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Islamic World News ( 22 Apr 2023, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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As Eid and Earth Day Coincide, Young Muslim Americans Are Driving The Modern Climate Movement

New Age Islam News Bureau

20 April 2023


Saad Amer, 28, is a Pakistani American climate activist who says his family back home sees climate change reflected in volatile temperatures, natural disasters and crop shortages.Leila Register / NBC News; Getty Images


As Eid and Earth Day Coincide, Young Muslim Americans Are Driving The Modern Climate Movement

Stop Making Atiq Ahmed A Muslim Hero; The Gangster-Turned-Politician Had An Endless List Of Offences To His Name

Protest Is People's Right, Iranian Sunni Imam Says in Eid al-Fitr Sermon

South Asian Muslims Herald Eid al-Fitr With a Night of Communal Revelry

Jakarta Archdiocese with all Catholics wishes Eid Mubarak 1444 H to Muslims in Indonesia


North America

Muslim students lead protest for adequate prayer space at New York’s Baruch College

Islamic Centre of Wheaton hosts large prayer service to mark Eid

Monroe-Woodbury Islamic Centre holds Eid al-Fitr service

Muslims Celebrate Eid In Essex County; Gov. Murphy Visits Newark



Gyanvapi Mosque Case: Arrange Tubs With Water For Ablution, SC Tells Authorities

UP STF Reaches Bargarh In Search Of Atiq Ahmad’s Aide Guddu Muslim

5 Army soldiers killed in terrorist attack in Poonch

Dalai Lama Attends Global Buddhist Summit, Speaks Of Compassion, Wisdom

"Ended Special Favour Meant For Scoring Political Points," Amit Shah On Scrapping Muslim Quota In Karnataka



Muslim Ambulance Driver, Beautician, Male Nurse and Doctors In The UAE, It's Work As Usual This Eid Al Fitr

Little let-up in Khartoum fighting despite Sudan truce declaration

Fak Kurba initiative results in release of over 800 prisoners during Ramadan

Top Iranian Diplomat Urges Muslim Solidarity in Eid Message

Islamic banks' asset in UAE surges 5pc to $169bn in January

Iraqi cleric who fled jail dies escaping recapture


South Asia

US ‘Forcefully’ Rejects Talks On Taliban’s Recognition

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi Calls for Inclusive Govt in Afghanistan

2 Killed, 10 Hurt in Madrid Restaurant Fire

Afghanistan Meeting Not About Recognizing Taliban Leadership, Says UN

PM Modi greets Bangladesh on eve of Eid-ul-Fitr; wishes for peace, harmony worldwide

Bangladesh tells its citizens to avoid travelling to Sudan


Southeast Asia

Repeatedly Painted An Enemy Of Islam, Kit Siang Wishes Hadi and PAS ‘Eid ul Fitr’

Indonesian, Malaysian Muslims celebrate Eid al-Fitr as COVID fears recede

Muslims in Malaysia celebrate livelier Aidilfitri, first in three years without special SOP

Cabinet members extend Aidilfitri wishes to Malaysian Muslims



Pakistan Govt Cites Possibility Of War With India, Urges Supreme Court To Postpone Elections

PM felicitates nation, Muslim Ummah on Eidul Fitr

Nawaz, Saudi crown prince discuss issues faced by Pakistan

Pakistan celebrates Eidul Fitr as economic woes dampen festive cheer



Moscow Mosque Plan Pits Putin Allies Against Each Other

Faizal completes gruelling daily 10km run challenge for Ramadan

Muslim burial site: Council extends consultation period after concerns

London Marathon 2023: Training during Ramadan fasting is 'challenging'



Eid-el-Fitr: Enugu Chief Imam Sues For Peace Among Nigerians

Don’t Abandon RamadanVirtues, Lessons, Adeleke Urges Muslims

Lalong, others felicitate Muslims in Plateau

CAN Urges Peace, Tolerance Among Christians, Muslims 

APC Chair, Adamu, Opeyemi Bamidele, Niger Senator Facilitate Muslims


Arab World

Saudi Arabia Arranges To Evacuate Citizens From Sudan

Saudi and UK foreign ministers discuss violence in Sudan

Prince Mohammed bin Salman Project for Development of Historical Mosques to Renovate Kheif Al-Huzami Mosque in Madinah

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Performs Eid Al-Fitr Prayer at Al-Salam Palace in Jeddah

Saudi Arabia’s KSrelief distributes food aid in 4 countries

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau



 As Eid and Earth Day Coincide, Young Muslim AmericansAre Driving The Modern Climate Movement


Saad Amer, 28, is a Pakistani American climate activist who says his family back home sees climate change reflected in volatile temperatures, natural disasters and crop shortages.Leila Register / NBC News; Getty Images


April 22, 2023

By Sakshi Venkatraman

As climate disasters ravage much of the Muslim world — from record-breaking heat in the Middle East to devastating floods in Pakistan — Earth Day and Eid al-Fitr falling on the same weekend feels kismet to some Muslim Americans.

“My faith is the biggest reason I have for climate optimism,” said Zahra Biabani, 24, an American organizer and author who is of Pakistani and Indian descent. "When we look at how much of our text is about nature and valuing it and caring for it, that can be a really powerful tool. Protecting people and things that can’t speak for themselves is the most pure thing you can do.”

Eid al-Fitr marks the end of the month of Ramadan and is determined by the sighting of a new moon. It’s a joyous time, and Biabani hopes it can also be a powerful moment of reflection.

The new, young faces fighting climate change want their peers to know that while their mission is urgent, it doesn’t have to be depressing. They are working to rebrand their message through social media, celebrity and festivity — and doing so online has helped a new generation get involved from home.

Saad Amer, 28, is a Pakistani American climate activist who has led this effort and even taken it to the White House and United Nations. With tens of thousands of followers on Instagram and Twitter, he meets Gen Z and Alpha where they are.

Over the last few years, he’s become something of an influencer himself, regularly going viral for his work. He poses on red carpets with movie stars and YouTubers, but he also doesn’t shy away from taking to the streets with a bullhorn and rallying voters during election seasons.

 “The key is authenticity,” said Amer, also the founder of the social impact group Justice Environment. “I will never compromise who I am to do the work that I do.”

Most Gen Zers have grown up with climate change being discussed as a pressing reality in their lives, he said. But for young people of color, it cuts deeper.

Muslim activists with family members in hard-hit areas say they are intimately connected to climate justice.

“Communities across the Muslim world are disproportionately impacted by the climate,” Amer said. “People who have never gone through a proper education or heard the term climate change described from their first person accounts to me of how things have changed exactly in line with what science had predicted.”

Watching relatives back home suffer the consequences of more volatile temperatures, natural disasters and crop shortages, these activists say they bring a perspective many others can’t understand. Climate language back home often looks a lot different than it does in the U.S., they say, and the diaspora can help bridge the gap.

“My family back in Pakistan, they’re not thinking about switching from plastic to reusable materials. They’re more so thinking about, like, why their house keeps flooding,” said Biabani, who has also amassed thousands of followers for her writing and activism.

Coming from South Asia, taking care of the Earth and their communities is something that comes naturally, Amer said.

He cited locally sourced food and clothing, both of which are much more commonly found walking the streets of cities on the subcontinent.

“Even if you open up my mom’s spice cabinet, all of the spices are contained in old jars that are reused,” he said.

But while the brunt of climate change’s impacts might be felt in the global south, Amer wants people to know that the U.S. isn’t so far removed.

“This isn’t just a developing world issue,” he said. “This isn’t just something inherent to Pakistan. This is something that is true for America as well. We just do a much better job of hiding it. … We’re using our atmosphere as a sewer, the same way that we use our land as literal dumps.”

With more awareness and more diaspora youth ready to fight, activists say they can see a renewed sense of purpose and joy in the movement. There is always a win happening somewhere, they said, and social media makes those stories a lot more visible.

Eid falling at roughly the same time as Earth Day offers this growing coalition the chance to do exactly that, Amer said — to reflect on its wins, be in community with one another and to come into the next phase renewed.

“Eid is really a time of joy and celebration, and it’s marked by this celestial event, the sighting of a new moon,” Amer said. “To form community in this way is so powerful and joyous. There are so many ways that we can come together.”


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 Stop Making Atiq Ahmed A Muslim Hero; The Gangster-Turned-Politician Had An Endless List Of Offences To His Name


Atiq Ahmed (Centre)


Amana Begam

21 April, 2023

Atiq Ahmed’s life was one fraught with crime. From kidnapping, extortion, to murder, the gangster-turned-politician had an endless list of offences to his name. However, his political connections and muscle power ensured no one could touch him.

Atiq and gangsters like him, driven solely by their thirst for blood, are a blight on their communities. Atiq’s first murder involved a rival from his own faith. This was a betrayal of his religion, which teaches that killing one innocent person is akin to killing all of humanity.

Atiq was no hero

It is crucial to note that certain ideologues in the English mainstream media attempted to depict Ahmed as modern-day Robin Hood, exacerbating the harm he had already caused. These dishonest intellectuals  are pursuing a narrative-building agenda that seeks to portray Muslims as victims. In doing so, they overlook the damage caused by such figures to the community.

The greatest irony does not stem from Atiq’s ability to wield power in Uttar Pradesh despite committing crimes against humanity; it comes from a specific group of intellectuals who sought to portray the state’s action against him as an attack on Muslims. This is especially disheartening since Pasmanda Muslims are often victims of such atrocities. All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi compared Ehsan Jafri’s 2002 murder with Atiq’s in a recent tweet, stating that he was the second Muslim ex-MP after Jafri to be killed brutally. In fact, he had even given a ticket to Atiq and his wife, Shaista Parveen, in 2021.

By manipulating their perceptions and making them believe that they are victims because a Muslim don-turned-politician was killed, these leaders demonstrate a lack of genuine concern for the welfare of ordinary Indian Muslims, and the intent to use them as pawns and vote banks. Muslims, thus, have been the biggest victims of Atiq’s actions.

Media, intellectuals victimising Muslims

Media outlets and politicians like Owaisi are attempting to downplay Atiq’s criminal record and highlight his religious identity as a Muslim. They paint him as a community idol, a Muslim power symbol, snatching agency from Muslims and falsely representing them as victims of fascism.

As per UP police records, Atiq’s brother Ashraf was allegedly involved in the abduction of two minor Muslim girls from a madrasa. The girls were reportedly raped repeatedly at gunpoint and thrown in front of the madrasa gate the following morning. “Out of the top 20 criminal cases against the duo, the Ahmed brothers targeted members of the minority community in 13,” said a police official as per an ANI report. Therefore, considering them idols and protectors of the Muslim community is a highly misplaced idea.

The truth is that evil victimises not only its enemy but also its immediate family, the community to which it belongs, as well as the country and humanity as a whole. It is evident that Atiq taught his own children wrong morals; they became victims of his cruelty and were unable to live normal and healthy lives, eventually meeting the same fate as their father. Those who have the best interests of Indian Muslims at heart should caution them about the evils that exist within their own community instead of filling their minds with a sense of victimhood.

Atiq’s fall from grace was swift and dramatic. From a feared don to a jailed ex-politician, he saw his empire crash and burn in a matter of months. His story is also a reminder of the deep-rooted nexus between organised crime and politics in India and the challenges that law enforcement agencies face in tackling this menace. Some may argue that State justice is insufficient for such monsters and that poetic justice is more fitting, but I am sure such acts of revenge can’t bring about real societal reform. The only permanent solution is a strong State and a legal system capable of delivering justice.

Amana Begam Ansari is a columnist and TV news panelist. She runs a weekly YouTube show called ‘India This Week by Amana and Khalid’. She tweets @Amana_Ansari. Views are personal.

(Edited by Zoya Bhatti)


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 Protest Is People's Right, Iranian Sunni Imam Says in Eid al-Fitr Sermon


Sunni Imam Molavi Abdul Hamid is pictured during the Eid al-Fitr prayer in Zahedan, Iran, April 21, 2023.


April 21, 2023

A Sunni imam said Friday during an Eid al-Fitr sermon in Zahedan, Iran, that people have a right to protest and the government should listen to their demands.

In an audio file published on his Telegram channel, Maulvi Abdul Hamid was quoted as saying the people's desire is "the release of political prisoners" and the government should consider the wishes of most of the Iranian nation.

Referring to the deadly suppression of protesters last September, he said: "The people of Zahedan want justice and punishment for the perpetrators and those who ordered people shooting. … We will not ignore the people's rights."

On September 30, after the Sunni Friday prayer in Zahedan city, a fierce clash broke out between military forces and protesters. About 100 people were killed and about 300 injured, according to media reports. At the time, state media said Sunnis gathered after Friday prayers to throw stones and attack the No. 16 Zahedan police station, causing conflict with security forces.

In his Eid al- Fitr sermon, Hamid addressed the economic hardships of Iranians.

"Everyone is in debt and under lots of pressure," he said, adding that authorities should pay attention to the widespread dissatisfaction.

“Our compassionate advice is to get along with people,” he said. “They should give in to the rightful demands of the Iranian people. As long as the people do not cooperate and are dissatisfied, problems will only increase in the country."

He also said that “silence of people does not mean that the nation is satisfied," urging the government to address the issue. "We should sit and talk with the people ... and problems and issues should be solved in any way that these people are satisfied with."

In the end, Hamid emphasized the need to make significant changes in the country and said the people's satisfaction would not be achieved with minor modifications.

"Improving relations with neighbors is good, but it cannot solve the country's problems, and we must have good relations with the whole world,” he said. “The people's problems will not be solved until significant changes occur within the country."

Last fall, Hamid had asked the Qom seminary — Iran's largest — along with the country's authorities to listen to the voices of protesters, ultimately calling on rulers to respond to their demands via a series of public referenda.

While officials in Tehran did not respond at that time, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei this week rejected renewed calls by former President Hassan Rouhani for public referenda on domestic and foreign policies.

Khamenei said he was against the idea because "not all people have the power to analyze the issue which is put to the referendum."

Under Iran's constitution, a referendum is possible only if two-thirds of parliament votes for it and a 12-member constitutional body approves.


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 South Asian Muslims Herald Eid al-Fitr With a Night of Communal Revelry


Last-minute shopping for Eid outfits and accessories. Credit...Amir Hamja for The New York Times


By Sadiba Hasan

April 21, 2023

Eliyah Haque, 6, was getting her hands painted with henna in the Jackson Heights neighbourhood of Queens. Asked what her favourite part of Eid celebrations was, she said: “We come together.”

