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Islamic World News ( 21 Apr 2023, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Blow For Those Fighting For Justice: Indian Court Acquits 69 People Of Murder Of 11 Muslims During 2002 Gujarat Riots

New Age Islam News Bureau

21 April 2023

 

A police van transports some of those convicted in 2016 in connection with the Gujarat communal riots. Photograph: Amit Dave/Reuters

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2022 Coimbatore Temple Blast: Suicide Bomber Was Inspired By ISIS Ideology, Sermons Of Islamic Cleric, Says NIA

Israelis, Palestinians Share West Bank Iftar ‘To End Hatred’

Marcos Urges Muslims To Sustain Values, Teachings Discerned During Ramadan

Visiting Families Of DeceasedOn Eid, An Afghan Tradition, Un-Islamic: Scholars

India

Shia Leader, Ruhullah Mehdi, Proposes Signature Campaign Across J&K And Ladakh Against Abrogation Of Article 370

WWE star Mustafa Ali visits Mecca; Speaks about how being religious has changed him

UP Cops Deploy Drones In Hunt For Don Atiq Ahmed's Wife

Warmth from the hearth: Ramadan food traditions

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Mideast

At Least 85 Killed In Ramadan Crush In Sanaa, Yemen

Netanyahu Taps Far-Right Minister, May Golan,  For New York Consul Post

120,000 people perform Eid al-Fitr prayer at Al-Aqsa Mosque

Survey finds Saudi Arabia more popular than Iran in 13 Muslim countries

Dozens of Syrians expelled from Lebanon: security officials

Clashes in Sudan despite calls for Eid ceasefire

Pro-Palestinian support only partly undermined Newman’s re-election

Ramadan brings a rare calm, familiar worries to Jerusalem’s Old City

Iran army gets 200 new ‘strategic’ drones: state media

Quest for Religious War: How Israel Is Unifying Arabs and Muslims Around Palestine

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Europe

President of Ukraine: Ramadan-Bayram Holiday Deserves Peace

The Bulgarian President congratulated the Muslim Community on the occasion of Eid al-Fitr

UK Ambassador to Azerbaijan congratulates Muslims on Ramadan holiday

Officials congratulate Azerbaijan on Ramadan holiday

Largest Mosque In Karakol Hosts Eid Prayer With 5000 People In Attendance

Former prisoner reveals lessons he learnt about anger, forgiveness and faith this Ramadan

Chairman of Caucasian Muslims Office slams statements of Armenian Catholicos

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South Asia

SIGAR Chief Says US Aid Could Be Funding Taliban

Taliban recognition not a focus of Afghanistan meeting, says UN

"Looking Positively": India Ahead Of UN Meeting On Afghanistan In Doha

UN chief to host May meeting on Afghanistan in Qatar

Rana Plaza Fire: Decade after Disaster, Survivors in Bangladesh Beg for Justice

UNICEF is ‘Committed to Stay and Deliver’ in Afghanistan

More Than 3,000 Kabul Municipality Cleaners Receive Aid Packages

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Pakistan

ADIB Becomes First Islamic Bank To Go Live On The UAE KYC Blockchain Platform

Bilawal to become first FM to visit India in over a decade

Fazal rejects SC-sanctioned talks with PTI

SECP, AAOIFI to host first international conference on Islamic Capital Markets

Islamic Coin: World’s first Sharia compliant cryptocurrency to launch in May, co-founder reveals

MIS Forward receives Sharia certification from SRB

Nawaz, Maryam meet Saudi crown prince: Marriyum Aurangzeb

Eid-ul-Fitr 2023: PM felicitates overseas Pakistanis, Muslims around world

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Arab World

UAE Leaders Receive Eid Al Fitr Greetings From Heads Of Arab, Islamic States

Eid Mubarak meaning for Muslim-Friendly Tourism

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and Crown Prince perform Eid Al-Fitr prayers

Saudis serve up breakfast feast to get the Eid holiday off to a perfect start

Saudi Arabia’s Prince Faisal holds call with Iranian FM

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North America

New South Wales Premier, a Catholic, Joins Thousands At Mosque To Celebrate Eid

Sudan’s paramilitary RSF announces 72-hour ceasefire ahead of Muslim holiday, but fighting continues

Muslim Student Union hosts Open Iftar for Ramadan, celebrating community and belief

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Southeast Asia

Eid For Some Sunni Muslims Starts Today, Shiahs Wait Another Day

Malaysian volunteers collect food for needy to tackle Ramadan waste

Muslims should celebrate Eid al-Fitr in simplicity: Minister

DPMs Zahid, Fadillah extend Aidilfitri wishes to all Muslims

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Africa

Eid-el-Fitr: Lawmaker, Betara salutes Buhari, Tinubu, Muslim faithful, calls for peace, unity

Eid-el-Fitr: CDS felicitates with Armed Forces of Nigeria, Muslims

Plateau Governor-Elect, Mutfwang Felicitates With Muslims As they Marks Eid-El-Fitr Celebrations

Sallah: MorayoLebi Congratulates Muslims, Calls For Religious Tolerance

Eid-el-Fitr: AANI President rejoices with Muslim faithful

Eid-El-Fitr: Abidikugu Felicitates With Muslims, Urges Residents To Remain Prayerful

IBEDC introduces new metering initiative, felicitates with Muslims

Ayade tasks Muslims on peace, unity at Eid-el-Fitri

YABATECH rejoices with Muslim faithful, calls for prayer for nation

Muslims urged to observe Islamic tenets

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL:   https://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/justice-indian-court-gujarat-riots/d/129620

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Blow For Those Fighting For Justice: Indian Court Acquits 69 People Of Murder Of 11 Muslims During 2002 Gujarat Riots

 

A police van transports some of those convicted in 2016 in connection with the Gujarat communal riots. Photograph: Amit Dave/Reuters

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Thu 20 Apr 2023

An Indian court has acquitted 69 Hindus, including a former minister from the ruling Bharatiya Janata party (BJP), of the murder of 11 Muslims during communal riots in the western state of Gujarat in 2002.

The case related to the deaths of 11 Muslims who were killed after their homes in the city of Ahmedabad were set alight by Hindu mobs who rampaged through the streets during communal riots that took place in February 2002. According to an investigation into the attack afterwards, “there was no police help received by the Muslims and they were simply at the mercy of the miscreants”.

Thursday’s verdict by the special court dealt another blow for those still fighting for justice for the Gujarat riots. Over the past two decades, the state has been accused of protecting alleged Hindu perpetrators – including those who now hold some of the most powerful political offices in the country – as well as obstructing justice, intimidating Muslim victims and recently releasing some of the few who had been convicted of rape and violence against Muslims in the riots.

Shamshad Pathan, who represented the victims, said they would challenge the court’s decision in a higher court. “Justice has eluded the victims once again,” he said.

The Gujarat riots began after Muslims were suspected of setting alight a train carriage carrying Hindu pilgrims, sparking revenge attacks by Hindu groups in what became one of the worst outbreaks of religious bloodshed in India’s post-independence history. Officially about 1,000 people died in the violence, mostly Muslims, but civil society groups say the number was much higher.

India’s current prime minister, Narendra Modi, who leads the Hindu nationalist BJP government, was chief minister of Gujarat at the time and was accused of complicity in the bloodshed by allowing the Hindu groups to carry out the revenge attacks and encouraging police and authorities not to intervene to stop the violence. Modi denies any role and a supreme court panel found there was not enough evidence to prosecute him.

In this particular case, 86 Hindus were accused but 17 had died during the trial. Among those acquitted was Maya Kodnani, a former minister for Modi, who was a lawmaker at the time of the riots. She was also an accused in a case relating to the murder of 97 people during the riots and was convicted but later cleared by a higher court.

Those involved in rightwing Hindu vigilante groups Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad, which both have close links to them BJP, were also among the accused cleared of charges. As the verdict was announced, cries of “Jai Sri Ram”, a Hindu religious greeting that has been increasingly co-opted and weaponised by Hindu nationalists as a battle cry, were shouted outside the court.

“We have been saying from the first day that they were framed,” said the defence lawyer Chetan Shah. “Some of the accused were not present at the scene on the day of the incident.”

The acquittal of the 69 comes after the Gujarat government, which is still ruled by the BJP, recently decided to give early release to 11 Hindu convicts who had been sentenced to life imprisonment for the gang-rape of a Muslim woman and the murder of members of her family, one of the few convictions successfully made in the Gujarat riots.

… as 2023 gathers pace, and you’re joining us from India, we have a small favour to ask. A new year means new opportunities, and we're hoping this year gives rise to some much-needed stability and progress. Whatever happens, the Guardian will be there, providing clarity and fearless, independent reporting from around the world, 24/7.

Times are tough, and we know not everyone is in a position to pay for news. But as we’re reader-funded, we rely on the ongoing generosity of those who can afford it. This vital support means millions can continue to read reliable reporting on the events shaping our world. Will you invest in the Guardian this year?

Unlike many others, we have no billionaire owner, meaning we can fearlessly chase the truth and report it with integrity. 2023 will be no different; we will work with trademark determination and passion to bring you journalism that’s always free from commercial or political interference. No one edits our editor or diverts our attention from what’s most important.

With your support, we’ll continue to keep Guardian journalism open and free for everyone to read. When access to information is made equal, greater numbers of people can understand global events and their impact on people and communities. Together, we can demand better from the powerful and fight for democracy.

Source: theguardian.com

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https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/apr/20/indian-court-acquits-69-people-of-of-11-muslims-during-2002-gujarat-riots

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 2022 Coimbatore Temple Blast: Suicide Bomber Was Inspired By ISIS Ideology, Sermons Of Islamic Cleric, Says NIA

 

The case pertains to an explosion that took place on October 23, 2022 at an ancient temple | Representative image

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Apr 21, 2023

NEW DELHI: JameshaMubeen, the suicide bomber behind the October 2022 car blast at a temple in Coimbatore, was inspired by ISIS ideology and sermons of Zahran Hashim, the radical Islamic cleric behind the 2019 Easter blasts in Sri Lanka, and wanted to orchestrate a similar attack against ‘non-believers’ in India. The intended targets of Mubeen, who had taken an oath of allegiance to ISIS, included local temples, government offices, district court and public places like parks and the railway station.

This was stated by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in a chargesheet filed on Thursday in the Coimbatore blast case against six associates of Mubeen. In October last year, an IED-fitted vehicle driven by Mubeen had blown up in front of an ancient Temple ‘ArulmiguKottaiSangameshwararThirukovil’ at Eswaran Kovil Street, Ukkadam, Coimbatore, killing him.

While the charges against Mubeen are abated upon his death, the six accused -- Mohammed Asarutheen, Mohammed Thalha, Firos, Mohammed Riyas, Navas and Afsar Khan – have been charged under various sections of UAPA, IPC and Explosive Substances Act. While Thalha sourced the Maruti 800 car bearing registration number TN-01-F-6163 that served as the blast vehicle, Firos, Riyas and Navas loaded the explosives, gas cylinders, etc. in the car. Asarutheen and Afsar, both cousins of Mubeen procured, weighed, mixed and packed the chemical constituents used to manufacture the vehicle-borne IED.

Investigations had revealed that Mubeen was inspired by ISIS ideology to carry out the Coimbatore suicide attack. He had taken ‘bayath’ or oath of allegiance to its self-proclaimed Caliph Abu-al-Hasan al-Hashimi al-Qurashi.

The handwritten notes recovered from Mubeen’s residence slam the existing democratic system in India for not being “in tandem with Islamic laws” and mention government office buildings, district court, parks and railway station, besides a few other local temples in Coimbatore, as intended “targets”.

A pen drive recovered from Mohammed Asarutheen contained video recordings of JameshaMubeen, where he had identified himself as a member of Daulat-e-Islamia (or Islamic State). He had spoken extensively on his intention to commit a suicide terror attack against the ‘kafirs’ (non-believers) and become a martyr. Mubeen, according to the NIA chargesheet, was inspired by the bayans (sermons) of Zahran Hashim, who masterminded the Easter bomb attacks in 2019, killing around 260 people. He wanted to orchestrate a similar kind of attack against the ‘kafirs’ in India.

Islamic State of Khorasan Province’s online magazine ‘Voice of Khorasan’ had owned up the Coimbatore attack in an article titled, ‘A Message to the Inhabitants in the Land Occupied by Cow and Mice-Worshipping Filths’. The article stated that the car blast was a revenge to uphold the honour of their religion and establish Allah’s deen and his law upon his land and to terrorize the ‘kufr’ and its followers with the threat that it was just the beginning, according to NIA.

Source: timesofindia.indiatimes.com

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https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/2022-coimbatore-temple-blast-suicide-bomber-was-inspired-by-isis-ideology-sermons-of-islamic-cleric-says-nia/articleshow/99659708.cms

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 Israelis, Palestinians Share West Bank Iftar ‘To End Hatred’

 

Illustrative: Cooks employed by the Islamic Charitable Society prepare portions of the daily 'iftar' (fast breaking) meal for Palestinian orphans and families in need, in the West Bank city of Hebron, during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, on April 12, 2022. (Hazem Bader/AFP)

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April 20, 2023

South of Bethlehem, Palestinian Territories: Dozens gathered in the occupied West Bank to break the fast during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, but the food is kosher and Israelis are honouring a Palestinian guest.

At a Palestinian property near the Gush Etzion bloc of settlements, in the southern West Bank, an unlikely collection of guests shared a meal organized by the “Roots” initiative.

The Iftar meal is a rare attempt at cross-community dialogue amid a spike in violence in the Palestinian territory, which has been occupied by Israel since the 1967 Six-Day War.

“(We’re a) group of people that wants to end the situation of violence and the hatred between members of the two populations,” said Khaled Abu Awad, the Palestinian partner in the initiative.

He has had two brothers killed in the conflict while numerous family members have been jailed by Israel.

Among around 50 guests were some Israeli settlers.

Alaa, a Palestinian from Jerusalem who requested his surname not be published for security reasons, said he was attending for the first time and did not feel “very comfortable with the people here.”

But the 25-year-old called it a “big mistake” not to talk to Israelis, saying that building a “relationship” may help Palestinians achieve some of their goals.

Around three million Palestinians live in the West Bank alongside hundreds of thousands of Israelis residing in settlements considered illegal under international law.

The “Roots” initiative, known by its Hebrew name “Shorashim” or “Judur” in Arabic, was founded in 2014 to foster dialogue between the two sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The traditional Palestinian dishes have been prepared under rabbinical supervision, so that observant Jews who keep kosher dietary rules can enjoy the food.

Being honoured at the Iftar is Mohammed, a 33-year-old from a nearby village who works in construction in Israel.

He recently rescued an Israeli couple in the West Bank when a group of Palestinians surrounded their car and pelted them with stones.

“I spoke with them in Hebrew, I told them to enter here (my house), I told them: ‘You’re safe and nobody can harm you’,” he said, not giving his surname for security reasons.

Yaakov, a medic and the father of the man he helped, said he was attending a “Roots” event for the first time in order to thank the person who saved his son, who is a soldier.

“(I) think that meetings of this kind can contribute to changing the situation,” said Yaacov, who gave only his first name to protect his son.

ShaulJudelman, one of the initiative’s co-directors, recognizes there is a large degree of “resistance” to such events which can be seen as a “betrayal.”

Judelman called for a “new discourse on the conflict,” adding that “most Palestinians are not attacking us.”

Source: arabnews.com

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https://www.arabnews.com/node/2290491/middle-east

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 Marcos Urges Muslims To Sustain Values, Teachings Discerned During Ramadan

 

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

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April 21, 2023

President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. on Friday urged Muslim brothers and sisters to sustain the values and practices they embody during the Holy Month of Ramadan.

"As you culminate the holy month of Ramadhan by celebrating the Festival of the Breaking of the Fast, may you sustain the values, teachings, and practices that you have wholeheartedly discerned and embodied throughout this time," Marcos said in his Eid'l Fitr message.

"Let these form the foundations of your characters as you continue to fulfill righteous deeds and strive to live a virtuous life moving forward," Marcos added.

He also said the entire Filipino community joins all Muslims in observing the solemn and festive occasion "for we recognize the Islamic faith and embrace it as part of our own collective consciousness."

"With our many faiths informing all our actions and bridging all our differences as a diverse set of peoples, we can transcend any challenge and still remain united under the banners of camaraderie, respect, and love," Marcos said.

"May the Almighty grant all of our fervent wishes and prayers. Eid Mubarak!" he added.

Marcos had declared April 21, 2023 as a regular holiday in observance of the Eid'l Fitr.

One of the most important occasions in Islam, and known as the festival of the breaking of the fast, Eid’l Fitr marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

Eid'l Fitr comes after fulfilling the teachings of Allah. — Anna Felicia Bajo/RSJ, GMA Integrated News

Source: gmanetwork.com

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https://www.gmanetwork.com/news/topstories/nation/867639/marcos-urges-muslims-to-sustain-values-teachings-discerned-during-ramadan/story/

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 Visiting Families Of Deceased On Eid, An Afghan Tradition, Un-Islamic: Scholars

 

Photo: Rajhwok Afghan News Reflecting the Truth

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Ahmad Sohaib Hasrat

21 Apr 2023

KABUL (Pajhwok): Some people visit relatives who have lost loved ones on Eid days to console them, but religious scholars call this tradition illegal and ask people to avoid it.

Muslims around the world on the first day of the Eid wear new cloths, perform prayers and exchange gifts to celebrate Eid, prepare different dishes and serve and fruits to guests because Eid are the days for happiness of Muslims.

People in different provinces of Afghanistan have different traditions. One of the traditions is that they visit the houses of relatives who have lost family members and pay condolences.

A resident of Kabul city, Shamsul Huda, told Pajhwok Afghan News that they traditionally visited relatives of a deceased family member on the first day of Eid.

“It’s a tradition, if you don’t visit such relatives they get sad and complain that it was the first Eid of their deceased family members and our relatives did not come, so when we offer the Eid prayers, we try our best to visit our relatives whose family members had died before Eid.”

