

Source: Al Arabiya

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https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2021/11/19/Iran-calls-for-depoliticization-of-UN-nuclear-watchdog-after-France-urges-it-to-act

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Iran: Statement by US, EU Not Worth Even to Reply

2021-November-19

"Such a meeting and statement is a fake and illegitimate showoff that does not deserve any reaction," Khatibzadeh said.

He reiterated that the US administration that violated the UN Resolution 2231 and withdrew the 2015 Iran nuclear deal is responsible for the current situation with regard to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

"The United States is the only country in the world that has a dark history of using nuclear weapons and it is also the one that intervenes in other countries internal affairs and now the US is trying to create a crisis and propagate against Iran," Khatibzadeh added.

Referring to certain Arab states in the region, he noted that these countries which are responsible for the invasion of Yemen are not in a position to put forward baseless accusations against other nations in order to get rid of the responsibility of their crimes.

Robert Malley, the US Special Representative for Iran, and representatives of three European powers, as well as envoys from PGCC states, met in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Thursday to discuss the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Source: Fars News Agency

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https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14000828000060/Iran-Saemen-by-US-EU-N-Wrh-Even-Reply

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Spokesman: New US Sanctions Pursuing Trump's Failed Economic Terrorism against Iran

2021-November-19

"The Islamic Republic considers the US' new sanctioning efforts to be the continuation of former US president Donald Trump's failed maximum pressure policy," Khatibzadeh said on Friday.

"These are efforts [that are taken] out of desperation," he said, condemning the sanctions an "illegitimate" bid on the part of a country that, itself, tows a longstanding record of interfering in various other nations' internal affairs.

Source: Fars News Agency

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https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14000828000072/Spkesman-New-US-Sancins-Prsing-Trmp's-Failed-Ecnmic-Terrrism-agains

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Vandals slash tires of Palestinian-owned vehicles in tense Jerusalem neighbourhood

19 November ,2021

Vandals slashed the tires on nearly a dozen Palestinian-owned vehicles overnight in a tense Jerusalem neighborhood where Jewish settlers have been waging a decades-long legal battle to evict Palestinians, residents said Friday.

CCTV footage shows three hooded men entering a fenced-off area of Sheikh Jarrah before stabbing the tires of parked cars. It was unclear who was responsible, but recent weeks have seen an escalation in settler violence toward Palestinians in the occupied West Bank.

Israeli police say they are investigating the incident.

Two weeks ago, four Palestinian families from Sheikh Jarrah rejected a settlement floated by the Israeli Supreme Court that would delay their eviction for the next 15 years. Protests and clashes over the threatened evictions helped spark the 11-day Gaza war in May.

None of the 11 cars whose tires were deflated were owned by the four Palestinian families, according to residents.

Sheikh Jarrah is in east Jerusalem, which Israel captured along with the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in the 1967 Mideast war. Israel annexed east Jerusalem in a move not recognized by most of the international community, and it considers the entire city its capital. It has portrayed the legal battle in Sheikh Jarrah as a local real-estate dispute.

Source: Al Arabiya

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https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2021/11/19/Vandals-slash-tires-of-Palestinian-owned-vehicles-in-tense-Jerusalem-neighborhood

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Thousands of Iranians protest dried-up river in Isfahan

19 November ,2021

Thousands of protesters converged on Isfahan in central Iran on Friday to voice their anger after the city’s lifeblood river dried up due to drought and diversion, state television said.

The protest that drew in farmers and other people from across Isfahan province was the biggest since demonstrations over the water crisis started on November 9.

“Thousands of people from Isfahan, farmers from the east and west of the province, have gathered in the dry Zayandeh Rood riverbed with one key demand: let the river run,” a state television journalist in Isfahan reported, broadcasting live images of Friday’s rally.

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“For years, there has been no will to resolve the problems of this important river,” the journalist said.

The city of Isfahan is Iran’s third largest, with a population of around two million.

It is tourist magnet due to its heritage sites, including a historic bridge that crosses the Zayandeh Rood river – which has been dry since the year 2000 apart from brief periods.

Drought is seen as one of the causes but farmers also blame the authorities’ diversion of the river water to neighboring Yazd province.

