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Islamic World News ( 22 Sept 2021, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Al-Azhar Sunni Scholars Who Left Afghanistan Hope Islam's Tolerant Message Survives Taliban

New Age Islam News Bureau

23 September 2021

  

Shawki Abuzeid, Egyptian cleric and head of Al-Azhar's mission to Afghanistan, Picture taken August 29, 2021. REUTERS/Sayed Sheasha

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• Stop Indiscriminate Sentencing – Bauchi Chief Judge Warns Sharia Court Judges

• Preventing Women from Accessing Education in Afghanistan Would Be Un-Islamic: Pakistan Prime Minister

• World Powers Agree At UN to Push Taliban for More Inclusive Afghan Govt

 

South Asia

• Around 70 Teaching Staff Resign After Taliban Sacks VC of Kabul University

• Special Envoys of China, Russia and Pakistan Hold Talks with Top Taliban Officials, Karzai In Kabul

• Gun-Toting Taliban Seek Afghanistan's UN Seat; World Says No, Not Yet

• Russia, China, Pakistan agree to maintain contacts with Taliban

• Bakhtarian Treasure is safe and preserved in Kabul: Taliban

• BA degree holder replaces Ph.D. holder as V/C of Kabul university

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Africa

• Global partnership is critical to resolve Israeli-Palestinian conflict: Jordan’s King

• Tunisian President Kais Saied takes new powers, says will reform system

• Libya’s Haftar says he is suspending military role, activities ahead of polls

• ‘Israel’s overtures toward AU mask efforts to dilute Africa’s support for Palestine’

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Pakistan

• Global terrorism will gain strength if world abandons Afghanistan, warns NSA Yusuf

• 'Be more realistic': FM Qureshi details roadmap for Afghan Taliban's recognition

• Minority Groups to Fight Forced Conversions and To Promote An Anti-Conversion Bill In Pakistan

• No force can harm Pak-Saudi ties, says Ashrafi

• Pakistan resisting International commitments on blasphemy laws

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Europe

• London mayor calls for misogyny to be hate crime

• ‘Turkey contributes to solution of regional problems in Balkans’

• EU’s foreign policy chief Borrell meets Iran’s new foreign minister for first time

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North America

• Taliban Takeover in Afghanistan Could Inspire US Extremists to Plot Attacks On American Soil: FBI Chief

• Bill to provide $1 billion for Israel Iron Dome system introduced in US Congress

• Echoes, uncertainty as Afghan pilots await US help in Tajikistan

• UN climate summit president invites Turkish first lady to Glasgow summit

• US should do more on Afghan refugees after pullout: Erdogan

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Mideast

• Turkey’s Top Islamic Cleric Sealed the New Court Complex Opening Ceremony with a Muslim Prayer, Triggering Protests from Critics

• Turkey reiterates its position to stand by Rohingya Muslims

• Israeli settlers and police officers storm Al-Aqsa mosque on Sukkot

• How an Islamic State suspect lived as a shopkeeper in Turkey

• President Rayeesi: Talks with G4+1 Should Result in Removal of Sanctions against Iran

• Iranian FM: Foreign Presence Contradicts Regional Peace, Security

• Iran’s Top Diplomat Meets European Counterparts in New York

• IRGC Commander: Iran Increasing Power to Defeat US

• Iran FM expressed ‘very clear intent’ to return to nuclear talks: Ireland FM

• US pledges $290 mln in humanitarian aid to Yemen: Blinken

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India

• UP Anti-Terrorist Squad Claims Islamic Scholar, Maulana Kaleem Siddiqui, Got Rs 57 Crore for Conversion Activities

• Taliban's commitment to not allow terror on Afghan soil must be implemented: External Affairs Minister

• Terrorist killed in encounter in Jammu and Kashmir's Shopian

• Drugs Aren’t Sold Based on Religion, Says Pinayari Vijayan on Bishop’s ‘Narcotics Jihad’ Controversy

• India's oldest mosque Cheraman Juma Masjid in Kerala basks in past glory after renovation

• 'Sarv Dharm Sambhav': Sara Ali Khan Visits Temple, Mosque, Church in Kashmir

• Pakistan claims threat to New Zealand team sent from India-linked device; Delhi terms charges 'frivolous'

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Southeast Asia

• Kelantan Gives Nod To Marriage Solemnisation At Mosques, Private Premises

• Chinese FM says economic sanctions on Afghanistan must end

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Arab World

• Saudi Arabia Aims To Maintain Peace, Resolve Conflicts Peacefully: King Salman

• At least 62 children died in Roj, al-Hol camps in Syria this year: Save the Children

• Saudi Arabia is world’s biggest donor of humanitarian aid to Yemen: KSrelief

• Saudi Arabia’s defence forces destroy ballistic missile heading to Jazan

• ‘Eight decades of partnership’: US congratulates Saudi Arabia on 91st National Day

• Arab Coalition foils Houthi attack, destroys booby-trapped boats in the Red Sea

• Saudi Deputy Defence Minister meets with US Envoy to Yemen

• Senior US official planning visit to region next week, including stop in Saudi Arabia

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL:    https://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/al-azhar-sunni-afghanistan-taliban/d/125422

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Al-Azhar Sunni Scholars Who Left Afghanistan Hope Islam's Tolerant Message Survives Taliban

By Mahmoud Mourad

September 22, 2021

 

Shawki Abuzeid, Egyptian cleric and head of Al-Azhar's mission to Afghanistan, Picture taken August 29, 2021. REUTERS/Sayed Sheasha

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CAIRO, Sept 22 (Reuters) - Clerics from Egypt's ancient seat of Sunni study Al-Azhar, who spent years teaching in Afghanistan and were planning to open an education centre for girls, hope their tolerant message of Islam will survive the return of the Taliban.

The 1,000 year-old institution had opened a mission in Kabul in 2007, promoting what its clerics describe as Islam's peaceful tradition in a country where guerrillas have used religion as a justification for fighting for decades.

The 23-person mission was repatriated to Egypt after being briefly stranded in Kabul when the Taliban swept into the Afghan capital last month.

"There must be a presence for Al-Azhar in the country of Afghanistan, in order for us to communicate with the Afghan people and youth, to spread Islam's tolerant message," Shawki Abuzeid, the 58-year-old head of the mission said in an interview in Cairo.

Al-Azhar hosted 700 male Afghan students in Kabul, and over the years thousands have gone on to further religious and Arabic language studies at Al-Azhar university in Cairo. The mission also gave lectures and sermons, and contributed commentary in Afghan media.

It had been preparing to open a newly-built education centre for girls. Abuzeid expressed hope that the Taliban would fulfil a promise to let girls and women study.

"The Taliban are from the fabric of the Afghan people, and as I heard from the media and from our contacts with professors and heads of universities and some important figures, the thinking changed and they value women, and they said they will educate them but in a way compatible with Islamic law."

Any return of the mission would depend on approval from Egypt's leadership. But the scholarship Al-Azhar teaches "does not change with the change of system or ruler," said Mohamed Wardany, spokesperson for Al-Azhar's Islamic Research Academy.

"Al-Azhar's legacy is a legacy that is passed down from generation to generation, it is not just transient information but a way of thinking," he said.

"If there is stability and the Taliban retreats from its ideas and the state returns to stability by popular will, then Al-Azhar does not object to its mission returning again."

Source: Reuters

https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/sunni-scholars-who-left-afghanistan-hope-islams-tolerant-message-survives-2021-09-22/?rpc=401&

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Stop Indiscriminate Sentencing – Bauchi Chief Judge Warns Sharia Court Judges

September 23, 2021

By Hafsat Abdulhamid

 

(Photo courtesy: Daily Post) The Chief Judge of Bauchi State, has warned Sharia court judges to refrain from sentencing all manner of suspects to custody, especially those with minor offences.

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The Chief Judge of Bauchi State, Justice Rabi Talatu Umar, has warned Sharia court judges to refrain from sentencing all manner of suspects to custody, especially those with minor offences.

This is even as she freed 11 inmates from custodial centres across the state after she reviewed cases of awaiting trial inmates presented to her.

The Chief Judge gave the warning during her third quarter visit to custodial centres in the state, saying that the warning became imperative because such sentencing brings about congestion in custodial centres.

A statement signed and made available to DAILY POST by the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Bauchi State Command of the Nigerian Correctional Service, SC Adam Abubakar Jibrin, said the Chief Judge admonished the released inmates to be law abiding citizens and shun crime.

Justice Umar also addressed inmates with terrorism-related charges who have been languishing in custody for a long time without trial, assuring them that government and relevant agencies are doing everything possible to address their problems.

The CJ, who alongside members of Administration of Criminal Justice Committee visited the custodial centres in Misau, Zaki, Gamawa, Azare, Jama’are, Ningi and Bauchi, then urged them to remain calm and exercise more patience.

In his welcome address, the Comptroller of Correctional Centre, Bauchi State Command, CCS Kabir Abba Galadanci, commended the CJ and the state government for making the visit to custodial centres possible.

He said the visit would go a long way in decongesting the centres in the state and further give hope to the inmates.

Members of the Administration of Criminal Justice Committee, DAILY POST learnt, are the Nigerian Police, the Director Public Prosecution (DPP) in the state Ministry of Justice, the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Bauchi Chapter, and the Comptroller of Correctional Centre.

Source: Daily Post

https://dailypost.ng/2021/09/23/stop-indiscriminate-sentencing-bauchi-chief-judge-warns-sharia-court-judges/

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Preventing Women from Accessing Education in Afghanistan Would Be Un-Islamic: Pakistan Prime Minister

SEP 22, 2021

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has recently commented that preventing women from accessing education in Afghanistan would be un-Islamic, but he hoped that the Taliban leadership would soon allow women to resume studies. This comes as the Pakistan Prime Minister has repeatedly said that the world should give more time to the Taliban. In an interview with the BBC, the Pakistan PM said the idea that women should not be educated is just not Islamic. "I think they will allow women to go to schools. It has nothing to do with religion," Imran Khan said.

The Taliban have recently asked male students to join schools but said nothing about girl students, though universities have resumed classes for female students. The Taliban have dissolved the ministry for women and replaced it with their notorious 'vice and virtue' ministry, despite the commitment they made to uphold women's rights.

Imran Khan says world should give Taliban more time, US misunderstood Haqqanis

The full Cabinet has also been announced with no woman minister which shows how the Taliban went back on their promise of giving equal rights to women.

In an earlier interview with CNN, which was Imran Khan's first international interview after the Taliban takeover, Khan said Afghanistan's women are strong and they can assert their rights. It is wrong to think that they can be helped from outside, he had added.

On Pakistan recognising the Taliban government, Imran Khan said that Pakistan will not take the decision individually. The decision will be taken only after consulting with other neighbours. "All neighbours will get together and see how they progress. Whether to recognise them or not will be a collective decision," Imran Khan said.

Sooner or later, Afghanistan will have a civil war of the Taliban do not include all factions in the governance, Imran Khan said. "That would mean an unstable, chaotic, Afghanistan and an ideal place for terrorists. That is a worry," he said.

Source: Hindustan Times

https://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/imran-khan-says-stopping-women-from-accessing-education-unislamic-101632320003294.html

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World powers agree at UN to push Taliban for more inclusive Afghan govt

23 September ,2021

The five permanent UN Security Council members found common ground Wednesday on Afghanistan with officials saying all the powers would press the Taliban to be more inclusive after their military takeover.

China and Russia have described last month’s Taliban victory as a defeat for the US and moved to work with the extremist group, but no country has moved to recognize a government that includes international pariahs.

The Security Council powers all want “a peaceful and stable Afghanistan where humanitarian aid can be distributed without problems and without discrimination,” Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told reporters after the meeting during the annual General Assembly.

They seek “an Afghanistan where the rights of women and girl are respected, an Afghanistan that is not a sanctuary for terrorism, an Afghanistan with an inclusive government representing all sections of the population,” he said.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and the foreign ministers of Britain, France and Russia met in person while their Chinese counterpart Wang Yi joined them virtually for the talks of just over an hour.

A US official described the meeting called by British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss as “constructive” and with “a lot of convergence,” including hopes that the Taliban respect the rights of women and girls.

“I don’t think anybody is satisfied with the composition of this interim government, including the Chinese,” the official said.

Speaking to AFP before the meeting, China’s ambassador to the United Nations, Zhang Jun, agreed that the five powers all wanted an inclusive government.

“Unity is everywhere,” he said.

China has previously criticized the US for freezing billions of dollars in Afghan assets.

But Beijing is also keen for the neighboring nation not to be a base for outside extremist groups.

Afghanistan was also the subject of virtual talks by the Group of 20 major economies that included the participation of several other nations including Qatar, the hub for Taliban diplomacy.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, addressing the G20, renewed concern about the extremist group’s caretaker government which includes no non-Taliban and no women but has ministers blacklisted by the United Nations on terrorism allegations.

“The announcement of a non-inclusive government was a tactical mistake by the Taliban, as it will make it harder for us to engage with them,” Maas said.

“It is important that they hear this from all of us. And we should also speak with one voice when it comes to the basic political parameters and benchmarks for any future engagement with them.”

