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Al-Qaeda Magazine Ghazwa-e-Hind: 9/11 Should Be Remembered As A “Day of Difference”, or “Yaum-e-Tafriq”

New Age Islam News Bureau

15 October 2022


Representational image of an al-Qaeda militant | Commons


• Al-Qaeda Says, Transgender Rights in Pakistan Are ‘Sign of Doomsday’

• Pakistan May Be ‘One of the Most Dangerous Nations in the World’ As It Has “Nuclear Weapons without Any Cohesion”: Joe Biden

• French Education Minister to ‘Limit’ Muslim Clothing Associated With Muslim Cultures

• Iran’s Security Forces Have Killed 224 People, Including 29 Minors, During Mahsa Amini Protest: Rights group


Arab World

• Amnesty Slams Lebanon ‘Voluntary Returns’ Of Syria Refugees

• Saudi Crown Prince announces $400 million in humanitarian aid for Ukraine

• Qatar interested in Eastern Mediterranean oil exploration, says Lebanon

• Calls grow for answers about ‘troubling reports’ Biden admin pressured Saudi Arabia for oil cut delay

• Riyadh delegation thanks Yemen for good treatment of Saudi prisoners



• Former Balochistan High Court CJ Noor Meskanzai Gunned Down Outside Mosque In Balochistan's Kharan: Police

• Terrorism will not be allowed to flourish again in Pakistan, asserts PM Sharif

• A Decade after Malala Yousafzai Was Shot, the Pakistani Taliban Is Returning To Her Native Swat Valley

• National Security Committee vows firm response to resurging terrorism

• Three killed, six injured in Mastung bomb attack

• Pakistan says Saudi crown prince’s visit will strengthen bilateral defence ties


North America

• Biden likely to halt US arms sales to Saudi Arabia amid OPEC row: Senator

• White House: Saudis pushed OPEC+ nations into crude oil production cut



• Mosque in Germany's Cologne Broadcasts Call to Prayer For 1st Time

• EU’s Borrell calls on Iran to stop repression of protesters

• Iranians Burn Passports outside Embassy in Chile Protesting Mahsa Amini’s Death

• Turkish defence chief reiterates importance of dialogue with Greece

• Report: ‘Vague, inefficient’ Prevent program failing to protect Britain from extremism



• Ayatollah Criticizes ‘British Shia’ As Protests Continue

• Israeli forces kill two more Palestinians

• Iran Blasts France's Double-Standards over Riots, Strikes

• Report Shows Academics in Canada Face Harassment, Intimidation for Pro-Palestinian Speech

• Palestinian Groups Reach Reconciliation Deal to End Years-Long Division



• Gyanvapi Mosque Case: Varanasi Court Rejects Hindu Devotees' Plea For Carbon Dating Of 'Shivling'

• Gyanvapi case: Muslim side moves Allahabad HC on maintainability of plea

• Muslim Man Arrested Under Anti-Conversion Law in Karnataka


South Asia

• Afghanistan Only Country Denying Girls Access to Education: HRW


Southeast Asia

• Indonesian Muslims Gamble on Problematic Ties to Saudi Government Vehicle

• Despite snubbing Umno for GE15, PAS says MN continues

• Malaysia's PAS says its three state assemblies won't be dissolved for elections

• PBS concedes to using GRS emblem though own logo better known



• Burkina Faso’s Coup Leader Appointed Transitional President

• Tunisian coastguard recovers 11 bodies after migrant boat went missing

• Spain broke law returning migrants to Morocco amid deadly border crossing: Ombudsman

• Somalia marks 5th anniversary of deadliest terror bombing in its history

• 10 civilians killed, 38 injured in Mali bus blast

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau



Al-Qaeda Magazine Ghazwa-e-Hind: 9/11 Should Be Remembered As A “Day of Difference”, or “Yaum-e-Tafriq”


Representational image of an al-Qaeda militant | Commons



15 October, 2022

Ghazwa-e Hind also refers to the events of 9/11, saying it should be remembered as a “day of difference”, or “Yaum-e-Tafriq”.

“Then, without talking too far, let’s go two decades ago, when the world was divided into two parts after the 9/11 jihadist attacks on the Pentagon, the military centre of America, and the Twin Towers, the financial centre of America. (Then US President) George W Bush… declares a crusade and says either you join us or be with terrorists,” the article said.

“Pakistan, which was made a bastion of Islam, has become a toy in the hands of the establishment,” it added.

It further said that “the majority of the world stands with the ruler of the time and the medal of the frontline ally is decorated on the chest of (former Pakistan president) Pervez Musharraf and the Pakistan Army under his leadership”.

In the article, al-Qaeda claimed that “generals, colonels and other officers of the Pakistan Army sold their faith and country for a few dollars”, and added that “during the war on Islam in Afghanistan, they earned billions of dollars”.

The magazine further referred to events post India’s Partition, saying “it has been further confirmed” that the “Mujahideen tribe had supported Pakistan to capture Kashmir (Pakistan-Occupied-Kashmir)”.

According to the al-Qaeda, “the tribals had acceded to Pakistan under an agreement at the time of the creation of Pakistan and the independent status of the tribes had been recognised by the founder of Pakistan (Muhammad Ali Jinnah)”.

“The tribal people have been demanding the implementation of Sharia law since the annexation of Pakistan until now and when this rightful demand of the tribal people was not accepted, instead, the tribal people were bombed and military operations were imposed,” the article said.

“It should not be forgotten that in 1948, the same tribal mujahideen fought the war against India on the front of Kashmir, and today the area that is called Azad Jammu and Kashmir was liberated by these inter-tribal mujahideen,” it said, adding “the (Pakistani) military and civilian establishment of the time wanted to keep the Kashmir issue as an ‘issue’”.

Source: The Print
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Al-Qaeda Says, Transgender Rights in Pakistan Are ‘Sign of Doomsday’


Heena Fatima

15 October, 2022

New Delhi: Legislation giving protection to transgender people in Pakistan is a “sign of doomsday”, terrorist group al-Qaeda’s Urdu magazine Ghazwa-e-Hind has observed in an article in its August-September issue, released online on jihadist social media this week.

Four women legislators responsible for drafting the law, the magazine said, “are working directly on the satanic agenda”.

According to the al-Qaeda, the transgender rights law is part of a “wider betrayal of Islam by Pakistan’s leadership”.

“The true book of Allah says sexual relations between men and men — that it was first done by the doomed people of Sodom,” the magazine said. “Adultery will spread…It is one of the signs of the Day of Judgement.”

Pakistan’s National Assembly had in 2018 enacted The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act to provide legal recognition to transgender persons and give them fundamental rights. Critics of the law say it will promote homosexuality and gay marriages, and contradicts Islamic teachings.

Islamist political parties, including the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (Fazl), partner in the ruling Pakistan Democratic Movement alliance, have recently assailed the legislation. Last month, the JUI-F moved a Federal Shariat Court, asking for the law to be struck down.

However, Pakistan’s law minister Azam Nazeer Tarar subsequently held a press conference in which he took up criticism of the law, and said that “some friends” had created a misconception that the legislation permitted homosexuality and was contrary to Islamic injunctions.

‘Sold for a few dollars’

Source: The Print

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Pakistan May Be ‘One of the Most Dangerous Nations in the World’ As It Has “Nuclear Weapons without Any Cohesion”: Joe Biden


US President Joe Biden. (Reuters)


October 15, 2022

United States President Joe Biden said Pakistan may be “one of the most dangerous nations in the world” as the country has “nuclear weapons without any cohesion”, it emerged on Saturday.

He made the remarks while addressing a Democratic congressional campaign committee reception on Thursday.

A transcript of the address, published on the White House’s website, quoted Biden as saying: “… And what I think is maybe one of the most dangerous nations in the world: Pakistan. Nuclear weapons without any cohesion.”

The US president’s remarks were made in the context of the changing geopolitical situation globally.

He said the world was changing rapidly and countries were rethinking their alliances. “And the truth of the matter is — I genuinely believe this — that the world is looking to us. Not a joke. Even our enemies are looking to us to figure out how we figure this out, what we do.”

There was a lot at stake, Biden said, emphasising that the US had the capacity to lead the world to a place it had never been before.

“Did any of you ever think you’d have a Russian leader, since the Cuban Missile Crisis, threatening the use of tactical nuclear weapons that would — could only kill three, four thousand people and be limited to make a point?

“Did anybody think we’d be in a situation where China is trying to figure out its role relative to Russia and relative to India and relative to Pakistan?”

Talking about his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, the US president termed him as a man who knew what he wanted but had an “enormous” array of problems.

“How do we handle that? How do we handle that relative to what’s going on in Russia? And what I think is maybe one of the most dangerous nations in the world: Pakistan. Nuclear weapons without any cohesion,” Biden said. has reached out to the Foreign Office for comment.

Earlier this week, it emerged that Pakistan, once a key US ally, was not even mentioned in the US National Security Strategy 2022, which identified China as “America’s most consequential geopolitical challenge”.

The 48-page document does mention terrorism and other geo-strategic threats in the South and Central Asian region, but unlike the recent past, it does not name Pakistan as an ally needed to tackle those threats. Pakistan was also absent from the 2021 strategy paper.

In Washington, the omission is seen as reflecting a mutual desire to build a separate US relationship with Pakistan. Islamabad has long complained that the United States views Pakistan only as a tool to counter threats from Afghanistan and other nations.

In recent statements, both US and Pakistani officials emphasised the need to de-link Pakistan from both Afghanistan and India and give it the separate identity it deserves as a nuclear state of more than 220 million people.

US State Department Spokesperson Ned Price had said on Tuesday that the country “value[s] our long-standing cooperation with Pakistan”, adding that there were a number of areas where interests aligned.


At a press conference later in the day, Minister for Energy Khurram Dastagir rejected Biden’s statement, calling it “baseless”.

“International agencies have, not once but several times, verified Pakistan’s atomic deterrent and said that our command and control system is secure. It has all the protection that is required,” he said.

Meanwhile, leaders of the PTI, which has long claimed that the US was behind a regime-change operation against their ousted government, seized on Biden’s remarks.

Former human rights minister Shireen Mazari demanded an apology from the US president for his “nasty remarks”.

“A nuclear US is a threat to the world because you have no control over your nukes. B52 bomber takes off with six live nukes in 2007 and no one knows for hours,” she tweeted.

