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Al Qaeda Chief’s Support ‘Unwelcome, Wrong, Bid To Create Rift’, Says Muskan’s Father Mohammed Hussain Khan

New Age Islam News Bureau

25 November 2021


Muskan Khan, the Muslim student from Karnataka's Mandya who was heckled by a group of men with saffron scarves on 8 February 2022 | Photo: ThePrint



• Muslim Sculptors Making Idols Of Hindu Gods, Mango Traders Face The Heat Of Hindu Activists In Karnataka

• Karnataka Govt Has No Role To Play In Call To Boycott Muslim Traders: Minister

• Maharashtra Govt Issued Notice On Decibel Level Of Loudspeakers In Mosques: Sanjay Raut

• Aligarh Muslim University Professor Suspended For Reference To Hindu Deities



• The French Elections and the Online Far-Right Narratives on Immigration and Islam

• Five community events for LGBTQ+ Muslims this Ramadan

• Top Newcastle councillor suspended by Labour after alleging 'Muslim plot' to oust Nick Forbes

• Ramadan 2022: Inspirational Small Heath sisters raise money to help poor families in Pakistan after £100,000 success in 2021


Southeast Asia

• Government declares four additional Idul Fitri leave days


North America

• Moscow Pressing Russia’s Muslims To Fight In Ukraine Against Their Own Interests

• Chicago Muslims, Catholics gather to mark start of Ramadan, final weeks of Lent after pandemic hiatus



• More Imams Must Speak On Nigeria’s Ugly Situation – Islamic Research and Da’awah Foundation

• Ramadan: Gunmen abduct worshippers in Taraba mosque

• Ondo Muslim Community Condemns Return Of Schools To Original Owners



• Clear That National Assembly Deputy Speaker's Ruling Is Erroneous: Chief Justice Of Pakistan

Military’s silence making neutrality claim doubtful, says PDM

• Asad’s departure not abrupt, shows embassy record

• Hamza Shehbaz 'elected' Punjab chief minister, opposition claims

• A midnight kitchen in Karachi where Sehri is made for the needy



• Israel Bans Head Of Palestinian Prisoners' Family Committee From Al-Aqsa Mosque

• Calls For Palestinians To Increase Presence At Al-Aqsa Mosque

• Muslims In Oman Face Jail, Fine If Found Eating, Drinking During The Day In Ramadan

• Ramadan sparks interest in traditional Syrian cuisine at iftar in Amman

• Iran condemns attack on Pul-e Khishti Mosque in Kabul

• Families urged to practise proven home safe methods during Ramadan

• Israeli 'apartheid dates' flooding British markets


South Asia

• Hand Grenade Wounds At Least Six In Kabul Mosque

• Taliban condemns terrorist attack in Imam Reza holy shrine

• Why Should Afghanistan Implement the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA)?


Arab World

• With Sweet Recitation Of Al-Khayf Imam, ‘Otr Elkalam’ Show Takes Fasting People To Mina And Other Sacred Sites

• Volume Of Daily Donations Via Ehsan Reaches SR10 Million In Ramadan

• Ramadan 2022: Don't let guard down against Covid, top UAE health official says

• King Abdulaziz Palace in Al-Muwayh... An Engineering Masterpiece Built according to Islamic Character

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau



Al Qaeda Chief’s Support ‘Unwelcome, Wrong, Bid To Create Rift’, Says Muskan’s Father Mohammed Hussain Khan


Muskan Khan, the Muslim student from Karnataka's Mandya who was heckled by a group of men with saffron scarves on 8 February 2022 | Photo: ThePrint


Anusha Ravi Sood

6 April, 2022

Bengaluru: A day after al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri praised Muskan Khan — a Karnataka student who became famous for her pro-hijab protest in February — her family has distanced itself from the statement.

Al-Zawahiri made the statement in a video message about the hijab controversy in Karnataka, which pertains to restrictions imposed by government educational institutions on wearing the Islamic headscarf in classes.

Speaking to reporters outside his residence in Mandya, a district in Karnataka, Muskan’s father Mohammed Hussain Khan said Wednesday that the al Qaeda chief’s praises were “unwelcome”.

“I don’t know who this person is or what he has said. I heard him speak only after you (journalists) showed the video clip to me. He seems to have said something in Arabic, purportedly praising my daughter. This is all wrong and an attempt to create rifts among us. All of this is unnecessary and unwelcome,” Khan added.

Muskan, who studies at a private college in Mandya, shot to national fame during the peak of the hijab row in Karnataka when she stood up to a crowd of protesters wearing saffron scarves, who were heckling her for wearing a burqa to college. Muskan had retorted to their chants of ‘Jai Sri Ram’ by shouting ‘Allah-Hu-Akbar’.

In his video message, al-Zawahiri, the world’s most-wanted jihadist, hailed the student for having “challenged a mob of Hindu polytheists with defiant slogans of takbeer [God is the Greatest]”. He also claimed that the hijab row has exposed “the reality of Hindu India and the deception of its pagan democracy”.

This is the first time he has issued a statement since September last year.

Muskan’s father also told reporters that al-Zawahiri should refrain from talking about other countries: “Let them mind the business of their countries. There is no need for us to break our heads over what they say. We are all united and together here.”

His comments come at a time when Muslim businesses at temple fairs and those dealing in ‘halal meat’ are becoming the target of an economic boycott fuelled by Hindutva groups in Karnataka.

Also Read: BJP MLC, MLA oppose ‘ban’ on Muslim traders at temple fairs, minister calls it Hindus’ ‘reaction’

Suspicion proven right, says Karnataka minister

Even as Muskan’s family said the al Qaeda chief’s praises were unwelcome, Karnataka Home Minister Araga Jnanendra deemed it a validation of their “suspicion that outside forces were fuelling the hijab protests”.

“Special investigation is taking place in this matter. Even the high court had observed that those children’s language and behaviour wasn’t natural and something else was behind them. Even I said multiple times that communal forces are behind them. Now it has been proven right,” he told reporters outside the BJP office in Bengaluru Wednesday.

“What comes as a shock is how this matter has reached the international stage. It has been taken very seriously by our Union as well as state governments. We will investigate the links and who is involved,” he added.

(Edited by Gitanjali Das)


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 Al Qaeda Chief Ayman Al Zawahiri Raises Hijab Row, Hails Karnataka Student Muskan Khan


Al Qaeda Chief Ayman Al Zawahiri


 By: Express News Service | Bengaluru, New Delhi |

April 7, 2022 5:57:18 am

RAISING THE hijab controversy in Karnataka, al Qaeda chief Ayman Al Zawahiri, in his latest video, has said people should “stop being deceived by the mirage of Hindu democracy of India”. In an almost nine-minute video released by al Qaeda mouthpiece As-Sahab Media on Tuesday, Zawahiri has praised Muskan Khan, the Karnataka student who confronted a mob which heckled her for wearing the hijab earlier this year.

Distancing himself from Zawahiri’s comments, Muskan’s father, Mohammed Hussain, said it was “wrong” to take his daughter’s name. “I don’t even know who he is… it is wrong to take my daughter’s name. I am happy in my country. We do not need them to speak about our country’s issue. They are just spoiling our peace,” he said. He said Muskan was also disturbed about the video. “She is worried about her education and these things really cause trauma,” he said.

Zawahiri’s video starts with a clip of Muskan taking on the mob, followed by his address in which he only talks about the hijab issue. Zawahiri says her “defiant slogan of takbeer” as she challenged “a mob of Hindu polytheists” had “emboldened the spirit of jihad” and reawakened the Muslim community. He says she even inspired him to write a poem, which he recites at the end of the video.

“She has unveiled the reality and unmasked the nature of the conflict between the chaste and pure Muslim ummah and the degenerate and depraved polytheist and atheist enemies it confronts. May Allah reward her greatly for imparting a practical lesson to Muslim sisters plagued by an inferiority complex vis-a-vis the decadent western world. May Allah reward her for exposing the reality of Hindu India and the deception of its pagan democracy,” Zawahiri says in the Arabic video clip with English subtitles.

“Her takbeer inspired me to write a few lines of poetry, in spite of the fact that I am not a poet. I hope that our honourable sister accepts this gift of words from me,” he says. Praising the “free media” for circulating Muskan’s video, he says: “I call upon them to lay bare the injustice that is taking place, confront this oppression and spread the facts concerning the situation on the ground.”

“We must stop being deceived by the mirage of Hindu democracy of India, which, to begin with, was never more than a tool to oppress Islam. We must realise that in this real world, there is no such thing as ‘human rights’ or ‘respect for the Constitution’ or law, or other such nonsensical conjectural ideas,” he says.

Zawahiri says it was the same deception that the West had employed against Muslims, “the true nature of which was exposed by France, Holland and Switzerland when they banned the hijab while allowing public nudity”. “The enemies of Islam are one and the same, those fighting the hijab of Muslims in Egypt and Maghreb are the same opportunist thugs, writers, journalists, even hired turbans who vilify the hijab and the Islamic Shariah. It’s a war on Islam, its core doctrines, its laws, ethics and etiquette,” he says.

“Our Muslim ummah in the Indian subcontinent, our battle today is a battle of awareness, a battle of discerning illusion from reality. We must understand that the way out is by holding on to our Shariah, uniting as a single ummah, from China to Islamic Maghreb, and from Caucasus to Somalia, a united ummah waging a concerted war across several fronts. We must gather around the sincere scholars and fight our war ideologically, intellectually, using the media, and with weapons on the battlefield against the enemies of Islam,” he says.

He says the first step is to raise awareness. “We must realise that the governments imposed on us, specifically in Pakistan and Bangladesh, do not defend us; rather, they defend the very enemies that have empowered them to fight against us,” he says.

Zawahiri’s reference to a current issue confirms that he is alive, contrary to suggestions that he may have died of natural causes in 2020. While the al Qaeda has released several videos even after unconfirmed reports of his death, he only spoke about past conflicts and ideological issues in these, raising doubts on whether the videos were current.

The video has raised concern in the Indian security establishment. “While media outlets affiliated to these groups keep talking about Indian issues, Zawahiri devoting so much time on a single issue is a development that cannot be ignored. It shows al Qaeda views India as a serious ground for recruitment and may channelise its resources with greater vigour for the same. A message of this kind from Zawahiri is likely to energise cadres and inspire those harbouring perception of persecution,” said a senior security establishment official.

Karnataka Home Minister Araga Jnanendra alleged that the video proved the involvement of “unseen hands” behind the hijab row. “We have been saying this from the beginning, and the high court too had suggested the possibility of some unseen hands behind the hijab row…now it is proved, because al Qaeda people are now releasing videos,” he said.

The hijab row has figured in the mouthpieces of some terror groups. Last month, the Islamic State-associated magazine, Voice of Hind, carried a cover story on the issue. Earlier, AQIS also covered the issue in its magazine, Nawa-e-Ghazwa-e-Hind.

In his earlier videos, Zawahiri has largely focused on Islam’s war against western powers, with India only finding passing mention. While he has mentioned Kashmir in the past too, he has never spoken about it in detail. His last India-centric video was in 2014, when he announced the formation of the “Base of Jihad in the Indian Subcontinent”, and said it was a message that al Qaeda had not forgotten its Muslim brothers in India. He said jihadists would break the borders of British India and asked for Muslims in the subcontinent to unite.


 Gorakhnath Temple Attacker Ahmed Murtaza Abbasi, Says He Was Angry Over 'CAA, NRC, Atrocities Against Muslims'


Ahmed Murtaza Abbasi in police custody.


April 7, 2022

Arvind Ojha

Gorakhnath temple attacker Ahmed Murtaza Abbasi, in his confession, said that his hatred spawned from alleged atrocities committed against Muslims, according to Uttar Pradesh Police. He further said that the Citizenship (Amendment) Act was also wrong.

Abbasi, an IIT graduate, on April 3 attacked Uttar Pradesh Provincial Armed Constabulary personnel stationed at the Gorakhnath temple in Gorakhpur. Two constables were injured in the attack. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath is the head priest or mahant of the Gorakhnath temple.

According to the said confession, he went to Gorakhnath temple as cops are always stationed there and he wanted to move away from there after attacking them.

“I thought about the act from various angles before committing the crime. They [government] were implementing CAA and NRC against Muslims. Even in Karnataka, Muslims were being wronged. No one was doing anything about the issue. Someone had to do something. This is how I justified the act in my mind,” he said.

“I was depressed and wasn’t being able to sleep,” he said.

Police said that the confession indicated that Abbasi had been radicalized to the extent that he was even ready to die, committing such crimes.Live TV


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Forced To Sing 'Hotel Osama': Freed Islamic State Hostage, French Journalist Recounts Terrifying Ordeal


French journalist and former IS hostage in Syria Nicolas Henin (AFP file photo)


April 7, 2022

A French journalist held by the Islamic State in Syria testified Wednesday that he and other hostages were forced by their captors to sing a depraved parody of the Eagles song "Hotel California" called "Hotel Osama."

It was terrifying for us, a joke for them," Nicolas Henin said at the trial of El Shafee Elsheikh, a 33-year-old former British national.

Elsheikh is accused of involvement in the murders of American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff and aid workers Kayla Mueller and Peter Kassig.

Henin is one of several former hostages who have testified at the trial in federal court of the alleged member of the notorious IS kidnap-and-murder cell known as the "Beatles."

Henin said the words to "Hotel Osama" included the original lyrics from "Hotel California" about checking in but never leaving, but with a twist.

"If you try, you'll die Mr. Bigley style," the lyrics went, a reference to British engineer Kenneth Bigley, who was beheaded in 2004 by Jordanian Abu Musab Zarqawi, head of the Al-Qaeda terror network in Iraq.

Henin said he was captured in June 2013 on his fifth reporting trip to Syria.

He was held alone for two days in a bathroom but managed to escape by breaking bars on the windows with a broom.