South Asian Muslims both local to the area and from other boroughs and states flocked to Jackson Heights on Thursday evening to celebrate Chand Raat, a festival on the night before Eid al-Fitr to herald the holiday.

Chand Raat, a South Asian Muslim celebration that encapsulates the intersection of religion and culture, translates to “night of the moon” in Urdu and Hindi. It’s observed on the last night of Ramadan, when the new moon is sighted, indicating the end of the month of fasting.

The night’s action was centred in Diversity Plaza, the town square that honours the global mash-up of Jackson Heights. With some 180,000 people and 167 languages, it may be the most diverse neighbourhood in the world. And it’s home to a prominent South Asian community.

“Eid Mubarak!” signs swung over the streets. Punjabi, Bollywood and Bangla anthems blasted from car speakers. Vendors set up tables selling salwar kameez of all colours and elaborate gold jewellery. (Some joke that Eid is the “Muslim Met Gala.”) Fireworks lit up the sky.

Rummana Amrin, a 24-year-old substitute teacher at P.S. 11 and a student at Teachers College at Columbia University, set up her henna table in front of Patel Brothers, an Indian supermarket, at 4 p.m. She has been a henna artist since 2017.

Ms. Amrin sat at her table, taking client after client until 3 a.m. “I would have people waiting for me for almost three hours because they would love the designs that I do,” she said.

But she doesn’t mind the taxing hours. “I genuinely love it because I see the way people react after their hands are adorned,” she said.

Anik Khan, a musical artist and an influential member of the community, was spotted in the crowds. “That’s Anik Khan!” some shouted as he headed to Ready Penny Inn, a dive bar in the thick of the action. (The bar was nearly empty — a sharp contrast to the chaos outside. Mr. Khan called it “the upside down in Jackson Heights.”)

When he was growing up, Mr. Khan, who lived in the Astoria section of Queens, came to Jackson Heights for Chand Raat every year with his cousins and sisters.

“My favorite part is actually having a place where people feel like it’s Eid,” he said. During Christmas and other holidays, he noted, there are decorations in the streets that make people feel the holiday spirit. “That’s what Jackson Heights has provided for Eid,” he said.

“That’s why I come — because you feel seen,” he added.

At about 9:30 p.m., Bangladeshi singers took the stage to perform classic, lively Bangla folk songs with the crowds singing along. The set ended with a performers’ rendition of Momtaz Begum’s “Morar Kokile.”

Close to the stage, a group of mostly young men who recently immigrated to the city were jumping up and down with their hands raised in the air to the beat of the fiery dholaks (drums).

Usama Siddiquee, a 32-year-old comedian, said onlookers would comment on how wild the scene was. “But that’s just us saying hi. You know? That’s just ‘Assalamualaikum,’” he said.

There are few planners of the Jackson Heights festival. According to neighborhood lore, people started gathering in the area to celebrate Chand Raat in the early 1980s, when waves of South Asians began immigrating to the city and Jackson Heights became a hub for their culture.

“You see so much joy, but in an unfiltered, organic way,” said Shekar Krishnan, a councilman who represents the Jackson Heights and Elmhurst neighbourhoods.

Mr. Krishnan said he treasures running into friends on every street corner on Chand Raat. It’s a large community, but a close-knit one.

For Nusrat Hossain, a 26-year-old medical assistant, the gathering is grounding and refreshing. She grew up in Elmhurst and always visited Jackson Heights for Chand Raat. She still runs into former schoolmates she hasn’t seen in years.

“It’s a reflection of the vibrancy, power and presence of our South Asian Muslim community — in Jackson Heights, our Bangladeshi community in particular,” Mr. Krishnan said.

On March 26, 73rd Street on 37th avenue was renamed Bangladesh Street, an initiative that Mr. Krishnan helped lead. “This is recognition long overdue,” he said. That intersection is the heart of the Bangladeshi community in New York City, according to Mr. Krishnan.

On Chand Raat, Mr. Krishnan seeks out Fuska House, a food truck. Fuchka, a Bangladeshi street snack of fried semolina dough filled with spicy chickpeas, potatoes and toppings, is a favorite among revellers.

There is also a celebration in the Jamaica section of Queens, another South Asian hub. In a phone interview, Nabiha Khan, 22, a henna artist, said she always sets up there somewhere between 167th Street and 173rd Street on Hillside Avenue. She has been doing this since 2016, painting as many as 100 hands in a night, she said.

“If you stay out there, they’ll keep coming,” she said. “It’s backbreaking work.”

Ms. Khan taught herself henna when she was 12, after being inspired by a cousin who would decorate the family’s hands every Chand Raat.

For Ms. Khan, Chand Raat is a night of reflection. “Fasting every day for 30 days is not easy,” she said. “And the purpose of this month is so much bigger than just starving yourself. It’s supposed to be for reflection, for having gratitude, for learning that you can be more disciplined.”

When she was not at a henna stall during the night, she spent time with her mother. They will also cook together for Eid al-Fitr gatherings today. Since house hopping is traditional on the holiday, dozens of families stop by her home every year.

“Even though it’s hectic, even though it’s crazy, it’s a part of the ride,” Mr. Khan, the artist, said. He briefly lived in Virginia while he was in high school, where there was little South Asian diversity, and returned to Queens with a heightened sense of cultural pride. “I’ll give up square footage any day for the culture,” he said.


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 Jakarta Archdiocese with all Catholics wishes Eid Mubarak 1444 H to Muslims in Indonesia


The Jakarta Archdiocese (KAJ) Bishop Cardinal Ignatius Suharyo delivers his Eid Mubarak message in Jakarta, Saturday, April 22, 2023. (ANTARA/HO-KAJ/rst)


Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Jakarta Archdiocese (KAJ) along with all Catholics wished Eid Mubarak 1444 Hijrah to all Muslims in the country.

"Together with Catholics in the Jakarta Archdiocese, I, Cardinal Ignatius Suharyo, sincerely wish a happy 1 Shawwal 1444 Hijrah to our Muslim friends," KAJ Bishop Cardinal Ignatius Suharyo stated in Jakarta, Saturday.

Cardinal Suharyo is optimistic that the rewards and blessings during Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr would reach the entire nation and universe.

Meanwhile, Vice President Ma'ruf Amin urged the public to celebrate Eid al-Fitr 1 Shawwal 1444 Hijriah while maintaining order, solidarity, and unity.

"On this special occasion, I would like to convey a number of messages. First, in welcoming Eid Al-Fitr, it should be carried out solemnly while maintaining order, solidarity, and unity," he remarked at the National Takbir Akbar event at the Istiqlal Mosque, Jakarta, Friday.

On Thursday (April 20), the Ministry of Religious Affairs decided 1 Shawwal 1444 Hijri or Eid al-Fitr 2023 AD to fall on Saturday.

The decision was taken following an isbat (confirmation) meeting on Thursday, April 20.

"Based on a hisab (astronomical observation), the position of the crescent moon in Indonesia is above the horizon and does not meet the new MABIMS (the Association of the Ministries of the Religious Affairs from Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore) criteria, as well as the absence of seeing the crescent moon. The isbat meeting determined that 1 Shawwal 1444 H falls on Saturday, April 22, 2023," Religious Affairs Minister Yaqut Cholil Qoumas confirmed.

In addition, Coordinating Minister for Human Development and Culture, Muhadjir Effendy, appealed to all Muslims to celebrate Eid al-Fitr in simplicity.

"All Muslims do not need to show who is the most victorious. Let us celebrate Eid al-Fitr in simplicity and welcome it with joy," Effendy stated after the Eid prayer at the Muhammadiyah Central Executive (PP) Building in Jakarta, Friday.


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 North America

 Muslim students lead protest for adequate prayer space at New York’s Baruch College

April 21, 2023

By Heerea Kaur Rikhraj

NEW YORK (RNS) — Loud chants carried through the main plaza at Baruch College in the early afternoon on Thursday (April 20) as a group of around 40 students protested near the Office of Student Life. The students, a majority of them Muslim, were calling on the administration to offer better, more accessible interfaith spaces.

The campus, located a few blocks east of Manhattan’s Madison Square Park, currently offers an interfaith space (room 3-225 in the William and Anita Newman Vertical Campus) that fits around 15 students, and for a college with more than 500 Muslim students, students say the room is not big enough to meet their needs.

“It’s so hard to pray. The room is so small, people end up stepping over each other and it’s a hazard,” said Ayub Tursonzadah, a Muslim student at Baruch College and one of the protest organizers.

Thursday’s protest, coming on the final day of Ramadan, was one of the larger weekly protests students have organized over the past two months. The prayer room was extra crowded during the holy month of fasting and prayer, Muslim students said.

Muslims pray five times a day, and men and women are required to pray separately. With the size limitations of the current interfaith space, the women have had to find other spaces to pray.

“Because of modesty reasons, the women need a private space to pray. We now use the club space allocated to the Women in Islam club. But it’s the size of a closet,” said Zoya Cheema, the president of the Muslim students’ association and one of the student organizers for the protest.

Uswa Anwar, a Muslim student at Baruch, said it has not been easy. She has had to miss parts of classes because she had to wait for her turn to pray. She believes being part of the protest is the only way forward at this point.

“None of us want to be here protesting for this. But we aren’t being heard. We are being brushed aside,” she said.

The effort for better interfaith space began at Baruch last spring when Muslim students first tried to approach administrators at the Office of Student Life to ask for a better prayer space. Students were given a larger interfaith space during the 2021-22 school year while Baruch College was operating remotely. However, toward the end of the spring semester, administrators reassigned the interfaith space back to room 3-225, which, in addition to being small, has ventilation issues, said protesters.

After receiving no responses from the administrative team, a group of Muslim students started praying inside the lobby of student life to silently protest and gather attention during the 2022 fall semester. The students were able to obtain a meeting with Dean Art King, but said they were disappointed with the results.

“We weren’t offered any solutions. We were told this is a Muslim student club issue, but it’s an issue for everyone,” said Tursonzadah.

Though the protests are for interfaith spaces — and have included students of other faiths and no faiths — Muslim students have been at the forefront, largely due to the size of the Muslim population at the college. But being so visible has been nerve-wracking for some.

“We already have such a reputation being Muslim in this country, so we were afraid of how people would perceive us. But we want to stand up for what is right,” said Cheema.

Student organizers have been working with the Council of American Islamic Relations New York, who have worked with students at other City University of New York schools to secure a better interfaith space.

“Baruch College must adhere to the First Amendment right to not discriminate against students of faith. If they provide adequate space for non-religious students, they are obligated to provide the same for religious ones,” said Ahmed Mohamed, the legal director at CAIR New York.

The Baruch protest comes at a time when university administrators across the country have been grappling with how to best accommodate the growing religious diversity on their campuses — from serving halal and kosher food to allowing athletes to wear head coverings. Last year, students at City College, another CUNY school, faced the same issue those at Baruch are currently dealing with and were able to work with administration to secure an interfaith space that works for students.

Elsewhere, the tensions have escalated to lawsuits. California State University has been sued over a new caste discrimination policy with allegations that it singles out Hindu students and staff. Hamline University is being sued over its decision not to renew the contract of an adjunct professor who showed a 14th-century painting of the Prophet Muhammad in her online class last semester.

Kayla Aaron, a Jewish student at Baruch, said she and other Jewish students have faced similar issues as Muslim students when accessing the interfaith space.

“We could not find a place to pray. The room was not big enough. We ended up praying in a public space where people eat their lunches,” said Aaron, describing a time last semester when she and other Jewish students were trying to pray.

Students from non-religious backgrounds have also come out to show their support.

“It’s an important issue and I want to show my support. Having a space for people to congregate creates community, and I am in support of that,” said Matthew Taberas, a student at Baruch.

The administration at Baruch College did not directly respond to yesterday’s protest, but issued a press statement at yesterday’s protest, where they expressed support for the new referendum proposal brought forward by the Undergraduate Student Government executive board last week. The referendum proposes renting an off-campus space for interfaith use that would be funded by a $25 increase in activity fees for full-time students. For the referendum to be considered, the USG board has asked students to sign a proposal for its consideration by end of day Friday.

While some see this as a solution, students at the protest do not.

“Tuition is already an expense for these students, they should not be charging more for students to have a space to pray,” said Rosa Gomez, a Christian student at Baruch College who spoke at the protest yesterday. 

Students say they will continue to protest until their needs are met.

“We are going to keep going until we have a space to pray,” said Anwar.


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Islamic Center of Wheaton hosts large prayer service to mark Eid

APRIL 21, 2023

CHICAGO (CBS) – Around the world on Friday, Muslims celebrated Eid, the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

There was a large prayer service at the Islamic Center of Wheaton in the afternoon.

All month long, Muslims have fasted from dawn to dusk and challenged themselves to be better while helping others.


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Monroe-Woodbury Islamic Center holds Eid al-Fitr service

Apr 22, 2023

Worshippers filled the Monroe-Woodbury Islamic Center for their annual Eid al-Fitr service Friday.

As the center’s members end their month of daylight fasting meant to test their religious devotion, officials are also doing some outreach.

Imam Abdul Wahid says he wants local non-Muslims to know that their core message is as peaceful as any other religion.

"We're in the community. So, we welcome everybody,” he said. "They have their own way of belief. We have our own beliefs. But still, we live together in harmony, peace and tranquility.”

Officials say community outreach is especially important as the center’s leaders just applied for a permit to build a new mosque that would hold 500 worshippers.

The center welcomed the mayors of Monroe and Harriman, along with many other non-Muslims, to discuss their plans for expansion.

Film student Thasnia Akhter hopes to document the forward-thinking nature of worshippers at the center, which she says fights against the marginalization of women in less progressive communities.

"I also want to make a film to honor them, because I think they endure a lot more than what a traditional woman would have to,” she said.


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Muslims Celebrate Eid In Essex County; Gov. Murphy Visits Newark

Fri, Apr 21, 2023

ESSEX COUNTY, NJ — Essex County echoed with wishes of “Eid Mubarak” on Friday as Ramadan fasting came to an end for 2023.

The monthlong observance of Ramadan, one of Islam’s most important holidays, is based on lunar cycles, so the exact dates change every year. Read More: When Is Ramadan 2023 (5 Things To Know About Islam Holy Month)

During Ramadan, Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset every day. The fasting comes to an end with Eid al-Fitr, or Festival of the Breaking of the Fast. During this time, Muslims take part in special prayers, greet one another with formal embraces and greetings such as “Eid Mubarak,” or “have a blessed Eid.” The occasion is also celebrated by exchanging gifts with family and friends over special meals featuring traditional dishes.

