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Islamic World News ( 17 May 2023, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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British Film Board Green Lights Anti-Muslim Film the Kerala Story to Be Screened In UK Cinemas

New Age Islam News Bureau

17 May 2023

 


Europe

Dilapidated Former Church in Blackburn Undergoes 'Amazing’ Transformation into New Mosque, Masjid-e-Taqwa

Russia’s Federal Security Service Sent Ex-Islamic State Fighters to Infiltrate Ukraine, Turkey, U.S. – Report

Turning away from the West, Russia seeks to strengthen economic ties with the Muslim world

Harlow Council issues statement over racially aggravated assault near Harlow Islamic Centre'

Prosecutor seeks 3 years jail for rape-accused scholar Ramadan

Musk reveals who he’d prefer to see as US president

French ex-president’s conviction for bribery upheld

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Pakistan

PTI blames intelligence agencies for violence

Perpetrators of May 9 violence should never be forgiven: PM Shehbaz

PML-Q to hold rallies in support of army from today

Business community condemns 9th May mayhem, supports army

US report slams blasphemy card against Imran

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India

Muslim Congress MLA, Irfan Ansari, To Build Country’s Largest Hanuman Temple in Jharkhand's Jamtara

Ex-BJP MLA Issues Veiled Threats towards Muslim Community, After His Defeat in the Karnataka Assembly Polls

Neither love jihad will work, nor will we allow vicious cycle of religious conversions: MP CM Chouhan

BJP’s Muslim outreach in UP civic elections gets favourable return

Fadnavis orders SIT probe into Muslim group forcing way into Trimbakeshwar temple, police file FIR

3 pleas seek ASI survey of entire Gyanvapi mosque

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Arab World

Saudi Arabia committed to restoration of peace in Sudan: Cabinet

Saudi ambassador to UK discusses Vision 2030 with Oxford university students

Saudi Arabia sets example for green living in the region

Saudi Arabia ‘will remain resolute’ in anti-drugs campaign, minister warns

Saudi AI agency inaugurates center dedicated to the technology, launches Arabic AI app

Saudi Arabia sells $6 bln in two-tranche Islamic bonds: lead manager

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South Asia

How China Treats 3.5 Million Uyghur Muslims, Other Minorities as Terrorists, Stuffs Them in 'Gulags'

‘Have legitimacy to serve the mission in India’: Afghan envoy on Taliban appointing CDA

Afghan National on FBI Terror List Arrested Crossing Southern Border Illegally

Bangladesh Rejects Fifth Freedom Rights To United Arab Emirates Airlines

Bangladesh Withdraws 'Extra Security' Protection for Foreign Envoys of India, US and 2 Other Countries

875,000 Afghan Children Facing Acute Malnutrition: Rights Group

Two children killed in drone strike in Afghanistan’s Khost

Mawlawi Abdul Kabir Appointed as Acting Prime Minister of Afghanistan

India & Bangladesh launch ’50 Start-ups Exchange Programme’

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Africa

Kenya Religious Cult That Advocated Fasting To "Meet Jesus": Police Dig Up More Bodies

Namibia Recognises Same-Sex Marriages Contracted Abroad

Court Grants Bauchi Imam, Abdulaziz, Bail

African peace mission to visit Ukraine and Russia

Deaths as Senegal protests turn violent

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North America

US Voices Support for Freedom of Expression without Any Violence in Pakistan

Senate Dems Host Event Celebrating Islamic Terrorists Killing Jews

A section of NYC skateboarding ‘mecca’ Brooklyn Banks reopens in Chinatown

Rhiannon Giddens, Michael Abels on Winning Music Pulitzer for Opera About Muslim American Slave: “People Are Ready for These Stories”

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Mideast

Islamic Jihad Leadership: Elimination of Our Commanders Will Bring New, Better Ones

Tunisia’s Moderate Islamist Leader Gets Year in Jail after Trial Decried as Sham

Jordan hands over ‘terrorist’ with Muslim Brotherhood links to UAE

Victim of Palestinian Islamic Jihad rocket attack laid to rest

Muslim Devotees Mourn Imam Jafar Sadeq on Martyrdom Anniversary

Russia, Iran make progress on new oil and gas projects in Islamic Republic

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Southeast Asia

Pig Heads, BBQs: Mosque Backlash Tests S Korea Religious Freedom

Kyungpook National University Students, Faculty to March In Support Of Construction Of Mosque In Daegu

Penang Islamic department wants apology over 'seditious' video

Azalina: Umno ministers to raise ‘Allah’ appeal withdrawal in Cabinet

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL:   https://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/british-muslim-film-kerala-uk/d/129797

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 British Film Board Green Lights Anti-Muslim Film the Kerala Story to Be Screened In UK Cinemas

 

16th May 2023

The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) has given the anti-Muslim Indian film The Kerala Story the green light to be screened in UK cinemas.

