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Islamic World News ( 6 Feb 2023, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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BJP Minority Morcha to organise Sufi, Ulema conference to bridge the gap between party and Muslim community

New Age Islam News Bureau

06 February 2023
BJP Minority Morcha leader Suhaib Qasmi (Photo/ANI)

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• Caretaker CM KP seeks Ulema role for promotion of sectarian harmony

• Review fatwa on female circumcision, Putrajaya urged

• 14 Hindu Temples VandalisedIn Bangladesh: Police

• 200 dead, many trapped as major earthquake strikes Turkey, Syria

• Official: US Backing for Israel Means Support for State Terrorism

• Pope urges end to ethnic hatred at an open-air mass in South Sudan

• US to provide assistance for those affected in the Turkey earthquake: Sullivan

• Muslims in the Netherlands protest the desecration of the Quran

 

India

• Muslim body calls for curbs on hate, opposes Uniform Civil Code in Lucknow meet

• FIR Against Ramdev for Remarks on Muslims, Christians in Rajasthan

• Pervez Musharraf's love-hate ties with India and his family connection to Delhi: All you need to know

• 1999: Year of Kargil war and a power grab

• On foot to Mecca, Shihab Chottur to finally begin Pakistan leg

• 'Supreme Court Partial to Muslims': Suresh Chavhanke's Supporters Attack Observations on Hate Speech

• Bengaluru right-wing group flags mosque construction near electric line

• Mathura authority cuts electricity connection of Shahi Idgah mosque

• ‘Frontier Gandhi worked with Mahatma for Hindu-Muslim unity’

• Chowk in Mumbai's Bhendi Bazaar named after Khilafat Movement leader

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Pakistan

• Islamic scholars declare suicide attacks Haram

• Pakistan PM Sharif reiterates diplomatic, political and moral support to Kashmiris

• Musharraf allied with the U.S. and promoted moderate Islam

• Pervez Musharraf: Military general who morphed into many roles in a roller-coaster career

• Thousands pour onto streets demanding restoration of durable peace in KP

• Pakistan divided on legacy of military ruler Musharraf

• Govt ready to arrest Imran Khan if fresh protest launched by PTI, warns Sanaullah

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Southeast Asia

• Racial slurs should be made a crime, says Noor Farida

• Can Malaysia’s ruling coalition work together? PM Anwar squares up to new political realities

• Malaysia expresses interest in recruiting 'security guards' from Bangladesh

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South Asia

• Qatar sends envoy to Kabul for talks with Taliban

• Pakistan to approach Taliban chief Akhundzada, will beg Afghanistan to help control TTP

• China committed to expand dealings with Taliban in Afghanistan: Report

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Arab World

• Iraqis protest after man kills YouTuber daughter

• Russia’s Lavrov visits Baghdad to discuss bilateral relations, energy cooperation

• Muslim Council of Elders commemorate signing of historic Document on Human Fraternity

• The changing landscape of the Saudi design industry

• Saudi FM meets Omani counterpart in Muscat

• Bollywood singer Kumar Sanu delights fans in Jeddah

• OIC holds meeting for 49th foreign ministers session

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Mideast

• UN: Israel Martyred at Least 31 Palestinians, Razed Scores of Palestinian Structures in 3 Weeks

• Iran's Khamenei pardons thousands of prisoners, including protesters

• New survey shows widespread opposition to Iran’s regime among Iranians

• Iran opposition leader calls for referendum amid protests

• MPs reaffirm commitment to fundamentals of Islamic Revolution

• Turkey says no threat to foreigners after IS suspects nabbed

• Supreme Leader Pardons, Commutes Sentences of Large Number of Convicts Arrested During Iran's Unrest

• Tehran Raps IAEA's Unprofessional, Unacceptable Attitude towards Iran's Nuclear Program

• Lead Negotiator: Iran Not Relying on West Based on JCPOA Experiences

• Iranian FM Underlines Failure of US Sanction, Bullying Policies

• Woman, three children on migrant boat from Turkey die off Greece

• Iran ex-President Khatami, former PM Mousavi call for political change amid protests

• Iran hiring crime gangs to assassinate dissidents in UK, West, officials say: Report

• Israeli army intercepts ‘small aircraft’ over Gaza

• Turkiye’s President Erdogan says Western missions will ‘pay’ for closures

• Yemen’s Taiz mourns 2 children who committed suicide

• Israeli forces arrest senior Islamic Jihad member in West Bank raids

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Africa

• Mali junta expels UN mission’s human rights chief: govt

• Sudan’s army chief says not planning to turn against framework agreement

• Tunisia thwarts 3 attempts to cross into Europe, arrests 239 migrants

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North America

• US repeating flimsy Iraq War pretexts against Syria: FM Mekdad

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Europe

• Rushdie releases new novel, 6 months after knife attack

• Italy withdraws tsunami warning after deadly earthquake hits Turkey, Syria

• Ukraine, Israel say are prepared to offer help to Turkey after devastating earthquake

• Rescue teams from Netherlands, Romania on way to Türkiye over powerful quake

• Islamophobic graffiti trigger backlash from Bosnians

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: https://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/bjp-minority-morcha-sufi-ulema-muslim-community/d/129043

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BJP Minority Morcha to organise Sufi, Ulema conference to bridge the gap between party and Muslim community

6 February, 2023

BJP Minority Morcha leader Suhaib Qasmi (Photo/ANI)

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New Delhi [India], February 6 (ANI): In an attempt to bring the Muslim community in confidence, the Minority Morcha of Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) will organise Sufi and Ulema conferences in major cities and districts of the country.

The conferences will be held in 100 Lok Sabha constituencies with Muslim populations to diminish the distance between the BJP and the Muslim community in the country.

The party has appointed Maulana Suhaib Qasmi as the program coordinator.

Convenor Qasmi said, “The Minority Front will hold Ulema and Sufi conferences in 100 Lok Sabha constituencies and major cities of the country in the coming days, through which the development work done by the PM Modi government for the Muslim community will be conveyed and the dialogue between the Muslim community and the BJP will be discussed.”

We will try to reduce the gap between BJP and Muslims, he added.

These conferences will be held in 15 major cities and 100 districts of the country, in which efforts will be made to give the message of patriotism and peace.

Earlier on January 17, Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the National Executive meeting called upon the party leaders to reach out to the minorities, including Muslims, without expecting votes.

PM Modi also instructed BJP leaders to refrain from unsolicited remarks against any community, sources added.

PM Modi said under the resolution of ‘Ek Bharat Shresth Bharat’, all states should cooperate with each other and be accommodative of each others’ language and culture.

Prime Minister Modi exhorted all BJP fronts to connect more with the villages in the border areas. He said BJP workers should play their part in the development of aspirational districts. (ANI)

Source:ThePrint

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

https://theprint.in/politics/bjp-minority-morcha-to-organise-sufi-ulema-conference-to-bridge-gap-between-party-and-muslim-community/1356094/

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Caretaker CM KP seeks Ulema role for promotion of sectarian harmony

February 5, 2023

Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Muhammad Azam Khan

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PESHAWAR: Caretaker Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Muhammad Azam Khan has made an appeal to religious leaders and Ulema belong to all schools of thoughts to play due role for promotion of sectarian harmony in the province.

The Chief Minister appreciated the role of religious leaders and Ulema in pacifying the sentiments of the general masses after an unpleasant incident that took place in a private sector educational institution in Peshawar the other day; and said that the provincial government highly valued their positive role.

He has said that religious leaders and Ulema of the province have always been playing very positive role in such matters; and expressed the hope that the Ulema will play the same role in future as well.

Muhammad Azam Khan has further said that in the context of the prevailing law & order situation of the province and the peaceful holding of the upcoming general elections; there is a dire need of a peaceful environment in the province as it was ever before adding that the province could not afford any kind of unrest or sectarian issue in the prevailing situation.

He once again made an appeal to the religious leaders and Ulema of all sects to further promote sectarian harmony and to play their important role in pacifying the sentiments of the general public in such incidents so that such issues could be dealt with as per law.

Source: Pakistan Today

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

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2023/02/05/caretaker-cm-kp-seeks-ulema-role-promotion-of-sectarian-harmony/

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Review fatwa on female circumcision, Putrajaya urged

Angelia Lau

February 6, 2023

The national fatwa council had in 2009 issued a fatwa declaring that female circumcision was compulsory. (Reuters pic)

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PETALING JAYA: The government has been urged to order a review of a 2009 fatwa by the national fatwa council that declared female circumcision compulsory.

Aleza Othman, communications officer of Sisters in Islam, told FMT that other Muslim countries, including Egypt and Indonesia had issued fatwas stating that female genital mutilation was damaging to women and girls.

There was also no conclusive and valid Islamic text in the Quran or the Sunnah (traditions of the Prophet) to justify the practice, she said.

Aleza acknowledged that the Islamic development department (Jakim) and the Muzakarah Committee were the greatest challenges ahead to abolishing the practice.

“Most medical practitioners who perform female circumcision on babies in clinics and hospitals have no formal training. They learn the procedure from their seniors, who in turn learned it from their previous seniors.

“The practice of passing on such knowledge without official medical training can do more harm,” she said.

Another activist group, Reproductive Rights Advocacy Alliance Malaysia, said there was no proof that female circumcision had any medical benefits.

The group’s president Dr SubatraJayaraj said female genital mutilation was rooted in traditional views and was a patriarchal practice.

International health experts say that female circumcision can cause immediate and long-term health risks from excessive bleeding and urinary problems and could also lead to higher risks of childbirth complications.

However, the Malaysian Islamic Youth Movement or Abim said it was more important to guarantee the safety of the procedure than to ban the practice.

“It does not affect the girls’ physical or mental health, or psychology. Thus, it is important to ensure the procedure is safe and harmless to them,” said Abim vice-president Fatin Nur MajdinaNordin.

She added it was the parents’ right to decide on religious grounds if they wanted their daughters circumcised.

The United Nations has called for an end to female genital mutilation by 2030 and declared Feb 6 as the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

It said over the last 25 years, the prevalence of FGM has declined globally.

The practice is primarily concentrated in 30 countries in Africa and the Middle East, but is also practiced in some countries in Asia and Latin America and among immigrant communities in western countries, the UN says.

Source:Free Malaysia Today

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

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2023/02/06/review-fatwa-on-female-circumcision-putrajaya-urged/

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14 Hindu Temples VandalisedIn Bangladesh: Police

February 05, 2023

Some idols were destroyed while some were found in a pond.

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Dhaka: Unidentified persons vandalised 14 Hindu temples in northwestern Bangladesh in a series of orchestrated attacks overnight, police said on Sunday.

"Unidentified people carried out the attacks under the cover of darkness, vandalising idols in 14 temples in three unions (lowest local government tier)," said Bidyanath Barman, a Hindu community leader at Baliadangi) "upazila" or "sub-district" in Thakurgaon.

Mr Barman, the general secretary of the upazila's Puja Celebration Council, said some of the idols were destroyed while some were found in pond waters along the temple sites.

"We are in the dark about their (culprits) identity but we want to bring them to justice after investigations," Mr Barman said.

The Hindu community leader and union parishad chairman Samar Chattarjee said the region was always known to be an area of excellent interfaith harmony as "no such heinous incident took place here in the past".

"The (majority) Muslim community does not have any dispute with us (Hindus)... we just cannot understand who could be these culprits," he said.

Baliadangi police station's officer in-charge Khairul Anam said the attacks took place between Saturday night and Sunday dawn at several villages.

"It clearly appears to be a case of an orchestrated attack to disrupt the peaceful situation of the country," Thakurgaon's police chief Jahangir Hossain told reporters at one of the temple sites.

He added that a police investigation was launched immediately to track down the persons. "I assure you they will have to face stern legal actions," he said.

"This (attack) is the manifestation of a conspiracy against peace and communal harmony...this is a serious crime and the perpetrators will face the music," Thakurgaon's deputy commissioner or administrative chief Mahbubur Rahman said.
Source:NDTV

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

https://www.ndtv.com/world-news/14-hindu-temples-vandalised-in-bangladesh-police-3755949

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200 dead, many trapped as major earthquake strikes Turkey, Syria

February 6, 2023

Buildings collapsed after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit central Turkiye and northwest Syria on Monday, killing more than 500 people. — Anadolu Agency

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A major earthquake of magnitude 7.9 struck central Turkey and northwest Syria on Monday, killing about 200 people as buildings collapsed across the snowy region, and triggering a search for survivors trapped in the rubble.

The quake, which hit in the early darkness of a winter morning, was also felt in Cyprus and Lebanon.

“I have never felt anything like it in the 40 years I’ve lived,” said Erdem, a resident of the Turkish city of Gaziantep, near the quake’s epicentre, who declined to give his surname.

“We were shaken at least three times very strongly, like a baby in a crib.”

Turkey’s disaster agency said 76 people had been killed, and 440 hurt, as authorities scrambled rescue teams and supply aircraft to the affected area, while declaring a “level 4 alarm” that calls for international assistance.

President Tayyip Erdogan spoke by telephone with the governors of eight affected provinces to gather information on the situation and rescue efforts, his office said in a statement.

Syrian state media said more than 100 people were killed and dozens injured there, most in the provinces of Hama, Aleppo and Latakia, where numerous buildings had been brought down.

“The situation is very tragic, tens of buildings have collapsed in the city of Salqin,” a member of the White Helmets rescue organisation said in a video clip on Twitter, referring to a town about five kilometres from the Turkish border.

The rescuer on the clip, which showed a rubble-strewn street, said homes were “totally destroyed”.

Many buildings in the region had already suffered damage in fighting during Syria’s nearly 12-year-long civil war.

People in Damascus, and in the Lebanese cities of Beirut and Tripoli, ran into the street and took to their cars to get away from their buildings in case they collapsed, witnesses said.

In Turkey’s Gaziantep, Erdem also said people had fled from their shaking homes and were too scared to return.

“Everybody is sitting in their cars or trying to drive to open spaces away from buildings,” Erdem said by telephone.

The United States was “profoundly concerned” about the quake in Turkey and Syria and was monitoring events closely, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said on Twitter.

“I have been in touch with Turkish officials to relay that we stand ready to provide any and all needed assistance,” he said.

The region straddles seismic fault lines and is prone to earthquakes.

Focus on search and rescue

The tremor lasted about a minute and shattered windows, according to a Reuters witness in Diyarbakir, 350km to the east, where a security official said at least 17 buildings collapsed.

Authorities said 16 structures collapsed in Sanliurfa and 34 in Osmaniye.

Broadcasters TRT and Haberturk showed footage of people picking through building wreckage, moving stretchers and seeking survivors in the city of Kahramanmaras, where it was still dark.

“Our primary job is to carry out the search and rescue work and to do that all our teams are on alert,” Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu told reporters.

The German Research Centre for Geosciences said the quake struck at a depth of 10km, while the EMSC monitoring service said it was assessing the risk of a tsunami.

The US Geological Survey reported a series of further earthquakes following the initial tremor, which it put at a magnitude of 7.8. There was a quake measuring 6.7 in Gaziantep and another of 5.6 in the city’s Nurdag area.

Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority put the magnitude of the quake at 7.4 near Kahramanmaras and the larger city of Gaziantep, close to the Syrian border.

Tremors were also felt in the Turkish capital of Ankara, 460km northwest of the epicentre, and in Cyprus, where police reported no damage.

“The earthquake struck in a region that we feared. There is serious widespread damage,” KeremKinik, the chief of the Turkish Red Crescent relief agency, told Haberturk, issuing an appeal for blood donations.

Turkey is among the most earthquake-prone countries in the world. More than 17,000 people were killed in 1999 when a 7.6-magnitude quake struck Izmit, a city southeast of Istanbul. In 2011, a quake in the eastern city of Van killed more than 500.

Pakistan offers condolences

In separate tweets on Monday, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif extended condolences and sympathies to the governments of Syria and Turkey.

Separately, the Foreign Office said in a statement that the government and people of Pakistan were saddened to learn that a severe earthquake hit parts of Southern Türkiye earlier today, resulting in the loss of precious lives and extensive damage to property.

“The people of Pakistan stand in complete solidarity with our Turkish brethren in this hour of grief. We extend our deepest condolences to the bereaved families and pray for early recovery of those injured,” it said.

The statement added that Pakistan stood ready to extend all possible support in the relief effort. “We are confident that the resilient Turkish nation will overcome this natural calamity with characteristic grit and determination.”

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1735632/200-dead-many-trapped-as-major-earthquake-strikes-turkey-syria

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Official: US Backing for Israel Means Support for State Terrorism

2023-February-5

"Sustainable peace and security, as the main ideal of the UN Charter, will be achieved in the region only after the US ends its costly support of the terrorist regime of Israel. @StateDeptSpox support of this regime means opposition to the right of the innocent Palestinian people to decide their fate and support of state terrorism," Kadkhodayee tweeted. 

He, meantime, said that sustainable peace and security in West Asia region will be achieved only after the US ends its support for the Israeli regime.

"Washington’s support also means opposition to Palestinians’ right to decide their fate," Kadkhodayee added.

In relevant remarks earlier this week, President Seyed Ebrahim Rayeesi lambasted some Western countries' support for insecurity and instability in Iran, and said that Tehran's enemies hatched plots against the Iranian nation and orchestrated protests to stir chaos in the country after the failure of their sanctions.

President Rayeesi made the remarks in a televised interview on Tuesday, calling the foreign-backed riots and the sanctions two sides of the same coin.

He noted how the sanctions had failed to bring production in the country to a standstill, prevent the country from experiencing five-percent economic progress, and creation of close to one million jobs across the nation.