Source: Al Arabiya

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https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2021/11/19/Thousands-of-Iranians-protest-dried-up-river-in-Isfahan-State-TV

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UN condemns seizure of US Embassy in Yemen by Iran-backed Houthis

19 November ,2021

The UN Security Council on Thursday condemned “in the strongest terms” the intrusion and seizure of the now-closed US Embassy in Yemen’s capital and the detention of dozens of local employees by the country’s Iran-backed Houthis.

A statement approved by all 15 members of the UN’s most powerful body called for “an immediate withdrawal of all Houthi elements from the premises” and “the immediate and safe release of those still under detention.”

US State Department Spokesman Ned Price told reporters last week that diplomatic efforts had succeeded in securing the release of most of the detained employees, but that some remain in custody. He said then that work was continuing to free the others.

The Security Council stressed that the Vienna convention prohibits any intrusion into diplomatic property as well as the “inviolability” and “immunity” of the premises from searches and requisition — and that property and archives of a diplomatic mission that has been temporarily closed “must be respected and protected.”

The council’s statement followed Wednesday’s demand by the United Nations for the release of two UN staffers detained earlier this month by the Yemen militants.

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Wednesday that UN officials were given assurances by senior Houthi officials last week that the two men, both Yemenis, would be released. He told reporters Thursday that they still have not been freed.

He said the UN staffers work for the UN human rights office and UNESCO, and were detained on Nov. 5 and Nov. 7.

Source: Al Arabiya

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https://english.alarabiya.net/News/gulf/2021/11/19/UN-condemns-seizure-of-US-Embassy-in-Yemen-by-Iran-backed-Houthis

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Mossad espionage makes Erdogan choose between de-escalation and own credibility

November 20, 2021

Two weeks after the Turkish intelligence agency said it detected and dismantled an Israeli spy cell, in recent days Ankara said it detained two Israeli citizens on charges of spying for Tel Aviv, potentially returning the Turkish-Israeli relations to tensions.

The Turkish intelligence arrested the couple for taking photos of the presidential palace in Istanbul. The couple claimed they did not know photography from the palace of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was banned.

A Turkish court on last Friday extended the couple's detention for 20 days, and local authorities said that they were suspected of espionage. Israeli Channel 12 reported, citing Israeli officials, if the case is not settled in three days, they will likely remain detained in Turkey.

The Israeli government started its movement to free the two. According to Rai Al-Yaum newspaper, a Mossad delegation sent to Ankara was treated with chill by the Turkish authorities. The delegation admitted that there was a spying operation but argued that it did not target Turkey but the Hamas officials and activities in Turkey.

Finally today, Turkey said it released the couple. Israeli media said they arrived home.

Erdogan's tough decision: de-escalation or self-credibility

The revelation of the Israeli espionage operation in Turkey is dealing a blow to the slowly moving de-escalation efforts between the two sides made since last year. They do not have ambassadors in their capitals due to decade-long tensions. 

A man of sudden U-turns in policy, Erdogan last year showed willingness for normalization with the Israeli government. In July, Erdogan talked to the Israeli president and highlighted the "Israeli-Turkish potentials" for regional peace. However, a couple of months later, Tel Aviv launched a 11-day war on Gaza with new crimes, infuriating the Turkish public opinion with the pro-rapprochement efforts by their government.

Turkey's growing isolation due to tensions with most of neighboring countries, strained relations with the US and Europe, normalization of relations between the Israeli regime and the Arab states, reconciliation between its ally, Qatar, and members of the (Persia) Gulf Cooperation Council, along with a combination of economic benefits, energy, intelligence and politics led Ankara to regional de-escalation attempts. The show of will to normalize with Tel Aviv is driven by these developments.

On the other hand, Erdogan hoped that warming relations with the Israelis could help improve relations with Washington. It is noteworthy that Ankara has traditionally seen Tel Aviv as a way to make its voice heard in Washington.

Erdogan's show of interest in thaw makes the Israeli leaders feel they have the upper hand in the diplomatic engagement with the Turks. While Erdogan remained silent on the spies case, Israeli media said there were signs Ankara will not escalate. Release of the couple proved them right.