Mazari went on to allege that the US was an “irresponsible superpower with nukes”. “Your proclivity to interfere globally with regime change agendas alongside militarising the oceans. Custodial torture in Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, Bagram. Even your own people are not safe with gunmen going on killing sprees. Have some shame, Biden.”

In another tweet, the PTI leader also called out the Pakistan Army and “imported government” for choosing to stay silent on “Biden’s tirade”.

PTI general Secretary Asad Umar said that countries in glass houses should think before throwing stones at others.

“Nuclear country without cohesion? Is Biden referring to the US? After all his party is going after Donald Trump for trying to subvert the constitution and steal the last presidential election,” he tweeted.

Meanwhile, ex-minister Fawad Chaudhry demanded that Biden should immediately retract his statement, asserting that Pakistan’s leadership may be weak but its people were not.

Source: Dawn

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French Education Minister to ‘Limit’ Muslim Clothing Associated With Muslim Cultures


A woman wearing a niqab walks near the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Photograph: Gonzalo Fuentes/Reuters


October 14, 2022

LONDON: A French government minister has pledged to confront an increase in clothing associated with Muslim cultures in French schools, which, he says, is counter to French values of secularism.

Pap Ndiaye, the minister of education, described the phenomenon as a “wave” encouraged by online religious influencers.

France banned religious symbols and clothing in schools in a bid to prevent Muslim girls from wearing veils 18 years ago.

However, Ndiaye said influencers, especially on TikTok, were encouraging young girls to flout the ban by turning up to school wearing abayas, incidences of which increased by 40 percent in 2021.

“We are going to do what is necessary to limit the harmful influence of these Islamist agitators. The Republic is stronger than TikTok,” Ndiaye said.

France is home to a large immigrant community and around 6 million Muslims, many of whom resent the country’s attitude toward religious dress as a product of its foundational secularism.

This week, clashes broke out between pupils and police at a school in a Paris suburb for the second time, after the head teacher banned abayas.

Ministers have also suggested that online Islamists are targeting boys too, encouraging them to wear garments such as thawbs.

Teachers, though, have voiced confusion as to whether or not thawbs and abayas constitute religious dress or whether they should be considered cultural items, leading to questions over whether they should be banned.

Didier Georges, a member of the head teachers’ union, told The Times: “We’d like a clear rule that we don’t have to interpret.”

Source: Arab News

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Iran’s Security Forces Have Killed 224 People, Including 29 Minors, During Mahsa Amini Protest: Rights group


A scene from protests in Tehran in October


14 October, 2022

Iran’s security forces have killed 224 people, including 29 minors, in anti-government protests that erupted last month following the death of Mahsa Amini in police custody, a rights group said on Friday.

Since the beginning of the protests mid-September, security forces have killed 224 people, and 29 of them were under the age of 18, the Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), a news site run by a collective of Iranian human rights advocates, said.

There have been 24 fatalities among security forces, according to HRANA.

The rights group estimated the number of people arrested during the protests to be nearly 6,000.

Protests have been held in 112 cities across Iran, according to the report.

Protests erupted across Iran mid-September after Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian Kurdish woman, died in police custody.

The protests have quickly escalated and turned political with demonstrations taking place country-wide. Protesters have been chanting against Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and calling for the downfall of the regime.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Arab World

 Amnesty slams Lebanon ‘voluntary returns’ of Syria refugees

14 October, 2022

Amnesty International urged the Lebanese authorities on Friday to reconsider their “voluntary returns” policy for Syrian refugees, saying it puts them at “risk of suffering from heinous abuse.”

It comes just days after Lebanese President Michel Aoun announced that the general security agency would begin sending refugees back to Syria “in batches” starting next week, the London-based human rights group said.

“The Lebanese authorities are scaling up the so-called voluntary returns... when it is well established that Syrian refugees in Lebanon are not in a position to take a free and informed decision about their return,” Amnesty’s acting deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa, Diana Semaan, said.

“In enthusiastically facilitating these returns, the Lebanese authorities are knowingly putting Syrian refugees at risk of suffering from heinous abuse and persecution upon their return to Syria.”

Lebanon hosts more than 1.5 million Syrian refugees who have fled more than a decade of war back home, marking the world’s highest proportion of refugees per capita in one country.

This is not the first time Beirut has sought to return Syrian refugees.

In June, Prime Minister Najib Mikati said Lebanon was ready to expel Syrian refugees living in the country if the international community does not work to repatriate them.

Lebanon has been grappling with its worst ever economic crisis that has seen the Lebanese pound shed some 95 percent of its value against the dollar on the black market.

Nine out of 10 Syrians in Lebanon are living in poverty, while poverty levels for Lebanese have also risen to cover more than 80 percent of the population.

Since 2017, Lebanese authorities have organized “voluntary repatriation” programs that have seen the return of some 400,000 Syrians, according to a list of names submitted to Damascus for approval.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Saudi Crown Prince announces $400 million in humanitarian aid for Ukraine

15 October, 2022

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has announced $400 million in humanitarian aid for Ukraine, the official SPA news agency reported Saturday.

It followed a phone call between the Crown Prince and President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Friday where the Crown Prince emphasized “the Kingdom's position of supporting everything that will contribute to de-escalation, and the Kingdom's readiness to continue the efforts of mediation,” SPA reported.

The humanitarian aid package for Ukraine will contribute to alleviating the suffering of Ukrainian citizens in the wake of the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

Zelenskyy congratulated the Crown Prince on being named the Kingdom’s prime minister last month and also thanked him for Riyadh’s vote at the UN General Assembly, condemning Russia’s purported annexation.

“Spoke to Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman. Thanked for supporting Ukraine’s territorial integrity, resolution at the UN General Assembly,” Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a tweet.

The Crown Prince stressed that the Kingdom's vote for the resolution emanates from its commitment to the deep rooted principles in the UN charter and international law, and its commitment to the respect of state sovereignty and the principles of good neighborliness, and resolving conflicts by peaceful means, SPA said.

Abdulaziz Alwasil, the Saudi representative to the UN, said the vote cast by the Kingdom was in line with its position of “upholding the principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations.”

The Ukrainian president said the two leaders agreed to work for the release of Ukrainian prisoners of war held by Russian forces.

The Saudi Crown Prince played a central role in mediation efforts last month that successfully resulted in the release of 10 prisoners of war (POWs), including two Americans.
Source: Al Arabiya

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Qatar interested in Eastern Mediterranean oil exploration, says Lebanon

Wassim Seif El-Din  



Qatar is interested in joining French firm TotalEnergies and Italy’s Eni in exploring for oil in two areas in Lebanese waters, the Lebanese energy minister said on Friday.

Qatar wants to join the consortium to explore for oil in blocks 4 and 9 in the Eastern Mediterranean, Walid Fayad said after a meeting with Prime Minister Najib Mikati.

Doha expressed its interest through a letter from Qatari Oil Minister Saad Sherida al-Kaabi, according to Fayad.

Given Qatar’s capacity, its participation in oil and gas exploration in Lebanon is significant, the Lebanese minister added.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Calls grow for answers about ‘troubling reports’ Biden admin pressured Saudi Arabia for oil cut delay

October 15, 2022

RIYADH: A congressman has called for US President Joe Biden’s administration to be investigated for reportedly pressuring Saudi officials to delay an OPEC+ production cut to give Democrats an electoral advantage ahead of November elections.

Representative Tom Tiffany called on US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, to convene a hearing to determine if such calls took place and “what specific requests were made regarding Saudi and OPEC+ production by Biden administration officials”.

The Saudi foreign ministry on Wednesday said: “The Kingdom clarified through its continuous consultation with the US Administration that all economic analyses indicate that postponing the OPEC+ decision for a month, according to what has been suggested, would have had negative economic consequences.”

Member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and their allies cut oil supply by 2 million barrels a day on Oct. 6.

Biden officials and Democrats attacked the decision as politically motivated, which OPEC+ and Saudi officials have rejected as baseless, saying the cuts were warranted to ensure that demand and supply were balanced and market volatility reduced.

The Wisconsin Republican tweeted on Friday: “This is a very serious allegation. One that, if true, may very well constitute an illegal solicitation of a foreign in-kind contribution by the White House on behalf of Democrats’ midterm campaign efforts.”

The congressman is also requesting that the White House release all call transcripts between the Biden administration and Saudi officials related to oil production within the last 30 days.

He also demanded the identification of “any Biden administration official who may have asked any Saudi government official to delay any oil production cut until November or later.”

Source: Arab News

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Riyadh delegation thanks Yemen for good treatment of Saudi prisoners

14 October 2022

The head of a Saudi team visiting Yemen’s capital as part of a prisoners swap agreement has thanked the Sana’a government’s authorities for their good treatment of Saudi inmates captured during the Riyadh-led war against Yemen.

“I thank you – on my own behalf and on behalf of my colleagues for the good treatment of our prisoners, and for the kind reception and hospitality. This is not surprising from you, as you are the people of generosity,” Salem al-Harbi said after reviewing the conditions of the Saudi prisoners in Sana’a on Thursday.

“And your colleagues who arrived in the kingdom are our brothers and their place is above the head,” he added, referring to a team from Yemen’s National Committee for Prisoners’ Affairs that had earlier headed to Riyadh to check the conditions of the Yemeni war prisoners in Saudi jails.

For his part, Abdul Qader al-Murtada, head of the National Committee for Prisoners’ Affairs in the Sana’a government, said the purpose of the Saudi delegation’s visit was to see the conditions of their prisoners in the Yemini capital and also to match and verify their names in order to prepare for an exchange process in the near future under a UN-brokered agreement that was signed last March.

“Our technical team was tasked with validating the names and condition of our prisoners ahead of a possible exchange deal,” Murtada said, expressing hope that mutual visits by the Saudi and Yemini delegations would be a gateway to reach a comprehensive solution to the humanitarian issue.

Yemen’s National Salvation Government announced on March 27 that a prisoner exchange deal was agreed upon between the warring parties under which 1,400 prisoners from the Yemeni army and popular committees would be released in return for 823 from the other side, including 16 Saudis and three Sudanese.

Yemini and Saudi media reported on Thursday that the delegations had been dispatched to each other’s capitals to discuss the prisoner exchange portfolio.

A delegation representing Yemen’s Ansarullah resistance movement also visited Riyadh and toured the prisons that are holding Yemeni fighters.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — the closest allies of the US in the region after the Israeli regime — have been spearheading the war on Yemen since March 2015.