He said the purpose of this visit was to offer condolences to the family of the deceased.

Muhibullah, another resident of Qarabagh district of Kabul province, said this tradition was followed in their area and people used to visit the houses of the deceased persons on the first day of Eid and offer condolences to the family.

“This tradition is very common. We don’t visit all villagers, but with whom we have good relations, but we certainly visit those whose family members have died before Eid.”

But religious scholars consider this tradition as un-Islamic.

Religious scholar and university teacher Noorullah Kausar told Pajhwok that visiting the houses of relatives who had lost family members during Eid was forbidden and illegal tradition.

He added: “It is rejected in the light of the religion of Islam to pay condolences to the family of the deceased.”

He added that people should not change the joys of Eid into sadness for a family who had lost relatives by visiting them and they should not visit the house of the deceased person for this tradition.

He said that it is the duty of all the people, the media, and scholars to inform the people in this regard so that they avoid such wrong practices.

Another religious scholar, Qari Abdul Mubeen Maher, also considers this tradition illegal and says that it has negative effects on the society, which turns the happiness of a house into sadness.

He says: “The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) did not grant Fatiha to any dead person after three days, so it is necessary that people do not renew the forgotten grief of the families.”

Source: pajhwok.com

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https://pajhwok.com/2023/04/21/visiting-families-of-deceased-on-eid-un-islamic-scholars/

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 India

 Shia Leader, Ruhullah Mehdi, Proposes Signature Campaign Across J&K And Ladakh Against Abrogation Of Article 370

Apr 21, 2023

Former minister and prominent Shia leader from National Conference Ruhullah Mehdi has suggested that all the political parties should start a signature campaign regarding abrogation of Article 370 across the two Union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh and take those signatures to the Supreme as a fresh plea.

The three time legislator from Budgam district of central Kashmir stated that a copy of the plea should also be sent to the parliament and chief ministers of all the states across the country. The NC leader said that the ‘signature campaign’ was a possibility as the political parties including his own NC, have cadres on the ground to ensure this exercise is conducted. “Campaign in all three regions of Kashmir, Jammu and Ladakh. Go to people. Speak to them, take the signatures. Take those signatures in the shape of a fresh plea to SC. Send a copy to the Parliament. Take it to all the CMs of all States,” he wrote.

Mehdi said that it should be made known that ‘the Aug 5, 2019, decision was unilateral, illegitimate and undemocratic.’ “It did not have the will of the people. It was approved by an individual, an employee (Governor) of GoI whose only job was to fulfil the wish of the GoI, which he has admitted in an interview,” said Mehdi in an exchange of words with the Mayor of Srinagar Junaid Mattu on social media.

The NC leader said that he urged his own party to realise its responsibility and advised it (NC) to forget about the electoral process and start a movement. “I have made it a point for myself that I will not give the legitimacy to post Aug 5 status of J&K & the (supposed) “Assembly” by being part of it,” he said.

The National Conference led by Farooq Abdullah has expressed its willingness to participate in the elections as and when it happens and categorically refused to boycott any elections that will take place in J&K here onwards. However, Abdullah is also leading People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration, an amalgam of regional parties formed in October 2020 to strive for restoration of Article 370 , 35 (A) and statehood of J&K.

“…I see it as a struggle for collective survival. So, it has to be a collective effort. Let the already established political parties take the lead and start the movement and campaign,” he said.

The NC leader said that the only prerequisite to start this campaign that he would push for is no association of any kind with the BJP. “You want to fight an aggression they (BJP) were the aggressors of. So, any individual or a party in the process has to shed off the other side,” he said.

“Get your act together, set your priorities right,get up and start the movement for the return of our rights and dignity. I ask the People's Democratic Party for the same…Any other political party which wants to genuinely fight for it, should come back to the course. It’s never too late for the correction,” he said

The NC leader said that he had disagreement and disappointment with his party as he felt that it didn’t do what it could, in response to ‘aggression’ on Aug 5, 2019 aggression. “It had the carder, resources and an opportunity for course correction…I will take this opportunity to convey to them again,” he said.

Source: economictimes.indiatimes.com

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https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/shia-leader-proposes-signature-campaign-across-jk-and-ladakh-against-abrogation-of-article-370/articleshow/99653206.cms

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WWE star Mustafa Ali visits Mecca; Speaks about how being religious has changed him

Written by VaishnaviShetye

Apr 21, 2023

WWE Superstar Mustafa Ali had decided to take the holy pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Ali will return to the WWE for Kingdom for Night of Champions on May 27.

WWE star Mustafa Ali visits Mecca

37-year-old wrestler Mustafa Ali has taken time out of his schedule to travel to Mecca and perform Umrah during the Holy Month of Ramadan. A lot has changed for him in the 6 years since he joined the company going from being the underdog in the Cruiserweight Classic tournament to now being one of the most influential personalities in American pop culture today. After becoming a father of three, Ali has discovered a softer side of himself that he wasn’t aware existed. Even after welcoming big changes in his personal life, Mustafa has managed to maintain his determination to excel at his sport.

Mustafa Ali talks about his Mecca visit

Mustafa spoke about his visit mentioning that everything has been amazing, “We’re fasting during the month of Ramadan, so the accommodations have been very, very nice.” Ali said the reason his wife and kids could not make it was because of their school and schedule, and the timing of the trip could not work out. He is hopeful that the next time he visits Mecca, his kids will accompany him.

Ali said it was “special” for him to witness Ramadan in Mecca, “I’ve never been to Umrah. I’ve been to Riyadh to perform, but usually when we perform, it’s like we’re in and we’re out. Now that I have a few days here I get to attend, attend these iftars and do media and speaks to people, meet some fans, do some charitable work, and go on some historical tours—all of that’s great.”

The wrestler spoke about how he had expressed his wish to perform Umrah in Mecca but did not know if he could take time away from work. What made this trip even more unique was that he got to do it off a work-related trip. He revealed what happened that led him to Mecca, “The wife and I were discussing Umrah a few weeks ago, like, man, I don’t know with my schedule like it is how I’m going to make this happen, or when I am going to have time to go. And a few days later, they call me asking if I would you like to come to Saudi, and saying they could set up Umrah if I’m interested. And I was like, ‘amazing. Yes. I was just talking about this. Yes, I would love to do it’. So yes, I feel incredibly blessed and thankful for the opportunity.”

Mustafa Ali talks about becoming a father

Mustafa shared how becoming a husband, and then father has helped him. He mentioned how he doesn’t think the timing of the trip is coincidental. He believes that this is his time for self-reflection. Ali expressed how grateful he is to have his family, “I’ve looked at myself, and how selfish it is to not see how blessed you already are. Look at this beautiful family, this beautiful home, this dream job that you’ve acquired. There’s a lot of—I don’t want to say internal conflict, but just thoughts bouncing around my head constantly.”

Mustafa Ali talks about Cruiserweight Classic

Mustafa admitted that the Cruiserweight Classic is very close to his heart. He spoke about how he did not know he was an alternate in the competition at first, which meant he got to be a part of the matches only if someone got hurt. He narrated how he got to compete with Lince Dorado, “A spot opened up and I got to compete with Lince Dorado in the first round, and we had like five minutes. Like you said, I poured my heart and soul into it, and I made it the most action packed five minutes that I could possibly think of. And one thing led to another and, eventually, I took that opportunity and got a job here. I think that tournament is going to remain a cult favorite. I’m proud of the work that I’ve been put into it.”

How WWE helped Mustafa Ali on a personal level

Mustafa explained how lately he has been focusing on the business side of things, “This is a business, so I’m so interested in things like digital media rights and distribution and target audience and demographics and because these are the things I feel can really push certain individuals or groups or stories in certain directions, because at the end of the day, it’s a business.” Ali spoke about how it is not just about the performance anymore, but he also tries to focus on “how we get the most out of this, rather than just the performance side.” The star gushed about how grateful he was to have his wife and family by his  side. He spoke about how he feels the most confident in the ring, but now that he has a family, he has also discovered his soft side.

He continued, “But I also have this caring, tender side of me. I can’t wait to go home to my family and watch movies with them and eat chocolate chip cookies. That’s a side of me that never really existed before. So that’s how it evolved lately.”

Source: pinkvilla.com

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https://www.pinkvilla.com/entertainment/hollywood/wwe-star-mustafa-ali-visits-mecca-speaks-about-how-being-religious-has-changed-him-1217736

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UP cops deploy drones in hunt for don Atiq Ahmed's wife

Apr 21, 2023

PRAYAGRAJ: Police and STF have launched a massive door-to-door search along the Ganga Kachar area on the borders of UP's Prayagraj and Kaushambi and have also employed drones to track down Shaista Parveen, the absconding wife of slain don-turned-politician Atiq Ahmed, following specific inputs on her movement along with two others, reports Kapil Dixit.

According to police, there were at least three occasions in the past 20 days when her whereabouts were tracked, but she managed to give the cops a slip.

A senior police official told TOI, "We have chalked out a fresh strategy to nab Shaista Parveen, who has been changing her hideouts frequently. She is avoiding the use of mobile phones and is allegedly supported by a group of women to evade cops."

Source: timesofindia.indiatimes.com

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https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/allahabad/up-cops-deploy-drones-in-hunt-for-don-atiq-ahmeds-wife/articleshow/99651108.cms

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Warmth from the hearth: Ramadan food traditions

21st April 2023

By Arya U RExpress News Service

KOCHI: With great festive fervour, April brings about a season of celebrations for many religions. It’s a month foodies love. This weekend marks the celebration of Eid-ul-Fitr, which calls for yet another grand feast. Ramadan food traditions still hold the authentic flavour, with both elders and new-generation foodies cherishing them. From crunchy samosas and soft meat cutlets to the trending haleem, there is a lot to gorge on!

Mymoona Syed Mohammed, a 70-year-old settled in Kochi for over four decades, insists on serving and savouring delicacies prepared at home. This is a custom that she cherishes.  “May it be any snack, dessert or main course, everything should be cooked by ourselves,” says Mymoona. “It is a sign of the family’s unity. As we hail from Thalassery, Malabar specials dominate our Ramadan feast table.”

Mymoona adds that she keeps the main course less spicy so as to avoid irritating the stomach lining, as most people would be feasting after a month of religious fasting. Her family feast menu begins with thari kanji made using semolina, followed by appetisers such as sambusa (similar to samosa), chattipathiri, kaipola, unnakkaya and muttamala.

In the sweet segment, Mymoona’s favourite pick is the Arab Alieesa. “It is prepared by cooking whole husked wheat with coconut milk and meat, and seasoned with fried shallots and ghee,” she explains.

“We can use mutton or chicken meat while whipping the wheat. Aleesa and Haleem can be called sisters as they are prepared similarly, but the latter is spicy. Also, it’s a ritual to make achappam and chukkappam too during the Ramadan days.”

Other highlights include orottipathiri, adukkupathiri, and neypathiri served with mutton kurma, chicken roast, aaduthala curry, and aadu liver fry.“Thalassery special must-haves at our feasts are kakkarotti made from the dried and ground flour from mussels, kallumakkayanirachporichath, and muttayappam made using beaten egg and flour. Chemeen appam, where the prawns roast is filled inside the pathiri dough and then steamed, cannot be missed, along with kozhipidi and kunjipathiri,” she says.

Appam-cutlet sandwich, bun nirachathu…

Kochi-based 52-year-old home chef Sajana Jefferson shares some unusual Ramadan food combinations she has witnessed in the suburbs. “One was eating parippuvada by squeezing it inside two vellayappam pieces. The similar cutlet-vellayappam sandwich is another must-try,” she says.

“Bun-nirachathu has minced chicken or beef meat sautéed in mild masalas stuffed into a bun. Served hot, it is delicious and filling.”

She also shares that muttamala, which has been quite popular of late, is believed to be the local version of the Portuguese dish fios de ovos aka jala mas. .Sajana notes feasts are a great time for people to come together. “For Ramadan feast or Iftar parties, our non-Muslim friends also drop in,” she says.

“My children turn the Ramadan feast into their summer hangout, as they get to taste seasonal delicacies like falafel, pazhamnirachathu, and other authentic food items with their friends.”

Malappuram native Abida Yosuf is equally excited to celebrate Ramadan with her children and grandchildren for the first time after the pandemic. The 56-year-old homemaker has planned an exhaustive menu.

“Iranipola, chattipathiri and cutlets are popular starters. The favourite bread item savured with non-veg dishes is pathiri. May it be beef, chicken or mutton dishes, pathiri is the best accompaniment,” she says. “Then, of course, there will be the usual biriyani, thengachoru, and mandi rice.”

Payasams are a must for the feast, especially semiya and cherupayar, she adds. “This time I will cook tapioca pudding for my grandchildren. One handful of tapioca is cooked in 500 ml milk. After that, melt 100g of china grass and add to it along with 1/3rd glass of condensed milk. Stir well and add sugar if needed. Set it aside and pour the thickened solution into a bowl and refrigerate for 1 1/2 hours. Garnish with some dry fruits and serve!”

Two extremes

For Kasaragod-based food vlogger Mohammed Jamsheed Y (‘Plates of Flavour’), Ramadan memories revolve around distributing homemade snacks and savouring the special gruel at the local mosque.

“The festival is also a time to share and help the needy. There are many who are unable to hold a feast or have food at their house due to financial constraints,” he notes.

“Such people will be given treats at the mosques. So I used to go to the mosque along with snacks and juices prepared by my mother to distribute to the needy.”In Kasaragod, he adds, the specialties are varieties of samosa, phirini, soochi made using semolina and milk, and tharikanji.“Though there are many delicacies like mandi, biryani, mutton and beef main course dishes, for me, the happy food is eating a few neypathal with chicken curry garnished with fried coconut,” says Mohammed.

Sharing his Ramzan diaries, Thiruvananthapuram-based food vlogger Mohammed Muhusin (‘Crumbs on my beard’) says paalaada or thin rice crepes, and orotti with mutton curry for breakfast is “heaven”.

“Mutton curry or kuruma paired with paalaada is the best combination to start your Ramzan food affair in Thiruvananthapuram,” he says.

“Lunch is mostly homemade biriyani with chicken fry, beef varatiyath, beef fry, etc. And come evenings, we visit family members and spend dinner with a menu similar to the breakfast menu with a lot of starters. Kinnathapam is a special Eid delicacy of the capital city. There are many seasonal kinnathappam makers in the Manacaud region. The latest food trend stars are the Hyderabadi Haleem and Arab kunafa.”

Mix all the ingredients and blend them well in a food processor or mixer. Pour the mix into a bowl and cover the top with a cling film. Store it in a refrigerator for two hours. Moisture your finger (dip in water) and shape the falafel into balls and fry them for five minutes in hot cooking oil.

In a heated pot add 250 g of oil or ghee, add whole spices in the hot oil and fry for a few seconds. Then add the sliced onion and stir until it becomes a light golden brown colour, next, add the mutton pieces. Mix them well then add salt. Cook the mixture on a medium flame for 5 minutes, until the mutton changes its colour.

Then add ginger garlic paste and garam masala. Stir and combine it well. Cook for 15 minutes on medium heat. Continue to stir. While cooking, add black pepper powder and 2 ltr hot water cover the lid and put on medium flame.

The rice and meat will be cooked in the stock in the hot pot. Once the rice is 90 per cent cooked, splutter the raisins in ghee or oil in another pan, once it’s done, sprinkle it on top of the mutton-rice mixture, mix it well and close. Turn off the heat and serve after five minutes. Serve along with raita.

Source: newindianexpress.com

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Mideast

 

At least 85 killed in Ramadan crush in Sanaa, Yemen

21 APRIL 2023

At least 85 people have been killed in a crush at a school in the rebel-held Yemeni capital of Sanaa on Wednesday night (19 April). This figure is reported by The Guardian as of Thursday afternoon, although some sources give a higher death toll.

The crush took place at the Maeen school in central Sanaa as hundreds of people gathered in a narrow street to get charity handouts worth $9 from a merchant to celebrate the end of the holy month of Ramadan, known as Eid al-Fitr.

On top of the at least 85 confirmed dead, The Guardian reports that some 322 were injured, 50 of whom critically so.

The rebel Houthi movement has controlled Sanaa since the start of the war in Yemen in 2014. The head of their Supreme Revolutionary Council, Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, said the merchant received people via a back gate that was reached by a narrow street and steps, resulting in overcrowding and a crush when the gate was opened.

The Associated Press meanwhile have quoted two witnesses who said that the crush began after Houthi forces fired into the air at an attempt at crowd control, allegedly hitting an electrical wire, causing an explosion and leading to panic.

The UN special envoy for Yemen, Hans Grundberg, said he was "pained and deeply saddened by the tragic stampede on the eve of Eid", adding that "my heartfelt condolences go out to all Yemenis grieving today and I wish the injured a speedy recovery."

The head of the Houthis' General Zakat (Alms) Authority said it would pay $2,000 to each family who lost a relative, while the injured would get around $400.

Source: commonspace.eu

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Netanyahu Taps Far-Right Minister, May Golan,  For New York Consul Post

April 21, 2023

JERUSALEM: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has nominated a Cabinet minister known for inflammatory comments and for leading a grassroots campaign against African migrants to the post of consul general in New York, a high-profile job that deals with outreach to American Jews.

May Golan, currently a minister without portfolio in Netanyahu’s government, built her political career on staunch opposition to African migrants in Israel. She calls them “infiltrators” and has portrayed the estimated 40,000 migrants, mostly concentrated in poor neighborhoods of the southern part of the city of Tel Aviv, as threats to security.

After a failed bid to enter parliament with the ultranationalist Jewish Power party in 2013, she joined Netanyahu’s ruling Likud party and was first elected to parliament in 2019.

Netanyahu recently promised Golan the role of the as yet uncreated Ministry for the Status of Women. His office confirmed media reports on Wednesday that he has offered her the consul general post, citing “her excellent explanatory abilities in English.”

In a post on Twitter, Golan said she was honored to be considered for the post and that she is “completely committed to the unity of the Jewish people.”