The Taliban have requested to speak at the UN General Assembly but the US, which sits on the credentialing committee, has made clear that no decision will be made before the summit ends early next week.

Source: Al Arabiya

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/world/2021/09/23/World-powers-agree-at-UN-to-push-Taliban-for-more-inclusive-Afghan-govt-

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South Asia

 

Around 70 teaching staff resign after Taliban sacks VC of Kabul University

September 23, 2021

Around 70 teaching staff of the Kabul University, including assistant professors and professors, resigned after the Taliban on Wednesday sacked PhD holder Vice-Chancellor Muhammad Osman Baburi and replaced him with Muhammad Ashraf Ghairat, a BA degree holder.

The appointment of Ghairat as VC in the biggest university based in Kabul has led to protests on social media. Critics have highlighted a tweet by Ghairat last year in which he justified the killing of journalists.

People are angry over the appointment of a young bachelor degree holder replacing an intellectual and experienced PhD holder as head of the best and the very first university in Afghanistan reported The Khaama Press News Agency.

People, including some Taliban members, have criticized the move and said that there were more eligible people than him, reported The Khaama Press News Agency.

Ghairat is said to have been employed in the Ministry of Education in the previous government and was head of the assessment body of universities of IEA in the southwestern part of Afghanistan, reported The Khaama Press News Agency.

Earlier, the Taliban on Monday officially changed the name of a government university in the name of Burhanuddin Rabbani-former Afghan President and founder of Afghanistan's second-biggest political party- to Kabul Education University.

The university was named after Burhanuddin Rabbani after he was killed in a suicide attack in his home in 2009.

Source: Business Standard

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

https://www.business-standard.com/article/international/around-70-teaching-staff-resign-after-taliban-sacks-vc-of-kabul-university-121092300329_1.html

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Special Envoys Of China, Russia And Pakistan Hold Talks With Top Taliban Officials, Karzai In Kabul

Sep 22, 2021

BEIJING: Special envoys of China, Russia and Pakistan have met the top officials of the Taliban's interim government as well as Afghan leaders Hamid Karzai and Abdullah Abdullah in Kabul and discussed the formation of an inclusive government, combating terrorism and humanitarian situation, a top Chinese official said on Wednesday.

The three special envoys visited Kabul from September 21 to 22 and held talks with acting prime minister Mohammad Hasan Akhund, foreign minister Amir Khan Mutaqi, finance minister and other high-level officials of the interim government, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a media briefing here.

Significantly, they also met with former president Hamid Karzai and Abdullah Abdullah, president of the Council for National Reconciliation under the previous government.

This is perhaps the first time that the foreign diplomats met Karzai and Abdullah who stayed put in Kabul after the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan last month ahead of the withdrawal of the US and Nato troops.

Their meeting also coincides with the Taliban's letter to the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres nominating its spokesman Suhail Shaheen as Afghanistan's new ambassador to the UN.

The Afghan militant group also asked Guterres to allow it to participate and speak in the 76th session of the General Assembly currently underway in New York.

Besides coordinating closely with Russia on Afghanistan, Pakistan and China, who are playing a lead role after the Taliban seized Kabul, are trying to establish a new grouping of countries sharing borders with Afghanistan.

The new grouping includes China, Pakistan, Iran, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, all of them Afghanistan's neighbours. The foreign ministers of the group held a virtual meeting on September 7.

Highlighting its significance, Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan told BBC on Tuesday that the new group will jointly decide about extending recognition to the Taliban's interim government.

Elaborating on China, Russia, Pakistan Special envoys talks with the Taliban officials in Kabul, Zhao said they discussed the situation especially regarding inclusiveness, human rights, economic and humanitarian matters and the friendly relations between Afghanistan.

They also discussed ties with other countries as well as the reunification and territorial integrity of the country, he said.

"They had an in-depth and constructive discussion and also expressed support to combating terrorism and drug crimes,” he said.

Their offer to extend support comes amid increasing attacks reportedly by ISIS-K on the Taliban officials in Jalalabad in the past few days resulting in a number of casualties.

"Taliban said they highly valued the relations with the three countries and they play a responsible role in consolidating the stability in Afghanistan. The three countries called on more humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan from the international community," Zhao stated.

They stressed that the US and allies shoulder the main responsibility for the economic and social reconstruction in Afghanistan and provide much needed economic livelihood and humanitarian assistance, Zhao said.

Source: Times of India

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

Https://Timesofindia.Indiatimes.Com/World/China/Special-Envoys-Of-China-Russia-And-Pakistan-Hold-Talks-With-Top-Taliban-Officials-Karzai-In-Kabul/Articleshow/86425826.Cms

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Gun-toting Taliban seek Afghanistan's UN seat; world says no, not yet

Sep 22, 2021

WASHINGTON: A hirsute bunch of unelected, gun-wielding militants who go by the name Taliban, and who have overrun Afghanistan and disenfranchised half its population, are seeking to represent Kabul at the United Nations. Early word from the global community: No. Not any time soon.

The outrageous bid for Kabul's UN seat by the Taliban, which has proscribed terrorists in its leadership ranks, came after the group nominated Suhail Shaheen, its spokesman based in Doha, as Afghanistan's new ambassador to the UN.

In a communication to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on a letterhead reading "Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, Ministry of Foreign Affairs," the new "Minister of Foreign Affairs" Ameer Khan Muttaqi reportedly said the currently accredited Afghan Ambassador, Ghulam Isaczai, was no longer the representative.

The matter is to be decided by the UN credentials committee, whose members include United States, Russia, China, Bahama, Bhutan, Chile, Namibia, Sierra Leone and Sweden.

No country in the world, including China and its client state Pakistan, both of whom are current patrons of the Taliban, has so far recognized the sketchy administration in Kabul, whose representatives openly carry heavy automatic weapons into office. In fact, but for the sorties to Doha for talks, proscribed Taliban leaders are not even allowed to fly commercially.

While the credentials committee is expected to meet next week to consider the matter, Germany was among the first country to give a thumbs down to according Taliban any recognition at the UN, its foreign minister Heiko Maas told reporters, “To schedule a show (by the Taliban) at the United Nations won’t serve anything."

Source: Times of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/gun-toting-taliban-seek-afghanistans-un-seat-world-says-no-not-yet/articleshow/86434202.cms

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Russia, China, Pakistan agree to maintain contacts with Taliban

Sep 22, 2021

MOSCOW: Special representatives of Pakistan Russia and China agreed with the Taliban to maintain contacts at the recent consultations in Kabul, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday.

"An agreement was reached to maintain constructive contacts in the interests of Afghanistan's peace and prosperity, and regional stability and development," the Sputnik news quoted Russian Foreign Ministry.

The statement added that the Taliban emphasized their special focus on promoting relations with Russia, China and Pakistan.

This comes as the 76th UN General Assembly (UNGA) opened began the high-level week started on September 21.

The United States and all other major countries around the world are taking a wait and watch approach with regard to recognising the Taliban. While the other stakeholders are restraining themselves to recognise the new Taliban regime in Afghanistan, Pakistan is in a hurry to recognize and boost the caretaker "Islamic Emirate".

While nominated their Doha-based spokesperson Suhail Shaheen as Afghanistan's UN ambassador, the Taliban on Tuesday said that they wanted to address world leaders at United Nations, reported a UK-based media.

Source: Times of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/russia-china-pakistan-agree-to-maintain-contacts-with-taliban/articleshow/86428500.cms

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Bakhtarian Treasure is safe and preserved in Kabul: Taliban

23 Sep 2021

Officials of the ministry of information and culture said that the Bakhtarian Treasure is kept in Kabul and assured of its full safety and security.

The officials denied the Treasure being trafficked out of Afghanistan and added that the asset is kept under the surveillance of the Taliban in the Afghan capital.

Bakhtarian Treasure is the biggest and most expensive treasure of the world and is Afghanistan’s biggest asset which was rumored to be trafficked after the Taliban took over the country on August, 15.

The Taliban though do not disclose the exact location of the treasure, assured that it is kept safe and will be kept so.

Source: Khaama Press

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

https://www.khaama.com/bakhtarian-treasure-is-safe-and-preserved-in-kabul-taliban-5745747/

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BA degree holder replaces Ph.D. holder as V/C of Kabul university

22 Sep 2021

Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan sacked Muhammad Osman Baburi and appointed Muhammad Ashraf Ghairat as vice-chancellor of Afghanistan’s biggest university based in Kabul-Kabul University.

The appointment has reacted wide reaction in social media as a young bachelor degree holder replaced an intellectual and experienced Ph.D. holder as head of the best and the very first university in Afghanistan.

Muhammad Ashraf Ghairat was officially announced as the interim vice-chancellor of the Kabul University on Wednesday, September 22.

Ghairat is said to have been employed in the ministry of education in the previous government and was head of the assessment body of universities of IEA in the southwestern part of Afghanistan.

People including some Taliban members have criticized the move and said that there were more eligible people than him among them.

Source: Khaama Press

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

https://www.khaama.com/ba-degree-holder-replaces-ph-d-holder-as-v-c-of-kabul-university-7547457/

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Africa

 

Global partnership is critical to resolve Israeli-Palestinian conflict: Jordan’s King

22 September ,2021

Jordan’s King Abdullah II said that global partnership is critical to resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict during his speech at the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday, according to The Royal Hashemite Court.

King Abdullah reaffirmed that Jordan would continue working to preserve the historic and legal status quo of Jerusalem and its Islamic and Christian Holy Sites, under Hashemite Custodianship.

World leaders have returned to the United Nations in New York this week with a focus on boosting efforts to fight both climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic, which last year forced them to send video statements for the annual gathering.

As the coronavirus still rages amid an inequitable vaccine rollout, about a third of the 193 UN have planned to again send videos, but presidents, prime ministers and foreign ministers for the remainder have travelled to the United States.

King Abdullah said that the conflict Israeli-Palestinian conflict is one of the longest-standing conflicts in modern history.

On the socio-economic crisis in nearby Lebanon, King Abdullah said that the [world] owes the Lebanese people its full support to enable them to rise from the crisis.

“Enabling the Lebanese to rise from the crisis demands a well-planned, well-executed international response, engaging all of us,” he added.

King Abdullah added that the world must not forget the millions of refugees in host countries like Lebanon.

“In this time of great need, we owe the Lebanese people our full support, to enable them to rise from this crisis. And that demands a well-planned, well-executed international response, engaging all of us. Jordanians well understand what a serious impact this has. For generations, our country has sacrificed to help millions of refugees fleeing injustice and danger,” King Abdullah added.

King Abdullah added that the wellbeing of these millions and the communities that host them remains an international responsibility.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2021/09/22/Global-partnership-is-critical-to-resolve-Israeli-Palestinian-conflict-Jordan-s-King

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Tunisian President Kais Saied takes new powers, says will reform system

22 September ,2021

Tunisian President Kais Saied has put in place special measures for wielding legislative and executive power, the presidency said on Wednesday, without elaborating.

It added that Saied would form a committee to prepare amendments to Tunisia’s political system and that he would maintain the suspension of parliament that he declared in July.

Saied’s critics accused him of a coup in July when he sacked the prime minister, suspended parliament and seized executive authority, saying he would appoint a new prime minister.

Nearly two months on, he is widely expected to issue changes to the 2014 constitution installed after Tunisia adopted democracy in a 2011 revolution, but he has not yet done so.

He has also still to appoint a new prime minister after repeatedly saying he would do so soon, with a crisis looming in Tunisia’s public finances.

His announcements on Wednesday, issued by his office’s social media feed, added that he would continue working through all elements of the existing constitution that do not contradict the exceptional measures he has declared.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/north-africa/2021/09/22/Tunisian-President-Kais-Saied-takes-new-powers-says-will-reform-system

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Libya’s Haftar says he is suspending military role, activities ahead of polls

22 September ,2021

Libya’s eastern strongman Khalifa Haftar said Wednesday he was suspending his military activities, a step which could lead to his candidacy in elections later this year.

In a statement, Haftar said he had named an interim replacement as head of the self-proclaimed Libyan National Army until December 24, the date of the legislative and presidential vote.

Libyan media said the step opens the way for Haftar to run as a presidential candidate under a controversial new law.

Parliamentary speaker Aguila Saleh earlier this month ratified legislation governing the presidential ballot and which critics say bypassed due process to favor his ally Haftar.

They cite a clause stipulating that military officials may stand in presidential polls, on condition that they withdraw from their roles three months beforehand – and that, if unsuccessful, they will receive backpay.

That would allow for a presidential run by Haftar, whose forces control eastern Libya, where the parliament is based, as well as parts of the south.

Haftar had waged a year-long assault on Tripoli, leaving thousands dead, before reaching a formal ceasefire with his western opponents in October last year.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/north-africa/2021/09/22/Libya-s-Haftar-says-he-is-suspending-military-role-activities-ahead-of-polls

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‘Israel’s overtures toward AU mask efforts to dilute Africa’s support for Palestine’

Hassan Isilow

22.09.2021

JOHANNESBURG

The recent decision by the African Union (AU) to grant Israel observer status could have been the result of growing Western pressure to reduce traditional Palestinian support on the continent, experts say.