Eid al-Fitr arrived on Friday this year, with New Jersey Muslim leaders announcing the news earlier this week.

New Jersey has the highest percentage of Muslim residents in the United States, with many of them living in the state’s largest city, Newark.

The city got a visit from Gov. Phil Murphy on Friday, who made a trip to Essex County Branch Brook Park to mark the occasion.

“Happy Eid al-Fitr, from my family to yours,” the governor tweeted.

Meanwhile, Newark police detectives from the community affairs/clergy unit took part in an Eid Al-Fitr gathering at the park (see above photo). The event was sponsored by Masjid Nia of Newark.

Other Newark elected officials wished the city a happy Eid al-Fitr, including board of education member A’Dorian Murray-Thomas.

To my Muslim family and friends who are celebrating today, may Allah fill your lives with blessings, peace, joy and love. Eid Mubarak #EidMubarak #EidUlFitr #Eid2023#EidAlFitr #EidMubarak2023 #TeacherTwitter

— A’Dorian Murray-Thomas Newark Public School Board (@ADorian4Newark) April 21, 2023

The celebration also took place at Rutgers-Newark, administrators reported.

Rutgers University-Newark and RU-N Muslim Student Association (MSA) would like to wish our Muslim community a Eid Mubarak as we celebrate the end of the Holy Month of Ramadan. Courtesy of MSA#EidMubarak #RUNMSA #UntilNextRamadanInshaaAllah #RutgersNewark

— Rutgers University-Newark (@Rutgers_Newark) April 21, 2023

Newark wasn't the only place in Essex County that echoed with calls of “Eid Mubarak.”

East Orange Mayor Ted Green had this to say on Friday:

"As the holy month of Ramadan comes to an end, I’d like to extend Eid Mubarak to my Muslim brothers and sisters celebrating #EidAlFitr2023, right here in the City of East Orange and all around the globe. May our prayers and all our good deeds be accepted by Allah and may we be granted perfect guidance today and always."

Several elected officials in Congress, the State House and other government bodies who represent Essex County offered their own best wishes for the holiday. They included U.S. Rep. Mikie Sherrill, state senators Richard Codey and Teresa Ruiz, and Essex County Commissioner Brendan Gill.

A chorus of Essex County nonprofits, groups and organizations also gave a cheer on Friday's Eid.


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Gyanvapi mosque case: Arrange tubs with water for ablution, SC tells authorities

April 22nd 2023

The Supreme Court on Friday directed the authorities to provide worshippers at the Gyanvapi mosque in Varanasi with sufficient number of tubs to store water for wuzu, or ablution, reported The Hindu.

The wuzu khana, or ablution tank, and adjacent washrooms of the mosque had been sealed off last year after a video survey of the building, allowed by a Varanasi civil court in May, had found an oval object present on the premises.

The Hindu litigants claim that the object was a shivling, a representation of the Hindu deity Shiva. The Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee, the caretaker of the mosque, however, claims that the object is a fountainhead in the ablution tank.

The Supreme Court had then directed the local authorities to ensure that the Muslims were not hindered in their observance of namaaz. On April 6, the Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee approached the Supreme ourt against the continued sealing of the ablution tank during the month of Ramzan.

On Friday, a division bench of Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and Justice PS Narasimha suggested that long tubs be put to use at the mosque, reported The Indian Express. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who was appearing for the Uttar Pradesh government, said that the district magistrate would ensure the water is available at the mosque complex.

Mehta also told the court that the authorities have provided mobile toilets 70 metres away from the mosque. The toilets inside the mosque were also sealed since its entry was through the disputed area where the alleged Shivling was said to have been discovered.

The Gyanvapi mosque case pertains to a plea filed by five women petitioners who claim that an image of the Hindu deity Shringar Gauri exists at the back of the western wall of the mosque. They are demanding that they be allowed to offer daily prayers and observe other Hindu rituals at the site.


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UP STF reaches Bargarh in search of Atiq Ahmad’s aide Guddu Muslim

22nd April 2023

BHUBANESWAR: On the trail of gang members of mobster-turned-politician Atiq Ahmad, Uttar Pradesh’s Special Task Force (STF) reached Bargarh district where it questioned a person for his alleged links with Guddu Muslim, an aide of the gangster who was shot dead along with his brother at Prayagraj recently.

Sources said a team of officers of UP’s STF reached Bargarh district where it interrogated Raza Khan at his house for five to six hours. The UP police team left on Thursday. Sources said the STF officers questioned Raza after his mobile phone number popped up on call records of some persons linked to murder of Umesh Pal.

It is yet to be ascertained if Raza has any links with Guddu or has connections with his accomplices. “The STF’s team from UP did not arrest the man and left after questioning him,” said DGP Sunil Kumar Bansal.

Bargarh police said Raza was arrested in 2020 in connection with a case registered under Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.

Guddu is one of 10 people named in the FIR pertaining to murder of Umesh Pal. Six of them have been killed and Guddu is one of the four accused who are absconding. He is reportedly a bomb specialist with a long history of association with criminal gangs.

Guddu is believed to be an old aide of Atiq. The focus shifted to Guddu after Atiq and his brother Ashraf were shot dead by three assailants in Prayagraj on April 15 night. UP Police have launched a massive manhunt for Guddu, also known as ‘bambaaz’, and announced a reward of `5 lakh for anyone providing information leading to his arrest.

Earlier in 2008, a mafia don wanted in several criminal cases in Uttar Pradesh was arrested from Bhubaneswar. Delhi Police had arrested notorious gangster Brijesh Singh when he was driving to a mall in the city’s Satya Nagar area.

The UP STF apprised Sohela police station in Bargarh it before it quizzed Raza. Interestingly, Odisha Police had denied having any knowledge of the STF’s action in the state on Thursday.


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5 Army soldiers killed in terrorist attack in Poonch

Friday, 21 April 2023

 Five Army personnel were killed and another was seriously injured on Thursday after their vehicle caught fire following a terrorist attack in Jammu and Kashmir's Poonch, the Army said.

The deceased Army soldiers were from a Rashtriya Rifles unit deployed for counterterror operations, it said in a statement.

Army Chief Gen Manoj Pande has briefed Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on the incident.

"Anguished by the tragedy in Poonch District (J&K), where the Indian Army has lost its brave soldiers after a truck caught fire. In this tragic hour, my thoughts are with the bereaved families," the defence minister tweeted.

The Army said the vehicle the soldiers were travelling in came under fire from unidentified terrorists and it caught fire because of likely use of grenades.

"Today, at approximately 1500 hours, one Army vehicle, moving between Bhimber Gali and Poonch in the Rajauri sector was fired on by unidentified terrorists, taking advantage of heavy rains and low visibility in the area," the Army said.

"The vehicle caught fire, due to likely use of grenades by terrorists," it said.

The five personnel of the Rashtriya Rifles Unit deployed for counterterrorist operations in this area have unfortunately lost their lives in the incident, it said. The Army said another soldier was seriously injured and he was evacuated immediately to the Army hospital at Rajouri.

The Army's 16 Corps, based in Nagrota, said the deceased soldiers are: Havildar Mandeep Singh, Lance Naik Debashish Baswal, Lance Naik Kulwant Singh, Sepoy Harkrishan Singh and Sepoy Sewak Singh. "The Whitenight corps stand in solidarity with the bereaved families," it said in a tweet.

Four of the five soldiers are from Punjab -- Mandeep Singh (Chankoian Kacan village), Harkrishan Singh (Talwandi Barth village), Kulwant Singh (Charik), Sewak Singh (Bagha) -- while Debashish Baswal is from Odisha's Algum Samil Khandayat.

Sources said officials saw bullet marks on the vehicle and also recovered fragments of grenades confirming it was a terror attack.

Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha said he was anguished at the loss of lives of the brave soldiers. "Their rich service to the nation will never be forgotten. My thoughts are with the bereaved families," he said in a tweet.

The Army said operations are underway to catch the perpetrators.

In an initial statement, the Army said the five personnel were killed after their vehicle caught fire, adding further details are being ascertained.

Later in the evening, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal staged a protest on the Tawi bridge in the Jammu city and raised anti-Pakistan slogans.

Officials said traffic on the Bhimber Gali-Poonch Road was stopped following the incident and the entire area was cordoned off. People travelling to Poonch were advised to take the Mendhar route.

Political parties condemned the attack.

In a tweet, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge said, "Strongly condemn the terror attack on an Army vehicle in Poonch District, Jammu & Kashmir. Our deepest condolences to the families of 5 Rashtriya Rifle bravehearts."

"Our prayers for the injured personnel. We are united against terrorism," he said.

Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi said the news of the martyrdom of five soldiers in the terrorist attack in Poonch sector of Jammu and Kashmir is very saddening.

"I pay my humble tributes to those heroes and express my deepest condolences to their bereaved families," Gandhi said.

Jammu and Kashmir BJP chief Ravinder Raina condemned the "cowardly attack by Pakistan-sponsored terrorists and said the killing of soldiers will be avenged.

National Conference vice president Omar Abdullah tweeted, "Terrible news of a terror attack in Poonch that claimed the lives of 5 army jawans in the line of duty. I unequivocally condemn this heinous attack & send my condolences to the loved ones of those killed today. May the souls of the departed rest in peace."

Apni Party president Altaf Bukhari said he was deeply saddened by the cowardly terrorist attack.

"My heartfelt condolences to the families of the brave hearts who made the ultimate sacrifice for the nation. We stand with our armed forces and their families in this difficult time," Bukhari said in a tweet.

People's Conference chairman Sajad Lone described the attack dastardly.

"Terrible and tragic news of the attack on an army vehicle and five fatalities. Strongly condemn this dastardly act of terror by cowards. The scourge of violence and terror tragically perseveres and refuses to go," Lone said on Twitter.


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Dalai Lama attends Global Buddhist Summit, speaks of compassion, wisdom

Friday, 21 April 2023

Tibetan Spiritual Leader the Dalai Lama on Friday participated in the Global Buddhist Summit and addressed a group of monks and other delegates who have gathered here for the two-day event, sources said.

He spoke for about half an hour and emphasised on Buddhist philosophy and values.

The first-of-its-kind summit began on Thursday with Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing the inaugural session.

Modi in his address said the world is passing through challenges such as war, economic instability, terrorism, religious extremism and climate change and asserted that Lord Buddha's ideas offer a solution to these problems.

The summit is divided into two segments, academic and Sangha sessions.

Media was allowed only for the inaugural session, the rest of the sessions are not open to the press, an official source said.

The source, however, confirmed that the Dalai Lama attended the summit on Friday morning and addressed gathered monks and other delegates.

"In his nearly half-an-hour address, the Tibetan spiritual leader spoke of compassion, wisdom and meditation," he told PTI.

The three values are integral to the teachings of Lord Buddha and the philosophy he espoused.

On Monday, at a press conference here, organisers had said that invite was sent to the Dalai Lama, but till that time it wasn't confirmed whether he would attend the event.

An official source in the Dharamshala-based Central Tibetan Administration or CTA (government in exile) had early on Friday morning told PTI that "His Holiness will attend the event".

The conference is being hosted at The Ashok Hotel from April 20 to 21 by the Union Ministry of Culture along with the International Buddhist Confederation (IBC).

The 87-year-old Tibetan spiritual leader has been in the news recently over a viral video linked with him and a boy.

The Dalai Lama on April 10 apologised to the boy, his family and friends for the "hurt his words may have caused" after the video clip purportedly showing the Tibetan spiritual head asking him to "suck" his tongue sparked a row.


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"Ended special favour meant for scoring political points," Amit Shah on scrapping Muslim quota in Karnataka

New Delhi [India], April 22 (ANI): Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Saturday alleged that Congress provided 4 per cent reservation to Muslims in Karnataka in an "unconstitutional manner" and that Bharatiya Janata Party government in the State had put an end to the practice.

Speaking at a media conclave organised by India Today, Shah said that the BJP ended the "special favour" meant for "scoring political points" and gave the rights to persons deserving the reservation, the OBCs.

The Home Minister said that the Constitution does not allow reservation on the basis of religion and slammed the Congress party for doing so.

Speaking at the conclave, Shah said, "As far as justice is concerned with the social point of view, the Congress government had given 4 per cent Muslim reservation in an unconstitutional manner in Karnataka. It was unconstitutional because our Constitution does not approve reservation

based on religion but it was prevailing in Karnataka."

"The state government scrapped the 4 per cent reservations for Muslims and increased the reservation for SC, ST, Vokkaliga and Lingayat. We have ended the special favour meant for scoring political points. We brought the Constitution to order and gave the rights to those

deserving," Shah said.

Earlier this March, the Karnataka government decided to scrap the four per cent quota for minorities and add it to the existing quota of two dominant communities of the poll-bound state.

The 4 per cent reservation given to Muslims under the 2B classification of the OBC category will now be divided into two equal parts and added to the existing quota of Vokkaligas and Lingayats for whom two new reservation categories of 2C and 2D were created during the Belagavi Assembly Session last year.

The state government's move was slammed by the opposition and Congress vowed to cancel the move if it comes to power in the upcoming Assembly elections slated on May 10

"As soon as our government comes, we will cancel the reservation issue and will protect the minority interest," state Congress president DK

Shivakumar had said.

On April 14, former Karnataka Chief Minister Veerappa Moily who introduced the 4 per cent reservation said that it given to the Muslims in his regime was on a scientific basis and it was not on the basis of religion.

While speaking to ANI, Veerappa Moily said, "This reservation was given by me when I was CM in 1993 and it was done on basis of scientific data and not on the basis of religion. Muslims as a class were included in the backward category and it was absolutely legal. When we took the

decision data was there. BJP has scrapped this reservation without any report".

Veerappa Moily further stated that Congress will restore the 4 per cent reservation quota after coming back to power in Karnataka.

"We will restore it once we come back to power. This decision was unjustified and unscientific," he said. (ANI)


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Muslim Ambulance Driver, Beautician, Male Nurse and Doctors In The UAE, It's Work As Usual This Eid Al Fitr

April 22, 2023

Dubai: Eid-Al-Fitr is a time of celebration for Muslims. All over the world, families spend time in festivities and bond with their loved ones and close friends.

For some professionals, however, it is business as usual. Unwavering in their commitment to duty and work, they continue to serve with a smile.

Best Eid gift

Filipino beautician Jhoan Aviguetero working at Lux Ladies Salon is spending her Eid doing what she loves most – beautifying people. Jhoan is a staunch Muslim who kept her Ramadan fast while working. Come Eid, she says she knows no better place than at her workplace. “I love making people look beautiful through make up, hair-style and treatments. Eid-Al-Fitr is always a super busy time in the salon. I have been working through last day of Ramadan and will be doing so through Eid as we have many customers coming at this time for treatment.”