The invasion has been seeking to change Yemen’s ruling structure in favor of the impoverished country’s former Riyadh- and Washington-friendly rulers and crush the popular Ansarullah resistance movement. The Saudi-led coalition has failed to meet any of its objectives.

The war, which has been enjoying unstinting arms, logistical, and political support on the part of the United States, has killed tens of thousands of Yemenis and turned the entire country into the scene of the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

Yemeni defense forces, who feature the country’s army and its allied Popular Committees, have, however, vowed not to lay down their arms until the country’s complete liberation from the scourge of the aggression.

Yemen urges war coalition to respond to its demands

Separately on Thursday, Mahdi al-Mashat, who heads Yemen’s Supreme Political Council, called on the Saudi-led coalition to urgently respond to the country’s fair demands “which will have a positive impact on the path towards peace and an end to the war.”

Speaking on the 59th anniversary of the October 14 revolution against British colonialism, Mashat said, “The day of October 14 represents one of the most important and immortal national days in the history of Yemeni people, and everyone who knows what freedom and independence means.”

The senior Yemeni official advised all those who dream of dividing and fragmenting the country to abandon these hateful dreams, saying, “Yemen will not be stable except as one and united, and the interests of the region require maintaining it unified.”

“Whoever deludes the owners of small projects to cutting Yemen into pieces is in fact practicing a form of fraud and deception against them, and he is a criminal against his country,” Mashat added.

Mashat also called on all Yemenis to continue adhering to the “independent Yemen project,” which is led by Sana’a and in which all its national forces are unique, without any competitor or rival.

A temporary United Nations-mediated ceasefire took effect between the warring sides in April and has been renewed twice ever since.

Source: Press TV

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Former Balochistan High Court CJ Noor Meskanzai Gunned Down Outside Mosque In Balochistan's Kharan: Police

Ghalib Nihad

October 14, 2022

Former Balochistan High Court chief justice Muhammad Noor Meskanzai was fatally shot outside a mosque in Balochistan's Kharan area, a police official said on Friday.

Kharan Superintendent of Police Asif Halim told that unidentified assailants opened fire at him outside the mosque, which left Maskanzai gravely injured.

He was taken to a nearby hospital, where he died of his injuries.

Balochistan Chief Minister Mir Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo expressed grief over the demise of the "brave and fearless judge".

He added that his services were "unforgettable" and stressed that the "cowardly attacks of the enemies of peace cannot intimidate the nation".

Quetta Bar Association announces boycott of courts

Meanwhile, Quetta Bar Association President Ajmal Khan Kakar condemned the incident and announced a boycott of the courts along with mourning for three days.

In a statement, he strongly condemned the killing of Muskanzai and said every citizen was deeply saddened by the martyrdom of the former judge.

"We strongly condemn this incident and demand that the killers must immediately be arrest and brought to book."

He said the ex-judge worked with dignity and fairness throughout his life while the void created by his martyrdom will never be filled.

A profile of Meskanzai on the Balochistan High Court Justice's website said he was born on the 1st of September 1956, at Kunri, District Kharan.

Justice Meskanzai started his legal practice in September 1981, at Quetta.

He was appointed as assistant advocate general Balochistan and worked on the seat from June to December, 1998. He was elected as Vice Chairman of the Balochistan Bar Council from the 24th of March 2005 to 24thof March, 2006.

Meskanzai was elevated as additional judge of the High Court of Balochistan on the 7th of September 2009, and confirmed as a judge of the High Court on 11th of May, 2011.

Justice Meskanzai took oath as chief justice of the High Court of Balochistan on December 26, 2014.

Source: Dawn

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Terrorism will not be allowed to flourish again in Pakistan, asserts PM Sharif

Oct 14, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif vowed on Friday that terrorism won't be allowed to flourish again in the country, as he chaired a meeting attended by the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa and other heads of intelligence agencies.

Friday's high-profile meeting, also saw the participation of defence minister Khawaja Asif, interior minister Rana Sanaullah, and foreign affairs minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, according to Dunya News TV report.

The situation in the Swat Valley and the issues related to negotiations with the banned outfit Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) were discussed in the meeting, following which the officials from the security agencies presented their recommendations to Sharif, the report said.

Security issues related to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and the western borders were also reviewed in the meeting, it said.

Earlier, Prime Minister Sharif and Gen. Bajwa held a separate one-on-one meeting and discussed matters pertaining to national and internal security, it said.

Following this meeting Sharif asserted that terrorism will not be allowed to flourish again and peace would be restored in the country, as the sacrifices of security personnel cannot be forgotten, it added.

Sharif's assurance notwithstanding, the Swat valley has become one of the most volatile regions in the country.

Thousands rallied in the Swat Valley earlier this week after a local school bus driver was shot down by an unknown miscreant.

In September, five people - including an influential anti-Taliban tribal leader - were killed in a bomb blast in Kot Katai village in the region.

The Swat valley has been a TTP stronghold till a decade ago.

Source: Times Of India

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A Decade After Malala Yousafzai Was Shot, The Pakistani Taliban Is Returning To Her Native Swat Valley

October 14, 2022

By Daud Khattak

Ten years ago this month, Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai, then 15, was shot in the head on her school bus by the Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) militant group.

The attack on Yousafzai, who had become a target for her campaign for girls’ education, sent shock waves across the predominately Muslim country and provoked international outrage.

Two years later, a major Pakistani military offensive drove the TTP militants from their strongholds in northwestern Pakistan and across the border to Afghanistan, where the TTP leadership took refuge.

But a decade on from the TTP’s brutal attack on Yousafzai, who survived after months of treatment at home and abroad, history appears to be repeating itself.

In recent months, hundreds of fighters belonging to the TTP, also known as the Pakistani Taliban, have been returning to the northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, including in Yousafzai’s native Swat Valley. The militants have been accused of carrying out targeted killings and extorting locals.

In an attack strikingly similar to the one that wounded Yousafzai, gunmen opened fire on a school bus on October 10, killing the driver and injuring two students. No group claimed responsibility for the attack, although many locals suspected the TTP.

The attack triggered some of the largest protests in years in Swat. In Mingora, Swat’s biggest city, thousands of residents marched through the streets on October 11 to protest growing insecurity and demand that the authorities protect them from the militants.

Yousafzai, who won the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize, returned to Pakistan this week for only the second time since 2012 to meet families affected by the recent mass flooding in the country. But due to security issues, she is unable to visit Swat. Yousafzai and her family reside in Britain.

'We Don't Want The Return Of The Taliban'

The reappearance of the TTP in northwestern Pakistan has angered and terrified locals. The extremist group once controlled pockets of territory in the Pashtun tribal belt bordering Afghanistan.

During its brutal rule, the militants imposed their extremist version of Islam on the local population, severely curbing freedoms and rights, including those of women. Targeted killings, bomb attacks, extortion, and harassment dominated daily life in some parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The Pakistani military campaigns that pushed out the TTP across the border to Afghanistan by 2014 took a heavy toll on locals, killing thousands of civilians, uprooting millions, and causing widescale destruction.

Ali Rahman and his family were forced to flee their home in Mingora, Yousafzai’s hometown, which came under the control of the TTP. The family left their shop, the source of their livelihood, and Rahman was forced to drop his studies. His family, like many others from the region, became internal refugees and lived in poverty for years.

In Swat, the TTP closed girls’ schools, severely restricted the movement of women, and forced men to grow beards and attend prayers.

“Now, we've restarted our business and my 10-member family is dependent on this shop,” said Rahman. “We don't want insecurity here because we fear being displaced again. That would destroy our business and life."

Those fears are widespread in the region.

"We don't want the return of the Taliban here again,” said Yasmeen Gul, a resident of the town of Matta in the Swat Valley. “I fear that I will lose my job and we will be displaced again.”

“It will also affect the education of my children, just like it affected every sphere of our lives before,” added the 28-year-old. “It is the government's responsibility to ensure peace in the area."

Ending The TTP’s Insurgency

The return of TTP fighters to the region comes amid stalled peace talks between the militant group and the Pakistan military that began late last year.

The secret negotiations have been brokered by the Afghan Taliban, which has close ideological and organizational ties with the TTP. The Afghan militant group, which seized power in Kabul in August 2021, is also a longtime ally of Islamabad.

A peace deal appeared to be in sight after the extremist group declared an indefinite cease-fire in June. But the mysterious killings of several TTP commanders, suspected TTP attacks in Pakistan, and Islamabad’s targeting of TTP sanctuaries in Afghanistan in recent months have cast doubts on the peace process.

During the summer, the Pakistani media revealed the terms of the proposed peace deal. Reports indicated that Islamabad had agreed to release hundreds of detained and convicted TTP members. Additionally, it agreed to withdraw a large portion of the tens of thousands of Pakistani troops stationed in northwestern Pakistan. Islamabad also agreed to implement Islamic Shari'a law in parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Reports said the two sides had yet to agree on retracting democratic reforms in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and whether thousands of TTP militants could return with their arms and keep their organization intact.

Despite no formal peace deal, hundreds of armed TTP fighters have returned to Pakistan. Experts have said that the militant group is gauging the public’s reaction to their possible return to the region.

The public has reacted with scores of protests and sit-ins in recent months. The demonstrators have also directed their anger at the authorities for turning a blind eye to the return of the militants. In August, the military's media wing said the TTP presence in Pakistan was "grossly exaggerated and misleading."

But locals disagree.

"The government has closed its eyes while the threat is standing right in front of them,” said Ali Sher, a lawyer residing in Swat.

Sher said locals, who had previously borne the brunt of the TTP's brutality, were determined to prevent history from repeating itself.
Source: Gandhara

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National Security Committee vows firm response to resurging terrorism

Syed Irfan Raza | Baqir Sajjad Syed

October 15, 2022

ISLAMABAD: The National Secu­­rity Committee (NSC) on Friday vowed to respond firmly to resurgent terrorism in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and agreed on a plan for revitalising the counterterrorism apparatus.

The meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and atten­ded by ministers, services chiefs, and heads of intelligence agencies, was convened in the backdrop of large-scale protests in Swat against growing insecurity in the scenic valley. It was, therefore, a first acknowledgment of sorts at the highest level of the deteriorating situation.