“If appointed, I will work with the leaders of all the Jewish organizations — as part of the effort to strengthen the great partnership between Israel and the American Jewish communities,” she said.

Israel’s previous consul general, AssafZamir, resigned last month in protest over the Netanyahu government’s controversial judicial overhaul plan.

The United States is home to the largest Jewish community outside of Israel, with the single largest community living in the greater New York metropolitan area.

Netanyahu’s government is the most ultranationalist and religious in Israel’s 75-year history. Golan is part of the ultranationalist wing of Netanyahu ‘s Likud and her political positions, including comments disparaging the liberal Reform Jewish movement, are likely to cause friction with American Jews, who are overwhelmingly liberal.

Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, the largest Jewish movement in the US, criticized the appointment, saying Golan’s views are “antithetical” to most of the community.

“She will harm not help Israel’s cause,” he wrote on Twitter.

In addition to being a proponent of the judicial overhaul plan that has divided the country, Golan has also advocated annexation of Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, and has long campaigned for the deportation of African migrants.

The Africans, nearly all from long-reclusive Eritrea and war-torn Sudan, say they fled for their lives and face renewed danger if they return. Israel considers the vast majority of the Africans to be job seekers.

In 2014, Golan told the Haaretz newspaper that she avoided restaurants that employed African asylum seekers out of fear of catching diseases.

“If I am racist for wanting to defend my country and for wanting to protect my basic rights and security, then I’m a proud racist,” she said at a rally in south Tel Aviv in 2013.

Source: arabnews.com

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120,000 people perform Eid al-Fitr prayer at Al-Aqsa Mosque

JERUSALEM, Friday, April 21, 2023 (WAFA) – A total of 120,000 people today performed the Eid al-Fitr prayer at Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied Jerusalem despite the strict measures taken by the Israeli occupation authorities, according to the Islamic Endowments Department.

The Department said that 120,000 people performed the Eid prayer inside the mosque compound and in its courtyards.

Meanwhile, WAFA correspondent reported that the occupation forces assaulted Palestinian youths, beating them with sticks near the Lions’ Gate in occupied Jerusalem, while they were on their way to perform the Eid prayer.

During this month of Ramadan, the mosque compound witnessed successive nightly incursions by the Israeli occupation forces and attacks on worshipers and seclusion in the mosque.

Tuesday, the 4th of April and Wednesday, the 5th of the month, marked the peak of such incursions when the occupation forces raided al-Aqsa mosque and assaulted worshippers in shocking scenes recorded on video and widely shared on social media, generating international condemnation.

The police brutalization of the worshippers was reminiscent to the 2021 Ramadan tensions and May violence over Israeli settler takeover of Palestinian property in Sheikh Jarrah, encroachments upon the mosque compound and settler mob violence, culminating in Israeli onslaught on Gaza and large-scale protests throughout historic Palestine.

For many Palestinians in Jerusalem and across the occupied Palestinian territory, Ramadan is directly connected to the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

The Al-Aqsa Mosque compound houses both the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa mosque and is considered the third holiest site in Islam.

Al-Aqsa is located in East Jerusalem, a part of the internationally recognized Palestinian territories that have been occupied by the Israeli military since 1967.

Source: english.wafa.ps

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Survey finds Saudi Arabia more popular than Iran in 13 Muslim countries

April 20, 2023

Approval ratings of Saudi Arabia's leadership was found to be higher than Iran's across all 13 Muslim-majority countries surveyed by in a poll conducted by US analytics firm, Gallup.

Across the countries, spanning from Morocco to Pakistan, median approval of Saudi Arabia's leadership in 2022 was substantially higher than Iran's leadership (39 per cent vs. 14 per cent, respectively).

The countries surveyed were: Kuwait, Libya, Jordan, Pakistan, Morocco, Iraq, Algeria, Tunisia, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Yemen, Palestinian Territories and Turkiye.

Only in Pakistan does a plurality approve of Iran's leadership at 50 per cent (compared to 83 per cent for Saudi Arabia). In no other country is there more than a quarter of the population having positive perceptions of the Islamic Republic, "making Iranian leadership deeply unpopular among the 12 others".  Pakistan is noteworthy in having the second largest Shia population in the world, after Iran.

Countries where Tehran exerted the greatest influence also showed some of the lowest public perception ratings, with large majorities disapproving of Iranian leadership in Iraq (86 per cent), Yemen (80 per cent) and Lebanon (73 per cent).

Gallup also noted that, while Lebanon's Shia population gives Iran relatively high levels of support (58 per cent approval vs. 39 per cent disapproval), Iraq's Shia Muslim population does not (17 per cent vs. 83 per cent), "underscoring a key source of Iraqi nationalist leader, Muqtada Al-Sadr's support."

Attitudes in Turkiye were remarkable, where there was strong disapproval of both countries, with only a three-point approval advantage for the Kingdom. In the Palestinian Territories, the approval gap was a relatively low 12 points, "though Palestinians' opinions of all foreign powers, including China, Russia and the US, have remained similarly low for years."

Gallup concluded its report on its findings by stating: "Beyond being the world's most important oil producer, Saudi Arabia remains the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and a perceived leader of the Muslim world."

"The country's relative popularity in the immediate and surrounding regions makes it a partner that cannot easily be dispensed."

Source: middleeastmonitor.com

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Dozens of Syrians expelled from Lebanon: security officials

April 21, 2023

BEIRUT: Lebanon has deported dozens of Syrians back to the war-torn country they fled from as anti-Syrian sentiment grows amid a dire economic crisis, security officials and a humanitarian source said Friday.

One of the Syrians deported was an army defector, a relative said, warning that “his life is in danger.”

“The army has deported more than 50 Syrians from Lebanon in the past two weeks,” an army official told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not allowed to speak to the press.

Another security official said dozens of Syrians had been expelled.

They said Lebanon’s army intelligence unit had been cracking down on undocumented Syrians, arresting them and handing them to border guards, who then expelled them from Lebanon.

Hundreds of thousands of Syrians fled to neighboring Lebanon after the country’s civil war began in 2011 with the brutal suppression of anti-regime protests.

Authorities say Lebanon hosts around two million Syrian refugees, while nearly 830,000 are registered with the United Nations.

Lebanese authorities have long pushed for Syrian refugees to return, and have made several repatriation efforts they describe as voluntary, but which rights groups say are forced.

Rights groups say some refugees have faced persecution, and reject the idea that refugee returns to Syria are safe.

“The army’s detention centers are full,” and other security agencies have refused to take in the arrested refugees, the army official said, commenting on the move.

“So the army had to take this measure and place them outside Lebanese borders,” he added.

The security and army officials said that Lebanese authorities did not coordinate the effort with Damascus, adding that some of the expelled refugees had returned to Lebanon with the help of smugglers who charged them $100 per person.

A humanitarian source told AFP they had noticed increased army intelligence raids on Syrian communities in Beirut and the Mount Lebanon area since the beginning of April.

Approximately 450 Syrians had been arrested and at least 66 confirmed deported, they said.

“So far in 2023, at least five raids have taken place,” said the source, requesting anonymity as they were not allowed to speak to the media.

Since the Damascus regime regained control of most of Syria, some host countries have sought to expel refugees, citing a relative end to hostilities.

Lebanon has been mired since 2019 in an economic crisis that the World Bank said was one of the worst in modern history.

Source: arabnews.com

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Clashes in Sudan despite calls for Eid ceasefire

April 21, 2023

KHARTOUM: Sudan’s warring forces clashed again in the nation’s capital early Friday, with bombing and shelling reported in several areas of Khartoum, as they ignored appeals by world powers for an end-of-Ramadan cease-fire.

Both UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called separately for a cease-fire of “at least” three days to mark Eid Al-Fitr in the mostly Muslim country, as explosions and gunfire resounded in the capital Khartoum for the sixth straight night.

“On the night of Eid Al-Fitr, several areas of Khartoum were bombed and are still exposed to shelling and clashes between the armed forces and the RSF,” the Central Committee of Sudan Doctors said in a statement.

“We call on all citizens to exercise caution, stay home, close doors and windows and lie down. We also call on these forces to be responsible and immediately stop fighting to protect innocent lives.”

The capital has borne the brunt of some of the fiercest fighting, with most of its five million people sheltering at home without electricity, food or water.

Residents have struggled to sleep for nearly a week and been jolted awake by “the roaring sound of fighter jets and air strikes,” said NazekAbdalla, a 38-year-old in southern Khartoum.

“We locked our doors and windows, hoping no stray bullets would hit our building, Abdalla added. “We wish the fighting would stop during Eid festivities. We know it will not happen though.”

Blinken “condemned the indiscriminate fighting” in separate conversations with both Burhan and Daglo, his spokesperson said in a Friday statement.

“He urged both military leaders to implement and uphold a nationwide cease-fire and sustain it through at least the end of Eid Al-Fitr, Sunday, April 23,” the statement said.

As battles raged Friday, Burhan appeared on television for the first time since hostilities began, to deliver an Eid address as in previous years.

Sitting behind a desk, dressed in military uniform and backgrounded by two Sudanese flags, he made no mention of a truce.

“For Eid this year, our country is bleeding: destruction, desolation and the sound of bullets have taken precedence over joy,” he said.

“We hope that we will come out of this ordeal more united... a single army, a single people... toward a civilian power.”

After two cease-fires failed to take hold in two days, gunfire continued Thursday night, with columns of black smoke rising from buildings around Khartoum International Airport and the army headquarters.

While many sheltered at home, others were venturing out despite the risks “to protect themselves and their families,” said architect TagreedAbdin.

Beyond Khartoum, witnesses reported loud explosions in the city of Obeid, in the central state of North Kordofan.

“It reeks of death in some parts of town,” said one witness in Obeid.

Ahmed Al-Mandhari of the World Health Organization said Thursday that “almost 330 people have died and almost 3,200 more” had been wounded in Khartoum, the western Darfur region and other states.

The fighting has taken a heavy toll on civilians, with the UN children’s agency UNICEF saying “at least nine children have reportedly been killed.”

The World Food Programme (WFP) warned that the violence could plunge millions more into hunger in a country where 15 million people — one-third of the population — already face food insecurity.

It has suspended its Sudan operations after the killing of three WFP workers on Saturday.

Burhan and Daglo’s bitter dispute centered on the planned integration of the RSF into the regular army, a key condition for a final deal aimed at restoring Sudan’s democratic transition.

Around Khartoum and elsewhere, RSF fighters in armored vehicles and pickups mounted with machine guns have taken over the streets.

Many have mounted checkpoints to search cars carrying civilians trying to escape the worst battle zones to safer areas in Khartoum and beyond.

Civilians are becoming increasingly desperate — by Tuesday, thousands had fled the capital, with many reporting streets strewn with corpses.

Medics have warned of a catastrophe, especially in Khartoum, where many hospitals were reportedly caught in the crossfire.

Up to 70 percent of the hospitals in Khartoum and neighboring states have been rendered “out of service” by the fighting, the doctors’ union said.

It has warned the death toll is likely to be far higher than stated, with many wounded unable to reach hospitals.

Several countries’ evacuation plans have been put on hold, with the US Defense Department announcing Thursday that it was deploying forces “nearby in the region” with hopes of “securing and potentially facilitating the departure of US Embassy personnel from Sudan.”

The Sudanese army said 177 Egyptian soldiers were evacuated from the northern city of Meroe to Egypt, which confirmed their arrival. The RSF said later that it handed over another 27 Egyptian soldiers to the Sudanese Red Cross, and Cairo confirmed their arrival at Egypt’s Khartoum embassy.

The United Arab Emirates said it had “led” the mediation for the Egyptians held by the RSF.

Burhan and Daglo toppled autocratic president Omar Al-Bashir together in April 2019 following massive protests against three decades of iron-fisted rule.

In October 2021, they again worked together to oust the civilian government installed after Bashir’s downfall, derailing an internationally backed transition to democracy.

Source: arabnews.com

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Pro-Palestinian support only partly undermined Newman’s re-election

RAY HANANIA

April 21, 2023

CHICAGO: Former Congressman Marie Newman, one of the most pro-Arab and pro-Palestinian members of Congress, lost re-election last year in part because of her criticism of Israel’s government but also because she fought to protect health care needs and opposed the growing influence of corporate PAC on elections.

Newman was elected to Congress in November 2020, but served only one term representing the 3rd Illinois Congressional District, which a New York Times analysis listed as having one of the largest concentrations of Palestinian and Arab voters.

In an interview with Arab News, Newman said that “some leaders” of the Democratic Party establishment targeted her in redistricting, forcing her to face-off with a more senior congressional incumbent, Sean Casten, in the newly drawn 6th District, which diluted Palestinian, Arab and Muslim voter support.

“The district changed dramatically. Over 60 percent of the district was taken away from me, meaning that we were left with 40 percent . . . there was the typical Illinois politics shenanigans that always go on but you can’t cry in your beer about it. You have to live with that. And I think it was that I was outspoken on a few topics, and these are topics the party establishment does not like in general, in the nation,” Newman said, noting that 20 to 25 percent of the former 3rd District was Arab, Muslim and South Asian.

“I was very, very outspoken on no corporate PAC money, and no corporate money and no corporate influence, and that made the party establishment very angry. I was also very outspoken on Medicare for all. The reason we don’t have Medicare for all is that our politicians accept money from health care and pharma, and all things attached to those topics. Another area I was very outspoken on was humanitarian rights, among those in my district. There was a preponderance of folks who felt very strongly. And I might add it wasn’t just Palestinian, Arab and Muslim Americans and South Asian Americans who felt strongly on that topic.”

During her single two-year term in office, Newman introduced many bills supporting the Palestinian and Arab American community and co-sponsored several that were critical of Israel’s government.

Newman co-led the fight with Wisconsin Congressman Mark Pocan to put a spotlight on Israel’s home demolitions and evictions of Palestinians from the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah in May 2021, which was signed by nearly 30 members of Congress.

Newman also supported blocking additional US funding for the “Iron Dome,” criticized Israel’s targeting of Palestinian children during raids and military operations, and endorsed the recognition of the word “Nakba,” which commemorates the UN decision to separate Palestine into a two-state checkerboard rather than as one democratic state for Christians, Muslims and Jews.

As a consequence, Newman was often attacked by pro-Israel activists, rightwing members of Congress and even members of the Democratic Party as being “antisemitic” because she challenged Israel’s government policies.

“It was never that I was antisemitic or that I was putting down Jewish folks or Israeli citizens. I was critical of the Israeli government and I was very clear on that,” Newman told Arab News.

“But the problem is that there were folks that didn’t like me because I was not fond of corporatized politicians and corporatized elections. I was very strong on Medicare for all and other matters of economic equity. There are many issues in that basket, student debt relief and the like.”

Newman said that she is proud of her stand on Palestinian, Arab and Muslim rights, and her criticism of Israel’s government. “And then on humanitarian rights, I was very strong in speaking out. Let’s be clear about what is really happening on the ground, what the Israeli government is doing. The problem they had with me, they being the established and the corporatized Democrats, I have a Jewish husband. I have Jewish kids. They couldn’t call me antisemitic. That was a problem for them.”

Newman said that when she was accused, falsely, of being antisemitic, “They would walk away with their tails between their legs. I just wasn’t having that and it was not going to happen. That has stopped many people and they don’t do that as much as they did.”

She said that her position in support of Palestinian, Arab and Muslim rights was critical in the opposition she faced that caused her to lose re-election in the June 28, 2022 Democratic Primary to two-term Democrat incumbent Sean Casten.

“I do think a strong piece of it was that I was speaking out for Arabs, Muslims and South Asian Americans in a very strong way,” Newman said.

“They (her critics) did not enjoy a lot of my positions on that front and I do think that made them angry and there were a lot of issues they did not like.”

Newman added, “The first time I started to speak out on corporate money and the conditions in Palestine and Israel, I remember I got several phone calls not just from donors, from other electeds . . . It was warnings, threats.”

Palestinian-American ShadinMaali, who served as Newman’s former chief of district affairs for the 3rd Congressional District, said that Newman was an “active voice” in speaking out on humanitarian rights for all people, including Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims, in America.

“Congresswoman Newman reached out in a way to our community that no other elected leader had in the past to understand our issues and to fairly represent the district on all issues, especially human rights within our borders and abroad while she was in Congress,” said Shadin, who is now senior director for growth and operations for EmgageUSA, a coalition of organizations representing Muslim issues.

“The 3rd Congressional District has the largest Palestinian constituency in the country before it was divided. She was the first to reach out in a very positive way to the community and attend all of the events.”

Being a woman made her vulnerable in American politics, she said, adding, “I am just going to say it very clearly, that white men over 50 with a lot of money always win. They always do.”

But Newman emphasized that she could not stand by and watch the “meanness and hatefulness coming out of the Israeli government,” adding, “I don’t believe the Israeli people are that way at all. I don’t believe the Jewish people are that way at all. For me, I think we would all be wise to understand that our reputation is at risk when we don’t pay attention to humanitarian rights.”

Under redistricting, the former 3rd Congressional District was divided among five congressional districts, diluting the political cohesiveness of the Palestinian, Arab and Muslim community.

Parts of the former 3rd Congressional District are now represented by Congressman Bill Foster, Casten, Congressman Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, Congresswoman Lauren Underwood and Congressman Danny Davis.

In April, 2023 Newman was appointed chief executive officer of Little City Foundation, a social services organization serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Little City serves more than 900 people through its residential facilities, day programs and at-home assistance in northern Illinois.

Source: arabnews.com

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Ramadan brings a rare calm, familiar worries to Jerusalem’s Old City

By Louisa Loveluck and Sufian Taha

April 21, 2023

Palestinian Muslim worshipers pray during Laylat al-Qadr, the “Night of Power,” in front of the Dome of the Rock in the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem's Old City on Monday. Laylat al-Qadr is marked late in the holy fasting month of Ramadan and is commemorated as the night the prophet Muhammad received the first revelation of the Quran. (Mahmoud Illean/AP)

JERUSALEM — There’s an energy to these Ramadan nights in Jerusalem’s Old City. As the sun sinks and color seeps from the sky, the stream of worshipers quickens, following the bright lanterns that light the way to al-Aqsa.