After running the whole night, he arrived at a village at dawn and spoke to two men in pyjamas.

"Unfortunately they were IS fighters," he said.

Returned to captivity, he was beaten and taken outside and "hung in the air for a couple of hours" with his hands and feet chained together.


Henin was later placed with other hostages including Frenchman Pierre Torres and Danish photographer Daniel Rye Ottenson.

British aid worker David Haines and Italian relief worker Federico Motka arrived later.

After being taken to another prison, three guards arrived one day speaking with British accents.

Haines and Motka told the other hostages they were the "Beatles," Henin said, using the nickname given to the jihadist jailers because of their British accents.

"They were terrified," he said of Haines and Motka. "Shaking."

They were later joined by Sotloff, Foley, John Cantlie, a British journalist captured with Foley, Toni Neukirch, a German citizen, and five Doctors Without Borders (MSF) workers.

He said the Beatles would come around once or twice a week, "sometimes for a round of beatings."

After his release in April 2014, Henin provided the authorities with information that was used in a rescue attempt.

"I spent a long time with agencies, describing the location, giving details to the person in charge of preparing the raid," Henin said.

The US-led rescue mission was launched on July 4, 2014 but the hostages had been taken elsewhere just days earlier.

"They had been moved prior to the operation," said Robert Daniel Story, an FBI special agent who was involved in preparations for the raid and took the witness stand after Henin.

"We were very disappointed," Story said.

The "Beatles" held at least 27 foreign hostages in Syria between 2012 and 2015.

A number of European journalists and aid workers were released after ransoms were paid but the Americans -- Foley, Sotloff and Kassig -- were killed and videos of their murders released by IS for propaganda purposes.

Mueller was reportedly handed over to IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who allegedly raped her repeatedly before killing her.

Elsheikh and another former British national, Alexanda Amon Kotey, were captured in January 2018 by a Kurdish militia in Syria.

They were turned over to US forces in Iraq and flown to Virginia in 2020 to face charges of hostage-taking, conspiracy to murder US citizens and supporting a foreign terrorist organization.

Kotey pleaded guilty in September 2021 and is facing life in prison.

"Beatles" executioner Mohamed Emwazi was killed by a US drone in Syria in 2015, while the fourth member of the cell, Aine Davis, is imprisoned in Turkey after being convicted of terrorism.

Elsheikh has denied the charges, and his lawyers claim his arrest is a case of mistaken identity.Live TV


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 Radicalized Armed Jewish Militias Promise Another Bloody Ramadan For Palestinians


Israeli forces watch as Bedouins protest tree-planting by the Jewish National Fund on disputed land near the village of al-Atrash [Mahmoud Illean/AP]


by CJ Werleman

Apr 7, 2022

Increasing numbers of radicalized Jewish settlers are organizing themselves into armed militia groups to make life hell for Palestinians during the Islamic holy month.

Israeli forces storm al-Aqsa Mosque on last Friday of Ramadan, May 7, 2021. (Reuters/Ammar Awad) – Photo Courtesy of Middle East Eye

Last year, the United Nations not only expressed alarm at the rising rate of violence directed by Jewish settlers toward Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territories but also slammed the Israeli government and military for doing nothing to curb the aggressions and protect Palestinians under siege.

As was reported by the Anadolu Agency, a UN rapporteur and other human rights groups explained that security forces — both official police or military and private security companies — simply stand by.

“Instead, they [Israeli occupation forces] respond to settler-related violence by ordering Palestinians to leave the area, including Palestinian-owned land, or even actively support the settlers,” they said in November of last year. In the first 10 months of 2021, the UN had documented a record 410 attacks by settlers against Palestinians.

Settlers are organizing and joining armed militias groups in preparation for a campaign of terror against Palestinians.

More worrisome, recent reports suggest settlers are organizing and joining armed militias groups in preparation for a campaign of terror against Palestinians in the occupied Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah. This has been the site of confrontations since the Israeli government began forcibly evicting Palestinians from their homes 12 months ago, leaving dozens of families homeless.

According to Israeli television network Kan 11, armed settler groups are preparing to do to Sheikh Jarrah residents what they did to Palestinians in the Israeli city of Lod last year, when the self-named “Guardians of Lod” stormed and attacked Palestinian homes and vandalized mosques and other properties under the protection of Israeli forces.

It goes without saying that were Palestinians to form into armed militias to protect a Palestinian minority in a Jewish majority neighbourhood, Israeli commandos would immediately be deployed to put down what the Israeli government would label an armed “insurgency,” using lethal and non-lethal force.

In contrast, Jewish militias are given a free hand to carry out the dirty work of the Israeli state. This includes efforts to ethnically cleanse neighbourhoods of their Palestinian residents under the pretext of protecting Jewish presence in occupied Jerusalem.

Jewish militias are given a free hand to carry out the dirty work of the Israeli state.

The Israeli human rights organization Yesh Din says the precipitous rise in settler violence is not simply the result of a few “bad apples” among the settler population but flows directly from the deep state support provided by Israel to the illegal settlement enterprise.

According to the Anadolu Agency, Yesh Din  “found that 91 percent of investigations into settler violence against Palestinians were closed by Israeli authorities with no charges filed,” insuring total impunity for the perpetrators.

[Israel Has Made a Habit Out of Bombing Gaza During Ramadan]

[Emboldened Right-Wing Israelis Encroach Upon Al-Aqsa Mosque]

[We Must Maintain the Momentum for Palestine Against Israel’s War Crimes]

The fact that the same authorities are turning a blind eye to a visibly planned attack on Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah during Ramadan is a truly disturbing development. Especially since it was the protests over forced evictions there that sparked an Israeli military raid on al-Aqsa Mosque and a subsequent 11-day offensive on Gaza during the holy month last year, leaving 260 Palestinians dead, including 39 women and 67 children.

It’s not unreasonable, then, to speculate Israel is deliberately inciting an additional pretext to launch another military offensive during the Islamic holy month.

As I noted for Inside Arabia in 2021, Israeli military attacks on the Gaza Strip during Ramadan have reached the level of a predictable certainty, as illustrated in the headlines listed at the end of this article. Last month, Israeli newspaper Haaretzwarned confrontations in Sheikh Jarrah “could ignite the entire Middle East,” or incite another Intifada. The newspapercalled the Palestinian neighbourhood a “symbol of Palestinian resistance” and a site for deadly attacks by radicalized settlers.

Israeli military attacks on the Gaza Strip during Ramadan have reached the level of a predictable certainty.

“It’s hard to predict. But it’s also hard to ignore the fact that even if tempers calm in the coming days, Sheikh Jarrah provides all the same pretexts for violence that led to the last round – an almost certain eviction of Palestinians from their homes, Palestinian and international attention, threats by Hamas, and a far-right MK [members of Knesset] showing up to inflame the atmosphere,” observes Haaretz.

To that end, it’s no secret that Israel’s far-right political parties are intentionally pouring gasoline onto the fire that’s burning in Sheikh Jarrah as part of an ongoing effort to destabilize the government led by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.

This means Palestinians are “paying the price twice,” according to Awad Abdelfattah, a former general secretary of the Balad party and current coordinator of the Haifa-based One Democratic State Campaign. “Firstly, from the ongoing and brutal settler-colonial, ethnic-cleansing project,” Abdelfattah writes. And, “secondly, from the infighting between the two camps over whoever can be more brutal in implementing the cleansing plans.”

On March 30, far-right Knesset member Miri Regev led a chanting mob of settlers, who called Palestinians and African Jewish migrants a “cancer,” along with other genocidal slogans, near the site where a Palestinian gunman murdered three Israeli police officers and two Ukrainian nationals a day earlier.

Mobs of settlers are indicative of a society that is teetering towards mass organized violence.

This is indicative of a society that is teetering towards mass organized violence. The formation of armed Jewish militia groups is a manifestation of this climate. Groups such as the “Guardians of Lod” are not just mimicking similarly styled and motivated armed militias in the West Bank. They are also imitating the Zionist terrorist groups that helped liquidate more than 500 Palestinian towns and villages during the 1948 Nakba while carrying out countless massacres.

And the explicit support these terrorist groups received under founding Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion more than seven decades ago is the same they’re receiving implicitly under Prime Minister Naftali Bennett today.

Palestinians are headed towards yet another violent Ramadan at the hands of these colonial thugs.


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Unsealed Court Documents Reveal New Details on Alleged Plot for Mass Shooting at Chicago-Area Mosque

April 6, 2022

NBC 5 Investigates has learned that a teenager linked by federal authorities to an alleged plot to attack a Chicago-area mosque is a 15-year-old who lives in suburban Hampshire.

Previously, NBC 5 reported that the alleged scheme to murder attendees at an unspecified Chicago mosque was revealed after agents from Chicago raided an unspecified home, recovering a shotgun, swords and knives, a bow and arrows and homemade ISIS flags. But a search warrant application in the case that was unsealed Wednesday revealed the home’s Hampshire address.

NBC 5 is not naming the teen because he is a juvenile and has not been charged in the case.

Charging documents in the case say it was the questioning of the Hampshire juvenile which led federal authorities to 18-year-old Xavier Pelkey of Waterville, Maine. Agents serving a search warrant at Pelkey’s house reportedly found three home-made explosive devices fashioned from fireworks, taped together with pins and thumbtacks. They also reportedly observed a hand-painted ISIS flag on Pelkey’s bedroom wall.

The charges against Pelkey state that the Hampshire teenager and a second juvenile, who claimed to be from Canada, knew him as “Abdullah” in online Instagram chats. The three reportedly planned to meet in Chicago during spring break to carry out a coordinated attack on an unspecified Shia mosque.

The Hampshire teen, identified in court documents only as “juvenile #1,” reportedly told investigators that the alleged plot included plans to enter the mosque, separate the children from the adults and then murder the adults. An FBI agent stated, “If they had not encountered law enforcement at that point, they would continue on to another Shia mosque or Jewish synagogue and execute the same plan.”

According to the search warrant application unsealed in Maine, the conversations spanned from late November 2021 through February.  Those conversations began with the Hampshire teenager, who called himself “albilarusi” online, exchanging repeated messages with a juvenile who purported to be from Canada, identified as “French.jafar.” (Pelkey’s charging documents would later state that the second juvenile involved in the alleged plot was in Kentucky).  During those conversations, the Hampshire teen reportedly referred to Abdullah (Pelkey) as “the bomb guy.”

In a chat with the Hampshire teenager on Jan. 16, the search warrant application says Pelkey reportedly made reference to Malik Faisal Akram, who held congregants hostage at a Texas synagogue the day before. On Feb.  3, Pelkey reportedly messaged another Instagram user about an assault by U.S. military forces on ISIS leader Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi, during which al-Qurayshi blew himself up. The agent writing the affidavit said Pelkey’s comments indicated he viewed the ISIS leader as a martyr.

The document says as they conducted surveillance on Pelkey in Maine, an agent “conducted a ruse” at the suspect’s house, knocking on the door and observing him “wearing Islamic garb” as he spoke to the woman who answered.

Of the three, only Pelkey has been charged, with felony possession of an unregistered destructive device. He was ordered held without bail.


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Muslim Sculptors Making Idols Of Hindu Gods, Mango Traders Face The Heat Of Hindu Activists In Karnataka

April 7, 2022

After campaigning against the hijab, halal and banning Muslim traders in temple fairs, Hindu organisations in Karnataka now are planning a campaign to ban Muslim mango traders and sculptors from making idols of Hindu Gods.

The Hindu organisations have also prepared to challenge the issue of halal certification in the country in the court. These organisations are prepared to wage a legal battle questioning the system of halal certification against the Food Safety and Standards Association of India (FSSAI), the governing and monitoring body of food business in India.

Sources said that the list of halal products was being prepared. The halal certification is illegal and the only authority to certify food is FSSI. The matter will be taken to the court about halal certification, sources said.


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Karnataka Govt Has No Role To Play In Call To Boycott Muslim Traders: Minister

Apr 7, 2022

BENGALURU: The BJP on Wednesday sought to distance itself from the call to boycott Muslim mango traders saying neither the party nor the government is involved in the campaign. In the latest controversy following the hijab row, ban on Muslim traders near temples and the move to mute loudspeakers at mosques, pro-Hindu groups have urged Hindus to boycott Muslim mango traders because they “monopolise” the trade and deny Hindus space in the business.

However, K Gopalaiah, horticulture minister, said: “It’s up to the individual to buy fruits from whomever or wherever s/he wants. The government has no role to play in it. ” But in the same breath, the minister said it is “the opinion” of some people that Muslims are monopolising the business. “Farmers hand over mangoes to those who offer a good price,” Gopalaiah said. “People of all communities grow mangoes and sellers are also from all communities. Let us leave this at this stage. We have other work [to do]. ”

‘Will harm farmers Opposition parties tore into BJP and right-wing groups over the new controversy. DK Shivakumar, KPCC chief, said the ban on Muslim vendors will impact farmers as most mango traders and vendors are Muslims. “Farmers will sell to those who offer the best price and it is Muslims who offer the best price,” Shivakumar said. He accused BJP of targeting Muslims for political gain. “This will harm farmers more than anyone else. Even a ban on halal meat will hurt farmers,” he said.

Source: The Times Of India

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Maharashtra govt issued notice on decibel level of loudspeakers in Mosques: Sanjay Raut

New Delhi, April 07 (ANI): Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut on April 07 commented on the 'Azaan loudspeaker' issue and said that Maharashtra Home Minister issued a notice stating the Decibel level that is to be maintained while observing Azaan. “Maharashtra Home Minister has also issued a notice stating how much Decibel level should be there while observing Azaan,” said Sanjay Raut. He also commented on his previous allegations made towards former BJP MP Kirit Somaiya of financial bungling.

Source: aninews

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Aligarh Muslim University professor suspended for reference to hindu deities

07th April 2022

LUCKNOW:  An assistant professor of the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) was suspended on Wednesday for allegedly hurting religious sentiments through objectionable references to Hindu deities during a lecture with medical students.