Jhoan said women come to the salon to apply Henna on hand, get their hair styles done. “They come to get a makeover and we are here to give them what they want. When I see my customer walk away looking so beautiful, it is the best Eid gift to me.”

A privilege to work

Ambulance driver Ataullah Khan Gulsher Khan, who works with Zulekha Hospital, is another Muslim on duty during Eid. “I have been working in Zulekha Hospital for 29 years now and this is my second home. Being away from the family during Eid is not easy. Since I don’t have anything else to do, I am happy to be at work today. I have been given the privilege by Allah to serve my colleagues and patients at Zulekha Hospital. Any emergency with patients will need my presence, so I am happy to be serving and doing my job to the best ability I can on this special day.”

First Eid in Dubai

Egyptian male nurse Mohammad Hamdi is also spending his first Eid in Dubai serving patients inside an Emergency Room (ER) of Prime Hospital, Dubai. Hamdi worked on eight to 12-hour shifts through the holy month of Ramadan. He now spent Eid-Al-Fitr with his patients in the ER.

Hamdi, 30, who moved to Dubai in February from the town of Ismailia, Egypt, is spending the first two days of Eid on duty.

“In the ER, it is about saving precious lives and all days are alike, be it a festival or otherwise. This year, I am away from my wife and child. I am living here alone in the UAE. Therefore, I am spending my Eid weekend with patients who need me,” said Hamdi. “For those in the medical profession, the hospital is like an extended home, and we are always looking to bring empathy and relief to patients who are like family members.”

Hamdi said: “Back home, the entire community comes together to celebrate Eid. The women of the community work hard to prepare a lavish spread. There is a lot of love, laughter and bonhomie during Eid. I am going to miss that. But I think my dedication to work and serving my patients brings about a greater sense of satisfaction.”

Great satisfaction

Another paramedic nurse Mohamad T H Hussein working for NMC Royal Hospital Sharjah said: “Healthcare is a profession where commitment to ease the pain of the patient is the most important duty. Eid is a special day to celebrate after a month of fasting and nursing and nurturing someone back to health provides me great satisfaction. Working on Eid when most of my family is on holiday makes me miss them but they are proud of me and the work I do.”

Two days in a row

Lebanese expat doctor Dr Osman El Labban, a Family Medicine consultant at Saudi German Hospital in Dubai, could not agree more. The long-term Lebanese expatriate in the UAE is spending 12 to 14 hours on duty for two consecutive days during the Eid Al Fitr holidays this time.

He is working on the second and third days of Eid and attending to his patients.

“Eid is one of the biggest festivals, but nothing is bigger than duty. I am looking forward to serving my patients,” said Dr El Labban, who hails from Beirut but has lived for 28 years in the UAE.

The father of three said: “The UAE has been my home for nearly three decades now. I feel it is not my second home, but my first one. I am happy to be able to serve patients here even on Eid days.”

Happy feeding the community

A restaurant supervisor at Food Circles, Mirza Muktar is also working on the second and third day of Eid.

Mirza Muktar

“My family is away from me. I could not think of a better way to spend my Eid than working and serving people.

"Being in the restaurant business, you get to feed many people. During Eid-Al-Fitr, I feel happy to be doing this for the community.”


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Little let-up in Khartoum fighting despite Sudan truce declaration

April 22, 2023

KHARTOUM: Sporadic shelling rang out late on Friday in Sudan’s capital even though warring factions announced a truce, while one force said it was willing to allow airports to reopen for the evacuation of foreign nationals.

The United Nations, US, UK, Japan, Switzerland, South Korea, Sweden and Spain have said they were making preparations or attempting to remove their personnel after almost a week of violence.

Forces commanded by two previously allied leaders of Sudan’s ruling council began a violent power struggle last weekend. Hundreds have died, and a nation reliant on food aid has been tipped into what the United Nations calls a humanitarian catastrophe.

Artillery fire continued in Khartoum late on Friday, a Reuters witness said, though less intense than earlier in the day. The fighting dealt the latest blow to international attempts to end the fighting.

The army and its adversary, the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), said separately they agreed to a three-day truce to enable people to celebrate the Muslim holiday of Eid Al-Fitr.

“The armed forces hope that the rebels will abide by all the requirements of the truce and stop any military moves that would obstruct it,” an army statement said.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken urged the combatants to honor the truce, and said Sudan’s military and civilian leadership must urgently start negotiations on a sustainable cease-fire to prevent further damage to the country.

RSF chief Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, better known as Hemedti, said early on Saturday that he had received a phone call from UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres. The two “emphasised the necessity of adhering to a complete cease-fire and providing protection for humanitarian and medical workers, especially UN staff as well as regional and international organizations,” Hemedti said in a post on his official Facebook account.

The RSF said late on Friday it was ready to partially open all of Sudan’s airports so foreign governments could evacuate their nationals.

The group said in a statement it would “cooperate, coordinate and provide all facilities that enable expatriates and missions to leave the country safely.”

It was unclear to what extent the RSF controls Sudan’s airports. The Khartoum airport has been caught in the fighting with aircraft burning on the tarmac, and commercial airlines halted flights several days ago.

Soldiers and gunmen from the RSF shot at each other all day in neighborhoods across the city, including during the call for special early morning Eid prayers, with gunfire punctuated by the thud of artillery and air strikes.

Drone footage showed smoke across Khartoum and its Nile sister cities, together one of Africa’s biggest urban areas.

The World Health Organization on Friday reported 413 people had been killed and 3,551 injured since fighting broke out six days ago. The death toll includes at least five aid workers.


In Washington, the State Department said without elaborating that one US citizen had been killed in Sudan.

US citizens in Sudan should not expect a US-government coordinated evacuation, deputy State Department spokesperson Vedant Patel said, adding that citizens there should make their own arrangements to stay safe.

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said no decision had been made on airlifting US government staff out of the country, but US forces were positioned near Sudan to assist. Reuters reported on Thursday troops were sent to a US base in Djibouti.

“We’ve deployed some forces into theater to ensure that we provide as many options as possible if we are called on to do something. And we haven’t been called on to do anything yet,” Austin told a news conference at Ramstein Air Base in Germany.


The fighting has made it difficult for Sudanese people to leave their homes to obtain supplies or join the droves departing Khartoum. “An increasing number of people are running out of food, water, and power, including in Khartoum,” the UN humanitarian office said.

Khartoum resident Mohamed Saber Turaby, 27, had wanted to visit his parents 80 km (50 miles) from the city for the Muslim Eid Al-Fitr holiday.

“Every time I try to leave the house, there are clashes,” he said. “There was shelling last night and now there is presence of army forces on the ground.”

Army troops brandishing semi-automatic weapons were greeted by cheers on one street, a video released by the military on Friday showed. Reuters verified the location of the video, in the north of the city, but could not verify when it was filmed.

Fighting extended down Medani Street, the main highway leading from Khartoum to Al Gezira state being used by those fleeing, as the RSF appeared to withdraw toward rural villages on the outskirts of Khartoum, witnesses told Reuters.

Sudan borders seven countries and sits between Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia and Africa’s volatile Sahel region. The hostilities risk fanning regional tensions.

The violence was triggered by disagreement over an internationally backed plan to form a new civilian government four years after the fall of autocrat Omar Al-Bashir and two years after a military coup.

Both sides accuse the other of thwarting the transition.


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Top Iranian Diplomat Urges Muslim Solidarity in Eid Message

April, 22, 2023

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – In a congratulatory message for his Muslim counterparts on Eid al-Fitr, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian stressed the need for synchronized steps to strengthen unity among the Islamic countries.

In separate messages on Friday, Amirabdollahian congratulated his counterparts in the Muslim countries on the occasion of Eid al-Fitr.

The top Iranian diplomat described Eid al-Fitr as a feast of thanking God for one month of worshiping and servitude as well as camaraderie, brotherhood and unity of Muslims in order to achieve the great goals of the Islamic Ummah, the Foreign Ministry’s website reported.

The foreign minister also stressed the need for the leaders of the Muslim nations to join in efforts to strengthen solidarity among Muslims and help with the progress of Islamic countries.

Eid al-Fitr, also called Feast of Breaking the Fast, is an important religious holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide.

The religious Eid is a day that Muslims are not permitted to fast that day.

The holiday celebrates the conclusion of the 29 or 30 days of dawn-to-sunset fasting during the entire month of Ramadan. The day of Eid, therefore, falls on the first day of the month of Shawwal.

Muslims believe that they are commanded by God, as mentioned in Quran to continue their fast until the last day of Ramadan and pay the Zakat al-Fitr before offering the Eid prayers.


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Islamic banks' asset in UAE surges 5pc to $169bn in January


Gross assets of the Islamic banks operating in the UAE increased to AED621 billion ($169 billion) in January, thus posting an annual increase of 5.6% (equivalent to nearly AED31.2 billion) as against AED589.7 billion ($160 billion) for the same period last year, according to figures by the Central Bank of the UAE (CBUAE).

The central bank statistics reflect an increase in credit for Islamic banks to AED396.9 billion at the end of January 2023, an annual increase of 3.5% compared to nearly AED383.36 billion in January 2022, and an increase of nearly AED13.3 billion in 12 months.

The Islamic banks’ deposits increased to AED434 billion in January 2023, an annual increase of 3.1% compared to nearly AED421 billion in January 2022.

As per the CBUAE statistics, the total investments of Islamic banks amounted to AED106 billion by the end of January 2022, an annual increase of 20.1%, equivalent to AED171 billion, compared to investments of about AED88.3 billion in January 2022.-TradeArabia News Service


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Iraqi cleric who fled jail dies escaping recapture

April 22, 2023

BAGHDAD: An Iraqi cleric who escaped from prison and went on the run for two days died on Thursday as security forces closed in on him, authorities said.

Saad Qambash, once head of Iraq’s Sunni Waqf, was jailed for four years earlier this month for fraud.

His escape triggered a decision by Prime Minister Mohamed Shia Al-Sudani to sack a security chief in Baghdad and close the detention facility in the capital’s Green Zone from which the senior cleric had fled on Tuesday night.

The Interior Ministry said Qambash had been found in Mosul in northern Iraq, some 350 km north of Baghdad.

In a later statement, the interior and health ministries said the cleric had tried to escape recapture.

“During his arrest he tried to flee — the forces pursued him but he fainted,” the statement said, adding that he had died before making it to hospital.

“The body of the deceased, who suffered from chronic illnesses, does not show signs of bruises,” it added.

An Interior Ministry official said that Qambash died of a “heart attack,” and said an autopsy was expected.

On April 11, a court sentenced Qambash to a four-year term for using $36 million of Waqf funds to buy a hotel that anti-corruption investigators said was not “economically viable.”

Because of Tuesday’s escape, Al-Sudani had decided “to dismiss Lt. Gen. Hamid Al-Zuhairi, commander of the Special Division” who oversaw security in the Green Zone, a statement from the premier’s office said on Thursday.

The Green Zone is a heavily guarded area housing government offices, embassies and politicians’ homes.

The statement said the general was fired “due to insufficient action taken in response to the incident,” and “all those responsible” would be held accountable “and legally punished.”

Al-Sudani also ordered the closure of the unit in the Karrada Maryam police station and the transfer of prisoners held there to other facilities.

On Wednesday, an Interior Ministry official said that eight officers and 18 rank and file police had been arrested, suspected of helping Qambash to escape.

Corruption is endemic in Iraq, where public funds are often spirited away from state coffers.

Al-Sudani has repeatedly vowed to combat “the pandemic of corruption” since taking office last year.


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South Asia


US ‘forcefully’ rejects talks on Taliban’s recognition

WASHINGTON: The US administration and lawmakers have both forcefully rejected the suggestion that a UN-hosted meeting in Doha next week would explore the possibilities of recognising Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers.

“The intent and the purpose of this meeting was never to discuss recognition of the Taliban, and any discussion at this meeting about recognition would be unacceptable to us,” US State Department’s Principal Deputy Spoke­sperson Vedant Patel said at a Thursday afternoon news briefing.

Senator Jim Risch, a ranking member of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, not only rejected the suggestion but also criticised the United Nations. “The UN needs a wake-up call. Any talk of recognition of the Taliban is absolutely absurd,” he tweeted. “This murderous regime continues to deny women the ability to work or go to school while millions of Afghans are in dire humanitarian need.”

A member of the US mission at the United Nations also ruled out any discussion on the Taliban’s recognition while talking to reporters in New York.

The rebuttals followed UN Deputy Secretary General Amina Mohammed’s statement that at the UN-sponsored Doha meeting on May 1-2, the world body hopes to find those baby steps that “put us back on the pathway to recognition … of the Taliban. In other words, there are conditions”.

Asked at a seminar at Princeton University on Monday if the Taliban regime was seeking recognition, Ms Mohammed said: “Yes. The Taliban clearly want recognition. And that’s the leverage we have” for persuading them to change their attitude towards women and on other issues.

The UN chief’s office confirmed part of Ms Mohammed’s statement that Secretary General Antonio Guterres would host the two-day meeting in Doha, Qatar, of envoys from countries around the world, but the deliberations would not focus on recognition of the Taliban.

Talking to reporters in New York, UN spokesman Farhan Haq said: “The point of the discussion, which will be held in a closed, private setting, is to build a more unified consensus on the challenges at hand.”

The priority of the Doha meeting, he said, was to “advance an approach-based pragmatism and principles to have a constructive engagement on the issue.”

Ms Mohammed’s suggestion, however, encouraged Taliban chief spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid to demand that the UN “fulfil its responsibility” towards the people of Afghanistan by recognising their regime.

“The recognition will build mutual trust with world countries and help resolve all issues that can benefit regional security and stability,” Mr Mujahid told VOA broadcasting service.


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Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi Calls for Inclusive Govt in Afghanistan


Fidel Rahmati

April 22, 2023

“Solving the problems of the oppressed people of Afghanistan by forming an inclusive government representing all ethnic groups, religions and people of Afghanistan are emphasized and supported by the Islamic Republic of Iran,” In a statement by the Iranian Foreign Ministry cited Raisi.

Last week, Afghanistan’s neighbouring countries, including Russia, China, Iran and Pakistan, in Samarkand 4th ministers meeting, also urged an inclusive government in Afghanistan to represent all ethnic and religious groups.

The statement called on the Taliban authorities to form an inclusive government with the participation of all ethnic and political institutions.

Meanwhile, the group called upon the Taliban to reverse all restrictions against women’s education and employment.