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During Islam’s most sacred month, when worshipers fast from sunrise to sunset, there are few places holier than this. For Muslims around the world, the al-Aqsa Mosque compound is the location from which the prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven; for Palestinians in Israel and the occupied territories, whose daily lives are often shaped by Israeli government restrictions, it is also a rare place where they can come together in large numbers and on their own terms.

Source: washingtonpost.com

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Iran army gets 200 new ‘strategic’ drones: state media

April 21, 2023

TEHRAN: Iran’s defense ministry has delivered the army with more than 200 new drones equipped with missile capabilities and electronic warfare systems, state media reported on Thursday.

In a ceremony broadcast on television, Defense Minister Mohammad-Reza Ashtiani handed over “more than 200 long-range strategic drones” to army chief Abdolrahim Mousavi, the official news agency IRNA said.

Produced by the Iranian defense ministry, the drones are designed for reconnaissance and strike missions, and can carry air-to-air and air-to-surface missiles, IRNA said.

The United States and the European Union have sanctioned Iran over its drone program, alleging it had supplied Russia with unmanned aerial vehicles for its war on Ukraine — a charge Tehran denies.

Source: arabnews.com

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Quest for Religious War: How Israel Is Unifying Arabs and Muslims Around Palestine

April 21, 2023

By ordering a brutal attack against Palestinian worshipers inside Al-Aqsa Mosque on the 14th day of the holy Muslim month of Ramadan, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu knew very well that the Palestinians would retaliate.

Netanyahu’s motive should be clear. He wanted to generate a distraction from the mass protests that have rocked Israel, starting in January, and divided Israeli society around ideological and political lines, in ways never witnessed before.

Unwilling to relinquish his hard-earned achievement of finally winning a decisive election and forming an entirely rightwing coalition, while fearing that major concessions to his political rivals could eventually dissolve his government, Netanyahu set his sights on the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

History has proven that Israeli attacks on Palestinian holy places are a guarantor of a Palestinian response. For Netanyahu, and also his National Security Minister, Itamar Ben Gvir, the price of Palestinian retaliation was worth the political gains of unifying Israelis of all political backgrounds behind them. For Ben-Gvir, in particular, the attack against Al-Aqsa would reassure his far-right religious constituency of his commitment to restoring full Israeli Jewish sovereignty over Palestinian Muslim and Christian holy places in the occupied city.

What Netanyahu and his allies may have not anticipated, however, is the intensity of the Palestinian response as hundreds of rockets were fired, not only from besieged Gaza but, even more strategically important, from South Lebanon, towards the northern and southern parts of the country.

Though some damage was reported, the attacks were a political game changer, as it was the first time in years that fighters in two Arab countries coordinated their retaliatory action against Israel and hit back simultaneously.

It will be difficult for Netanyahu to claim any kind of victory after this, unless he takes his country to a major war on two fronts – three, if we are to consider the rise of armed resistance in the Occupied Palestinian West Bank.

However, even a major war could backfire. During the Israeli attack on Gaza in 2014, Israel struggled to sustain a single military front as the war lasted 51 days, leading to an Israeli munition crisis. Were it not for the decision of the Barack Obama Administration to ship massive supplies of munition to Israel to fill its depleted arsenal, Israel could have found itself in an unprecedentedly difficult situation.

The United States, however, is no longer able to play the role of the emergency weapons supplier, at least for now, due to its own ammunition shortage resulting from the Ukraine war. Hence, Israel was careful not to exaggerate in its response to Palestinian and Lebanese rockets. This episode, however, shall prove decisive, as it will empower Israel’s regional enemies, and, instead of boosting, it could potentially undermine Netanyahu’s credibility among his own right-wing camp.

But how could Israel’s most experienced leader in history commit such an obvious strategic error?

Aside from desperately making the decision to attack Al-Aqsa – and likely under pressures from Ben-Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich – Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders often miscalculate the significance of the spiritual component of the Palestinian struggle, and how it ties to Arab and Muslim solidarity with Palestine.

What is currently taking place in Palestine is not a religious war, but some Israeli officials and political parties are keen on turning it into one.

Though warnings against "religious wars" in Palestine – in fact, the entire region – have been mostly linked to Israel’s current “most rightwing government in history”, religious discourses have been the most dominant since the establishment of Israel’s founding ideology, Zionism, in the late 19th century.

Despite the historical fact that Zionism has been situated within a religious context, the founders of the movement were mostly atheists. They merely used religion as a political tool to unify Jews globally around their new ideology and to romanticize in the minds of their followers what is essentially a violent settler colonial movement.

Yet, over the years, the center of power within the Zionist movement has shifted, from liberal Zionism to Zionist Revisionism to, in the last twenty years or so, religious Zionism. For Israel’s current generation of Zionist leaders, religion is not a political tool, but an objective. This is precisely why, as Palestinian men and women were being attacked with ferocity inside the holiest of all mosques, Israeli Jews were attempting to enter the Muslim shrine to sacrifice animals as part of the Passover tradition. Although not many of them have succeeded in doing so, the event suggests that a new kind of conflict is taking shape.

Historically, Israel targeted Muslim and Christian sites to acquire political capital. Late Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon did just that when he conducted a provocative ‘visit’ inside Haram Al-Sharif with hundreds of soldiers in September 2000, and when the Israeli military completely destroyed or seriously damaged 203 mosques during its so-called "Operation Protective Edge" against Gaza in 2014.

Christian sites have also been attacked and oftentimes confiscated. The targeting of Palestinian Christians led many community leaders, the likes of Archbishop Atallah Hanna, to warn against "an unprecedented conspiracy against the Christian existence."

The attack on Palestinian religious symbols goes further than the Occupied Territories into historic Palestine, today’s Israel. The 13th-century architectural marvel, Al-Ahmar Mosque in Safad, for example, was turned by Israeli authorities into a nightclub. A study published by the High Follow-up Committee for Arab Citizens in Israel revealed, in July 2020, that scores of mosques were turned into synagogues, barns, bars or restaurants.

Israel’s targeting of the Arab and Muslim identity of Palestine is now being accelerated under Netanyahu’s leadership. But this strategy is a double-edged sword as witnessed in recent days.

In the video that went viral of Israeli soldiers beating up Muslim worshipers, the distressed pleas of a Palestinian woman groaning in pain were heard. “Oh Allah, Oh Allah,” she repeated. Many in Palestinian media and social media have commented that the response by Palestinian Resistance was specifically to answer the call of the unidentified woman. This is the power of spirituality – the kind of logic that Netanyahu and his allies cannot possibly understand.

On April 3, the Jordanian King rightfully stressed that “it is the duty of every Muslim to deter Israeli escalations against Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem.” When this happens, instead of isolating and browbeating Palestinians, it is Israel that will find itself even more isolated.

Though Palestinians do not see themselves fighting a religious war, protecting their religious symbols stands at the core of their larger fight for freedom, justice and equality.

Dr. RamzyBaroud is a journalist, author and the Editor of The Palestine Chronicle. He is the author of six books. His latest book, co-edited with IlanPappé, is Our Vision for Liberation: Engaged Palestinian Leaders and Intellectuals Speak Out. His other books include My Father was a Freedom Fighter and The Last Earth. Baroud is a Non-resident Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA). His website is www.ramzybaroud.net.

Source: original.antiwar.com

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https://original.antiwar.com/ramzy-baroud/2023/04/20/quest-for-religious-war-how-israel-is-unifying-arabs-and-muslims-around-palestine/

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Europe

 

President of Ukraine: Ramadan-BayramHoliday Deserves Peace

21 April 2023

The bright holiday of Ramadan-Bayram deserves the peace that we strive for so much, deserves the victory that we are all heading to, President of Ukraine VolodymyrZelenskyy said in a video message on Thursday.

“Today, the holy month of Ramadan for Muslims ends... And it ends for the second time during the full-scale aggression of the evil state against Ukraine, against all our people, all communities,” he said.

According to him, “the bright holiday of Ramazan-Bayram deserves completely different conditions. Deserves peace we so long for, deserves victory to which we are all heading.”

I believe, Zelenskyy said, “that the Lord will bless Ukraine with freedom for all our territories and all our people. I wish our entire Muslim community and all Muslims of the world a peaceful holiday!”

Source: en.interfax.com.ua

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https://en.interfax.com.ua/news/general/905346.html

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The Bulgarian President congratulated the Muslim Community on the occasion of Eid al-Fitr

April 21, 2023

President Rumen Radev congratulates the representatives of the Muslim faith in Bulgaria on the occasion of the Eid al-Fitr holiday. This was announced by the presidential press office.

In his greeting, the head of state emphasizes that the shared desire for good and empathy is the strong thread that has united the Bulgarian people for centuries and continues to lead us along the path of salvation of hope, respect and tolerance.

"In days of trial for the whole world, let us encourage compassion and philanthropy. More than ever, we need wisdom and foresight in order to successfully build our joint future and preserve our common home as a place of peace and understanding," stated President Radev in his greeting. The head of state wishes the representatives of the Muslim faith in Bulgaria health and prosperity.

GERB leader BoykoBorissov congratulated the Muslim community in Bulgaria on the occasion of Eid al-Fitr

GERB leader BoykoBorissov congratulated the Muslim community in Bulgaria on the occasion of Eid al-Fitr.

"Happy Eid al-Fitr to all Muslim friends! May it be health, prosperity and love for you and your loved ones! To have strength for good and faith in its meaning," Borissov wrote on his Facebook profile.

The Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan. The three-day Eid al-Fitr is one of the two main Islamic holidays. On it, believers gather for a special holiday prayer, visit each other and consume sweets.

The leader of "Vazrazhdane" KostadinKostadinov congratulated the Bulgarian Muslims on Eid al-Fitr

The leader of "Vazrazhdane" (Revival) KostadinKostadinov today congratulated the Bulgarian Muslims on Eid al-Fitr.

"Happy holiday to these 600,000 of our compatriots who profess the Islamic faith! A person can change everything in his life, but he cannot change the Motherland and parents," he wrote on Facebook.

"May all Bulgarians be alive and well, because regardless of the religion we profess, we are one nation, and we should not allow anyone and anything to separate and divide us!" wished KostadinKostadinov.

Source: novinite.com

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https://www.novinite.com/articles/219778/The+Bulgarian+President+congratulated+the+Muslim+Community+on+the+occasion+of+Eid+al-Fitr

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UK Ambassador to Azerbaijan congratulates Muslims on Ramadan holiday

21 April 2023

BAKU, Azerbaijan, April 21. UK Ambassador to Azerbaijan Fergus Auld congratulated Muslims on the Ramadan holiday, via Twitter, Trend reports.

"I congratulate the world and Azerbaijani Muslims on Ramadan holiday. May Allah accept your fasts!", the publication says.

On the occasion of the Ramadan holiday, a festive prayer on April 21 was performed at the Taza Pir Mosque in Baku. The prayer was carried out with the participation of AllahshukurPashazade, Chairman of the Caucasus Muslims' Board.

Festive prayer was also held in Azerbaijan in 2022, while prior to last year, due to COVID-19 restrictions, the festive prayers weren't performed in the mosques for two years.

The first and last dates of Ramadan are determined by the lunar Islamic calendar.

Source: en.trend.az

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https://en.trend.az/azerbaijan/politics/3738464.html

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Officials congratulate Azerbaijan on Ramadan holiday

21 April 2023

UK Ambassador to Azerbaijan Fergus Auld congratulated Muslims on the Ramadan holiday, Azernews reports.

"I congratulate the world and Azerbaijani Muslims on Ramadan holiday. May Allah accept your fasts!", he tweeted.

Similarly, UN Resident Coordinator in Azerbaijan VladankaAndreeva also congratulated the people of Azerbaijan on the holiday.

Source: azernews.az

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https://www.azernews.az/nation/208956.html

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Largest Mosque In KarakolHosts Eid Prayer With 5000 People In Attendance

AKIPRESS.COM - The largest mosque in Karakol town hosted the Eid prayer, which was attended by around 5,000 people.

AlmazSagyndykov, the Qazi of the Issyk-Kul region, also participated in the prayer.

According to a report from late May 2016, the land for the mosque's construction was allocated in 2012, and it was built with support from the World Assembly of Muslim Youth. The construction of the mosque took two years, from May 2014 to May 2016, and it is now the third largest mosque in Kyrgyzstan.

The mosque can accommodate up to 5,000 to 6,000 people praying at the same time.

Source: akipress.com

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https://akipress.com/news:704091:Largest_mosque_in_Karakol_hosts_Eid_prayer_with_5000_people_in_attendance/

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Former prisoner reveals lessons he learnt about anger, forgiveness and faith this Ramadan

ByHusna Anjum

21 APR 2023

If you look around at Muslims observing Itikaf in any Mosque, you will see individuals from all walks of life. From students to shop keepers, from teachers to office workers.

The act of secluding yourself in a Mosque in the last ten days of Ramadan is an intense undergoing. For one Muslim however, the solitude takes him back four years when he was having conversations with God from a prison cell.

Arsalan Malik is all too grateful for the chance to repent after spending two years in prison for a violent scuffle that changed his life forever. Now the 29-year-old from Hall Green is reformed and focussed on teaching his daughter the lessons he learnt about anger, forgiveness and faith.

Malik, a transport worker, had an ordinary childhood but a weakness for hot headedness. He said: "I was born into a good family but I lived in Aylesbury where there was a lot of racism, I had to learn how to fight my corner.

"It was a rough area and I was fighting a lot, then a disabled member of my family was being picked on and instead of breaking it up, I fought. They were big fellas but I was scared for him.

"Because of my upbringing I thought violence helps sometimes. When the police came I tried to run and hide, this was the first time I started to repent and said 'forgive me, don't let me get caught'. But I was arrested and realised everything is written."

The victim received severe injuries to his face and 23-year-old Malik was sentenced to 24 months behind bars, reduced from a much longer sentence. Malik's biggest regret was the pain it caused his family.

He said: "It was very difficult for my family and my older brother who never cries actually cried everyday. My mother, father, sisters, nieces and nephews all found it hard.

"The most difficult thing was knowing everyone was upset because of my actions, I thought what if I lose my grandparents whilst I am inside? One person's actions can affect so many people, especially your mother and father.

"Now I have a baby girl, if that happened to her I would break down."

Classed as high risk Malik was placed in a single cell but claims the solitude gave him the opportunity to reflect on his actions. He said: "The first night was one of the closest, intimate nights I had talking to my lord, I broke down.

"As a man you want to be strong but with your lord you can talk about anything, especially forgiveness. There are two options in prison; you either get worse and go down the path further or change your life and reflect.

"All the fights and people I hurt, I used the time to repent. I had a good upbringing from my mother so luckily I used my time wisely."

After serving his sentence it was a surreal transition back into life outside. His devoted wife, who he married just before going to prison, was still waiting for him. They only had six months of married life before he was locked up.

His family meanwhile welcomed him with open arms. Malik said: "I had a lot of support. It was very weird and strange as time goes slowly in prison but outside it is so fast paced. In prison you count the time to lunch but outside you can order a takeaway so fast.

"The new Arsalan is calmer, the only thing that works for me is knowing anger is haram (forbidden) and you don't do anything nice when you are angry.

"The prophet Muhammad PBUH was patient even when he was attacked. I have been out for four years and I don't get angry, my wife is lucky she has an anger free Arsalan. She knew it would happen, they all saw something in me.

"Ramadan is the best gift to get closer to your religion and spiritually cleanse. As humans we need to forgive each other but you cannot forget.

"You have to repent and say you will not do it again, always remember 'you did this thing'. If you have no hope for forgiveness you have no motivation to stop what you are doing.

"When I was inside and finally came out I was depressed, I told someone I missed that intimate connection with God. He said sit in Itikaf and since then I have never missed it.

"Deep down what we crave is solitude, we need that one to one with God as it is such a boost."

Four years after prison life and Malik treasures Itikaf at Masjid Esa Ibn Maryam which he praises for its beautiful facilities, care and powerful recitations. When asked what lesson he would pass onto young Muslims today, he laughed saying: "Don't hit people to get your resolution, use your words."

Source: birminghammail.co.uk

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https://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/former-prisoner-reveals-lessons-learnt-26729963

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Chairman of Caucasian Muslims Office slams statements of Armenian Catholicos

BAKU, Azerbaijan, April 21. Azerbaijan is not a country one can speak in hostile manner with, AllahshukurPashazade, Chairman of the Caucasus Muslims' Board (CMB) told journalists, Trend reports.

He made the remark, responding to the recent statement of Armenian Catholicos, who called on Armenians for a new war against Azerbaijan.

"The new calls of the Armenian Catholicos for war stem from the fact that he became a victim of political ambitions, and it is wrong that the clergy interfere in politics," Pashazade said.

Following over a month of military action to liberate its territories from the long-lasting Armenian occupation from late Sept. to early Nov. 2020, Azerbaijan pushed Armenia to sign the surrender document. A joint statement on the matter was made by the Azerbaijani president, Armenia's PM, and the president of Russia.

A complete ceasefire and a cessation of all hostilities in the zone of the Karabakh conflict were introduced on Nov. 10, 2020.

The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, the Armenian Armed Forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts. The 1994 ceasefire agreement was followed by peace negotiations.

Source: en.trend.az

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https://en.trend.az/azerbaijan/society/3738442.html

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South Asia

 

SIGAR Chief Says US Aid Could Be Funding Taliban

By

Fidel Rahmati

April 20, 2023

 On Wednesday, the US Congress heard from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), John Sopko. He said he could not say with assurance that US aid to Afghanistan was “not currently funding the Taliban.”

“While I agree, and we all agree Afghanistan faces a dire humanitarian and economic situation, it is critical that our assistance not be diverted by the Taliban,” SIGAR chief John Sopko said as he testified before the US House Oversight Committee. “Unfortunately, as I sit here today, I cannot assure this committee or the American taxpayer we are not currently funding the Taliban,” said Sopko.

“Nor can I assure you that the Taliban are not diverting the money we are sending from the intended recipients, the poor Afghan people,” he added.