Dr Jitendra Kumar of Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College was suspended after he was prima facie found to have indulged in “misconduct” based on preliminary facts. “He was issued a show-cause notice and asked to submit a reply explaining his behaviour. Meanwhile, the university administration has suspended him,” said Shafey Kidwai, in-charge of AMU Public Relations.

“The AMU administration and faculty strongly condemned the content of a slide on the mythical reference of rape and issued a show cause notice to Dr Jitendra Kumar for hurting the religious sentiments of the students, staff and citizens. He has been asked to submit his reply in 24 hours,” the university said in a statement on Wednesday. It has formed a two-member panel to probe the incident and to suggest steps so that such incidents were not repeated.

Kumar is said to have made the reference in a presentation with what was deemed to be ‘objectionable references’ to deities. A case was also registered against Kumar in connection with the “inflammatory content” of his presentation during Tuesday’s class involving MBBS students of the forensic medicine department. The FIR was lodged against him under following a complaint by Dr Nishit Sharma, an ex-student of AMU, a senior police officer said.

According to Kidwai, the university received complaints from some students and the screenshots of the lecture presentation as they went viral on social media. He claimed the matter was dealt with utter seriousness.

Source: New Indian Express

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The French Elections and the Online Far-Right Narratives on Immigration and Islam

A new report looks into how the French far-right parties, under Marine Le Pen and Eric Zemmour, have led the political discourse over the 2022 election season and have encouraged far-right narratives into the mainstream.

We examine two case studies, a documentary about the Islamisation of the Northern city of Roubaix, and the free speech controversy surrounding Mila, a 16-year-old Instagram user. The two incidents were instrumentalised by the far right online to present a binary debate around the issues.

Attempts were made to frame the two incidents through the restrictive lens of the dangers of immigration, the incompatibility of France and Islam, as well as conspiracy theories such as the Great Replacement, Eurabia, and Muslim immigrants being sexual predators to varying levels of success.

Key Findings

Both Le Pen and Zemmour used the Roubaix documentary to hit out against the encroachment of Muslim practices, linking it to the Islamisation of France and comparing it to authoritarian regimes such as Afghanistan.

The two candidates’ and their spokespersons’ posts on the issues were heavily promoted online by the far right and used to explain why voting for either of the candidates was necessary to “save France”.

The online hate and harassment of the Roubaix documentary creators and Mila was also instrumentalised to create a “with us or against us” narrative, used to attack more nuanced positions by Muslim or left-leaning personalities and positioning free speech and Muslims as diametrically opposed.

The Roubaix documentary allowed more mainstreaming of the far-right Great Replacement theory during election season.

Le Pen avoided naming the theory directly, likely in an attempt to soften her far-right image during the Presidential elections, however she used coded language to refer to it.

The Mila affair –which centred on online hate, both homophobic and sexist – was hijacked by the far right to push the incompatibility of French values and Islam.

Mila’s comments during the election season about sexual harassment was also used by the far right to peddle the image of immigrants as sexual harassers.


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Five community events for LGBTQ+ Muslims this Ramadan

By Nathan Clarke Community Reporter

7 APR 2022

For the growing number of openly queer Muslims celebrating Ramadan, the holy month can be a difficult time of year. The importance of family is at the very heart of Ramadan - but for the LGBTQ+ Muslims cut off by family after coming out - it can be a time of isolation and exclusion.

Over the years, LGBTQ+ Muslims have built their own webs of support to support those whose sexuality has put them at odds with their religion. One transgender Muslim has taken to Twitter to share resources for other LGBTQ+ Muslims who feel like they don’t belong.

There are a number of groups and organisations working to support, empower and connect LGBTQ+ Muslims both in the UK and abroad. Here’s a list of resources and events you can attend this Ramadan.

Virtual tajwid classes

The Muslim Alliance for Sexual and Gender Diversity is holding weekly virtual tajwid classes where LGBTQ+ Muslims can learn more about the Qur’an and the the rules of Qur'an recitation. The classes are designed for beginners and those who may be unfamiliar with the Arabic script.

The weekly class is LGBTQ+ inclusive and free to attend. Check out MASGD on Eventbrite for more information on how to apply.

Online Mosque for LGBTQ+ Muslims

Daar ul-Gharib is an online mosque with an emphasis on queer, disabled and other marginalised Muslims. They are hosting a range of online events over the month of Ramadan including daily prayers, sermons and Qur’an readings.

A scholar will be reading a section of the Qur’an every night throughout Ramadan. Keep an eye on their Twitter page for more information.

Advice on coming out as a Muslim

Salaam Canada is a queer Muslim support organisation based in Canada. During Ramadan, they will be holding monthly virtual community discussions for the LGBTQ+ Muslim community and the Black LGBTQ+ Muslim community.

The topics covered include self love, gender and Islam, queerness in Islam and advice on coming out as a Muslim. You can sign up for them here.

Source: Berminghammail

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Top Newcastle councillor suspended by Labour after alleging 'Muslim plot' to oust Nick Forbes

ByDaniel Holland

7 APR 2022

A top Newcastle councillor has been suspended by the Labour Party over alleged racist remarks.

Joyce McCarty has been accused of Islamophobia over comments made after the dramatic deselection of city council leader Nick Forbes earlier this year. In a text message seen by ChronicleLive, she describes his ousting as a “Muslim plot”.

Coun McCarty was the council’s deputy leader until last year and is a long-time friend and key ally of Coun Forbes, who has announced he will leave city politics in May.

It is understood that Coun McCarty has been administratively suspended from the Labour Party, pending investigation, and that the party no longer endorses her as a candidate in May’s local elections. However, she is still on the ballot as a Labour candidate in her Wingrove ward because her nomination forms to stand for re-election were submitted before her suspension.

In February, Coun Forbes suffered an embarrassing defeat in a contest to select Labour’s candidate in his Arthur’s Hill ward – with local party members voting by 13 to four in favour of local activist Abdul Samad. The moderate council leader has alleged an ambush by left-wing members and claimed the selection contest was “clearly manipulated” against him, but decided not to seek election in another ward.

Coun McCarty, who was Labour’s second in command in Newcastle for 14 years, wrote in the text seen by ChronicleLive and first reported by JOE that she had heard there was a “specific Muslim plot” organised by councillors in the West End of Newcastle to remove the leader and get more black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) candidates selected. She is currently the local authority’s cabinet member for inclusive economy, taking responsibility for issues including support for refugees and asylum seekers through Newcastle’s status as a City of Sanctuary.

Mish Rahman, a member of Labour’s National Executive Committee, tweeted that Labour “cannot call itself an anti racist party with examples such as this”, referring to Coun McCarty being allowed to stand in next month’s elections despite her suspension.

Source: chroniclelive

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Ramadan 2022: Inspirational Small Heath sisters raise money to help poor families in Pakistan after £100,000 success in 2021

ByAnisah Vasta

7 APR 2022

Two inspirational young sisters from Small Heath have set an incredible fundraising goal to help those in need for Ramadan. Previous efforts saw the girls raise over £100,000 for charity in 2021.

Haziqah, 11, and six year old sister Khadeejah, known as Team H&K, hope to raise over £30,000 for Jigsaw Charity for Ramadan. Money raised this year will go to help those in Pakistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir who are in need.

Proud dad Yuser said his family had been overwhelmed by the support the pair had received. And he said their efforts would help in one of the most poverty stricken areas of Pakistan.

Charity is a large part of the ninth month of the Islamic calendar where Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset. It is one of the five pillars in Islam. Giving back to the poor and needy is a fundamental part of Ramadan as the rewards are higher.

Now for the third time in a row, Haziqah and Khadeejah have decided to raise £30,000 in the Ramadan fundraiser through collecting money on their JustGiving page.

Through last year, the sister had raised just under £100,000 with their Ramadan 2021 and winter fundraiser. The money raised for the Ramadan 2022 fundraiser will be going towards buying essential one month food parcels, clean drinking water and livelihood projects in Pakistan and Kashmir.

Their proud dad, Yuser Iqbal told BirminghamLive: "My eldest daughter did a cake a bake sale at Birmingham University to help with raising the funds. They have been encouraging the community, friends and family to donate through short videos of them but also fundraisers like the bake sale.

"I'm surprised myself, my little daughter is so motivated with raising the money and we have been so overwhelmed with all the support from everyone."

These projects supported include provision of sewing machines and setting up honey bee farming businesses for needy families. Yuser will be delivering these provisions in Pakistan and Kashmir during Ramadan.


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Southeast Asia


Government Declares Four Additional Idul Fitri Leave Days

News Desk (The Jakarta Post)

 Thu, April 7, 2022 The government has declared May 2 and 3 national Idul Fitri holidays, alongside mandatory collective leave on April 29 and May 4 to 6, an arrangement that will see many offices closed for the whole first week of May. President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo called on Indonesians to use the holiday to gather with family and friends while maintaining health protocol discipline. “We must all keep cautious. Equip yourselves with booster vaccinations, keep implementing health protocols and keep your masks on in public areas or when in large groups of people,” Jokowi said on Wednesday. The government expects some 85 million people to travel to their hometowns in this year’s Idul Fitri tradition of mudik (exodus). Some 14 million of the travelers will leave from Greater Jakarta, and almost half of the trips will be made in private vehicles. It will be the first time in two years that Indonesians are allowed to perform mudik. According to circulars by the COVID-19 task force and the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB), homebound travelers who have received a booster shot are not required to present a negative COVID-19 test.  However, those who have received two vaccine doses will be required to present a negative rapid antigen test taken one day before their trip. Mudik travelers who have had only one vaccine dose will be required to show a negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test taken a maximum of three days before their trip.  The task force requires travelers who cannot be inoculated for health reasons to present a doctor’s letter issued by a state hospital in addition to a negative PCR test result.  Children under 6 years old are exempt from the vaccination requirement but are required to be accompanied by a fully vaccinated adult.

Source: The Jakarta Post

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North America


Moscow Pressing Russia’s Muslims To Fight In Ukraine Against Their Own Interests

April 7, 2022 

Paul Goble

Moscow has sought to mobilize its Muslim citizens to fight in Ukraine, with Putin publicly identifying himself with them during a visit to Daghestan and the Kremlin arranging for its loyalists in the Muslim hierarchy to declare Putin’s war in Ukraine a jihad.

But such efforts look both “grotesque and absurd” for two reasons, Prague-based analyst Vadim Sidorov says. On the one hand, Muslims in Russia are being asked to fight for a regime that is consistently anti-Muslim and against one that has been consistently supportive of its Muslim community (

And on the other hand, one of the goals of the Kremlin’s campaign in Ukraine is “the inclusion within Russia in one form or another of several tens of millions of Orthodox Slavs to compensate for the decline in the number of ethnic Russians and serve as a counterweight to its demographic ‘Islamization.’”

In other words, Sidorov continues, “the Muslims of Russia are supposed to fight directly against their own interests, not only for the preservation of their current oppressed status but also for its further deterioration over the longer term.” That makes no sense, however much the Kremlin’s pocket Muslim leadership says otherwise.

As far as the Muslims of Ukraine are concerned, they are almost unanimous in supporting Kyiv against Moscow having seen what the occupation of Crimea has meant for their co-religionists. They unlike Muslims who may be in Russian uniform are clearly fighting for their own interests and know it.

Many Muslim nations whose homeland is within the current borders of the Russian Federation are divided, the Chechens most prominently. Ramzan Kadyrov has sent his units to fight in Ukraine although there are reports that they operate more behind the line than as soldiers at the front.

And many Chechens who oppose Kadyrov and Putin are fighting for Ukraine as volunteers. Some have made their way from Russia either now or earlier or have come from émigré communities in Europe and elsewhere. Unlike Kadyrov’s people, they are fighting on the frontlines alongside the Ukrainians, Sidorov says.

Across the Muslim world more generally, a similar pattern holds. Leaders of countries dependent on Russia are backing the Kremlin, but in many countries which aren’t in that situation, the Muslim and political elites are supporting the Ukrainians, in many cases because they see Ukraine as offering Islam a far better deal than Russia does.

Source: eurasiareview

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Chicago Muslims, Catholics gather to mark start of Ramadan, final weeks of Lent after pandemic hiatus



APR 06, 2022

After more than two years of pandemic-era postponements, Cardinal Blase Cupich and Chicago-area Islamic leaders were reunited this week at a breaking of the fast marking the beginning of Ramadan and in anticipation of Holy Week.

A long-standing tradition between the Archdiocese of Chicago and the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago, the annual Muslim-Catholic Iftar dinner was back in person this year following two years of COVID-19 interruptions, said Irshad Khan, chairman of the Council.

“This tradition goes back 23 years, and the last few have been virtual, so we really felt the presence of God. ... It was so spiritual having everyone together again, breaking bread,” Khan said.

Exclaiming “Ramadan Mubarak!” — blessed Ramadan — Cupich asked Muslims and Catholics to join during Tuesday’s iftar dinner “in a moment of silent prayer for the suffering people of Ukraine.”

Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich speaks with attendees as they wait to have their picture taken during the 23rd annual Muslim-Catholic Iftar dinner and program at the Islamic Foundation North on April 5, 2022, in Libertyville.

hicago Cardinal Blase Cupich speaks with attendees as they wait to have their picture taken during the 23rd annual Muslim-Catholic Iftar dinner and program at the Islamic Foundation North on April 5, 2022, in Libertyville. (Armando L. Sanchez / Chicago Tribune)

We need each other, grounded in faith and our respective religious practices, to meet the challenges of a post-pandemic world that is becoming more fraught with divisions and acrimony,” said Cupich, the event’s guest of honor.

“As Christians enter into Holy Week on Sunday and Muslims enter more fully into the holy month of Ramadan, let us together imagine a future filled with peace, hope and joy,” Cupich said.

Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, is revered as a sacred and holy month for 1.9 billion Muslims worldwide, and includes fasting, engaging in spiritual reflection and taking part in charitable deeds, a council spokesperson said.

The Islamic holy month of Ramadan, which started April 2, coincides with the Catholic tradition of Lent and upcoming Holy Week, including Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, a Saturday Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday.

Daniel Olsen, the archdiocese’s director of ecumenical and interreligious affairs, said that as a child growing up in a small town in Wisconsin, he “didn’t know any Muslims.”

Years later, he observed that many religious values and traditions are common to both Muslims and Catholics, which he said “breaks down some of the misunderstanding.”

“Catholics are now in Lent, which is all about prayer, fasting and almsgiving, and that’s exactly what my Muslim friends are focused on during Ramadan,” Olsen said.

“Understanding those connections are impactful to people, which is why we began our outreach and partnership between Catholics and Muslims,” Olsen said.

Among the traditions shared by the two religious groups are a commitment to social justice, including supporting homeless people, immigrants and refugees. The Islamic Council was among several organizations supporting Afghan refugees in Illinois earlier this year when resettlement agencies had reached capacity.

Reflecting on the theme of kindness at Tuesday evening’s iftar — the evening meal when Muslims end their daily Ramadan fast at sunset — Cupich said, “One cannot be kind in theory. Kindness flows out of a generous response to another in the present moment.”

“Encountering others where they are in their life journey, as Pope Francis often reminds us, is an essential first step in creating the foundation for enduring relationships,” Cupich said.

“Collectively, we can do more to bring about change for the good than any one of us can do alone,” he said.

The gathering also included reflections from Sheikh Rizwan Ali, imam and religious director of the Islamic Center of Naperville, who underscored the message of unity, kindness and compassion.

Maggie Slavin, 32, a high school biology teacher from Chicago, said she has long admired Cupich, and as a Muslim, was excited to have the chance to hear him speak at Tuesday night’s iftar dinner.

“Everything has become so polarized now, so it was really lovely to have Muslims and Catholics sitting down together, and being together in person,” Slavin said.

“We might not have the same religion, but we all believe in kindness and compassion, and have so many similarities that many people don’t realize,” Slavin said.


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More Imams Must Speak On Nigeria’s Ugly Situation – Islamic Research and Da’awah Foundation


The founder of Islamic Research and Da’awah Foundation, Sheik Nuru Khalid, has said very few Imams have the gut to speak on the dire situation in the country.

The cleric said this when he appeared on a Trust TV programme, Daily Politics, on Wednesday.

Khalid, who was the Chief Imam of Apo Legislative Quarters Central Mosque, Abuja, was suspended and later sacked by the mosque’s committee, after he criticised the Buhari administration in one of his sermons.

Imam urged clerics to speak the truth no matter whose ox is gored.

“Very few imams speak on the ugly situation in the country. And this is the right time to speak up. If you are an Imam, don’t be afraid. Speak the truth and let them take their mosque.”

Sheikh Nuru Khalid said he first learnt about his suspension in the media.

He stated, “It was a one-man show, as no committee sat before the said suspension. If they wanted me to go, they should have approached me in person and I would have gladly have left. I’ve nothing to lose.”

The cleric said the mosque was not owned by the government as it was established by a Muslim committee in the legislative quarters.

However, the imam accused Senator  DanSadau of using the pulpit of the mosque to defend the present administration.

He added, “I was in Jos when the congregation booed DanSadau because of his continued habit of defending the government. This is the man who criticised other governments on the same pulpit.”

Source: dailytrust

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Ramadan: Gunmen abduct worshippers in Taraba mosque

By Saxone Akhaine (Kaduna), Charles Akpeji (Jalingo), Njadvara Musa (Maiduguri) and Isa Abdulsalami Ahovi (Jos)

07 April 2022 

Gunmen, on Tuesday evening, attacked a mosque in Bali Jali village, Bali Local Council of Taraba State, and abducted Muslim faithful, who were breaking their Ramadan fast.

Residents said the bandits had wreaked havoc in the community before heading for the mosque, where they shot sporadically and took away their victims.

Confirming the incident, yesterday, spokesperson for Taraba State Police Command, Usman Abdullahi, said one person was confirmed dead, seven missing, while many suffered gunshot wounds.

He added that the police held “a crucial meeting” with stakeholders from the communities, which will aid the arrest of the bandits and the eventual release of those kidnapped.

“The command is aware of the attack, and this morning, the Divisional Police Officer (DPO), local council chairman and other stakeholders within that area had a crucial meeting to map out ways of tracing the kidnappers and getting those people rescued. Officially, one was killed and seven were kidnapped,” he said.

SECURITY operatives in Kaduna State have engaged terrorists, who invaded two communities, in fierce gun battle and rescued many kidnap victims.

Journalists, who reside in Barakallahu community, Igabi Local Council, had, as early as 1.45am on Wednesday, sent distress calls and messages to various security platforms before the military and police stormed the area and engaged the terrorists in gun duel.

In a statement yesterday, police spokesman in the state, ASP Mohammed Jalige, said that terrorists invaded two communities on Tuesday and the early hours of yesterday.

“On April 5, 2022, the Kaduna Police Command received a report through the DPO, Buruku, that a distress call was received to the effect that unspecified number of armed bandits had blocked the Buruku/Birnin Gwari road around Kwanan Ruwa village of Chikun Local Council in their desperate attempt to kidnap commuters.

“Operatives were immediately mobilised to the area and upon sighting the operatives, the bandits started shooting in an effort to whisk away their victims. The operatives tactically engaged them and forced them to retreat into the nearby bush, abandoning their victims, which the officers rescued unhurt,” Jalige said.

THE Borno State Police Command and Directorate of State Services (DSS) have charged Islamic clerics to preach peaceful coexistence during Ramadan.

The Commissioner of Police, Abdu Umar, gave the charge, yesterday, in Maiduguri during a stakeholders’ meeting to regulate preaching in mosques and other public functions.

“This stakeholders’ meeting is inevitable for preachers to be reminded and abide by the existing law on preaching passed in 2010 by the state government,” he said, noting that “it is mandatory for preachers to obtain licences before embarking on the activities, including preaching during the Ramadan fast.”

MEANWHILE, the Coalition of Ethnic Youth Nationalities from Plateau North Senatorial Zone, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Plateau State chapter, youth and women wings, yesterday, gathered at the Government House to protest against the recent killings in Bassa communities.

Several communities had, in the past few days, come under attack by gunmen suspected to be herdsmen in Bassa local government council of the state.

Led by the National President of the Irigwe Youth Movement (IYM), Ezekiel Bini, the residents called on government to show commitment to security.

Bini said the continuous killings have forced the Irigwe people and other groups on Plateau to come out in protest to let the government and the world know what is going on the need to put an immediate stop to the situation.

Addressing the protesters, Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Prof Danladi Atu, stated that the state government was working on resolving the killings in Irigwe land, to bring lasting peace to the communities.

Source: Guardian

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Ondo Muslim Community Condemns Return Of Schools To Original Owners


Bola Ojuola

Thu, 07 Apr 2022 06:22:33 GMT

Muslim community in Ondo State has condemned the decision of Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu to return some public schools to their original owners.

Addressing newsmen at a briefing yesterday in Akure, the Ondo State capital, Alhaji Abdul Rasheed Akerele, General Secretary, League of Imams and Alfas in Ondo State said the steps were aimed at giving public property to empower some individuals in Faith-Based Organisations (FBOs).

The cleric who frowned against returning public schools to the FBOs alleged that the action would deny some children from going to such schools.

Already, the state government has agreed to return four schools to their original owners, urging others who want their schools back to come forward to claim them.

A committee headed by the Commissioner for Education, Mr Femi Agagu, has been set up by the state government. The committee is currently visiting the schools to be returned to their owners.

The cleric, however, threatened that the Muslim community would seek legal action if the state government failed to rescind the decision.

They urged the government not to return the schools to the missionaries because according to them it was illegal.

He said, “Ondo State government for the sake of posterity, the unborn generation, the development of the state and even for the sake of the traumatised and impoverished masses should not return schools to Faith-Based Organisations.”

Source: Daily trust

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Clear That National Assembly Deputy Speaker's Ruling Is Erroneous: Chief Justice Of Pakistan

Haseeb Bhatti

April 7, 2022

Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial on Thursday said that it was clear that the April 3 ruling of National Assembly Deputy Speaker Qasim Khan Suri, which dismissed the no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan, was erroneous.

"The real question at hand is what happens next," he said, adding that now the PML-N counsel and the Attorney General of Pakistan (AGP) Khalid Jawed Khan would guide the court on how to proceed.

"We have to look at national interest," he said, adding that the court would issue a verdict today.

He made the remarks as a five-member bench, headed by CJP Bandial and comprising Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Justice Mazhar Alam Miankhel, Justice Munib Akhtar and Justice Mandokhel resumed hearing the suo motu case concerning the legality of the deputy speaker's ruling and the subsequent dissolution of the NA by the president on the PM's advice.

The AGP — who was the last to give his arguments — began by informing the court that he would not be able to give details of the recent meeting of the National Security Committee in an open courtroom. He asserted that the court could issue an order without questioning anyone's loyalty.

He argued that prime minister was the "biggest stakeholder" and, therefore, had the power to dissolve the NA. "The prime minister does not need to give reasons for dissolving the assembly," the AGP contended.

He also pointed out that the assembly would stand dissolved if the president did not make a decision on the prime minister's advice within 48 hours. He argued that voting on the no-confidence motion was not the fundamental right of a lawmaker.

"The right to vote is subject to the Constitution and assembly rules," Khan said. He also pointed out that if the NA speaker suspends a member, they cannot approach a court against it.

"Are you trying to say that voting on the no confidence motion is subject to the rules," the CJP asked, to which the AGP replied that all proceedings, including the no-confidence motion, were carried out in accordance with the rules.

The AGP said that there was no "firewall" that gave complete immunity to parliamentary proceedings. "The court will decide the extent to which parliamentary proceedings can be reviewed," he said. The AGP pointed out that the court could intervene if the speaker declared a person with the minority number of votes to be the prime minister.

At this, Justice Akhtar remarked that the speaker was the caretaker of the house. "The speaker is not there for his personal satisfaction. The speaker can't just give his opinion and ignore the members," he observed.

The AGP replied by saying that political parties play an important role in a parliamentary system of government. However, he pointed out that assembly had a term limit, not the members. "One individual has the power to dissolve the assembly."

The AGP claimed that the no-confidence motion against Imran Khan was "dismissed" on March 28.

'Ruling did not have deputy speaker's signature'

During the hearing, Justice Mandokhel said that even though Suri announced the April 3 ruling which dismissed the no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan, it was signed by Speaker Asad Qaiser.

He made the observation as Suri and Qaiser's lawyer, Naeem Bukhari, presented his arguments.

Responding to the judge's statement, Bukhari replied that perhaps the documents given to him might not be "original".

Justice Mandokhel also pointed out that the minutes of the parliamentary committee meeting, which were submitted to court by Bukhari, didn't prove if the deputy speaker was present.

Continuing, Justice Mandokhel asked whether the foreign minister was present during the parliamentary committee meeting, noting that his signature was not included in the record.

"Shouldn't the foreign minister have been present?" the judge asked, which prompted the lawyer to admit the minister should have been present.

At this, Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial pointed out that the national security adviser at the time, Moeed Yusuf's name was also not included in the record.

These remarks came as a five-member bench, headed by CJP Bandial and comprising Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Justice Mazhar Alam Miankhel, Justice Munib Akhtar and Justice Mandokhel resumed hearing the case at 9:30am today.

Bukhari began his arguments by stating that he would focus on whether a point of order could be discussed at any time. He argued that the apex court had refrained from interfering in parliamentary proceedings in the past and asked whether the court would have taken notice if the speaker had dismissed Fawad Chaudhry's point of order.

"When assemblies were dissolved in the past, the election process was not stopped even though it was declared unconstitutional," he said, asserting that the speaker could reject the no-trust move on a point of order. "This has never happened before but the speaker has the power [to do so]."

He said that the former minister had requested a point of order as soon as the session had began. "The point of order couldn't have been taken up had voting on the no-confidence motion started," he said.

Justice Mandokhel asked which law stated that the speaker had the power to dismiss the no-confidence motion. "We want to understand the definition of a point of order," he said.

"The question is whether a new point of order can be taken up once the no-confidence motion is introduced," the CJP said. Justice Akhtar also asked if the point of order was included in the day's agenda.

However, Bukhari replied that a point of order could be raised at any time.

"Voting on the no-confidence motion is a constitutional requirement," Justice Mandokhail pointed out. Can the rules be used to invalidate the constitutional right to vote, he wondered.

"Shouldn't the opposition have been given a chance to [respond] to the point of order?" the CJP further asked, to which the lawyer replied that it could not be debated.

Bukhari also presented the minutes of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security, during which contents of the ‘threat letter’ were shared with parliamentarians.

Talking about the briefing given to the committee, Bukhari said that the NA body was told that there would be consequences if the no-trust motion failed.

'Where is constitutional crisis?'

During today's hearing, Senator Ali Zafar, the president's counsel, was asked by Justice Miankhel if the prime minister was the people's representative. The lawyer replied in the affirmative.

Justice Miankhel then inquired if the premier would be protected if the Constitution was violated in parliament. "Is Parliament not the guardian of the Constitution?" he asked. He also questioned how justice would be awarded in case someone is affected due to parliamentary proceedings.

At this, Zafar replied that the Constitution must be protected in accordance with the rules it underlines. He said that in order to protect the Constitution, each and every article had to be kept in mind.

Justice Bandial then asked what would happen when an injustice was carried out against the entire assembly, not just one member.