Source: ABNA24

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https://en.abna24.com/news//analysis-mossad-espionage-makes-erdogan-choose-between-de-escalation-and-own-credibility_1200244.html

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South Asia

 

Taliban misconstrued facts in letter to congress for assets release, claims US envoy

November 20, 2021

The Taliban misconstrued facts in its recent letter to the US Congress warning of humanitarian consequences if the United States fails to unfreeze more than USD 9 billion in Afghan assets, US Special Representative for Afghanistan Thomas West said. Taking to Twitter, West said the Taliban misconstrued the facts regarding Afghanistan's economic and humanitarian crisis.

"The Taliban's letter to Congress earlier this week misconstrued the facts regarding Afghanistan's economic and humanitarian crisis. Afghanistan was unfortunately already suffering a terrible humanitarian crisis before mid-August, made worse by war, years of drought, and the pandemic," West wrote on Twitter.

He also emphasized that US officials made clear to the Taliban for years that if they pursued a military takeover rather than a negotiated settlement with fellow Afghans then critical non-humanitarian aid provided by the international community - in an economy enormously dependent on aid, including for basic services - would all but cease.

"That is what occurred."

Although Thomas asserted that the US will continue to support the Afghan people with humanitarian aid.

"We have provided USD 474 million this year, applaud the robust efforts of allies and partners in this space, and are making every effort to help the UN and humanitarian actors scale up to meet needs this winter," said Thomas.

Source: India TV

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https://www.indiatvnews.com/news/world/taliban-misconstrued-facts-assets-release-letter-to-us-thomas-west-tweets-745860

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Key aid group says Afghanistan’s most pressing need is cash

November 20, 2021

DUBAI: Afghanistan is facing a looming humanitarian crisis as aid organisations struggle with ways to pay doctors, nurses and others on the ground because there is currently no way to transfer salaries to bank accounts there, the head of the International Committee of the Red Cross said.

ICRC President Peter Maurer’s comments echo those of the UN’s special representative for Afghanistan, who warned this week that the country is on the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe and that its collapsing economy is heightening the risk of extremism. The country’s economy is estimated to have contracted by 40 per cent since the Taliban took control in August.

The country is on brink of a humanitarian catastrophe

The Geneva-based ICRC, which has operated in Afghanistan for over 30 years, is temporarily carrying in bags of cash to the impoverished nation and converting dollars into the local currency, the afghani, in order to pay some of its staffers. The ICRC has been able to do this with regulatory approval by the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. The ICRC also has an agreement with the Taliban-run Health Ministry that allows donor-funded payments to pass through the ICRC and bypass the Taliban, who have yet to be officially recognized by any nation.

“The main problem in Afghanistan is not hunger. The main problem is the lack of cash to pay salaries to deliver social services which have existed before,” Maurer told The Associated Press in an interview Thursday during a visit to Dubai.

“Let’s not forget that most of these medical doctors, nurses, operators of water systems and electricity systems are still the same people. It is the leadership which has changed, but not these people,” he added.

Afghanistan’s aid-reliant economy was thrown into deep turmoil following the Taliban takeover of the capital, Kabul, in August and the collapse of the US-backed Afghan government just weeks before the US withdrew its last troops.

The Taliban leadership, which recently banned all foreign currency transactions, has urged the US Congress to ease sanctions and release Afghanistan’s overseas assets in order for the government to be able to pay teachers, doctors and other public sector employees. After the Taliban takeover, the US froze nearly $9.5 billion in assets belonging to the Afghan Central Bank and stopped shipments of cash.

Source: Dawn

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https://www.dawn.com/news/1659123/key-aid-group-says-afghanistans-most-pressing-need-is-cash

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Afghanistan’s assets must be unfrozen: Pakistan’s UN envoy

20 Nov 2021

Pakistan’s permanent representative in the United Nations Munir Akram has said that Afghanistan is going through a tough humanitarian situation so the country’s assets must be released soon.

Speaking at the UN on Thursday, November 18; Munir Akram expressed concern over the deepening humanitarian situation in Afghanistan and added that freezing the assets is rather unjustifiable.

“There is an urgent need of cash in Afghanistan in order for the de-facto authorities in Kabul to rehabilitate economy, pay salaries, rehabilitate banking system and continue micro-financial activities.” Said Akram.

In the meantime, the Pakistani envoy has warned of mass immigration, the potential rise of ISIS and other terror groups, and other terrible outcomes if left the humanitarian crisis unaddressed.