The NSC’s resolve coincided with defence minister Khawaja Asif’s remarks who, separately, said that recent talks with the outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) had remained inconclusive and “bore no concrete outcomes”, but added that armed forces were fully capable of containing any threat to national security.

The protests in Swat had been triggered by the killing of a school van driver in Mingora on Monday. The incident coincided with the tenth anniversary of the attack on Malala Yousafzai.

“The [NSC] meeting made it clear that the blood of every citizen of Pakistan is very precious and the law will deal strictly with anyone involved in shedding it,” the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement.

The participants of the meeting said that state institutions and people were united for the protection of life and property of citizens; safeguarding geographical integrity of the country; and upholding the rule of law. Attainment of these goals, they asserted, would be “ensured at every cost”.

It may be recalled that the federal cabinet too, at its last meeting, expressed concern over the situation and worried that it could reverse the gains made against militancy through a series of counterterrorism operations.

Prime Minister Sharif, a source said, wanted that a comprehensive plan to be put in place to fix the problem.

Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai, who was here this week to express solidarity with flood victims, also put her weight behind the protests.

“I add my voice to thousands of people protesting for peace in Swat. Monday’s attack on a school bus full of children is a frightening reminder that our people must not be forced back into lives of fear and terrorism,” she tweeted.

Among the various steps agreed by the NSC for dealing with the situation, the return of the Nawaz Sharif-Gen Raheel Sharif era apex committee was agreed.

“The meeting decided to form the Apex Committee at the central level, which will be chaired by the prime minister,” the PMO said.

The participants decided to give the National Counter-Terrorism Authority (Nacta) a central role in the new counterterrorism strategy, instead of putting the armed forces in the lead.

Nacta, it was said, will work with the provincial Counter-Terrorism Departments (CTDs).

It was agreed that the counterterrorism infrastructure at the federal and provincial levels would be strengthened and law enforcement agencies would be equipped with modern technology and capacity building of its personnel would be undertaken.

Nacta would also be given a role in the security of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, the PMO said.

Member National Assembly Mohsin Dawar, leader of Awami National Party Mian Iftikhar Hussain also participated in the meeting.

The PTI government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, however, was not represented in the meeting.

Khawaja Asif, who belongs to the PML-N, vowed that PTI governments in Punjab, Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan would soon be removed as the ruling Pakistan Democratic Movement alliance was already working on it.

Asif assails PTI

Also on Friday, while addressing the Arab News Pakistan Annual Conference 2022, Khawaja Asif blamed the PTI-led KP government for re-emergence of terrorists.

“It is very heartening to see public coming to streets on their own for their rights. I feel confident that the situation [in Swat] will be controlled. However, the recent revival of few terrorists is an expected spillover from Afghanistan,” he said.

“The situation in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is under control and would be tackled amicably in case of any untoward situation.”

He asked the KP government to take cognisance of the situation, adding that federal government would support it in any case.

“We will remove [these governments the way] as we ousted PTI’s government in the Centre,” he disclosed.

The minister in response to a question said the change of command in the armed forces was a matter of sanctity, which should be kept sacred.

KP ‘explanation’ for militants’ presence

On the other hand, a senior official from the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government, in an informal discussion with reporters on Thursday night, said that not all attacks could be linked to the outlawed TTP, as they had informed the government during the talks that they will claim the responsibility for the attacks they will carry out.

Explaining the role of various branches and splinter groups, he said that many such groups operating in the region were hostile to the TTP, adding that the recent attack on a school van in Swat did not appear to be the work of the banned organisation.

Source: Dawn

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Three killed, six injured in Mastung bomb attack

Saleem Shahid

October 15, 2022

QUETTA: Three people were killed and six others injured in a bomb attack targeting two vehicles in the mountainous area of Qabu in Mastung district on Friday.

Levies officials said the vehicles were carrying the people who were returning after burying a man killed by unknown armed men in the Dasht area. A tribal elder, Mir Shahnawaz Bangulzai, was also in one of the vehicles, but he escaped unhurt in the attack.

Sources said an improvi­sed explosive device (IED) planted at a roadside went off when the vehicles were passing through the area. Three people died on the spot. The bodies and the injured were taken to Mastung district hospital.

“An IED was planted at the roadside to target the convoy of the tribal elder and the people travelling with him,” a senior Levies official said, adding that the IED was detonated by remote control.

“We have received three bodies and six injured,” an official at the Mastung district hospital said, adding that the condition of three of the injured is serious.

Source: Dawn

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Pakistan says Saudi crown prince’s visit will strengthen bilateral defence ties

October 14, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan wants to strengthen and “add value” to its defense ties with Saudi Arabia during next month’s visit of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, its defense minister said.

Khawaja Muhammad Asif said Pakistan “immensely” valued its relationship with the Kingdom, and described the forthcoming trip as “very important.”

“His royal highness’s visit will strengthen this relationship further and will add value to this relationship, in both the field of defense and in the field of investment,” he said at this year’s Arab News Pakistan Annual Workshop in Islamabad.

“It has a pivotal role in our foreign policy. They are our brothers and they have helped us in very difficult times over the decades.”

Pakistan’s Interior Minister, Rana Sanaullah, said in September that his government was “waiting with love and affection for the day.”

It will be the crown prince’s second official trip to Pakistan. During the first in 2019, the two countries signed investment deals worth $21 billion, including for an oil refinery and agriculture projects.

Source: Dawn

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North America


Biden likely to halt US arms sales to Saudi Arabia amid OPEC row: Senator

Michael Gabriel Hernandez  



US President Joe Biden is likely to tap the brakes on any new arms sales to Saudi Arabia amid an ongoing row with the Kingdom over oil production cuts, a key senator said on Friday.

"I think you’ll see both the administration and the Senate take action, and one of the most likely actions is to stop any future arms sales," Sen. Chris Coons, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations and Appropriations Committees, told CNN during a televised interview.

The comments come as the Biden administration and congressional Democrats continue to escalate their war of words with Riyadh after Saudi Arabia backed a 2 million barrel per day production cut.

Biden has said his administration would undertake a review of the bilateral relationship, as his senior officials have warned they are examining which consequences to impose.

The White House charged on Thursday that not only did Saudi officials lend their support to the measure, but worked behind the scenes as OPEC+'s chair to pressure other member states to vote in favor of the proposal.

The decision to reduce oil production has spiked oil prices and is tantamount to "moral and military support" for Russia's ongoing war against Ukraine, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby maintained.

"The country that benefits the most from this 2 million barrel cut is Russia because it does come down to supply and demand, and Russia obviously wants to keep the supply down so that demand drives the price up," he said. "We've been, I think, very candid and very clear about our concerns over this short-sighted regrettable decision."

Oil has remained a major lifeline for the Kremlin as it presses its invasion of Ukraine in defiance of economic and diplomatic pressure from the US and its allies.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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White House: Saudis pushed OPEC+ nations into crude oil production cut

14 October 2022

The White House has asserted that Saudi Arabia pushed member states of the oil cartel Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies, including Russia, into a recent crude production cut.

More than one OPEC member disagreed with Saudi Arabia’s push to cut production and felt coerced into the vote, US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters on Thursday.

He said he was not going to identify the members to let them speak for themselves.

Kirby said earlier in the day that the US had presented Saudi Arabia with an analysis showing there was no market basis to lower oil production before the OPEC+ decision to cut output.

The OPEC+ grouping agreed last week to cut output by an amount equal to about 2 percent of global supply, curbing production in a tight market and raising the possibility of higher gasoline prices as Washington seeks to limit Russia’s energy revenues after its military campaign against Ukraine.

Saudi Arabia has insisted that decisions by OPEC+ were taken “purely on economic considerations” and its economic advice had been to resist calls to delay the production cut.

“The Saudi foreign ministry can try to spin or deflect, but the facts are simple,” Kirby stated, noting that cutting output would “increase Russian revenues and blunt the effectiveness of sanctions” against Moscow.

Kirby said Washington’s analysis also showed the cut could have waited until the next OPEC meeting, after the early November midterm elections that will determine the makeup of the next Congress. History suggests the midterms could spell trouble for Democrats as the party in power.

Chairman of the United States Senate Foreign Relations Committee Bob Menendez called on Monday for a “freeze” on cooperation with Saudi Arabia after OPEC+ cuts.

“The United States must immediately freeze all aspects of our cooperation with Saudi Arabia, including any arms sales and security cooperation beyond what is absolutely necessary to defend US personnel and interests,” Menendez said in a statement.

“I will not green-light any cooperation with Riyadh until the Kingdom reassesses its position with respect to the war in Ukraine. Enough is enough,” Menendez said.

The White House said it was “disappointed” in the OPEC+ decision and called it “shortsighted.”

Source: Press TV

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Mosque in Germany's Cologne broadcasts call to prayer for 1st time

OCT 14, 2022

Amosque in Germany's Cologne broadcast the Muslim call to prayer (adhan) for the first time on Friday.

"This a sign that Muslims are at home here," Abdurrahman Atasoy, the secretary general of the Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (DITIB) told reporters, and thanked the city administration.

Cologne is one of Germany’s biggest cities, and home to more than 120,000 Muslims, nearly 12% of the city’s entire population.

As part of a pilot project, the city administration allowed the Cologne Central Mosque to broadcast the call to Friday Prayers over loudspeakers, but on condition that the volume will not exceed 60 decibels.

Cologne’s Mayor Henriette Reker has been a strong supporter of the idea, but she has been heavily criticized by far-right parties.

"Cologne is a city of religious diversity and freedoms. Allowing muezzin’s call to prayer for me is a sign of respect,” she said earlier.

Germany’s Constitution guarantees freedom of religion, but broadcasting calls to prayers from mosques have been contentious in some municipalities, due to different legislative frameworks.

Far-right politicians have long rejected proposals allowing mosques to broadcast the Muslim call to prayer over loudspeakers, claiming that this would be another sign of the "Islamization of Germany.”

Source: Daily Sabah

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EU’s Borrell calls on Iran to stop repression of protesters

14 October, 2022

The European Union's top diplomat Josep Borrell on Friday urged Iran to stop the repression of protesters and to release those that have been detained in recent weeks.

“Ispoke with @Amirabdolahian to convey again EU’s clear and united position: people in Iran have the right to peaceful protest and to defend fundamental rights," Borrell said in a tweet, referring to Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian.

“Violent repression must stop immediately. Protesters must be released. Internet access and accountability are needed.”