"Whatever it (the enemy) was after [stifling], has been [contrarily] realized thanks to the nation's will and the government's intention to serve [the people]," Iran's president continued, adding, "Therefore, it is natural that the enemy should be angry at us."

"One of the reasons [behind the enemy's fomenting] of the recent riots was the very fact that it was witnessing that its sanctions have been neutralized thanks to the efforts of our statesmen and the steadfastness of the people," the chief executive stated.

"While the enemies are trying to stop the country's progress, our people have resolved to move forward," he remarked, asserting that the course of the country's advancement would gather further momentum every day owing to the nation's willpower and the government's determination to be at the nation's service.

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14011116000501/Official-US-Backing-fr-Israel-Means-Sppr-fr-Sae-Terrrism

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Pope urges end to ethnic hatred at an open-air mass in South Sudan

February 6, 2023

JUBA: Pope Francis appealed on Sunday to the people of South Sudan to lay down their “weapons of hatred” at an open-air mass on the final day of his pilgrimage to a country blighted by violence and poverty.

Large crowds of ecstatic worshippers streamed into the John Garang Mausoleum in the capital Juba to see the 86-year-old pontiff, who has made peace and reconciliation the theme of his three-day trip to the world’s newest nation.

“Let us lay down the weapons of hatred and revenge... Let us overcome the dislikes and aversions that over time have become chronic and risk pitting tribes and ethnic groups against one another,” he said in his homily.

People waved national flags and sang “Welcome holy father to South Sudan” as the Argentine pontiff moved through the crowds in his popemobile before delivering the mass to an audience local authorities put at around 70,000.

Francis is on the first papal visit to the largely Christian country since it achieved independence from mainly Muslim Sudan in 2011 and plunged into a civil war that killed nearly 400,000 people.

Despite a peace deal signed in 2018 between President Salva Kiir and his deputy Riek Machar, many of its conditions remain unmet and violence continues to roil the country, driving people from their homes into displacement camps.

Hope for change

The wheelchair-bound pontiff, who himself tried to broker peace during the civil war, has received a rapturous welcome throu­ghout his visit.

“I came to see the pope bring change to the country. For many years we’ve been at war, but we need peace. We want the pope to pray for us,” said James Agiu, 24.

He was among the many who stayed overnight to join the mass at the John Garang mausoleum — built in honour of South Sudan’s rebel hero who was killed in a helicopter crash in 2005.

“I arrived last night. I’ve been waiting here. All night, sitting and waiting,” Agiu said, laughing. “After he goes, I sleep.” On Saturday, Francis met victims of the civil war, who were brought to Juba from various camps, and urged the government to resume the peace process and restore “dignity” to the millions affected by conflict.

With 2.2 million internally displaced people (IDPs), and another two million outside the country, South Sudan is witness to the worst refugee crisis in Africa.

‘A new start’

“I have been suffering in my life. That is why I’m here, so the pope can bless me and my family,” said 32-year-old Josephine James at Sunday’s mass. “Ever since he arrived, people have been happy. I am very happy.”

The papal visit has been closely followed in the devoutly Christian country of 12 million people, where church leaders played a key role in protecting civilians during the push for independence and the 2013-18 ethnic conflict.

He made a pointed speech on Friday telling the country’s leaders they need to make “a new start” toward reconciliation and end the greed and power struggles tearing the nation apart.

“Future generations will either venerate your names or cancel their memory, based on what you now do,” he told an audience that included Kiir and Machar.

“No more bloodshed, no more conflicts, no more violence.”

The pope had promised in 2019 to travel to South Sudan, when he hosted Kiir and Machar at a Vatican retreat and asked them to respect the ceasefire.

In scenes that reverberated in South Sudan, Francis knelt and kissed the feet of two foes whose personal armies had been accused of horrific war crimes.

But four years later, the oil-rich country remains mired in intractable conflict, compounded by poverty, hunger and natural disasters.

In a sign of the challenges, at least 21 people were killed in a cattle raid on the eve of Francis’s visit in what local authorities termed a reprisal attack in Central Equatoria state.

The pope’s stop in South Sudan followed a four-day visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo, another resource-rich country plagued by persistent conflict and also often overlooked by the world.

The trip — Francis’s fifth to Africa — was initially scheduled for 2022 but had to be postponed because of problems with the pope’s knee.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1735600/pope-urges-end-to-ethnic-hatred-at-open-air-mass-in-south-sudan

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US to provide assistance for those affected in the Turkey earthquake: Sullivan

06 February ,2023

US President Biden directed USAID and other federal government partners to assess response options to the most affected areas in the Turkey and Syria earthquake, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said in a statement on Sunday.

The United States is profoundly concerned by the reports of the destructive earthquake, he said.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/world/2023/02/06/US-to-provide-assistance-for-those-affected-in-the-Turkey-earthquake

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Muslims in the Netherlands protest the desecration of the Quran

Abdullah Asiran

06.02.2023

A group of Muslims staged a protest in the Hague on Sunday against recent desecrations of the Quran and Islamophobia.

Hundreds of Muslims marched towards Koekamp square as part of the “stop anti-Muslim hatred” protest organized by the Federation of Islamic Organizations (FIO) and the Haaglanden Region Islamic Organizations Association (SIORH).

Gathering in the square, they chanted slogans against the desecration of the Muslim holy book, condemning such Islamophobic acts.

They also performed a prayer and recited verses from the Quran.

Speaking at the demonstration, Tahsin Cetinkaya, the head of the Turkish Islamic Culture Foundation, said Islamophobia has risen to "a new level" in the Netherlands.

"Muslims, mosques and other Islamic institutions have faced various Islamophobic acts over the years, including the sending of threatening letters to mosques, the hanging pigs’ heads on mosque doors and arson," he said.

Cetinkaya noted that the perpetrators of these acts are encouraged by the silence of government officials.

"Enough is enough. Stop holding grudges against Muslims and Islam," he said, stressing that Muslims living in the Netherlands are also part of the country.

Rasmus Paludan, an extremist Danish-Swedish politician and the leader of the far-right party StramKurs (Hard Line), burned a copy of the Quran outside the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm on Jan. 21 with both police protection and permission from Swedish authorities.

The following week, he burned a copy of Islam's holy book in front of a mosque in Denmark and said he would repeat the act every Friday until Sweden is included in NATO.

Meanwhile, far-right Dutch politician Edwin Wagensveld, leader of the Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West (PEGIDA), tore apart a Quran before setting it on fire at an anti-Islam demonstration in Enschede, the Netherlands in late January.

Sweden's NATO bid

Sweden and Finland formally applied to join NATO last May, a decision spurred by Russia’s war on Ukraine.

Unanimous agreement from all NATO members – including Türkiye, a member for more than 70 years – is needed for any new members to be admitted to the alliance.

Under a memorandum signed last June between Türkiye, Sweden and Finland, the two Nordic countries pledged to take steps against terrorists to gain membership in the NATO alliance.

In the memorandum, Sweden and Finland agreed not to provide support to terrorist groups such as the PKK and its offshoots and the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) and to extradite terrorist suspects to Türkiye, among other steps.

Türkiye says the two countries, particularly Sweden, need to do more to fulfill their promises, especially in the wake of recent demonstrations by supporters of the PKK terror group and the burning of the Quran in Stockholm.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/world/muslims-in-netherlands-protest-desecration-of-quran/2807332

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India

 

Muslim body calls for curbs on hate, opposes Uniform Civil Code in Lucknow meet

06.02.23

The All-India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) on Sunday appealed to the “highest authorities” to put in place stringent measures to control “hatred being spread” in the country even as it passed resolutions against the implementation of the Uniform Civil Code and razing of people’s properties.

Meeting in Lucknow, the board also urged the judiciary to take a serious note of the “injustice” being meted out to the weaker sections and the minorities.

“Houses built for decades are getting razed. Those holding peaceful demonstrations are framed under the most stringent of laws and put behind bars indefinitely,” the AIMPLB said in a statement.

“Lawlessness, whether on the part of the citizens or the rulers, is condemnable and all citizens and stakeholders must oppose it strongly,” the board said. The reference appeared to be to the bulldozing of allegedly illegal properties in Uttar Pradesh, actions which critics say target Muslims.

In its appeal to the “highest authorities”, the board urged them to control the spread of hate “before irreparable damage was done to the fabric of our nation’s harmony”.

The board passed several resolutions at the meeting, including against “illegal” appropriation of waqf properties.

In one such resolution, according to AIMPLB general secretary Khalid Saif Ullah Rahmani, the board said the implementation of the Uniform Civil Code would deprive citizens of the privileges provided to them by the personal laws.

Such a “code is neither relevant nor beneficial for a multi-religious, multicultural and multilingual country like India”, the statement said.

On the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991, the AIMPLB said that failing to implement it could lead to “endless differences among various religious groups”.

“The government must not surrender to the separatist powers and should responsibly safeguard the legal interests of all,” it urged.

On waqf properties, the board said: “It is unlawful for any citizen or government to grab waqf properties. The AIMPLB strongly opposes statements by some public representatives instigating action to deprive Muslims of their waqf properties and appeals to the government to beware of such actions.”

The board advised Muslims to take care of waqf properties and use them, as much as possible, for educational purposes.

The board also called for the following of due procedure of law as it lamented: “Unfortunately, lawlessness is prevailing in the country and an attempt is to implicate the accused even before the prosecution and litigation take their course.”

“Law is a ray of hope for justice. Lawlessness steeps society into anarchy,” it added.

Making an appeal to the judiciary, the AIMPLB statement said: “Judiciary is the last hope for the public. No bigger misfortune can there be than disappointment on this front.”

The board observed that religion and faith are matters of belief and conscience, hence, the decision to follow a religion is natural.

Source: TelegraphIndia

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

https://www.telegraphindia.com/india/all-india-muslim-personal-law-board-calls-for-curbs-on-hate-opposes-uniform-civil-code-in-lucknow-meet/cid/1914539

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FIR Against Ramdev for Remarks on Muslims, Christians in Rajasthan

New Delhi: An FIR has been registered against businessman and yoga teacher Ramdev in Rajasthan on Sunday (February 5), under sections pertaining to promoting enmity and outraging religious feeling. The case pertains to a provocative speech Ramdev gave in Barmer, where he claimed that Muslims and Christians communities have been “obsessed” with “conversion”.

A police officer told PTI that the FIR was registered at Chauhatan police station based on a complaint filed by a local resident, Pathai Khan.

According to Chauhatan police station SHO Bhutaram, the FIR was registered under IPC Sections 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence), 295A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) and 298 (uttering, words, etc., with deliberate intent to wound the religious feelings of any person).

In a viral video of a congregation of Hindu leaders in Barmer on February 2, Ramdev can be heard saying that Muslims believe that namaz washes away all sins, including “kidnapping Hindu girls and terrorism”. He added in Hindi, “Ask a Muslim what your religion says, they will say, ‘Read namaz five times and then do whatever comes to mind.’ Whether you kidnap Hindu girls, do whatever sin you want to commit. They think that the meaning of Islam is only namaz.”

He adds: “Our Muslim brothers commit a lot of sins, but I have seen that they will definitely pray. Because that’s what they have been taught, just pray, do whatever else you want to do. They became terrorists, and a lot of them become criminals.”

“I am not saying this is what Islam or Quran teaches. But it is being followed anyway,” he says in the video.

About Christianity, he claimed: “What does Christianity say? Go to church, light a candle, and then stand in front of the Lord Jesus… all your sins will be washed away.” He can be heard saying that Christians wear a cross across their chest and propagate the religion.

“I am not criticising anyone. These people are just obsessed with that. Some say turn the whole world into Islam, someone says the whole world should be turned into Christianity. But tell me what you will do by changing it. No agenda,” he goes on in the video.

The Rajasthan police had earlier initiated a suo motu enquiry into the statements.

Source:TheWire

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Pervez Musharraf's love-hate ties with India and his family connection to Delhi: All you need to know

Feb 5, 2023

NEW DELHI: Former Pakistan military ruler General Pervez Musharraf, who passed away in Dubai on Sunday after prolonged illness, had a strong connection to India despite being the architect of the Kargil War and straining relations to nearly breaking point over the Kashmir dispute, cross-border terrorism and nuclear weapons.

Musharraf's complicated ties with India:

Musharraf was born in August 1943 to a middle-class family of Urdu-speaking Mohajir (immigrant) parents in Old Delhi's Daryaganj. The ‘Neharwali Haveli’ was bought by Musharraf's grandfather Qazi Mohtashimuddin following his retirement as the commissioner of Punjab. The property is now mostly in ruins.

His family migrated to Pakistan after Partition in 1947.

He fought in the Indo-Pakistan War of 1965 as a second lieutenant, and also participated in the Indo-Pakistan War of 1971 as a Company Commander in the Commando Battalion.

After his failed misadventure in Kargil in 1998, Musharraf deposed Nawaz Sharif in a bloodless coup and ruled Pakistan from 1999 to 2008 in various positions – first as the chief executive of Pakistan and later as the President.

Despite breakdown of relations with India several times, Musharraf was involved in several diplomatic efforts, peace talks, and negotiations with New Delhi, including the Agra Summit, the Lahore Declaration, the Joint Anti-Terrorism Mechanism, and numerous discussions regarding Kashmir.

After the January 2001 Gujarat earthquake, Musharraf expressed his sympathies to then PM Atal Behari Vajpayee and sent a plane load of relief supplies to India.

In July 2001, Musharraf and PM Vajpayee met for a two-day summit in Agra. However, the talks ended in failure.

After the December 2001 attack on Parliament, ties between India and Pakistan nearly snapped as the neighbours amassed their militaries along the border. The standoff only ended in October 2002, a few months after Musharraf pledged that Islamabad would combat extremism on its own soil.

In January 2004, Vajpayee and Musharraf held direct talks at the 12th SAARC summit in Islamabad, and the two countries' foreign secretaries met later in the year. This marked the beginning of the Composite Dialogue Process, in which bilateral meetings are held between officials at various levels of government.

In September 2006, Musharraf and PM Manmohan Singh agree to set up an India-Pakistan institutional anti-terrorism mechanism.

Musharraf visited India thrice. He made his first visit to the country for the failed Agra summit in 2001. He also went to India in 2005 and 2009 to watch an India-Pakistan ODI cricket match and to attend a media event.

During his visit to India in 2005, Musharraf received his birth certificate from then PM Manmohan Singh. According to records, he was born at a civic-run hospital now known as the MrsGirdhari Lal Maternity Hospital, which comes under the Municipal Corporation of Delhi.

Musharraf resigned as president in August 2008 after ruling coalition officials threatened to have him impeached for imposing emergency rule and firing judges.

Afterward, he lived abroad in Dubai and London, attempting a political comeback in 2012. But Pakistan instead arrested the former general and put him under house arrest. He faced treason allegations over the Supreme Court debacle and other charges stemming from the Red Mosque raid and Benazir Bhutto’s assassination.
Source: Times Of India

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1999: Year of Kargil war and a power grab

Sankarshan Thakur   |   New Delhi  

06.02.23

At the beginning of 1999, arguably the most significant year in the man’s life, the mention of General Pervez Musharraf would have evoked instant recognition in few beyond Pakistan. By the end of that year, he had blistered a trail to global infamy. He had, almost single-handedly, triggered a war between two nuclear powers, and proceeded not long thereafter to effect a coup and grab power at home — the first military dictator of Pakistan since Gen. Zia-ul-Haq and the last of several our western neighbour has had.

In the February of that year, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and his Pakistani counterpart, Nawaz Sharif, had been able to together stage what was widely seen as a seminal — and unlikely — manoeuvre towards peace. Vajpayee rode across the border to Lahore with a busload of celebrity Indians and Sharif feted his visitors with a warmth and fervour few would have anticipated.

At the time Vajpayee and Sharif were baby-stepping towards the peace pipe, Gen. Musharraf was busy plotting an audacious military adventure that would flame out the euphoria of the bus ride, demote it from historic to history. Unbeknownst to the Sharif establishment, the final pieces of launching an invasion across the Kargil frontier were being put in place. Soon Musharraf would force Sharif into a war he couldn’t disown and Vajpayee into one he couldn’t back off from.

There is a photograph from earlier the same year of Gen. Musharraf placing a pistol — probably a new arrival in the Pakistani arsenal — in the palm of Prime Minister Sharif during a field visit. That pistol Musharraf had put to Sharif’s head and pointed towards Vajpayee.

The war over Kargil’s frozen and desolate heights raged 10 weeks that summer of 1999. It left the world shivered and keen to put the fires out, for it was two nuclear powers blowing up at each other.

It exacted an incalculable price — close to 5,000 soldiers killed, thousands maimed and scarred, hundreds of thousands displaced from homes and hearths on either side of possibly the most cantankerous fence on earth.

Eventually, the big rollers had to be moved to whistle an end to the subcontinental jousting; Washington intervened and in simplified language what probably happened was that the Americans prevailed on Sharif to prevail on Gen. Musharraf.

But evidently that wasn’t the end of it; Gen. Musharraf, who spent part of his growing days in Turkey and was avowedly taken by Mustafa Kemal Pasha, wasn’t done pushing his ambitions yet. The legendary Mustafa Kemal had alchemised his military genius with a political vision that founded a modern Turkey radically different from the Caliphate. Gen. Musharraf wanted to emulate his hero, make of Pakistan what nobody had attempted to make it before him.

His chance wasn’t far to come. In October 1999, when Musharraf was in Sri Lanka overseeing joint military exercises, Sharif made a move he’d long been wanting to — to throw Musharraf out and appoint another general as army chief. Musharraf got wind of it, he flew home, and effected a coup ordering sector military commanders from the cockpit while his aircraft circled over Karachi airport awaiting permission to land.