He added that since Mr Biden withdrew US forces from Afghanistan in 2021 after 20 years of fighting there, the Taliban’s attempt to retake control of Kabul has drawn more attention to Sigar.

Meanwhile, the Biden administration has tried to channel funding into Afghanistan through non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the international community rather than interacting directly with the Taliban authorities.

SIGAR warns in its most recent report that aids to the Afghan people could be diverted before it reaches its intended recipient if there are no US observers on the ground to monitor the use of the cash.

Meanwhile, Mr Biden and his Democratic Party accuse the late President Donald Trump of reaching a deal with the Taliban that virtually guaranteed a quick withdrawal with little time to spare.

The deal has set the conditions that led to the disastrous 2021 withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Source: khaama.com

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https://www.khaama.com/sigar-chief-says-us-aid-could-be-funding-taliban/

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Taliban recognition not a focus of Afghanistan meeting, says UN

20 Apr 2023

A UN-convened meeting on Afghanistan next month will not focus on the possible international recognition of the Taliban administration, a UN spokesperson has stressed after comments by the deputy UN chief sparked concern and confusion.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is set to host a closed-door gathering in Doha on May 1-2 of special envoys on Afghanistan from several countries. His deputy, Amina Mohammed, suggested on Monday that the gathering “could find those baby steps to put us back on the pathway to recognition”.

“The Doha conference on the 1st and 2nd of May is not focusing on recognition and we don’t want there to be any confusion about that,” said deputy UN spokesperson Farhan Haq said on Thursday. “The point of discussion … is to build a more unified consensus on the challenges at hand.”

The Taliban seized power in August 2021 as US-led forces withdrew following 20 years of war.

In December, the 193-member UN General Assembly approved postponing, for the second time, a decision on whether to recognise the Afghan Taliban administration by allowing them to send a United Nations ambassador to New York.

Earlier this month, the Taliban began enforcing a ban on Afghan women working for the United Nations after stopping most women from working for humanitarian aid groups in December. Since toppling the Western-backed government, they have also tightened controls over women’s access to public life, including barring women from university and closing most girls’ high schools.

The Taliban has said it respects women’s rights in accordance with its strict interpretation of Islamic law.

Source: aljazeera.com

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https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/4/20/taliban-recognition-not-a-focus-of-afghanistan-meeting-says-un

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"Looking Positively": India Ahead Of UN Meeting On Afghanistan In Doha

April 21, 2023

United Nations: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Thursday that India is looking "positively" at the meeting of Special Envoys on Afghanistan to be hosted by UN chief Antonio Guterres in Doha next month.

UN Secretary-General Guterres will be hosting the meeting in Doha on May 1 and 2.

"We're looking at it. We're looking at it positively, but I guess we'll take a call closer to the time but we are looking at it," Mr Jaishankar said here in response to a question on whether India will be participating in the meeting.

StéphaneDujarric, Spokesman for the UN Secretary-General, said the purpose of the small group meeting is to reinvigorate international engagement around the common objectives for a durable way forward on the situation in Afghanistan.

"The Secretary-General has said and continues to believe that it's an urgent priority to advance an approach based on pragmatism and principles, combined with strategic patience, and to identify parameters for creative, flexible, principled, and constructive engagement.

"It is his aim that the discussions, which will be held behind closed doors, can contribute to a more unified consensus regarding the challenges ahead," Mr Dujarric said.

Mr Jaishankar is on his way to South America, beginning a nine-day trip to Guyana, Panama, Colombia and the Dominican Republic on Friday.

Before his visit, he arrived in New York and met Mr Guterres, discussing the situation in Sudan with the UN chief.

Source: ndtv.com

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https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/looking-positively-india-ahead-of-un-meeting-on-afghanistan-in-doha-3966588

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UN chief to host May meeting on Afghanistan in Qatar

20 Apr 2023

The UN secretary-general is convening an international meeting on Afghanistan next month in Doha, Qatar, where special envoys from several countries will seek a “durable way forward” for the war-ravaged nation, according to his spokesperson.

Antonio Guterres will host the closed-door gathering with special envoys from various nations on May 1 and 2 to “clarify expectations” about issues including the Taliban authorities’ restrictions on women, Stephane Dujarric told reporters on Wednesday.

“The purpose of this kind of small group meeting is for us to reinvigorate the international engagement around the common objectives for a durable way forward on the situation in Afghanistan,” Dujarric said at UN headquarters.

Guterres “continues to believe that it’s an urgent priority to advance an approach based on pragmatism and principles, combined with strategic patience, and to identify parameters for creative, flexible, principled and constructive engagement”.

It was unclear whether Taliban leadership would be represented at the talks.

Dujarric’s announcement comes after UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed suggested on Monday the gathering “could find those baby steps to put us back on the pathway to recognition … of the Taliban, a principled recognition – in other words, there are conditions.”

Her remarks sparked a backlash from some countries and rights activists. The Taliban administration’s desire for recognition has been viewed as key international leverage to press for an inclusive government and respect for rights, particularly for women, in Afghanistan.

“The intent and purpose of this meeting was never to discuss recognition of the Taliban and any discussion at the meeting about recognition would be unacceptable,” said a US official, speaking on condition of anonymity told Reuters.

Russia’s UN Ambassador VassilyNebenzia also told reporters the meeting was not intended to be about recognition, but rather “be looking for the opinions of those special envoys on how they see the way out for Afghanistan”.

A women rights activist told Al Jazeera she is disturbed by the news of a potential recognition of the Taliban and an EU diplomat said this is not what the UN position was expected to be.

“The recent decision to ban female UN staff has caused real concern here at the UN headquarters and is interesting that in addition to the comment of the deputy secretary general, the head of the UN developing programme recently raised the prospect of the UN pulling out completely from the country,” said Al Jazeera’s James Bays.

Earlier this month, the Taliban banned Afghan women employees of the United Nations from working throughout Afghanistan in a move defined as “disturbing” in a country where some 23 million people, more than half the country’s population, need help.

Since toppling the Western-backed government, they have also tightened controls over women’s access to public life, including barring women from university and closing most girls’ high schools.

The Taliban has said it respects women’s rights in accordance with its strict interpretation of Islamic law.

Deputy Secretary-General Mohammed told an event at Princeton University on Monday that discussion of recognition of the Taliban administration “has to happen … The Taliban clearly want recognition and that’s the leverage we have.”

In December, the 193-member UN General Assembly approved postponing, for the second time, a decision on whether to recognise the Afghan Taliban administration by allowing them to send a UN ambassador to New York.

Source: aljazeera.com

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Rana Plaza Fire: Decade after Disaster, Survivors in Bangladesh Beg for Justice

APRIL 21, 2023

Bangladeshi garment worker Sumi Akhter feared for her safety, but was told to start her shift or risk forfeiting her wages. An hour later she was pinned down under rubble and clinging to life.

Akhter was 18 when she began working at Rana Plaza, a sprawling seven-storey factory complex near the capital Dhaka, now remembered as the site of one of the world’s worst industrial disasters.

More than 1,130 people died in the building’s collapse, a toll compounded by management demands that employees keep working despite glaring signs of an imminent disaster.

“All I want is justice," Akhter, whose mother also worked in the complex and died while trapped under the debris, told AFP.

Both women had been reluctant to return to work after the building was evacuated the day before its collapse following the appearance of cracks in the structure.

“They could have said, ‘Don’t enter the building’," she said. “It could have saved the lives of so many people."

Monday marks the 10th anniversary of a catastrophe that spotlighted the global fashion industry’s reliance on developing world labour working in dangerous and sometimes deadly conditions.

Bangladeshi factory owners have proudly touted their efforts to overhaul the sector, and deadly accidents have declined sharply in the decade since.

For many of the more than 2,000 survivors of the collapse, however, their ordeal never ended.

More than half are unemployed and many suffer from deep psychological trauma, according to a survey by Action Aid.

Weeks after the collapse, while still mourning her mother’s death, Akhter was told that her leg would have to be amputated.

The procedure has left her unable to return to work and requiring ongoing treatment with costs exceeding what she received in compensation.

“We are alive, but we are dying day by day," she said.

‘MAN-MADE DISASTER’

A Bangladesh court indicted 38 people for murder over their roles in the collapse, including Sohel Rana, an influential former ruling party politician who owned the factory.

The trial has been bogged down in delays and prosecutor Bimal Samadder said he was doubtful that a verdict would be reached in the next few years.

He told AFP that witness accounts made it clear that many had died in the disaster because they had been “forced" to work in the building, despite signs it was structurally unsound.

“Managers, factory owners and (the) building owner threatened that they won’t pay them any salaries if they did not work," he said.

Journalist Najmul Huda, who shot footage of cracks in the structure that presaged the disaster, said he was frustrated that he was yet to be called to give his account at court.

Huda was detained by police in 2016 for reporting on wage protests in garment factories and spent months in jail, which he believes was retribution for showing Rana Plaza was at risk of collapse.

“If I did not have footage of the crack, the factory owners and Sohel Rana would have claimed that the building was structurally okay," he said.

“The footage proved it was a man-made disaster."

‘NOBODY TALKS ABOUT IT’

The Rana Plaza collapse prompted foreign brands, unions and manufacturers to jointly create watchdogs that have seen considerable success in improving safety standards.

Industrial accidents remain common in Bangladesh, but the garment sector has seen far fewer major incidents.

The disaster helped create the impetus to clean up a poorly regulated industry, textile factory owner Nafis Ud Doula told AFP.

“Afterwards, all of us realised that the way we were running our factories, we should not run that way," said Doula, also a member of a watchdog working to improve safety standards.

Some labour rights groups, however, warn that the new safety audit system has limits.

Laura Bourgeois at advocacy organisation Sherpa warned of factory managers’ potential to influence worker interviews, and even of “rigged audits with factories that have been set up from scratch".

The safety overhaul cost manufacturers more than two billion dollars, said Doula, but they have also seen phenomenal growth in export orders from foreign brands as a result.

Garment exports from Bangladesh have doubled to $45 billion in the past decade, while average wages have tripled, drawing millions of women from rural areas into the formal workforce.

Among them is Laxmi Soren, waiting in line alongside a dozen other women who were seeking work at a factory, hoping to send money back to her remote village to support her two children.

A stone’s throw away was the empty plot where Rana Plaza once stood, bare except for patches of wild grass and a monument to the dead workers, erected by labour unions.

“Rana Plaza is no longer in people’s thoughts. Nobody talks about it anymore," Soren told AFP.

“But then when I go past the ruins, my heart aches."

Source: news18.com

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https://www.news18.com/world/rana-plaza-fire-decade-after-disaster-survivors-in-bangladesh-beg-for-justice-7601899.html

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UNICEF is ‘Committed to Stay and Deliver’ in Afghanistan

By

Fidel Rahmati

April 21, 2023

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said, “Amidst increasing restrictions on women’s and girls’ rights in Afghanistan, and in a shrinking humanitarian space, UNICEF is committed to stay and deliver to the best of our ability,” quoted by Tolo News.

Fran Equiza, the organization’s representative in Afghanistan, declared that despite all the difficulties, UNICEF stands with the women and children of Afghanistan with the help of our donors, governmental organizations, and men and women worldwide.

 “I can reassure you that UNICEF is committed to staying and delivering to staying and delivering for the women and children in Afghanistan. Moreover, we will take any measures to adapt our operation to make sure we can deliver for the people,” Equiza said.

According to the UNICEF representative in Afghanistan, 28 million people in Afghanistan require humanitarian aid and protection assistance, including 15 million children.

The remarks by the UNICEF representative in Afghanistan came after the UNDP said that the UN is ready to take the “heartbreaking” decision to withdraw from Afghanistan in May if the Taliban does not allow female aid workers for the organizations.

 “It is fair to say that where we are right now is the entire United Nations system having to take a step back and re-evaluate its ability to operate there,” Mr Steiner said. “But it is not about negotiating fundamental principles, human rights.”

The de facto government banned the UN aid workers from working, which has backlashed globally.

The organization said that without female aid workers, its humanitarian assistance in the country would go slowly and called upon the Taliban to reverse the ban on women aid workers in humanitarian organizations.

Source: khaama.com

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https://www.khaama.com/unicef-is-committed-to-stay-and-deliver-in-afghanistan/

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More Than 3,000 Kabul Municipality Cleaners Receive Aid Packages

By

Fidel Rahmati

April 21, 2023

 According to representatives of the charity organization that donated the aid, 3,200 staff members employed by the Kabul Municipality Cleanliness Department in 22 districts of Kabul City received food contributions worth $200,000 in the form of wheat, rice, and oil.

“We helped 3,200 personnel of the Municipality Cleanliness Department,” said Haji Mohammad Faiq, executive director.

According to international community reports, since the Taliban took control of the country, the humanitarian situation has deteriorated.

The UN Development Program recently announced that Afghanistan remains among the world’s poorest countries due to the economic meltdown and dire humanitarian crisis.

Meanwhile, the organization said the suppressive policies against women in the country would add to the crisis.

According to the study by UNDP on Monday in Kabul, the number of impoverished people has increased dramatically from 19 million in 2020 to 34 million in 2022.

 “If foreign aid is reduced this year, Afghanistan may fall from the cliff edge into the abyss,” said the UNDP Resident envoy in Afghanistan, Abdullah Al Dardari.

Source: khaama.com

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Pakistan

 

ADIB becomes first Islamic Bank to go live on the UAE KYC Blockchain Platform

April 21, 2023

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) has become the first Islamic bank to go live on the UAE KYC (Know Your Customer) Blockchain Platform, a national ecosystem for the exchange of verified KYC data between licensing authorities and financial institutions.

Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism (DET) launched the initiative in 2020 in partnership with a group of four founding member banks: Emirates NBD (ENBD), Commercial Bank of Dubai (CBD), Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB), and HSBC. Today, the platform has expanded, with DIFC, RAKEZ, RAK ICC, Mashreq Bank and WioBank also joining the system. The UAE KYC Blockchain Platform will facilitate a faster, more secure onboarding and exchange of digital customer data and documents through advanced blockchain-powered distributed technologies, a first of its kind in the region.

Ahmad Khalifa AlFalasi, CEO, Dubai Business Licence Corporation, commented: “We are pleased to welcome Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank to our growing blockchain ecosystem. Our strategic partnerships with banks to launch the first KYC blockchain platform in the UAE is an important step towards attracting global investors to this market.

Through this advanced mechanism, we aim to further improve the ease of doing business, and overall, further enhance and ensure regulatory compliance in the UAE. As blockchain is a breakthrough technology, we see tremendous potential in streamlining services and operations, saving time, money, and resources for everyone involved – individuals, companies, and government bodies.

“Inspired by our visionary leadership, the blockchain KYC consortium is testament to the positive stance adopted by the government in leveraging blockchain technology to improve business efficiency and transparency. ADIB can now benefit from the KYC data for their customer onboarding and receive data updates for their existing customers,” added AlFalasi.

SamihAwadhalla, Acting Global Head of Retail Banking at ADIB said: “When ADIB joined the UAE KYC Blockchain Consortium, we did so with the clear goal of developing onboarding operations and providing more secure ways of handling and exchanging data. We are proud to support DET and collaborate with fellow banks in this important undertaking. By advancing our ability to protect sensitive data, we hope to provide peace of mind for our customers and enable a seamless user experience.

Astyanax Kanakakis, CEO and Co-Founder of norbloc, said: “The continued expansion of the UAE KYC Blockchain Platform to include key banking institutions, such as ADIB, further strengthens the network which has been live for three years now. ADIB is the third financial institution to join from the emirate of Abu Dhabi, ensuring that norbloc’s Fides platform will continue to provide a significantly better KYC experience for both financial institutions and their clients across the UAE.”

With the launch of the KYC Blockchain Platform, the authenticated and validated KYC data of companies will simultaneously be shared with financial institutions of their preference. This will expedite the opening of bank accounts for newly registered companies and pave the way for a less cumbersome and costly process of managing KYC data for companies that are already registered with the system.— MENAFN

Source: pakobserver.net

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Bilawal to become first FM to visit India in over a decade

Iftikhar A. Khan

April 21, 2023

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari will be the first Pakistani foreign minister to visit India in nearly 12 years, as the Foreign Office confirmed on Thursday that he would attend a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in Goa next month.

This is also the first time since 2016 that the most senior Foreign Office representative would visit India.

Mr Bhutto-Zardari will be leading the Pakistan delegation to the SCO Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM), which will take place in the Indian city of Goa on May 4 and 5, Foreign Office spokesperson Mumtaz Zahrah Baloch announced at a weekly media briefing.

She said the foreign minister would be attending the meeting at the invitation of his Indian counterpart Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, who currently heads the foreign ministers’ council of SCO, which is a regional political and security bloc whose members include Russia, China, India and Pakistan.

“Our participation in the meeting reflects Pakistan’s commitment to the SCO charter and processes and the importance that Pakistan accords to the region in its foreign policy priorities,” Ms Baloch said.

She recalled that Mr Bhutto-Zardari also attended the last year’s meeting of the SCO foreign ministers’ council held in Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan.

Ms Baloch, however, did not confirm if the foreign minister was to meet Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi or his Indian counterpart. She also did not reveal the composition of the Pakis­tani delegation and the exact duration of Mr Bhutto-Zardari’s stay in India.

“I have always said that when decisions are taken, we will make formal announcements. Now that this decision has been taken, we will be making preparations for the visit,” she said to a question at the briefing.

“In the coming days, as decisions are taken, we will be making further announcements. I must underline, however, that the upcoming visit of the foreign minister is not a bilateral visit but a visit in the SCO context,” she said.

Mr Bhutto-Zardari’s India visit will be the first by a Pakistani foreign minister in nearly 12 years. In 2011, the then top Pakistani diplomat, Hina Rabbani Khar, visited India. In 2016, Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry travelled to India on a daylong visit.

Bilawal to seek parties’ input

Separately, Foreign Minister Bhutto-Zardari also confirmed that he would be attending the upcoming SCO moot in India, according to a Dawn.com report.