“The AU Commission is expectedly facing various pressures from the US as well as former colonial powers, especially France and Britain. Their collective goal is to tilt the AU away from an African ethos to neoconservative policies,” Iqbal Jassat, an executive member of the Johannesburg-based think tank Media Review Network, told Anadolu Agency.

He said the first salvo indicative of this shift is granting Israel observer status at the 54-nation body, whose majority opposes Israel’s occupation of Palestine.

Many African countries, especially those in the southern and northern parts of the continent, have objected to the decision made by AU Commission head Moussa Faki Mahamat, saying they were not consulted.

The Southern African Development Community (SADC), a bloc of 16 countries, also condemned the decision at a recent summit in Malawi and want it to be reviewed, while half a dozen North African countries delivered a verbal protest note to Mahamat at the AU headquarters in Ethiopia.

“South Africa firmly believes that as long as Israel is not willing to negotiate a peace plan [with Palestine] without preconditions, it should not have an observer status in the African Union,” South Africa’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

“The African Union cannot be a party in any way to plans and actions that would see the ideals of Palestinian statehood reduced to balkanized entities devoid of true sovereignty, without territorial contiguity and with no economic viability,” it added.

Israeli agenda on the continent

“Israel has been trying to get accredited to the AU since 2002, when the continental body was formed as a successor to the Organization of African Unity (OAU),” Na'eem Jeenah, executive director of the Afro-Middle East Center, a research institute in Johannesburg dedicated to studying the Middle East and North Africa, told Anadolu Agency.

Israel had previously held the position of observer at the OAU.

Jeenah said Tel Aviv has been expanding and strengthening links with AU member states for decades and currently has a group of African states that are fully supportive of the Israeli project in Africa.

“The Israeli agenda includes a few elements. First, it wants to further weaken Palestinian solidarity that was once very strong on the continent – both at the state and civil society level,” he said.

“Such a break in solidarity would mean ensuring that states [and citizens] do not adopt boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaigns against Israel.”

Jeenah said the Zionist state has repeatedly expressed that it regards the global BDS movement as an existential threat.

“Second, Israel has always been unhappy that AU member states usually vote as a bloc in most international fora, such as various UN bodies, including the UN General Assembly and the UN Security Council,” he explained.

“It seeks to break this bloc vote where it comes to the matter of Israel’s occupation and colonization of Palestine and the Palestinian people.”

The third aspect, according to the South African academic, is that a number of African states have proven to be ready and willing consumers of certain Israeli products, especially those related to security, which reduces their opposition towards Israel.

- Was the AU Commission pressured?

Mahamat, the AU Commission chief, said last month that the decision to accredit Israel to the AU falls within his full “sphere of competence,” without being tied to any preliminary procedure.

He said in a statement that the decision was taken on the basis that Israel has restored diplomatic relations with more than two thirds of AU member states.

However, Jeenah noted that while Mahamat does have the power to grant the status, he is supposed to only do so if the applicant state conducts itself in line with the AU’s Constitutive Act, and only if he knows that AU member states do not oppose the accreditation.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/-israel-s-overtures-toward-au-mask-efforts-to-dilute-africa-s-support-for-palestine-/2372204

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Pakistan

 

Global terrorism will gain strength if world abandons Afghanistan, warns NSA Yusuf

Shazia Hasan

September 23, 2021

KARACHI: “The core of Pakistan’s national security is economic security,” said National Security Adviser Dr Moeed Yusuf on Wednesday.

He was speaking at a programme about ‘Pakistan Future Direction’ organised by the English Speaking Union of Pakistan at a local hotel here.

“Built around that is military security, human welfare. Whenever we talk about national security, this comprehensive national security vision is on our minds and should be on everyone’s minds. You would ask why not military security? Why not human welfare? The issue is we need microeconomic stability to ensure that we have enough resources to spend adequately on our military and on our human welfare. The genius of policy is to ensure that your resource pile grows to a point where you can redistribute it adequately to everyone,” he explained.

“But the ultimate goal of national security is to ensure that the most disempowered Pakistani citizen has a means to livelihood and personal safety and security. That is the ultimate objective of national security. So the prime minister often talks about Riasat-i-Madina. It is basically that the poorest Pakistani family is also able to be safe and secure and have a means to livelihood. That’s the approach we are taking,” he said.

Pakistan’s shift to geo-economic cadre

“All of our leadership regularly talks about Pakistan’s shift from a geopolitical to a geo-economic cadre, which is actually a transformation in terms of the thinking,” he said.

He added: “If you look at the past, our location has actually brought us global wars. Afghanistan is a very good example of this for the past 40 years. What we are looking at is how to utilise our location for geo-economic position. This has three pillars of which number one is connectivity. Given our location we can use where we sit to connect south from north, westward and eastward theoretically then you optimise the use of your location.

“So in terms of policy, you may have noticed a very strong shift towards Central Asia, an area that has been closed for a long time. You must have noticed three or four major visits including the one last week by the prime minister. Because it is from Central Asia connected through Afghanistan, down to our warm waters is by far the most economical route. It gives Afghanistan a mode of transit. Also that’s why the Gwadar port becomes important.

“Second is CPEC [China-Pakistan Economic Corridor]. Again the idea is connecting China down to the warm waters with Pakistan becoming the transit territory. If you understand the overall umbrella vision, it is very clear what we are trying to achieve, which is more infrastructure, more energy and transit through Pakistan,” Dr Yusuf explained.

“Theoretically, we can also extend connectivity eastward. Unfortunately, that side is closed due to the kind of government attitude and trajectory that India has,” he said.

“Next there are development partnerships. How do we create real partnerships in terms of trade, investment, export, etc? For that, of course, a lot has to be done. We need internal and regional peace,” he said.

‘Peace in Afghanistan essential’

“Peace in Afghanistan is essential. Unless Afghanistan is stable, how do you get a corridor from Central Asia down to warm waters? And unless Afghanistan is stable, how do you extend the connectivity that Pakistan has for more infrastructure, more energy through Afghanistan? That’s why this third element of peace in Afghanistan is critical,” he pointed out.

“Then there is human benefit. Everything from social safety programmes such as Ehsaas have helped us survive Covid too. This welfare orientation of the government has helped us do that. So the prime minister is very serious about this Riasat-i-Madina concept. The idea is redistribution towards the poorest Pakistani citizens,” he said.

“And then there is, of course, military security. Please name one other country to me which is in a neighbourhood where you have got a seven times larger neighbour with the history that we have had with India, that lives with a neighbour that has been in turmoil for 40 years, from where refugees are still in Pakistan. We have lost tremendously due to a battle that we didn’t start.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1647886/global-terrorism-will-gain-strength-if-world-abandons-afghanistan-warns-nsa-yusuf

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'Be more realistic': FM Qureshi details roadmap for Afghan Taliban's recognition

September 23, 2021

Be realistic. Show patience. Engage. And above all, don’t isolate. Those are the pillars of an approach emerging in Pakistan to deal with the fledgling government that is suddenly running the country next door once again — Afghanistan’s resurgent, often-volatile Taliban.

Pakistan is proposing that the international community develop a road map that leads to diplomatic recognition of the Afghan Taliban — with incentives if they fulfill its requirements — and then sit down face to face and talk it out with the group's leaders.

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi outlined the idea on Wednesday in an interview with The Associated Press (AP) on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly’s meeting of world leaders.

“If they live up to those expectations, they would make it easier for themselves, they will get acceptability, which is required for recognition,” Qureshi told the AP. “At the same time, the international community has to realise: What’s the alternative? What are the options? This is the reality, and can they turn away from this reality?”

He said Pakistan “is in sync with the international community” in wanting to see a peaceful, stable Afghanistan with no space for terrorist elements to increase their foothold, and for the Taliban to ensure “that Afghan soil is never used again against any country.”

“But we are saying, be more realistic in your approach,” Qureshi said. “Try an innovative way of engaging with them. The way that they were being dealt with has not worked.”

Expectations from the Taliban leadership could include an inclusive government and assurances for human rights, especially for women and girls, Qureshi said. In turn, he said, the Afghan government might be motivated by receiving development, economic and reconstruction aid to help recover from decades of war.

He urged the US, the International Monetary Fund and other countries that have frozen Afghan government funds to immediately release the money so it can be used “for promoting normalcy in Afghanistan.” And he pledged that Pakistan is ready to play a “constructive, positive” role in opening communications channels with the Taliban because it, too, benefits from peace and stability.

This is the second time that the Taliban have ruled Afghanistan. The first time, from 1996 to 2001, ended when they were ousted by a US-led coalition after the 9/11 attacks.

During that rule, Taliban leaders and police barred girls from school and prohibited women from working outside the home or leaving it without a male escort. After they were overthrown, Afghan women still faced challenges in the male-dominated society but increasingly stepped into powerful positions in government and numerous fields.

But when the US withdrew its military from Afghanistan last month, the government collapsed and a new generation of the Taliban resurged, taking over almost immediately. In the weeks since, many countries have expressed disappointment that the Taliban’s interim government is not inclusive as its spokesperson had promised.

While the new government has allowed young girls to attend school, it has not yet allowed older girls to return to secondary school, and most women to return to work despite a promise in April that women “can serve their society in the education, business, health and social fields while maintaining correct ... hijab.”

Pakistan, which shares a long border with Afghanistan, has a long and sometimes conflicted relationship with its neighbour that includes attempts to prevent terrorism there. The Islamabad government has a fundamental vested interest in ensuring that whatever the new Afghanistan offers, it is not a threat to Pakistan.

That, Qureshi says, requires a steady and calibrated approach.

“It has to be a realistic assessment, a pragmatic view on both sides, and that will set the tone for recognition eventually,” the minister said. The good news, he said, is that the Taliban are listening, “and they are not insensitive to what is being said by neighbours and the international community.”

How does he know they’re listening? He says the interim government, drawn mostly from Afghanistan’s dominant Pashtun ethnic group, made some additions on Tuesday. It added representatives from the country’s ethnic minorities — Tajiks, Uzbeks and Hazaras.

“Yes, there are no women yet,” Qureshi said. “But let us let the situation evolve.”

He stressed that the Taliban must make decisions in the coming days and weeks that will enhance their acceptability.

“What the international community can do, in my view, is sit together and work out a roadmap,” Qureshi said. “And if they fulfill those expectations, this is what the international community can do to help them stabilise their economy. This is the humanitarian assistance that can be provided. This is how they can help rebuild Afghanistan, reconstruction and so on and so forth.”

He added: “With this roadmap ahead, I think an international engagement can be more productive.”

On Wednesday night, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said after a meeting of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council that all five nations — the US, China, Britain, Russia and France — want “an Afghanistan at peace, stable, where humanitarian aid can be distributed without problems or discrimination.”

He also described a hoped-for “Afghanistan where the rights of women and girls are respected, an Afghanistan that won’t be a sanctuary for terrorism, an Afghanistan where we have an inclusive government representing the different sectors of the population.”

Qureshi said there are different forums where the international community can work out the best way to approach the situation. In the meantime, he asserted, things seem to be stabilising. Less than six weeks after the Taliban seized power on August 15, he said, Pakistan has received information that the law-and-order situation has improved, fighting has stopped and many internally displaced Afghans are going home.

“That’s a positive sign,” Qureshi said.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1647957/be-more-realistic-fm-qureshi-details-roadmap-for-afghan-talibans-recognition

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Minority Groups to Fight Forced Conversions And To Promote An Anti-Conversion Bill In Pakistan

Zahid Hussain Khan

September 23, 2021

An alliance of minority rights groups is to launch a movement in Pakistan to oppose forced religious conversion of minor minority girls and to promote an anti-conversion bill.

Lala Robin Daniel, chairman of the National Minorities Alliance of Pakistan, condemned the government’s decision to forward the bill to the Religious Affairs Ministry for review.

“The state of minorities in Pakistan is dismal. The promises made by the constitution to every citizen of Pakistan are being negated by the state itself,” Daniel told a news conference in Islamabad on Sept. 22.

“The constitution guarantees equality of status. One particular group has rights but the other, which is called a minority, remains deprived of its rights after 75 years.

“The bill should never have been forwarded to the Religious Affairs Ministry. It is a matter of human rights. It is a matter of minority rights. The bill should have been sent to the cabinet for approval and from there it should have been taken up by the parliament.

“We all non-Muslim citizens of Pakistan condemn the ministry for rejecting the bill. The bill has been rejected by the mindset which opposed the creation of Pakistan. And those who supported it are being penalized by the state.”

Tahira Anjum, president of the Working Group on Minority Issues, announced the minority caucus would start a movement in Pakistan to force the government to legislate against forced conversion.

“We have already been raising the issue at every forum. But we will not launch a movement and lay down our lives to stop the forced conversion of Christian and other minority girls,” she said.

Source: UC News

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https://www.ucanews.com/news/minority-groups-to-fight-forced-conversions-in-pakistan/94269#

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No force can harm Pak-Saudi ties, says Ashrafi

Asim Yasin

September 23, 2021

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Ulema Council (PUC) Chairman and Special Aide to Prime Minister on Religious Harmony and Middle East Hafiz Muhammad Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi said Pakistan and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have an important place in the world and in the Islamic world and no force harm the relations between both the brotherly Islamic countries.