The BBFC has given the propaganda film, which is a favourite of Hindutva activists, an “18 certificate” and has warmed that “sexual violence is portrayed unflinchingly, alongside other complex themes.”

Earlier this week screenings of The Kerala Story were cancelled in the UK and tickets refunded as the BBFC had still not given it the green light to broadcast.

Cineworld responded to an inquiry by tweeting: “Hi, we are sorry that the upcoming performances of ‘The Kerala Story’ have been cancelled. This is due to the film not receiving an age rating in time for the scheduled release date, all affected customers will be contacted and refunded. Apologies for any disappointment caused.’’

The BBFC also issued a statement, saying that the movie was still going through its classification process. They tweeted: “Once the film has received a BBFC age rating and content advice, it will be available to be screened in UK cinemas.”

The Kerala Story is a Hindi-language drama which follows a group of Christian women from Kerala who are converted to Islam and join ISIS. The film is premised on the conspiracy theory of “love jihad,” and falsely claims that thousands of women from Kerala are being converted to Islam and recruited into ISIS.

It has been panned by reviewers who characterised it as propaganda, but has still become the fourth-highest-grossing Hindi film of 2023.

It has also received support from leaders of the governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), including Prime Minister Narendra Modi who praised it at a recent political rally. Some party members have also hosted screenings and distributed free tickets.

The filmmakers say that The Kerala Story is based on true events and years of research, even though credible estimates indicate only dozens of women at most from Kerala have joined ISIS.

Two state governments – Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, both governed by the BJP – have made the film tax-free.

Others, however, have accused it of demonising Muslims and peddling Islamophobia.

In Tamil Nadu state, an association of multiplex owners said they would stop screening the film, citing protests and low audiences. West Bengal, governed by the Trinamool Congress, banned the film, saying it “could be dangerous to peace and order.”

Kerala is often praised for its religious harmony. According to the last census in 2011, 27% of Kerala’s 33 million people are Muslims and 18% are Christians.

Source: 5pillarsuk.com

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https://5pillarsuk.com/2023/05/16/british-film-board-green-lights-anti-muslim-film-the-kerala-story/

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 France: 5 Muslim Footballers Refuse To Play In Protest Over Wearing LGBT Colours

 

Fabian Ruiz of Paris Saint-Germain celebrates his goal during the French League 1 soccer match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and AC Ajaccio at Parc des Princes Stadium in Paris, France on May 13, 2023 [Ibrahim Ezzat - Anadolu Agency]

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May 16, 2023

Five Muslim football players in France's top division, the Ligue 1, reportedly refused to play in Sunday's fixture between Toulouse FC and Nantes in protest over a campaign against homophobia, citing religious views.

According to the Daily Mail, all Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 matches over the weekend had been dedicated to the league's initiative against homophobia, with the numbers on the back of players' shirts in rainbow colours.

However, a report by La Depeche du Midi stated that many members of Toulouse's club did not support the campaign and expressed their refusal to play. The players were named as Zakaria Aboukhlal, Moussa Diarra, Fares Chaibi, Said Hamulic for Tolouse and Nantes' Mostafa Mohamed. Logan Costa of Tolouse also did not want to play, although both he and Chaibi were named on the team sheet, according to AFP.

Mohamed, who also plays for the Egyptian national team, tweeted: "I don't want to argue at all but I have to state my position."

"I respect all differences. I respect all beliefs and convictions. This respect extends to others but also includes respect for my personal beliefs," he added.

"Given my roots, my culture, the importance of my convictions and beliefs, it was not possible for me to participate in this campaign. I hope that my decision will be respected, as well as my wish not to argue about this and that everyone is treated with respect."

French website l'Equipe reported that Mohamed refused to wear the jersey and stayed in the hotel during the game which ended in a 0-0 draw.

On his Instagram account, Moroccan player Aboukhlal explained that he "made the decision not to take part in today's game."