"Can Parliament interfere if there's a conflict between judges," Zafar offered as a counter argument. "The answer is no. The judiciary has to settle the matter. It can't interfere just like Parliament can't [interfere in judges' matters]."

The CJP also asked whether the formation of the federal government was an "internal matter" of Parliament.

Zafar said that the no-confidence motion and the prime minister's election fell within the ambit of Parliament. He said that the National Assembly is formed for the purpose of appointing a speaker and a prime minister.

He also referred to former PM Mohammad Khan Junejo's case, who was dismissed by ex-president Gen Ziaul Haq. "Junejo's government was dissolved and the court declared it unconstitutional," Zafar pointed out, adding that the court did not interfere in actions taken after the dissolution of the assembly.

However, Justice Miankhel said that the matter at present concerned the no-confidence motion. "A ruling came after the motion. Address this issue," he told Zafar. CJP Bandial also said that the verdict he was referring to was related to the oath. "Here the matter is about the ruling, not the oath. We have to draw a line somewhere."

However, Zafar argued that in this case too elections were announced after dissolving the assembly.

At one point, the CJP asked Zafar why he wasn't explaining whether or not there was a constitutional crisis in the country. "If everything is happening according to the Constitution, where is the crisis?" he asked.

Zafar replied that he was also saying the same and there was no constitutional crisis in the country.

The CJP also observed that there seemed to be a violation of Article 95. He noted that holding elections cost the nation "billions of rupees".

However, Zafar argued that the announcement of the election showed there was no malice behind the government's move.

Justice Mandokhel questioned whether the prime minister could still advise the president to dissolve the assembly if a majority of the members were opposed to it.

Justice Ahsan noted that the PTI still held the majority despite the recent defections. "But what if the majority party is ousted from the system?" he wondered.

Zafar replied that the president's counsel couldn't comment on political matters and ended his arguments.

'NA proceedings beyond judiciary's jurisdiction'

he lawyer for interim Prime Minister Imran Khan, Imtiaz Siddiqui, began by pointing out that the judiciary had not interfered in parliamentary proceedings in the past.

"The matter at hand concerns NA proceedings. [But] NA proceedings lie beyond the judiciary's jurisdiction," he argued, urging the court to tell parliament to settle its own matters. He said that the opposition had not objected to the deputy speaker chairing the session.

"The deputy speaker made a decision according to what he thought was best," Siddiqui contended, adding that the deputy speaker wasn't accountable to the court for the ruling he gave. He reiterated that under Article 69, the apex court could not interfere in parliamentary proceedings.

Justice Akhtar noted that verdicts referenced concerned observations made by the courts. "The court is not bound by the observations given in the verdicts," he said.

Here, Siddiqui stated that the deputy speaker had relied on the assessment of the National Security Committee (NSC), adding that no one could influence the top forum.

This led the CJP to ask when the minutes of NSC meeting were presented before the deputy speaker. Siddiqui said that he unaware about matters concerning the deputy speaker, which prompted the court to tell the lawyer to refrain from talking about things he was unaware of.

"According to you, the deputy speaker was in possession of material on the basis of which he delivered his ruling," Justice Bandial observed, asking what would be the consequences of the premier violating Article 58.

He also observed that Suri had not objected to voting on March 28 but had passed the ruling on April 3. "Why did the deputy speaker not dismiss the no-trust motion on March 28?"

Justice Ahsan remarked that if the assembly was not dissolved, the house could have suspended the deputy speaker's ruling. "The prime minister took advantage of the situation and dissolved the assembly," he said.

However, Siddiqui argued that if the aim was to harm the Constitution, the deputy speaker could have suspended the membership of the dissident lawmakers. "The prime minister did not show any malice," he contended.

"You're saying that the prime minister made a plan," the chief justice said, again asking why the ruling was not issued on March 28 instead.

Siddiqui replied that no plan was hatched to dismiss the no-trust motion. "We dissolved our government ourselves," he said. He went on to quote the prime minister as saying that he would never have ended his government if there was any malice behind his actions.

He added that according to Imran, billions were spent on holdings elections and he was going to the nation against those who had ruled the country for many years.

Situation in Punjab

t the outset of the hearing, Punjab Advocate General Ahmed Awais brought the court's attention to the mock Punjab Assembly session held by the opposition on Wednesday where PML-N's Hamza Shehbaz was declared the new chief minister of the province.

He said that former Punjab governor Chaudhry Sarwar would administer the oath to Hamza at a ceremony at Bagh-i-Jinnah, adding that the PML-N leader had also called a meeting a bureaucrats for today. He contended that the Constitution was a "trivial matter" for the PML-N.

However, the CJP asserted that the apex court would not give any orders regarding the situation in Punjab and advised the counsel to take the matter to the high court.

Meanwhile, Justice Miankhel noted that the doors of the Punjab Assembly were sealed on Tuesday and wondered if this was allowed. However, the CJP reiterated that the court would not divert attention from the case at hand.

'No-trust resolution had constitutional backing'

During yesterday's hearing, PTI’s lawyer Babar Awan as well as Senator Ali Zafar, representing President Dr Arif Alvi, had argued before the Supreme Court. Today, the court is expected to hear the arguments of Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Khalid Jawed Khan and Naeem Bukhari — the counsel for NA Speaker Asad Qaiser.

Justice Bandial on Wednesday observed that even though Article 69 of the Constitution bars interference in parliamentary proceedings, what happened on April 3 was unprecedented.

“The no-confidence resolution which had a constitutional backing and liable to be succeeded was scuttled at the last minute,” the CJP regretted, adding that if “we permit such a deviation” then it would amount to what Advocate Salahuddin Ahmed had referred to on Tuesday.

Representing the Sindh High Court Bar Association, Advocate Ahmed had cited a 1933 incident when the speaker of the then German assembly, while branding members of the Communist Party as traitors, allowed voting on a constitutional amendment that vested Adolf Hitler and his cabinet with unlimited powers to bring any law without a formal approval of German parliament. That development led Germany's descent into fascism, the lawyer had recalled.

During the hearing, PML-N Senator Azam Nazir Tarar drew the court’s attention to the precarious situation in Punjab where the provincial assembly secretariat was sealed despite the calling of the session by the deputy speaker. Advocate Imtiaz Siddiqui, who represents the interim prime minister, however, declared the notification as fake.

At this, CJP Bandial said if the system was not functioning then the constitutional functionaries had the authority to assemble anywhere, even at Bagh-i-Jinnah, to hold the session, instead of the assembly hall. He observed that the court didn’t want to get distracted by the situation in Punjab, adding that if “you people are at loggerheads with each other then go to the political sovereign”.

They should learn from the conduct of the National Assembly members who come to the court daily without making any noise and stand here with grace and dignity, the CJP said, adding that the provincial assembly members should find their own solution.

Justice Bandial observed that though the NA deputy speaker’s ruling, according to the lawyer, might be flawed, it was protected under Article 69 of the Constitution. Eventually, the ruling later led to dissolution of the National Assembly for fresh elections.

“Where is the malice if this development is not anti-democratic,” the CJP wondered, but then said there was an element of trickery and if the members had any grouse then why were they afraid of fresh elections?

Justice Mandokhel observed that when political parties believed that floor crossing was malice and all the political parties had suffered in the past, then they must discover the weaknesses which encouraged members to change loyalties and should find a solution by concentrating on institution building.

He said the court would decide the present case in the interest of the country that would be binding upon all. He wondered why the entire assembly was thrown out instead of inquiring about the conduct of those who connived with a foreign state to dislodge the government.

Justice Akhtar recalled that the UK Supreme Court had ruled the other day that it was the court which would determine the privileges of members of parliament.

Senator Ali Zafar argued that the law of parliamentary privileges had been developed in the context of the principle of trichotomy of powers, under which parliament had certain privileges — the fundamental and foremost privileges are that parliament is the sole and exclusive judge and master of its own proceedings and business and no decisions or rulings made while conducting parliamentary proceedings or business were justiciable.

The president’s counsel cited a recent speech of Justice Maqbool Baqar who emphasised the delicate balance between institutions through mutual balance like honeycomb. He said it was also part of parliamentary privileges that no officer, including the deputy speaker, was subject to jurisdiction of courts in respect of parliamentary privileges or proceedings.

The law on parliamentary privileges is the same as that of the UK House of Commons.

“It is only if a proceeding is outside the scope of proceedings in parliament that the court can examine,” Zafar argued, adding that the Supreme Court could look into the subsequent development of the dissolution of the National Assembly on the advice of the prime minister but not the ruling of the deputy speaker.

“The vote of confidence is clearly a matter of proceedings in the National Assembly and any ruling passed by the speaker or deputy speaker in respect thereof or during the same is not justiciable,” he said.

“In view of the constitutional crisis, the best and the only solution lies with the ultimate sovereign i.e. the people of Pakistan,” he argued, adding that the only remedy available was election.

“Since the appeal has been made to the people of Pakistan and elections are to take place in 90 days, as per the established practice and prudence established by the courts, it should not be interfered at this stage and let the people decide.

“The dissolution of the assemblies is an independent act undertaken by the president under Article 48(5), read with Article 58. At the time, no resolution of no confidence was pending against the prime minister and, hence, the dissolution cannot be questioned under Article 48(4),” the counsel emphasised.

Zafar pointed out that when the elections of the Senate chairman was challenged in the Islamabad High Court, it had ruled that the constitutional elections in parliament were protected [from judicial intervention] as well.

He said the court could only review the speaker's ruling on the no-confidence motion if it decided to not consider it a parliamentary proceeding.

"What if the votes are not enough but the speaker announces that the no-confidence motion has succeeded?" Justice Mandokhail asked. "What will happen then?

"These may be parliamentary issues but the court cannot monitor the parliament." The lawyer contended that the parliament should be given a chance to solve its issues itself.

The CJP observed that Zafar's argument that the speaker's ruling was protected even if it was wrong was interesting. "After the ruling, the NA was dissolved and fresh elections were announced," the CJP noted, adding that "it was decided to go to the public."

The CJP said that the lawyers of PML-N would be asked what the issue was in going to the public. Justice Ahsan then asked how someone's rights were affected by going into elections. At this point, the CJP reiterated that the case concerned the violation of Article 95 of the Constitution.

"The SC can intervene wherever the Constitution is breached," Justice Bandial said, but added that "we respect the sanctity of parliament."

Suo motu notice

n Sunday, CJP Bandial had taken suo motu notice of the situation after the deputy speaker's dismissal of the no-confidence motion against the premier, clubbing multiple petitions filed by various parties with it.

After a brief hearing, a written order was issued which said the court would like to "examine whether such an action (dismissal of the no-trust motion on the basis of Article 5) is protected by the ouster (removal from the court's jurisdiction) contained in Article 69 of the Constitution."

Article 69 of the Constitution essentially restricts the court's jurisdiction to exercise authority on a member or officer of parliament with respect to the functions of regulating parliamentary proceedings or conducting business.

"No officer or member of Majlis-i-Shoora (parliament) in whom powers are vested by or under the Constitution for regulating procedure or the conduct of business, or for maintaining order in Majlis-i-Shoora, shall be subject to the jurisdiction of any court in respect of the exercise by him of those powers," clause two of the Article reads.

The court had also ordered all state functionaries and authorities — as well as political parties — to refrain from taking any advantage of the current situation and stay strictly within the confines of the Constitution.

Dismissal of no-trust motion

The weeks-long political turmoil in the country reached its climax on April 3 after the NA Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri prorogued a much-awaited session of the lower house of parliament without allowing voting on a no-trust motion against PM Imran.

Suri, who was chairing the session, dismissed the motion in a shock move, terming it against Article 5 of the Constitution.

At the outset of the session, PTI's Fawad Chaudhry took the floor and referred to the clause, reiterating the premier's earlier claims that a foreign conspiracy was behind the move to oust the government.

"On March 7, our official ambassador was invited to a meeting attended by the representatives of other countries. The meeting was told that a motion against PM Imran was being presented," he said, noting that this occurred a day before the opposition formally filed the no-trust move.

"We were told that relations with Pakistan were dependent on the success of the no-confidence motion. We were told that if the motion fails, then Pakistan's path would be very difficult. This is an operation for a regime change by a foreign government," he alleged.

The minister questioned how this could be allowed and called on the deputy speaker to decide the constitutionality of the no-trust move.

At that, Suri noted that the motion, which was presented on March 8, should be in accordance with the law and the Constitution. "No foreign power shall be allowed to topple an elected government through a conspiracy," he said, adding that the points raised by the minister were "valid".

He dismissed the motion, ruling that it was "contradictory" to the law, the Constitution and the rules.

Dissolution of NA

Within minutes after the NA sitting, PM Imran, in an address to the nation, said he had advised the president to "dissolve assemblies".

He also congratulated the nation for the no-trust motion being dismissed, saying the deputy speaker had "rejected the attempt of changing the regime [and] the foreign conspiracy".

The premier further said he had written to the president with advice to dissolve the assemblies, adding that the democrats should go to the public and elections should be held so the people could decide who they wanted in power.

"Prepare for elections. No corrupt forces will decide what the future of the country will be. When the assemblies will be dissolved, the procedure for the next elections and the caretaker government will begin," he added.

Subsequently, President Alvi dissolved the NA under Article 58 of the Constitution.

Later in the evening, the Cabinet Division issued a notification, declaring that Imran Khan ceased to hold the prime minister’s office with immediate effect. “Consequent upon dissolution of the National Assembly by the president of Pakistan, in terms of Article 58(1) read with Article 48(1) of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan… Mr Imran Ahmad Khan Niazi ceases to hold the office of prime minister of Pakistan, with immediate effect,” it read.

However, later, the president issued a notification allowing him to continue as the prime minister.

Source: Dawn

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Military’s silence making neutrality claim doubtful, says PDM

Amir Wasim

April 7, 2022

ISLAMABAD: The opposition Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) on Wednesday again asked the military leadership to clarify its position on the issue of alleged foreign conspiracy in the no-confidence resolution against Prime Minister Imran Khan, stating that silence was making their claim of neutrality doubtful.