Source: Khaama Press

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https://www.khaama.com/afghanistans-assets-must-be-unfrozen-pakistans-un-envoy-8757865/

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US may return some evacuated Afghan Refugees

20 Nov 2021

CNN has quoted several US officials saying that Biden Administration may return home some evacuated Afghan refugees from Kosovo who fail the security screening.

The officials have said that returning to Afghanistan is an option for the Afghan refugees and acknowledged the US government is considering other potential options.

Hundreds of Afghans are stranded in a military base in Kosovo who was evacuated during the chaotic evacuation of the US in August.

The total number of Afghans evacuated to the US from August 15 until the end of August amounted to 70,000.

Afghan refugees who are still living in Kosovo are the people who have failed the security screening and have not been settled in any country yet.

Though no Afghan has so far been returned from any country, spokesman of the State Department Ned Price said that the Afghan refugees in Kosovo are more likely to be settled in the US or a third country.

Source: Khaama Press

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

https://www.khaama.com/us-may-return-some-evacuated-afghan-refugees-9697/

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Southeast Asia

 

MPs slam FT minister over ‘liquor ban not hurting non-Muslims’ remark

Dineskumar Ragu

November 18, 2021

KUALA LUMPUR: Federal territories minister Shahidan Kassim’s claim that the ban on selling liquor at grocers, convenience stores, and Chinese medical halls by the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) does not hurt the sensitivities of non-Muslims invited ridicule and anger from the opposition.

Pakatan Harapan MPs, especially those from the federal territory of Kuala Lumpur, took issue with his statement, as he also tried to deflect the blame to his predecessor, Annuar Musa.

In the winding-up speech for his ministry today, Shahidan spoke of how other countries, including Singapore, imposed similar restrictions that were accepted by non-Muslim religious organisations.

At this juncture, he was interrupted by Tan Kok Wai (PH-Cheras) who reminded Shahidan of a promise he made to PH MPs, of a “win-win solution” on the liquor ban issue during a meeting last month.

“We were promised a win-win solution, but what we got so far is similar to the one given by the former minister (Annuar). You are being insincere in this issue. Is the promise of a win-win solution an empty one?” asked Tan.

Teresa Kok (PH-Seputeh) then interjected and questioned DBKL for discriminating against grocers and convenience stores when restaurants, pubs, bars, malls and supermarkets are still allowed to sell alcoholic beverages.

She also accused the minister of contradicting his own rationale by saying that consuming liquor is bad for society, when some businesses continue to sell alcoholic beverages.

Lim Lip Eng (PH-Kepong) then stood up and questioned Shahidan over the timing of the ban, asking if it was politically motivated in light of the Melaka state election.

In response to these questions from the opposition MPs, Shahidan accused them of seeking “cheap publicity” over the liquor ban issue.

“I am merely continuing the policies implemented by my predecessor (Annuar). Besides, grocers and convenience stores can still apply for a licence to sell liquor in their stores, and DBKL will process their applications on a case-by-case basis,” he said.

Khalid Samad (PH-Shah Alam) then stood up to slam the minister for using the same excuse and deflecting blame.

“Don’t use your predecessor as an excuse,” the former federal territories minister said, adding that the liquor ban was imposed without consulting the grocers and convenience stores.

Annuar imposed a temporary ban on new liquor licenses in Kuala Lumpur last year and justified the ban by citing several road accidents and fatalities allegedly involving drink driving during the conditional movement control order (CMCO) period.

Meanwhile, Ngeh Koo Ham (PH-Beruas) warned that the case-by-case processing of the licence application to sell liquor by grocers and convenience stores would lead to favouritism.

“You will have those who have the right connections having their application approved, while other businesses would not get the same treatment,” he said.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2021/11/18/mps-slam-ft-minister-over-liquor-ban-not-hurting-non-muslims-remark/?__cf_chl_jschl_tk__=Q4hXSSA0uHFYhiFN3Z0OKOpSTlqNL_kKEegMf.LdfhA-1637394994-0-gaNycGzNDH0

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The Struggle Between Two Visions Of Malaysia: The Malayisation Of Malaysia

By Murray Hunter

November 19, 2021

Aggregate election figures of votes cast on the peninsula from the last general election show there is a deep polarization in Malaysia. It’s not about a Barisan Nasional /Perikatan Nasional verses a Pakatan Harapan choice for government. It’s much deeper than that. A struggle between a vision for a Malay-Malaysia verses the vision for a diverse and inclusive Malaysia.