"First and foremost, I want to emphasise that I hold the highest regard for every individual regardless of their personal preferences, gender, religion or background. This is a principle that cannot be emphasised enough," Aboukhlal said.

"Respect is a value that I hold in great esteem. It extends to others, but it also encompasses respect for my own personal beliefs. Hence, I don't believe I am the most suitable person to participate in this campaign."

In a statement on Sunday, Toulouse said: "Some players of the professional squad have expressed their disagreement regarding the association of their image with the rainbow colors representing the LGBT movement."

"Respecting the individual choices of its players, and after numerous exchanges, the Toulouse Football Club has chosen to exclude these players from the game," the Ligue 1 club added.

Source: middleeastmonitor.com

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

https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20230516-france-5-muslim-footballers-refuse-to-play-in-protest-over-wearing-lgbt-colours/

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 “Pakistan Is Passing Through Genghis Khan Times Nowadays”, ‘Time Has Come To Seek Freedom,’ Says Imran Khan

 

Imran Khan, Ex_PM

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May 17, 2023

LAHORE: In a video message released on Tuesday evening, the PTI chief started with the example of Genghis Khan, saying he used to carry out a massacre while conquering a city and let a few ones alive to spread his tyranny and terror to the rest of the world. As a result, he said, the terrified ones used to surrender without resisting any further.

“Pakistan is passing through a similar situation nowadays,” he stressed, adding the tale of tyranny was being aired on television channels. Residences of the people are being destroyed, and videos are uploaded on social media and aired through TV channels.” The kind of oppression and violation being used against women in Pakistan is unprecedented, and people on the street are being abducted and thrown into jails, he continued.

“All types of fear are being spread out simply to terrify the people so that no one could dare to resist,” said Imran, adding the sole purpose of that oppression was to subjugate the people.

“Time has come to seek freedom,” he urged Pakistanis, saying it was only possible if they were decisive in their resolve of not tolerating the oppressors to continue with oppression and fight for the supremacy of the Constitution and the rule of law.

The PTI chief said people should make it clear to the oppressors that they want free and fair elections as per the Constitution to choose their representatives and get rid of the government of thieves.

“This would be the moment of real independence,” he said, urging the people to break the idols of fear. He has asked his followers to come out of their homes as and when he gives a call for a protest ahead.

Source: brecorder.com

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https://www.brecorder.com/news/40242535/time-has-come-to-seek-freedom-says-imran

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 Radical Islamic Outfit Hizb ut-Tahrir Arrested Members Were Hindus, Forcibly Converted Girls to Islam: Madhya Pradesh ATS

 

Madhya Pradesh ATS arrests Hizb ut-Tahrir group (PTI/FILE PHOTO)

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Ravish Pal Singh

May 16, 2023

The Madhya Pradesh ATS, which arrested radical Islamic organisation Hizb ut-Tahrir, has made big revelations about the group. During interrogations, the MP ATS found that three of the arrested accused were earlier Hindus, however, they later got converted to Islam. They also married girls belonging to other religions and forcibly converted them to Islam.

Investigations also revealed that one of the arrested accused used to run a coaching centre in Bhopal, where people were brainwashed.

Converted To Islam, Then Married Girls of Different Religions

Speaking to Aaj Tak, Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra confirmed some of the arrested accused earlier belonged to other religions and later got converted to Islam.

Mishra also said one of the arrested accused was identified as Mohammad Saleem, whose real name was Saurab Bharadwaj. One Devi Prasad Pandey had also changed his religion and name to Abdur Rehman, he said.

One Accused Was Professor at Owaisi's College

According to Narottam Mishra, Mohammad Saleem was employed as a professor at a college owned by Asaduddin Owaisi's brother, Akbaruddin Owaisi.

Commenting on the arrests, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said the arrested accused used to work as gym trainers, auto drivers, tailors, etc.

"The motive of these accused was to brainwash people and to push them into terrorism," he said.

Meanwhile, all the accused were sent to ATS remand till May 19, 2023.

The ATS is likely to reveal more information about the organisation in the coming days.

Source: indiatoday.in

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https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/madhya-pradesh-ats-arrest-hizb-ut-tahrir-group-accused-converted-to-islam-married-muslim-girls-2379891-2023-05-16

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 Saudi Experts Discover and Document 58 Archaeological Sites at Kingdom’s Royal Reserves

 

The Heritage Commission and the reserve are working together on the restoration and development of the site. (SPA)

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May 17, 2023

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Imam Abdulaziz bin Mohammed Royal Reserve Development Authority has completed a research and documentation project designed to help protect and restore historical and archaeological sites and develop the Kingdom’s heritage, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Tuesday.