Speaking at a news conference after presiding over a meeting of the PDM with PML-N president Shehbaz Sharif, president of the opposition alliance Maulana Fazlur Rehman said if the Supreme Court gave any verdict against them then they had the right to go people’s court.

The Maulana said that besides him and Mr Sharif, PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari had also urged the representatives of the military establishment who had attended the meeting of the National Security Committee (NSC) on March 31 to come out with their stance.

The PDM chief said they would never accept the unconstitutional ruling of the deputy speaker, adding that the joint opposition was making efforts to save the country from facing anarchy. However, he declared that if the PTI wanted confrontation then they were also ready for it. He said the delay by the SC in the hearing of the case was encouraging those who had abrogated the Constitution.

Earlier in the day, Maulana Fazl gave a call to the public to observe Friday (tomorrow) as the day for protection of the country’s Constitution, asking Ulema and Imams of mos­ques to apprise the masses of the “abrogation” of the Constitution by the PTI government in their sermons.

He alleged that the PTI and its workers were making efforts to provoke the workers of other parties in an effort to cause violence and spread anarchy in the country. He asked the people to come out and raise voice against the act of the PTI government.

The Maulana said the constitutional crisis, which begun in the country with the controversial ruling of National Assembly Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri on April 3, has now worsened and the dissolution of the assembly by the prime minister made it more serious. The PDM chief said it would be the job of the new government to announce the election schedule, adding that there could be no free and fair elections under the set-up to be installed by the PTI.

He said declaring the national leadership traitors was not a joke; it was an insult to the elected representatives.

Source: Dawn

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Asad’s departure not abrupt, shows embassy record

Anwar Iqbal

April 7, 2022

WASHINGTON: Pakistan’s former ambassador to the United States Asad Majeed Khan returned to Islamabad on March 24 after completing his tenure and did not leave the country abruptly, the embassy record shows.

Ambassador Khan arrived in Washington soon after his predecessor, Ambassador Jehangir Siddiqui, relinquished his job on Dec 25, 2018, and he presented his credentials to former US president Donald Trump on Jan 11, 2019.

Ambassador Asad Khan completed his three-year term on Jan 11, 2022, but stayed in Washington till March 24 on the arrival of ambassador-designate Sardar Masood Khan. Ambassador Asad Khan is now Pakistan’s ambassador-designate in Brussels.

At a news briefing in Lahore on Tuesday, PML-N vice president Maryam Nawaz described Asad Majeed Khan as the main character behind the so-called ‘threat letter’ controversy, which blames the Biden administration for backing the move to topple the PTI government. “The letter was a drama that was why the ambassador [Majid] was transferred to Brussels overnight,” she said.

Maryam described him as the main character behind so-called ‘threat letter’ controversy

But records maintained at the Pakistan Embassy and media reports showed that “there’s nothing abrupt about Ambassador Khan’s arrival or departure”, as a diplomatic source said.

The news about diplomatic changes in Washington, Brussels and Riyadh first appeared in the Pakistani media in October last year, stating that Masood Khan, the 27th president of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, is going to Washington as the country’s new envoy.

The reports pointed out that he would replace Ambassador Asad Khan who is going to Brussels as the new envoy to the European Union, Belgium and Luxembourg.

On Nov 4, 2021, the Pakistan Embassy in Washington confirmed that it had received nomination papers for Ambassador Masood Khan. The embassy submitted Mr Khan’s agrément to the State Department later that month.

In February, the Biden administration approved Mr Khan’s papers, starting the process for his arrival in Washington. The approval took longer than usual because of the Covid-19 pandemic which had impacted the entire administrative machinery across the United States.

The delay, however, gave the Indian lobby in the US an opportunity to launch a vilifying campaign against Mr Khan because of his Kashmiri origin and Ambassador Asad Khan played a key role in combating the propaganda against his senior. Ambassador Asad Khan, although a grade-22 career diplomat, is junior to Masood Khan who had retired from service after representing Pakistan at the UN and in China as an ambassador.

On the evening of his departure, Congress­woman Sheila Jackson Lee, Chairwoman of the Pakistan caucus in the US Congress, presented to him Certificate of Congressional Recognition for his efforts in promoting US-Pakistan relations.

“I firmly believe that our future lies in further strengthening Pakistan-US partnership and working together for shared objectives,” said Ambassador Asad Khan while thanking Congress for recognising his work.

Source: Dawn

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Hamza Shehbaz 'elected' Punjab chief minister, opposition claims

Umar Farooq | Adnan Sheikh | Ali WaqarPublished

April 6, 2022

The screengrab shows barbed wires being installed atop a boundary wall of the Punjab Assembly building. — Photo by author

PML-N leaders Maryam Nawaz (L) and Hamza Shehbaz (R) address a press conference in Lahore. — DawnNewsTV

A session of opposition lawmakers from Punjab Assembly underway at a hotel after actual assembly building was sealed off. — Photo: DawnNewsTV

PML-N Vice-President Maryam Nawaz and Leader of the Opposition in the Punjab Assembly, Hamza Shehbaz — who is their party's candidate for the vacant Punjab chief ministry — seen riding a bus towards a hotel alongside other party leaders. — Photo courtesy: DawnNewsTV

The screengrab shows barbed wires being installed atop a boundary wall of the Punjab Assembly building. — Photo by author

PML-N leaders Maryam Nawaz (L) and Hamza Shehbaz (R) address a press conference in Lahore. — DawnNewsTV

A session of opposition lawmakers from Punjab Assembly underway at a hotel after actual assembly building was sealed off. — Photo: DawnNewsTV

PML-N Vice-President Maryam Nawaz and Leader of the Opposition in the Punjab Assembly, Hamza Shehbaz — who is their party's candidate for the vacant Punjab chief ministry — seen riding a bus towards a hotel alongside other party leaders. — Photo courtesy: DawnNewsTV

The screengrab shows barbed wires being installed atop a boundary wall of the Punjab Assembly building. — Photo by author

After the Punjab Assembly was on Wednesday sealed off with barbed wires and the building's main gate was locked, the opposition lawmakers, led by the PML-N, held a session of their own at a private hotel, with PML-N Vice-President Maryam Nawaz claiming that Hamza Shehbaz had been "elected" as the Punjab chief minister.

The legality of the session and Hamza's subsequent "victory" was unclear as the session was held outside the Punjab Assembly and attended only by opposition lawmakers, while neither Speaker Parvez Elahi nor Deputy Speaker Sardar Dost Muhammad Mazari presided it. Furthermore, no notifications regarding the change of session's venue or Hamza's "victory" were issued by the Punjab Assembly secretariat.

The session was instead presided over by PPP MPA Shazia Abid, who told that she was appointed to the panel of chairmen for the 40th session of the Punjab Assembly on April 3. According to the Rules of Procedure of the Provincial Assembly of the Punjab 1997, a member of the panel of chairmen can preside over the session in the absence of speaker and the deputy speaker. Her presence on the panel was corroborated by a statement issued by Punjab Assembly Secretary Muhammad Khan Bhatti on April 2.

Panel of Chairmen.– (1) At the commencement of a session, the Speaker shall nominate, in order of precedence, from amongst members a panel of not more than four Chairmen and in the absence of the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker, the member having precedence amongst those present at the sitting shall take the Chair.

It is pertinent to mention that the joint opposition had held a mock session in the National Assembly on Sunday after the actual session was wrapped up by NA Depute Speaker Qasim Khan Suri.

However, in a tweet prior to the commencement of the gathering, Maryam said that tonight's session would have the backing of the "Constitution and law" and will not just be symbolic.

"The session of the Punjab Assembly that is going to take place presently is not symbolic but a constitutional and legal one," she tweeted. "God willing, the PML-N is going to prove its majority."

She later tweeted that Hamza had been "elected" as Punjab's new chief minister by the opposition members with 199 votes.

PML-N Information Secretary Marriyum Aurangzeb shared a video of the two PML-N scions greeting and congratulating each other.

Speaking on the legality of today's vote, PML-N leader Rana Sanaullah told Geo News that assembly session had been held at Faletti's Hotel in the past as well, adding that if a majority of the MPAs had expressed their confidence in Hamza then "indeed constitutionally and legally Hamza is Punjab's CM."

Addressing a press conference after the session, Maryam and Hamza thanked Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf's dissident Jahangir Khan Tareen and Aleem Khan groups, the PPP and others for their support.

The two also decried the sealing of the Punjab Assembly and particularly criticised Parvez Elahi for his alleged involvement in the matter.

Hamza challenged the PML-Q leader to contest for chief ministry against him in a fair manner and said Elahi would have to answer for his "black actions".

Both the PML-N leaders thanked the Jahangir Khan Tareen group, Aleem Khan group, PPP, Asad Khokhar group and others for their support to Hamza.

The two also lashed out at the sealing of the Punjab Assembly and took aim at PML-Q chief Pervez Elahi in particular for his alleged role in the events.

Reacting to the development, PML-Q leader Moonis Elahi, whose father and party leader Chaudhry Parvez Elahi is also a candidate for chief ministry, quipped: "Congratulations Hamza sahab for becoming the chief minister of Faletti's Hotel."

Mazari says session can be held anywhere; PA spox questions legality

Earlier, while talking to the media in Lahore, Deputy Speaker Sardar Dost Muhammad Mazari said that an assembly session could be called anywhere.

He said he had consulted legal experts who advised him to carry out the chief minister's election "immediately on today's date".

Mazari alleged the PA Speaker Chaudhry Parvez Elahi and his staff were afraid that he would create a dangerous situation for them.

He said he had exercised his authority in accordance with the Constitution as the biggest province of Pakistan was without a chief minister.

It is pertinent to mention that during a Supreme Court hearing earlier in the day, Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial was told that the Punjab Assembly staff were not following the directives issued by the deputy speaker. At this, he had remarked that if the system was not cooperating then constitutional officeholders could use their rights.

"The deputy speaker can call the session in Bagh-i-Jinnah if he wants," he said.

However, a Punjab Assembly spokesperson said in a statement that the deputy speaker could not preside over a session of the assembly after the submission of a no-confidence motion against him.

"Constitutionally, the deputy speaker does not have the authority to preside over any session," the spokesperson said, adding that Mazari chairing any assembly session would be in violation of the Constitution.

Punjab Assembly sealed off with barbed wire, gate locked

Earlier, a large contingent of police carrying batons and equipped with shields was deployed outside the actual building of the assembly. Water cannons and Rescue 1122 vehicles were also present outside the assembly's building.

The development coincided with the submission of a no-confidence motion against Deputy Speaker Sardar Dost Muhammad Mazari, after he said the session for the chief minister's election would take place tonight at 7:30 pm, but a spokesperson for the provincial assembly and Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) denied the development.

Bilawal decries sealing of Punjab Assembly

Reacting to the sealing of the provincial assembly, PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari decried that the deputy speaker had been "locked out" of the assembly on the day of voting for the chief minister's election.

The PPP chief said in a tweet: "If it takes 30 seconds to pull off a coup, it should take 30 seconds to undo a coup. Justice delayed is justice denied. After last week's constitutional breakdown in Islamabad, today Punjab deputy speaker was locked out of [the] assembly on [the] day of voting for CM. Barbered [sic] wire around people's house."

Earlier, Maryam announced that she would be reaching the Punjab Assembly at 7pm tonight to support Hamza.

"To stand with Hamza who clearly has the majority, I will be going to [the] Punjab Assembly ijlaas (session) at 7[pm] Insha’Allah," she tweeted.

No-confidence motion submitted against deputy speaker

The resolution seeking the removal of the deputy speaker was filed by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and PML-Q lawmakers today morning, the PML-Q spokesperson confirmed to He said the resolution was submitted at the office of the Punjab Assembly's secretary.

The resolution, a copy of which is available with, was addressed to the provincial assembly speaker, PML-Q's Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, who is also a candidate for the chief minister.

In the resolution, the lawmakers said Mazari had lost the confidence of the majority of the house and that provincial assembly proceedings were not being carried out according to the Constitution.

They maintained that in light of the "current situation in the country, he (Mazari) had eradicated democratic norms in the provincial assembly of Punjab".

"We, the members of PTI and PML, hereby give notice under 53 (7) (c) read with Article 127 of the Constitution under rule 12 of the Rules of Procedure Provincial Assembly of Punjab, 1997 for [...] the resolution for removal of the deputy speaker of the Punjab Assembly," the motion read.

According to rule 12, a no-confidence motion against a speaker or deputy speaker shall be entered into the provincial assembly's List of Business for the first working day after the expiry of seven days of the receipt of the notice. The rule further says that "no other item shall be included in the List of Business for the day fixed for a motion for leave to move a resolution".

According to the rule, the votes of at least one-fourth of the total members the house will be required for the tabling of the resolution.

The rule further states that the assembly "should not be adjourned until the motion for leave is disposed of or, if the leave is granted [to move the resolution], the resolution has been voted upon".

Article 53 (7) (c) of the Constitution also pertains to the removal of a speaker or deputy speaker, stating that "the office of the speaker or deputy speaker shall become vacant if he is removed from the office by a resolution of the assembly, of which not less than seven days' notice has been given, which is passed by the votes of the majority of the total membership of the assembly."

Following the submission of the no-confidence motion, the PML-Q spokesperson said Mazari no longer had the authority to call an assembly session.

Later, the Punjab Assembly speaker issued a notification, withdrawing all powers delegated to Mazari.

The notification, a copy of which is available with, read: "In suppression of my earlier order and in exercise of the powers vested in me under rule 15 read with rule 235 of the Rules of Procedures of the Provincial Assembly of Punjab, 1997, I, Parvez Elahi, speaker [of] the provincial assembly of Punjab, hereby withdraw the powers delegated to Mr deputy speaker in terms of rule 25 of the Rules ibid with immediate effect."