Protests over the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish Iranian woman who died in the custody of the morality police, have spread across Iran for the last four weeks.

Iranian officials have blamed the unrest on the country’s foreign enemies, particularly the United States.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Iranians Burn Passports outside Embassy in Chile Protesting Mahsa Amini’s Death

15 October, 2022

A handful of protesters gathered outside the Iranian embassy compound in Santiago on Friday to add their voice to protests over the death of Mahsa Amini’s, the 22-year-old woman who died while in the custody of Iran’s morality police.

The group burned their Iranian passports.

Fetamah Ramezanpoor, an Iranian woman living in Chile said she would not return to the country while the current regime was in power.

“I burnt my Iranian passport because it has no value, and I don’t want it until this regime in Iran ends, neither this passport nor this nationality,” she said.

The demonstrators also marked the exterior walls of the compound with their palms painted blood red as well as play acting they are dead wearing the photograph of Amini.

Thousands of Iranians have taken to the streets over the last weeks in protests over the death of Amini, who had been detained by the morality police in the capital, Tehran, for allegedly wearing her mandatory Islamic headscarf too loosely.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Turkish defence chief reiterates importance of dialogue with Greece

Sarp Ozer, Omer Tugrul Cam 



The Turkish defense chief on Thursday reiterated the importance of dialogue with Greece, without the intervention of third parties.

Commenting on his meeting with Greek Defense Minister Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos, Hulusi Akar said: "I told my counterpart it is important to hold such meetings more often and increase bilateral dialogue.”

Speaking to Turkish reporters in Brussels after a NATO defense ministers meeting, he said Türkiye believes problems between Ankara and Athens, two NATO allies, can be solved through international law, peaceful means and dialogue.

Akar said it is essential to resolve problems, without the intervention of third parties.

Mechanisms of mutual dialogue are already there, he said, adding that they hope to host a Greek delegation in Ankara for the fourth round of meetings on confidence-building measures.

Akar said Ankara desires a peaceful, stable and prosperous region, and to see the richness of the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean be fairly shared by the countries concerned.

He urged that third parties, including the EU, should develop an unbiased perspective on Turkish-Greek relations to contribute to the resolution of existing problems.

Asked about Washington’s recent decision to lift the decades-old arms embargo on the Greek Cypriot administration, the Turkish minister said the US should pursue a balanced and unbiased policy towards the Cyprus issue.

Also making remarks on Finland and Sweden’s NATO membership bids, Akar said Türkiye’s concerns on combatting terrorism should be taken seriously.

We expect these two countries to take concrete steps in line with Ankara’s expectations, he stressed.

On the ongoing process of the F-16 sale to Türkiye, Akar said the transaction would strengthen regional and global peace and stability.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Report: ‘Vague, inefficient’ Prevent program failing to protect Britain from extremism

October 14, 2022

LONDON: Britain’s counter-extremism strategy, Prevent, has caused thousands of people to be unnecessarily referred over ungrounded fears of terrorism by teachers and health professionals, a report has claimed. 

Published by the Counter Extremism Group think tank, the report found that Prevent’s vague classification of people “vulnerable to extremism” meant that only one-tenth of referrals had been escalated to the Channel program, where individuals most at risk of extremism are dealt with directly.

The report was published before the internal Home Office review of the Prevent program due at the end of the year, The Times reported.

The Prevent program has faced significant criticism over its apparent targeting of British Muslim communities.

Islamist extremists accounted for only 22 percent of referrals to the Prevent program last year, despite Britain’s domestic intelligence agency, MI5, labeling Islamist extremism as the greatest threat to British national security.

“Vulnerability indicators” used by Prevent are “vague and lack clear connections to violent radicalization,” the report claims.

Indicators include “people with mental health issues or learning disabilities,” religious converts who are “less well-informed about their faith” and “young offenders and people vulnerable to offending.”

The report said: “This suggests that Prevent is casting a very wide net, and may not be working as efficiently as it can.

“Referring so many cases which are possibly unrelated to extremism in any serious way risks further damaging the image of Prevent and strengthening claims that it is a policy which securitizes the state’s relationship with its citizens.”

More than half of referrals to Prevent concerned people with a “mixed, unstable or unclear ideology.”

However, the program has also faced criticism over its failure to stop terrorism, with several high-profile terrorists carrying out attacks despite being known to Prevent.

Last year, Conservative MP David Amess was killed by Ali Harbi Ali, who had been referred to the program seven years earlier by a schoolteacher.

Source: Arab News

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Ayatollah criticizes ‘British Shia’ as protests continue

Adam Lucente

October 14, 2022

The Supreme Leader of Iran lashed out today at Iranians living in the United Kingdom.

“I once referred to the British Shia. Some falsely said what we mean by British Shia is the Shia living in England. No, we mean the people who follow the British in creating discord, the conflict-inciting Shia,” said Ayatollah Ali Khameini on Twitter.

Khameini added that such individuals are “like Wahhabis & Takfiris who serve the enemy in this way.”

Wahhabism is a Sunni fundamentalist form of Islam that predominates in Iran’s geopolitical foe Saudi Arabia. Takfiri is an Arabic-language term that refers to apostasy in Islam. Iran often calls the Islamic State and other Sunni groups takfiris.

What it means: Tens of thousands of Iranians and people of Iranian heritage live in the UK. Many are Shiite Muslims, though there are also communities of Jewish, Christian and irreligious Iranian Britons.

Some members of the UK’s Iranian community have demonstrated recently in solidarity with the ongoing anti-government protests in Iran. The BBC’s Persian language service and the London-based Iran International have also covered the protests extensively, leading the Islamic Republic to accuse them of “hostile reporting.”

One Iran analyst said the ayatollah’s tweet is a reference to these Persian-language British media outlets.

“Khamenei and Iranian officials have seized on the UK being home to a number of Iranian diaspora networks — BBC Persian, Iran International, and Manoto — as responsible for foreign engineering of the protests,” Jason Brodsky, the policy director of United Against a Nuclear Iran, told Al-Monitor. “It’s a way for the establishment to deflect responsibility.”

Why it matters: Widespread protests and riots began last month in Iran in response to the death of Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini, who was allegedly beaten to death by religious police over her hijab. Some of the protesters have gone so far as to call for the downfall of the Islamic Republic. Khameini and other Islamic Republic officials have remained defiant so far, accusing “enemies” of being behind the protests.

Source: Al Monitor

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Israeli forces kill two more Palestinians

October 15, 2022

JENIN: Israeli forces killed two Palestinians during an operation in the city of Jenin on Friday, Palestinian officials said, as months of clashes in the occupied West Bank continued.

An Israeli military statement said troops came under heavy fire during the operation, in which an armed operative of the militant Hamas group and two other people were arrested. It said troops returned fire and “hits were identified”.

The Jenin Brigade, an umbrella group of different armed factions, said one of its members had been killed.

Atta Abu Rumeileh, a leader for the Fatah group in Jenin, told Reuters that the other man killed was a health official and Fatah member who participated in the fighting.

More than 100 Palestinians have been killed in clashes since the beginning of the year, most since March when the Israeli army launched a crackdown in the West Bank following a series of attacks by Palestinian militants in Israel.

Nabil Abu Rudeineh, the Palestinian president’s spokesperson, said Israel had “crossed all red lines” and the Palestinian Authority would not allow the situation to continue.

The cities of Jenin and Nablus, both home to sprawling refugee camps, have been at the centre of violence. But there have been incidents in other parts of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, with two Israeli soldiers killed this week.

Roads into Nablus were closed during the week with heavy security checks and on Friday the military said troops carried out an operation in the city and arrested two people suspected of firing on them.

Both the Israeli military and Palestinian officials say groups of young armed men in Nablus and Jenin, often only loosely associated with established political movements, have been at the forefront of clashes.

There have also been repeated clashes between Israeli settlers in the West Bank and Palestinians.

Source: Dawn

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Iran Blasts France's Double-Standards over Riots, Strikes


Kana'ani underlined on Friday that the energy sector strikes in France and the French government's intervening in energy workers’ strike, deserve media coverage.

According to the media, energy sector workers in France, including oil refinery workers, who have been striking over the past week, intensified actions over the weekend, further disrupting fuel supplies.

The Iranian foreign ministry spokesman said that the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran recognizes the right to peaceful protests, adding that it is surprising that the president and officials of the French government condemn the actions of Iran's security forces in dealing with the violent rioters, but they threaten French workers over their strikes.

Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne has ordered local prefects to ensure employees striking at Esso-Exxon Mobil oil refineries resume petrol supply to service stations around the country.

Source: Fars News Agency

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Report Shows Academics in Canada Face Harassment, Intimidation for Pro-Palestinian Speech


"When it comes to Palestinian human rights, too often academic freedom and freedom of expression are undermined," the report states, adding, "and with them the possibility of finding just solutions to intractable problems," The Middle East Eye reported.

The report, "Unveiling the Chilly Climate - The Suppression of Speech on Palestine in Canada", is thought to be the first detailed examination of the experiences of faculty and students who criticise Israel's policies toward Palestine.

It examined Palestinians who are actively attempting to change these policies by both their support for the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, and their opposition to the adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism.

"There is a connection to be made here between these attacks and efforts by pro-Israel advocacy groups to market the IHRA, a document that has come under vigorous attack by defenders of academic freedom and Palestinian human rights," the report states.

"While its proponents argue that this definition will not threaten freedom of expression or inhibit criticism of Israeli policies, the findings of this report demonstrate that these basic rights are already under threat and could be further imperilled if the IHRA were to be widely adopted," it added.

The report includes 77 testimonies which describe both the overarching effects of the crackdown and the personal impacts it has on students, faculty and activists. While the report is mostly focused on Canada, it also touches on the experiences of European academics, artists and students who are publicly pro-Palestinian.

Eight interviewees reported their submissions to academic journals and book publishers were met with negative reviews which cited the author's critical stance on Israeli human rights violations.

A number of interviewees felt the academic environment in Canada was particularly unwelcoming to those working in the area of Palestine studies.

According to the report, there were several attempts to prevent access to event venues and the attempted cancellation of public events on Palestine, as well as the targeting and doxxing of activists including the 125 Canadian academics and activists on the "Canary Mission" website.

This initiative, which operates anonymously, blasts students and faculty who criticise Israel with accusations of antisemitism and supporting terrorism. Canary Mission attempts to use its reach to suppress pro-Palestine activism.