Malaya was founded on the premise that power would be shared between the different ethnic groups residing on the peninsula. The constitution recognized the special position of the Malays, in a federation of Malay Sultanates forming the new country. The structure of Westminster modelled governance took on many of the traditional traits of Malay Daulat (sovereignty). These institutions, processes of governance, and conventions were carried over to the formation of Malaysia, which included Sabah, Sarawak, and Singapore for a short period in 1963.

The framers of the constitution intended to establish a fully-fledged democracy, where every citizen, whatever his or her ethnic identity was guaranteed equal rights, notwithstanding the special position of the Malays provision. Article 11 of the constitution also guaranteed freedom of religion. These two constitutional guarantees have been encroached upon, debasing the constitution. This lies at the heart of the uneven struggle between the two visions of Malaysia.

Malaya and later Malaysia was a primarily rural backwater in the midst of Southeast Asia with a mix of ethnic groups, cultures, and religions that coexisted harmoniously together. The towns were service centres for the rural heartlands, which dominated the economy with agriculture, commodity production, and mining. Malaysia was a trading nation without much manufacturing at the time.

Malay culture was based upon kampong community. One trait was accommodating and respectful to authority, be it royal or administrative. Islam blended in with centuries held believes and traditions. Malays had a generally contented society where social problems were usually adjudicated by penghulus or village heads. Malays had their land, pastimes, and a sense of serenity. Other ethnic groups found it very easy to coexist with the Malays for generations, where festivals were shared.

With the May 13 race riots and coup against prime minister Tunku Abdul Rahman by the Malay-centric group within UMNO, the party evolved into a hardline Malay-Nationalist ideology. The New Economic Policy (NEP) which was put into place to assist Bumiputeras rise economically became the platform of discriminatory economics for the next 50 years. Article 153 of the Malaysian constitution became politically reinterpreted as Ketuanan Melayu or Malay supremacy over the nation.

How Malaysia changed

There are a number of forces which have turned multi-cultural Malaysia into a more Malay-centric society.

The first are massive demographic changes. In 1970, the racial balance of Malaysia was 53% Bumiputera, 35.5% Chinese, and 10.6% Indian. In 2019, this had chanced to 62.5% Bumiputra, where 51% of the population are Malay, 20.6% Chinese, and 6.2% Indian.

Then prime minister Mahathir Mohamed with his then deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim set about Islamizing Malaysia’s public administration during the 1990s. This led to the formation of the powerful and influential Department of Islamic Affairs (JAKIM) within the prime minister’s department (PMO) in 1997. JAKIM received an RM1.4 billion in the 2022 budget.

The government has focused on expanding the size and influence of the civil service, now employing nearly 2 million people. The composition of the civil service doesn’t reflect the ethnic diversity of the nation. The civil service has developed a ‘Malay agenda’ dictate over the years, where focus is primarily on enhancing ethnic-Malay interests and little else. The ‘Malay-agenda’ created two classes of Bumiputeras, where non-Malay Bumiputeras are not given the same advancement opportunities as Malays within the civil service.

The emphasis on Islamic education over the last three generations has shaped the Malay psych. Consequently, Islam has become the central pillar of Malay life. The education system has promoted a sense of obligation to conform. Religious education in particular, has deeply altered Malay culture towards Arabism, at the cost of a Malay cultural identity. Malays don’t sembahyang today, they solat. Even the Malay language has been Arabized. Today’s value set is biased in favour of an Islamic-centred society, rather than secularism.

The abandonment of secularism has created a social divide and is an adverse force against the concept of national unity. The various ethnic groups within Malaysia are now more estranged from each other, in what can now be described as a discriminatory society. The narratives of Ketuanan Melayu by the more extreme Malay-centric politicians have caused tension, racism, and xenophobia within society.

The NEP, framed as an economic policy has really been a social engineering tool that has created this now segregated society. There is a privileged class at the top and then all others. Privilege is not just a mindset, but has become deeply institutionalized. The bans on the free practice of other religions to Islam, and now on traditional pursuits of non-Malay ethnic groups, as is being seen by the recent actions of the Kedah state government, with 4D and alcohol bans blatantly disregard the constitution.