During the month-long project at King Khalid Royal Reserve and parts of Imam Abdulaziz bin Mohammed Royal Reserve, 58 historical and archaeological sites were discovered and documented.

The research at the sites was part of the work the authority carries out to protect, preserve, develop and raise awareness of national heritage, in cooperation with the Heritage Commission.

The joint efforts of the organizations, which have signed a memorandum of understanding for cooperation, included the monitoring of archaeological sites in the royal reserves by satellite and the use of other technologies, which revealed 58 archaeological sites, including the remains of stone settlements that had been covered by sand, workshops in which stone tools were made, water installations, ancient inscriptions dating back to the late Thamudic era more than 1,500 years ago, and rock art.

The teams also visited King Khalid Palace, which is considered one of the jewels of contemporary Saudi architectural heritage. Built during the reign of King Khalid between 1936 and 1938 outside of Riyadh, the two-story palace is made of reinforced concrete, covers an area of 2,700 square meters, stands 12.58 meters tall, and has a 180-square-meter swimming pool.

The palace is included in the National Architectural Heritage Register, and most of the available information about its history and architecture has been collected and preserved. The Heritage Commission and the reserve are working together on the restoration and development of the site.

Source: arabnews.com

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2304856/saudi-arabia

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Europe

 

Dilapidated Former Church in BlackburnUndergoes 'Amazing’ Transformation into New Mosque, Masjid-e-Taqwa

17-05-23

A dilapidated former church in Blackburn has been transformed into a new mosque following major renovations.

The first prayers at the Masjid-e-Taqwa in Pleckgate Road took place this week following extensive renovations to the historic building, which was the home to St Chad's Church.

The building was unused for a number of years. There had been plans to turn it into housing but this never transpired, until a team of dedicated volunteers stepped in to save the building.

Funds were donated locally and extensive work to the interior and exterior of the building began a year ago.

The new mosque aims to serve those living within the local vicinity.

The mosque holds 180 worshippers and includes prayer space over two floors and an area to complete the ablution (Wudu).

A small entrance space with a stairwell area is where visitors take their shoes off.

There are no other extensions to the building and the traditional window and doorway features have been kept intact.

A spokesperson for the mosque said: “We tried to keep to the original features of the building and attempted to incorporate these into the new design.

“Most notably inside the prayer hall the wooden beams make the up the most defining feature.

"This has been complimented by anyone who has visited the mosque both Muslim and non-Muslim.

“The doorways and archways are also something that help to give the mosque its own unique character.

“We invited people who live in the area to see for themselves the transformation and we were delighted to hear their comments.”

Outside the mosque, a new car park, lighting and landscaping features have brought the building back to life.

The much-loved building had been left in disrepair for many years.

A local resident, Brian, who visited the mosque said: “This is a really high-quality building now and they have really improved this from what it was.

“It is beautiful. I have never seen anything like it.”

Leader of Blackburn with Darwen Council Cllr Phil Riley visited the mosque recently.

He said: “What a wonderful building it is and what a tribute to the efforts everybody has put in.

“This was a semi-derelict building for a period of time and it is now an absolutely beautiful building. The work has been done to such a high level. It really is an impressive addition to the local community.”

St Chad’s was a single-storey stone-built building constructed circa 1870. It later became a day school and also had a Sunday School. It is understood that services continued to be held in the building until the 1970s.

However it later fell into disrepair and had an uncertain future.

Volunteers in the area have been keen to support their neighbourhood over the years and have led a number of litter picking and clean up campaigns.

Mosque volunteers who help will help to maintain the building this week encouraged people to walk to prayers add: “However, if you must arrive by car, please park in the Masjid car park following instructions from the parking stewards.

“Please take into consideration not to inconvenience the neighbours around the Masjid by crowding and noise outside.”

Source: theoldhamtimes.co.uk

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https://www.theoldhamtimes.co.uk/news/23524961.church-undergoes-amazing-transformation-new-mosque/

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Russia’s Federal Security Service Sent Ex-Islamic State Fighters to Infiltrate Ukraine, Turkey, U.S. – Report

17-05-23

Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) has recruited former Islamic State fighters to infiltrate Ukraine, Turkey and the United States, the independent Meduza news website reported Tuesday, citing four recruited fighters.