Between October 12 and 14, Musharraf ’s garrisons moved swiftly and all across the country. Top politicians were all arrested. The Sharif government was dismissed. The constitution was suspended. From General, Pervez Musharraf became Chief Executive. Of Pakistan.

He would become President, of course, launch his own political party and lord over his nation for just short of a decade. When he was no more strictly a man of arms — and probably wanted to take a shot at statesmanship — he made ventures at peace with India, at least two of them.

The second, and the one widely thought to be a more realistic attempt, was conducted quietly in the back-channels during the Manmohan Singh years, and its centrepiece was a four-point blueprint that envisaged fluidity of passage between the two Kashmirs and joint monitoring and mana g ement of issues like water sharing. It never came close to being executed although for a while monitored travel (and trade) between Srinagar and Muzaffarabad did open as part of a confidence-building measure. Those buses run no more, neither do any goods cross this way or that legitimately.

The first one was a fanfare that the world watched come apart hour after hour. It was the highly billed Vajpayee-Musharraf summit at Agra. Nothing came of it but incendiary sparks; it eventually turned to a damp squib.

The late General may have thought of that trip a little differently, though. Woven into the Agra itinerary was the place of his birth; Musharraf was a Delhi boy after all, and very likely the only mohajir (refugee from India) to lead Pakistan other than Mohammed Ali Jinnah.

Source: TelegraphIndia

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On foot to Mecca, Shihab Chottur to finally begin Pakistan leg

RAJEEV KR

Feb 6, 2023

KOZHIKODE: Shihab Chottur (29) from Malappuram, who is on a journey by foot to Mecca for Haj pilgrimage, has said that he has finally received official papers from Pakistan permitting him to travel through the country. On Monday, he will resume his journey from Punjab, where he has been staying for the past four months and nine days waiting for the transit visa.

Shihab - who was staying at the Aafiyah Kids School at Khasa, Amritsar - made the announcement on a Facebook video on Sunday. "I had commenced my journey on June 2 and till February 2, I had been waiting for one paper and now I have received it. It's now just hours remaining for me to set foot on Pakistani soil. I will resume my journey on Monday," he said in the video.

Mushtaq Haji of Karnataka, who is present along with Shihab at Khasa, told TOI over phone that Shihab would cover the 12 km from Khasa to Wagah on Monday morning.

Shihab would reach the Wagah border check post at 10am to enter Pakistan, Haji said. Shihab thanked the Aafiyah school authorities in the video for facilitating his stay, saying that he had come to the school maintaining that he would stay there for just three days but his wait for the transit visa got delayed.

He has covered 3,300km on foot so far, covering seven states from Kerala to Punjab. Shihab, who started off on his 8,640-km journey from Malappuram on June 2, reached near Wagah border in September but could not cross the border as he did not have a transit visa. He plans to reach Mecca in Saudi Arabia and perform the Haj in 2023, after covering Pakistan and crossing over to Iran and a small stretch in Iraq to enter Kuwait and later Saudi Arabia.

Source: Times Of India

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https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/spotlight/are-you-silently-suffering-from-dry-eyes-disease-eye-care-specialist-dr-nikhil-gokhale-explains-why-you-should-be-worried-/articleshow/97437716.cms

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'Supreme Court Partial to Muslims': Suresh Chavhanke's Supporters Attack Observations on Hate Speech

Vipul Kumar

New Delhi: At a demonstration at New Delhi’s Jantar Mantar on February 5, supporters of Sudarshan TV head and Hindutva activist Suresh Chavhanke said that the Supreme Court’s critical observations on his 2021 public exhortation to “die for and kill” to make India a “Hindu nation” was “unnecessary legal harassment”. They also accused the top court of favouring Muslims.

Chavhanke’s hate speech at an event organised by the Hindu Yuva Vahini, a Hindutva group formed by Uttar Pradesh chief minister Adityanath in 2002, had been criticised by the Supreme Court in April last year. The court had also pulled up Delhi Police for its affidavit which had initially concluded that “no hate speech was made at the event.”

Police also initially said that the gathering was made of people motivated to “save the ethics of their community.”

Administering an ‘oath’ to the audience at the event, Chavhanke had said:

“If needed, we will kill and get killed for it. But we will declare the country a Hindu nation at any cost. May our ancestors and deities give us the power to achieve our goal.”

On Sunday, February 5, Chavhanke’s supporters – many of them Hindutva leaders themselves – claimed at Jantar Mantar that there was nothing wrong in the above-mentioned oath. Many speakers also accused the Supreme Court of “Muslim appeasement” and “of being hard on Hindus but liberal with other religions ”

Retired IPS officer Anand Kumar, one of the speakers and the president of the Rashtra Nirman Party, said, “It’s strange that the Supreme Court is asking the police why they’re not taking action or arresting someone, when the police have already stated that there’s no offence found against Chavhanke after an investigation.”

He also expressed the belief that the Supreme Court is biased in favour of Islam and said it “engages in Muslim appeasement”.

Hindutva leaders like Ragini Tiwari, Suraj Pal Ammu, Aastha Maa, and Annapurna Bharti were part of the event. Chavhanke himself was not present.

There were approximately 300-400 people in the audience, a third of them were school students.

“Our guru ji (teacher) has brought us here. I do not know the reason for our visit,” said a student of Class 8 who had come from Palwal in Haryana, said.

Following the reprimand by the Supreme Court, the Delhi police had filed fresh cases against Suresh Chavhanke on May 4, 2022, under sections 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on the basis of religion, race, birth, etc.), 295A (deliberate acts intended to outrage reli­gious feelings), 298 (uttering words, etc., with deliberate intent, to wound the religious feelings of any person) and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the Indian Penal Code.

On January 10, 2023 Supreme Court had once again pulled up the Delhi Police, noting that there has been “no arrest”, “no chargesheet” and “no palpable progress” even eight months after the FIR was lodged last year.

Before the Jantar Mantar event, Chavhanke had tweeted a poster on Twitter which said, “How is taking oath of Hindu nation a crime?”. After the event, he has tweeted visuals of it, including of the children attending.

Suraj Pal Ammu of KarniSena, who has a history of making hate speeches, also spoke in support of Chavhanke.

He said, “There is a lobby working against Chavhanke, but I want to tell them that he is not a carrot or radish that can be easily uprooted and consumed. If someone tries to stop him, we will keep supporting him. Chavhanke is getting support from all over India to make India into a Hindu nation, and he will continue to receive support. We’re not demanding anything; we’re only asking to remove the country’s traitors, those who eat in India but sing praises of Pakistan.”

Amritanand of Dasna Devi Temple said that the Chavhanke-led Sudarshan News is the “only channel which is saving our mothers and sisters.”

“It works to prevent the throats of our brothers from being slit. It exposes many types of ‘jihads’ including ‘love jihad’ and ‘land jihad’,” Amritanand added.

‘Love jihad’ is an imagined conspiracy popularised by Hindutva organisations, to claim that Muslim men are using marriage to convert Hindu women. The government has on occasion said it has no data on such alleged occurrences.

‘Land jihad‘ is a similar Hindutva allegation which purports to claim that Muslims occupying land are doing so illegally.

Another speaker at the event said, “This government is of Hindus, not of Muslims.” He used pejorative terms to denote Muslims.

“What sin has our Suresh Chavhanke ji done by demanding a Hindu nation? Would we demand a Hindu nation in Pakistan? Can we not demand a Hindu nation in Hindustan? Brothers, I would like to tell you that Sudarshan News is only channel who raises voice of Hindus. Foreign forces, no matter how much you drink your mother’s milk, our Sudarshan channel will not stop,” he said.

Source: TheWire

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Bengaluru right-wing group flags mosque construction near electric line

Feb 06, 2023

Right-wing organisation Hindu Janajagruti Samiti (HJS) has approached the Bruhat Bengaluru MahanagaraPalike (BBMP) to stop the alleged illegal construction of a mosque below the high-tension electric line of the Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Limited (KPTCL) in AECS Layout – A Block in Singasandra in Bengaluru.

According to the HJS, the construction in that area violates the rules laid down by the Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission, as it is right under the KPTCL high-tension electric line.

A video of a building under the high-tension line in the area, alleged to be a mosque, has also surfaced on various social media platforms.

The right-wing group alleged that even after repeated complaints by residents to the civic body, the BBMP is yet to take action regarding the issue.

“It is surprising to note that no effort has been made to stop the construction so far even after locals have registered several complaints regarding this. Would the civic body have responded in the same way if the illegal work was done by someone from the Hindu community?” the letter submitted to the BBMP read.

“Why is the civic body being silent regarding the illegal construction by another community? All the Hindu groups demand that the BBMP should take this matter seriously, probe it and stop the construction of the illegal mosque. If not, we will have no other alternative but to take the fight to the High Court,” the letter further read.

The convenor of the right-wing outfit, Mohan Gowda, expressed outrage and demanded answers from the civic body regarding this issue.

Gowda said that the KPTCL could not carry out work under the high-tension electric line. However, a mosque is being constructed illegally in Singasandra near Electronic City under the BBMP, he said, adding that it is not safe to carry out any work below the high-tension line.

“Hindu temples are immediately demolished in case of any violation. Unfortunately, no action has been taken even though the structures of other religions are built illegally. The state government should take this seriously and take immediate action,” Gowda said.

Meanwhile, BBMP chief commissioner Tushar Girinath said that the civic body did not grant any permission to build the structure in the area.

Source: Hindustan Times

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Mathura authority cuts electricity connection of Shahi Idgah mosque

Feb 5, 2023

LUCKNOW: The electricity supply of the Shahi Idgah mosque of Mathura was disconnected on Sunday with an FIR lodged against it for having an illegal electricity connection. A fine was also recovered from Tanveer Ahmed, the secretary of the Shahi Idgah Masjid Committee.

According to a press statement issued by the government here, the action was taken as part of its ongoing campaign against illegal electricity consumption in the state.

According to the statement, the connection was cut by a joint team of Mathura district police and the Electricity department. An FIR was also booked in the matter under section 135 of the Electricity Act, 2003, at Krishna Nagar Police Station.

According to the statement the action was taken at the complaint of Shri Krishna Janmabhoomi Mukti Nirman Trust.

Source: Times Of India

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‘Frontier Gandhi worked with Mahatma for Hindu-Muslim unity’

Feb 6, 2023

Nagpur: “Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan and Mahatma Gandhi were very close to each other. Their teachings, life and work are still relevant because they worked for ganga-jamuni Tehzeeb, for communal harmony, and for Hindu-Muslim unity. We must make a conscious effort to reintroduce those teachings and sacrifices to our kids,” said Delhi-based historian Syed Obaidur Rahman on Sunday.

Rahman was delivering a talk on ‘Let us celebrate our national heroes’ on the eve of the 133rd birth anniversary of freedom fighter and Bharat Ratna Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan at Bapukutti in Sewagram. The event was organized by Vidarbha Muslim Intellectuals’ Forum which would now be holding a lecture series on all such forgotten heroes.

“Not just Khan, many such freedom fighters like Sher Ali Khan Afridi who killed a viceroy in Andman and Nicobar must be remembered again and again. Those who laid down their lives for the nation, sacrificed their careers are unfortunately not celebrated or recognized anymore,” he said.

Khan, who earned the sobriquet of Frontier Gandhi during the Independence struggle, spent 40 years in jail after freedom. “A Hindu fanatic killed Gandhi in India while Pakistani Muslims incarcerated Khan for years. Both never got justice from their respective governments and people,” he said.

A Pashtun pathan, Khan turned out to be a complete contrast when it came to the freedom struggle. “He surprised many when he held out his other cheek forward if he was slapped. He was inspired by Gandhi and adopted non-violence like many others,” he said.

Former minister Sunil Kedar, city lawyer Firdos Mirza, Parvez Siddiqui, Raja Baig, lawyer Zahed Ali and Aseem Khan were also present.

In his address, Mirza said that even today, India is known as Gandhi’s nation. “Hatred is being spread in the name of religion especially through the WhatsApp university. There is a need to engage with each other and move closer to the truth,” he said.

Mirza added that Maratha warrior king Shivaji’s name is also misused to spread misinformation and divide Hindus and Muslims. “When Shivaji left Agra, he was accompanied by Muslims. When he went to meet Afzal Khan, ministries accompanying him were Muslims. But we are being taught that the Shivaji-Aurangzeb fight was a Hindu-Muslim dispute,” he said

Similarly, HazratTipu Sultan has been defamed, Mirza said. “Even Sawarkar’s book ‘Six Epochs of Hinduism’ mentions that Tipu Sultan gave acres of land for mandirs. Fatima Bi joined Savitribai Phule is spreading literacy. Andman Islands have graves of several Muslim freedom fighters. The Jallianwala Bagh protest was held against the arrest of Dr Saifuddin Kitchlew,” he said.

Source: Times Of India

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Chowk in Mumbai's Bhendi Bazaar named after Khilafat Movement leader

Feb 6, 2023

The British government, to discuss India's future, held a series of meetings called the Roundtable Conference (1930-32) in London. Among the attendees of the first conference was poet, writer, freedom fighter and Khilafat Movement leader Maulana Muhammad Ali Jauhar (1878-1931). Though fragile due to illness, the journalist in Jauhar had not lost his impish attitude to power. Addressing the British on November 19, 1930 at the Conference Jauhar said: "I would prefer to die in a foreign country so long as it is a free country, and if you do not give us freedom in India, you will have to give me a grave here." Jauhar's utterances proved prophetic as he died a few weeks later in England and, on the demand of his relatives and admirers, was buried near Masjid Al-Aqsa in Jerusalem.

Ninety two years after Jauhar's death, Mumbai memorialised Jauhar this past week by inaugurating a chowk named after him at the busy Bhendi Bazaar in South Mumbai. Sponsored by Congress MLA Amin Patel, the chowk's naming, along with replicas of Sufi saint Makhdoom Ali Mahimi dargah's main gate unveiling, saw Mahatma Gandhi's great grandson Tushar Gandhi attending, who drove down all the way from his Khar residence to the crowded cacophonous venue.

Patel sounded ecstatic: "This is a humble tribute to a great freedom fighter and leader of the Khilafat Movement. Both Muhammad Ali Road and this chowk will remind Mumbaikars about his contribution to our freedom struggle." Gandhi recalled the bond Mahatma Gandhi had with Muhammad Ali and the cause that had brought them together "The naming of a Chowk after the Khilafat Movement leader is significant in the sense that it reminds us of the champions of Hindu-Muslim unity and nationalism. Muhammad Ali and Bapu (Gandhiji) worked tirelessly and closely to bring the two communities together and create a formidable front against the British," said Gandhi. "At a time when true patriots are being forgotten, such efforts must be lauded."

Born in Rampur (UP), the Ali Brothers (Muhammad Ali and Shaukat Ali) received sound education thanks to their mother Bi Amma's untiring efforts. Though uneducated, Bi Amma was a brave and revolutionary woman who rode the crest of popularity when her support to Khilafat was captured in a slogan to mobilise the masses: Boli Amma Muhammad Ali ki jaan de do Khilafat pe beta (Muhammad Ali's mother said, son, give your life for Khilafat).

Leaving no stone unturned to educate her sons, she sent Shaukat Ali and Muhammad Ali to Aligarh. While Shaukat excelled in cricket and captained Aligarh Muslim University's cricket team (he later joined UP provincial services), Muhammad Ali went on to Oxford for higher studies, appeared for the ICS exam but failed. Returning to India, he joined the civil service at the Baroda state (prince Fateh Singh of Baroda was his friend at Oxford).

Subsequently, Jauhar quit his job at Baroda, moved to Calcutta where he launched two newspapers, The Comrade in English and Hamdardi n Urdu. Rajmohan Gandhi, in his seminal work "Understanding the Muslim Mind" writes that his (Jauhar's) Urdu writing was not as effective as his English.

Though the paper's tone was trenchant and adversarial, many British officials too subscribed to it and Lady Harding, the Viceroy Lord Harding's wife, phoned if the paper did not reach her on time.

Jauhar's lasting relationship with Mumbai is inscribed at the iconic Khilafat House at the leafy love lane in Byculla. In 1920 the Muslim Caliphate (Khilafat) in Turkey was under threat from England and Muslims feared that many Caliph-controlled sacred places like Mecca and Medina would go to non-Muslim hands. Indians, led by Ali Brothers, Gandhiji and others, began the Khilafat Movement.

Source: Times Of India

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https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/chowk-in-mumbais-bhendi-bazaar-named-after-khilafat-movement-leader/articleshow/97631814.cms

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Pakistan

 

Islamic scholars declare suicide attacks Haram

February 06, 2023

KARACHI: Islamic scholars on Sunday unanimously declared that all terror activities being carried out in Pakistan, including suicide attacks, are absolutely forbidden (Haram) in Islam.

Leading Islamic scholar Mufti Muneeb-ur-Rehman presided over a congregation of Ahl-e-Sunnat scholars.

According to a statement, Mufti Muneeb and leading scholars condemned the recent suicide attack at a mosque in Peshawar. They termed the incident Fasad Fil Ardh, which was one of the gravest crimes in Islam. They rejected all justifications of the suicide attack, terming it a crime against humanity.

The scholars asked the government to trace the terrorist network in the country and eliminate it.

They also appealed to Afghanistan to maintain relations with Pakistan according to Islamic principles and act as a neighbour should act. They asked the Afghan government not to provide shelter to those involved in terrorism in Pakistan.

The scholars also demanded that the Muslim world take concrete diplomatic and economic measures to ensure that no one dared desecrate holy relics. They condemned the desecration of Holy Quran in Sweden and said it had caused immense pain to the Muslims all over the world.