Student activists also reported threats of violence, which contained racial and sexual slurs. Many students have been subjected to warnings and disciplinary measures by university administrators.

In 2009, several universities banned a poster advertising Israel Apartheid Week. The poster depicts a helicopter labelled "Israel" shooting a missile at a toddler holding a teddy bear, labelled "Gaza".

In 2016, elementary school teacher Nadia Shoufani was suspended from her teaching job after speaking at an Al Quds Day rally. It was alleged that Shoufani had "glorified" terrorism. In 2017 Shoufani was cleared of any wrongdoing by the Ontario English Catholic Teachers' Federation.

In 2021, Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center called for the disciplining of the University of Toronto professor, Chandni Desai, for sponsoring an event about Palestinian author Ghassan Kanafani.

They wrote, "It is shocking and totally unacceptable that a professor at a Canadian university would participate in an event that honours and venerates an individual [Kanafani] complicit in the mass murder of civilians."

In the IJV report, those who were surveyed reported violations of their academic freedom, from political intention to hiring decisions.

They also reported pressure to self-censor when it came to writing or speaking about Palestine. Many reported facing harassment by pro-Israel advocacy groups and media outlets.

When it came to academics, they reported encountering Islamophobia and anti-Palestinian racism from colleagues and students. Many reported suffering from the emotional stress of working in a hostile environment as they were not yet tenured.

"The Research Report constitutes a deeply disturbing indictment of the multiple sources responsible for the depth and breadth of a wholesale attack on freedom of speech," said Anthony Lerman, a senior fellow at the Bruno Kreisky Forum for International Dialogue in Vienna.

Source: Fars News Agency

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Palestinian Groups Reach Reconciliation Deal to End Years-Long Division


The agreement came on Thursday under an Algerian-brokered initiative for reconciliation among 14 groups, including Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Fatah, presstv reported.

Mustafa Barghouti, the Secretary-General of the Palestinian National Initiative political party, said the Palestinian groups agreed to sign the Algerian Declaration and inaugurate a united Palestinian National Council after two days of round table talks under the auspices of the Algerian government.

"After long discussions, it was agreed on a statement that will be issued as the Algerian document for national reconciliation," Barghouti said.

"It was agreed to elect the Palestinian National Council at home and abroad, using a proportional representation system with the participation of all Palestinian factions, within a maximum period of one year from the date of signing the declaration," he added.

The declaration, Barghouti said, also ensured that the factions could hold general presidential and legislative elections in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including the occupied Al-Quds, within a maximum period of one year from the date of signing the declaration.

Media reports said the declaration would include "unifying Palestinian national institutions, mobilizing the available energies and resources to implement reconstruction projects, and supporting the infrastructure and social for the Palestinian people in a way that protects their steadfastness in the face of the Israeli occupation".

An Algerian-Arab working group was said to have been tasked with supervising and following up on the implementation of the terms of the agreement in cooperation with Palestinian officials.

Algeria’s presidency said in a statement that the declaration would serve as a solid ground for achieving the national unity between all the Palestinian factions.

Ismail Haniyeh, head of the political bureau of Palestinian resistance movement Hamas, welcomed the agreement and said the talks had a positive atmosphere, expressing his deep appreciation for the initiative Algeria launched to heal the rift between Palestinians.

“We are satisfied with Algeria’s meetings and the positive atmosphere that dominated the talks between us,” Haniyeh said on Thursday.

Haniyeh lauded the Algerian team that supervised the dialog between the Palestinian factions for its patience and keenness on not imposing any vision from any side on the talks.

Since January, Algeria has launched several initiatives to mediate a Palestinian national reconciliation, hosting dozens of key political leaders from the different factions to agree on a common goal.

The Palestinian leadership has been divided between Fatah and Hamas since 2006, when the latter scored a landslide victory in parliamentary elections in the Gaza Strip. Hamas has ever since been running the coastal enclave, while Fatah has been based in the autonomous parts the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
Source: Fars News Agency

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Gyanvapi Mosque Case: Varanasi Court Rejects Hindu Devotees' Plea for Carbon Dating Of 'Shivling'

14 OCT 2022

The Varanasi District Court on Friday rejected a petition of Hindu devotees seeking carbon dating of 'Shivling' allegedly found inside Gyanvapi Mosque.

The Court ruled that the plea for 'scientific investigation' cannot be allowed since the Supreme Court has ordered the sealing of the place where the 'Shivling' was found, according to legal news website Lawbeat.

An object found inside the Gyanvapi Mosque during its court-mandated videography survey was claimed to be a 'Shivling' by the Hindu petitioners. Four of the five Hindu petioners in the case had filed a petition seeking carbon dating of this object. Carbon dating is a scientific process used commonly in archaeology to understand the age of an object.

Arguments on the plea were completed on Tuesday. The Gyanvapi Mosque committee had opposed the plea for carbon dating. The fifth Hindu petitioner had not participated in the plea for carbon dating over fears that the process would damage the 'Shivling'.

The Hindu petitioners seeking carbon dating have said they would go to higher courts to pursue their cause.

"We will move to Supreme Court against this order and challenge it there. I cannot announce the date as of now, but we will soon challenge this order in Supreme Court," said Advocate Vishnu Jain, appearing for the petitioners.

Gyanvapi case, carbon dating plea explained

Five Hindu women have filed a petition seeking rights for daily prayers before the idols on the outer walls of the Gyanvapi Mosque in Varanasi. During the initial hearing of the case, a Varanasi court —from where the case was later transferred to District Court— ordered videography survey of the mosque compound.

During the survey, it was claimed that a 'Shivling' was found close to the "wazookhana" —a small reservoir used by Muslims to perform ritual ablutions before offering namaz— in the mosque premises. It is this 'Shivling' whose carbon dating was sought by four of the five original petitions. It was opposed by the mosque committee.

One of the five petitioners has not joined the plea for carbon dating out of concerns that such a process might damage the 'Shivling'. Thhe advocate for petioners had said there would be no damage to the structure during carbon dating.

What has Gyanvapi Mosque Committee said?

Citing the original plea by the Hindu women seeking permission for yearlong praying inside the shrine, the mosque committee previously had objected to the scientific investigation plea, saying that it had nothing to do with its structure.

On September 12, the Varanasi district judge dismissed a challenge by the mosque committee that said the case by the Hindu women for year-long worship inside the mosque complex had no legal standing. Their challenge was rejected on all three counts that they had cited including the 1991 law that freezes the status of a place of worship as it existed on August 15, 1947.

The petitioners didn't want ownership, just the right to worship, the court ruled.

Gyanvapi case last hearing

In the last hearings, advocate Mumtaz Ahmed, appearing for the Muslim petitioners, said they told the court that carbon dating of the object cannot be done.

If the object gets damaged in the name of carbon dating, it amounts to the defiance of the order of the Supreme Court, said Ahmed.

Earlier, the Muslim petitioners had contended that the Supreme Court had asked the Varanasi District Magistrate to keep the object safe. In such a situation, getting it examined cannot be justified. They also said the original case is about the worship of Shringar Gauri while the structure in the mosque has nothing to do with it.

Source: Outlook India

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Gyanvapi case: Muslim side moves Allahabad HC on maintainability of plea

Pankaj Srivastava

Oct 15, 2022

By Pankaj Srivastava: The Anjuman Intezamia Committee, which represents the Muslim side, in the Gyanvapi Shrinagar Gauri dispute case, has moved Allahabad High court. The Muslim said has challenged the verdict of the lower court which stated that the case is maintainable.

The Muslim side has challenged the decision of dismissal of the objection application in the Allahabad High Court. On September 12, a district court in Varanasi rejected the Anjuman Intezamia Committee's plea challenging Hindu worshippers' request for permission for daily worship of Hindu deities in the Gyanvapi mosque. District Judge AK Vishvesh, delivering the verdict in the Gyanvapi Shrinagar Gauri dispute, said the case is maintainable.

Rejecting the petition of the Muslim side, the court had said that the suit by Hindu parties is maintainable in the court.The matter will be heard in the high court on October 18.


In the petition of the Muslim side filed in the High Court, it has been reiterated that the matter cannot be heard under the Place of Worship Act of 1991. The plea states that there has also been a demand for a stay on the ongoing hearing in the Varanasi court till the High Court's decision.

Five women had filed a petition seeking permission for daily worship of Hindu deities whose idols are claimed to be located on an outer wall of the Gyanvapi mosque. The Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee has said the Gyanvapi mosque is a Waqf property and had questioned the maintainability of the plea.

The Hindu side had claimed in the lower court that a Shivling was found during the videographic survey of the Gyanvapi mosque-Shringar Gauri complex, but it was contested by the Muslim side. The mosque management committee claims that the structure is not a 'shivling' but a part of the "wazookhana" reservoir system.


A Varanasi court on Friday rejected the Hindu petitioners' plea for carbon dating of what is claimed to be a 'shivling' in the Gyanvapi mosque premises. The Hindu side has demanded carbon dating and scientific investigation of the object and the plea was opposed by the Muslim side.

Source: India Today

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Muslim Man Arrested Under Anti-Conversion Law In Karnataka

October 15, 2022

Bengaluru: A Muslim man has been arrested and remanded to judicial custody under the recently promulgated Karnataka Protection of Right to Freedom of Religion Act, for 'converting a woman under the pretext of marrying her.'

According to the Deputy Superintendent of Police of Bengaluru North Division, Vinayak Patil, the case was registered against Syed Mueen on a complaint lodged by the mother of the woman.

A missing case was registered on October 6 following a complaint by the 18-year-old woman's mother the previous day.

Following this, the man and the woman were questioned at the police station on October 8.

The woman's mother again lodged a complaint on Thursday night that her daughter had been converted to another religion by Syed Mueen on the pretext of marrying her.

Accordingly, a case has been registered under section 5 of the Karnataka Protection of Right to Freedom of Religion Act and the accused has been arrested and remanded to judicial custody, Patil told reporters.

According to the complainant, the religious conversion took place at Penukonda in Andhra Pradesh, he added.

Source: ND TV

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South Asia


Afghanistan Only Country Denying Girls Access to Education: HRW

By Arif Ahmadi

14 Oct 2022

Kabul, Afghanistan – Heather Barr, Associate Director of the Women’s Rights Division at Human Rights Watch, dubs Afghanistan the “only country on the planet” to deny girls access to education, warning of the devastating impact of the Taliban action.