Confusion over the session

On Tuesday, Mazari had moved the assembly session for electing the province's next chief minister to April 16 at 11:30am, citing repair and maintenance work in the assembly hall as the reason.

However, in a late night development, he had superseded his earlier order and summoned the PA to meet at 7:30pm tonight — a development that was denied by a spokesperson for the provincial assembly and the PML-Q.

Speaking to DawnNewsTV, the deputy speaker asserted that the assembly session would be held today. He also accused some PA staff members of playing the "wrong role" in the convening of the session, stating that they were "spreading confusion".

"The session has been scheduled for today in light of the directions of the Supreme Court," he said, adding that the same had been conveyed to Chaudhry Parvez Elahi.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court had dictated an order highlighting the assurance held out by Punjab Advocate General Ahmed Awais that the proceedings of the PA would be conducted today within the ambit of the law and the Constitution.

Mazari said he would play his "constitutional role" in the election for the province's chief minister. He added that he had issued the notification for convening the session today after consulting with his lawyers and stood by it.

Separately, the spokesperson for the PA speaker, claimed that the assembly session would be held on April 16.

"The assembly session has been adjourned till April 16 due to ongoing repair work," Dr Zain Ali said, adding that the assembly hall and the lobby sustained damage due to "commotion".

"The assembly session will not be held today," he concluded.

On Tuesday, PML-Q leader Moonis Elahi had told Dawn that the new notification issued by the deputy speaker was ‘fake’ as it did not have a diary number and was written on a plain piece of paper and had asserted that the session would be held on April 16.

Meanwhile, the PML-N has said that its own MPAs as well as dissidents from the PTI will converge at the assembly today to push for convening the session without any delay.

Punjab chief minister election

The provincial assembly has to elect the new leader of the house after Usman Buzdar resigned last month after a no-confidence motion was submitted against him. PML-Q's Elahi and PML-N's Hamza Shehbaz, who has secured the support of PTI's dissident lawmakers, the Jahangir Khan Tarin and Aleem Khan groups, are expected to go head to head in the race to become the next chief minister.

To be elected as chief minister, a candidate will need at least 186 votes in the 371-member house.

In the Punjab Assembly, the PTI has 183 lawmakers, PML-Q 10, PML-N 165, PPP seven, five are independent and one belongs to Rah-i-Haq.

The decisive factor in the election will be the support of the Jahangir Tarin group, which is said to have the votes of at least 16 MPAs.

Source: Dawn

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A midnight kitchen in Karachi where Sehri is made for the needy

Shazia Hasan

April 7, 2022

KARACHI: “There are many who offer free iftar to all during Ramazan. But there won’t be many who offer Sehri. We are here just to do that,” Sajid Bin Zia told Dawn.

Under the umbrella of their NGO Faith Foundation, which they started in 2010 to help guide and mentor people to choose careers they had an aptitude and potential for, Sajid and wife Wajiha also run the langar kitchen from inside the Navy Housing Scheme in Zamzama, Defence Housing Authority (DHA). The couple live there, inside the gated area, with Sajid’s parents. His father is a retired Navy officer. Sajid and Wajiha are jewellery designers as well as gold and diamond jewellery wholesalers. He is also a certified gemologist and a financial construction and reconstruction consultant.

Working during the day, the couple come to their kitchen in the evening after Taraweeh to prepare Sehri. Wajiha, who is also a trained chef, cooks everything herself. “I make continental dishes too but for Sehri in Ramazan, I’m concentrating on Pakistani food,” said Wajiha, who cooked daal gosht for the first Sehri, Chicken Changezi for the second, chicken nihari for the third and Karahi chicken for the fourth. “Ever since I remember, I’ve loved to cook. And doing it for a good cause motivates me even further,” she added.

Starting around 10.30pm, the couple are done with the cooking by midnight. Then leaving the food to cool for a bit they start packing portions, per person, into plastic bags. “It’s all ready to be distributed by 2am. That’s when we step out of our home to neighbouring areas such as Neelum Colony and some commercial areas where there are hundreds of people with no means of preparing Sehri themselves,” said Sajid.

Couple start cooking at night and distribute food packets in poor neighbourhoods

This Sehri drive is recent. It was started this Ramazan only. Earlier, the couple used to distribute lunches. “We have been in and out of poor neighbourhoods to have a fairly good idea of the poor localities where you find deserving people, and daily wagers,” said Sajid.

“And not just poor neighbourhoods, we also distribute food packets to servants of the rich. Sadly, there are houses here in DHA who hire more domestic help than they have household members. And they do not provide food to the people who work for them. Their employers expect them to buy their meals from some nearby hotel or something,” Sajid pointed out.

“You know even if we can ease their burden by helping them save even Rs100 a day, it would be a great help for their daily economics. Maybe the money they save this way can be used for something important such as for their children’s education,” he said.

“Our NGO, Faith Foundation, also invites people to feed people. You can feed one person for Rs90 and 100 persons for Rs9,000. A bag of rations for a home can also be bought from us for Rs3,000,” he said.

“We always wanted to do this. But earlier, we didn’t have a place for cooking food for so many people. Now, we are grateful to the Pakistan Navy to have provided us with a space for our langar Kitchen. We cleaned it up, renovated it and painted it to make it hygienic. We also set up a reverse osmosis plant there as we needed clean water for cooking. Now that we also have a gas connection there, we have started cooking curries or rice. But we don’t have enough funds to also set up a Tandoor as yet.

“I have tried remedying this by visiting nearby Tandoors myself and asking them to donate us some rotis for free. And this way I have managed to get around 200 rotis for free every day to pack with the curry packets before delivering them to the people,” said Sajid, who has himself been wheelchair-bound since 2002 when he was in an accident at a construction site.

Source: Dawn

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Israel bans head of Palestinian prisoners' family committee from Al-Aqsa Mosque

April 6, 2022

The Israeli occupation's police today issued an order banning Amjad Abu Asab, head of the Family Committee of the Jerusalemite Prisoners, from entering Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Old City's Bab al-Amoud (Damascus Gate) area for several weeks, the Palestinian Information Centre reported.

According to local media sources, the  police released Abu Asab on condition that he stay away from Al-Aqsa Mosque and Bab Al-Amoud for one month.

Abu Asab was detained by police yesterday while he was at the Moskobiya detention centre as he was waiting for the release of Jerusalemite prisoner Shadi Ash-Sharfa.

Source: Middleeastmoniter

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Calls for Palestinians to increase presence at Al-Aqsa Mosque

April 7, 2022

Sheikh Kamal Al-Khatib, deputy chief of Islamic Movement in Israel, yesterday called on Palestinians to increase their presence in Al-Aqsa Mosque to "undermine planned Jewish religious rituals," Al-Resalah newspaper reported.

Al-Khatib said that right-wing Israelis and rabbis are preparing to "practice animal sacrifice" inside the Islamic holy site on the occasion of the Passover holiday, which falls between 17-23 April, which coincides with days 16-22 of the Muslim month of fasting Ramadan.

He also revealed that the Israeli occupation is preparing to build the so-called third Jewish Temple in place of Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Al-Khatib added that the numerous raids of the Muslim holy site by Israelis and officials "represent continuous violations against the Palestinian people without any respect for the holy month of Ramadan."

Adding that he expects a fierce popular uprising to ignite due to the "continuous Israeli violations against Palestinians, not only inside and around Al-Aqsa Mosque but everywhere across the occupied territories."

Source: middleeastmonitor

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Muslims in Oman face jail, fine if found eating, drinking during the day in Ramadan

April 6, 2022

Men serve Iftar food for Muslim devotees prior to breaking their fast during the holy month of Ramadan on May 09, 2019 in the Omani capital Muscat [MOHAMMED MAHJOUB/AFP via Getty Images]Men serve Iftar food for Muslim devotees prior to breaking their fast during the holy month of Ramadan on May 09, 2019 in the Omani capital Muscat [MOHAMMED MAHJOUB/AFP via Getty Images]

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Muslims in the Sultanate of Oman who are found eating in public in the daytime during the holy month of Ramadan will be jailed and fined.

According to the Penal Code, "A Muslim who publicly breaks the fast during the day in Ramadan shall be punished by imprisonment and a fine of OMR1 to OMR5, or one of these two penalties for [breaking fast] without a legitimate reason." Prison sentences can range between no less than ten days and a year.

Actions which are punishable are those which violate the fast, such as eating, drinking and smoking. The ruling does not apply to non-Muslims or those with legitimate reasons, including travelling or health issues.

Source: middleeastmonitor

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Ramadan sparks interest in traditional Syrian cuisine at iftar in Amman

Apr 07, 2022

Clotted cream wrapped in thin pastry on an underpinning of crushed pistachios tops off an already formidable collection of delicacies at a Syrian sweet shop in Amman.

Warbat Ramadan — twists of Ramadan — as the pastry is called, has been introduced for the holy month at the Sit Al Sham (Damascus Lady) store in the Jasmin-Badr district.

The neighbourhood occupies a hilly area separating the relatively affluent western Amman from the mostly disadvantaged east.

It has become the de facto Syrian quarter in the capital over the past decade as Syrians have fled the country in the aftermath of the 2011 revolt against five decades of Assad family rule.

Amman, a relatively new capital, lacks the hustle and bustle of pre-revolt Syrian cities and their long tradition of business.

But Syrian refugees who have found employment mainly in food businesses in Jasmin-Badr, or those few who have managed to open their own, have injected variety — and some would say higher quality food — to the dusty, previously staid residential area.

A kilo of the clotted cream sweet sells for $17 at Sit Al Sham while pistachio baklava, the most costly item on the menu, is $35 a kilo.

In between are a large variety of sweets made from ingredients that range from semolina, almonds and walnuts to rose petals and cheese.

“In these economic conditions, $25 is a hefty sum. But the quality is high”, says Youssef, a manager at the shop.

Ramadan is traditionally a crucial month for business, says Youssef, who is from the city of Irbid near the border with Syria. Other workers at the shop are Syrian.

Many Jordanians are familiar with many of the sweets at Sit Al Sham because Syrian sweets were among the most in-demand items that traders and Jordanian visitors to Syria used to bring back home before 2011.

But another Syrian business in Jasmin-Badr, which opened in the last year, introduced a genre of Syrian specialities mostly unknown in the kingdom.

Its showpiece is Kibbeh, a mince of bulgur, onion, lamb and sun-dried chilli paste, oval-shaped and filled with pine nuts, along with more meat and onions.

The restaurant’s name is Fukhar and its owners are from Aleppo, the culinary capital of the Middle East. The ancient city, significantly destroyed by the regime and Russian bombing between 2015-2016, is known for 40 kinds of Kibbeh.

One of the more subtle variations available on Fukhar’s Wednesday menu is quince Kibbeh, a sweet and sour plate that dates back to a 1,000-year old recipe influenced by trade between Aleppo and China.

This Kibbeh swims in a sauce of quince, pomegranate molasses, garlic and mint, as opposed, for example, to sumac Kibbeh, which has a sauce primarily composed of the spice sumac and tomato.

Fukhar uses premium baladi (local) meat, which is raised by shepherds, and premium gee, or clarified butter.

But for those on a budget the restaurant can prepare on request Kibbeh using imported Romanian meat.

“It is half the price,” says Mustafa, a young Syrian from Aleppo who works at Fukhar. “Some customers cannot pay much.”

While the Syrian diaspora chefs have enriched the cuisine available in Jordan, a host of Syrian dishes can only be sampled at Syrian homes, where the Ramadan iftar provides a showcase of an ancient culinary tradition.

Source: The national news

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Iran condemns attack on Pul-e Khishti Mosque in Kabul

Apr 7, 2022

TEHRAN, Apr. 07 (MNA) – The Iranian embassy in Kabul in a statement condemned the terrorist attack on Pul-e Khishti Mosque in Kabul, which left 11 people injured.

The use of terrorist methods which jeopardize and threaten the security of Afghan people, including terrorist attack on Pul-e Khishti Mosque in Kabul which injured a number of fasting worshipers, is strongly condemned, the Iranian embassy said.

The embassy also wished the speedy recovery of the injured.

Pul-e Khishti Mosque is the largest mosque in Kabul which is located in a crowded part of the city. One person has been arrested in connection with the blast.

A massive explosion occurred at Pul-e Khishti Mosque in the center of Kabul, Afghanistan on April 6, injuring 11 of worshippers. According to informed sources, the blast was caused by throwing a grenade launcher against worshipers.

Source: En Mehr news

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Families urged to practise proven home safe methods during Ramadan

07 Apr 2022

Doha: The Hamad Injury Prevention Program (HIPP), Hamad Trauma Centre (HTC) of Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) is advising families and residents to practise proven home safe techniques during Ramadan.

In order to protect your family, the Hamad injury Prevention Program (HIPP)  highlights safety at home and especially at family gatherings during Ramadan.

Dr Aisha Abeid

Dr. Aisha Abeid, Assistant Director of the Hamad Injury Prevention Program at the Hamad Trauma Centre, advises all families, especially those with children, to be careful while they are at home and to create a safer environment for these children to avoid head injuries, cuts, burns, falls and drowning, which are the most common household injuries.

“Let us keep our families and friends safe together by supervising young children, ensuring their safety and preventing unnecessary injuries that may arise from adults being preoccupied at home.”

As she emphasised the importance of doing the following to reduce the risk of domestic injuries: assign a responsible adult to provide continuous and visual supervision over young children at all times; never leave your young child on a bed or counter unattended; keep poisonous and toxic household items, like detergents, medicines and cleaning products, in locked cabinets that are above ground and inaccessible to crawling and younger kids; keep choking hazards, like coins, buttons, batteries and small toys out of reach of small children and toddlers.