“It will be a gathering of foreign ministers and I will go there as a representative of Pakistan,” he told reporters at a press conference in Islamabad.

He said his participation in the conference would illustrate Pakistan’s commitment to SCO rules. He said that since he would be representing the country, he would be contacting all political parties prior to his departure to seek their input.

To a question about the possibility of discussing bilateral ties during the trip, he said SCO rules and regulations clearly stated that the forum was not to be used for raising bilateral matters.

Sudan chaos

Regarding the “worrying” developments in Sudan, Ms Baloch told the briefing that the Foreign Office was closely monitoring the safety and security of the Pakistani community present there.

Last week, violence erupted in Sudan between the forces of two generals who seized power in a 2021 coup. The Pakistani embassy in Khartoum was hit by three bullets last week and the chancery building was damaged as well.

The number of Pakistanis in Sudan was somewhere around 1,500. “Our Embassy has advised them to stay indoors for their own safety in view of the developments that are taking place in the country right now,” she said.

CPEC ‘crown jewel’

When asked to comment on the impression that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), initially termed a ‘game-changer’, appeared to have become a burden for Pakistan, Ms Baloch said the multibillion-dollar infrastructure project was the crown jewel of Pakistan-China economic collaboration.

“It is an important project to which both Pakistan and China are fully committed. We believe that CPEC has provided enormous benefits to the people of Pakistan,” she said.

She said the energy projects that have come on line as a result of Chinese investments under the CPEC framework demonstrated their importance for Pakistan’s economy and its development.

Similarly, the people of Pakistan were already benefiting from the road infrastructure and the motorway projects developed under CPEC, she said, adding that anyone who travelled on these roads could appreciate the economic significance of these infrastructure projects.

She said the development of Gwadar Port was also a major achievement under CPEC. “We believe that all these projects are contributing and have the potential to further contribute to Pakistan’s development and prosperity,” she said.

Source: dawn.com

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https://www.dawn.com/news/1748763/bilawal-to-become-first-fm-to-visit-india-in-over-a-decade

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Fazal rejects SC-sanctioned talks with PTI

April 21, 2023

Pakistan Democratic Movement chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman on Thursday rejected the possibility of holding negotiations with Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan despite the directives issued by the Supreme Court a day earlier.

Speaking at a press conference, the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-F leader said: “Inshallah there will be no need for any negotiations [with Imran Khan ].”

During the presser, Fazl took a hardline against both the possibility of any negotiations with PTI and the Supreme Court.

Accusing the apex court of being partial to the PTI chief, the PDM head said: “If the Supreme Court can show flexibility towards Imran Khan, then why can’t they show flexibility towards us?”

In the hard-hitting conference, the PDM chief slammed the court of being partial in the matter.

He asked: “Is this a court or a panchayat?”

Maulana Fazl said: “The court wants us to agree on a date for the elections. According to the Constitution, it is mandatory to hold elections within 90 days, but if Imran Khan agrees on a date, then it is right.”

Source: pakobserver.net

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https://pakobserver.net/fazal-rejects-sc-sanctioned-talks-with-pti/

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SECP, AAOIFI to host first international conference on Islamic Capital Markets

APRIL 21, 2023

The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) and the Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI) are hosting first one-day international conference on Islamic capital markets on May 29, 2023 to define the future direction for the Islamic capital markets in light of the recent judgment of the Federal Shariat Court (FSC) as well as the fast-changing dynamics of the market. The conference is being organized in cooperation with key industry players in the non-bank financial sector and capital market infrastructure institutions, said a press release issued here Thursday.

The AAOIFI is a Bahrain-based, renowned global standard-setting body, entrusted with ensuring the soundness and stability of the Islamic financial services industry, including banking, capital market, and insurance/takaful, in accordance with Shariah. So far, it has issued more than 115 standards in the areas of Shariah, accounting, auditing, ethics, and governance, which are adopted / adapted in different shape and form in no less than 47 jurisdictions and 41 countries globally.

Given the rising need for expansion of Islamic capital markets on a global scale, the conference has been themed “ICM developments with ecosystem completion: innovation, growth, and transformation.”

Eminent speakers, policymakers, and experts of the global Islamic financial services industry from Bahrain, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Turkiye, UAE and UK are expected to participate in the conference. Leading players from the local stock market, the mutual fund industry, non-banking financial institutions, and representatives from the takaful industry from Pakistan will attend the conference.

Source: dailytimes.com.pk

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https://dailytimes.com.pk/1086028/secp-aaoifi-to-host-first-international-conference-on-islamic-capital-markets/

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Islamic Coin: World’s first Sharia compliant cryptocurrency to launch in May, co-founder reveals

April 21, 2023

The world’s first Sharia compliant cryptocurrency, Islamic Coin, will be launched to the public next month, one of its co-founders told Arabian Business.

But what makes it halal?

Islamic Coin, still in private sales mode, operates on the Haqq Blockchain, a network which is compatible with thousands of applications worldwide.

Haqq, which means ‘truth’ in Arabic, stringently abides by Islamic principles and traditions on finance, with the Islamic Coin being its native cryptocurrency.

The currency, still in private sales mode, has been gaining support from venture capitals and financial institutions. According to Islamic Coin co-founder, Mohammed AlKaffAlHashmi, this support will build the community’s trust and confidence in the currency’s traction before its public release.

World’s first Sharia compliant cryptocurrency to launch in May 2023

AlHashmi said that the coin will be launched to the public in May, but did not specify a date.

“We started with private sales mode for a reason. We don’t want people to think that we are using the word ‘Islamic’ to play on their emotions and then moving on to become an investment in something they don’t know,” he told Arabian Business.

“We did some market research and found out that Bitcoin, for example, has become the most famous and successful coin because they have the ‘first mover’ advantage, and it was the first coin,” said AlHashmi.

“When you look at Ethereum, they were the first to start smart contracts. So there is a common factor here: being a ‘first mover’ in something that addresses community needs. I came to the conclusion that if we want to do something successful and meaningful in the blockchain and crypto world, then we should bring something that we are the first movers in and then it should address the needs of and add value to the community.”

Halal: A growing market

The global Islamic finance market is expected to reach over $3.69 trillion by 2024, fuelled by a growing interest in Sharia compliant finance. The Halal products market is projected to reach more than $4 trillion.

“It’s not only about food anymore, it’s also about healthcare products, cosmetics, how to make sure that everything is really Halal and fits with community ethics and values,” AlHashmi said.

The global Muslim community has grown to over 1.8 billion people, which represents a huge untapped and “underserved” market in the crypto world, said AlHashmi adding that Islamic finance is being embraced by non-Muslims worldwide.

Interestingly, at least 50 percent of private sales made in Islamic Coin came from non-Muslims.

“There is no clean ecosystem and environment where Muslims or people who follow Sharia compliance can come and do their projects in.”

“By this, I don’t mean that Bitcoin or Ethereum or other coins are not halal. I cannot judge, but if you look at the available blockchains in the market, it will not make sense that for example, I put a Sharia compliant project in a blockchain that at the same time has a casino project, a gambling project, or another project that charges interest – these would all conflict with Sharia principles.”

“There is always a need to have a clean environment where people can put their projects without having a doubt or thinking: is this halal? Is this haram? Is this Sharia compliant?”

The Haqq blockchain is eco-friendly and has been built in a way that is compatible with Ethereum, making it easy for people who build their projects there to migrate them somewhere else or integrate them.

Crypto startup plans Sharia-compliant use of digital assets for expansion into the Islamic world

Ten percent of every minted Islamic Coin goes to Evergreen DAO, a non-profit virtual foundation focused on long term sustainability and community impact, to fund community projects. However, the coin’s co-founders don’t decide on what projects should be funded.

“We don’t have any influence over Evergreen. It has its own system, which will be launched in Q3 of this year, and the community will be able to vote for the projects to be funded. Then it will go to the Sharia board to make sure it is Sharia compliant.”

Islamic coin as appointed a Sharia board to decide whether a project is compliant with Islamic principles, which AlHashmi said includes the “top five” experts in the region. The board includes 40 banks, including Standard Chartered, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, and Dubai Islamic Bank, among others.

“When we say this, people think that we are trying to indirectly centralise it but that’s not true because everything is welcome to put their project on our blockchain. But we have created something called the Sharia Oracle,” he explained.

“Once you put your project in our blockchain, it is decentralised, we cannot say no to anyone so long as the project is Sharia complaint. You would need to go through the Sharia Oracle.

First, the community would vote for it, then it will go to the Sharia court.

Once that’s happening, you get a badge or a sign that you’re screened and Sharia compliant.”—Arabian Business

Source: pakobserver.net

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MIS Forward receives Sharia certification from SRB

April 21, 2023

Saudi Arabia – MIS Forward, a provider of Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) solutions in Saudi Arabia, has received the Sharia compliance certification from Shariyah Review Bureau, for its MIS Forward App solution in light of Shari’a principles.

The solution offers customers a method to pay a purchase at the partner merchants’ site without any interest or fee for the customer. MIS Forward will be available to online stores and merchants in Saudi Arabia.

MeshariBaselem, the compliance Manager of MIS Forward said: “The key process of the solution consists of 3 main steps, Onboarding through a profile check, usage and continuously repayment. The service allows eligible customer to buy now and pay later for goods or services that are purchased from stores and merchants listed in MIS Forward website or App. Not every customer is approved as each transaction is subject to a review and a detailed check.”

Commenting on receiving the Sharia certification from Shariyah Review Bureau (SRB), he stated: “We wanted to ensure our offering is Sharia compliant and to add value to our payment solution we secured the advisory of Shariah Review Bureau who are a reputable name in the region when it comes to Sharia compliance and audit. They have the track record of supporting payment solution providers with Sharia compliance and we stood to benefit from their service and experience.”

SRB is a renowned global Shari’a advisory firm.

Regulated by the Central Bank of Bahrain, it serves a diverse clientele across the financial landscape. The firm has been engaged with many fintech and blockchain entities with its diverse offerings.

Yasser S Dahlawi, Founder and CEO of Shariyah Review Bureau, said: “We have seen a predominant rise in BNPL financing players where the fintechs are capturing value by providing to customers where traditional institutions have remained slow to respond.” Commenting on the engagement with MIS Forward Yasser added, “We will support and supervise our new partners as they scale their offering and enter a competitive financing payment solution market.”—Zawya News

Source: pakobserver.net

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Nawaz, Maryam meet Saudi crown prince: Marriyum Aurangzeb

April 21, 2023

PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif, along with PML-N Chief Organiser Maryam Nawaz, met Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb said on Friday.

In a tweet, Aurangzeb said, “Muhammad Nawaz Sharif met the Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Maryam Nawaz was also present on the occasion.

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

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

Source: dawn.com

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https://www.dawn.com/news/1748836/nawaz-maryam-meet-saudi-crown-prince-marriyum-aurangzeb

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Eid-ul-Fitr 2023: PM felicitates overseas Pakistanis, Muslims around world

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Friday extended greetings to the overseas Pakistanis and other Muslims across the world celebrating Eid-ul-Fitr.

On his official twitter handle, the premier wished them all a “very happy and blessed” Eid.

“May Allah Kareem accept our worship and forgive our sins,” he added.

Eid-ul-Fitr is being celebrated in the Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Turkiye, Afghanistan, Yemen, Sudan, Jordan and Egypt as well as Muslims in United Sates, England and Europe.

Source: samaaenglish.tv

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Arab World

 

UAE leaders receive Eid Al Fitr greetings from heads of Arab, Islamic states

Fri 21-04-2023

ABU DHABI, 21st April, 2023 (WAM) -- President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan has received messages of congratulations on the occasion of Eid Al Fitr from Kings, Presidents, and Emirs of Arab and Islamic countries.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai; and His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice President, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Presidential Court, also received similar congratulatory messages on the occasion.

Source: wam.ae

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https://www.wam.ae/en/details/1395303149860

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Eid Mubarak meaning for Muslim-Friendly Tourism

Today the 2+ million members of the global eTurboNews travel and tourism-friendly family wish to greet all readers celebrating Eid Mubarak.

Muslim-friendly tourism refers to travel that adheres to Islamic principles. It has four characteristics: Islamic services, Islamic morals in general, Halalness, and the prohibition of gambling and alcohol.

Halal Tourism is one of the fastest growing sector of the industry.

Sharia tourism is a method of incorporating Islamic traditions into all facets of tourism operations.

Muslims are encouraged to travel to see the greatness of Allah’s creation, strengthen mental health and spiritual significance, and appreciate Allah SWT’s creations.

The tourist sector is widely recognized as one of the most critical drivers of economic growth, with Halal and Islamic tourism emerging as a new tourism business idea throughout the world.

Historically, the adventure to Mecca in Saudi Arabia is regarded as a pilgrimage and ‘umrah.

Islam is the world’s second, fastest-growing, and most widely practiced religion. Today there are 1,703,146,000 Muslims in the world.

This religion is based on the Quran, a religious text that followers of Islam believe is the direct word of God.

Under Islam, Muhammad is considered the last Prophet of God, and most believers adhere to his teachings. Followers of Islam are called Muslims.

Friday launches the most important holiday for the Muslim community around the world.

Historians believe that the practice of Islam originated in Mecca and Medina of Saudi Arabia during the early 7th century AD. Around this time, Muhammad began to share messages from the Archangel Gabriel, who God had sent.

Muhammad preached and spread the message from God to people in and around Mecca. He gained a large following, and some of his followers wrote down the revelations in what today is known as the Quran.

Political authorities of the area persecuted Muhammad and his followers.

They feared that Muhammad’s ideas about racial equality and a world with one God would cause instability among the lower class and slave populations. This persecution forced the new Muslims to migrate to Abyssinia (present-day Ethiopia and Eritrea).

After several years of persecution, Muhammad, his family, and the religious converts migrated to Medina in present-day Saudi Arabia. Once in Medina, Muhammad established a political state that adhered to the teachings of Islam. People from several religions came together in this community, called Ummah.

After Muhammad’s death, the religion split concerning disagreements over the proper successors, and Islam gradually began to spread.

Today, Muslims living in non-Muslim countries can stay connected because of advanced communications technology. This allows them to feel they belong to a broader Islamic identity throughout the Muslim World.

Today, Muslims can be found in nearly every country on Earth. Some of these countries, however, have a larger population than others. The top ten largest Muslim populations can be found in: Indonesia (204,847,000), Pakistan (178,000,000), India (172,000,000), Bangladesh (145,607,000), Nigeria (93,839,000), Iran (74,819,000), Turkey (74,660,000), Egypt (73,800,000), Algeria (34,780,000), and Morocco (32,381,000).

Of this list, there are only two countries in which Muslims do not make up the majority of the population: India (14.6%) and Nigeria (47.9%).

An Islamic state is a country that uses Sharia law as the framework for designing and implementing government, laws, and social norms. This idea comes from the previously mentioned caliphates, which were areas ruled by religious leaders believed to be successors of Muhammad.

Today, an Islamic state may include modern political practices, and many include both a parliament and a President. Even the Constitution in these countries is based on Islamic law.

The major Islamic countries are Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Mauritania, and Yemen.

Source: eturbonews.com

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https://eturbonews.com/eid-mubarak-meaning-for-muslim-friendly-tourism/

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Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and Crown Prince perform Eid Al-Fitr prayers

April 21, 2023

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attended Eid Al-Fitr prayers on Friday, Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.

King Salman performed the prayers with dignitaries at Jeddah’s Al-Salam Palace, while the crown prince joined worshippers at the Grand Mosque in Makkah.

Earlier, the king conveyed Eid wishes to Arab and Muslim nations around the world on Twitter, sending hopes of prosperity and stability. 

“May Allah accept from all of us the fasting of Ramadan month, the prayers, and good deeds. May Allah return to all of us Eid, as our country, the Arab and Muslim nations, and all the countries of the world enjoy security, peace, and tranquility,” he tweeted.

On Thursday, King Salman offered a speech on the eve of Eid Al-Fitr delivered by the Minister of Media, Salman bin Yousef Al-Dosari.

He said the Kingdom had the honor of serving Umrah pilgrims during Ramadan.

“Sensing the sacred duty and fulfilling this honorable responsibility, we exert every effort and provide thought and money, and we continue day and night, since the foundation of the state by the founder, the late King Abdulaziz bin Abdulrahman Al Saud, through his sons, the kings. We are proud and honored to continue the mission and will always remain on that path.”

He added, “Millions of Umrah performers were able to perform Umrah rituals during Ramadan this year, thanks to Allah the Almighty's uncountable blessings. This would not have been possible without the grace of Allah and the tireless efforts of numerous government sectors to serve Umrah performers and enable them to perform Umrah with ease and comfort.”

Source: arabnews.com

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https://www.arabnews.com/node/2290646/saudi-arabia

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Saudis serve up breakfast feast to get the Eid holiday off to a perfect start

HAIFA ALSHAMMARI

April 21, 2023

RIYADH: There are many popular Eid Al-Fitr traditions among the people of Saudi Arabia. Some like to hand out sweets to children, for example, while others exchange gifts. One of the most common is for families to get together on Eid morning for a special breakfast.

This is no normal morning snack, it is a veritable feast many families enjoy together after returning from the early-morning Eid prayers. In some places, such as Hail in northern Saudi Arabia, families share their Eid breakfast with neighbors, either by inviting them into their homes or joining together for an outdoor street party, complete with seasonal decorations and carpets, for which each family prepares food to share.

In the Kingdom’s central region, and some other areas, families typically cook mufattah, a traditional meat dish reserved for special occasions such as weddings or the Eid holiday. Although only eaten once or twice a year, it is highly popular in Saudi Arabia and usually made with lamb.

Asim Alotaibi, the owner of Asim’s farm, a butcher’s shop in the Alnarjisneighborhood of northern Riyadh, said: “The animal itself should be clean and healthy. At our farm, we feed our animals grass and barley. The animal can either be young or old; therefore the taste of the meat differs according to the age of the animal.

“The most important thing to me is the quality of meat, and you won’t fully know how good of a quality your product is unless you fed the animal yourself, you managed the process of feeding the animal, and know exactly what your animal is eating.”