The complete disregard for the national creed of RUKUN NEGARA as a guiding ideology has destroyed the very meaning of what being a Malaysian means.

Malaysia’s history has been rewritten within the ideologies of race, religion, and exclusion. Modern textbooks have been written to accommodate the ‘Ketuanan Melayu’ arguments. History has been reinterpreted to justify Malay dominance, as espoused by the narrative of ‘pendatangs’, inferring non-Malays are squatters in the land they were born in. Most references to the colonial British, Chinese, and Indian contributions to the nation have been officially cancelled or marginalized.

The changed Malaysian outcomes

Race based politics has evolved in Malaysia, where policy gives way to loyalty to one’s ethnic group. Race based narratives are a necessity to win government within Malaysia’s Gerrymandered and malapportioned electoral system. The first past the post method is a winner take all system, that encourages singularity rather than pluralism.

The product of race base politics has been an increase in poverty, a widening of income inequality, where a small extremely wealthy elite Malay class dominates business, political, and social decisions in the nation.

The incidence of relative poverty has increased from 15.6% in 2016 to 17% in 2019, and is continuing to increase. The B20, or bottom 20% of income earners, form only 5.9% of the national income share, while the T10, or top 10% of income earners, take up 30.7% of the national income share. The overall GINI coefficient measuring income inequality has increased from 0.339 in 2016 to 0.409 in 2019. Income inequality is rapidly widening in Malaysia.

A Malay Malaysia is not for all Malays

The structure and fabric of Malaysian power are made up of a patriarchal elite Malay hierarchy. At the top are the royal families, which yield a symbolic cultural authority. Next are the long-established political families who have been involved at the forefront of politics and government since independence. Next is a network of political warlords spreading down to the village level. These warlords operate under the patronage and in-turn provide support to the leaders of the political families.

Alongside these groups are lines of Islamic clerics, who create religious legitimacy. Then comes a large sway of civil servants whose loyalty is to the Malay agenda rather than the government of the day and who caused chaos for the multiracial Pakatan Harapan government. Connected professionals and businesspeople complete the make-up of the Malay gentry.

Since independence, political control has been concentrated within a few elite Malay families. Malaysia’s second prime minister Tun Abdul Razak’s son Najib Razak was also a serving prime minister and remains extremely powerful within UMNO today despite the 1MDB scandal. Onn Ja’afar’s son Hussein Onn became the third Malaysian prime minister. Hussein Onn’s son Hishammuddin Hussein is still powerful within UMNO and served as minister for defense, transport, home affairs, and youth and culture respectively. Khairy Jamaluddin, the current defense minister, is the son in law of former prime minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. Mahathir Mohamed’s son Mukhriz Mahathir was the Kedah chief minister twice and former minister of international trade.

Anwar Ibrahim was deputy prime minister, his wife Wan Azizah Wan Ismail was also a deputy prime minister, while their daughter Nurul Izzah Anwar is a member of parliament. In addition, members of these elite families are intermarried to each other, royalty, diplomats, judges, and other senior Malays. These dynasties also exist at regional political warlord level, as is the case with former minister and parliamentary member for Arau, Shahidan Kassim, whose brother Ismail Kassim is involved in local state politics. There is also a mixture of mutual business interests, and opaque influence.

When Pakatan Harapan defeated the Barisan Nasional in the May 2018 national election, part of this elite grouping took power in a different configuration. The administration of the current beleaguered Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin is yet just a reconfiguration of the same people, as is the reconfiguration into the Ismail Sabri administration. Malay politics is more about the dynamics of these families than about policy and ideology. Malay politics has been primarily about feuds and alliances rather than vision.

Ketuanan Melayu has been turned into a source of power by the elite to control the Rakyat. Race, religion and class continue to be used by today’s leaders to divide and conquer, just as the British once did in colonial times. Ketuanan Melayu is really Malay feudalism, a social construct borne out of historical accident.

Not a Malay Utopia

Ketuanan Melayu inspired narratives enhance the sanctity of government authority which is supported by an institutionalized system. Malays today live within a society that urges compliance through the dual tools of peer forced conformity and authoritative edicts to ensure Malay-centric political correctness. Those who agree and conform become the cohort of Malay unity, while those who don’t become misfits and outcasts from Malay society. One of the major fears of any Malay is to be ostracized from their own group.