Any items that can fit through a toilet paper roll must be secured above ground in a closed container; create a ‘safe zone’ in the kitchen so children do not enter the kitchen while cooking or baking is going on; before you start your car check for hiding or playing small children around your car in your parking area specially before you backup or reverse; to prevent heat or sun strokes don’t allow young kids play outdoors for more than 30-45 minutes during extremely hot weather or during midday (10am to 3pm). Likewise, children left in a hot car, even for a few minutes, can also succumb to heat stroke.

If any of the above happen, call the HMC Ambulance Services immediately at 999.


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Israeli 'apartheid dates' flooding British markets

April 7, 2022

AhlulBayt News Agency (ABNA): Dates, a delicious sweet fruit enjoyed by millions of Muslims during the holy month of Ramadan. But what many don't know is that buying dates in Britain could make you complicit in Israeli crimes against Palestinians.

This is the warning message issued by Muslim groups urging the community take extra care not to be conned into buying Israel dates.

According to experts, dodgy date packaging is misleading consumers into believing they're buying dates from Palestinian farmers. Such as using Palestinian cultural symbols on the packaging or withholding the company address, making it harder for wholesalers to know where the dates came from.

The London-based Islamic Human Rights Commission has worked tirelessly to help educated consumers on which dates are OK for Muslims to buy.

Most Israeli date groves are located in the occupied Jordan valley and the Dead Sea area, with illegal settlements producing up to 60% of Israel's dates, which 40% of those are exported.

The UK is one of the highest importers of Israeli dates according to the Islamic Human Rights Commission. But that number is falling in part thanks to the boycott campaign.

Source: En abna24

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South Asia


Hand grenade wounds at least six in Kabul mosque

April 07, 2022

KABUL: A hand grenade was thrown into Kabul’s largest mosque as worshippers knelt in afternoon prayer on Wednesday, wounding at least six people, an Afghan police spokesman said, foreign media reported.

ne suspect is in Taliban custody, Kabul police spokesman Khalid Zadran said. No one has claimed responsibility but it was the second grenade attack in less than a week. At the weekend a grenade was thrown into the middle of a market occupied by money changers, killing one person and wounding 59 others.

Taliban officials blamed the attack on thieves trying to rob the market. The reason for the attack on the 18th century Pul-e-Khishti mosque in the middle of Kabul’s old city was unclear.

Source: The News

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Taliban condemns terrorist attack in Imam Reza holy shrine

April 7, 2022

AhlulBayt News Agency (ABNA): Taliban Spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid on Thursday condemned the attack on seminary students in holy shrine of Imam Reza (PBUH) in Mashhad, Khorasan Razavi province.

In a message on Thursday, he wrote that Taliban condemns the attack on places of worship and clerics in Iran and this has nothing to do with Afghans and Afghanistan.

Following the attack by an armed assailant on seminary students in the holy shrine of Imam Reza in Mashhad, which coincided with the third of fasting month of Ramadan, various Afghan users, activists and personalities condemned the heinous move.

In addition, various strata of Afghan citizens in Iran issued statements and condemned the attack and called on the two nations of Iran and Afghanistan not to be entangled in ethnic and religious seditions.

Also, Abdullah Abdullah, former chairman of the Supreme National Reconciliation Council of Afghanistan condemned the terrorist attack in Mashhad and said that the enemies are seeking to strain friendly relations between the two countries of Iran and Afghanistan.

A man with knife attacked the seminary students at Imam Reza shrine in the holy city of Mashhad in northeast Iran on Tuesday afternoon which led to the killing of a seminary student and injuring three seminary students.


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Why Should Afghanistan Implement the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA)?

Thursday, 07 Apr 2022

It has been almost five years that the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) has entered into force. As a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and as a party to the TFA, the previous Afghan government designated only 11.3% of TFA measures as its Category A commitments, which are those commitments that Afghanistan implemented as soon as the Agreement entered into force in 2017. However, Afghanistan failed to implement all of its important commitments under Category B and C, which are commitments that Afghanistan should have implemented with the passage of time and by receiving assistance and support from donors.

While there were significant support and assistance from international and regional organizations for implementation of the TFA, the Ministry Finance and Ministry of Industry and Commerce of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan were remiss, lacked co-ordination and did not prioritize its implementation. In the official TFA Notifications to WTO, the last measure which Afghanistan could implement was in 2027; however, in the Geneva 2020 Conference, the previous Afghan Government representatives had without any co-ordination and information agreed with the International Community in the Afghanistan Partnership Framework (APF) that the TFA should be fully implemented until 2021. In contrast to such contradictory commitments, until 2021 there had not been any implementation except the 11% of measures. To the contrary, there were some measures which had been moved from Category B to C, which meant that Afghanistan needed even more time than before for their implementation. This paper will argue that Afghanistan should prioritize the full implementation of the TFA because it will expedite the movement, release and clearance of goods at the customs and will strengthen co-operation among customs authorities.

With the full implementation of the TFA, the customs procedures and formalities will be simplified and harmonized, which will precipitate of the movement, release and clearance of goods at the customs. At a time when traders suffer from long delays in clearance of their goods at the customs, the full implementation of the TFA is the best way for Afghanistan to reduce this time. Based on Article 3 of the TFA, a member has to provide an applicant importer an advance ruling, which is a written decision prior to the importation of goods regarding the way goods will be treated when they are at the customs. If Afghanistan implements this provision, it will be beneficial not only for traders but also for the government. Traders will be able to determine and plan the costs of the transactions for the imported goods before their importation while the government can have more time in consulting and deciding the methodology of treating the goods compared to deciding such a question when the goods are at the customs.

Similarly, Article 7.3 of the TFA requires that the release of goods can happen even before the determination of customs duties, taxes, fees and charges. In order to make sure that the importer will pay the customs duties, taxes, charges after the goods are released, the customs authority can require a guarantee for it. Such a measure is helpful for the rapid release of goods when the administrative process takes longer than expected. Whereas Article 7.3 of TFA is a Category A commitment for Afghanistan, which means that it has been implemented since 2017, the implementation of only this measure cannot lead to expedited customs clearance when many other significantly important measures of TFA are not implemented.

In addition to improving the customs clearance of goods, the full implementation of the TFA can also strengthen co-operation among customs authorities. Articles 8 and 12 of the TFA, which are Category C commitments for Afghanistan, require the authorities responsible for importation, exportation, and transit of goods to co-operate and coordinate with each other. With the implementation of this measure in Afghanistan, there will be more co-ordination and co-operation between customs authorities, which can lead to the effectiveness of ports, timely release of goods, reduction of corruption at the customs, and an increase in international trade and private investment in the country. While there is no detailed and specific information in the TFA on how customs authorities should co-operate, there are World Customs Organization (WCO) conventions and guidelines which can help Afghanistan in implementing the provisions of TFA.

In a nutshell, the previous Afghan government could implement some, if not most, of its commitments under the TFA from 2017 until 2021; however, it failed to do so. Now that the Taliban are in power, it is not too late that the Taliban authorities should put genuine efforts for full implementation of the TFA. By doing so, not only will the TFA be implemented earlier than expected, but it will also bring about revenues for Afghanistan way more than can be extracted from tariff reductions. At a time when the domestic revenues and international aid have significantly decreased, Afghanistan can enjoy more revenues from customs by implementing the TFA.


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Arab World


With sweet recitation of Al-Khayf imam, ‘Otr Elkalam’ show takes fasting people to Mina and other sacred sites

April 07, 2022

RIYADH — The fifth episode of the international Holy Qur’an and call to prayer competition reminded fasting people of the scenes of Hajj pilgrimage and recitations in Al-Khayf Mosque.

The Imam of Al-Khayf Mosque in Mina was one of the participants in the episode of Otr Elkalam (Scent of Speech) TV show, which is broadcast at 5 p.m., Riyadh time, on Saudia TV channel and Shahid platform.

In Wednesday’s episode, Al-Khayf Imam Dr. Abdul Aziz Al-Damkh, who is known for his melodious voice, participated in the recitation branch of the competition.

Egyptian contestant Mohammed Al-Awadi, who learned and memorized the Holy Qur’an at Al-Azhar and taught about 400 Qur’an memorization students, also participated in the episode. Osama Al-Silawi from Iraq, who is known for his mellow voice, was the other contestant of the day.

The three contestants impressed the jury as well as the audience, which gave them good scores through voting. However, only Al-Awadi and Al-Silawi managed to qualify for the quarter-final round.

In the call to prayer branch, Saudi muezzins Ibrahim Al-Zahrani and Anas Al-Rahili reached the semi-finals, while their competitor, Egyptian Mohammed Abdul-Raouf Al-Suhaji, did not get enough votes to qualify.

The international Holy Qur'an and call to prayer competition targets talented people in their respective fields to highlight their beautiful voices reciting the Holy Qur’an and raising the call to prayer. It is one of the international initiatives organized and supervised by the General Entertainment Authority.


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Volume of daily donations via Ehsan reaches SR10 million in Ramadan

April 07, 2022

RIYADH — The volume of daily donations through the National Platform for Charitable Work (Ehsan) reached SR10 million during the holy month of Ramadan, its CEO Ibrahim Al-Hussaini announced.

Al-Hussaini's statement came during a television interview on Al-Arabiya channel. He said he expected the second national campaign for charitable work, which was approved by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman, would contribute to strengthening and increasing the volume of donations through the platform.

Ehsan is characterized by high transparency that enables donors to know their money's fate, as well as the mechanism for delivering it to the beneficiary, Al-Hussaini emphasized, citing the Furijat service, which allows people to help release prisoners by viewing specific prisoner data, as an example.

Al-Hussaini said as soon as a charitable payment is completed, the purpose of the donation will be implemented, whether it was for releasing a prisoner, paying electricity bills, or others.

The platform helps the donor to view the projects that need support and choose the opportunity according to his wish.

The donor will also receive a message after the implementation of the project updating him on the result and impact of his donation.

Al-Husseini confirmed that at a ceremony organized by Ehsan in appreciation of the generosity of prominent philanthropists of Saudi Arabia, the good-doers were handed a report of their donations and where the money was spent.


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Ramadan 2022: Don't let guard down against Covid, top UAE health official says

Shireena Al Nowais

Apr 07, 2022

A top health official in the UAE has encouraged people not to let their guard down against Covid-19 while celebrating Ramadan.

Dr Farida Al Hosani, the official spokeswoman for the UAE's healthcare sector, said daily Covid-19 cases have dropped substantially and there is a sense of normality after two years but that does not mean people should become lax about safety measures.

“Covid is still out there, and maintaining safety measures is still very important,” Dr Al Hosani said.

“We want to remind you of the precautionary measures, particularly the wearing of face masks in closed spaces and maintaining social distancing. We also advise the public to keep away from crowded areas.

Covid is still out there so wear face masks in closed spaces, maintain social distancing and keep away from crowded areas

Dr Farida Al Hosani

“We know that measures have eased not only in the UAE but the rest of the world however it is important to keep a balance and to continue to adhere to many of the health and safety measures that we have grown accustomed to over the past two years.

“This is important to maintain the current state of stability that we are witnessing.

“We also advise people to continue sanitising their hands and using hand sanitisers. We have noticed that some members of the community have become neglectful with regular hand washing and sanitising. These are simple practices that remain very important for everyone’s safety.”

Dr Farida said residents should avoid crowded areas and must ensure they wear masks properly while shopping.

“During Ramadan, we recommend avoiding visiting family and friends if you have any respiratory symptoms until you are sure that you are Covid-free and have tested negative.”

She said people should self isolate and avoid visiting family and friends or going to the mosque for prayers until they get a negative test result.

“The majority of the elderly are vaccinated and some have had Covid and have recovered but that doesn’t mean that we should be less careful and continue visiting them if we suspect that we have Covid ourselves.”

Dr Al Hosani said people should also follow safety rules at mosques.

“Thankfully now prayers can be done at the mosque which reflects the current state of stability that the country is witnessing but again, it is very important to continue wearing the mask and to bring your own prayer mat as well as maintain social distancing.”

For women going to the Tarawih prayers for the first time in two years, she advised them not to bring their children to the mosque.

Source: The National News

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King Abdulaziz Palace in Al-Muwayh... An Engineering Masterpiece Built according to Islamic Character

07 Apr, 2022

With its unique Islamic pattern and engineering designs that embodied the era of its construction in around the mid fourteenth Hijri century, the King Abdulaziz Palace in Al-Muwayh Governorate in Al-Taif can be seen as an architectural masterpiece that became one of the historical monuments in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The King Abdulaziz Palace is characterized by its central location among adjacent villages and its proximity to the Hajj road at that time between old Al-Muwayh (Al-Muwayh Al-Qadim) and the new Al-Muwayh, where its area is estimated at 14,900 square meters and it is almost 185 kilometers away from Taif to the east and is surrounded by a wall of solid black rocks with a height of 4.5 meters and a thickness of 100 centimeters, as its construction followed the identity of the area with the pattern of old Saudi palaces.

The palace is secured with two watchtowers and two castles from the eastern and northern sides, and is composed of a wall with a yard for the Royal compartment that is built with rock and gypsum, in addition to having protocol halls for receiving guests and visitors,and headquarters for prominent figures and accompanying government institutions.

Visitor of the palace can notice its rectangular shape that is to the west of the castle and has two entrances: the main entrance that includes housing and service units, dining room, bedrooms, bathrooms, and a palace for guests, in addition to containing several rooms overlooking an uncovered yard with a main entrance from the northern side and two wells that secured water for its residents, a mosque, several towers, room for preparing coffee, bedroom and a gas station to fill up cars, and another residential palace in the middle of the castle with six rooms.

Al-Muwayh, more than 85 years ago, had the honor to receive the late King Abdulaziz in its first visits in 1360 Hijri to the palace that was established in 1357 Hijri, where the palace was known as the top main stations of the late king upon his arrival for Hajj, Umrah, spending the summer or hunting, where he also used to meet with the citizens at the palace during his annual visit to the area.


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