In addition, the groups expressed concerns about the growing terrorism in the country and reiterated that terrorist groups emanating from Afghanistan seriously threaten regional and global peace and security.

However, security has been a significant challenge for the de facto administration. It seems that amid a dire humanitarian crisis and a ban on women’s aid workers, the country’s economic prospect seems dim and inadequate.  


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2 Killed, 10 Hurt in Madrid Restaurant Fire


Fidel Rahmati

April 22, 2023

Emergency services reported on Saturday that two individuals were killed and ten others were hurt in a restaurant fire in Madrid, the capital of Spain.

The fire broke out late Friday night at the Italian restaurant Burro Canaglia Bar & Resto in Salamanca’s centre quarter.

According to a witness who spoke to El Pais newspaper, the incident began when a server lit a dish on fire, which caused the flames to spread to the walls and roof.

According to rescue officials, diners tried to escape as the fire broke out close to the main exit.

Police in Spain are looking into what started the fire.


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PM Modi greets Bangladesh on eve of Eid-ul-Fitr; wishes for peace, harmony worldwide

21st April 2023

Dhaka: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday greeted his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina on the eve of the Eid-ul-Fitr, wishing peace, harmony, good health and happiness for the people across the world, a statement from the premier’s office here said.

Modi also praised Hasina, saying that as a result of her personal initiative the multilateral partnership-based relationship between India and Bangladesh transformed into a “role model of neighbourly relations” in the world.

“On behalf of the people of India, I convey my Eid greetings to you and the people of Bangladesh,” Modi said in his message to Prime Minister Hasina.

Extending his greetings on behalf of India, Modi wished for peace, harmony, good health and happiness for the people of the two countries and across the world.

The Indian prime minister said that he looked forward to continuing work with Hasina to take the bilateral relations to “new heights.”

Bangladesh is set to hold general elections in late December 2023 or early January 2024, months ahead of the elections in India.

Prime Minister Modi noted that during the holy month of Ramzan, Muslims around the world performed fasting and prayers and “on this auspicious occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr, the people of the world along with the Muslim Ummah are realising the values of unity and brotherhood”, the statement said.

Bangladesh authorities said the country would celebrate the festival on Saturday in line with the Arabic lunar calendar since the moon, marking the start of the Shawwal month, was sighted this evening.


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Bangladesh tells its citizens to avoid travelling to Sudan

April 22, 2023

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has advised citizens to avoid any travel to Sudan as fighting between the army and paramilitary forces led by rival generals rage on in the African country.

Severe armed conflict has recently erupted in Sudan, causing casualties and disrupting the supply of food and basic necessities. This conflict is going on in Khartoum city and different parts of the country including Khartoum airport.

A notification issued by the ministry said it is not safe for Bangladeshis to travel to Sudan now. All Bangladeshi nationals are therefore advised not to travel there until further notice. This suggestion has been communicated to the relevant ministries and agencies of Bangladesh.

The Bangladesh mission in Sudan is also advising Bangladeshis living there in this regard.

The Sudanese armed forces, under the leadership of General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and the powerful Rapid Support Forces (RSF) paramilitary, led by Mohamed Hamdan Daglo have exchanged accusations of provoking the conflict.


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Southeast Asia


Repeatedly Painted An Enemy Of Islam, Kit Siang Wishes Hadi and PAS ‘Eid ul Fitr’

By R. Loheswar

Saturday, 22 Apr 2023

KUALA LUMPUR, April 22 — DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang today said he has no harsh words for PAS president Tan Sri Abdul Hadi Awang as Muslims worldwide celebrate Aidilfitri despite being repeatedly accused of being a communist and an Islamophobe.

The former federal lawmaker said Hadi has not once been able to furnish proof to back his accusations and therefore has no credibility, relying instead of lies to draw support from Malaysians.

He added that Hadi also showed poor character in attacking DAP during this festive season.

“Hadi is not a profound fake as it is easy to expose his dependence on lies, falsehoods and fake news for his arguments,” Lim said in a statement.

He said Hadi had repeatedly accused the DAP of spreading Islamophobia after Perikatan Nasional lost the general elections last year.

Lim said that before that, Hadi and the Islamist party had blamed the DAP for pushing the government then led by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad for ratifying the Covenant of the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in 2018, which it claimed would undermine Malaysian sovereignty and the powers of the Malay Rulers.

Lim claimed Hadi’s unproven allegations hid the latter’s desire to see Malaysia turn into a kleptocratic, failed and divided state.

The senior DAP member also held up China as a communist country that had good relations with Muslim nations.

He reminded Hadi that China’s president Xi Jinping had been acclaimed for brokering peace between Iran and Saudi Arabia last month, when the two Arab nations agreed to re-establish diplomatic relations, ending seven years of estrangement and jolting the geopolitics of the Middle East.

“What credibility has Hadi left for speaking truthfully and honestly, based on facts and truth and not on lies, falsehoods and fake news?

“Hadi has repeated the allegation that I am a communist, for which he could not furnish any evidence.

“On the auspicious occasion of one of the most important religions in the world, despite all the wrong and false conceptions of DAP and me, I have no harsh words for Hadi, and I wish Hadi and PAS Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri. Maaf Zahir dan batin,” Lim said.


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Indonesian, Malaysian Muslims celebrate Eid al-Fitr as COVID fears recede

By Zahra Matarani and Hasnoor Hussain

JAKARTA, April 22 (Reuters) - Muslims in Indonesia and Malaysia gathered in large groups to usher in the Eid al-Fitr festival on Saturday, relieved to be able to celebrate freely after the lifting of most COVID-19 restrictions.

In Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim-majority country, hundreds of worshippers turned up for morning prayers at the historic port of Sunda Kelapa in North Jakarta to mark the end of the fasting month of Ramadan.

"I'm very happy that we're free (of COVID curbs) now," said Laila, 35, who goes by one name like many Indonesians.

Another worshipper, 30-year old Adit Chandra, said: "I hope it gets better from here on, and that we can gather together with our families after the last three years of not being able to go back to our hometown".

Chandra is among the more than 120 million Indonesians - nearly half the country's population - who plan to travel from major urban centres to their hometowns for Eid al-Fitr.

That is about 44% more than the number of people who made the exodus last year, the government said.

In neighbouring Muslim-majority Malaysia, devotees also celebrated with families.

"We can visit the extended family, and do so without suspicious feelings ... during the pandemic we were cautious," said Khairul Soryati, a 39-year-old resident of Kuala Lumpur.

Muhd Nur Afham, 31, who works in Singapore said he could finally celebrate with the family in Malaysia this year after not being able to travel during the pandemic.

"I'm grateful I can meet with my families ... last time we only met through video call," he said.

Authorities in both countries have, however, urged the public to remain cautious amid reports of rising COVID cases.


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Muslims in Malaysia celebrate livelier Aidilfitri, first in three years without special SOP

Saturday, 22 Apr 2023

KUALA LUMPUR, April 22 — Muslims celebrated a livelier 1 Syawal today with mosques and surau nationwide filled with congregants performing Aidilfitri prayers which also marks the first time in three years it is being celebrated without special standard operating procedures (SOP) being enforced.

In Kuala Lumpur, Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah and Raja Permaisuri Agong Tunku Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah performed Aidilfitri prayers at the Masjid Negara.

The royal couple arrived at the mosque at 8.15am accompanied by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

Last year, Aidilfitri was celebrated in the transition to the endemic phase which saw the SOP being relaxed.

In Selangor, the Sultan of Selangor Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah joined thousands of congregants in performing the Aidilfitri prayers at 8.13 am at the Tengku Ampuan Jemaah Mosque Bukit Jelutong.

A majority of congregants who attended the prayers wore face masks and brought their own mats as recommended by the Ministry of Health.

In Kelantan, the Sultan of Kelantan Sultan Muhammad V, accompanied by the Crown Prince of Kelantan, Dr Tengku Muhammad Faiz Petra, joined thousands of congregants to perform the Aidilfitri prayers at 9.10am at Al-Ismaili Mosque in Bandar Baru Pasir Pekan, Tumpat.

Also participating in the prayers was Kelantan Menteri Besar Datuk Ahmad Yakob.

In Perlis, the Regent of Perlis Tuanku Syed Faizuddin Putra Jamalullail performed Aidilfitri prayers at Dataran Istiadat Istana Arau. He was accompanied by Menteri Besar Mohd Shukri Ramli to perform the prayers led by Perlis Grand Imam Ahmad Sirajuddin Abdul Satar.

In Terengganu, the Sultan of Terengganu Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin, and Sultanah of Terengganu Sultanah Nur Zahirah joined congregants performed Aidilfitri prayers at Al-Muktafi Billah Shah Mosque in Ladang, Kuala Terengganu.

Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Samsuri Mokhtar, state leaders, and more than 3,000 congregants also joined the prayers, led by Terengganu Mufti Dr Mohamad Sabri Haron.

In Kedah, the Sultan of Kedah Al-Aminul Karim Sultan Sallehuddin Sultan Badlishah and Sultanah of Kedah Sultanah Maliha Tengku Ariff performed Aidilfitri prayers at Zahir Mosque, Alor Setar. The royal couple was accompanied by Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor.

More than 2,000 congregants performed the Aidilfitri prayers which started at 9am and was led by the Grand Imam of Zahir Mosque Sheikh Mohd Naim Ahmad.

In Sabah, Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor performed Aidilfitri prayers with more than 500 others at the Hajiji Noor Mosque, Serusup Tuaran at 7.15am.

Speaking to reporters after performing the prayer, Hajiji called on Muslims in Sabah to celebrate Aidilfitri in the spirit of simplicity.

Meanwhile, Yang Dipertua Negeri of Sabah Tun Juhar Mahiruddin and his wife Toh Puan Norlidah RM Jasni are scheduled to hold an open house at Istana Sri Kinabalu tomorrow, while the Sabah government will hold an open house on April 30 at the Sabah International Convention Centre (SICC).

In Sarawak, Yang Dipertua Negeri of Sarawak Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud and Sarawak Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg performed Aidilfitri prayers at Jamek Mosque, Petra Jaya.

Abdul Taib is holding an Aidilfitri 2023 open house today in Astana Negeri Sarawak from 10.30 am to 4.30 pm.

Abang Johari is also hosting an open house at the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) from 10.30am to 4pm today.

In Putrajaya, thousands of Muslims started gathering at the Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin Mosque from 8 am to perform the Aidilfitri prayers led by Mohd Radhi Abdul Ghani.

In his Aidilfitri sermon, Mohd Radhi, among other things, reminded Muslims to continue to give devotion and respect to their parents who sacrificed a lot.

In Negeri Sembilan, the Yang di-Pertuan Besar of Negeri Sembilan Tuanku Muhriz Ibni Almarhum Tuanku Munawir, accompanied by Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Aminuddin Harun, arrived at about 8.30 am at Tuanku Munawir Royal Mosque, Kuala Pilah to perform Aidilfitri prayers with 1,500 congregants.

After performing the prayers, led by Abdul Rahman Ibrahim, Tuanku Muhriz met with the congregants before leaving for Istana Besar Seri Menanti to attend the People's Banquet.

Aminuddin, when met by reporters, urged the public to be extra careful during the festive season and also invited them to the state government open house scheduled to take place at the Seremban City Council Hall on May 7.

In Labuan, Labuan Member of Parliament Datuk Suhaili Abd Rahman performed Aidilfitri prayers with more than 500 congregants including local community leaders at the Kampung Patau-Patau II Mosque at 7.30 am.

In Pahang, the Regent of Pahang Tengku Hassanal Ibrahim Alam Shah Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah performed Aidilfitri prayers, led by Mohd Faizal Abdul Manaf, at Sultan Ahmad Shah Mosque, Pekan.

After the prayers, Tengku Hassanal attended a brief tahlil ceremony at the Pekan Royal Mausoleum, which is located next to the mosque, accompanied by Pahang administration led by Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail.

Tengku Hassanal is also scheduled to go to the Menteri Besar's open house at the Kuantan City Complex (MBK), this afternoon.

In Perak, the Sultan of Perak Sultan Nazrin Shah performed Aidilfitri prayers at the Ubudiah Mosque, Kuala Kangsar at 8.45am, accompanied by the Raja Muda of Perak Raja Jaafar Raja Muda Musa and Raja Dihilir of Perak Raja Iskandar Dzurkarnain Sultan Idris Shah.

In Melaka, the Yang Dipertua Negeri of Melaka Tun Mohd Ali Rustam along with nearly 10,000 residents around the Al Azim Mosque in Bukit Palah performed the Aidilfitri prayers at the mosque at 8.30 am, led by Grand Imam of Al-Azim Mosque, Datuk Mohammad Hashim Al-Hafiz.

In Penang, more than 5,000 Muslims performed Aidilfitri prayers together with the Yang Dipertua Negeri of Penang, Tun Ahmad Fuzi Abdul Razak at the Penang State Mosque at 8.30am.

Tun Ahmad Fuzi is also hosting an open house at his official residence, which will be attended by Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow, and other state leaders.

In Johor, Tunku Mahkota of Johor Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim performed Aidilfitri prayers at the Sultan Abu Bakar Mosque, Johor Bahru with more than 1,000 congregants.

Also present were Tunku Temenggong of Johor Tunku Idris Iskandar, Tunku Panglima of Johor Tunku Abdul Rahman, and Tunku Putera of Johor Tunku Abu Bakar.

Menteri Besar Datuk Onn Hafiz Ghazi along with members of the Johor administration and senior government officials also performed the prayers at the mosque.

Onn Hafiz also holding an open house at his official residence in Saujana, Johor Bahru starting at 9 this morning. — Bernama


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Cabinet members extend Aidilfitri wishes to Malaysian Muslims

Friday, 21 Apr 2023

KUALA LUMPUR, April 21 — Several Cabinet ministers today took the opportunity to extend Aidilfitri wishes to all Malaysian Muslims.

Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing said Malaysians, regardless of race, religion or background tend to celebrate all festivals together which has become an attraction for tourists to experience what harmony is all about in this country.

“This is the uniqueness of our people which can’t be found elsewhere,” Tiong said, while also advising all those travelling back to their hometowns to be safe on the road.

In the spirit of Aidilfitri, Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail said the ministry workforce is committed to working harder for the country and the people.

“Celebrate Aidilfitri with gratitude and happiness with your loved ones. The lessons obtained throughout Ramadan teach us patience, love, compassion, willpower and many more,” he said in a Twitter post.

Works Minister Datuk Seri Alexander Nanta Linggi said Aidilfitri strengthens harmony and unity among Malaysians.