The outlet said an unnamed source close to the FSB confirmed regular but largely unsuccessful attempts to penetrate Ukraine’s military circles.

Meduza interviewed a former Russian Islamic State fighter who had served a four-year prison sentence out of a maximum of 20 years in exchange for agreeing to work for the FSB in Ukraine.

The fighter, Baurzhan Kultanov, said the FSB ended up sending him to Turkey in the spring of 2022, where he said he was ordered to gather information about underground efforts to send fighters to Ukraine.

In Ukraine, the FSB reportedly targeted the head of a volunteer battalion fighting on the side of Ukraine since 2014 that has Crimean Tatars and Chechens in its ranks.

“You’re our eyes and ears there, but you’re not the only one,” Kultanov recalled the FSB recruiters as saying to him.

“It would be nice to make you a double and even triple agent so that other special services would want to recruit you,” they continued.

“You don’t have to invent anything...You’re really a terrorist and a Muslim who did time here. Just tell them you don’t like Russia and the FSB and want to help. They’ll take you in with open arms,” Kultanov recalled the officer, Alexander Gushin, as saying.

Ukraine said in January 2023 that it had exposed more than 600 Russian agents.

Kultanov is currently jailed in Turkey on charges of violating immigration rules. Meduza said he had asked for political asylum on claims that he would be jailed and killed if deported to Russia.

Meduza cited another ex-ISIS fighter who had allegedly fought alongside Kultanov in Syria, identified as Karim from Russia’s republic of Dagestan, as saying that Russia’s recruitment efforts in Ukraine are an open secret.

“That’s why no one trusts each other” among the Russian Muslim diaspora, Karim was quoted as saying.

U.S. authorities have detained around 50 Russians suspected of being FSB agents at the U.S.-Mexico border since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, Meduza cited terrorism researcher Vera Mironova as saying.

“Most of them say ‘I’m an activist or an NGO worker or a journalist. I attended protests and now I’m being persecuted. Let me in’,” Mironova said, citing unnamed Department of Homeland Security contacts.

Some turn themselves in to U.S. border patrol as disaffected FSB agents sent to spy on Russian opposition activists and journalists, Mironova added.

Meduza said an unnamed Russian activist recalled attending a 2020 Kremlin meeting with Timur Prokopenko, a senior official in charge of domestic policy, in which plans to send the “fake activists” to the U.S. were discussed.

The FSB, Ukraine’s security service SBU and the Kremlin did not respond to Meduza's requests for comment.

Source: themoscowtimes.com

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https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2023/05/16/russias-fsb-sent-ex-islamic-state-fighters-to-infiltrate-ukraine-turkey-us-meduza-a81152

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Turning away from the West, Russia seeks to strengthen economic ties with the Muslim world

16/05/2023

The Russia-Islamic World Forum will begin in Kazan, southwest Russia, on Thursday. The two-day event was first held in 2009 and aims to strengthen economic ties between Russia and Muslim countries. In the wake of a rupture between Russia and the West, these ties are now part of a shifting world order.

The decision to hold the 2023 edition of the Russia-Islamic World forum in Kazan is symbolic: the capital of Tatarstan, located some 800km east of Moscow, is seen by the Russian state as a successful example of multiculturalism and peaceful religious coexistence.

Russia is home to some 15 million Muslim citizens “in the sense that they belong to ethnic groups with cultural foundations linked to Islam. Not all are believers or practising Muslims,” according to a report from the French Institute for International Relations.

As a whole, Muslims make up 10% of the Russian population, with most living in the Caucasas – the area of land that separates the Caspian and Black Seas – and the Volga-Ural region.

Muslims have lived in Tatarstan, in the Volga district, for centuries and the Tatar population (descended from largely Muslim Turkic ethnic groups) is Russia’s largest ethnic minority group.

"Tatarstan is one of the richest regions in Russia so also serves as an economic showcase,” says Ivan Ulises Kentros Klyszcz, researcher at the International Centre for Defence and Security in Tallinn, Estonia. “As Tatarstan attracts investments and is a hub for industries it has an image that corresponds very well with Russia’s pragmatic economic approach.”

The forum in Kazan aims to strengthen economic, cultural and intellectual ties between Russia and the 57 member countries of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), an organisation founded in 1969 to represent the “collective voice of the Muslim world” and jointly protect member states’ interests.