The religious congregation also demanded implementation of the verdict given by the Federal Shariat Court in April 2022 against Riba (interest).

They also called for the global community to support the oppressed Kashmiris and ensure that they had basic human rights. The scholars called for ensuring the right to self-determination to Kashmiris.

They also declared that they were with the State and its institutions for the security of the country.

Source: TheNews

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https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/1037916-islamic-scholars-declare-suicide-attacks-haram

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Pakistan PM Sharif reiterates diplomatic, political and moral support to Kashmiris

Feb 5, 2023

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Sunday reiterated diplomatic, political and moral support to the Kashmiri people until they attained their right to self-determination as per UN resolutions. Addressing a special session of the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) assembly in Muzaffarabad, Sharif said that Pakistan always laid emphasis on a peaceful resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute as per relevant UN Security Council's resolutions.

He said that East Taimur, Darfur, and other areas of the world were given independence on ethnic grounds but the same is not applied in Kashmir and Palestine.

He was speaking on the occasion of 'Kashmir Solidarity Day', which was observed in Pakistan to express support to the Kashmiris.

Separately, Prime Minister Sharif in his special message said that the people of Pakistan "renew our commitment of our unflinching support to them (Kashmiris) in their just struggle for inalienable right to self-determination".

Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said that the Jammu and Kashmir dispute "will remain a key pillar" of Pakistan's foreign policy.

"We will continue to lend unstinted moral, diplomatic and political support to the Kashmiri people...," Bilawal added.

The top brass of the Pakistan Army also paid tribute to the struggle of Kashmiris "for their right to self-determination as per UN resolutions".

Solidarity walks were organised in Islamabad, Muzaffarabad, Gilgit and in four provincial capitals. Seminars and other events were also organized to highlight the Kashmir issue and its importance for Pakistan.

India has repeatedly told Pakistan that Jammu and Kashmir "was, is and shall forever" remain an integral part of the country. It has also advised Pakistan to accept the reality and stop all anti-India propaganda.

New Delhi has also told Islamabad that issues related to Jammu and Kashmir are its internal matter and the country is capable of solving its own problems.

Source: Times Of India

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https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/pakistan-pm-sharif-reiterates-diplomatic-political-and-moral-support-to-kashmiris/articleshow/97626973.cms

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Musharraf allied with the U.S. and promoted moderate Islam

February 5, 2023

ISLAMABAD, Feb 5 (Reuters) - Pervez Musharraf, the four-star general who ruled Pakistan for nearly a decade after seizing power in a bloodless coup in 1999, oversaw rapid economic growth and attempted to usher in socially liberal values in the conservative Muslim country.

Musharraf, 79, died in hospital after a long illness after spending years in self-imposed exile, Pakistan media reported on Sunday. He enjoyed strong support for many years, his greatest threat al Qaeda and other militant Islamists who tried to kill him at least three times.

But his heavy-handed use of the military to quell dissent as well as his continued backing of the United States in its fight against al Qaeda and the Afghan Taliban ultimately led to his downfall.

Born in New Delhi in 1943, Musharraf was four years old when his parents joined the mass exodus by Muslims to the newly created state of Pakistan. His father served in the foreign ministry, while his mother was a teacher and the family subscribed to a moderate, tolerant brand of Islam.

He joined the army at the age of 18, and went on to lead an elite commando unit before rising to become its chief. He took power by ousting the then prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, who had tried to sack him for greenlighting an operation to invade Indian-held areas of Kashmir, bringing Pakistan and India to the brink of war.

In his early years in government, Musharraf won plaudits internationally for his reformist efforts, pushing through legislation to protect the rights of women and allowing private news channels to operate for the first time.

His penchant for cigars and imported whisky and his calls for Muslims to adopt a lifestyle of "enlightened moderation" increased his appeal in the West in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks in the United States.

He became one of Washington’s most important allies after the attacks, allowing U.S. forces to operate armed drones from secret bases on Pakistani soil that killed thousands and ordering domestic troops into the country’s lawless tribal areas along the Afghanistan frontier for the first time Pakistan’s history.

That helped legitimise his rule overseas but also helped plunge Pakistan into a bloody war against local extremist militant groups.

In a 2006 memoir, he took credit for saving Pakistan from American wrath saying the country had been warned it needed to be “prepared to be bombed back to the Stone Age” if it did not ally itself with Washington.

Musharraf also successfully lobbied then-President George W. Bush to pour money into the Pakistani military. Still, the army's allegiances were never unambiguous: its powerful intelligence services cut deals with the Taliban and al Qaeda, and bolstered an insurgency fighting U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

In other areas of foreign policy, Musharraf attempted to normalise relations between New Delhi and Islamabad.

At a regional summit in 2002, less than three years after launching the military operation against India, Musharraf shocked the world when, after finishing a speech, he suddenly moved towards Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to shake hands and offered to talk peace.

Analysts say the issue of Kashmir – which remains the most potent point of contention between India and Pakistan – was close to being solved during the Musharraf era. But the peace process was derailed soon after his rule.

Under Musharraf, foreign investment flourished and Pakistan saw annual economic growth of as much as 7.5% - which remains the highest level in nearly three decades, according to World Bank data.

The later years of his presidency were, however overshadowed, by his increasingly authoritarian rule. In 2006, Musharraf ordered military action that killed a tribal head from the province Balochistan, laying the foundations of an armed insurgency that rages to this day.

The next year, more than a hundred students calling for the imposition of Sharia law were killed after Musharraf shunned negotiations and ordered troops to storm a mosque in Islamabad. That led to the birth of a new militant group, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, which has since killed tens of thousands in suicide bombings and brazen assaults.

Later in 2007, a suicide attack that assassinated opposition leader Benazir Bhutto, triggered waves of violence. His efforts to strong arm the judiciary also led to protests and a besieged Musharraf postponed elections and declared a state of emergency.

In 2008, the country's first democratic elections in 11 years were held. Musharraf's party lost and facing impeachment by parliament he resigned the presidency and fled to London.

He returned to Pakistan in 2013 to run for a seat in parliament but was immediately disqualified. He was allowed to leave for Dubai in 2016.

Source: Reuters

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https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/pakistans-musharraf-military-ruler-who-allied-with-us-promoted-moderate-islam-2023-02-05/

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Thousands pour onto streets demanding restoration of durable peace in KP

February 6, 2023

MOHMAND: Thousands of people poured onto the roads for the third day on Sunday in different towns of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, condemning the brutal attack on the Malik Saad Shaheed Police Lines in Peshawar and resurgence of militancy in the province.

The peace rallies were held in Mohmand, Malakand, LakkiMarwat and other areas under the slogan of UlasiPasoon (public uprising).

Prominent leaders, who participated in the Mohmand rally, included among others Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) leader Manzoor Pashteen and Awami National Party provincial general secretary Sardar Hussain Babak.

The peace marchers were mostly youngsters, who were holding white flags, placards and banners, demanding of the government to eliminate the militancy and ensure sustainable peace.

Rallies held in Mohmand, Lakki and Malakand

A huge contingent of police was deployed to avoid any untoward incident on the occasion.

Addressing the rally, PTM leader Manzoor Pashteen said militancy and worsening law and order situation had affected every segment of society, including children, women, senior citizens and tribal elders. “Workers of every political party have sacrificed their lives during the war imposed on the Pakhtun region,” he said.

He said Pakhtuns were divided under a conspiracy, and urged them to show unity in the larger interest of their community.

“Only in Momand Gat area of the Mohmand tribal district at least three dozen people have been killed,” he said.

The PTM leader urged elders, Maliks and religious scholars to show unity in raising their voice for the recovery of the missing persons.

On the occasion, ANP leader Sardar Hussain Babak said children of tribesmen needed peace in their region and authority over their resources.

“We consider this region as our own and value it like a mother,” Mr Babak said. He demanded of the religious scholars to issue verdict against the ongoing terrorism and killing of innocent people. “Our resources are being looted and our children are dying of hunger,” he said.

He said how did militants crossed over into Pakistan and reached Peshawar after the border with Afghanistan had been fenced and military posts set up along it.

In LakkiMarwat, the local residents took out a peace rally on Sunday.

The rally appeared from Shaheed Abid Ali Chowk and converged at Qazi Ishfaq Chowk on the main bust stand in the Lakki city after marching on Tajazai-Lakki Road.

The participants were holding banners and placards inscribed with slogans, highlighting their demands for peace and harmony.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Muhammad Iqbal of PTI, Eng Ihsan, Malik Waqar, InamKhoidadkhel and Shahid Tajoriwal said residents of the district were peace-loving and they wanted sustainable peace in their area.

They said area people would not allow anyone to destroy peace and use their soil for carrying out anti-state activities.

They said that along with poor law and order, the local residents had to face the brunt of excessive gas and power outages, besides suspension of mobile and internet services had added to their troubles. They said that a pipeline was being laid to supply gas to Punjab, but the local residents were ignored.

The speakers called upon the elders and public representatives to ‘break their silence’ and play role in ending lawlessness and protecting rights of people.

In Malakand, workers of political parties and civil society activists came out on the streets in Batkhela to demand establishment of durable peace on their soil.

The participants carried white flags, banners and placards and marched from Zafar Park to the old bus stand, chanting slogans for restoration of peace.

Jamaat-i-Islami’s former provincial minister Shah Raz Khan, former MNA BakhtiarMaani, ANP district president Ejaz Khan, former provincial minister Shakeel Khan, Maulana Imran Hilali of Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl, Maulana Javed, PML-N’s city president Ali Mohammad, All Chairmen and CouncillorIttehad president Pir Azmat Shah, Muslim Khan of Pakistan Peoples Party, Sikandar Hayat, Zafar Ali Khan and traders’ union president Zwar Khan also attended the rally.

Source: Dawn

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https://www.dawn.com/news/1735535

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Pakistan divided on legacy of military ruler Musharraf

Feb 5, 2023

ISLAMABAD: Pervez Musharraf was a polarising figure in Pakistani politics, taking the country back to a period of economic stability while accused of rampant abuses and weakening democracy.

The nation's most recent military leader governed for nearly a decade after seizing power in a bloodless coup in 1999.

His rule was marred by repeated allegations of abuses, including ruthlessly rounding up his opponents as well as being accused of involvement in former prime minister Benazir Bhutto's assassination.

The effects of his decision to back the United States in its invasion of Afghanistan -- albeit in the face of threats of bombing and in return for a massive aid injection -- continue to reverberate.

"Musharraf boosted education standards and infrastructure in Pakistan. He brought development to the country," 24-year-old student Mohammad Waqas told AFP in Islamabad.

"But on the other hand, the country suffered losses in the face of terrorism. Entering America's war weakened our own country."

Pakistan is currently undergoing yet another economic crisis, and widespread political uncertainty ahead of elections due later this year.

In the face of the turmoil, some remember Musharraf with a certain fondness.

"He was a good ruler. There has not been a leader like him before and there will never be one like him again," said 70-year-old Islamabad shopkeeper Muhammad Khan.

Veteran Pakistani politician and Musharraf ally Parvez Elahi told AFP: "He was a ruler with a lot of depth, who loved hard work and he would appreciate new initiatives".

In 2006 -- at the height of their alliance -- US President George W. Bush called Musharraf "a strong, forceful leader (who) has become a target of those who can't stand the thought of moderation prevailing".

His moves to overthrow an elected government and to suspend the constitution for long periods, however, also frame his legacy.

"His one act, which will be remembered throughout history, was he violated the constitution," retired civil servant Naeem UlHaqSatti told AFP.

"The most important thing a country has is its constitution," the 69-year-old added.

As he faced growing pressure for democratic elections, Musharraf's oppression of critics worsened.

He suspended the constitution for a second time in 2007, rounded up thousands of opponents and sacked the chief justice, leading to widespread protests.

"General Musharraf was one of the military dictators who misruled the country by... bringing in a group of sycophants," businessman Abdul Basit told AFP in the Balochistan provincial capital of Quetta.

Under Musharraf, Pakistan stepped up its war against ethnic Baloch separatists, with a military operation killing key separatist leader Akbar Bugti in 2006, an assassination that further fanned the flames of that movement.

"People do give credit to General Musharraf for developing the country but on the other hand, like his predecessors, he played havoc," said Basit.

Musharraf resigned in 2008 and faced years of legal wrangling, finally being found guilty in absentia and sentenced to death for treason. That ruling was later nullified.

Source: Times Of India

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https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/pakistan-divided-on-legacy-of-military-ruler-musharraf/articleshow/97627118.cms

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Govt ready to arrest Imran Khan if fresh protest launched by PTI, warns Sanaullah

Imran Gabol

February 6, 2023

LAHORE: A day after PTI Chairman Imran Khan asked his workers and supporters to prepare for a ‘Jail Bharo’ (court arrest) movement, party leaders said they would be first to surrender once Mr Khan issues a call.

Meanwhile, the government has taken a firm stand in the face of agitation from Mr Khan, with PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz Sharif on Sunday launching a fresh salvo against Mr Khan, and Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah saying that the government was ready to arrest the PTI chief once the party starts the court arrest drive.

Speaking at a press conference on Sunday, former state minister Farrukh Habib said the workers and leaders of the party were waiting for Mr Khan’s call to fill jails. “The party leadership and workers are not afraid of going to jail when Imran Khan calls. I will go to jail first,” he said.

He said everyone was aware of the country’s situation for the past two months and the current government had ruined the country’s economy.

Govt ‘prepared to arrest PTI chief’ if fresh protest launched, says minister

Mr Habib feared that a government’s deal with the International Mone­tary Fund would further increase inflation and compound the public’s suffering.

Meanwhile, speaking to PML-N workers at a party convention in Multan on Sunday, MrSanaullahcriticised the PTI leadership for “creating troubles”.

“In 2014, PTI staged protest demonstrations and tried to stop the journey of progress and prosperity. Imran Khan is following the politics of agitation in the shape of long marches, sealing Islamabad on the pretext of a date for elections,” he said.

Commenting on the PTI’s Jail Bharo movement, the interior minister hoped Imran Khan would be placed in the “same death cell where I was placed during my arrest”.

Dismissing the impression that the PML-N was not ready for general elections, he said the party would contest and win elections and form a government in Punjab.

PML-N’s Senior Vice President Maryam Nawaz Sharif, who also addressed the Multan convention, took a jibe at the PTI’s court arrest drive, saying Mr Khan was running a Jail Bharo movement for four years during his tenure as prime minister.

On the arrests of senior PTI leaders and ally Sheikh Rashid, Ms Sharif said they had been “crying like children”. She added, “We spent five years in jail with a smile, but they had started weeping after five days of imprisonment.”

She also named PML-N leaders who were put in jail during Imran Khan’s government, including her father Nawaz Sharif, uncle Shehbaz Sharif, cousin Hamza Shehbaz, and senior party leaders Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Rana Sanaullah, Ahsan Iqbal and others.

‘No Constitution exists’

In Jhelum, PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry said at a party’s public meeting that former military ruler Pervez Musharraf, who passed away on Sunday, did the right thing when he ended the Nawaz Sharif government in 1999.

Noting that PPP and PML-N leaders were passing remarks against Mr Musharraf for dislodging the Constitution, Mr Chaudhry questioned: “Does any Constitution exist during the current government tenure?”

“I think retired Gen Musharraf was right in suspending the Constitution because there was zero implementation of the Constitution in the presence of Nawaz Sharif and Asif Ali Zardari,” he said.

Mr Chaudhry said the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) coalition was running away from elections and was busy “torturing PTI stalwarts”.

He said the PDM was attacking and entering the houses of PTI leaders to arrest them. “You will kill me in the night, and I will meet you in the headline of the newspaper in the morning,” he said.

Source: Dawn

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https://www.dawn.com/news/1735608
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Southeast Asia

 

Racial slurs should be made a crime, says Noor Farida

Reshna Reem Ganesan

February 5, 2023

PETALING JAYA: A law to criminalise racial remarks should be introduced, says a former top civil servant, following two incidents involving remarks by a social media influencer and a national hockey player.

“I really can’t believe these kinds of things are still happening. We must introduce a law where racist remarks are considered an offence and punishable,” said Noor Farida MohdAriffin, a spokesperson of the G25 group of former senior civil servants.

Her comments were made in the wake of remarks linked to a concert at the National Stadium last Saturday.

The influencer is under police investigation, while hockey player HanisNadiah Onn has apologised for her remarks.

Farida said if a law criminalising racist remarks was introduced, victims would be able to lodge reports against the offenders.

She said the use of racial slurs by young people indicated that racial tolerance was declining.

A law on race relations has been sought by activist groups over the decades. Last year, a former law minister, Nazri Aziz, had also called for anti-racism laws to serve as an instrument to preserve unity among Malaysians.

Farida said a root cause was the lack of interaction between schoolchildren from different communities, made worse by “too many hours” being devoted to religious studies in national schools, further segregating Muslim and non-Muslim pupils.

“This speaks volumes about the need to reform the education curriculum because the students shouldn’t be separated in the first place,” she said.

Social activist Chandra Muzaffar, also in favour of a law against racial remarks, questioned whether the authorities and society at large made attempts to check racial slurs.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2023/02/05/racial-slurs-should-be-made-a-crime-says-noor-farida/

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Can Malaysia’s ruling coalition work together? PM Anwar squares up to new political realities

ZainudinAfandi

04 Feb 2023

KUALA LUMPUR: After Malaysia’s recent general election produced a hung parliament, artist Faye Lim was thrilled when Pakatan Harapan (PH) got the chance to form the government again.