“This is the time to seek forgiveness and strengthen relationships. Put behind your disagreements and strengthen harmony and unity,” he said in a Facebook post.

Meanwhile, Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa asked Malaysians to be grateful and reflect on the blessings received from Allah SWT.

“Endless blessings, such as health, family, happiness and many more. May we continue to be grateful and receive blessings from Allah SWT. Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri, Maaf Zahir dan Batin,” she said in a video uploaded on Facebook.

Muslims in Malaysia celebrate Aidilfitri tomorrow.

Transport Minister Anthony Loke in a Facebook post extended his gratitude to all frontline workers on duty during Aidilfitri for ensuring travellers got home safely and for maintaining peace and security.

They include Road Transport Department (JPJ) enforcement personnel, aviation agencies, taxi drivers, e-hailing and p-hailing drivers as well as rail and port workers, he said.

Amidst the joy of returning home, Loke also reminded motorists to drive courteously as their presence would be eagerly awaited by loved ones.

Domestic Trade and Cost of Living Minister Datuk Seri Salahuddin Ayub expressed his gratitude for being able to share Ramadan with various Rahman initiatives to lessen the people’s burden, especially for those really in need.

“On this note, I would like to thank all parties involved in making the ministry’s programmes and initiatives thus far a success. May our good deeds be rewarded multifold,” he said on Facebook.

Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri, in a video uploaded on Facebook, hoped that the arrival of Syawal would bring happiness to everyone and urged the public, amidst the joyous celebration, to also not forget the underprivileged.

Also extending his Aidilfitri wishes was Communications and Digital Minister Fahmi Fadzil.

“I would like to take this opportunity to seek forgiveness if there had been misdeeds or shortcomings on my part, intentional or otherwise. Maaf zahir dan batin,” he said. — Bernama


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Pakistan govt cites possibility of war with India, urges Supreme Court to postpone elections

April 21, 2023

Islamabad: The defence ministry of Pakistan has mentioned a host of reasons including threats from India and insurgent attacks in its appeal to the country’s Supreme Court urging the postponement of elections.

In its report to Pakistan’s Supreme Court, the defence ministry cited the possibility of an all-out war with India. The ministry also feared a rise in the activities of the Indian spy agency R&AW and an increase in attacks by the Pakistani Taliban and Baloch groups if elections are held in the Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces of Pakistan.

Islamic State (ISIS) fighters returning to Pakistan from other countries is also a cause for concern, the report added.

The report was submitted to Pakistan’s Supreme Court along with an application calling for the withdraw of its election-date order.

According to Pakistani publication ‘The Dawn’, the report claimed that elections in Punjab province may exacerbate the fuel fault lines over ethnic conflict, water disputes, and other issues in Pakistan which could play into the hands of India’s intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW).

According to the report, Punjab may become unstable due to the tense atmosphere there. It also said that top leaders of various political parties have been the target of multiple threat alerts, particularly in Punjab.

The defence ministry went on to claim that if terrorist attacks do take place, it might produce unrest and further polarise the political landscape, which could result in instability and collapse similar to what occurred following the killing of former Pakistan prime minister Benazir Bhutto.

The possibility of clashes between political workers of different political parties had increased exponentially, and could complicate law and order situations and possibly be conducive for terrorists, it said. This was due to the highly charged political climate in Punjab and other parts of the country generally, as well as the element of violence recently introduced in politics.

According to the research, the country’s security situation over the past few years has required the simultaneous deployment of numerous armed forces personnel on both its eastern and western borders.

In addition, despite an agreement on a cease-fire, India continued to put Pakistan’s ability to respond in jeopardy by routinely violating the Line of Control (LOC) and international borders.

In addition, the report noted that elements like the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) had carried out numerous attacks against the security forces along the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan with alleged support of the Taliban government in Afghanistan.

According to the report, the Punjab province of Pakistan had experienced a new wave of terrorism, with 150 danger alerts being received between January 2022 and April 2023. It claimed that 78 of these threats had been avoided by counterterrorism or intelligence-based activities, but eight had come to pass.

It said sleeper cells of terrorist elements were active in Punjab, especially south Punjab, and even in Islamabad, as evident from the high-profile attacks

Besides, several militants belonging to the self-styled Islamic State (IS) group and other outfits were also returning to Pakistan from Syria, Yemen and the Middle East, it said.

According to the assessment, India’s dominance in the “global great game” would continue to harm Pakistan.

It added that both internal instability and external aggression posed threats to Pakistan, noting that both were connected “since the internal chaos invites external aggression.”


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PM felicitates nation, Muslim Ummah on Eidul Fitr

April 22, 2023

ISLAMABAD -Prime Minister Sheh­baz Sharif felicitated people of Pakistan and the Muslim Ummah on the auspicious occasion of Eidul Fitr.

In a message on the occasion of Eidul Fitr, he prayed that the blessed moment may bring for every Muslim immense happiness and joy of life.

He said the fasting month of Ra­mazan ul Mubarak and worship of Allah evoked feelings of patience, contentment and empathy and Eidul Fitr was also an occasion to practically demonstrate these qualities.

He advised people to take care of the needy, poor, destitute and or­phans around them.

These were difficult times and the sacrifice and love of the well to do and rich was needed more than in ordinary circumstances, he said adding, “Those who are facing dif­ficulties due to adverse circum­stances should be made part of the celebrations of Eid.”

Shehbaz Sharif said it was per­sistent effort of the coalition gov­ernment to put on the people minimum burden of the difficult economic conditions. “We are striv­ing to the maximum to provide re­lief to the people. I believe that Al­lah Almighty will bring us out of these trying circumstances and comforts of life will return.”

The prime minister emphasized that everybody would have to con­tribute to take Pakistan to its desti­nation and to restore its lost status, to achieve that purpose construc­tive thinking, focus and constant hard work was needed

“As the sweetness of Eid follows the fasting month, God willing, our effort and hard work will bring eco­nomic prosperity in the life of the nation and the country.”

He appealed to his countrymen to not forget the flood affectees on the occasion of Eid and include them in their happiness.

“On this occasion, we salute the martyrs of the nation who em­braced martyrdom while coura­geously fighting against terrorism and offer our heartfelt condolenc­es to their families. May Allah el­evate the ranks of these martyrs and give patience to their loved ones. Ameen,” he added.

While expressing solidarity with our Palestinian and Kashmi­ri brothers and sisters he said, “We pray that Allah Almighty may bless them with freedom. Ameen.”

He also expressed solidarity with the earthquake affectees of Turki­ye and Syria and sympathized with the bereaved families, prayed for the peace of departed souls and patience for the heirs.


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Nawaz, Saudi crown prince discuss issues faced by Pakistan

April 22, 2023

Pakistan Muslim League-N supremo Nawaz Sharif on Friday discussed the matters related to crises being suffered by Pakistan with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Confirming the development, Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb revealed on Twitter that the crises being suffered by Pakistan and the solutions to them came under discussion during the meeting in detail.

“The leaders discussed further improving Saudi-Pak brotherly relations and solutions to the issues Pakistan is facing. Nawaz Sharif expressed his good wishes for the Saudi leadership,” she added.

There was no official mention from the Saudi side about the meeting and the PML-N did not share any photographs of it.

However, the party’s official Twitter account shared the same statement as posted by Aurangzeb.

PML-N Senior Vice President and Chief Organiser Maryam Nawaz was also present during the meeting.

According to sources, the meeting between the former prime minister and the crown prince was “positive”.

The Information Minister said the leaders discussed further promotion of Saudi-Pak fraternal relations and solutions to the problems faced by Pakistan.

She said that Nawaz Sharif, on the occasion, expressed good wishes for the Saudi leadership.

The three-time prime minister and PML-N’s chief organiser are currently in Saudi Arabia as they performed Umrah along with their other family members.


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Pakistan celebrates Eidul Fitr as economic woes dampen festive cheer

April 22, 2023

Pakistan is celebrating Eidul Fitr with religious zeal and fervour today, although the festivities have been lukewarm due to multiple crises facing the nation and a worsening economic turmoil.

According to traders’ bodies, a massive slowdown was witnessed in sales prior to Eid due to skyrocketing inflation. Traders said that genuine buyers were, on average, 50 per cent less than last year due to eroding buying power of consumers caused by unprecedented increases in food, electricity and petroleum prices.

However, retail brands have reported robust demand for their products.

Eid congregations

The first day of Eid began with congregations being held in mosques and Eidgahs in all major cities and towns, Radio Pakistan reported, adding that the main congregation in capital Islamabad was held at Faisal Mosque where top government officials and envoys of Muslim countries offered Eid prayers.

Special prayers were offered for the progress and prosperity of the country and the welfare of the Muslim ummah, the state broadcaster said.

President Arif Alvi also joined the congregation at Faisal Mosque and prayed for the peace, progress and prosperity of the country, state media reported. He also prayed for the salvation of the people of occupied Kashmir from Indian suppression and atrocities.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif offered Eid prayers in Lahore.

He, too, prayed for the country’s prosperity and peace, as well as the people of occupied Kashmir and Palestine and the victims of a deadly earthquake that hit Turkey and Syria in February, the state media said.

PM, president’s message

In their Eid messages, President Alvi and PM Shehbaz urged people not to forget the needy and destitute on the festive occasion.

President Alvi urged the countrymen not to allow their sectarian, religious and political differences become a source of strife and hatred during the Eid holidays.

He said that in order to get out of the current situation facing the country, people needed to inculcate the habit of forgiving and follow the teachings of Allah and the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him).

The president asked the countryfolk to play their role in moving the country towards political and economic stability.

In a separate message, PM Shehbaz expressed the hope that his government would rid the people of prevailing problems, including unprecedented inflation.

“The coalition government is trying its best to pass the minimum burden of prevailing economic meltdown to people. We are striving hard to provide relief to the masses,” he said, adding, “I have a firm belief in Allah Almighty that we will come out of the crisis and good days will return to you.”

The PM extended his greetings to overseas Pakistanis and Muslims all over the world. He urged the people to remember those fellow citizens who had been suffering from teh consequences of last year’s floods.

The premier also paid tribute to those martyred in the war against terrorism and expressed condolence and sympathies with the bereaved families.

PM extends greetings to Turkish President Erdogan

The prime minister held a telephone conversation with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and conveyed warm Eid felicitations to the government, leadership and people of Turkiye, state media reported.

He also offered prayers for the victims of the February 6 earthquakes in southeastern Turkiye and reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to stand by Ankara during the rehabilitation and reconstruction phase.

President Erdogan warmly reciprocated the prime minister’s greetings and conveyed his “special fraternal feelings and affection for the people of Pakistan”.

The Turkish president also thanked the Pakistani people and government for standing with them in their hour of need and conveyed that they “will never forget Pakistan’s support and assistance”.

The Turkish president also appreciated the prime minister’s visit to Turkiye in the aftermath of the quake and said they would always remember the leadership Pakistan demonstrated.

The leaders expressed satisfaction at the “excellent bilateral relations between the two brotherly countries and reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to further advance these fraternal ties in all areas of mutual interest particularly; trade, economy, food security and green energy”.

They also reaffirmed their resolve to remain in close contact with each other on all important regional and global issues, the report added. The prime minister also invited President Erdogan to visit Pakistan, which was accepted.


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Moscow Mosque Plan Pits Putin Allies Against Each Other


Far from the front line of the war in Ukraine, battle lines of a different kind were drawn when residents of a Moscow district opposed a rumored proposal for a mosque for 60,000 worshippers by a lake cherished by Russian Orthodox believers.

In February, people in Kosino-Ukhtomsky started to voice anger at the complex, which would include a Muslim center and educational facilities. President of the predominantly Muslim Russian republic of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, fiercely loyal to Russian President Vladimir Putin, called on anti-mosque demonstrators to "show your patriotism" by going to the trenches in Ukraine.

Prominent MMA fighters also weighed in opposing the mosque, while a video message by Chechens from the battlefield in Ukraine warned they could also wage war on the Orthodox protesters in Moscow.

After weeks of demonstrations, Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin announced on April 5 the mosque would be shifted to a much smaller site elsewhere. The decision got the backing of Patriarch Kirill, who as head of the Russian Orthodox Church and another close Putin ally, has given a canonical justification for the war in Ukraine.

The spat over the mosque, "is a part of an ongoing surge in religious tensions, including those among Russian servicemen and mercenaries fighting in Ukraine," Denys Brylov, head of the Kyiv-based European Centre for Strategic Analytics, told Newsweek. "This tension is largely caused by the influx of Muslim soldiers into the Russian army."

Along with Putin's arguments about about NATO encroachment on Russia and "de-Nazification" as reasons for the war, Kremlin propaganda has also portrayed the full-scale invasion as a fight for what Putin has dubbed the "unity" of Orthodox Christian Russians and Ukrainians.

Muslims make up roughly a tenth of Russia's population and adherents of the faith fighting in Ukraine for Putin are dying in large numbers. Kadyrov's forces, which are part of Russia's National Guard, Rosgvardia, but directed by the strongman ruler, have a prominent profile thanks to their videos from the battlefield.

Olga Lautman, senior investigative researcher at the Institute for European Integrity, said there have been clashes between Kadyrov fighters and Russian soldiers.

"We've seen the tensions already over the past year escalate," she said.

Cannon fodder

Brylov said that as well as Russian Muslims, a growing number of army personnel are migrants from former Soviet states in Central Asia. This follows a decree by Putin last September making it easier for foreign citizens who sign up for the military to get Russian citizenship.

"These amendments aim to make up for the attrition in the Russian army at the expense of migrant workers," he said, adding that many migrants are tricked into signing military service contracts or sent to a war zone instead of being deported.

Two men of Tajik origin reportedly got into an argument with a lieutenant colonel on a military training ground in Russia's Belgorod region in October 2022. Unconfirmed reports said they responded to an Islamophobic insult by opening fire and killing up to 22 people.

"Non-Slavic and non-Orthodox citizens of the Russian Federation are only second-rank citizens and just cannon fodder for Putin's war on Ukraine," Willy Fautré, director of Human Rights Without Frontiers, told Newsweek.

"The question is how long the ethnic political leaders of the non-Orthodox and non-Slavic populations of the Russian Federation will go on tolerating the instrumentalization of their peoples in the never-ending carnage of the 'special military operation,'" Fautré added, referring to the Kremlin's term for its invasion of Ukraine.

Muslims joining the Wagner Group of mercenaries headed by Yevgeny Prigozhin are on the increase, Brylov said.