After the Taliban imposed a ban in September of 2021, it has been 389 days that girls in Afghanistan are restricted from attending secondary schools despite international calls for reconsideration.

“This is absolutely a shameful situation which makes Afghanistan the only country on the planet which systematically denies girls access to education because of gender,” she added. “This is going to have a devastating impact.”

A number of female students above grade six and residents of the country urged the government to reopen secondary schools for them.

“If schools are closed even for one day that is a big loss for girls and Afghanistan, I hope schools reopen for girls,” said Shakila, a student, as TOLOnews quoted.

“Girls have the same right to go to schools as boys, and Islam also emphasizes girls’ education,” said Najma, another student.

Meanwhile, the deputy spokesman of the Islamic Emirate said efforts are continuing to reopen schools for girls above grade six. He, however, did not provide further details on the matter.

“On this issue, officials of the Islamic Emirate have explained it to you and that is enough for now,” said Billa Karimi, Deputy Spokesman for the Islamic Emirate.

In March, the Islamic Emirate on a formal decree banned female students of grade six and above from attending classes in schools throughout the country.

The decision by the group has triggered a backlash among international communities and the United Nations, including foreign ministries of Canada, France, Italy, Norway, the United Kingdom, and the U.S., urging for immediate reconsideration of girls’ education.
Source: Khaama Press

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Southeast Asia

Indonesian Muslims gamble on problematic ties to Saudi government vehicle

October 15, 2022

By Dr. James M. Dorsey

Nahdlatul Ulama, arguably the world’s only Muslim mass movement propagating a genuinely moderate and pluralistic form of Islam, has forged an unlikely, albeit temporary, alliance with the Saudi-controlled Muslim World League.

The League is Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s chief propagator of a socially less restrictive but autocratic interpretation of the faith that demands absolute obedience to the ruler.

In a bold but risky strategy, Nahdlatul Ulama, the world’s largest Muslim civil society movement with 90 million followers in Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim majority-country and democracy, hopes that the alliance will undercut Saudi and League support for an Indonesian political party associated with the Muslim Brotherhood, the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS).

Against all odds, Nahdlatul Ulama also envisions its Humanitarian Islam philosophy rubbing off on the League as a result of cooperation with the Indonesian group.

The philosophy embraces religious and political pluralism, unambiguously endorses the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and advocates reform of what it terms “obsolete” elements of Islamic jurisprudence.

Persuading the League to endorse a genuinely moderate form of Islam would have enormous significance. It would lend the prestige of the Custodian of Islam’s two holiest cities, Mecca and Medina, to Nahdlatul Ulama’s effort to reform Islam. That, however, is a long shot, if not pie in the sky.

More likely, the League sees reputational benefit in its association with Nahdlatul Ulama. The League also probably hopes to co-opt the Indonesian movement to prevent it from becoming a serious competitor for hearts and minds in the Muslim world.

Neither group may succeed in fulfilling its aspirations.

Nahdlatul Ulama has a century-long history of fiercely defending its independence and charting its moderation course.

At the same time, there is little reason to believe that the League can embrace anything but what Mr. Bin Salman authorises.

If the last two months provide an indication, Mr. Bin Salman and his loyal lieutenant, League secretary general Mohammed al-Issa, can, at best, be expected to opportunistically pay lip service to Humanitarian Islam.

Moreover, the kingdom has long demonstrated its determination, often in cooperation with the United Arab Emirates, to stymie endeavours for political change across the Middle East.

Most recently, Saudi Arabia sentenced two women to respectively 34 and 45 years in prison for tweets that allegedly “cause public unrest and destabilise civil and national security” and “tear (Saudi Arabia’) social fabric.”

Last week, a Saudi court committed to death row three members of the Howeitat tribe that was forcibly ejected to make way for Mr. Bin Salman’s US$500 billion science fiction Neom megacity on the Red Sea. The three men had resisted the ejection.

Adding fuel to the fire, Mr. Bin Salman reportedly appointed Awadh bin Ali bin Ayedh al-Mayshar al-Ahmari, a detective allegedly involved in the cover-up of the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi,  as president of the kingdom’s counter-terrorism court that handed down the recent harsh verdicts.

Moreover, Saudi Arabia has interpreted freedom of religion as inter-faith dialogue that does not stray beyond lofty statements and high-profile meetings and conferences rather than lifting a ban on non-Muslim houses of worship in the kingdom.

To be sure, Mr. Bin Salman has curbed the authority of the religious police, enhanced women’s rights and opportunities, and enabled Western-style entertainment, but that did not entail religious reform. Instead, it amounted to long overdue social change by decree.

As a result, Nahdlatul Ulama stands a better chance in loosening the ties between the League and the PKS than persuading Mr. Bin Salman that in addition to social change, genuine religious reform and good governance should be the legs of his efforts to diversify the Saudi economy.

One litmus test of the League’s relationship with Nahdlatul Ulama will be whether Hidayat Nur Wahid, a PKS luminary, remains a member of the League’s Supreme Council.

Mr. Wahid accompanied Mr. Al-Issa in 2020 to the secretary general’s initial meeting with Nahdlatul Ulama, the first in the League’s 60-year history. Yet, he refused to join Mr. Al-Issa in 2020 on his historic visit at the head of a delegation of Muslim scholars to Auschwitz, the Nazi extermination camp in Poland.

To be fair, Nahdlatul Ulama, while virulently opposed to political Islam, has demonstrated its democratic credentials by confronting the PKS politically but not disputing its right to compete in free and fair elections or being politically active within the legal confines of Indonesian democracy.

Sacrificing the PKS is a small price for the League to pay for what Nahdlatul Ulama offers.

The association has already paid off with no public indication that the League has met any of Nahdlatul Ulama’s aspirations. Instead, the League has milked its partnership with Nahdlatul Ulama for what it is worth on social media.

As the convener of the Religion Forum 20, a newly created official Group of 20 engagement group, Nahdlatul Ulama has invited the League to co-host next month’s summit of religious leaders in Bali in advance of a meeting of leaders of the G20 that groups the world’s largest economies. Indonesia is this year’s chairman of the group.

The faith summit aims to “help ensure that religion in the 21st-century functions as a genuine and dynamic source of solutions, rather than problems.”

Add to that Nahdlatul Ulama’s recognition of the League as a non-governmental organisation even though it is wholly government-controlled and primarily government funded.

The invitation was in recognition of the League’s break with its past as a major vehicle in the global spread of Saudi ultra-conservatism before the rise of Mr. Bin Salman in 2015. The invitation also followed an approach by the Saudi government to its Indonesian counterparts requesting that the League have a platform at the R20.

The approach “stroked with dynamics in the Indonesian government. There was a sort of feedback loop. In the end, Nahdlatul Ulama and the government reinforced each other,” said a well-placed source.

Nahdlatul Ulama’s National Awakening Party (PKB) has four ministers in Indonesian President Joko Widodo’s government, including Yaqut Cholil Qoumas, the religious affairs minister, and a brother of the movement’s General Chairman Yahya Cholil Staquf.

Mr. Widodo has embraced Nahdlatul Ulama’s push for a genuinely moderate Islam but, at the same time, has been willing to legitimize Saudi and Emirati efforts aimed at ensuring that moderation does not entail political liberalisation.

In contrast to Nahdlatul Ulama, the two Gulf states have steered clear of anchoring social change in jurisprudential reform of Islamic law.

The alliance with the League spotlights Nahdlatul Ulama’s difficulty balancing its domestic objectives with its effort to position itself internationally as the voice of a genuinely socially and religiously pluralistic and tolerant Islam.

Partnering with the League in the hope it will pay more than a domestic political dividend entails reputational risk, with the kingdom’s troubled human rights and freedom of religion track record potentially again moving centre stage due to increasingly strained US-Saudi relations.

Source: Modern Diplomacy

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Despite snubbing Umno for GE15, PAS says MN continues

Anne Muhammad

October 13, 2022

PETALING JAYA: The decision by PAS to stick with Perikatan Nasional (PN) for the 15th general election (GE15) does not mean it has turned its back on Muafakat Nasional (MN), a party leader said.

PAS spiritual leader Hashim Jasin said his party would continue to push for Muslim unity with Umno, via MN, but not necessarily before GE15.

“For PAS, we will remain in MN,” he told FMT, referring to the political pact it forged with Umno in 2019 to woo the Malay-Muslim electorate.

“We won’t part ways for the sake of Muslim unity. MN doesn’t target a specific deadline, so it will continue.”

Hashim said this when asked if the Islamic party’s decision to stick with PN for the nationwide polls meant it was parting ways with Umno.

He said PAS had objected to Bersatu’s demand for the party to declare Umno an enemy.

“We are against it as it isn’t in line with the push for Muslim unity, and Bersatu is aware of our sentiment on this matter.”

Asked about the potential clash with Umno in 27 parliamentary seats, Hashim said his party was ready to face off against Umno, adding that it was part of the democratic process.

However, he hoped the contest would not get in the way of the push for Muslim unity.

Earlier, Barisan Nasional chairman Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the coalition would be going solo in GE15 following PAS’ decision to stick with PN for the nationwide polls.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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Malaysia's PAS says its three state assemblies won't be dissolved for elections

Hazlin Hassan

OCT 14, 2022

KUALA LUMPUR - Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) said on Thursday that it will not dissolve the three state assemblies under its rule for Malaysia’s general election.

“The PAS central working committee... has decided to maintain its stand not to dissolve the state assemblies of Kelantan, Terengganu and Kedah,” the Islamist party’s president Abdul Hadi Awang said in a statement.

“We have also decided that we will strengthen cooperation in Perikatan Nasional (PN) to face the 15th general election, on the principle of uniting the ummah (Muslims).”

The statement did not specifically mention the status of the party’s relationship with the Umno-led Barisan Nasional (BN). Both PN and BN were part of Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s administration.

PAS had said before that it wanted to work with the two blocs. It had also mentioned that it will not dissolve the three state assemblies under its rule until March 2023, in order to focus on preparations for the floods during the monsoon season from around mid-November to March.

Meanwhile, opposition leader and Pakatan Harapan (PH) chairman Anwar Ibrahim did not dismiss the possibility of working with former premiers Mahathir Mohamad and Muhyiddin Yassin for the election.