Alotaibi said his shop specializes in locally reared lamb and wild camel meat. He owns his own farm in the desert outside of Riyadh, where he said it is important the animals, especially camels, are able to roam free and graze naturally.

This style of organic, free range farming has its challenges, however. Alotaibi told Arab News that it means livestock is more vulnerable to theft, for example, and on one occasion he lost 120 sheep to thieves while his business was preparing delivery orders for a large number of customers a week or two before Eid.

When asked what people should look for when buying meat, Alotaibi said that the way it has been prepared and stored is no less important that the initial quality of the meat itself. Often, people look for what they think is the freshest meat at their local grocery store without paying any attention to how it has been stored, he added.

Khalil Mohammed, a butcher at a supermarket in northern Riyadh, explained how he ensures meat remains at its best.

“We first wash the meat immediately after we skin the lamb,” he said. “Then we wrap the meat in a white cloth. After that, the meat must be stored in refrigerators in cool temperatures ranging from 0 to 5 degrees Celsius.”

He said that storage temperature is key to ensuring the quality of the meat remains high. The lower the temperature, the better the chance it will remain fresh and flavorful for longer.

In terms of the quality of the meat itself, Mohammed said that “the ratio of meat to fat matters,” along with the quality of veterinary care the animals receive.

“The animal must be examined by the veterinarian before it is slaughtered, to ensure it is healthy,” he explained.

Eid Al-Fitr, which begins on Friday in Saudi Arabia, marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan and the start of three days of celebrations and family gatherings.

Source: arabnews.com

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https://www.arabnews.com/node/2290571/saudi-arabia

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Saudi Arabia’s Prince Faisal holds call with Iranian FM

April 20, 2023

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan received a call on Thursday from the Iranian Foreign Minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian.

During their call, they discussed a number of issues of concern to the two countries. They also discussed the next steps in the recently agreed China-brokered deal.

It is the latest in a series of calls between the two ministers since talks hosted by China’s President Xi Jinping in Beijing last month ended with an agreement to restore diplomatic relations.

Iran and Saudi Arabia spent four days in talks in Beijing between March 6 and March 10.

Source: arabnews.com

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https://www.arabnews.com/node/2290411/saudi-arabia

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North America

 

New South WalesPremier, a Catholic, Joins Thousands At Mosque To Celebrate Eid

April 21 2023

Thousands of people including politicians from all sides have marked Eid al-Fitr at Sydney's oldest mosque as Muslims celebrate the end of Ramadan.

The festive day marks the end of the month-long dawn-to-sunset fasting month and is one of the two main holidays for 1.8 billion Muslims across the world.

Lebanese Muslim Association secretary GamelKheir told crowds gathered in front of Lakemba Mosque it is the centrepiece of Islam in Sydney and the beating heart of the Muslim community.

With local representative and cabinet minister Tony Burke in attendance, he urged the federal government to uphold religious freedoms and call out "human rights abuses" against Palestine.

"People should be free to accept or reject standards that do not conform with their own religious beliefs, be that in schools, in a social environment in or a work environment," he said

Premier Chris Minns, a Catholic, said it was "so incredible" to be with thousands of people at the grand mosque in Sydney's inner west on Friday morning to celebrate the end of Ramadan.

"You've welcomed people into your homes, your mosques, your community centres," he said.

"Your example of hospitality is one we should all follow in Australia."

The premier lauded the association for establishing health hubs and communicating the importance of vaccines to the Islamic community during the pandemic.

Labor MP Jihad Dib, NSW's first Muslim minister, said he was incredibly proud to be sworn in on his family's holy Koran.

Liberal MPs Mark Coure, Natalie Ward and Tina Ayyad, the first Muslim woman elected to the state's lower house, were also among notable attendees.

More than 810,000 people nominated Islam as their religion in the 2021 Census, an increase of 200,000 in five years.

Its fast growth is largely attributed to recent migration from Pakistan, Afghanistan, India and Bangladesh.

Source: canberratimes.com.au

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https://www.canberratimes.com.au/story/8167503/nsw-premier-joins-thousands-at-mosque-to-celebrate-eid/?cs=14231

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Sudan’s paramilitary RSF announces 72-hour ceasefire ahead of Muslim holiday, but fighting continues

By Jessie Yeung and CNN journalists in Sudan

Fri April 21, 2023

One of Sudan’s two warring factions has declared a 72-hour truce after nearly a week of fierce fighting, which has left more than 330 people dead and pushed tens of thousands of refugees to flee the country.

Despite the announcement from the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), clashes continued Friday north of the capital – and there has been no confirmation of a ceasefire by its rival Sudan Armed Forces (SAF).

The paramilitary RSF announced the ceasefire in a statement on Twitter early Friday morning local time, saying it was due to begin at 6 a.m.

The ceasefire comes just ahead of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

“The truce coincides with the blessed Eid al-Fitr … to open humanitarian corridors to evacuate citizens and give them the opportunity to greet their families,” the RSF said.

SAF leader Abdel Fattah al-Burhan released an on-camera statement Friday morning, expressing sadness for victims of the fighting and praying for a peaceful Eid – but he made no mention of a truce.

“The ruin and destruction and the sound of gunfire have not allowed a space for the joy that our people across our beloved country deserve, and we are deeply saddened by this,” Burhan said in the statement – his first on-camera remarks since clashes broke out on April 15.

Eyewitnesses that CNN has spoken with said fierce fighting was still raging in Khartoum North, an area north of the capital, on Friday.

World leaders and international organizations have been urging the RSF and SAF to strike a deal since clashes began, but several temporary ceasefires have repeatedly broken down, with both sides trading blame for violating the terms.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke to the heads of both factions earlier this week, and again on Thursday to urge a ceasefire through at least the end of the Eid weekend.

UN Secretary General António Guterres also called for a ceasefire on Thursday “for at least three days marking the Eid al Fitr celebrations to allow civilians trapped in conflict zones to escape and to seek medical treatment, food and other essential supplies.”

Hours before the RSF’s announcement, the African Union called for a one-week ceasefire to allow for the observation of Eid.

The pleas for a truce have grown more urgent in recent days as the death toll climbs. Most hospitals in the capital Khartoum are out of operation, with many having come under attack by shelling; meanwhile, those still operating are rapidly running out of supplies to treat survivors.

Residents have been stranded at home and in shelters without food or water, surrounded by the threat of gunfire and artillery outside.

The fighting could force millions into hunger, the World Food Program (WFP) warned on Thursday.

“Record numbers of people were already facing hunger in Sudan before the conflict erupted on April 15,” it said in a statement, adding that the fighting was preventing the organization from delivering emergency food to civilians.

Evacuation efforts

he ceasefire could provide a crucial window not just for aid distribution and medical care – but for foreign governments to reach their citizens stranded in Sudan.

The US Defense Department said on Thursday it was deploying “additional capabilities” nearby Sudan to secure the US Embassy in the country and assist with a potential evacuation, if the situation calls for it. It includes hundreds of Marines who are already in nearby Djibouti, a US defense official told CNN, with aircraft capable of bringing in ground units to secure an embassy.

US President Joe Biden had “authorized the military to move forward with pre-positioning forces and to develop options in case – and I want to stress right now – in case there’s a need for an evacuation,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said Thursday.

Officials told staffers Wednesday that there are an estimated 16,000 American citizens in Sudan, most of whom are dual nationals. Roughly 500 had contacted the US Embassy since the outbreak of fighting, though only around 50 of those people had asked for help, according to the staffers.

Some countries have already begun the evacuation process, with Japan announcing it would send its Self-Defense Forces to evacuate 60 Japanese nationals, including embassy staff, from Sudan.

South Korea’s defense ministry said Friday it would send a military transport plane to evacuate its nationals from Sudan, adding that the aircraft and troops will “watch the situation from the US military base in Djibouti” since the Khartoum international airport remains closed. It added that all 26 South Koreans in Sudan have been confirmed to be safe, and that their forces would “prioritize the evacuation.”

Sudan’s army said Thursday that 177 Egyptian soldiers who had been trapped in the country were evacuated and safely returned to Egypt.

Local residents, too, are fleeing the country in huge numbers. Eyewitnesses in Khartoum describe growing lines of people at bus stops, hoping to escape the fighting. And up to 20,000 refugees from Sudan’s Darfur region have fled to neighboring Chad in recent days, according to a statement from the UN Refugee Agency.

Source: edition.cnn.com

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https://edition.cnn.com/2023/04/21/africa/sudan-fighting-ceasefire-eid-friday-intl-hnk/index.html

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Muslim Student Union hosts Open Iftar for Ramadan, celebrating community and belief

April 20, 2023

Over 500 members of the Stanford community assembled at Old Union to break fast at an Open Iftar dinner and celebration organized by the Muslim Student Union (MSU) on Thursday.

Open Iftar took place as part of the Muslim community’s celebrations for Ramadan. The MSU has hosted iftars, fast-breaking evening meals, daily during the month of Ramadan with the help of funding from the Associated Students of Stanford University (ASSU) and volunteers from within and outside of the Muslim community.

In Islamic tradition, Ramadan is believed to be the month when the Qur’an — Islam’s central text — began to be revealed to the Prophet Muhammed over a 23-year long period. Over the course of Ramadan, Muslims fast daily from sunrise to sunset, starting with Suhoor, or their meal before sunrise, followed by Iftar, their traditional meal after sundown to break the fast.

Students and community members — Muslim and non-Muslim alike — came together at Old Union, where they ate Halal (Islamically permissible) foods, listened to speakers from the Muslim community and partook in prayers together.

Rami Awwad ’23, an MSU associate who engaged in conversations about Islam with community members over the course of Open Iftar, said that there are regularly non-Muslims on campus joining them in their fast.

“I’ve always thought that it was admirable that they wanted to go through it with us and feel spiritually closer to us and see what it’s like to live the life of a Muslim in Ramadan,” Awwad said.

Awwad also helped to provide English translations of the Qur’an and other resources to interested community members.

At 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, volunteers assembled at Old Union courtyard, setting up tables, prayer tarps, speakers and organizing food orders.

Mahmoud Hamdi ’24, the MSU Vice President, said that the MSU scheduled orders for up to 600 people.

The number of people at Old Union increased to approximately 80 around 7:25 p.m. Community members of different ages began conversing with one another. Shortly after, members of the Muslim community at Stanford spoke about themes of belief, discipline and diversity, with some describing Open Ifar as inviting and a show of community.

Hamdi said the event was “open to Muslims and non-Muslims alike.” He thanked volunteers at the event and addressed themes of justice and human rights around the world.

“We pray that you guide us to uphold Justice as you, oh Allah, are the most just. We pray that you restore justice and grant ease to our Muslim brothers and sisters suffering in Palestine, Ukraine, Sudan, Libya, Rohingya, Yemen, Syria, Turkey, India, Kashmir, Burma and everywhere else around the world,” Hamdi said.

As Hamdi spoke, people started to line up for dates and water, which are traditionally used to break the fast.

Hamdi proceeded to thank the ASSU for the attendance of its representatives, financial support and publicity for Open Iftar. Days before the event, the ASSU and MSU sent an email inviting Stanford students to attend.

Khandaker Aqib ’25, the MSU Public Relations officer, expressed gratitude for the ASSU’s support in publicizing and co-sponsoring Open Iftar to the broader Stanford student body.

“Islam is a religion that invites everybody and is accepting to everyone, and the fact [the ASSU] sent it out to everybody just reinforces that the Muslim community is open to anyone,” Aqib said. He said that “anybody willing to learn” is welcome.

“The collaboration with the MSU on the Open Iftar is what I would hope would be one of many other collaborations with other groups to help facilitate and celebrate their events and community with each other,” ASSU Executive President Darryl Thompson ’23 said at the event.

Shortly before 8 p.m., a call to join the Maghrib prayer — the fourth of the five daily prayers in Islam, taking place shortly after sunset — was made. Over 100 people came together to pray in White Plaza near the Claw fountain. Those in prayer directed themselves towards the city of Mecca, the holiest city in Islamic tradition, as the Qur’an was recited in Arabic.

Hamza El Boudali ’22 M.S. ’23, the former MSU president, spoke of the importance that Islam ascribes to praying towards Mecca.

People began to line up for food shortly after Maghrib was finished. People sat to eat throughout Old Union courtyard and inside Old Union, filling the stairwell and even extending into The Axe & Palm (TAP).

Lara Hafez ’24, currently an MSU co-president, said that she felt hopeful that a turnout of hundreds of community members during an event like Open Iftar, displaying aspects of Islam, could help address misconceptions about Muslims.

Ramadan celebrations in the country have continued as hate crimes have targeted the Muslim community, with a Koreatown Mosque being vandalized on Easter Sunday and a former U.S. Marine attempting to bring a bomb into an Indiana mosque. U.S. Representative Ilhan Omar (D-MN-05) introduced a resolution in condemnation of Islamophobia — domestically and abroad — on the first full day of Ramadan this year.

“Being able to actually highlight, through our actions and through this type of event, what it means to be Muslim is I think really powerful and allows a lot of people to feel like they can interact and coexist with people that are not Muslim,” Hafez said.

Rev. Tiffany Steinwert, the Dean for Religious and Spiritual Life, similarly commemorated Open Iftar’s role in the broader community at Stanford.

“I think the Open Iftar is one of the best examples of who we are as a Stanford community. It embodies the best of who we strive to be because it brings people across difference to celebrate community [and] the opportunity to be one across all of these differences,” Steinwert said.

Source: malaymail.com

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https://stanforddaily.com/2023/04/20/muslim-student-union-hosts-open-iftar-for-ramadan-celebrating-community-and-belief/

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Southeast Asia

 

Eid for some Sunni Muslims starts today, Shiahs wait another day

Friday, 21 Apr 2023

RIYADH, April 21 — Saudi Arabia, home to Islam’s holiest shrines, and other Sunni Muslim countries announced yesterday the holiday of Eid al-Fitr, marking the end of the Ramadan fast, will begin today.

In some countries with a Shiah Muslim majority, authorities have said the holiday will start tomorrow.

“Tomorrow, Friday, is the first day of Eid al-Fitr for this year,” with Thursday the last day of the holy month of Ramadan, the official Saudi Press Agency said on its Twitter account, citing a royal court statement.

The timing of Eid al-Fitr is determined by the sighting of the crescent moon, in accordance with the Muslim lunar calendar.

The holiday is normally celebrated with family gatherings.

Authorities in the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Jordan and Sudan also announced Eid al-Fitr will start today.

In Lebanon, Sunni clerics said the holiday will begin today, while some Shiah leaders announced a Saturday start to the holiday.

Libya, ruled by two rival administrations, will mark Eid today in the country’s east and tomorrow in areas under the control of the Tripoli-based government.

Statements from Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Iraq’s highest Shiah authority, Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, said Eid would start tomorrow in their countries.

Oman will also start Eid tomorrow, as will Indonesia — the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation.

The daytime fasting month of Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam.

Observant Muslims refrain from eating and drinking from dawn to dusk, and traditionally gather with family and friends to break their fast in the evening.

It is also a time for prayer, with the faithful converging in large numbers on mosques, especially at night.

Fasting is widely practised in Saudi Arabia, home of the holiest shrines in Islam in Mecca and Medina.

Saudis are expected to observe a four-day holiday for Eid al-Fitr. — AFP

Source: malaymail.com

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https://www.malaymail.com/news/world/2023/04/21/eid-for-some-sunni-muslims-starts-today-shiahs-wait-another-day/65823

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Malaysian volunteers collect food for needy to tackle Ramadan waste

APRIL 21, 2023

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysian volunteers are tackling food waste during the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan by collecting unsold food from vendors and distributing it to low-income households.

According to government data, about 112,000 tonnes of food went to waste in Muslim-majority Malaysia during Ramadan last year, a figure that non-profit organisation GEMA is trying to reduce.

In the first three weeks of the fasting month, GEMA collected 20 tonnes of leftover food from Ramadan bazaars in the capital Kuala Lumpur, volunteer UmiKelathun Abd Ghani told Reuters, adding the organisation works across the country.

Once collected, the food is weighed and repackaged before being handed out to those in need.

"It would be a waste if such blessings are thrown away. Thanks to (the volunteers') efforts, it can help the lower-income group to eat," said AbawiahSalleh, a recipient in Kuala Lumpur.

Malaysia is expected to see a 15 per cent increase in waste during the fasting month and generate nearly 20 tonnes of food waste daily, according to government figures.

The fasting month ends this week, with Eid-al Fitr expected to be celebrated at the weekend.

Source: asiaone.com

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https://www.asiaone.com/malaysia/malaysian-volunteers-collect-food-needy-tackle-ramadan-waste

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Muslims should celebrate Eid al-Fitr in simplicity: Minister

Jakarta (ANTARA) - Coordinating Minister for Human Development and Culture, Muhadjir Effendy, appealed to Muslims to celebrate Eid al-Fitr in simplicity.

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

In addition, he reminded all Muslims to not be bothered about winning since it is not certain as to whether they had conducted fasting properly during Ramadan.

"It is better for us to stabilize ourselves to worship and surrender to God as well as increase our hard work because one of the signs of a person who is dedicated to God is their willingness to work hard to succeed in their life," the minister remarked.

Effendy also noted that during the Eid celebration, people often say "Taqobalallahuminnawaminkum," which means "May Allah accept our good deeds and all your good deeds."

"Hence, through these words, before we ask for all kinds of things, we should ask God to accept all of our prayers and worship during Ramadan," he remarked.

Earlier, the Ministry of Religious Affairs had decided that Eid al-Fitr 1 Shawwal would fall on April 22. However, the Muhammadiyah Central Executive (PP) had decided to conduct Eid prayers on Friday.

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

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

Based on information from Secretary of the At-Tanwir Mosque of the PP Muhammadiyah office, Zainal Abidin, the Eid prayer held at the PP Muhammadiyah Building field today exceeded the quota from an estimated one thousand people to around two thousand people. Hence, some people offered the Eid prayer on the Menteng street roadside and at the Canisius College field.