“Pakistan is the forte of Islam and the defence and security of Saudi Arabia is very dear to every Muslim,” he said on Wednesday in a statement. Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi said on the eve of National Day of Saudi Arabia, an important seminar “Pakistan-Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Relations, (Past, Present and Future) will be held in Islamabad today (Thursday).

He said President Dr Arif Alvi will chair the event, while Ambassador of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to Pakistan Nawaf Saeed Al-Malki, will grace the event as special guest, while federal ministers, leading religious scholars and, foreign dignitaries will also attend the seminar.

Source: The News

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

https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/894616-no-force-can-harm-pak-saudi-ties-says-ashrafi

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Pakistan resisting International commitments on blasphemy laws

22 September 2021

Islamabad [Pakistan], September 22 (ANI): The increasing cases of blasphemy registered in Pakistan continues to be a cause of concern for human rights activists who have repeatedly highlighted the practice and urged world bodies, including the EU to take note of the issue, which has worsened the lives of minorities living in the country.

Pakistan has registered around 1600 blasphemy cases, which are mostly against religious minorities like Hindus, Christians, Shia and Ahmadiya Muslims from 1987 till today according to several reports by rights groups.

A large number of these blasphemy cases in Pakistan are still awaiting justice.

Junaid Hafeez, a former lecturer at Bahahuddin Zakariya University, Multan, was accused of blasphemy which he never committed. Wajih-ul-Hassan who had served in jail for 18 years was proven innocent in September 2019. And the alleged crime he was accused of was writing a blasphemous letter, which he had never written and was acquitted later. Yet, he lost his 18 years of life in jail.

Blasphemy, which is defined as "the act of insulting or showing contempt or lack of reverence for God," has always been misused by the extremist groups in Pakistan, who have continued discrimination against the minority groups in the country.

Brad Adams, who is Asia director at an international conference on Blasphemy held recently said, "The overturned conviction of a man imprisoned for 18 years highlights just one of the many miscarriages of justice stemming from Pakistan's vaguely worded blasphemy law."

"Typically, it is members of religious minorities or other vulnerable communities who are wrongly accused and left unable to defend themselves," Adams added.

Paulo Casada, who is a former Member of the European Parliament (MEP) and Founder and Executive Director of the South Asia Democratic Forum said, "People are accused of blasphemy in Pakistan without any foundation and often lawyers who are fighting these cases face attack from bigots."

He also stressed that the issue should be highlighted by the EU which has worsened the lives of minorities living in Pakistan

On April 29, 2021, during a European Parliament session, the EU had again raised concerns over Pakistan's harsh blasphemy laws which were misused against the people and their defenders and discriminate against religious minorities.

In view of the seriousness of the issue, a resolution was adopted demanding Pakistan to allow space for religious freedom and EU authorities were urged to review the Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) plus status for Pakistan amidst the increasing number of blasphemy cases in the country.

In December 2020, the US House of Representatives had passed a resolution calling the worldwide repeal of blasphemy laws, which resulted in the imprisonment and/or death of many Christians accused of speaking against Islam.

In fact, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) 2019 report highlighted that in Pakistan, various political parties and leading politicians promoted intolerance against religious minorities during their lead-up to the 2018 national elections. The report further elaborated that Pakistan failed to adequately protect minority groups, and perpetrated systematic, ongoing, egregious religious freedom violations which occurred despite the optimism about the potential for reform under the new government of Prime Minister Imran Khan, reported International Forum for Right and Security.

USCIRF report 2019 envisaged that the entry of extremist religious parties into the political arena, which includes the Mumbai terror attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed's Milli Muslim League, during the election period would lead to increased threats and hate speeches against religious minorities. This is no more evident than in the recent elections held in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) where a former Tehreek I Taliban Pakistan associate Mazhar Saeed Shah was given a reserved seat at the behest of the ruling party in the centre. To this extent, terror links of political parties seem to be a non-issue in Pakistan, reports International Forum for Right and Security.

Source: Yahoo News

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

https://sg.news.yahoo.com/pakistan-resisting-international-commitments-blasphemy-055256934.html

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Europe

 

London mayor calls for misogyny to be hate crime

Ahmet Gurhan Kartal 

23.09.2021

LONDON

London Mayor Sadiq Khan on Thursday urged legislators to make misogyny a hate crime.

Appearing on ITV’s Good Morning Britain program, Khan described violence targeting women and girls as an “epidemic.”

“Between last year’s International Women’s Day and this year’s International Women’s Day, 180 women were killed at the hands of men across the country,” Khan said.

“We do have an epidemic when it comes to violence against women and girls,” he said.

Khan said: “Girls at a young age are changing the way they dress on the way to school because of the way they are treated by boys.

“I think we need to make misogyny a hate crime. I think harassment in the public space against women should be a criminal offence,” he added.

Khan’s intervention came following the murder of a primary school teacher last weekend.

Sabina Ness, 28, was attacked as she was taking a five-minute walk from home to meet her friends on Friday night.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/london-mayor-calls-for-misogyny-to-be-hate-crime/2372759

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‘Turkey contributes to solution of regional problems in Balkans’

Zlatan Kapic and Lejla Biogradlija

22.09.2021

Turkey contributes to the solution of regional problems in the Balkans, said the head of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Party of Democratic Action.

In an interview with Anadolu Agency, Bakir Izetbegovic said Turkey pursues a wise policy and diplomacy in the region.

Noting that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has always been a friend of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Bosnians, Izetbegovic said that the Belgrade-Sarajevo highway Project supported by Turkey is a good opportunity to work together.

The Bosnia politician underlined that the highway project is of great importance not only for Bosnia and Herzegovina, but also for all countries in the region, both financially and in terms of infrastructure.

"The project will also contribute to the reduction of tension between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia. The project will lead us to make joint decisions and meet in common interests," he added.

On the arrest of former Bosnian police officer Edin Vranj by Serbia over accusation of “war crimes,” Izetbegovic said should not have been detained.

“We expect a peaceful, friendly and respectful attitude towards Muslims in the Balkans from the Serbian President,” he added.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/-turkey-contributes-to-solution-of-regional-problems-in-balkans-/2372128

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EU’s foreign policy chief Borrell meets Iran’s new foreign minister for first time

22 September ,2021

European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell met Iran’s new Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian on Tuesday in the margins of the United Nations General Assembly, the EU said in a statement on Wednesday.

The meeting was scheduled in the absence of a ministerial meeting of the parties to the 2015 nuclear deal in New York during the annual UN gathering of world leaders.

“The Iranian Foreign Minister assured of the willingness to resume negotiations at an early date,” the EU said in a statement. “High Representative Borrell ... underlined once again the great importance of a quick resumption of the Vienna talks.”

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2021/09/22/EU-s-foreign-policy-chief-Borrell-meets-Iran-s-new-foreign-minister-for-first-time

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North America

 

Taliban takeover in Afghanistan could inspire US extremists to plot attacks on American soil: FBI chief

Sep 23, 2021

WASHINGTON: Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Christopher Wray on Tuesday warned that the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan could inspire US-based extremists to plot attacks on American soil.Wray testified before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee that the domestic terrorism caseload has skyrocketed since the spring of 2020, from around 1,000 possible investigations to 2,700 and extremist groups have never stop plotting attacks on US soil, reported The Hill.

"We are concerned that, with developments in Afghanistan, among other things, that there will be more inspiration to the first bucket," Wray told the committee.

"So I think we anticipate, unfortunately, growth in both categories as we look ahead over the next couple of years," added Wary.

Even National Counterterrorism Center Director Christine Abizaid also testified to the committee that the terrorism threat to the country is less "acute" than it was two decades ago after the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, reported The Hill.

Abizaid also said that US officials have been monitoring how terror groups Al Qaeda and Islamic State (ISIS) could rebuild their forces and conduct an attack on the US.

"In the wake of our withdrawal, the question is, at what point does that regional threat build to a capability and intent that is focused externally and particularly focused on the homeland?" Abizaid said.

Source: Times of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/taliban-takeover-in-afghanistan-could-inspire-us-extremists-to-plot-attacks-on-american-soil-fbi-chief/articleshow/86444756.cms

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Bill to provide $1 billion for Israel Iron Dome system introduced in US Congress

23 September ,2021

The leader of the US House of Representatives Appropriations Committee introduced legislation on Wednesday to provide $1 billion to Israel to replenish its “Iron Dome” missile-defense system, a day after the funding was removed from a broader spending bill.

Some of the most liberal House Democrats had objected to the provision and said they would vote against the broad spending bill. This threatened its passage because Republicans were lined up against the plan to fund the federal government through Dec. 3 and raise the nation’s borrowing limit.

The removal led Republicans to label Democrats as anti-Israel, despite a long tradition in the US Congress of strong support from both parties for the Jewish state, to which Washington sends billions of dollars in aid every year.

The US has already provided more than $1.6 billion for Israel to develop and build the Iron Dome system, according to a Congressional Research Service report last year.

Some liberal Democrats have voiced concerns this year about US-Israel policy, citing among other things the many Palestinian casualties as Israel responded to Hamas rocket attacks in May. Israel said most of the 4,350 rockets fired from Gaza during the conflict were blown out of the sky by Iron Dome interceptors.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/world/2021/09/23/Bill-to-provide-1-billion-for-Israel-Iron-Dome-system-introduced-in-US-Congress

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Echoes, uncertainty as Afghan pilots await US help in Tajikistan

23 September ,2021

A US-trained Afghan pilot was talking to Reuters on a smuggled cellphone from Tajikistan, where he is being held, when something strange happened - his voice started looping, repeating everything he had just said, word for word.

His fiancee, an American nurse in Florida, was on the line too and started to panic. She shouted his name, but his words kept cycling back.

“I was freaked out,” she said, speaking on condition of anonymity to protect him. “The worst things came to my mind.”

Whatever the reason for the telephone glitch, which only happened once, it added to a deep sense of anxiety for the couple. It also came amid growing feelings of impatience and uncertainty among the Afghan pilots and personnel who have been held by the government in Tajikistan since fleeing there on Aug. 15.

There are 143 Afghans detained at a sanatorium in a mountainous, rural area outside of the Tajik capital, Dushanbe, waiting and hoping for over a month for transfer by the United States.

After flying there with 16 aircraft as their military’s ground forces crumbled before the advancing Taliban, the Afghans say they had their phones taken away. They were initially housed in a university dormitory before being moved on Sept. 1.

Contact with family is extremely limited. Although they appear to be held in humane conditions, they are on edge, uncertain about the future.

“We don’t know about our destination. ... We’re all worried about that,” the pilot said.

The pilots want to join the other Afghan military personnel being processed for US visas in places like Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Germany.

“Whenever we ask the government of Tajikistan, they just answer: ‘Please wait,’” said a second pilot, speaking separately on condition of anonymity.

Among the military personnel at the facility are two Afghan women, including a pilot who is eight months pregnant, the second pilot told Reuters.

Such a pregnancy would be an important reason to move them quickly, said David Hicks, a retired US brigadier general who is helping lead a charity called Operation Sacred Promise working to evacuate and resettle Afghans.

There are also 13 Afghan personnel in Dushanbe, enjoying much more relaxed conditions. Several of those pilots told Reuters they flew separately into the country on Aug. 15 and are staying in a government building. Speaking in a video call, they said they have not had contact with the Afghans at the sanatorium.

The pilots could not explain why the two groups were being kept apart.

The US State Department declined comment on the pilots in Tajikistan. Tajikistan’s Foreign Ministry did not respond to a request for comment.

The US-trained Afghan pilots in Tajikistan are the last major group of Afghan air force personnel abroad still in limbo after flying dozens of advanced aircraft across the Afghan border to that country and Uzbekistan in the final moments of the war.

Earlier in September, a US-brokered deal allowed a larger group of Afghan pilots and other military personnel to be flown out of Uzbekistan. Some of the English-speaking pilots there had feared they could be sent back by the Uzbeks to Taliban-ruled Afghanistan and killed for inflicting so many Taliban casualties during the war.

‘No domestic urgency’

Afghanistan’s new rulers have said they will invite former military personnel to join the country’s revamped security forces and that they will come to no harm.

That offer rings hollow to Afghan pilots who spoke with Reuters. Even before the Taliban takeover, the US-trained, English-speaking pilots had become their prime targets. Taliban fighters tracked them down and assassinated them off-base.

The pilots did not express concern the Tajiks will send this group back to the Taliban. But after more than a month, pilots and their supporters complain about a lack of urgency by authorities to move the group along.

Reuters has learned that US officials have started collecting biometric information to confirm the identities of members of the group, in a sign that help could soon be on the way. A similar effort in Uzbekistan preceded those pilots’ transfer from there.

People close to the pilots said the United States had collected biometric data on about two-thirds of the group so far.

Paul Stronski, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, thinks Tajikistan’s president, Emomali Rahmon, may be proud of his role receiving the pilots as the Taliban swept to power.

Tajikistan, which shares a porous, 835-mile (1,345-km) border with Afghanistan, has broken from its more conciliatory neighbors and been outspoken about its concerns over the new Taliban government in Afghanistan.