The politicians are the cultural vandals who have destroyed Malay culture, as it once was. Malays were painted as lazy and in need of protection, so cultural change could be manipulated in the name of progress and Islam. The myth of Malay unity was emotively manipulated by inventing external enemies to Malays and Islam that only the leaders could protect them from.

So many values and norms acceptable during the 1980s are taboo today. Watch any P Ramlee film to understand this. The Malay mindset has been forced to narrow views on Islam, multiculturalism, and a sense of national identity. Many now seeing themselves as a Malay first before being a Malaysian. How a woman dresses, the wearing of the tudung, the necessary public practice of religious rituals, and toleration of other cultures and religions are all covered under a black sheet of conformity, stretching across Malay society. Institutionalization rather than the spiritual nature of Islam is the motivation to behave in culturally sanctioned ways. This is authoritatively reinforced by censorship over the Malay arts, film and television, entertainment, and even giving any public talks on Islam.

For many, Malaysia has become a psychic prison, where not just non-Malays are emigrating from the country. Those who feel persecuted for their sexual orientations, religious beliefs, being smothered within institutional cultures, or seeking out better economic opportunities have left the country.

Ketuanan Melayu, the alter ego of a Malay-Malaysia is a paradigm of control. This recently manifested itself with the Timah Whiskey controversy, and the banning of 4D lottery tickets and alcohol by the Kedah government.

Royal myth and repressive twists to Islam perpetuated by the Malay elite are suppressing clear perceptions of the reality of truly free Malaysia. The elite owned mass media play a major role in shaping perceptions and attitudes, where Malay journalists are forced to serve up what they are fed by Malay leaders. This is going to be a battle of perception and cognition to create a metamorphosis that may truly free the Malay psyche from the tyranny of emotive manipulation.

Source: Eurasia Review

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

https://www.eurasiareview.com/19112021-the-struggle-between-two-visions-of-malaysia-the-malayization-of-malaysia-analysis/

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Islamic healer challenges TCM Act, claiming it usurps state powers

November 19, 2021

PUTRAJAYA: An Islamic healer is seeking a Federal Court declaration that the Traditional and Complementary Medicine Act is unconstitutional because the subject matter on Islam comes under the state list.

The Act was passed by Parliament and came into force on Aug 1, 2016.

Ramli Ghani, who filed the application early this month, must get leave of a single judge of the apex court before the merits of the case can be heard.

His lawyer Shahrudin Ali said case management has been fixed for Dec 20. Ramli, in his motion, has named the health ministry and the government as respondents.

In a statement issued through Messrs Shaharudinali Azfarazmi & Co, Ramli said the federal legislature had no power to pass the Act because Schedule 9, State List, Item No. 1 of the Federal Constitution provides that only the states have the power and jurisdiction in matters of Islam and the Malay customs.

He said Islamic healing strikes at the core of Islamic faith, the five pillars of Islam, aqidah, and the recitation of Al-Quran.

Ramli said the Act made it compulsory for every pawang, dukun and Islamic healer (perawat Islam) to register with the ministry and the minister makes the rules and regulations.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2021/11/19/islamic-healer-challenges-tcm-act-claiming-it-usurps-state-powers/?__cf_chl_jschl_tk__=.BgXGBsZlyYOOcclP7S4NtfO9uzUpJBYFCJnK_v0cps-1637395415-0-gaNycGzNEBE

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Africa

 

4 Villages In South-western Somalia Retaken From Al-Shabaab: Army

Mohammed Dhaysane 

17.11.2021

MOGADISHU, Somalia

Somalia’s military expelled al-Shabaab terrorists from four villages in the country’s southwestern Bakol region, an army official said on Wednesday.

“Our troops liberated Gomor, Aboore, Banjina and Doonful, near the town of Hudur, from terrorists,” Abdi Ahmed Adan, a military official in Bakool, told Anadolu Agency over the phone.

He said the terrorists were driven out with little resistance and there were no casualties in the operations.

Shiine Moalim Nuurow, the governor of Bakol, was in the area and assured residents that operations against al-Shabaab will continue until all terrorists are driven out from the region, according to Adan.

Operations against al-Shabaab, which is affiliated with the al-Qaeda terror group, have been ramped up amid rising insecurity in Somalia.