The 32-year-old was among those who opposed the internal coup in 2020 that had brought down the previous PH government.

So in December, when Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, chairman of PH, won a vote of confidence in the Malaysian parliament to emerge as the undisputed leader of the new unity government, it was what Lim wanted.

“Give people a chance to finish what they start,” she said. “If (politicians) are always going to keep repeating … ‘I’ll never work with’ (or) ‘I don’t want’, then … (they) aren’t thinking about us as a whole nation holistically.”

Yet, the alliances that make up the current government, chiefly between PH and rivals Barisan Nasional (BN), are more tenuous than those in the PH government that came to power at the 2018 election.

Can the unity government find a way to work together and last a full term in office, the programme Insight asks. It might prove a daunting task — and is not the only challenge lying ahead of the new PM.

‘COALITION OF INCOMPATIBLES’

With the King having decreed that BN must be part of a unity government to end the impasse following the elections, the previous incumbents surprised some observers by choosing to work with PH instead of Malay-centric coalition Perikatan Nasional (PN).

“(The unity government) is a coalition of incompatibles,” said former PM Mahathir Mohamad.

“They don’t have the same objective or the same philosophy and yet they found a need to work together, so they overlooked all their past statements, past promises, in order to form this coalition.”

Within the United Malays National Organisation (Umno) itself, BN’s anchor party, there is recognition of “complications” arising from the party being “ideologically” opposed to the Democratic Action Party (DAP) — a PH component party — acknowledged Umno information chief HizatulIsham Abdul Jalil.

“This is something that we need to sort out,” he said. “(But) it makes sense for us to go with PH because they need the Malay votes, and we need the non-Malay votes.”

To hold the alliance together, Anwar made compromises over key roles.

PH component party PartiKeadilan Rakyat (PKR), which has 31 Members of Parliament, was given eight ministerial portfolios. BN, which won 30 seats, has six ministers. The DAP, meanwhile, has four ministers even though it has 40 MPs.

There is “some unhappiness” with that, acknowledged DAP secretary-general Anthony Loke, but he thinks his party’s “sacrifice” is for the good of the country. “The alternative will be a government being led by Pas (Parti Islam Se-Malaysia),” he said.

“So I think … the Chinese community and, by and large, the non-Malays including the Indian community supported our decision to be part of the government even with the lesser representation in the Cabinet.”

Voon Zhen Yi, the research director of think-tank KSI Strategic Institute, believes it is clear that the DAP realised it “had to take a back seat” to “not jeopardise” the unity government and that their supporters “are pragmatic people” too.

There are also other factors that could help Anwar keep his government together.

For one thing, winning his vote of confidence from parliament cemented his hold on the top job and brought the parties in the ruling coalition “under his wing”, according to political scientist Chandra Muzaffar.

“To work together and to show that they’ll keep working together, he needed a vote of confidence,” said Muzaffar. “It’s also contributed towards stabilising the position of his own party.”

Legislation that took effect from October to prevent party-hopping might also prevent a repeat of the machinations that had previously removed PH from power — because MPs who now switch political affiliations would trigger a by-election in their district.

And as a sign that “the public doesn’t want to see things like this happen”, those who were seen as orchestrators of the internal coup, such as Mohamed Azmin Ali, lost in the last election.

“(Voters) have had enough of that — three prime ministers in the course of four years,” cited Muzaffar.

THE ECONOMIC CHALLENGE

Whether Anwar can keep his unity government together may also depend on how well he governs. And he now must respond to the problems of a slowing economy and high cost of living.

“People want stability. People want their food on the table, their bread and butter to be guaranteed. And they want a better life, a better job,” said Maszlee Malik, the former education minister in PH’s first administration.

Take, for example, Mohamad Zulkhairi Mohamad Adnan, who used to own a boutique specialising in traditional Malay clothing in Johor. He also sold cooked meals in bazaars and on government premises.

When the pandemic hit sales hard, he had to close down his businesses and return to his home town in Negeri Sembilan. He set up a roadside stall selling fried chicken, but it is hard to sustain the business.

“When (costs) go up, we can’t afford to raise our prices in a flash. Our regular customers would be aware of it,” said the 49-year-old, who worries that they may “find other alternatives”.

Malaysia’s core inflation was 4.1 per cent year on year in December. Food continued to be the main inflation driver, with prices up by 6.8 per cent compared to a year earlier.

Beyond addressing the rising cost of living, the new government must “show that Malaysia has its own value proposition, its own offering”, as Voon put it.

“It has to show everyone that investment in Malaysia will bring benefits to them,” he said, flagging Vietnam and Indonesia as economies in the region that are “catching up” and showing potential for “overtaking Malaysia very soon”.

To deal with these challenges to the country’s post-pandemic recovery efforts, the PM assembled a new economic team.

He appointed PKR deputy president Rafizi Ramli as economic affairs minister and Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz, the former finance minister, to helm the International Trade and Industry Ministry.

“We can see that … they’ve been involved in the corporate world. They’re young, they’re hard-working, enthusiastic, and they know what they’re supposed to do now,” said economist Ahmed Razman Abdul Latiff of Putra Business School.

The associate professor also thinks it helps that Anwar appointed himself as finance minister, given that when he held the portfolio in the 1990s, he kept the growth in Malaysia’s gross domestic product, on average, at 9.2 per cent.

“The confidence factor is there,” said Ahmed Razman.

THE RISE OF POLITICAL ISLAM?

A bigger challenge facing the PM — if he is to not only unify the ruling coalition but also unite the country — is the growth of identity politics.

In a survey conducted by pollster Merdeka Centre, which reported the findings last year, 82 per cent of the Muslim youth respondents agreed that the Quran should replace the country’s constitution, up from 72 per cent in 2010.

The survey also found that the proportion of Muslim youths attending religious schools increased from 48 per cent to 60 per cent.

“There are some elements of conservatism not only amongst youths but amongst the Malays in general. We see that pattern. We see that happening in the institutions as well,” said ISEAS–Yusof Ishak Institute senior fellow NorshahrilSaat.

The rise of Pas is partly due to these changing attitudes of Malays towards their religion. The Islamic party defied expectations by winning 49 seats in November, compared with 18 previously.

And the identity politics have persisted after the elections.

One of the reasons ZoolAmaliHussin left Umno was its leaders’ move to form the government with PH’s multiracial coalition, which was “hard for (him) to accept” as he saw it as a betrayal.

“We’d been indoctrinated with the idea that the DAP is racist, the DAP is Umno’s enemy,” he said. “But all of a sudden, they’re with the DAP. They’re saying it’s part of the dynamics of politics.”

He quit as Seremban Umno Youth chief to join Pas, “the party that really fights for Islam and the Malays”, he said. And it has been reported that other Umno members have followed in his footsteps.

The question, then, is whether this shift in the political scene marks the rise of political Islam, and what that bodes for Malaysia.

“Political Islam has definitely gained momentum in this country,” said Voon. “It’s matching global trends that we’re seeing — the rise of right-wing politics.”

From a different perspective, the breakout success of Pas may not indicate the growth of political Islam, but rather the growing tide of opposition to Umno.

“All that’s happened is that the Malays have become disillusioned with Umno, and they registered their disillusionment by supporting Pas, which they’ve done in the past,” argued Muzaffar, citing what happened to Anwar in 1998, which “discredited” Umno.

“Remember the black eye issue? Because you had a (former) deputy prime minister imprisoned, beaten in jail … people moved to Pas.”

In the 1999 elections, Pas won 27 parliamentary seats, which was their best electoral performance until last year.

The latest groundswell of support for Pas “isn’t really” the rise of “political Islam per se”, agreed Maszlee, who lost out to a BN challenger in November.

But what motivates many members of the PN component party — who are “still pushing a lot of content” over TikTok and other social media — is a mistrust of “the others”, he said.

“(They’re) stoking the racial sentiments … instigating the distrust (of) the others every day,” he observed. “If the current government doesn’t do anything, the momentum will keep rising.”

Are the fissures in Malaysian politics today too wide too bridge?

PartiPribumi Bersatu Malaysia Youth chief Wan Ahmad Fayhsal Wan Kamal, for one, does not think his party’s coalition partner is “regarded as extreme”, since Pas was part of the government before the recent election.

Source:ChannelNewsAsia

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

https://www.channelnewsasia.com/cna-insider/malaysia-ruling-coalition-anwar-ibrahim-pakatan-harapan-barisan-nasional-3251496

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Malaysia expresses interest in recruiting 'security guards' from Bangladesh

Feb 5, 2023

Malaysia today expressed its interest in recruiting "security guards" from Bangladesh.

The development came as Malaysian Home Minister Saifuddin Nasution Ismail paid a courtesy call to his Bangladesh counterpart Asaduzzaman Khan at the state guest house Padma today afternoon.

According to a press release, Ismail said his country will take security guards from Bangladesh after Kamal requested him to recruit professional and trained Ansar, and retired members of law enforcement agencies from Bangladesh to provide security at different institutions in Malaysia.

Rohingya repatriation, labor-related issues, training and exchange of knowledge and information between the two countries' law enforcers were discussed during the meeting.

MP Benzir Ahmed, chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the home ministry, Aminul Islam Khan, senior secretary of the home ministry, Inspector General of Police Chowdhury Abdullah Al Mamun, additional IGP of Special Branch, DMP commissioner, director general of Department of Immigration and Passports, and Bangladesh high commissioner in Malaysia were present in the meeting, among others.

Source:TheDailyStar

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https://www.thedailystar.net/news/bangladesh/diplomacy/news/malaysia-expresses-interest-recruiting-security-guards-bangladesh-3239876

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South Asia

 

Qatar sends envoy to Kabul for talks with Taliban

February 6, 2023

KABUL: An envoy for Qatar’s foreign affairs minister visited the Afghan capital on Sunday and met the Taliban administration’s acting foreign minister, according to an Afghan foreign ministry statement.

The visit comes after the Taliban administration placed restrictions on women’s education and NGO work, which Qatar labelled “deeply concerning” amid widespread international criticism.

Mutlaq Bin Majed Al-Qahtani, the special envoy of Qatar’s foreign minister, took part in meetings with acting foreign minister Amir Khan Muttaqi in Kabul, according to Afghan foreign affairs spokesperson Abdul Qahar Balkhi.

“Both sides discussed political coordination, the strength of the relationship and humanitarian aid,” Balkhi said.

No foreign country has formally recognised the Taliban government, though both China and Pakistan sent their foreign ministers last year and the UN deputy special representative recently visited to discuss women’s rights and aid.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1735584/qatar-sends-envoy-to-kabul-for-talks-with-taliban

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Pakistan to approach Taliban chief Akhundzada, will beg Afghanistan to help control TTP

AjeyoBasu

February 05, 2023

Kabul: With the Tehreek-i-Taliban (TTP) carrying out a series of deadly attacks, the Pakistan government has been left with no other option other than begging the Taliban regime of Afghanistan to help control the Islamist militant group.

A desperate Pakistan has sought Afghan Taliban chief Haibuttallah Akhundzada’s help to rein in the outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban (TTP) – also known as the Pakistani Taliban – which has carried out a wave of attacks against the security forces in the country, including the recent suicide blast in a Peshawar mosque that killed over 100 people, mostly policemen.

After the Tehreek-i-Taliban (TTP) decided to end a truce with the Pakistan government late last year, it has caused widespread carnage with almost daily attacks against the security forces, mostly in the country’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. The restive province of Balochistan and Punjab – the heartland of Pakistan – have also witnessed several TTP attacks.

According to ‘The Express Tribune’ newspaper, the military and civil leadership of Pakistan had convened a meeting of the Apex Committee in Peshawar on Friday, during which it was decided that Afghan Taliban chief Haibuttallah Akhundzada’s intervention will be sought to control the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and put an end to its hideouts in Afghanistan.

Pakistan’s Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah, who was present during the Apex Committee on Friday, claimed that the masterminds of the Peshawar mosque attack could be in Afghanistan, adding that the federal government will raise the issue with the Taliban rulers of Afghanistan.

While acknowledging his government’s failure to avert the Peshawar suicide attack, Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has called for “national unity” to tackle the TTP challlenge.

“There is a need for unity across the political spectrum. This act of terrorism managed to breach the security check post and reach the mosque. We should not feel hesitant in admitting the facts,” Shehbaz Sharif said at the meeting.

According to news agency PTI, the authorities in Pakistan have claimed to have made an “important breakthrough” in the probe into the suicide blast in the Peshawar mosque by identifying the suicide bomber through his DNA samples.

The police informed the media that after the DNA test was conducted, the investigators are trying to trace the family of the Taliban suicide bomber.

The TTP, which is believed to have close links to al-Qaeda and the Afghan Taliban – their Pashtun brethren across the Durand Line – has threatened to target the top leaders of Pakistan’s ruling coalition which comprises Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s PML-N and Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari’s PPP if it continued to implement strict measures against the militants.

Pakistan had supported the Afghan Taliban with men and materials during its two decades of war with the US-led NATO forces in the hope of gaining ‘strategic depth’ in Afghanistan and using it against arch-rival India.
Source: Firstpost

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https://www.firstpost.com/world/pakistan-to-approach-taliban-chief-akhundzada-will-beg-afghanistan-to-help-control-ttp-12105362.html

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China committed to expand dealings with Taliban in Afghanistan: Report

5 February, 2023

Beijing [China], February 5 (ANI): China is one of the few countries that are committed to expanding dealings with the Taliban in Afghanistan, Hong Kong-based Asia Times newspaper reported.

China in mid-2021 welcomed a Taliban delegation. The country showed its willingness to recognise the Taliban as the US signalled towards its planned withdrawal. In early January 2023, a Chinese firm agreed to sign a 25-year contract for oil extraction in Afghanistan.

There is also the possibility that a Chinese state-owned company will be contracted to operate a copper mine in the country.

According to Asia Times, it is unsurprising that as western countries withdraw almost all their links with Afghanistan, China is willing to increase its commercial presence in the country. Although traditionally, its Afghan policy has not been a diplomatic priority, it now sees opportunities.

The Asia Times report said that greater active engagement with Afghanistan will enable China to benefit in several ways. Afghanistan is one of the world’s most resource-rich countries, but its security conditions have constrained the development of the sector.

The value of Afghanistan’s untapped mineral deposits, such as copper, iron and lithium is estimated at almost a trillion US dollars. In terms of crude oil, it has 1.6 billion barrels. As for natural gas, Afghanistan possesses 16 trillion cubic feet and has access to 500 million barrels of natural gas liquids.

China’s domestic energy supply is limited both by geology and energy density, and its dependence on other countries leads to “energy security anxieties.”

Access to Afghanistan’s natural resources, then, not only provides economic incentives for China to increase its commercial presence in the country. It also has the potential to help ease its growing demand for energy, according to Asia Times.

China prioritises involvement with Afghanistan to meet its short-term energy security.

Concerned over the potential spillover of militants from Kabul into the country’s western Xinjiang, China has stepped in and engaged with the Taliban, promising trade and investment, Afghan Diaspora Network reported.

More than a year after the United States and NATO pulled out of the Central Asian country, China is one of the few countries that kept their embassies open in Afghanistan even after the Taliban took over in August 2021.

It is worth mentioning that the Taliban during its first rule in Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001 had harboured a number of foreign extremist groups, including Uyghur militants.

Source:ThePrint

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https://theprint.in/world/china-committed-to-expand-dealings-with-taliban-in-afghanistan-report/1356001/

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Arab World

 

Iraqis protest after man kills YouTuber daughter

February 6, 2023

BAGHDAD: Iraqi activists protested on Sunday to demand a law against domestic violence, days after a YouTuber was strangled by her father in a killing that sparked outrage in the conservative country.

Tiba al-Ali, 22, was killed by her father on January 31 in the southern province of Diwaniyah, interior ministry spokesman Saad Maan had said on Twitter on Friday.

Maan said there had been an attempt to mediate between the young woman and her relatives to resolve a “family dispute”.

The father later surrendered to the police and confessed to murdering his daughter.

On Sunday, security forces prevented some 20 activists from demonstrating outside the country’s Supreme Judicial Council, and they gathered instead at a road leading to the building, a journalist said.

Some held placards saying “Stop killing women” and “Tiba’s killer must be held to account”.

“We demand laws to protect women, especially laws against domestic violence,” 22-year-old protester Rose Hamid said.

“We came here to protest against Tiba’s murder and against all others. Who will be the next victim?” Another demonstrator, Lina Ali, said: “We will keep mobilising because of rising domestic violence and killings of women.”

On the sidelines of Sunday’s demonstration, human rights activist HanaaEdwar was received by a magistrate from the Supreme Judicial Council to whom she presented the protesters’ grievances.

The United Nations mission in Iraq in a statement on Sunday condemned Ali’s “abhorrent killing” and called on the Baghdad government to enact “a law that explicitly criminalises gender-based violence”.

Ali had lived in Turkey since 2017 and was visiting Iraq when she was killed, a security official in Diwaniyah said.

In Turkey, she had gained a following on YouTube, posting videos of her daily life in which her fiance often appeared.

Source: Dawn

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https://www.dawn.com/news/1735588/iraqis-protest-after-man-kills-youtuber-daughter

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Russia’s Lavrov visits Baghdad to discuss bilateral relations, energy cooperation

05 February ,2023

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov arrived in Iraq on Sunday for talks on energy and food security in view of the Ukraine conflict, an Iraqi foreign ministry spokesman said.

He landed in Baghdad late on Sunday at the head of a large delegation that includes “oil and gas companies and investors,” Ahmed al-Sahhaf told AFP.

On Monday, Lavrov will meet his Iraqi counterpart Fuad Hussein, the state news agency INA quoted Sahhaf as saying.