“The Tajik government is probably playing this to try to get some benefit,” Stronski said. “There’s no domestic urgency, and it probably suits Rahmon to sort of say: ‘We’re housing these people.’”

About a quarter of Afghanistan’s population are believed to be ethnic Tajiks, although no recent census data exists. But they and other ethnic minorities are not represented in the Taliban’s interim government, a point Rahmon has made publicly.

“Foisting any political system on Kabul without regard for the voice of the Afghan people, which consists of diverse ethnicities, may lead to seriously negative consequences,” Rahmon was quoted by Russia’s TASS news agency as saying last week.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2021/09/23/Echoes-uncertainty-as-Afghan-pilots-await-US-help-in-Tajikistan

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UN climate summit president invites Turkish first lady to Glasgow summit

Esin Eskinat Sayilgan  

22.09.2021

NEW YORK

Alok Sharma, a UK government minister and the president of UN climate change summit COP26, invited Turkey's First Lady Emine Erdogan to the Glasgow summit in Scotland this November.

During their meeting on Tuesday at newly inaugurated Turkevi Center, or Turkish House, across the UN headquarters, Sharma praised Erdogan's leadership in climate and zero waste issues, saying it sets an example for the world countries.

He also stated that they carefully monitor Turkey's successful work on renewable energy and waste.

Sharma said they expect the first lady to also attend the 26th climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland to which Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been invited.

Speaking on the importance of the world leaders expressing their determination to fight climate change in Glasgow, Sharma hailed Turkey's carbon neutrality target by 2050, adding that Turkey's ratification of the Paris Agreement will also strengthen the world's fight against climate change.

"Enjoyed meeting @EmineErdogan to discuss her work championing environmental issues in Turkey. Also discussed Turkey's climate plans and the need for all countries to demonstrate ambition ahead of #COP26," Sharma wrote on Twitter.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/americas/un-climate-summit-president-invites-turkish-first-lady-to-glasgow-summit/2372284

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US should do more on Afghan refugees after pullout: Erdogan

Servet Gunerigok 

22.09.2021

NEW YORK

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the US should do more regarding a further influx of refugees in the wake of the refugee crisis that followed the American withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Erdogan told CBS News that "right now" the US has failed to meet its obligations on Afghanistan.

"We have more than 300,000 Afghan refugees, and we will no longer be able to afford to welcome any more Afghan refugees in Turkey," he said in the interview that will be aired Sunday.

Asked if the US needs to do more, Erdogan responds: "Of course, the United States should do a lot, and should invest a lot.

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-should-do-more-on-afghan-refugees-after-pullout-erdogan-/2372120

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Mideast

 

Turkey’s Top Islamic Cleric Sealed the New Court Complex Opening Ceremony with a Muslim Prayer, Triggering Protests from Critics

September 22, 2021

ISTANBUL, Sept 22 (Reuters) – When President Tayyip Erdogan opened a new court complex this month, Turkey’s senior cleric sealed the ceremony with a Muslim prayer, triggering protests from critics who said his actions contravened the secular constitution. “Make this wonderful work beneficial and blessed for our nation, my God,” Ali Erbas said in his address, adding that many judges had “worked to bring the justice which (God) ordered”.

Erbas’s appearance at the Sept. 1 ceremony in Ankara, and the wave of opposition criticism over his comments, reflect his rising profile at the head of a state-run religious organisation and the growing influence it has attained under Erdogan.

The president, whose ruling AK Party is rooted in political Islam, has overturned decades-old restrictions imposed on religion by modern Turkey’s founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, placing Islam centre-stage in political life.

Last year Erbas delivered the first sermon in Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia after the Byzantine church-turned-museum was reconverted into a mosque. He did so while clutching a sword, saying this was traditional for preachers in mosques taken by conquest. The church was captured by Ottoman forces in 1453.

His state-run Diyanet organisation, or Religious Affairs Directorate, has its own television channel which is recruiting 30 new staff. Its budget, which already matches that of an average ministry, will rise by a quarter next year to 16.1 billion lira ($1.86 billion), government data shows.

Erdogan further endorsed Erbas last week by extending his term at the Diyanet. He was with Erdogan again on Monday in New York, reciting a prayer at the opening of a skyscraper that will house Turkish diplomats based there.

Erdogan’s political foes says Erbas’s growing profile is at odds with the Turkish Republic’s secular constitution, and shows the president is using religion to boost his waning ratings ahead of an election scheduled for 2023.

“It is completely unacceptable for the Religious Affairs Directorate to be used politically by the AKP,” said Bahadir Erdem, deputy chairman of the opposition Iyi Party.

POLARISING

“The reason for Ali Erbas repeatedly making statements that polarise the nation is very clearly the government using religious sensitivities of those whose votes it thinks it can win,” he said.

Apart from the Diyanet’s growing prominence, secularists also fret over a sharp increase in religious ‘Imam Hatip’ schools, a 10% rise in mosque numbers in the last decade, the lifting of a ban on Muslim headscarves in state institutions and the taming of Turkey’s powerful military, once a bastion of secularism, all during Erdogan’s rule.

Responding to the criticism over the Diyanet, the presidency shared a picture of Ataturk standing in prayer beside a Muslim cleric at a ceremony outside Turkey’s new parliament 100 years ago, suggesting that even the founder of the secular republic gave space to religion alongside politics.

The secularist main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) accuse Erdogan of deliberately using Erbas to distract public attention from Turkey’s mounting economic woes.

“He has put the Religious Affairs Directorate chairman on the field like a pawn,” CHP spokesman Faik Oztrak said.

Turkey’s constitution says the Diyanet must act in line with the principles of secularism, without expressing political views.

Erbas, a former theology professor who took office in 2017, has not addressed the criticism directly but says his role is limited to religious guidance.

Source: Egypt Independent

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https://www.egyptindependent.com/turkeys-top-islamic-cleric-moves-center-stage-irking-secularists/

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Turkey reiterates its position to stand by Rohingya Muslims

SEP 23, 2021

Turkey on Wednesday reiterated that it will never abandon Rohingya Muslims to their fate.

Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said in a tweet that he was honored to co-host an online international high-level event regarding the status of Rohingya in Bangladesh.

"We must continue to work for the voluntary, safe, dignified and sustainable return of Rohingya" to their homeland, he said. "We will never leave Rohingya Muslims to their fate."

Since August 2017, nearly 24,000 Rohingya Muslims have been killed, more than 34,000 thrown into fires, over 114,000 beaten and at least 18,000 Rohingya women and girls raped, according to a report by the Ontario International Development Agency (OIDA).

Source: Daily Sabah

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https://www.dailysabah.com/politics/diplomacy/turkey-reiterates-its-position-to-stand-by-rohingya-muslims

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Israeli settlers and police officers storm Al-Aqsa mosque on Sukkot

22 September 2021

Over 500 Israeli settlers, accompanied by security officers and members of Knesset, broke into Al-Aqsa compound in Jerusalem during the Jewish holiday of Sukkot on Wednesday, the Palestinian News Agency (Wafa) reported.

According to Wafa, 529 Israeli settlers entered Al-Aqsa compound through the Moroccan Gate on the western side of the site, which the Israeli authorities have controlled since the beginning of the occupation of East Jerusalem and the West Bank in 1967.

Wafa said that the settlers, flanked by Israeli police, performed Jewish prayers and toured the site.

Israeli far-right activists have repeatedly pushed for an increased Jewish presence at al-Aqsa, despite a longstanding joint guardianship agreement between Israel and Jordan, which retains custodianship over Christian and Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem and bars non-Muslim prayer at the site.

Palestinian Muslims and Christians do not seek to pray in the Western Wall Plaza, the holiest site in Judaism to the east of Al-Aqsa mosque. Their access to the site, however, has to go through a strict security check.

Jerusalem's Islamic Waqf has repeatedly described the settlers' tours as "provocative" and said that Palestinian worshippers and guards at al-Aqsa feel uncomfortable with the presence of Israeli police and settlers touring the Muslim holy site.

Naser al-Hidmi, the head of the Jerusalem Authority Against Judaisation, told local media that Israel uses the season of Jewish holidays to speed up its settlement plans around the Old City and Al-Aqsa mosque.

He said that Israel aims to send a message that it is the sovereign power in the city by allowing settler tours in al-Aqsa, blocking Palestinian roads and forcing Palestinian shops to close on Jewish holidays.

"Unfortunately, every coming year is more difficult and worse for Jerusalem and al-Aqsa, in terms of Israel's violations and the practices of the occupation that increased in brutality and became more cruel and painful, amid Arab and Islamic silence and inaction regarding what is happening," Hidmi said.

Regular storming of al-Aqsa

Israeli settler groups regularly enter the al-Aqsa compound - which they refer to as the Temple Mount - during religious holidays. They are currently celebrating the Sukkot, which ends on 27 September.

Source: Middle East Eye

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https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/israel-palestine-aqsa-mosque-settlers-police-storm-sukkot

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How an Islamic State suspect lived as a shopkeeper in Turkey

Metin Gurcan

September 22, 2021

The first time that Turkey faced the deadly threat of the Islamic State (IS) on its soil was in March 2014, when three foreign IS militants opened fire at a checkpoint in the province of Nigde, killing two members of the security forces and a civilian. The culprits were sentenced to life but only after a controversial trial.

Scores of other cases against IS suspects have been marked by judicial oddities and what many observers see as obtrusive leniency on the part of the Turkish judiciary. In a country where peaceful political dissidents could languish in jail for years without conviction, many IS defendants have walked free or benefited from sentence reductions under “effective remorse” provisions, as Al-Monitor reported last month.

Yet, few cases have been as striking as Jamal Abdul Rahman Alwi, who allegedly ordered the burning to death of two Turkish soldiers that the radical group had captured in northern Syria. A video released by IS in December 2016 showed the pair being hauled from a cage before being bound and torched. Despite the huge outpouring of fury on social media at the time, the Turkish government kept mum on the incident.

It turns out that Alwi, who allegedly served as an IS qadi – or Islamic court judge – in northern Syria, lived as a free man and ran a bird shop in Turkey’s border province of Gaziantep, even though he had been charged with being a senior member of IS and remained under probe in connection with the gruesome execution.

A Sept. 17 report by investigative journalist Ismail Saymaz told the Turkish public how the 64-year-old Syrian was arrested in June 2020 and went on trial in September that year, but the court in Gaziantep released him in March, pending trial. The court ruled that sufficient evidence had been collected in the case and the suspect was not in a position to obfuscate evidence, citing also unspecified personal and familial excuses by the defendant.

Following the public outcry, Alwi was rearrested Sept. 18. Had it not been for Saymaz’s report, Alwi would have certainly continued to run his shop in Gaziantep and perhaps engage in other, less overt activities. And the author of the report might have ended up behind bars for criticizing the authorities had he not been as well-known as Saymaz, as past cases involving local reporters show.

Among the reasons the authorities cited for Alwi’s rearrest were witness statements, including from his wife, that he gave or approved the decision to burn the two soldiers to death; the gravity of the charges he might face; and a strong suspicion he might attempt to escape or hide. The move, however, appeared driven more by public pressure amid the huge indignation that Saymaz’s report sparked on social media.

When the court released Alwi in March, judicial control measures banned him from traveling abroad, but those measures were lifted in June. In other words, Alwi was given ample opportunity to leave the country legally. The fact that he stayed in Gaziantep suggests he felt safe in Turkey and perhaps even counted on the leniency of the Turkish judiciary.

To give credit where credit is due, Turkey’s security forces and intelligence have relentlessly pursued IS for years. The media abound with reports about anti-IS raids and the capture of IS-linked suspects, many of them foreign nationals who fled to Turkey after the IS defeat in Syria and Iraq. The annual number of such operations has reached about 1,000 in recent years.

But what happens after the suspects are handed over to the judiciary is a different story. Only a small number end up behind bars, while the majority are released after questioning. And even if officially charged, very few remain behind bars while standing trial as the authorities stumble in dealing with crimes committed in Syria and Iraq. The breakup of diplomatic ties between Ankara and Damascus and the lack of expeditious cooperation with Baghdad results in protracted probes and prosecutions. Thus, Turkey has become a relatively safe country in the eyes of IS militants who have committed crimes in Syria or Iraq.

Source: Al Monitor

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https://www.al-monitor.com/originals/2021/09/how-islamic-state-suspect-lived-shopkeeper-turkey

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President Rayeesi: Talks with G4+1 Should Result in Removal of Sanctions against Iran

2021-September-22

President Rayeesi made the remarks in the 76th session of the UN General Assembly via video conference on Tuesday night, in his first address to the main policy-making organ of the world body since taking office in August.

The Iranian president said Washington is using sanctions as a “new way of war” against other nations, stressing that the US sanctions against the Islamic Republic during the coronavirus pandemic are “crimes against humanity”.

“Sanctions are the US’ new way of war with the world countries. Sanctions against the Iranian nation started not with my country’s nuclear program; they even predate the Islamic Revolution and go back to the year 1951 when oil nationalization went underway in Iran,” Rayeesi said at the 76th session of the UN General Assembly.