The latest terror attack in the country was in the capital Mogadishu less than a week ago, where a suicide bomber targeted a convoy of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), killing three people and injuring several more.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/4-villages-in-southwestern-somalia-retaken-from-al-shabaab-army/2423849

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Saudi Arabia reopens embassy in Somalia: State News Agency

19 November ,2021

Saudi Arabia has reopened its embassy in the Somali capital Mogadishu, state news agency (SPA) quoted the Saudi Foreign Ministry as saying on Friday.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/gulf/2021/11/19/Saudi-Arabia-reopens-embassy-in-Somalia-State-News-Agency

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Libya's parliament speaker declares presidential bid

18 November ,2021

The speaker of Libya's eastern-based House of Representatives said on Wednesday he would run for president in a Dec. 24 election that is part of a United Nations-backed bid to end a decade of conflict.

Aguila Saleh's candidacy follows that of several other prominent Libyans including Saif al-Islam Gaddafi and Khalifa Haftar, two highly divisive figures accused of war crimes they both have denied.

“Public voting is the only source of legitimacy for any authority,” Saleh said in televised comments.

For the latest headlines, follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

Disputes persist over the election rules, including who should be eligible, the schedule and the vote's legal basis, less than six weeks before it is due to take place, raising doubts over whether it will happen.

The only law issued for holding the election is one Saleh issued in September, which critics said was done without a full vote or proper quorum.

The critics said key provisions seem designed to let Saleh and his eastern ally Haftar run without risk of losing their positions if they failed to win.

Defenders of the law say it was properly passed through parliament and accuse its critics of trying to delay or derail Libya's first election since 2014.

That vote, which created the House of Representatives to oversee the transition to an as-yet unwritten constitution, was quickly overshadowed by Libya's division between eastern and western factions.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/north-africa/2021/11/18/Libya-s-parliament-speaker-declares-presidential-bid

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Libya’s former interior minister registers for presidential bid

18 November ,2021

Libya’s former Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha registered as a presidential candidate on Thursday for a planned December election that remains in doubt amid disputes over the rules.

Bashagha was the influential interior minister in the internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) that ruled in western areas and was replaced in March by a new unity government.

He joins a field of prospective candidates that includes late ousted dictator Muammar Gaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, the eastern military commander Khalifa Haftar, and the eastern-based parliament speaker Aguila Saleh.

A UN-backed peace process calls for presidential and parliamentary elections on Dec. 24, but there has been no widespread agreement on the legal basis for the vote.

Disputes between rival factions and political entities have focused on questions over who should be allowed to run, the eventual role of the directly elected president and the voting schedule.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/north-africa/2021/11/18/Libya-s-former-interior-minister-registers-for-presidential-bid

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Terrorists who escaped from Kenya’s highly guarded prison arrested

Andrew Wasike  

18.11.2021

NAIROBI, Kenya

Three terrorists who escaped from a highly guarded prison in the capital Nairobi have been arrested in eastern Kenya on their way to Somalia, police said Thursday.

Mohamed Ali Abikar, Musharaf Abdalla Akhulunga, and Joseph Juma Odhiambo escaped from Kamiti Maximum Prison on Sunday.

Abikar, who was serving a 41-year sentence for involvement in the 2015 killing of 148 students in Kenya, and the two other terrorists were arrested in Kitui County, Mwingi East area after locals reported their suspicious activities to the police.

George Kinoti, the head of the Directorate of Criminal Investigations, confirmed the arrests and told reporters that the fugitives were being brought to Nairobi.

A police officer who spoke to Anadolu Agency on condition of anonymity said: “All our officers were on a red alert. The escapees were arrested after locals told police that the thirsty and exhausted suspects were asking for directions to Boni forest in Lamu county.”

The East African nation's Boni forest area, bordering Somalia, has been a safe haven for Somali-based al-Shabaab terrorists who cross over from the porous Kenya-Somali border to attack patrolling police officers.

Abdalla took part in a failed 2012 terrorist attack on the parliament buildings in Nairobi and Juma was arrested in 2019 while trying to enlist with the al-Qaeda-affiliated terror group al-Shabaab.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/terrorists-who-escaped-from-kenya-s-highly-guarded-prison-arrested/2424759

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URL:  https://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/ahmed-abdo-maher-extremist-egyptian-uk/d/125807

 

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