“We are now committed to the Harapan agenda against corruption, against abuse of power. Whoever agrees, they can come and talk to us,” Datuk Seri Anwar was quoted as saying on Thursday by the Malaysiakini news website.

Dr Mahathir led the PH government after its historic electoral win over BN in 2018. However, he was toppled by Tan Sri Muhyiddin in 2020 after the latter withdrew his Bersatu party from the ruling coalition and formed a new government with Umno.

On Monday, Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri announced the dissolution of Parliament, paving the way for the general election to be held this year, with polling day expected in early November.

While Parliament is led by the prime minister who governs Malaysia, the country’s 13 states are led by Menteris Besar, or chief ministers.

During polling day, Malaysians are usually given two ballot papers - one to vote for their MP and another to pick their state assemblyman.

In the past, both the federal and state assembly polls were held concurrently, except in Sarawak. This time, several Malaysian states are deciding whether to dissolve their state legislatures or to wait until 2023, when elections must be held.

Selangor and Negeri Sembilan, two of the three states controlled by PH, will not be dissolving their legislatures. The third state, Penang, might also hold off on dissolution.

The PH presidential council could not reach a consensus on the matter in its meeting on Wednesday.

Democratic Action Party chairman Lim Guan Eng said state elections should be held concurrently with the parliamentary election.

Penang people generally do not want to hold state and federal elections separately as this would cost more resources and time, he said.

Another concern is that Umno and PAS might join forces after the general election and pose a greater threat to PH, he added.

Source: Straits Times

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PBS concedes to using GRS emblem though own logo better known

Willie Jude

October 14, 2022

PENAMPANG: Although Sabahans are more familiar with Parti Bersatu Sabah’s (PBS) logo, the party will be contesting under the Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) banner in the 15th general election (GE15).

Party president Maximus Ongkili said the decision to use the GRS logo was jointly made by the coalition’s component parties, including PBS.

“Certainly (the PBS logo is better known), but this is GRS’ decision, so we abide by that. For the sake of unity, we will use (the GRS logo),” he said when met at the party’s headquarters here.

In the 2020 Sabah state election, PBS used its own logo for the first time in 16 years, going on to win seven seats.

Maximus also said there had yet to be a final word on the distribution of seats among GRS and BN component parties for GE15.

“Even yesterday, (GRS chairman) Hajiji Noor didn’t want to tell and that’s why we don’t know how many seats GRS and Umno will get or where the seats are,” he said.

Yesterday, Hajiji, who is also the Sabah chief minister, chaired a GRS meeting attended by leaders of the coalition’s component parties.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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Burkina Faso’s coup leader appointed transitional president

James Tasamba  


KIGALI, Rwanda

A national meeting Friday in Burkina Faso endorsed coup leader, Capt. Ibrahim Traore, as the transitional president, two weeks after he led a second coup in eight months in the West African country.

About 300 delegates, including representatives from the army and police, customary and religious organizations, civil society, trade unions and parties met in the nation’s capital of Ouagadougou to discuss plans to steer the country back to democratic rule.

The national forum “appointed Traore transition president,” said Omega Radio.

Traore is expected to lead the country until elections in July 2024, according to the transitional charter.

Last month, Traore, 34, led a group of disgruntled soldiers who deposed Lt. Col. Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba who had seized power in January.

Traore’s appointment was widely expected after he was named president under a “fundamental act” adopted by the junta group calling itself the Patriotic Movement for Safeguarding and Restoration (MPSR).

Before his appointment, demonstrators rallied in Ouagadougou to protest speculation that senior army officers had wanted to sideline Traore.

Traore was given the rank of captain in 2020 after returning from the UN's MINUSMA peacekeeping mission in neighboring Mali in 2018.

After the January coup that deposed President Roch Marc Christian Kabore, Traore became a member of the MPSR.

The national forum also examined the transitional charter.

Burkina Faso has suffered persistent insecurity posed by an insurgency that spread from Mali in the past decade.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Tunisian coastguard recovers 11 bodies after migrant boat went missing

14 October, 2022

The Tunisian coastguard has recovered 11 bodies thought to be of irregular migrants lost at sea while attempting to reach Europe, a spokesman said Friday.

The partly decomposed bodies were found on Thursday and Friday in Mediterranean waters off the central province of Mahdia, National Guard spokesman Houcem Eddine Jebabli told AFP.

He said DNA samples had been taken in order establish their identities.

The bodies of eight migrants were recovered on Monday off the coast of the North African country, around two weeks after a makeshift boat carrying 18 people including a baby went missing.

Hundreds of Tunisians clashed with police on Wednesday during a protest to demand more search-and-rescue efforts.

Also angered over the burial of three suspected Tunisians in a nearby cemetery for foreign migrants, some demonstrators burnt tires and threw rocks at police.

A long-running economic crisis has pushed many Tunisians to attempt the perilous sea journey.

The North African country has a long Mediterranean coast, in places just 130 kilometers (80 miles) from the Italian island of Lampedusa.

Tunisia has long been a key departure point for migrants, including many from sub-Saharan African countries, seeking a better life in Europe.

Recent months have also seen a surge in attempts by Tunisians to reach Europe via Turkey and the Balkans, according to Jebabli, who said four networks involved in people smuggling on that route had been broken up.

Tunisian authorities, under pressure from Europe to cut back departures, say they are struggling to do so with limited means.

Generally favorable weather from spring to early autumn sees a rise in illegal attempts to reach Italy from Tunisia and Libya, but such crossings often end in tragedy.

Tunisian authorities said Tuesday they had intercepted nearly 200 migrants attempting to reach Europe northward across the Mediterranean Sea last weekend.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Spain broke law returning migrants to Morocco amid deadly border crossing: Ombudsman

14 October, 2022

Spanish authorities failed to uphold domestic and international law in returning to Morocco nearly 500 migrants following a mass border crossing in which at least 23 people died, the country’s civil rights ombudsman said in an interim report on Friday.

On June 24, the Spanish authorities said up to 2,000 migrants stormed the high fence that seals off Spain’s North African enclave of Melilla and engaged in a two-hour skirmish with border officers.

While scores succeeded in reaching the Spanish territory, Moroccan authorities said at least 23 people were killed in a crush after what they described as a stampede, and others died falling as they climbed. Local NGOs said the death toll could be as high as 37.

Spain’s national ombudsman Angel Gabilondo said Spanish police failed to process 470 migrants who sought to cross into the Spanish territory.

“The institution concludes that 470 persons were turned back at the border without taking into account national and international legal provisions,” he said in his review.

The ombudsman’s office said it has requested access to additional footage of the disaster, as its investigation was still ongoing. Depending on the final outcome, the ombudsman can seek further action such as requesting a parliamentary enquiry or filing a complaint before Spain’s constitutional court.

In response to the report, Spain’s interior ministry said its border officials were guarding a European border from “violent assaults.”

“All border rejections that took place on June 24 at the border perimeter between Melilla and Nador were carried out within the strictest legality,” the ministry said.

Melilla and Ceuta, a second Spanish enclave also on Africa’s northern coast, have over the past decade become popular crossing points for African migrants trying to enter Europe.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Somalia marks 5th anniversary of deadliest terror bombing in its history

Mohammed Dhaysane  



Somalia on Friday marked the fifth anniversary of the deadliest bombing in the Horn of Africa nation's history.

On Oct. 14, 2017, a truck full of explosives caused a massive blast at the busy Zoobe intersection in the capital Mogadishu, killing more than 600 people and wounding nearly 1,000 others.

Somalis in the country and abroad took to social media platforms on Friday to mark the anniversary of the attack, carried out by the al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist group Al-Shabaab.

Families who lost their loved ones in the attack told Anadolu Agency that they were still mourning as they have been, like many others, unable to locate their loved ones' bodies.

Fadumo Abdi, a Mogadishu resident, said she still remembered the day of the attack, the "worst day" of her life.

"Five people among my close relatives, including my sister's five-year-old baby girl, died in that attack and we have yet to find some of their bodies. We're still mourning," Abdi said.

Their lives were cut short while on their way to Mogadishu's scenic Liido beach on the Indian Ocean coast, she said.

Suleiman Ahmed also lost loved ones in the terrorist attack. Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Ahmed said he lost five of his relatives and five friends who were killed in the attack, adding that he knows dozens of others who were wounded.

"I myself wasn't far away from the bomb site and I still remember the magnitude of that blast, which was the biggest bombing I've ever heard. I lost a lot of friends, including five close friends and five of my relatives," he said.

Ahmed added that he still saw nightmares of the blast and said Somalis must unite in order to defeat the terrorists responsible.

Today, the site of the attack has been dedicated to mark its anniversary.

The fifth anniversary of the deadly bombing coincides with Somalia gaining significant ground against Al-Shabaab in its recent military operations in the central region of Hiran.

"We will never forget the victims of the worst terrorist attack in #Somalia on 14 October 2017. We lost over 600 people on that fateful day. Best way to celebrate their lives is to defeat Al-Shabaab and their violent extremist ideology. Let’s join the struggle," Abdirahman Aynte, Somalia's former planning minister, said on Twitter.

Hussein Sheikh Ali, the national security adviser of Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, also marked the attack's anniversary, and said the government would defeat al-Shabaab and its ideology.

"The feeling of this anniversary is not one of despair and pain but rather resistance and resilience. We shall defeat AlShabaab and terror ideology," Ali said.

Somalia has been grappling with security threats for years, with Al-Shabaab being one of the main ones in the country.

Since at least 2007, al-Shabaab has waged a deadly campaign against the Somali government and international forces that has claimed thousands of lives.

The UN has warned of growing instability in the country, with its periodic reports on Somalia this year detailing attacks by al-Shabaab and groups aligned with the Daesh/ISIS terror group.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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10 civilians killed, 38 injured in Mali bus blast

James Tasamba  


KIGALI, Rwanda

At least 10 civilians were killed and 38 injured when a passenger bus hit an improvised explosive device in central Mali, the army said on Friday.

The explosion occurred on a major thoroughfare in the Bandiagara region on Thursday afternoon, and the bus was travelling from the capital Bamako, according to a military statement.

The army said the attack was carried out by the Katibat Macina terrorist group.

The dead include a woman and a girl who was about 5 years old, the statement said.

The UN Stabilization Mission in Mali strongly condemned the attack, and reaffirmed it will continue to work with Malian authorities “in support of their efforts to restore the security to which the Malian people deeply aspire.”

Source: Anadolu Agency

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