He will also meet Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani, President Abdul Latif Rashid, and parliament speaker Mohammed al-Halbussi.

INA quoted Sahhaf as saying Lavrov’s visit “confirms Iraq’s openness to all of its partners and friends.”

He also underlined the importance of “attracting investment... notably in energy.”

Sahhaf had previously told AFP that Lavrov and Hussein “will also discuss transformations related to the security and stability of the region, and the Iraqi point of view regarding military operations in Ukraine.”

He noted that Baghdad favored “any dialogue making it possible to defuse this escalation and alleviate crises... particularly in the food and energy sectors.”

His remarks came amid soaring food and energy prices on international markets since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/world/2023/02/05/Russia-s-Lavrov-visits-Baghdad-to-discuss-bilateral-relations-energy-cooperation

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Muslim Council of Elders commemorate signing of historic Document on Human Fraternity

05 February ,2023

The Muslim Council of Elders commemorated the singing of the historic ‘Document on Human Fraternity’ on Saturday, marking its four-year anniversary since it was signed by Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Ahmed al-Tayeb.

The Document, signed in Abu Dhabi on February 4, 2019, in the presence of the United Arab Emirates’ then-Prime Minister Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed intended to create a lasting legacy of tolerance and understanding that is reflected in the annual International Day of Human Fraternity worldwide.

“The International Day of Human Fraternity is a great opportunity to uphold the values of love, coexistence and reproachment and to maintain unity and solidarity in the face of intolerance, chaotic hatred, isolationism and extremism,” said the Grand Imam Dr. al-Tayeb.

“The significance of this day is magnified in light of the serious humanitarian challenges the world is currently facing.”

Grand Mufti of the Caucasus and member of the Muslim Council of Elders, AllahshukurPashazadeh, emphasized the importance of the Document in a statement on Saturday, stressing that it promotes dialogue, coexistence, understanding, and mutual respect, especially in these difficult times the world is facing.

Pashazadeh remarked that the document has elevated Christian-Islamic dialogue to the highest level adding that it is necessary to fight against extremism, intolerance, bigotry, racism, and discrimination, which threaten global stability and security.

He also noted that the document recognizes human life and dignity as being among the highest values given by God and should be preserved through moral principles, not just laws and customs.

His Eminence congratulated all people on the International Day of Human Fraternity and called for further efforts to achieve peace, harmony, and human fraternity. He quoted the Quranic verse from al-Ma’idah 2, “Cooperate with one another in goodness and righteousness, and do not cooperate in sin and transgression.”

“We congratulate ourselves and the whole world on the anniversary of the signing of the Document on Human Fraternity, which carries a message of goodness, love, and peace for all humanity,” said Secretary-General of the Muslim Council of Elders, Judge Mohamed Abdelsalam.

“Today, as we celebrate the 4th anniversary, we have a real chance to apply the Document’s principles and transfer them into a constitution, as a guide for future generations to advance human coexistence.”

Since the Document’s inception, it has received universal acclaim as a joint declaration by the world’s two most prominent religious leaders.

The International Day of Human Fraternity highlights the principles and values of the Document on Human Fraternity, while advocating for world peace, peaceful interfaith coexistence and explores good practices towards its implementation as a pathway to building a more peaceful world, commemorating the Document.

On December 21, 2020, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution, co-sponsored by the UAE and Egypt, making February 4 the International Day of Human Fraternity.

On February 4th, 2021, the International Day of Human Fraternity was celebrated for the first time. This coincided with the Document receiving a Guinness World Record for its

“Human Fraternity Messages” campaign, which was the most pledges received for a peace campaign in 24 hours.

On the same day in 2022, leaders such as Dr. Ahmed al-Tayeb, Pope Francis, and US President Joe Biden celebrated the second International Day of Human Fraternity.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/02/05/Muslim-Council-of-Elders-commemorate-signing-of-historic-Document-on-Human-Fraternity

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The changing landscape of the Saudi design industry

NADA AL-TURKI

February 05, 2023

RIYADH: The first Designathon competition was recently held in Riyadh, gathering 500 designers and specialists to solve key issues facing the design industry, including social impact, health and sustainability.

Organized by the Architecture and Design Commission on Feb. 2-3, it brought together local creators to compete for awards collectively worth more than SR500,000 ($133,000).

Sumayah Al-Solaiman, CEO of the commission, said: “It is the designer’s role to really advocate for not just themselves but also society and the planet. We made sure that we have that responsibility reflected within the three tracks.”

Coming in first place in the wellness track was team “Sabeel,” followed by team “Mumtir” in second place, and team “Khutwah bi Khutwah” in third.

The sustainability design track’s winning teams were “Wasm” in first place, “Table Mo1” in second place, and team “Waste No More” in third place.

Finally, the social impact track awarded first place to team “Dreams,” second to “Rans Team,” and the third winning spot to “Hayyak.”

The initiative aims to encourage up-and-coming designers to consider real-life modern design challenges that truly impact community members, create awareness around participatory design concepts, and highlight the role of design in resolving global issues. Participatory design is a cooperative method that looks at solutions that involve all stakeholders, with a focus on the procedure of design rather than the style itself.

“This time, we will be learning from everything that happens. We want to use that design methodology and hear from all the participants (regarding) their experience…and how we can improve it for next editions,” Al-Solaiman explained.

One of the participants, Huda Al-Qahtani, is a senior architecture student at Prince Sultan University who is interested in the art behind design and its role in enhancing the microclimate.

“I actually was interested in the well-being track and the social impact track. For well-being here in Saudi specifically, we don’t have any chances for walkability or cycling. It’s very hard, whether you’re considering the width of the streets or the climate,” she told Arab News.

Al-Qahtani expressed her excitement at the new initiatives that cater to the growth of the local design scene. “I feel very proud. Now I’m seeing more opportunities in Saudi than...abroad,” she said. “It’s (expanding) very fast, which makes me relieved…Even the architecture here in Saudi is gaining its identity back.”

Raghad Fathaddin, one of the sustainability track mentors, told Arab News: “What (the Designathon) is telling us all as citizens of this nation is that there (are) new ways of thinking, and that’s what we’re calling upon in order to achieve the Saudi Vision 2030 and sustainable development goals.

“I’m very impressed by the ideas I’m hearing…Our nation shouldn’t be underestimated. I’m excited for our future.”

Al-Solaiman noted the possibility of expanding on the three tracks in the future, increasing the number of participants, or even venturing into a different city.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2245286/saudi-arabia

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Saudi FM meets Omani counterpart in Muscat

February 05, 2023

RIYADH: Saudi Foreign Affairs Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan arrived in Muscat on Sunday.

He was met at Muscat International Airport by his Omani counterpart, Sayyid Badr Al-Busaidi, and the Kingdom’s Ambassador to Oman Abdullah Al-Enaz.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2245396/saudi-arabia

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Bollywood singer Kumar Sanu delights fans in Jeddah

SALEH FAREED

February 05, 2023

JEDDAH: Bollywood singer Kumar Sanu wowed the crowds on Friday night as the latest celebration of Indian culture drew to a close.

Sanu was the star of the show for the two-day music festival at the Equestrian Club in Jeddah’s Al-Frosyah district, which was organized by Good Hope Events in cooperation with the General Entertainment Authority.

Making his first ever appearance in the Kingdom, Sanu thrilled the audience of mostly Indian expats, serving up renditions of more than 20 songs.

“I have been waiting to perform in Saudi Arabia and here we are in Jeddah for the first time,” he told his adoring fans from the stage.

“We have a great crowd and I am happy to see you enjoying the night.”

Also on the bill were Rachna Chopra, Biplab and Afsal, who helped ramp up the crowds with a host of Bollywood numbers.

“I am amazed by the energy that flowed from you guys,” Chopra told the crowd.

Fan Nadia Azmi, who went to the gig with friends, said: “We all are privileged to have Sanu among us in Jeddah today. We all have grown up listening to his songs since the ’80s and ’90s.

“It is wonderful to listen to him live today. I want to thank Saudi Arabia and the organizers for their efforts in making this possible.”

Junaise Babu, chairman of Good Hope Events, said the festival had been a huge success.

“It was a great feeling to see so many men, women, young and old, not only Indian expatriates but also other Asians enjoying the various musicians we brought.”

AmrinaQaiser, who introduced Sanu on stage, said: “It was an amazing experience hosting such a mega event in Jeddah for the first time.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2245281/saudi-arabia

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OIC holds meeting for 49th foreign ministers session

February 05, 2023

JEDDAH: The preparatory meeting for the 49th session of the Council of Foreign Ministers for member states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation kicked off in Jeddah on Sunday.

The 49th session will be held on March 16-17 in Nouakchott, Mauritania.

OIC Secretary-General HisseinBrahim Taha said that the Palestinian cause — the central cause of the OIC — has seen dangerous developments and was recently discussed by the executive committee.

The situation in Afghanistan was also discussed by the committee, which recommended continued engagement with the de facto authorities in Kabul through Tariq Ali Bakheet, the special envoy for Afghanistan, and the organization of a second visit by a delegation.

Taha said that the OIC and Youssef Al-Dobeay, the special envoy for Jammu and Kashmir, are working to implement the action plan adopted by the liaison group on the issue of the territory during its meeting in Islamabad on the sidelines of the 48th session of the Council of Foreign Ministers.

Taha said that the OIC is constantly providing support to Azerbaijan regarding the issue of Nagorno-Karabakh. He stressed that efforts are also ongoing to contribute to achieving peace, security, stability and development in Yemen, Syria, Sudan, Libya, the G5 Sahel countries and Lake Chad Basin, as well as the Central African Republic, Mozambique, Guinea, Burkina Faso and Somalia.

He commended all efforts to support Iraq’s unity, territorial integrity and reconstruction.

In the humanitarian field, Taha emphasized that the OIC will continue coordinating work in light of increasing challenges.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2245316/saudi-arabia

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Mideast

 

UN: Israel Martyred at Least 31 Palestinians, Razed Scores of Palestinian Structures in 3 Weeks

2023-February-5

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Palestine offered the grim data in its biweekly Protection of Civilians report that covered the period between January 10 and 30, the official Palestinian WAFA news agency reported on Saturday.

According to the report, the fatalities included as many as 10 Palestinians who were killed during a January 26 raid by Israeli forces on the city of Jenin and its adjacent refugee camp in Northern West Bank. The death toll, which included two children and one woman, was the highest to be caused in a single Israeli operation since 2005, when OCHA began keeping a record of Palestinian casualties.

Overall, 441 Palestinians, including 49 children, were injured by Israeli troops throughout that period, the report noted, adding that 74 (18 percent) of those injured were targeted with Israeli forces' live fire.

Israeli settlers also injured 18 Palestinians, including at least one child, in nine incidents, and caused damage to Palestinians' properties in another 42 instances.

During the same period, Israeli authorities demolished, forced owners to demolish or confiscated 88 Palestinian-owned structures throughout the occupied territory.

The structures, which included 21 homes, were targeted for lacking Israeli-issued building permits, which are almost impossible to obtain.

"As a result, 99 Palestinians, including 54 children, were displaced, and the livelihoods of more than 21,000 others were affected," the report said.

Among the affected structures, 55 were located in West Bank's so-called Area C, which is under full Israeli military control, and 26 were based in the occupied East Al-Quds, including eight that were torn down by the owners themselves, so they would not have to fund destruction of their buildings by Israeli forces.

More than three million Palestinians live in the West Bank and East al-Quds, which have been occupied by the Israeli regime since 1967, when it waged a Western-backed war against Palestinians.

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14011116000325/UN-Israel-Maryred-a-Leas-3-Palesinians-Razed-Scres-f-Palesinian

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Iran's Khamenei pardons thousands of prisoners, including protesters

Syed Zafar Mehdi 

05.02.2023

TEHRAN, Iran

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has agreed to mass amnesty for tens of thousands of prisoners, including those arrested in recent anti-government protests.

Khamenei approved a proposal by judiciary chief Mohseni Ejei for a general pardon and commutation of sentences for "a significant number” of convicts and suspects, state media reported on Sunday

According to Article 110 of Iran's Constitution, pardoning convicts or commuting their sentences can take place if the judiciary chief makes the proposal and the Supreme Leader approves it.

It is not clear exactly how many prisoners would be released as part of this amnesty, which comes after almost five months of protests triggered by the death of a 22-year-old woman.

MahsaAmini's death while in police custody in September last year led to massive protests across Iran, during which thousands of people were arrested on various charges.

According to Iranian authorities, at least 200 people were also killed during the deadly unrest, although Western human rights groups have put the death toll at more than 500, including civilians and security forces.

In a letter to Khamenei, Ejei states that a number of young protesters were "deceived by enemy propaganda,” and have expressed remorse over their "wrong actions".

The amnesty, however, comes with conditions and does not apply to those convicted of "spying for foreign agencies", "affiliation with groups hostile to the Islamic Republic", and "corruption on earth", according to the judiciary-affiliated Mizan News Agency.

The mass amnesty, thus, would not apply to those sitting on death row or dual nationals convicted of spying for foreign agencies.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/irans-khamenei-pardons-thousands-of-prisoners-including-protesters/2806854

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New survey shows widespread opposition to Iran’s regime among Iranians

04 February ,2023

A recent survey conducted by the Netherlands-based Group for Analyzing and Measuring Attitudes in Iran (GAMAAN) revealed widespread opposition to the Islamic Republic among Iranians both inside and outside the country.

The survey, titled “Iranians’ Attitudes Toward the 2022 Nationwide Protests,” was conducted between December 21-31, 2022 and received responses from 200,000 participants, with 157,000 from within Iran and 42,000 from outside. The results were released on Saturday.

The survey results showed that 81 percent of respondents inside Iran oppose the Islamic Republic, while only 15 percent support it.

Of the Iranian respondents abroad, 99 percent said they oppose the Islamic Republic.

When asked about their preferred form of government, the majority of those opposed to the Islamic Republic said they would prefer a presidential republic.

The survey showed that 80 percent of Iranians within the country and 99 percent outside the country support the recent anti-regime protests, sparked by the death of MahsaAmini in police custody.

The survey also found that the majority of Iranians both inside (73 percent) and abroad (96 percent) believe that Western countries should support protesters in Iran by exerting pressure on the Islamic Republic.

On the other hand, 19 percent of those within Iran opposed Western intervention, according to the survey.

Regarding measures the West could take against the regime, the survey showed that 73 percent inside Iran and 97 percent abroad support designating the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organization; 74 percent inside Iran and 92 percent abroad support expelling Iranian ambassadors from the West; and 62 percent inside Iran and 89 percent abroad support ending negotiations with the Islamic Republic aimed at reviving the 2015 nuclear deal.

In regards to the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, 46 percent of respondents inside the country and 56 percent abroad said they were happy about the Iranian national football team’s loss to the US; 23 percent inside Iran and 8 percent abroad said they felt sad; and 30 percent inside Iran and 36 percent abroad said they were indifferent.

The protests in Iran led to many Iranians turning against their national football team and refusing to support them in the World Cup.
Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/02/04/New-survey-shows-widespread-opposition-to-Iran-s-regime-among-Iranians

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Iran opposition leader calls for referendum amid protests

Feb 5, 2023

DUBAI: A long-detained opposition leader in Iran is calling for a nationwide referendum about whether to write a new constitution for the Islamic Republic amid nationwide protests shaking the country. Mir Hossein Mousavi's call, posted late Saturday by the opposition Kaleme website, included him saying he didn't believe Iran's current system giving final say to a supreme leader worked any longer.

Those under Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei have been cracking down on demonstrators since the protests began in September after the death of MahsaAmini, a Kurdish-Iranian woman earlier detained by the country's morality police.

He also called for the formation of a constitutional assembly of "real representatives" to write a new constitution.

It remains unlikely Iran's theocracy will heed the 80-year-old politician's call.

He and his wife have been under house arrest for years after his disputed presidential election loss in 2009 led to the widespread Green Movement protests that security forces also put down.

However, he himself had supported and served in Iran's theocracy for decades.

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/iran-opposition-leader-calls-for-referendum-amid-protests/articleshow/97624062.cms

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MPs reaffirm commitment to fundamentals of Islamic Revolution

February 5, 2023

MPs and the Speaker of the Parliament, Mohammed Bagher Ghalibaf, also paid visits to the tombs of the martyrs of the Islamic Revolution and the 1980-88 war, renewing their commitment to the ideals of martyrs.

Ghalibaf emphasized the need to uphold and carry out Imam Khomeini's principles.

“Imam Khomeini, who was in exile, guided the Revolution with will, support, and concern to the poor and oppressed,” said Ghalibaf.

Source: Tehran Times

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

https://www.tehrantimes.com/news/481637/MPs-reaffirm-commitment-to-fundamentals-of-Islamic-Revolution

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Turkey says no threat to foreigners after IS suspects nabbed

February 5, 2023

ISTANBUL: Turkish police said they had not found evidence of any concrete threat to foreigners after detaining 15 Islamic State suspects accused of targeting consulates and non-Muslim houses of worship, state media reported today.

Last week, several European consulates in Istanbul were shut citing “security reasons” and several western states warned citizens of a heightened risk of attacks on diplomatic missions and non-Muslim places of worship in Turkey, following a series of far-right Quran-burning protests in Europe in recent weeks.

State-run Anadolu Agency cited an Istanbul police statement saying the 15 suspects had “received instructions for acts targeting consulates of Sweden and the Netherlands, as well as Christian and Jewish places of worship”.

While the suspects’ ties to the jihadist group were confirmed, no concrete threats toward foreigners were found, the statement said.