"Discrimination against Muslims is not uncommon," he said. "Although the number of Muslim servicemen grows, the Russian army does not provide Muslim servicemen with the necessary conditions for religious observance."

However, there have always been tensions within the Russian armed forces.

"A lengthy history of the brutal hazing of new recruits is one issue, retaliation against superiors is another," Robert Crews, history professor at Stanford University told Newsweek. "In the context of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, who gets sent where, and with what resources has been a major fault line."

Initially, the Russian military turned to poorer regions with less political influence, which made it more difficult to avoid service.

"Non-Russian recruits, including those of Muslim background, have played a prominent role," he said. "But it's not clear that the Kremlin has treated them as cannon fodder because of their non-Russian ethnicity, though many observers have made this claim," Crews said.


"Racism and Islamophobia are potentially unsettling elements in the Russian army, as in others in Europe and elsewhere," he said, although the Kremlin's position is that Islam is a "traditional" Russian religion, and that Muslims are essential to the war effort.

"Orthodox Christian symbols and imagery are dominant, but they do not exclude attention to Islam as a component part of a military that has been multi-confessional since at least the 16th century," Crews said.

Muslim leaders in Russia have backed Putin's invasion, repeating Orthodox Christian arguments about the "satanic" nature of the Western enemy. But troops of different faiths both being sold the idea of a "Holy War" could create a gap in logic that is tricky to bridge. Meanwhile, tensions can spill over between Muslim and non-Muslim personnel fighting for Moscow.

Brylov said that the idea that serving in the Russian armed forces is unacceptable, especially under contract, is spreading among some Russian Muslims, who may question the religious validation for the war.

"In the case of prolonged hostilities, lack of changes in the war zone, and, consequently, a growing number of dead Muslims, we can expect increasing dissatisfaction among Muslim servicemen," Brylov said.

After the war, a growing number of Muslim combat veterans will become more influential both in the Russian armed forces and among military and law enforcement agencies, he added.

There are Muslims fighting on both sides in the war, with adherents from Crimea and Azerbaijan among those who have joined the fight on the side of Ukraine. Anti-Russian Chechens received support from the Ukrainian authorities, which have recognized the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria—the name of the de facto independent Chechen state that existed in the 1990s—as being temporarily occupied by Russia.

Kadyrov, Prigozhin and military bloggers have all been critical of the Russian defense ministry, pointing to different views on how Moscow should fight the Ukraine war as Putin's efforts falter. Meanwhile, the dispute over the mosque in Moscow could be a prelude to tensions in Russian society after the war ends.

"Putin has been able to hold the different factions together through fear but over the past year, the Russian military continues to suffer these losses and humiliation on the front lines, and you are seeing more and more factions fighting," Lautman told Newsweek. "And the fighting is spilling over publicly."


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Faizal completes gruelling daily 10km run challenge for Ramadan

By Shuiab Khan

Reporter and columnist

A Blackburn fundraiser has run 10km every single day during the month of Ramadan, whilst fasting to support the Turkey and Syria earthquake appeal.

Faizal Momoniat, 41, raised £3,000 in 2022 for charity by completing 5km runs every day during Ramadan.

This year he decided to go one better and double his daily run challenge.

Faizal said: "The first 10 days of running were very good, I was averaging 48 minutes.

"The middle 10 days I struggled as I got ill and also picked up an injury, I was averaging 55 minutes.

"This was very hard physically and mentally. I haven't had an injury for a long time, I had to dig deep and get through it.

"I got better and the injury has improved dramatically, I was averaging 50 minutes during the last 10 days."

Faizal was raising money to assist those affected by Turkey-Syria earthquake with funds being donated to Benefit Mankind, a Blackburn based charity.

He has received donations of more than £2,900 so far and was hoping to add to this in the coming week.

He added: "I want to thank all the people who have donated so far, I really appreciate it. Please keep spreading the link below to your family and friends.

"I also would like to thank Chaaye Paani in Blackburn for donating on my JustGiving page, they have helped me on this remarkable running journey."

Faizal took up running 16 years ago and has completed many 5k and 10k runs, around 15 half marathons, three full marathons, and two ultra marathons (35 and 50 miles).


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Muslim burial site: Council extends consultation period after concerns

21st April

By Shuiab Khan

Reporter and columnist

Mosques have raised concerns over new proposed guidelines and rulings for the new burial section at Blackburn cemetery.

A document was shared during Ramadan which details some of the changes which were being proposed.

This included a number of updates to the existing terms and condition and relates only to the new section in Pleasington cemetery.

This week, 16 mosque representatives wrote to Blackburn with Darwen Council asking for any consultation to be extended and separately a petition was also launched calling for further clarifications on the rulings.

Although not listed in any correspondence it is believed there were particular concerns over the placings of flowers and plants on graves which is a common tradition amongst many Muslims. This is also a tradition for non-Muslims who visit graves.

An update from the council said this would still be permitted but these ‘would be removed after two weeks’.

The proposals also asked for family members of the deceased to list an estimated number who may attend the funeral and rulings would also limit the height of a mound to six inches.

Earlier, Blackburn with Darwen Council had said the consultation period was ongoing and said this would run until Friday, April 21. This date coincided with the end of Ramadan.

In response to a letter from some mosque representatives the Council have now clarified the proposals and said the period of consultation will be extended by three weeks to May 12.

The council said it would ‘also arrange a meeting with a nominated group of up to 12 representatives from the Mosques along with the members of the Blackburn Muslim Burial Society as soon as possible after the consultation has ended’.

A source close to the Blackburn Muslim Burial Society (BMBS) had earlier said it had already raised objections to specific sections of the document already and it had not been given suitable time to study the proposals.

The new Muslim section of the cemetery includes a prayer facility, with Muslim funeral prayers themselves tending to last less than 20 minutes, and many people leaving the cemetery once prayers have concluded.

The proposals relate to a number of issues including traffic management, parking and the use of registered stonemasons for grave-stones and kerb sets.

However, it is the issues relating to the placing of flowers and ornaments on the graves which has caused some people to speak out.

The document said owners must also ensure their grave is ‘kept as a lawned cemetery and nothing should be placed on to the grave, mound or mid-feather at any time. This includes concrete, flowers, plants, ornaments, fencing, trees, bricks etc. If any items are placed they will be removed immediately.’

The council has now clarified concerns raised by people.

Martin Eden, Strategic Director of Environment and Operations, said: “We are currently consulting with members of Blackburn Muslim Burial Society and the Mosques on burial arrangements in the new extension at Pleasington Cemetery, and these discussions include issues around the height of the grave mound, the use of kerb-sets or fencing, the planting of flowers and trees and memorial displays around the graves.

“Mourners of all faiths are welcome to continue bringing flowers to a funeral, the flowers can be left on the grave, where they will remain for up to two weeks after the funeral, and flowers can be brought and left at the grave from visitors.

“We have been made aware many mosques, masjids and religious centres have not yet had the chance to reply to the consultation so we are now extending the consultation deadline until Friday, May 12, to give people more time to do this.

“We have also offered to meet with a nominated group of up to 12 representatives from the mosques, masjids and religious centres along with members of Blackburn Muslim Burial Society after the consultation has ended to discuss the feedback from the consultation further to agreement is reached on the new burial site.”

Speaking this week, Abdul Rehman Adam from the Masjid E Raza Altom Street and Noorani Education Centre on Hartley Street said: “We only became aware of the proposals and deadline date when we read it in the Lancashire Telegraph.

“A lot of concerns have been raised by the members of the community. We have requested an immediate hold on the proposals and have asked the council for a 30-day extension.

"We are also asking for a consultation meeting as vast majority of the community are against the proposals.”

Maulana Siddiq, from Masjid-e-Ghousiya based on Leamington Road, added: “We have been contacted by numerous people who are concerned over the guideline changes.

"One of those issues was the placing of flowers on the graves. This is part of many people’s beliefs and cultures.

“We also believe it was important for such changes to be thoroughly discussed with all local mosque representatives before being implemented.”

A petition which calls for further consultation had already received more than a thousand signatures within a day.

Mohamed Ugradar, who posted the petition on behalf of Mohaddis-e-Azam Mission Mosque, said: “Although I agree that rules should be in place to allow for some order and to help to ensure fairness and safety, I strongly believe that there should be a thorough consultation with the Muslim community so that the rules being imposed do not impact the community and their customs and traditions in a negative way.”

In details released to mosques in a letter the proposals under consultation:

A family member of the deceased will be asked to estimate the attendance at the funeral (Up to 60 people, 60 - 150 people, 150 - 220 people or above 220 people).

rave spaces should not be made larger or deeper after the excavation of the grave by the Council. Graves to be kept as a lawned cemetery and nothing should be placed onto the grave, mound or mid-feather.

This includes, kerb-sets, concrete, ornaments, fencing, stones, or the planting of flowers, plants and trees. (Please note, mourners bringing flowers to a funeral can continue to leave the flowers on the grave, where they will remain for up to two weeks).

All grave mounds should be the same height and adhere to the mound template, which will be available on the new extension and will help you to shape your grave mound.


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London Marathon 2023: Training during Ramadan fasting is 'challenging'

For Haroon Mota, training for the London Marathon has been different this year.

He has been making himself eat a big meal at 4am for the past month because it has been Ramadan, the holy month of fasting in Islam which involves abstaining from eating or drinking during daylight hours.

By the time Mota lines up on Sunday to run 26.2 miles, Ramadan will have finished but the 37-year-old will have spent a quarter of his 16-week training programme training at a reduced intensity while fasting.

"Fuelling and hydrating during the month of Ramadan if you are training isn't easy, I'll be honest," he told BBC Sport.

"Trying to put food and drink down your mouth at 4am, you probably don't feel hungry but you know that you have to eat. I have to give great priority to my hydration the moment that the sun goes down, so while it's tempting to jump straight to the sweet treats and the fried samosas, I have to take that in moderation.

"Your stomach constricts during Ramadan, meaning that you can take the smallest amount of food and feel full, and you don't want to get full with the types of food that aren't going to give you the right type of energy - so prioritising carbohydrates and then trying to drink plenty of water and electrolytes is really important for me."

Mota's typical day during Ramadan would start around 4am for Suhoor, the meal eaten pre-dawn, before heading to the mosque for the first of five daily prayers.

He would then head back home for some rest before getting up for the midday prayer. There was another prayer in the afternoon before he would go on his training runs, which he would do in the late afternoon as he would be able to break his fast soon afterwards.

His runs would range from four to 13 miles, so eating the correct food during Suhoor and Iftar (the meal eaten to break the fast at sundown) was important. His meals would consist of high-carb foods such as rice, pasta or potatoes and protein such as chicken. The final two prayers take place after Iftar, just after sunset, and then between sunset and midnight.

"Typically for a marathon training programme, the last few weeks is usually a taper period where you reduce your volume of training and things get easier," said Mota, who has completed 22 marathons, including the Boston Marathon earlier this week.

"Nevertheless, you are still marathon training so trying to get through that without food or drink is challenging, but I feel really strong."

How do you train safely while fasting?

Exercising in a 'fasted state' is when you train after a fast of eight or more hours.

"You can ensure to exercise safely by making sure that you have sufficient stores of carbohydrates and fat for your exercise," Dr Adora Yau, a senior lecturer in nutritional physiology at Manchester Metropolitan University, told BBC Sport.

"So during your eating periods, you can make sure to have a high-carb meal to replenish the glycogen stores and carbohydrate stores in your liver and muscles. And you can also make sure to ingest enough fluids."

On a normal day, fluid intake for women is about two litres and for men about 2.5 litres - but when someone is training for a marathon, they would have to increase their fluid intake to account for sweating.

During exercise, if the body's stores of glycogen and carbohydrate are depleted, an athlete will 'hit the wall', so taking in enough carbohydrates during non-fast times is vital.

"You'd need to be aware of the intensity of your exercise because you want to prolong your running period; you don't want to be training at a high intensity and then use up all of your glycogen stores and then find that the last part of the race, or your training, incredibly hard," Dr Yau said.

"A marathon is hard enough already. You also want to maintain a lower intensity so that your sweat rate is also lower. You want to avoid sweating too much to avoid getting severely dehydrated, which can potentially be more dangerous."

Not all Muslims will fast during Ramadan. Before the London 2012 Olympics, when Ramadan was much later in the year, long-distance runner Mo Farah instead fasted after his running season was over. Others will choose to give to charity instead.

Ramadan may now have finished but another thing Mota has to think about is Eid ul-Fitr, the festival marking the end of the month of fasting.

Traditionally, Muslims will come together to celebrate with plenty of food and sweet treats, but this year Haroon will still be preparing for a marathon, so does not want to indulge too much.

"I'm going to try and be sensible and prioritise carb intake amongst any other sweet treats that I might have," he said.

"With the London Marathon falling just after Ramadan, I've totally changed my expectations from a normal marathon.

"I want to run happy, I want to run positive. My friends and family are coming down to support me so I just want to have a positive race. Of course if I feel fresh on the day, I'll push myself, but I worry about that when I get to it."


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Eid-el-Fitr: Enugu chief imam sues for peace among Nigerians

APRIL 22, 2023

The Chief Imam of Enugu State, Saeed Zulqarnaini, has called on Nigerians to eschew bitterness but strive to improve existing unity and peace in the country.

Mr Zulqarnaini made the call while addressing reporters after the Eid-el-Fitr prayers at the Islamic Centre Prayer Ground in Uwani, Enugu on Friday.

He said that the country and the people were closely related by both common humanity and historical ties.

 “There is a need to build on those things that unite us rather than those that divide us,” he said.

According to him, the central message of Ramadan is that of love. Almighty Allah has continued to share His abundant love to mankind.

“As Ramadan has taught us, we must love as commanded by Almighty Allah. Again, we must do all to be at peace with others, as Islam is a religion and way of life of peace.

“As Nigerians we must respect and obey constituted authorities and ensure we show patriotism to work for the growth and progress of the country,” he said.

The chief imam also urged Muslim faithful to continue with all the teachings and positive way of life they imbibed during the Ramadan.

After the Eid prayers, the Commissioner of Police in Enugu State, Ahmed Ammani, called on Nigerians to exhibit the spirit of fairness and accommodation towards one another.

Mr Ammani said, “There is little we can do where there is no spirit of tolerance and forgiveness among us.

“We are bound by one humanity and the Holy Books teach that we must be our brothers’ keepers and display love and charity in our daily dealings with one another.”

In a message to the Muslim Ummah, the Sarkin Hausawa of Enugu State, Yusuf Sambo, called on Nigerians to work for a peaceful and rancour-free transition from one civilian administration to another.