“Despite the fact that the Islamic Republic was keen from the outset to purchase and import COVID-19 vaccines from reliable international sources, it faced inhumane medical sanctions. Sanctions, especially sanctions on medicine at the time of the COVID-19 pandemic, are crimes against humanity,” he noted.

The Iranian president said Tehran has been adhering to its nuclear commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) while Washington violated the 2015 landmark accord, stressing that the US so-called maximum pressure campaign against Iran has failed.

“Today, the whole world, including the Americans themselves, have admitted that the project of countering the Iranian people, which manifested itself in the form of violating the JCPOA and was followed by the “maximum pressure” and arbitrary withdrawal from an internationally recognized agreement, has totally failed,” Rayeesi said.

“We want nothing more than what is rightfully ours. We demand the implementation of international rules. All parties must stay true to the nuclear deal and the UN Resolution in practice,” he added.

The Iranian president underlined that 15 reports released by the International Atomic Energy Agency have attested to the adherence of Iran to its commitments, however, the US has not yet discharged its obligation, which is lifting sanctions.

Rayeesi said Iran has “no trust in US promises”, and wants all anti-Tehran sanctions to be removed at once, noting that the Islamic Republic considers the nuclear talks useful only when their ultimate outcome is the lifting of all unilateral sanctions.

Rayeesi told the UN General Assembly in another part of his speech that “this year, two scenes made history: one was on January 6 when the US congress was attacked by the people and, two, when the people of Afghanistan were dropped down from the US planes in August. From the Capitol to Kabul, one clear message was sent to the world: the US hegemonic system has no credibility, whether inside or outside the country”.

“What is seen in our region today proves that not only the hegemonist and the idea of hegemony, but also the project of imposing Westernized identity have failed miserably. The result of seeking hegemony has been blood-spilling and instability and, ultimately, defeat and escape. Today, the US does not get to exit Iraq and Afghanistan but is expelled,” he said.

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said on Tuesday that Tehran and the Group 4+1 (China, Russia, Britain and France plus Germany) will resume nuclear deal talks in Vienna within the next few weeks.

“As previously emphasized, the Vienna talks will resume soon and in the next few weeks, and the G4+1 has been informed of it,” Khatibzadeh said.

He, meantime, said that the nuclear deal and the Vienna talks will be one of the main topics of bilateral meetings between the Iranian foreign minister and EU foreign policy chief Joseph Borrell and the G4+1 foreign ministers who are present in New York for the UN General Assembly meeting.

“But there is no pre-arranged [multilateral] meeting between the Iranian and G4+1 foreign ministers, while based on our information not all G4+1 foreign ministers are present in New York,” Khatibzadeh said.

Khatibzadeh had earlier today said that no collective meeting is scheduled between representatives of the country attending the UN General Assembly meeting in New York and their Group 4+1 counterparts.

Khatibzadeh’s comments came after French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Monday that world powers and Iran were likely to meet on the sidelines of the annual gathering of world leaders at the United Nations later this week.

The spokesman dismissed any such multilateral meeting between the Iranian foreign minister and his G4+1 counterparts, though he said Hossein Amir-Abdollahian will discuss the nuclear deal in bilateral meetings with counterparts.

“Other foreign ministers have also already expressed this interest, and the nuclear deal will be one of the topics of our discussions with [individual] foreign ministers of the G4+1 who are in New York, but no meeting between Iran and the G4+1 is on agenda in New York,” Khatibzadeh said.

Source: Fars News Agency

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https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14000631000108/Presiden-Rayeesi-Talks-wih-G4-Shld-Resl-in-Remval-f-Sancins-agains

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Iranian FM: Foreign Presence Contradicts Regional Peace, Security

2021-September-22

Amir Abdollahian made the remarks on Tuesday afternoon, addressing the Baghdad Multilateral Meeting in New York which was also attended by foreign ministers and high representatives of Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Kuwait, Qatar, Egypt, and France as well as EU foreign policy chief, secretary-general of Arab League, secretary-general of Islamic Cooperation Organization, secretary-general of Persian Gulf Cooperation Council and chaired by Iraqi foreign minister.

Amir Abdollahian highlighted the role of diplomacy and dialogue in overcoming crises and solving disagreements, saying that in absence of dialogue and negotiation, all the sources and opportunities would be spent on militarism.

Noting that Iran has always emphasized intra-regional dialogue, he said that contemporary history of West Asia indicated that external variables have been the main hurdle against integration and development in the region.

Foreign presence and interference in any form contrasts main goals of peace and security, as well as sovereignty of states in the region, Iran’s top diplomat stressed, proposing fighting against terrorism and drug trafficking, energy sector, maritime navigation, security and environmental crises as areas of cooperation that countries in the West Asia region could base a dialogue on.

He underlined Iran’s support for Iraq’s security, stability, and development, and said that the new administration in Iran prioritized expansion of ties with neighbor countries and regional states.

Attendees in the meeting agreed to hold a second edition of Baghdad Conference for Cooperation and Partnership in Jordan. The first conference was on August 28 in Baghdad.

In the final statement, they once again reaffirmed their support for Iraqi nation and government and emphasized the importance of general election due to be held on October 10.

Source: Fars News Agency

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https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14000631000452/Iranian-FM-Freign-Presence-Cnradics-Reginal-Peace-Secriy

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Iran’s Top Diplomat Meets European Counterparts in New York

2021-September-22

During his meeting with Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Olavi Haavisto on Tuesday, Amir Abdollahian underlined Iran’s readiness to expand economic, trade, industrial and agricultural cooperation between the two countries.

Haavisto, for his part, expressed readiness to expand bilateral relations in the political, economic, and environmental issues.

He also expressed satisfaction with the establishment of a joint chamber of commerce between Iran and Finland, saying that it is a measure in promoting bilateral economic relations.

The Finnish top diplomat also announced his country's readiness to help the JCPOA revival.

In a meeting with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on Tuesday, Amir Abdollahian said that it is the right of the Iranian people to enjoy the economic benefits of the JCPOA, adding that however, it has not been realized due to the negligence of the other parties, but this right must be guaranteed this time.

Maas, for his part, said that Germany is committed to the JCPOA and will make every effort to preserve and revive it.

In a meeting with Amir Abdollahian in New York on Tuesday, Austrian Foreign Minister said that Vienna has always sought to expand relations with Iran and does not see any limits on improving relations.

Austria is interested in hosting the Vienna nuclear talks as in the past, he said, stressing on seizing opportunities to revive the JCPOA.

Amir Abdollahian, for his part, thanked Austria for donating the vaccine to Iran.

He also emphasized Iran's interest in further expansion of economic relations, including financial and banking relations with Austria.

Also in a meeting with the Iranian foreign minister on Tuesday, Croatian Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Gordan Grlić Radman said that his country seeks to strengthen relations with Iran.

Referring to the potentials, he emphasized the need to activate a joint economic commission to expand relations.

Radman hailed Iran's role in contributing to the peace and stability of Afghanistan.

Elsewhere, he said that there is no better alternative for the JCPOA.

In a meeting with his Swiss counterpart, Amir Abdollahian spoke about the stable and good relations between the two countries.

"We seek to expand the relations between the two countries", the Iranian top diplomat said, calling for the widespread presence of Swiss companies in Iran's economic and development projects.

"We attach great importance to relations with Iran", Swiss Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis said, adding that in the coming months, important meetings will be held between the two countries in various fields.

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14000631000382/Iran%E2%80%99s-Tp-Diplma-Mees-Erpean-Cnerpars-in-New-Yrk

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IRGC Commander: Iran Increasing Power to Defeat US

2021-September-21

“We have built power to defeat the US. When we build power for man's largest military empir, i.e. the US, small powers like the Zionist regime are no longer counted in our equations,” General Salami said.

He underlined that the Iranian nation has managed to embrace victory against the US cruel sanctions and economic war as well as the psychological pressures and heavy media operations of Washington and other western powers, and defused enemies’ plots.

In relevant remarks on Sunday, General Salami said that the US has lost its power and is a defeated, fugitive and depressed state which has been forced to withdraw its forces from the region.

“Today we no longer see a dangerous US, but we witness a failed, fleeing and depressed US,” General Salami said.

General Salami also expressed delight that the Iranian nation’s resistance too had helped them weather all pressures.

“Inside our own country, despite all natural or imposed pressures, the Iranian nation has been engaged in resistance [too]. And now, these obstacles are being removed, the adversities are giving way to easier times, and the roads are being paved,” he said.

The entire world is now envying this nation that has been successfully standing up to great powers for more than four decades, the commander said.

Source: Fars News Agency

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https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14000630000744/IRGC-Cmmander-Iran-Increasing-Pwer-Defea-US

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Iran FM expressed ‘very clear intent’ to return to nuclear talks: Ireland FM

22 September ,2021

Iran’s foreign minister expressed a “very clear intent” to return to nuclear talks in Vienna, Ireland’s foreign minister said on Wednesday after meeting with his Iranian counterpart on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.

“That may not happen for a number of weeks, as the new Iranian government finalizes their approach towards those negotiations. But certainly, he expressed a very clear intent to return to those negotiations,” Simon Coveney, Ireland’s foreign minister, told reporters.

Ireland is currently a member of the UN Security Council and coordinates the 15-member body’s work on a 2015 Iran nuclear deal between Tehran, Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia.

The world powers held six rounds of indirect talks between the US and Iran in Vienna to try and work out how both can return to compliance with the nuclear pact, which was abandoned by former US President Donald Trump in 2018.

Trump reimposed harsh sanctions on Iran, which then started breaching curbs on its nuclear program. Iran has said its nuclear program is for peaceful energy purposes only.

The Vienna talks were adjourned in June after hardliner Ebrahim Raisi was elected Iran’s president. The Iranian foreign ministry said on Tuesday that those would resume in a few weeks, the official Iranian news agency IRNA reported.

Source: Al Arabiya

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https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2021/09/22/Iran-FM-expressed-very-clear-intent-to-return-to-nuclear-talks-Ireland-FM

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US pledges $290 mln in humanitarian aid to Yemen: Blinken

22 September ,2021

The United States announced close to $300 million in additional humanitarian aid for Yemen on Wednesday, as the international community pledged $600 billion for the wartorn country.

“The United States remains committed to delivering aid to the most vulnerable in Yemen and calls for an end to obstructions and bureaucratic hurdles,” US Secretary of State Blinken said in a statement.

Blinken thanked the EU, Sweden and Switzerland for hosting the UN event. “We also urge other countries to help fill critical funding shortfalls, particularly in the protection sector, including child protection, mine action, and gender-based violence prevention and response,” the top US diplomat said.

The US, backed by the UN, has said that Yemen was home to the world’s largest humanitarian crisis.

Other pledges announced Wednesday came from Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Riyadh announced $90 million, while Qatar pledged $100 million.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/gulf/2021/09/22/US-pledges-290-mln-in-humanitarian-aid-to-Yemen-Blinken

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India

 

UP Anti-Terrorist Squad Claims Islamic Scholar, Maulana Kaleem Siddiqui, Got Rs 57 Crore For Conversion Activities

By Puja Awasthi

September 23, 2021

The Uttar Pradesh Anti-Terrorist Squad has claimed that religious scholar Kaleem Siddiqui has confessed to carrying out more than 1,000 religious conversions.

Siddiqui was arrested on September 21. A police statement on his arrest had said, "UP ATS has arrested Maulana Kaleem Siddiqui, a resident of Muzaffarnagar, in connection with India's largest religious conversion syndicate busted by the ATS. He runs Jamia Imam Waliullah trust that funds several madrassas for which he received huge foreign funding”.

Now the ATS has said that Siddiqui has confessed to the conversions and has said that he used the lure of ‘Jannat’ (heaven) and the fear of ‘Jahannum’ (hell) to carry out the conversions. The unit also claimed that he had received Rs 57 crores for the task of conversions.

The Rihai Manch, a forum against illegal arrests has labelled the arrest of Siddiqui a ‘conspiracy’. Mohammed Shoeb, the president of Rihai Manch said, “Siddiqui is a respected Islamic scholar. The manner in which his religious activities are being presented as criminal is a conspiracy and an attack on Constitutional values”.

He also said that the RSS and the Bajrang Dal are carrying out a movement against religious conversion and that the ATS is helping them in it. “The Yogi government is trying to give the message that the majority is in danger, when in fact humanity is in danger”, said Shoeb. He also pointed out that Article 25 gave citizens the right to profess and practice any religion of their choice but it appeared that the ATS had not read it.

On Wednesday, Aam Aadmi Party Amanatullah Khan had labelled the arrest a political move pointing out that as elections in the state approached such atrocities on Muslims increased.

Source: The Week

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https://www.theweek.in/news/india/2021/09/23/up-ats-claims-islamic-scholar-got-rs-57-crore-conersion-activities.html

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Taliban's commitment to not allow terror on Afghan soil must be implemented: External Affairs Minister

SEP 23, 2021

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has told the G20 nations that the Taliban’s commitment not to allow the use of Afghanistan’s soil for terrorism in any manner should be implemented and the world expects a broad-based, inclusive process that involves representation from all sections of the Afghan society.