Ankara summoned nine ambassadors to criticise the coordinated closure of the European consulates and Turkish officials later said the western nations had not shared information to back up their claims of a security threat.

Turkey suspended negotiations for Sweden and Finland’s Nato accession following a protest in Stockholm during which a copy of the Muslim holy book, the Quran, was burned.

Foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu repeated yesterday Turkey’s frustration with what it says is Sweden’s inaction toward entities Ankara accuses of terrorist activity.

Source:Free Malaysia Today

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

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/world/2023/02/05/turkey-says-no-threat-to-foreigners-after-is-suspects-nabbed/

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Supreme Leader Pardons, Commutes Sentences of Large Number of Convicts Arrested During Iran's Unrest

2023-February-5

The Supreme Leader on Sunday agreed to a request by Judiciary Chief Gholam Hossein MohseniEje’i to pardon or reduce the sentences of inmates subject to mitigating circumstances. 

Ayatollah Khamenei issued the approval on the occasion of the 44th anniversary of the glorious victory of the Islamic Revolution and the birthday anniversary of the first Shia Imam, Imam Ali (AS).

The prisoners, who were granted clemency, had had their verdicts issued at courts of common pleas and Islamic Revolution tribunals, the Judicial Organization of the Armed Forces and the State Discretionary Punishment Organization.

The convicts to whom the amnesty applies should not be facing charges of espionage for outsiders, direct links with the foreign intelligence services, murder or intentional injuries, as well as vandalism or arson attack on governmental, military and public sites, and also should not be involved in a suit filed by a private plaintiff.

The clemency, however, does not apply to certain types of convicts, including those who have been sentenced for their role in the armed smuggling of narcotics, arms trafficking, kidnapping, acid attacks, rape, armed robbery, bribery, embezzlement, counterfeit money forgery, money laundering, disruption of economy, smuggling of alcoholic drinks, and organized smuggling of commodities.

The Leader regularly issues such verdicts on the occasion of religious festivities.

Iran's Constitution grants the Supreme Leader the right to pardon or commute the sentences of convicts upon a recommendation from the head of the judiciary. The clemency, however, does not apply to all types of convicts, including those who have been found guilty of armed fight against the country, armed or organized drug trafficking, rape, armed robbery, arms smuggling, abduction, bribery and embezzlement.

Protests erupted in several cities across Iran over the death of MahsaAmini who fainted at a police station in mid-September and days later was pronounced dead at a hospital. The demonstrations soon turned violent.

An official report by Iran’s Legal Medicine Organization announced that Amini’s controversial death was caused by an illness rather than alleged blows to the head or other vital body organs.

Iranian officials blame Western countries for orchestrating the riots to destabilize the country.

The unrest has claimed the lives of dozens of people and security forces, while also allowing acts of terror and sabotage across the country. Iran's Interior Ministry has confirmed the enemy waged a hybrid war against the country to weaken national solidarity and hinder the country's progress, stressing that some 200 people lost their lives in the riots sparked by separatist and terrorist groups.

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14011116000684/Spreme-Leader-Pardns-Cmmes-Senences-f-Large-Nmber-f-Cnvics-Arresed

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Tehran Raps IAEA's Unprofessional, Unacceptable Attitude towards Iran's Nuclear Program

2023-February-5

The nuclear head made the remarks in an interview with the Iranian state TV on Friday after the IAEA's Chief Rafael Grossi in a Wednesday report accused Tehran of making an undeclared change to the interconnection between the two clusters of advanced machines enriching uranium to up to 60% purity at its Fordow plant.

He said Iran objects to the political issues dictated by Grossi and has written a "letter to the agency that an inspector... who has inspected our facilities, has made a mistake and given an incorrect report".

"But yet again the agency's director general released this issue to the media," the official added.

"This is an unprofessional and unacceptable attitude and we hope that this practice will not continue... because this is not acceptable for his reputation and that of the agency," Eslami stated.

Back in November, the AEOI said that Tehran has began enriching uranium to 60% purity at Fordow nuclear site in a tit-for-tat move against a resolution adopted by the IAEA Board of Governors against Iran.

The AEOI added production of 60% enriched uranium had started for the first time in Fordwo nuclear site, as the country is already enriching uranium to up to 60% purity elsewhere.

The atomic agency noted that a new generation of IR-6 centrifuges had replaced older machines in Fordwo to enable a massive ramp-up in output.

Iran has always had full cooperation with the IAEA and allowed it to visit the country’s nuclear sites, but calls the nuclear agency's approach unconstructive and destructive. But Tehran has asked the IAEA to avoid politicizing the issue and focus on technical aspects in line with the organization’s mandate.

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14011116000298/Tehran-Raps-IAEA's-Unprfessinal-Unaccepable-Aide-wards-Iran's-Nclear

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Lead Negotiator: Iran Not Relying on West Based on JCPOA Experiences

2023-February-5

Bagheri Kani said in an interview with Press TV's Insight program on Saturday that Tehran is a claimant in talks on reviving the 2015 agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), as the United States and the European countries have reneged on their commitments under the deal.

"It was the United States and its European allies that should prove their commitment to the agreement and make up for their mistakes as soon as possible," he added.

"As of now, we are the claimant and the other side are the Americans. They are the ones who should show their commitment in practice if they want to return to the JCPOA, as they say, and show their commitment to the agreement and the same goes for the Europeans. It is the Europeans who proved their non-adherence to our nation through various excuses  during the period when the US withdrew from the JCPOA," the deputy foreign minsiter continued.

The senior diplomat went on to say the experience of the JCPOA has taught Iran not to rely on foreigners and move forward on its own without waiting for the deal to achieve its goals.

Bagheri Kani added the US and its European allies have proved so far that when it comes to their interests, they don't "honor their promises" and pay no attention to moral principles.

Iran has always adhered to its commitments within the framework of the JCPOA and expects the other parties to the deal to adhere to their commitments as well, he continued.

Bagheri Kani stated Iran will not be indifferent to the other parties' non-compliance but will not disrupt the process of reviving the agreement either. He also noted Tehran is still seriously following the sanctions-removal talks and hopes the efforts will bear fruit.

Tehran and the five remaining parties to the nuclear deal have held several rounds of negotiations since April 2021 to restore the agreement, which was unilaterally abandoned by former President Donald Trump in May 2018.

The talks remain stalled since August 2022, as Washington continues to insist on its hard-nosed position of not removing all sanctions that were slapped on Tehran by the previous US administration.

Iran stresses it has not quit the negotiating table with the world powers, but will not put all its eggs in the negotiation basket and will not wait for the United States to return to its commitments under the 2015 agreement. Iranian officials stress Tehran has maintained its constructive attitude towards a good, strong and lasting agreement on the revival of the accord and arriving at a deal requires the US pragmatic attitude.

Tehran says it will not be able to trust Washington as long as President Joe Biden continues the wrong policy of maximum pressure and sanctions practiced by Trump against Iran. Iranian officials say the Biden administration has yet done nothing but hollow promises to lift sanctions against Tehran. They blast the US addiction to sanctions, and slammed the POTUS for continuing his predecessor's policy on Iran.

In quitting the agreement, Trump restored sanctions on Iran as part of what he called the “maximum pressure” campaign against the country. Those sanctions are being enforced to this day by the Biden administration, even though it has repeatedly acknowledged that the policy has been a mistake and a failure.

Iranian officials say the ball is in the US' court, and the Biden administration should assure Tehran that it will not repeat Trump's past mistakes.

Diplomats have also criticized Washington for raising excessive demands from Tehran during the nuclear talks, and blocking efforts to reach an agreement on the JCPOA. They emphasized that the US should lift unilateral sanctions, and assure Iran that it will not repeat its past mistakes.

Source: Fars News Agency

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https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14011116000218/Lead-Negiar-Iran-N-Relying-n-Wes-Based-n-JCPOA-Experiences

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Iranian FM Underlines Failure of US Sanction, Bullying Policies

2023-February-5

Amir Abdollahian made the remarks in a meeting with his Cuban counterpart Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla in Havana on Sunday.

"The United States' policy of [imposing] unilateral sanctions [on other countries] and bullying is doomed to fail," Iran's minister noted.

The top diplomat also condemned Washington's interventions in Cuba's internal affairs and its attempt to stoke unrest in the Central American country in July 2022.

"The US and some [other] Western countries pursue the hybrid policy of [imposing] sanctions and intervention [in other countries' affairs] through stoking and encouraging riots in independent countries of the world," he added.

The foreign minister stated that political relations between Tehran and Havana are at the highest level, as both countries share the same views and pursue similar goals in their effort to remain independent and oppose unilateralism.

The Cuban minister, for his part, welcomed the visit by the Iranian delegation to his country, describing relations with the Islamic Republic as a priority for Cuba.

He also condemned unilateral sanctions and intervention in other countries' affairs, while extending his gratitude to Tehran for the latter's support for his country.

After his arrival in Cuba, Amir Abdollahian, who has already traveled to Nicaragua and Venezuela as part of his Central and South American tour, met with Cuba's President Miguel Díaz-Canel.

During the meeting, the two sides discussed matters of mutual interest at bilateral and international levels.

The Iranian diplomat pointed to the two countries' historic and friendly relations, reemphasizing Tehran's determination to further bolster and develop mutual cooperation.

Amir Abdollahian voiced Tehran's "categorical support" for Havana, while condemning sanctions imposed on Cuba and foreign intervention in the country's internal affairs.

Díaz-Canel, for his part, said, "Despite all the existing pressures, Cuba is determined to cooperate with friendly countries and work [with them] towards the elimination of obstacles and challenges that lie ahead."

"The US government only thinks about its own interests and does not care about others," the Cuban president continued, adding, "We have earned our political independence at a high price and will preserve it."

He noted that the ongoing developments in Latin America and elsewhere in the world are creating new opportunities for bolstering multilateralism.

Iranian officials have noted that the US has been defeated in the maximum pressure policy against Tehran, underscoring that sanctions have all failed to hamper the progress of the country.

In quitting the 2015 nuclear deal, former President Donald Trump restored sanctions on Iran as part of what he called the “maximum pressure” campaign against the country. Those sanctions are being enforced to this day by the Joe Biden administration, even though it has repeatedly acknowledged that the policy has been a mistake and a failure.

Tehran says it will not be able to trust Washington as long as President Biden continues the wrong policy of maximum pressure and sanctions practiced by Trump against Iran.

Source: Fars News Agency

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https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14011116000175/Iranian-FM-Underlines-Failre-f-US-Sancin-Bllying-Plicies

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Woman, three children on migrant boat from Turkey die off Greece

05 February ,2023

Three children and a woman were killed Sunday after a boat carrying around 40 migrants from Turkey sank off the Greek island of Leros, Greece’s coastguard said.

Three rescue boats and a helicopter were continuing with search operations but were being hampered by strong winds and choppy seas after the migrants’ inflatable boat sank in the Mediterranean.

A fisherman raised the alarm after discovering the lifeless body of the woman floating at sea, according to local press reports.

A total of 41 survivors were rescued, including six children and two adults who were transferred to hospital in Leros, the coastguard said.

But doctors were unable to revive three of the children hospitalized -- two boys aged about five and a girl of four, Greece’s Ana news agency reported.

The dead woman was around 20 years old, Ana said, adding that all the migrants aboard were from Africa.

“Unfortunately, once again we have innocent victims who have lost their lives because of the criminal behavior of traffickers,” Greece’s Merchant Navy Minister Yannis Plakiotakis said in a statement.

The number of migrants requiring rescue has risen as more attempt to reach Greece from Turkish shores on shoddy and overcrowded vessels despite the rough winter seas.

In December, a two-month-old baby died after a shipwreck off the Greek island of Lesbos.

Source: Al Arabiya

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https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/02/05/Woman-three-children-on-migrant-boat-from-Turkey-die-off-Greece-

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Iran ex-President Khatami, former PM Mousavi call for political change amid protests

05 February ,2023

Iran’s former president Mohammad Khatami and former premier Mir Hossein Mousavi have both called for political changes amid the protests triggered by the death in custody of MahsaAmini.

As the 44th anniversary of the 1979 Iranian Revolution approaches, one of the country’s main opposition figures, Mousavi, called on Saturday for the “fundamental transformation” of a political system he said was facing a crisis of legitimacy.

And on Sunday, Khatami, the leader of the reformist movement, in a statement said: “What is evident today is widespread discontent.”

Khatami said he hoped that the use of “non-violent civil methods” can “force the governing system to change its approach and accept reforms.”

In a statement carried by local media, Mousavi said: “Iran and Iranians need and are ready for a fundamental transformation whose outline is drawn by the pure ‘Woman, Life, Freedom’ movement.”

He was referring to the main slogan chanted in demonstrations sparked by the death on September 16 of Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian Kurd.

She had been arrested by the morality police in Tehran for an alleged breach of the Islamic Republic’s dress code for women.

Mousavi, 80, said the protest movement began in the context of “interdependent crises” and proposed holding a “free and healthy referendum on the need to change or draft a new constitution.”

He called the current system’s structure “unsustainable.”

An unsuccessful presidential candidate in 2009, Mousavi alleged large-scale fraud in favor of populist incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, leading to mass protests.

He has been under house arrest without charge in Tehran for 12 years, along with his wife Zahra Rahnavard.

A close confidant of the Islamic Republic’s founder Ruhollah Khomeini, Mousavi was prime minister from 1981 to 1989.

“People have the right to make fundamental revisions in order to overcome crises and pave the way for freedom, justice, democracy and development,” Mousavi said in his statement.

“The refusal to take the smallest step towards realizing the rights of citizens as defined in the constitution... has discouraged the community from carrying out reforms.”

Khatami, 79, made similar remarks, warning that “there is no sign of the ruling system’s desire for reform and avoiding the mistakes of the past and present.”

Source: Al Arabiya

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https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/02/05/Iran-ex-President-Khatami-former-PM-Mousavi-call-for-political-change-amid-protests

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Iran hiring crime gangs to assassinate dissidents in UK, West, officials say: Report

05 February ,2023

Iran is hiring crime gangs to murder dissidents abroad in the United Kingdom and other Western countries, the Times reported on Sunday citing security officials.

Security personnel are reportedly aware of Iranian spies attempting to enlist the assistance of organized crime organizations in targeting those who are against the regime in the UK.

This comes after recent statements by the head of MI5 indicating that Iran attempted to kidnap or assassinate UK residents on ten separate occasions in 2022.

Counterterrorism police have warned London-based dissidents about Iran’s recent tactics, as the regime tries to suppress widespread human rights protests sparked by the death of a young Kurdish Iranian woman, MahsaAmini, who died in police custody last September.

The Iranian intelligence agency is believed to be forming closer connections with criminal organizations as sanctions and increased scrutiny by security services make it more difficult for them to operate their agents and assets in Britain and other western countries, the Times reported, adding that the use of hired “muscle” to carry out these assassinations could allow Tehran to deny involvement as it seeks to maintain diplomatic ties with the West.

Iran’s tactic of using criminals in “murder-for-hire” plots has been at the center of an American case involving an Iranian-born US journalist and women’s rights activist Masih Alinejad, who once studied in the UK.

US authorities discovered one of the suspects near the victim’s New York home with an AK-47-style rifle and charged three members of a European gang with the attempted assassination of Alinejad. The gang member who was found near her home allegedly acted on orders from Iran through an associate in the Czech Republic.

In Germany, the police suspect Iran’s involvement in orchestrating terrorist attacks on two synagogues using the leader of a Hell’s Angels biker gang in November last year.

During the same month, the staff at Iran International, an opposition television channel based in the UK, were warned of a credible threat to their lives by Scotland Yard. This prompted the deployment of armored vehicles outside the channel’s offices in Chiswick, west London.

The director-general of MI5, Ken McCallum, recently described Iran as the “state actor most frequently crossing into terrorism.”

He stated that Iran poses a direct threat to Britain through its aggressive intelligence services, including potential kidnappings or killings of British individuals perceived as enemies of the regime.

Source: Al Arabiya

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https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/02/05/Iran-hiring-crime-gangs-to-assassinate-dissidents-in-UK-West-officials-say-Report

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Israeli army intercepts ‘small aircraft’ over Gaza

05 February ,2023

The Israeli army said Saturday it had “intercepted a small aircraft over the Gaza Strip,” where witnesses told AFP they heard “explosions” near the border.

The army stressed it was not rocket or other fire that posed a threat to Israelis. “It was not a projectile launch. Full routine continues on the Israeli home front,” it said in a statement.

The army didn’t say where the aircraft had been heading or where it had come from.

Nor was there any immediate claim of responsibility from any of the armed Palestinian factions in Gaza.

Earlier on Saturday, the Gaza-based Islamic Jihad group said its leader Ziad al-Nakhala had travelled to Cairo to meet Egyptian intelligence chief Abbas Kamel.

It said the two sides discussed “the situation in Jerusalem, and the West Bank, especially Jenin,” a flashpoint city and refugee camp, where Israel last month conducted its deadliest single operation in the West Bank in years, killing 10 people.

The trip followed a visit by Kamel to the West Bank city of Ramallah on Tuesday, where he met Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas to discuss the recent surge in violence.

On Thursday, Israel conducted air strikes on the Gaza Strip, hours after intercepting a rocket fired from the Palestinian territory.

Since the start of the year, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has claimed the lives of 36 Palestinians, including attackers, militants and civilians.

Six Israeli civilians, including a child, and one Ukrainian civilian have been killed over the same period.

Source: Al Arabiya

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https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/02/05/Israeli-army-intercepts-small-aircraft-over-Gaza

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Turkiye’s President Erdogan says Western missions will ‘pay’ for closures

February 06, 2023

ISTANBUL: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said Western missions would “pay” for issuing security warnings and temporarily closing consulates in Turkiye last week, while police said there was no serious threat to foreigners after detaining 15 Daesh suspects on Sunday.