Source: en.antaranews.com

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https://en.antaranews.com/news/279375/muslims-should-celebrate-eid-al-fitr-in-simplicity-minister

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DPMs Zahid, Fadillah extend Aidilfitri wishes to all Muslims

Friday, 21 Apr 2023

KUALA LUMPUR, April 21 — Deputy Prime Ministers Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Datuk Seri FadillahYusof today extended Aidilfitri wishes to all Muslims in the country who will celebrate 1 Syawal tomorrow (April 22).

Ahmad Zahid, who is also the Minister of Rural and Regional Development, hopes that Aidilfitri will be celebrated with gratitude.

“I pray for all Muslims in Malaysia to be blessed by Allah SWT. Maaf Zahir dan Batin,” said Ahmad Zahid on his social media accounts.

Meanwhile, Fadillah, who is also the Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities, in a message posted on his Facebook page, said the arrival of Syawal is the biggest victory for every Muslim who fasts properly throughout Ramadan.

He said Ramadan teaches the meaning of gratitude, patience and sacrifice, as well as being grateful for the blessings that have been given and adopting simplicity in all matters.

“Syawal also teaches us the meaning of sharing joy with our loved ones, strengthening existing relationships, and renewing our spirit of brotherhood.

“Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri to my family and friends. For those who are returning to their respective hometowns, may you always be careful during the journey to your hometown,” said Fadillah who prayed that the brotherhood spirit among Malaysians will last. — Bernama

Source: malaymail.com

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Africa

 

Eid-el-Fitr: Lawmaker, Betara salutes Buhari, Tinubu, Muslim faithful, calls for peace, unity

April 21, 2023

By Chika Onyesi

The Chairman, House Committee on Appropriations at the House of Representatives, AliyuMuktarBetara has rejoiced with President Muhammadu Buhari, President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Vice-President-elect Senator KashimShettima and all Muslim faithful on the occasion of Eid-el-Fitr.

In a statement issued to commemorate the end of the holy month of Ramadan, the Lawmaker enjoined all Muslim Faithful to sustain the good deeds exhibited during the holy month and continue to practice the teachings of prophet Muhammad (S. A. W)

While noting that Ramadan has taught all Faithful how to live a selfless and Godly life, Betara who represents

Biu/Bayo/Shani/KwayaKusar Federal Constituency of Borno State in the House of Representatives underscored the need for peaceful co-existence and the unity of Nigeria.

He said: “I wish to enjoin all Muslim Faithful to moderate during the celebration of Eid-el-Fitr and continue to extend love to one another, especially the less-privileged in our Society.

“We should also sustain virtues of self-discipline, sacrifice and compassion to fellow Nigerians, irrespective of religion, tribe or race.”

Betara, one of the aspirants for the position of Speaker in the 10th House of Representatives

also prayed for the peace and unity of Nigeria, calling on all Nigerians to join hands in Nation building.

“I wish to enjoin all Nigerian Citizens to pray Almighty Allah to continue to guide and lead our leaders aright in the journey of nation building.

Source: dailypost.ng

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https://dailypost.ng/2023/04/21/eid-el-fitr-lawmaker-betara-salutes-buhari-tinubu-muslim-faithful-calls-for-peace-unity/

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Eid-el-Fitr: CDS felicitates with Armed Forces of Nigeria, Muslims

April 21, 2023

By John Gabriel

The Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor has felicitated with the members of the Armed Forces of Nigeria on the occasion of Eid-El-Fitr celebration.

In a statement by the Acting Director Defence Information, Brigadier General TukurGusau, he congratulated Muslims all over the world for ending the month of Ramadan successfully.

He prayed to Almighty God to bless Nigerians through this month of Ramadan, just as he urged the citizens to continue praying for the unity and peaceful coexistence of Nigerians

He further urged Nigerians to continue to uphold the lessons of patience and sacrifice with one another as exemplified in the holy month.

While commending the Armed Forces of Nigeria for the role played in the recently concluded supplementary elections, he assured Nigerians of loyalty by the Armed Forces of Nigeria to the democratic leadership.

While wishing Nigerians a happy Sallah celebration, he expressed the commitment of the Armed Forces of Nigeria to uphold constitutional governance in Nigeria.

Source: dailypost.ng

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https://dailypost.ng/2023/04/21/eid-el-fitr-cds-felicitates-with-armed-forces-of-nigeria-muslims/

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Plateau Governor-Elect, Mutfwang Felicitates With Muslims As they Marks Eid-El-Fitr Celebrations

By OnojaAudu

Apr 21, 2023

JOS – Plateau state Governor Elect Barr Caleb Mutfwang has felicitated with the Muslim faithfuls on the Plateau as they join the rest of other Muslims in Nigeria to celebrate this year’s Eid- El-Fitr Celebrations.

Barr Mutfwang in a Press statement issued on Friday through his Director of media campaign council Yiljab Abraham which he made available to Daily Independent, rejoiced with Muslim Umma on this unique festival of breaking of the fast.

Mutfwang commended the Muslim faithfuls for their perseverance and self-discipline all through the Ramadan fasting period.

According to him,by faith, ” we trust God Almighty has received your precious gifts and the intense prayers you have offered on behalf of our State and the whole nation.”

He noted that the 2023 Ramadan and Eid el-Fitr are particularly of great significance as they have taken place within the period of Nigeria political transition period.

Plateau Governor Elect reminded the people of his state that in just about a month away, a new president, state Governors, National Assembly as well as State legislators would be sworn into office in Nigeria’s 24 years of unbroken Democratic journey, adding that as a result of this, the people

should heighten their prayers for their country Nigeria and Plateau State so that all may go well across the entire nation on May 29, 2023 and hereafter.

He charged Citizens of Plateau state to re-commit themselves to peaceful neighborliness stressing that Plateau communities need peace and secure environments to concentrate on their farming and business activities.

“Without peace and security, our communities may be driven into poverty and every form of deprivation.”

He expressed the redness of his incoming administration to offer quality leadership that will unite the people of his state and as well work hand in hand with them, security agencies and as institutions of goodwill to secure Plateau.

He wished Plateau Muslim faithfuls a very refreshing Eid-El-Fitr celebrations .

Source: independent.ng

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https://independent.ng/plateau-governor-elect-mutfwang-felicitates-with-muslims-as-they-marks-eid-el-fitr-celebrations/

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Sallah: MorayoLebi Congratulates Muslims, Calls For Religious Tolerance

By Bolu-OluEsho

Apr 21, 2023

AKURE – Barrister MorayoLebi has congratulated Muslim faithful, particularly those in Ondo State, on the completion of the Ramadan season.

He urged them to continue in the spirit of penitence and remain close to Allah for the betterment of the society.

The All Progressives Congress(APC) chieftain urged all Muslims in the country to continue to pray for peace and strive to love their neighbours irrespective of religious beliefs.

Speaking on the importance of Ramadan, the APC candidate for Ondo South Senatorial District in 2015 explained that it afforded the Muslim faithful to pray for socio-economic development of the nation by praying for people at the helm of affairs of the nation for God’s guidance.

He noted that if the nation’s leadership were God-fearing in its dealings, there would be appreciative developments in all sectors of the economy.

The legal luminary appealed to Muslim faithful in Ondo State to continue to pray for the state and its leadership for sustenance of peace and harmony in the state.

Barrister Lebi, therefore, charged the Muslim faithful to celebrate the Sallah moderately, urging the youth to avoid whatever social engagements that could lead to crime.

Source: independent.ng

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https://independent.ng/sallah-morayo-lebi-congratulates-muslims-calls-for-religious-tolerance/

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Eid-el-Fitr: AANI President rejoices with Muslim faithful

April 21, 2023

Chimezie Godfrey

Former Inspector General of Police, and National President of the Alumni Association of the National Institute (AANI), M.D Abubakar has congratulated Muslim faithful on the completion of this year’s fasting.

In a statement, Abubakar appreciated them for their dedication and commitment during this time of fasting and self-restraint, which he said required a great deal of discipline and strength.

He said,”I would like to on behalf of the National Executive Committee of our great Association, the Alumni Association of the National Institute (AANI) congratulate and rejoice with our Muslim colleagues on the successful completion of this year’s fasting and sighting of the new moon today signifying that Id-el-Fitr will be celebrated tomorrow Friday 21st April 2023. As you celebrate Eid al-Fitr, I would like to extend my warmest greetings and congratulations to you and your families.

“I appreciate your dedication and commitment during this time of fasting and self-restraint, which requires a great deal of discipline and strength. Your sacrifice has not gone unnoticed, and witnessing your devotion to your faith is inspiring. I pray that may Allah accepts your supplications during the holy month of Ramadan.

“May this Eid al-Fitr bring you peace, happiness, and prosperity, and may it be a time of renewal and rejuvenation for you and your loved ones. Let us continue to celebrate our differences and learn from each other’s unique perspectives and beliefs.”

The AANI President seized the opportunity to inform members of the institute’s coming annual general meeting and general elections.

He urged members to turn out en-masse for both events because of their significance.

“Let me seize this opportunity to remind all AANI members of our forthcoming Annual General Meeting and general elections on Saturday 29th April 2023 and urge you to please turn out en-masse for both events because of their significance. It is an opportunity to elect new members of the National Executive Committee that will run the affairs of our association for the next two years. It is important that you exercise your franchise and strengthen AANI through that.

“I wish to thank you all for your kind support and commitment to the ideals of our association and crave your indulgence to continue to do the same, towards a better society.

“Once again, Eid Mubarak to our Muslim brothers and sisters,” he said.

Source: newsdiaryonline.com

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https://newsdiaryonline.com/eid-el-fitr-aani-president-rejoices-with-muslim-faithful/

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Eid-El-Fitr: Abidikugu Felicitates With Muslims, Urges Residents To Remain Prayerful

By RotimiAgbana

Apr 21, 2023

A Chieftain of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Oyo State and an House of Representatives aspirant for Ibadan North East/South East Federal Constituency of the state, Dr KazeemAdesinaAbidikugu has felicitated with the Muslim Ummah in the constituency and the state as whole as they join other faithfuls the world over in celebrating the Eid el-fitr which marks the successful completion of the Ramadan fast.

In a goodwill message on Friday, Abidikugu, a Nigerian UK-based medical consultant urged Muslim Ummah to sustain the lessons of the holy month and replicate them in their daily lives for the good of the society.

He tasked the citizenry not to loose sight in face of the current socio-economic and security challenges bedeviling the country but to remain resolute and prayerful with faith that the nation’s trying moment will be over and Nigeria will emerge stronger and more united.

Abidikugu, who the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of DAKA Foundation, advised the resisents not to be associated with any act that can undermine the prevailing peace in the state so that the dividends of democracy can get to the people of the state.

He enjoined Muslim Ummah to sustain the devotion and other acts of worship performed during the holy month as well as to imbibe the lessons learnt during Tafsir sessions for the good of the religion, society and humanity, saying Nigeria is in dire need of good people with excellent moral standings to overcome the evils being perpetrated by some few who do not mean well for the country.

”Eid el-fitr festival connotes sacrifice, selflessness, love and obedience to the tenets of Islam. I therefore enjoin us to draw enduring lessons from the Ramadan and show love to one another as well as promote harmony and peaceful coexistence among our diverse people.

“The same way we all remembered the less privileged and those afflicted by poverty during Ramadan, I implore us to carry over these attributes beyond Ramadan.

“These acts are expected to become our habitual act even beyond the Holy month. An expected end of all religious acts is in the true reflection of the positive impacts of it in our interactions with people even those from other faith. Let’s rise to make our society a habitable one”.

Source: independent.ng

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

https://independent.ng/eid-el-fitr-abidikugu-felicitates-with-muslims-urges-residents-to-remain-prayerful/

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IBEDC introduces new metering initiative, felicitates with Muslims

By Waliat Musa

21 April 2023 

The Management of Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC) has wished all its customers and Nigerians a peaceful and joyful Eid-el-Fitri.

The electricity distribution company, in a statement by its Managing Director, Kingsley Achife, congratulated Muslims for the successful completion of the Holy month of Ramadan.

He urged Muslims to sustain the virtues, ideals and values beyond the month of Ramadan, considering the benefits to individuals, communities and the country at large.

Achife further said that IBEDC would do everything within its control to ensure good service delivery during the holidays.

Meanwhile, Achife said that the firm had introduced a simplified way for customers to get metered, called Easy MAPS, which will eliminate the need for physical visits to the company’s offices or mandatory online registration to provide a more streamlined and efficient metering process for customers.

He said: “With the Easy MAPS, all customers need to do is to pay into the designated bank accounts for their location and send proof of payment with their meter/account numbers, and address to the designated WhatsApp numbers. Once the payment is verified, a team of trained technicians will be sent to the customer’s location for evaluation and installation.

“This process eliminates all the initial process of registration and so on.”

Source: guardian.ng

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

https://guardian.ng/news/ibedc-introduces-new-metering-initiative-felicitates-with-muslims/

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Ayade tasks Muslims on peace, unity at Eid-el-Fitri

By Tina AgosiTodo, Calabar

21 April 2023

Cross River State Governor, Senator Ayade, has urged the Muslim faithful in the state to pray for peace and unity of the country as they celebrate Eid-el-Fitri.

He congratulated them on the successful completion of the 30-day Ramadan fast.

In his message signed yesterday by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Christian Ita, the governor charged

Nigerians to join hands to build a greater and peaceful Nigeria, irrespective of religion, tribe, ethnic and political affiliations.

He said: “Ramadan is an important and reinvigorating spiritual exercise, and I, therefore, call on Muslims, particularly in our dear state, Cross River, to, at all times, imbibe the lessons of Ramadan, which resolves round love, sacrifice, peace and unity.

“All our country needs at this time is peace and unity and I urge you to make these two items the focal point of your supplications to the Almighty Allah as you celebrate Eid-el-Fitri,” the governor said.

While stating the importance of abstinence and sacrifice during the 30 days fasting, Ayade said:  “I am optimistic that prayers, abstinence and sacrifices made during the holy month will continuously reflect in the daily life of the Muslim Ummah in Cross River State in particular and Nigeria in general.”

He commended the Muslim community for exhibiting high sense of patriotism and for being partners in fostering progress.

“I want to use this opportunity to thank the Muslim community for its support for my administration in the last eight years,” he said.

Source: guardian.ng

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

https://guardian.ng/news/ayade-tasks-muslims-on-peace-unity-at-eid-el-fitri-2/

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YABATECH rejoices with Muslim faithful, calls for prayer for nation

April 21, 2023

The Yaba College of Technology (YABATECH) has implored Muslim faithful to use the occasion of Eid-el-Fitr to pray for the nation as it prepares toward a new political and democratic dispensation.

UduakInyang-Udoh, the Acting Rector of YABATECH, in his felicitation message to the Muslim faithful made the appeal on Thursday in a statement on the occasion of 2023 Eid-el-Fitr celebration.

Iyang-Udo, stated that Eid-el-Fitr, also known as the ‘festival of breaking the fast’, marked the end of a month-long period of dawn-to-sunset fasting of Ramadan.

“On behalf of the Governing Council, Management, Staff and Students, I felicitate with staff, students, alumni, and friends of the College and the nation at large on this auspicious occasion of Eid-el-Fitr Celebration.

“I implore everyone to use the occasion of the celebration to imbibe the spirit of love, peace and sacrifice as exemplified by Prophet Mohammed.

“Also, to pray for the College and most importantly for our dear nation, Nigeria as we match towards a new political and democratic dispensation,” he added.

The Acting Rector also wished the Muslim faithful a very joyful celebration, adding, “I wish you all a very joyful celebration and may Allah fill our lives with happiness and open doors of success in our different endeavours”.

Source: vanguardngr.com

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

https://www.vanguardngr.com/2023/04/yabatech-rejoices-with-muslim-faithful-calls-for-prayer-for-nation/

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Muslims urged to observe Islamic tenets

Apr - 21 - 2023

He noted that it was expedient to be obedient to Allah and to follow His teachings in order to enjoy His blessings that come with the holy month.

Nana Fanyinama said this during the annual event on the 26th night during Ramadan at Kintampo in the Bono East Region.

The 26th night of Ramadan, also known as Lailatul-kadr, is significant in Islam as the moment God gave the Quran to Prophet Mohammed.

Annual ritual

As an annual ritual, the Wangara tribe in Ghana undertakes a number of activities to observe the night at Kintampo, which is considered their spiritual home.

During the night, Islamic scholars gather and read the whole chapters of the Quran, especially for the benefit of those who cannot read to listen.

The youth, in recent times, are also allowed to take part to enable them to imbibe the virtues embeded in the event.

This is to encourage the younger generation to learn and perpetuate it when the baton is eventually passed on to them.

Nana Fanyinama explained that the ritual had a significance for the BenkadiKurubi Islamic festival.

The event, he said, created a platform for the women and children to have fun separately.

Legend has it that this is where most bachelors come to choose their wives on the 27th day of the Ramadan.

Fire Commander

Meanwhile, the Kintampo North Municipal Fire Commander, DO3 Dominic TwumPrempeh, has made a strong case for the service to be well resourced to discharge its mandate effectively.

He said the current state of logistics among other setbacks would hinder their output.

DO3 Prempeh made the appeal when he led a delegation to introduce himself as the new Municipal Fire Commander to the Overlord of the Wangara Tribe in Ghana, SarikiYussif Nana Fanyinama, and his elders at Kintampo in the Bono East Region.

He took over from DO3 AnkomahTwene.

DO3 Prempeh said the municipal command of the service was challenged, stating that the fire tender that served the municipality required GH¢25,000 to repair, while access routes were a problem in the enclave.

He said he had, however, started a fire education awareness campaign through the media especially to impact the spate of fire disasters in the municipality.

Nana Fanyinama expressed gratitude to the new fire command head.

He, however, lamented the lack of access routes to help effective fire-related rescue efforts, and urged the new commander to assist the assembly to rectify the situation.

Source: graphic.com.gh

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

https://www.graphic.com.gh/news/general-news/muslims-urged-to-observe-islamic-tenets.html

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