Mr Sambo noted that individuals, groups or the entire society would achieve little “if there is no peace and oneness in the country”.

He said, “As we have learnt during the Ramadan, love and good neighbourliness is the key for a progressive and successful society.

“As leaders, which most of us are in one sphere of life or the other, we must exhibit good examples. Learn to carry others along and exercise restraint in all we do in order to tolerate and accommodate others.”

The sarkin hausawa commended Muslim Ummah for the feat of completion of the Ramadan fast as well as their prayers made for the peace, progress and oneness of the country.


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The Eid-el-Fitr prayer was attended by thousands of Muslim faithful living within Enugu metropolis.



Don’t abandon Ramdan virtues, lessons, Adeleke urges muslims

By Timothy Agbor, Osogbo

22 April 2023

Osun State Governor, Ademola Adeleke, has urged Muslim faithful in the state not to jettison the virtue of love and sacrifice, which the holy month of Ramadan teaches.

The Governor while felicitating Muslims on the celebration of the 2023 Eid-ul-fitri charged them to continue to live with love, sacrifice and piety as they did throughout the holy month of Ramadan.

Adeleke, in a statement issued yesterday by his spokesperson, Olawale Rasheed, said, “I rejoice with fellow Muslims across Osun State on the occasion of this year’s Eid-el-Fitr celebration. While we throng the Eid ground for prayers and mark the end of the month of Ramadan, you should not forget the lessons the month teaches us.

“The act of love, sacrifice, and sharing with our brothers and sisters must not end with the month. You should extend those virtues beyond the holy month.

“I also urge you to, in line with the teachings of the Qur’an and holy prophet Muhammad, live with tolerance with our neighbours both Muslims and non Muslims.

“As you head to prayer ground, pray for peace in Osun, pray for its development and cooperate with the present administration in the state to deliver developmental projects for the benefit of the teeming populace.”


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Lalong, others felicitate muslims in Plateau

By Isa Abdulsalmi Ahovi, Jos

22 April 2023

Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong; his successor, governor-elect, Caleb Mutfwang; Senator representing Plateau Southern Zone, Prof. Nora Daduut and the All Progressives Congress (APC) Senator-elect for Plateau Central, Mr. Diket Plang, all felicitated Muslim Umma on the Eid-el-Fitr celebration.

Their goodwill messages came yesterday immediately after the peaceful Eid-el-Prayers where Muslims thronged to the prayer grounds to observe the optional two Rakat prayers.

Lalong, who is the Chairman of the Northern Governors’ Forum, was happy for their successful completion of the Ramadan fast and for being alive to witness another Eid-el-Fitr.

The governor, in a message through his Director of Press and Public Affairs, Dr. Makut Macham, said the period provided the Muslims an opportunity to carry out spiritual rejuvenation and acts of charity that are in tandem with the message of Prophet Muhammad.

He said the celebration is not only significant to Muslims alone but provides an opportunity for people of other faiths to share in the joy and essence of the moment.

Lalong added that the event should help Nigerians to reflect on love, tolerance, peace and good neighbourliness, which are virtues that are enshrined in the teachings of the two major religions in the country.

He urged Nigerians to celebrate with vigilance and report any suspicious activity to the security agencies, which have been fully mobilised to respond to any threat to peace and security.

The governor-elect, Mutfwang, congratulated the Muslims on the unique festival of breaking the fast particularly their perseverance, self-discipline and piety all through the Ramadan.

“The 2023 Ramadan and Eid el-Fitr are particularly of great significance because they have come within our nation’s political transition period. In just about a month away, a new President, state governors, national assembly as well as state legislators will be sworn into office in Nigeria’s 24 years of unbroken democratic journey.

“We, therefore, make this passionate plea to you: heighten your prayers for our country and Plateau State so that all may go well across the entire nation on May 29, 2023 and hereafter,” he stressed.

Mutfwang pleaded with all citizens to re-commit themselves to peaceful neighbourliness as Nigerian communities need peace and secure environments to concentrate on their farming and business activities.

He reasoned that without peace and security, the communities might be driven into poverty and every form of deprivation. He said, “As the incoming administration, we commit ourselves to offering quality leadership that would unite the people and work hand in hand with them, security agencies as well as people and institutions of goodwill to secure Plateau.”

On her part, Daduut urged the Muslims to ensure that the great virtues of peace, love, forgiveness, sacrifice and patriotism imbibed during the Ramadan fast are felt in every aspect of the national life beyond the holy month.

The senator added that what the leaders need from Nigerians is their prayers so that they would continue to provide the much-needed dividends of the democracy for them.

The first female Senator from Plateau State also enjoined Nigerians to embrace religious tolerance, which would promote peace across the country and enhance national development.

An APC Senator, she averred that Asiwaju Bola Tinubu-led administration would transform the country to where there would be economic prosperity, social harmony and political tolerance where everyone will be willing to live.

Diket Plang, the Senator-elect said Nigerians should continue to pray for leaders rather than cursing them in the interest of development and growth of the country.


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CAN Urges Peace, Tolerance Among Christians, Muslims 

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The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has enjoined Christians and Muslims in the country to work towards building a more tolerant and egalitarian society.

In a message issued by CAN President, Archbishop Daniel Okoh, CAN enjoined Muslims in Nigeria and around the world to celebrate the Eid-ul-Fitri festival with a commitment to living a life of piety and peace.

“We extend our warmest greetings and felicitations to the President General of the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) and Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, and the entire Muslim Ummah in Nigeria. We rejoice with them and pray that the blessings of God will be with them now and always.

“Ramadan is a time of self-reflection and a renewed commitment to living a life of piety and peace. It teaches us the importance of sacrifice, compassion, and generosity towards others, especially the less privileged in our society.

“As we mark this important occasion, we must take the opportunity to reflect on the lessons of Ramadan and the values that it teaches us, which is love for one another and mutual understanding for a peaceful society,” he said.

Okoh said that Islam and Christianity share a lot of good virtues in common adding, “we must use our understanding of the Holy books to promote inclusivity, and work towards building a more tolerant and egalitarian society for us all.

“As we celebrate the Eid-ul-Fitri festival, we call on all Nigerians to use this occasion to pray for our beloved country, for peace, and for the prosperity of all our people.”


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APC Chair, Adamu, Opeyemi Bamidele, Niger Senator Fecilitate Muslims

The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Abdullahi Adamu, after observing his Eid-el-Fitr prayer in Keffi, Nasarawa State yesterday, urged Nigerians to embrace peace.

He urged Nigerians to learn a great lesson from the unfortunate civil war going on in Sudan and toe the line of peaceful coexistence.

According to him, “Muslims should continue to inculcate in ourselves, in our youths, the attributes of peace. We should work for peace. Let our pronouncements always aim at having peace.

“Only peace can guarantee social economic growth and development. We can achieve nothing without peace.

“The development in Sudan is not only disturbing and worrisome. Only those who are experiencing the situation would appreciate the need to have peace in our land.

“We thank God almighty for being merciful to us as  Nigerians because in spite of everything, we enjoy relative peace.”

Similarly, the Chairman, Southern Senators Forum, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele, congratulated Muslim Ummah in the country for the successful completion of Ramadan fasting.

He urged them to pray and work for the success of the incoming administration of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

Bamidele noted that making the incoming government  successful, prosperous and peaceful is dear to all Nigerians, bearing in mind the President-elect’s incurable commitment to making the nation  great.

Bamidele said Tinubu needed the contributions of all citizens to succeed in this tasking assignment.

The federal lawmaker, urged Nigerians to hope for the best as the incoming administration is determined to renew their hope through the implementation of time-tested socio-economic policies capable of transforming their living conditions.

“I celebrate with my Muslim brothers and sisters the successful completion of Ramadan fasting and the celebration of Eid-el-Fitr.

“I call on Muslims  in Nigeria to continue to practice and promote the act of taking care of the vulnerable and less-privileged people in the our society even as I urge them to continue to live in peace and unity with others in their respective communities

“I also urge us to pray for the successful handing over of power by President Muhammadu Buhari to President-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu on May 29, 2023.”

The APC chieftain, saluted the Muslim faithful for their resilience and selfless efforts during the holy month, urging them to replicate the piety imbibed during the period in governance and personal lives for the nation to be redirected to the path of sanity.

“This makes it imperative for all of us to bury our political, religious and tribal differences and support President Muhammadu Buhari to seamlessly transfer power to the winner of the 2023 Presidential poll, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

“We have nothing to gain in calling for anarchy or suspension of our democratic culture for any alternative. Atmosphere of insurrection, bloodshed and upheaval will never abate our depressed situation.

“The failure of our government connotes that common Nigerians will continue to be the ultimate losers, not necessarily the leaders.”

On his part, the Senator representing Niger East Senatorial District in the National Assembly, Sani Musa, urged Nigerians to be vigilant and celebrate the ongoing Eid-el-Fitr in moderation.

Sani stated this in a goodwill message to Muslim faithful in the country and all over the world on the occasion of the Eid-el-Fitr celebration.

He noted that the current situation in the country and globally has made it imperative for Muslims and adherents of other religions to live in love, peace and harmony with one another.

He also urged them to seek the face of God in prayer for divine intervention.

The Senator, a top contender for the position of the Senate Presidency in the forthcoming 10th National Assembly, congratulated Muslims on the successful completion of the Ramadan fast.

He stressed that witnessing another Eid-el-Fitr was a special privilege from the Almighty Allah who has control over the destiny of man.

Musa said, “The 30-day spiritual exercise, no doubt, has drawn the faithful closer to Allah.

“I urge everyone to keep on practising the lessons learnt from the holy month in their relationship with their maker and fellow human beings.”


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Arab World


Saudi Arabia arranges to evacuate citizens from Sudan

April 22, 2023

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia will start arranging the evacuation of its citizens and several nationals from other “brotherly and friendly” countries from Sudan as clashes intensify despite an Eid truce.

In a statement, the Saudi foreign ministry said the evacuated people will be flown to Saudi Arabia.

The decision comes “in the implementation of the directives” of Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman “to oversee the care and wellbeing of citizens of the Kingdom in the Republic of Sudan,” the foreign ministry said.

The fighting between the army and paramilitaries broke out a week ago in Sudan, killing at least 413 people and injured 3,551, according to the World Health Organisation.

Clashes continued into Saturday despite an Eid truce that was earlier announced.


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Saudi and UK foreign ministers discuss violence in Sudan

April 21, 2023

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Faisal bin Farhan on Friday received a phone call from UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly, the Kingdom’s ministry said.

During the call, the two sides discussed the course of events in Sudan, with an emphasis on the importance of stopping the military escalation between the conflicting parties, ending the violence, and providing the necessary protection for Sudanese civilians and residents, in a way that guarantees the security, stability and well-being of Sudan and its people, the ministry added.

The two sides also reviewed the strong relations between the two countries, and ways to enhance and develop them in various fields, in addition to discussing aspects of intensifying joint coordination on many issues of common concern.


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Prince Mohammed bin Salman Project for Development of Historical Mosques to Renovate Kheif Al-Huzami Mosque in Madinah

21 Apr, 2023

Kheif Al-Huzami Mosque at Wadi Al-Safra, affiliated with Badr governorate of Madinah region, will be one of the oldest historic mosques across the Kingdom to be developed and renovated under the Prince Mohammed bin Salman Project for the Development of Historical Mosques in its second phase.

Constructed in the middle of the 11th century Hijri, the Kheif Al-Huzami mosque is situated in an area that was a famous gathering point for pilgrims and merchants' caravans.

Prince Mohammed bin Salman Project for Development of Historical Mosques will renovate Kheif Al-Huzami Mosque per the traditional style of Madinah.

The mosque's area will increase from 527.94 square meters to 603.35 square meters, while its capacity will reach 180 worshipers as it used to accommodate 150 worshipers only.

The project will rebuild the mosque of Kheif Al-Huzami using natural materials of clay, stones, and wood from local trees.

The second phase of the project covered 30 historic mosques across the Kingdom's 13 regions, including six mosques in Riyadh, five mosques in Makkah, four mosques in Madinah, three in Asir, two in each of the Eastern Region, Al-Jauf, and Jazan, and one mosque in each of the Northern Borders Region, Tabuk, Al-Baha, Najran, Hail, and Al-Qassim. This comes upon the completion of the first phase, which included the rehabilitation and restoration of 30 historical mosques in 10 regions.

Prince Mohammed bin Salman Project for the Development of Historical Mosques serves four strategic objectives: restoration of historical mosques for worship and prayer, restoration of the urban authenticity of historical mosques, highlighting the cultural dimension of Saudi Arabia, and enhancing the religious and cultural status of historical mosques.

The project also contributes to highlighting the cultural and civilizational extent of the Kingdom as one of the pillars of the Saudi Vision 2030 by preserving authentic urban characteristics and utilizing them to contribute to the development of modern mosque designs.


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Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Performs Eid Al-Fitr Prayer at Al-Salam Palace in Jeddah

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud performed the Eid Al-Fitr prayer at Al-Salam Palace in Jeddah this morning.

The prayer was also performed by Prince Khalid bin Fahd bin Khalid, Prince Mansour bin Saud bin Abdulaziz, Prince Khalid bin Saad bin Fahd, Prince Sattam bin Saud bin Abdulaziz, Prince Faisal bin Saud bin Mohammed, Advisor to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Prince Dr. Abdulaziz bin Sattam bin Abdulaziz, Deputy Governor of Makkah Region Prince Badr bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz, Governor of Jeddah Governorate Prince Saud bin Abdullah bin Jalawi, Prince Saud bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Prince Faisal bin Ahmed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Prince Abdulaziz bin Khalid bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, and a number of ministers and senior officials.

The prayer was led by Advisor at the Royal Court Dr. Abdulaziz bin Ali bin Nouh.

Following the prayer, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques received congratulations from princes, ministers and senior officials on the occasion of Eid Al-Fitr.


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Saudi Arabia’s KSrelief distributes food aid in 4 countries

April 22, 2023

RIYADH: King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief) distributed food aid in Lebanon, Syria, Yemen and Albania, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.

About 246,000 beneficiaries in Syria’s Aleppo and Idlib received 41,000 bags of flour, while 16,632 people in Yemen’s Hajjah received more than 127 tons of food aid.

Saudi Arabia’s aid agency secured 253 tons of food to Syrian and Palestinian refugees living across Lebanon.

In Albania, four tons of food aid were handed to 420 people.

“This comes as part of the humanitarian and relief aid that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia provides through its humanitarian arm, KSrelief, to countries and people in need in various countries worldwide,” the SPA statement read.


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