Ankara summoned the ambassadors of nine countries on Thursday to criticize their decisions to temporarily shut diplomatic missions and issue security alerts. Turkish officials said the following day that Western nations, including the United States and Germany, had not shared information to back up their claims of a security threat.

“The other day our foreign ministry summoned all of them and gave the necessary ultimatum, told them ‘You will pay for this heavily if you keep this up,’” Erdogan said during a meeting with youth that was pre-recorded and broadcast on Sunday.

Alongside the closures, several Western states warned citizens of a heightened risk of attacks to diplomatic missions and non-Muslim places of worship in Turkiye, following a series of far-right protests in Europe in recent weeks that included several incidents of burning copies of the Muslim holy book, the Qur'an.

Turkiye suspended negotiations for Sweden and Finland’s NATO accession last month following a protest in Stockholm during which a copy of the Qur'an was burned.

Erdogan said that the Western states were “playing for (more) time” and that the “necessary decisions” would be taken during Monday’s cabinet meeting, without elaborating.

’NO CONCRETE THREATS’

Earlier on Sunday, police said they had not found evidence of any concrete threat to foreigners in the detentions of 15 Daesh suspects accused of targeting consulates and non-Muslim houses of worship, state media reported.

Anadolu Agency cited an Istanbul police statement saying the suspects had “received instructions for acts targeting consulates of Sweden and the Netherlands, as well as Christian and Jewish places of worship.”

While the suspects’ ties to the jihadist group were confirmed, no concrete threats toward foreigners were found, the statement said.

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu repeated on Saturday Turkiye’s frustration with what it says is Sweden’s inaction toward entities that Ankara accuses of terrorist activity. All 30 NATO members must ratify newcomers.

Source: Arab News

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https://www.arabnews.com/node/2245416/middle-east

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Yemen’s Taiz mourns 2 children who committed suicide

SAEED AL-BATATI

February 05, 2023

AL-MUKALLA, Yemen: Security services of the southern Yemeni city of Taiz said that two children committed suicide in two separate events on Saturday, leaving the beleaguered population in shock and despair.

Police in Taiz said in a statement that they were notified of two suicide victims in the city on Saturday evening, citing the deaths as “dangerous precedents.”

Police named the first child as 12-year-old Kareem Abdul Kareem from the Al-Jamhuria neighborhood, who hanged himself inside his room on Saturday afternoon by tying a scarf around his neck.

Ammar Khaled, a 16-year-old who committed suicide on Saturday evening by wrapping a rope around his neck and tying it to a door outside his family’s home, is the second victim.

After forensic investigators gathered photographs and evidence, his family requested his burial on the same day.

Police in Taiz pledged to investigate the circumstances surrounding the deaths of the victims and have asked the community and professionals for assistance in determining the reasons behind the suicides.

In a statement, police urged both authorities and members of the public “to collaborate…in order to provide the appropriate answers.”

Mohammed Alawi, an investigator with police in Taiz, told Arab News that a team, including social and psychiatric professionals, was looking into the cases and would release their findings this week.

Initially, Alawi ruled out the possibility of cyberbullying or even sexual harassment and attributed the deaths of the two children to the mobile game PUBG.

“These are risky games, and we advise parents to monitor their children’s mobile devices to see what they are seeing or playing,” Alawi said.

He also touched on other instances of suicide, which he blamed on psychological suffering caused by the war.

“Women and children in Yemen, particularly in besieged Taiz, have suffered emotionally because of the war. We had never seen such crimes before the war,” he said. 

On social media, the police statement and photographs of the two deceased children have elicited condolences for the families and calls for an investigation into the motivations behind the suicides and for the protection of children.

“You should investigate with the family about the electronic games they played, such as PUBG, and whether they have Facebook or WhatsApp accounts,” said Adnan Taha on Facebook.

“All communications should be reviewed, since (the children) may be vulnerable to harassment and extortion,” Taha said.

Another social media user, Muneir Al-Qaisi, urged local security agencies not to bury the victims before autopsies are conducted to determine whether they consumed anything poisonous.

“We hope you will not hurry to bury them and (will) examine their bodies,” Al-Qaisi said.

“It is conceivable that the parents are unaware of beverages or meals being shared among the children,” said Al-Qaisi.

Investigator Alawi responded to accusations of a hasty burial by stating that one of the boys was buried at the request of his family and only after investigators examined both the corpse and the scene.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2245366/middle-east

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Israeli forces arrest senior Islamic Jihad member in West Bank raids

05 February 2023

Israeli forces have arrested nearly two dozen Palestinians, among them a senior member of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement, in raids across the occupied West Bank.

Palestinian Prisoner’s Media Office reported Sunday that the occupation troops had detained Khader Adnan in his hometown of Arraba near the city of Jenin.

Adnan, 44, had been arrested after Israeli forces raided his home and terrorized his family in the middle of the night, the Palestinian Wafa news agency reported.

The Islamic Jihad member has been arrested several times in recent years and served several prison sentences. He has also gone on hunger strike several times over Tel Aviv's so-called policy of administrative detention.

Other Palestinians, who were mostly young, were taken into Israeli custody in the West Bank villages of Ajjah and Bir al-Basha and the towns of Bani Na'im and Beit Fajjar.

The Israeli military frequently carries out wide-ranging arrest campaigns across the West Bank under the pretext of searching for “wanted” Palestinians.

Over the past months, Israel has ramped up attacks on Palestinian towns and cities throughout the occupied territories. As a result of these attacks, dozens of Palestinians have lost their lives and many others have been arrested.

The United Nations marked 2022 as the deadliest year for Palestinians in the West Bank in 16 years.

Israeli forces killed at least 171 Palestinians in the West Bank and occupied East al-Quds last year, including more than 30 children. At least 9,000 others were injured as well.

Moreover, thousands of Palestinians are held in Israeli jails. Hundreds have been imprisoned under the practice of administrative detention, which allows incarcerating Palestinian inmates without trial or charge.

Israeli jail authorities keep Palestinian prisoners under deplorable conditions lacking proper hygienic standards. Palestinian inmates have also been subjected to systematic torture, harassment, and repression.

Source: Press TV

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https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2023/02/05/697629/Israel-arrest-Palestinian-Islamic-Jihad-Khader-Adnan

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Africa

 

Mali junta expels UN mission’s human rights chief: govt

February 06, 2023

BAMAKO: Mali’s ruling junta said Sunday that it was expelling the head of the human rights division of MINUSMA, the UN mission there, giving him 48 hours to leave the country.

The decision comes after a Malian rights activist last month denounced the security situation in the country in a speech to a UN gathering, and accused the regime’s new Russian military partners of serious rights violations.

The foreign ministry had declared Guillaume NgefaAtonodokAndali, head of MINUSMA’s human rights section, persona non grata, said a statement issued by government spokesman Col. Abdoulaye Maiga.

“This measure comes after the destabilising and subversive actions of Monsieur Andali,” added the statement, which was also read out on national television news.

Andali had taken it upon himself to decide who were the representatives of civil society, ignoring the authorities and national institutions, the statement added.

“Andali’s bias was even more evident during the last review of the United Nations Security Council on Mali,” the statement added.

On January 27, Aminata Cheick Dicko criticized the regime at a special UN Security Council briefing on Mali.

MINUSMA was set up in 2013 to try to stabilize Mali in the face of the growing threat from jihadist fighters.

Its mission also included the protection of civilians, contributing to peace efforts and defending human rights.

But the security situation has continued to deteriorate in the west African country.

Source: Arab News

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https://www.arabnews.com/node/2245406/world

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Sudan’s army chief says not planning to turn against framework agreement

Adel Abdel Rahim  

05.02.2023

KHARTOUM, Sudan

Sudan’s army chief Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan has denied that the military was planning to turn against a framework agreement with political parties for the country’s transition.

“The armed forces are not planning to turn against what has been agreed upon,” al-Burhan said in a speech in the Nile River State in northern Sudan.

“Rather, the army seeks to get the Sudanese unite together to cruise the country out of the current situation and is trying to find solutions,” he added.

“The army is not against any party and has signed the framework agreement to include all parties,” the army chief stressed.

On December 5, Sudan’s military and political forces signed a framework agreement meant to resolve Sudan’s months-long crisis.

The deal pledges a 2-year transition period and the appointment of a civilian prime minister by the political parties that signed the agreement.

It also calls for the reform of the military and defense sector, unifying the military and integrating the Rapid Support Forces, a paramilitary force, into the army.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/sudan-s-army-chief-says-not-planning-to-turn-against-framework-agreement/2806735

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Tunisia thwarts 3 attempts to cross into Europe, arrests 239 migrants

Yamna Salmi  

05.02.2023

TUNIS, Tunisia

Tunisia said it had foiled three irregular immigration attempts to cross the Mediterranean into Europe.

In a statement, National Guard spokesman HosamEddin Al-Jababli said 239 irregular migrants were arrested Saturday overnight while trying to illegally cross into Europe by the sea in the eastern towns of Mahdia, Nabeul, and the southern city of Sfax.

He added that the migrants were from Tunisia and a number of African countries.

The spokesman specified that another 16 Tunisians were arrested while planning to sail surreptitiously toward Italy.

For years, North African countries such as Tunisia, Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, and Morocco have witnessed attempts by migrants – mainly from sub-Saharan Africa – to reach Europe, hoping for a better life. While some of the migrants manage to reach their destination, others often die during the journey.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/tunisia-thwarts-3-attempts-to-cross-into-europe-arrests-239-migrants/2806713

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North America

 

US repeating flimsy Iraq War pretexts against Syria: FM Mekdad

05 February 2023

Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad has lashed out at the United States over its hostile policies against the war-torn country, saying that Washington and its European allies are reusing the same flimsy pretexts they used for the 2003 invasion of Iraq against his country.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons claimed in a report late last month that investigators had “reasonable grounds to believe” the Syrian air force had dropped two cylinders of chlorine gas on the town of Douma back in 2018.

Syria dismissed the statement on Thursday, saying the OPCW has been biased towards “Western positions.”

On April 14, 2018, the United States, Britain, and France carried out a string of airstrikes against Syria after they alleged the Syrian government had used chemical weapons on Douma, located about 10 kilometers northeast of the capital Damascus.

The alleged attack, strongly rejected by the Syrian government repeatedly, was reported by the so-called civil defense group White Helmets, which published videos showing them purportedly treating survivors.

The Western media and governments have on numerous occasions accused the Syrian government of using chemical weapons against its own citizens in the war against terrorists.

This is while Syria surrendered its stockpile of chemical weapons in 2014 to a joint mission led by the United States and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which oversaw the destruction of the weaponry. It has also consistently denied using chemical weapons.

On Sunday, Mekdad called on the international community to learn from the past, and do not allow the United States and its European allies – particularly France, Britain and Germany – to re-invent their flimsy pretexts in order to justify interference in the internal affairs of other countries, and undermine their security, stability and prosperity.

He recalled that US Secretary of State Colin Powell “put on a ridiculous and deceitful show” at the UN Security Council 20 years ago to justify the US-led invasion of Iraq on the pretext that “Baghdad was in possession of weapons of mass destruction.”

“Everyone knows about the disastrous upshot of the military campaign, as well as the war crimes and crimes against humanity that US military forces and their allies committed in Iraq,” he said.

Source: Press TV

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https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2023/02/05/697643/US-reusing-flimsy-Iraq-War-pretexts-against-Syria-FM-Mekdad
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Europe

 

Rushdie releases new novel, 6 months after knife attack

February 6, 2023

LONDON: Six months after being stabbed, British author Salman Rushdie on Tuesday publishes his new novel “Victory City”, an “epic tale” of a 14th-century woman who defies a patriarchal world to rule a city.

Written before the US knife attack that nearly took the Indian-born author’s life, the novel purports to be a translation of a historical epic originally written in Sanskrit.

The much-anticipated work tells the tale of young orphan girl Pampa Kampana who is endowed by a goddess with magical powers and founds the city, in modern-day India, of Bisnaga, which translates as Victory City.

Rushdie, 75, will not promote his 15th novel due to his physical condition, although his agent Andrew Wylie told The Guardian that his “recovery is progressing”.

He was attacked as he was about to speak at a conference in Chautauqua in upstate New York, near Lake Erie, on Aug 12.

The author had lived in hiding for years after Iran’s first supreme leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini ordered his killing for what he deemed the blasphemous nature of “The Satanic Verses”.

The stabbing suspect, HadiMatar, a 24-year-old from New Jersey with roots in Lebanon, was arrested immediately after the attack and subsequently pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Words ‘the only victors’

Rushdie, a naturalised American who has lived in New York for 20 years, lost the sight in one eye and the use of one hand, Wylie said in October.

The attack shocked the West but was welcomed by extremists in Muslim countries such as Iran and Pakistan.

While not personally promoting the book, Rushdie has begun to communicate via social network Twitter, most often to share press reviews of his new novel.

Several events are also planned to accompany its release, including a conference with writers Margaret Atwood and Neil Gaiman that will be broadcast online.

An icon of free speech since he was subjected to the fatwa that forced him into hiding, Rushdie is still an outspoken defender of the power of words.

His new work follows a heroine on a mission to “give women equal agency in a patriarchal world”, according to publisher Penguin Random House’s summary.

The book tells the tale of Pampa Kampana’s creation of a city and of its downfall.

“Over the next 250 years, Pampa Kampana’s life becomes deeply interwoven with Bisnaga’s, from its literal sowing from a bag of magic seeds to its tragic ruination in the most human of ways: the hubris of those in power,” it added.

The novel concludes with the statement: “Words are the only victors”.

A ‘triumph’

US author Colum McCann wrote in The New York Times that his friend Rushdie was saying “something quite profound” in Victory City.

“He’s saying, ‘You will never take the fundamental act of storytelling away from people.’

“In the face of danger, even in the face of death, he manages to say that storytelling is one currency we all have.”

The Atlantic magazine called it a “triumph — not because it exists, but because it is utterly enchanting.

“When you think about it, Rushdie’s novels are a miracle,” it added.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/leisure/entertainment/2023/02/06/rushdie-releases-new-novel-6-months-after-knife-attack/

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Italy withdraws tsunami warning after deadly earthquake hits Turkey, Syria

06 February ,2023

Italian authorities said on Monday they had withdrawn a tsunami warning for the country’s southern coast that was raised after a major earthquake struck central Turkey and northwest Syria, killing hundreds of people.

Italy’s Civil Protection Department had issued a statement recommending people to move away from coastal areas but later reduced the alert and tweeted that it had been withdrawn.

Train traffic in the southern regions of Sicily, Calabria and Apulia had been temporarily halted as a precaution but resumed in the morning, the agency said in the statement.
Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/world/2023/02/06/Italy-withdraws-tsunami-warning-after-deadly-earthquake-hits-Turkey-Syria

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Ukraine, Israel say are prepared to offer help to Turkey after devastating earthquake

06 February ,2023

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that his country was ready to provide necessary assistance to “friendly” Turkish people in the aftermath of the earthquake that struck the country earlier on Monday.

“Shocked by the news about the death and injury of hundreds of people as a result of the earthquake in Turkey,” Zelenskyy said on Twitter.

“We extend our condolences to the families of the victims and wish the injured a speedy recovery. We are in this moment close to the friendly Turkish people, ready to provide the necessary assistance.”

Separately, Israel on Monday said it was prepared to aid Turkey after the 7.8-magnitude earthquake.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/world/2023/02/06/Ukraine-ready-to-help-friendly-Turkish-people-after-earthquake-Zelenskyy-

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Rescue teams from Netherlands, Romania on way to Türkiye over powerful quake

Agnes Szucs

06.02.2023

BRUSSELS

Rescue teams from the Netherlands and Romania are already on the way to Türkiye to bring help after “the devastating earthquake,” the EU commissioner for crisis management said on Monday.

“The EU’s Emergency Response Coordination Centre is coordinating the deployment of rescue teams from Europe,” JanezLenarcic announced on Twitter.

“Teams from the Netherlands and Romania are already on their way,” he added, expressing solidarity with Türkiye "in the wake of the devastating earthquake."

At least 284 people were killed and over 2,320 others injured after a strong earthquake jolted southern Türkiye on Monday morning, according to the country's disaster agency.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/rescue-teams-from-netherlands-romania-on-way-to-turkiye-over-powerful-quake/2807568

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Islamophobic graffiti trigger backlash from Bosnians

Mustafa Talha Öztürk

05.02.2023

BELGRADE, Serbia

Islamophobic graffiti and murals painted in Capljina in Bosnia and Herzegovina triggered a backlash from residents Saturday.

Threatening articles such as "Kill Balija (an expression used to insult Bosnian Muslims)" and "We will slaughter Muslim women and children," were written on the Franje Tudjman Bridge in Capljina, where the Croat population is concentrated.

"The murals were written by irresponsible people who aim to humiliate the Bosniak population and spread hatred, intolerance and division among the residents of Capljina. We hope that the perpetrators are found and the different institutions react." said City Administration spokesperson Danijela Nogolica.

She urged residents to be responsible to themselves and others and added the city government condemned the action and the graffiti was painted over.

Capljina police said an investigation was launched to find and punish the perpetrators.

Vandals attack a mosque last weekend in northeastern Bosnia Herzegovina that sparked backlash and widespread criticism.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/islamophobic-graffiti-trigger-backlash-from-bosnians/2806428

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URL:  https://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/bjp-minority-morcha-sufi-ulema-muslim-community/d/129043

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