Jaishankar addressed the G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting on Afghanistan on Wednesday, held on the sidelines of the high-level 76th session of the UN General Assembly.

“International community must come together in response to humanitarian needs. Assistance providers must be accorded unimpeded, unrestricted, and direct access,” Jaishankar said in a series of tweets after the virtual meeting.

“Taliban’s commitment not to allow the use of Afghan soil for terrorism in any manner should be implemented. The world expects a broad-based inclusive process that involves representation from all sections of Afghan society,” he said.

The Taliban swept across Afghanistan last month, seizing control of almost all key towns and cities in the backdrop of withdrawal of the US forces that began on May 1. On August 15, the capital city of Kabul fell to the insurgents.

The Taliban claimed victory over opposition forces in the last holdout province of Panjshir on September 6, completing their takeover of Afghanistan three weeks after capturing Kabul.

The Taliban has said that Afghan territory will not be used against any country.

Jaishankar said the UN Security Council resolution 2593 on Afghanistan reflects global sentiment and should continue to “guide our approach. India’s engagement will be driven by its historical friendship with the Afghan people.”

The resolution, adopted under India’s Presidency of the 15-nation Council in August, demanded that Afghan territory not be used to threaten or attack any country or to shelter or train terrorists, or to plan or to finance terrorist acts, and reiterated the importance of combating terrorism in Afghanistan, including those individuals and entities designated pursuant to resolution 1267 (1999), and noted the Taliban’s relevant commitments.

Source: Hindustan Times

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https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/talibans-commitment-to-not-allow-terror-on-afghan-soil-must-be-implemented-jaishankar-101632370424621.html

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Terrorist killed in encounter in Jammu and Kashmir's Shopian

SEP 23, 2021

A terrorist was killed by the security forces in Jammu Kashmir's Shopian early on Thursday during an encounter, news agency ANI reported. The encounter started on Wednesday night in Kashwa village.

The security forces received an input about terrorist Anayat Ashraf Dar attacking a civilian and injuring him in Kashwa village in Zainapora area of Shopian district by opening fire, ANI quoted Jammu and Kashmir Police as saying. Soon, a cordon and search operation (CASO) was launched, the police further said, ANI reported.

They said the search operation turned into an encounter after militants opened fire towards the security forces drawing retaliation. The terrorist was offered to surrender but he didn't, according to ANI.

Source: Hindustan Times

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https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/terrorist-killed-in-encounter-in-jammu-and-kashmir-s-shopian-101632369835730.html

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Drugs Aren’t Sold Based on Religion, Says Pinayari Vijayan on Bishop’s ‘Narcotics Jihad’ Controversy

SEPTEMBER 23, 2021

As controversy rages over Pala Archdiocese bishop’s statement on ‘love jihad’ and ‘narcotic jihad’, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday said statistics show no such practices in the state.

Speaking at a function in Kottayam district on September 9, Bishop Mar Joseph Kallarangat had alleged that Christians in Kerala were being subjected to “love and narcotics jihad”, leading to protests from various Muslim organisations to withdraw the remark.

Weighing in on the issue, CM Vijayan said the allegation that Christian women were being forcefully converted and lured into terrorist activities was not true. He added that drugs are not peddled based on religion and there is no proof that those selling drugs were from a particular community.

“Of the cases registered under Narcotics Act in Kerala in 2020, 49.8% of the accused are from the Hindu community, while 34.47% are from Muslim community, and 15.73% are from Christian community. We are not seeing any unnatural percentage among communities,” the CM said.

“Till 2019, around 100 Malayalees joined Islamic State (IS). Of them, 72 were working abroad and got influenced by the IS from there. Among them, 71 are from the Muslim community. Other 28 went from Kerala and only five were from other religions who converted to Islam and joined the IS,” he added.

Source: News18

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https://www.news18.com/news/india/drugs-arent-sold-based-on-religion-says-pinayari-vijayan-on-bishops-narcotics-jihad-controversy-4236578.html

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India's oldest mosque Cheraman Juma Masjid in Kerala basks in past glory after renovation

September 22, 2021

Thrissur: India's first-ever mosque and the oldest in the sub-continent is all set to welcome back devotees and general public after regaining its past glory and grandeur.

The classic beauty and humble style of the "Cheraman Juma Masjid", dating back to 629 AD, was restored after a painstaking renovation and conservation process spread over nearly 30 months under the state-run Muziris Heritage Project (MHP).

Located at Kodungallur taluk in this central Kerala district, the heritage structure was recreated in tune with its original character and aesthetics, at a cost of Rs 1.14 crore, PM Noushad, Managing Director of MHP, said.

Besides the renovation and conservation initiative, which started in May 2019, a two-storey Islamic Heritage Museum was also constructed in the mosque campus spending nearly Rs 1 crore and its internal refurbishment is going on now, he noted.

After submitting the letter of completion to the government, the MHP authorities are now awaiting Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan's date to reopen the oldest mosque for visitors.

"It is expected to happen any day.. We are waiting for a convenient day of the Chief Minister for the inaugural function. If the COVID-19 situation is completely under control, it may happen within the next two week," Noushad told PTI.

According to Oral tradition, Cheraman Perumal, as the king, went to Arabia where he met the Prophet (PBUH) and embraced Islam in the early 7th century.

From there, he had sent letters, along with Malik Ibn Dinar, as a Persian scholar who travelled to India.

Dinar is believed to have built the masjid in 629 AD, five years after the king's death.

Noushad said they focused more on conserving the existing portions of the old structure and recreate its appearance in the past based on the old photographs.

"We demolished the additional concrete structure added to the main building in 1974. We recreated the old structure of the mosque with a tile roof as seen in the old photographs," he said.

Luckily, several portions of the basic structure were found retained as such, he said, adding that such portions had been renovated and conserved.

Besides the MHP's conservation effort, a multi-crore construction project is also underway at the masjid under the aegis of the mosque management.

An underground prayer hall, being constructed, is envisaged to accommodate at least 2000-3000 devotees.

A total of Rs 15-20 crore is expected for the same, the MD explained.

"It's structural work and internal plastering is over. Flooring and beautification work is pending and expected to be completed soon," he added.

The MHP, entrusted with the heritage management by the state government, had initiated discussions with the mosque committee and entered into an MoU with them for implementing the renovation and conservation initiatives.

After the renovation, the MHP is now awaiting the nod to include the Cheraman Juma Masjid in the Union Ministry of Tourism's ''National Mission on Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual Augmentation Drive (PRASAD).

A proposal for a Rs 10 crore project has been submitted to the Centre in this regard, the official said adding that the construction of a facilitation centre and the rejuvenation of a pond in the mosque campus would be a reality if it is included in the PRASAD scheme.

"A large number of people from across the state are coming here now to have a glimpse of the renovated structure of the oldest mosque,'' Noushad added.

Source: Firstpost

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https://www.firstpost.com/india/indias-oldest-mosque-cheraman-juma-masjid-in-kerala-basks-in-past-glory-after-renovation-9987631.html

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'Sarv dharm sambhav': Sara Ali Khan visits temple, mosque, church in Kashmir

September 23, 2021

Sara Ali Khan on Wednesday shared photos from her recent Kashmir visit during which she visited various religious places. In the photos she is seen at a church, mosque, temple and gurdwara.

“If there is a paradise on earth, it is this, it is this, it is this. Sarv Dharm Sambhav,” she captioned the post, indicating her respect for all religions.

Later, Sara also took to her Instagram handle to share a picture from interaction with the Indian Army. In the pic, she is seen standing with the soldiers and the Indian flag flying high in the frame. “So thrilled to meet the heroes that make us feel us safe, secure and protected. Thank you for all that you do for us. Jai Hind,” she wrote.

Sara, who had earlier travelled to the Maldives had shared breathtaking pictures from the vacation.

Source: The Week

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https://www.theweek.in/news/entertainment/2021/09/22/sara-ali-khan-visits-temple-mosque-church-kashmir.html

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Pakistan claims threat to New Zealand team sent from India-linked device; Delhi terms charges 'frivolous'

Sep 23, 2021

ISLAMABAD/ NEW DELHI: Indian government sources on Wednesday termed as “frivolous” allegations by the Pakistani establishment that a threatening email was sent to the New Zealand cricket squad from a device associated with India and this prompted the Kiwis to call off their tour of the country last week, citing security reasons.

Pakistan's information minister Fawad Chaudhry and interior minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed told a joint press conference in Islamabad that in August, a fake social media post was created under the name of Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) militant Ehsanullah Ehsan, which threatened the New Zealand cricket board and government and asked them not to send their team to Pakistan as it would be ‘targeted’. Subsequently, a threatening email was sent to the New Zealand team using the ID ‘Hamza Afridi’, the minister added, claiming that investigating authorities discovered that the email was sent from a device associated with India. “It was sent using a virtual private network (VPN) so the location was shown as Singapore.”

While there was no official reaction from India, government sources said these are frivolous allegations which should not be taken seriously.

Chaudhry said that soon after the threatening mail, The Sunday Guardian bureau chief Abhinandan Mishra published an article claiming that the New Zealand cricket team may face a terrorist attack in Pakistan. The minister claimed that Mishra has strong links with former Afghan vice-president Amrullah Saleh.

Mishra stood by his report and claimed in a statement that after the Pakistani ministers’ press conference in Islamabad, Ehsanullah Ehsan released an audio recording “reiterating that he had made the statement through his Facebook profile and that he did this for the 'protection of New Zealand cricketers'.”

Mishra said his report was based on the statement made by Ehsan, “who by multiple independent, local, published accounts has been very close to the Pakistan army and its intelligence agency, the ISI”.

“He (Ehsan) had shared the statement regarding a possible attack on the New Zealand team publicly on his Facebook profile. I also verified through independent sources that Ehsan has indeed written about an imminent ISIS attack on the New Zealand team. I also confirmed the possibility of an ISIS-planned attack on the cricket team through sources in Pakistan and in Afghanistan,” Mishra said. The journalist added that he had reached out to ICC and New Zealand Cricket for their response on Ehsan’s claims, which were duly incorporated in the story.

On Chaudhry’s allegations that the journalist had strong links with the former Afghan vice-president, Mishra said: “All I can say is that I know him in a professional capacity, just like any other journalist would know him.”

Chaudhry also claimed in the press conference that New Zealand cricketer Martin Guptill’s wife had received an email threatening her husband. He said the email ID used ‘Tehreek-i-Labbaik’ as the username. The email claimed that the cricketer would be killed in Pakistan. The minister added that the email was sent via ProtonMail, a secure service.

Chaudhry said on the day of the first match New Zealand officials said that their government had concerns of a credible threat and cancelled the tour.

Source: Times of India

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https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/pakistan-claims-threat-to-new-zealand-team-sent-from-india-linked-device-delhi-terms-charges-frivolous/articleshow/86437619.cms

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Southeast Asia

 

Kelantan gives nod to marriage solemnisation at mosques, private premises

23 Sep 2021

KOTA BHARU, Sept 23 — Kelantan allows marriage solemnisation ceremonies to be held at private premises or mosques with immediate effect.

Kelantan Islamic Religious Affairs Department (Jaheaik) director Datuk Che Mohd Rahim Jusoh said however, the ceremonies must not exceed 30 minutes and be conducted in full compliance with the standard operating procedures (SOPs) set.

Apart from that, he said the ceremonies are only allowed to be attended by 10 people who have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19, including the bride and bridegroom, marriage official, wali or legal guardian of the bride and witnesses.

“For couples and guardians of the bride who have not been fully vaccinated, they are required to undergo a Covid-19 screening test at least two days before the ceremony.

“Those who conduct the screening using the self-screening test kit must update the result via the MySejahtera application,” he said in a statement today.

Che Mohd Rahim said the guardians of the bride can apply for wakalah wali (representative) if they are unable to attend the ceremony.

Source: Malay Mail

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https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2021/09/23/kelantan-gives-nod-to-marriage-solemnisation-at-mosques-private-premises/2007799

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Chinese FM says economic sanctions on Afghanistan must end

September 23, 2021

China's State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the various unilateral sanctions or restrictions on Afghanistan should be lifted as soon as possible.

Economic sanctions on Afghanistan must end, the Chinese foreign ministry said in a statement, citing Wang at a virtual G20 foreign ministers' meeting on Afghanistan on Wednesday.

Afghanistan's foreign exchange reserves are national assets that should belong to the country's people and be used by its own people, and not be used as a bargaining chip to exert political pressure on Afghanistan, he said.

While most of the countries have adopted a wait-and-see approach to engagement with the Taliban, China has said it is ready to deepen “friendly and cooperative” relations with the Taliban following their takeover. It has also expressed willingness to maintain communication with the leaders of the new Taliban government in Afghanistan, calling its establishment a "necessary step" in reconstruction.

Last month, Hua Chunying, a spokesperson of the Chinese foreign ministry, had said, "The Taliban have repeatedly expressed their hope to develop good relations with China, and that they look forward to China's participation in the reconstruction and development of Afghanistan."

“We welcome this. China respects the right of the Afghan people to independently determine their own destiny and is willing to continue to develop ... friendly and cooperative relations with Afghanistan,” she had added.

That followed Taliban spokesperson Suhail Shaheen saying China had played a constructive role in promoting peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan and was welcome to contribute to the rebuilding of the country.

Source: Dawn

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https://www.dawn.com/news/1647960/chinese-fm-says-economic-sanctions-on-afghanistan-must-end

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Arab World

 

Saudi Arabia aims to maintain peace, resolve conflicts peacefully: King Salman

22 September ,2021

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz said during his first address to the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday that the Kingdom is one of the founding members of the United Nations, and it has been committed to its purposes and principles, which aim to maintain international peace and security, resolve conflicts peacefully, respect sovereignty and independence, and non-interference in the internal affairs of countries.

King Salman added that the Kingdom continues to confront extremist ideology based on hatred and exclusion, and the practices of terrorist groups and sectarian militias that destroy people and nations.

King Salman said during his address to the General Assembly that Iran is a neighboring country and that Saudi Arabia hopes that initial talks with it will lead to tangible results to build confidence and pave the way for achieving the aspirations of the two nations’ peoples in relations of cooperation based on adherence to the principles and resolutions of international legitimacy, respect for sovereignty, and its cessation of support for terrorist groups and sectarian militias.

King Salman added that the Kingdom stresses the importance of making the Middle East region free of weapons of mass destruction, supports international efforts aimed at preventing Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, and expresses its deep concern over Iranian steps that contradict its commitments and contradict what it always declares that its nuclear program is peaceful.

King Salman added that the peace initiative in Yemen, which Saudi Arabia presented last March, can end the conflict, sparing blood and putting an end to the suffering of the brotherly Yemeni people.

“Unfortunately, the terrorist Houthi militias still refuse peaceful solutions, and are betting on the military option to control more lands in Yemen,” the King added.

King Salman said that the Iran-backed Houthi militias use the suffering of the Yemeni people, their urgent need for humanitarian assistance, and the risks resulting from the deterioration of the situation, as bargaining chips and blackmail, and attack daily on civilian objects inside the Kingdom, and threaten international navigation and international energy supplies.

“The Kingdom reserves its legitimate right to defend itself in the face of attacks by ballistic missiles, drones, and booby-trapped boats, and categorically rejects any attempts to interfere in its internal affairs,” King Salman added.

King Salman added that Saudi Arabia stresses the importance of the international community standing firm before everyone who supports, sponsors, finances and harbors terrorist groups and sectarian militias or uses them as a means to spread chaos and destruction and extend hegemony and influence.

“The Kingdom’s foreign policy attaches great importance to consolidating security and stability, supporting dialog and peaceful solutions, and providing conditions that support development and achieve people’s aspirations for a better tomorrow, in the Middle East and the world at large,” King Salman added.

King Salman added that the Kingdom supports efforts aimed at a binding peaceful solution to the problem of the Renaissance Dam in a manner that preserves the water rights of Egypt and Sudan, and peaceful solutions under the auspices of the United Nations to the crises in Libya and Syria, and all efforts to achieve peace and stability in Afghanistan, and the aspirations of its people and guaranteeing their rights of all spectrums.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/gulf/2021/09/22/Saudi-Arabia-aims-to-maintain-peace-resolve-conflicts-peacefully-King-Salman

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At least 62 children died in Roj, al-Hol camps in Syria this year: Save the Children

22 September ,2021

Two children die every week in al-Hol, one of the overcrowded Syrian camps where families with suspected links to ISIS are stranded, Save the Children said Thursday.

The charity said many countries, including EU states, were abandoning thousands of children in their desert limbo, vulnerable to violence, fires, malnutrition and illness.

Save the Children said a total of 40,000 children from 60 different countries were living in dire conditions in the camps of Roj and al-Hol in northeastern Syria.

“Many of the world’s richest countries have failed to bring home the majority of their children stuck in” the two displacement camps, the group said in a statement.

It said 62 children had died of various causes so far this year, including violence, disease and accidents.

Save the Children said a total of 73 people, including two children, were murdered in al-Hol alone so far this year.

The remote camps managed by the Kurdish forces that control the area were meant to house the families of men who had been detained over suspected ties to ISIS.

However they also hold many families who simply fled ISIS occupation of their homes in Iraq and Syria. Some have been there for more than four years.

Save the Children interviewed several children trapped behind the fences of al-Hol, where they live like prisoners and from which their governments are unwilling to repatriate them.

“I cannot endure this life any more. We do nothing but wait,” said one 11-year-old Lebanese girl who was interviewed in May and was since reportedly killed during a failed escape attempt in a water truck.

The charity said France had 320 children held in both camps but had only repatriated 35. The United Kingdom has 60 and only brought four home.

“What we are seeing here is governments simply abandoning children, who are first and foremost victims of conflict,” said Sonia Khush, director of Save the Children’s Syria response.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2021/09/22/At-least-62-children-died-in-Roj-al-Hol-camps-in-Syria-this-year-Save-the-Children

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Saudi Arabia is world’s biggest donor of humanitarian aid to Yemen: KSrelief

23 September ,2021

Saudi Arabia is the world’s biggest donor of humanitarian aid to Yemen, having pledged $18 billion to the country over the past six years, the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief) has said.

Adviser at the Royal Court and Supervisor General of KSrelief, Dr. Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Rabeeah, said the Kingdom has provided $848 million in the past year alone to provide urgent financial assistance to Yemen, home to the world’s largest humanitarian crisis, state news agency SPA reported Thursday.

Dr al-Rabeeah’s words came during a high-level UN meeting co-hosted by Sweden, Switzerland and the European Union, on the sidelines of the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

He explained that the Yemeni people have faced major humanitarian crises over the past decades, exacerbated by the conflicts erupting in the country.

Although donor countries have provided billions of dollars over the past six years to mitigate the effects of humanitarian crises in Yemen, organizations are still facing several obstacles and challenges – including the ongoing violations committed by the Iran-backed Houthi militia which prevent the delivery of aid to the beneficiaries.

He also expressed his regret that children and women are the most affected by these violations, which limit their access to food and necessary medical supplies.

As an extension of the Kingdom’s humanitarian stances and its continuous support for Yemen, through KSrelief and in coordination with the United Nations and international and local non-governmental organizations, the projects will continue to be implemented in Yemen during the remainder of 2021, which are estimated at $90 million, he added.

He said that financial donations alone will not alleviate the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, and that it is no secret that the ongoing aggression being carried out by Houthi militias against UN organizations and international non-governmental organizations deepens the suffering of the Yemeni people, especially in the areas that they control.

UN, agencies warn vital aid lack funding

It came as international donors pledged an additional $600 million to tackle Yemen’s crisis on Wednesday, as the United Nations and other aid agencies warned that vital aid programs would be cut this year without more funding.

This year’s $3.85 billion aid response plan to what the UN describes as the world’s largest humanitarian crisis had been only half funded before Wednesday’s high-level UN meeting.

A significant gap in funding for the aid response in Yemen, which has been divided by seven years of war, opened up last year, forcing some aid programs to close and the UN to warn of increasing risk of famine.

In response more funds were given earlier this year to food programs, but this left other sectors such as sanitation and protection severely underfunded.

“This has helped push back famine and pull people back from the brink of despair,” Martin Griffiths - the UN’s Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator and former Yemen envoy - told the meeting.

Significant additional pledges on Wednesday included $291 million from the US, $100 million from Qatar, and $90 million from Saudi Arabia.

A child dies every ten minutes in Yemen, 2.3 million children are acutely malnourished and 400,000 are at imminent risk of death from severe acute malnutrition, the head of the UN children’s agency UNICEF said.

The UN meeting called on donors to urgently disburse existing pledges to make additional contributions and to distribute funds across all aid sectors.

Ninety-eight percent of pledges made earlier this year have been fulfilled, taking funds disbursed so far to just over $2 billion, said Griffiths.

King Salman address UN General Assembly

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz made his first address to the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday, saying that the Kingdom is one of the founding members of the UN, and it has been committed to its purposes and principles, which aim to maintain international peace and security, resolve conflicts peacefully, respect sovereignty and independence, and non-interference in the internal affairs of countries.

King Salman added that the peace initiative in Yemen, which Saudi Arabia presented last March, can end the conflict, sparing blood and putting an end to the suffering of the brotherly Yemeni people.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/gulf/2021/09/23/Saudi-Arabia-is-world-s-biggest-donor-of-humanitarian-aid-to-Yemen-KSrelief

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Saudi Arabia’s defence forces destroy ballistic missile heading to Jazan

23 September ,2021

Saudi Arabia’s Defense Forces intercepted and destroyed a Houthi ballistic missile that was launched towards the Kingdom’s Jazan, the Arab Coalition announced on Thursday.

The defense forces’ efficiency helped to thwart all the attempts by the Iran-backed militia to attack Saudi Arabia, the coalition added.

The coalition will be taking the necessary operational measures to target the sources of the threat in accordance with international humanitarian law, the coalition said in the statement.

The attack comes as Saudi Arabia is marking its 91st National Day on Thursday. The Houthis, who are backed by Iran, have been ramping up attacks on civilians and civilian objects in the Kingdom in recent months.

Earlier on Thursday, the Arab Coalition said it foiled an imminent attack by the Houthis, who were using two booby-trapped boats off the coast of the Hodeidah port in Yemen.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/gulf/2021/09/23/Saudi-Arabia-s-defense-forces-destroy-ballistic-missile-heading-to-Jazan-

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‘Eight decades of partnership’: US congratulates Saudi Arabia on 91st National Day

23 September ,2021

The US congratulates Saudi Arabia on the occasion of the Kingdom’s 91st National Day, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement on Thursday.

“My best wishes to the people of Saudi Arabia for a happy national day and a successful year ahead,” Blinked said.

“The United States of America and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have shared eight decades of partnership, cooperation, and mutual friendship. The strength of our ties has propelled our two nations’ prosperity and has underpinned the region’s security,” Blinken said in the statement.

The US and the Kingdom will be expanding their relations to include addressing the challenges of climate change as well as supporting a strong international response to the COVID-19 pandemic, he added.

The two countries will also continue to work together to “address shared security challenges and forge a future of peace and economic prosperity,” the top US official added.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/gulf/2021/09/23/-Eight-decades-of-partnership-US-congratulates-Saudi-Arabia-on-91st-National-Day

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Arab Coalition foils Houthi attack, destroys booby-trapped boats in the Red Sea

22 September ,2021

The Arab Coalition on Thursday said it foiled an imminent attack by the Iran-backed Houthi militia using two booby-trapped boats off the coast of the Hodeidah port in Yemen.

The coalition was able to destroy the boats off the coast of the As-Salif village before the Houthis carried out their operation, according to a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

The Iran-backed group continues to threaten maritime navigation and international trade in the southern Red Sea, the Arab Coalition said.

The Houthis also continue to violate the Stockholm Agreement by planning hostile attacks from the Hodeidah governorate, which is currently under their control, the statement added.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/gulf/2021/09/22/Arab-Coalition-foils-Houthi-attack-destroys-booby-trapped-boats-in-the-Red-Sea

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Saudi Deputy Defence Minister meets with US Envoy to Yemen

22 September ,2021

Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman has met with US Envoy to Yemen Tim Lenderking to review and discuss the latest developments in Yemen.

“Met with #USEnvoyYemen Tim Lenderking to review the latest developments in Yemen, and discuss mutual efforts to support the Saudi peace initiative and UN efforts to reach a political resolution that achieves security and stability for the Yemeni people and the region,” Prince Khalid tweeted on Wednesday.

The meeting comes as the Iran-backed Houthis have ramped up attacks on Saudi Arabia’s southern border cities in recent weeks.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/gulf/2021/09/22/Saudi-Deputy-Defense-Minister-meets-with-US-Envoy-to-Yemen

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Senior US official planning visit to region next week, including stop in Saudi Arabia

22 September ,2021

US President Joe Biden’s national security advisor, Jake Sullivan, is preparing to make his first trip to the Middle East next week, sources familiar with the visit said Wednesday.

Sullivan will make stops in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, according to a report first published by Axios.

The trip to Saudi Arabia comes at a time when bilateral ties between Washington and Riyadh have soured as a result of Biden’s efforts to “recalibrate” the relationship since taking office.

Sullivan will also be the highest-ranking US official to visit Saudi Arabia under the Biden administration.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin was scheduled to make a trip to the Kingdom while on a tour of the region earlier this month. However, his trip was postponed at the last minute due to what Washington said were “scheduling” issues.

The White House did not confirm or deny details of Sullivan’s trip.

Last week, the US State Department approved the sale of $500 million in equipment to Saudi Arabia, which includes maintenance support services for helicopters, including Saudi Arabia’s Apache and Black Hawk helicopters, as well as a future fleet of CH-47D Chinook helicopters.

In July, Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Minister of Defense Prince Khalid bin Salman met with Sullivan and other senior Biden administration officials in Washington, including Austin and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Miller.

Sullivan’s stops in the UAE and Egypt are expected to focus on human rights and bilateral relations.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/gulf/2021/09/22/Senior-US-official-planning-visit-to-region-next-week-including-stop-in-Saudi-Arabia

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