Muslim identity

Although Russia is not a full member of the OIC, in 2003, President Vladimir Putin was the first head of state from a non-majority Muslim country to be invited to speak at an OIC summit. Just three years into his first presidency Putin aimed to improve Russia’s image in the Islamic world after wars against Muslim populations in Chechnya (located in the Caucasas) and Afghanistan.

Two years later, Putin scored a diplomatic victory when Russia was admitted to the OIC as an observer state.

“The integration of Russia into the organisation came in the context of new tensions with the US, notably concerning Iraq, and was also a response to Saudi Arabia’s desire to recalibrate its relationship with the US,” says Igor Delanoë, Deputy Head of the French-Russian Analytical Center Observo (CCI France-Russia) in Moscow.

It also allowed Russia to claim a sense of belonging in the Muslim world, a position Putin has always been keen to emphasise. The president has historically promoted Russia’s religious and ethnic diversity as a foreign relations tool in order to position the country as a key mediator between West and East.

‘Parallel diplomacy’

In order to maintain influence within Muslim countries, Russia created a “strategic vision group” in 2006, led today by Rustam Minnikhanov, head of Tatarstan. The Arab spring uprisings in the early 2010s saw the group’s work take a backseat but it has increased activities since Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the sanctions from the West that followed.

This initial rupture with the West sparked an increase in economic activity between Russia and the Middle East that both parties welcomed. “Generational shifts among the monarchies in the Gulf States allowed for closer ties – for younger heads of state the wars in Afghanistan and Chechnya belong in the history books,” says Delanoë.

Russian leaders with Muslim backgrounds are often used as diplomatic “messengers” to foster relationships, adds Delanoë. In March 2022, for instance, Minnikhanov met with President Macky Sall on a visit to Senegal.

"This parallel diplomacy is done in a coordinated way, in line with the Kremlin’s political agenda,” says Klyszcz.

Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov has also taken an active role in building relationships with Gulf states in which shared religious identity plays a key role. In 2018 and 2022, he performed the Haj in Saudi Arabia, meeting with Saudi leadership during both visits.

Fighting ‘side-by-side’

As the war in Ukraine is reshaping international relations around the globe, it is sure to influence the coming summit in Kazan. In Moscow there is a clear intention to refocus strategic and economic partnerships away from the West. In March, the Kremlin released a new foreign policy outlook featuring the word “Islamic” for the first time and stating an intention to deepen ties with Muslim countries, along with countries in Africa and South America.

After the Russia-Islamic World Forum in May, the second ever Russia-Africa summit will take place in St Petersburg in July.

This evolution in foreign policy is part of “a narrative that these countries are important in rearranging the world order” says Klyszcz.

To further drive home the message, Russia has been taking pains to differentiate its foreign policy approach from that of the West. Russian Foreign Affairs Minister Sergei Lavrov has spoken repeatedly about Western “colonial” attitudes towards the rest of the world, tapping into an undercurrent of discontent with the US, in particular.

“Within the Muslim world, Russia is certainly better perceived than the West, but this positive impression has been exaggerated by propaganda,” says Klyszcz.

Anti-Western sentiment is also contributing to misconceptions about realities in Ukraine, he says. And the presence of a significant number of soldiers from the Caucasas on the ground has helped to create an online narrative of Russia fighting “side-by-side with Muslims”.

‘Undoing gobalisation’

As many countries around the world have been outspoken in their support for Ukraine, others have remained silent, wary of making economic and diplomatic sacrifices in the name of a distant, “imperial” conflict.

Some Muslim countries refused to vote to suspend Russia from the UN Human Rights Council in April 2022, and the Global South has largely opted out of sanctions against Russia decided on by the US and Europe.

It is the Global South that Russia now seems intent on winning over – and the feeling may be mutual.

“The break with Russia may be considered a Western victory in Europe, but in the Global South there is no Western victory. On the contrary, the war is accelerating fragmentation, undoing globalisation and causing regionalisation of strategic blocs and economic ties,” says the French Institute for International Relations report.

“Regional powers are learning from how the West is waging economic war against Russia and are reinforcing their own independence from Western institutions.”

Source: france24.com

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

https://www.france24.com/en/europe/20230516-turning-away-from-the-west-russia-seeks-to-strengthen-economic-ties-with-the-muslim-world

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Harlow Council issues statement over racially aggravated assault near Harlow Islamic Centre'

Wed 17th May 2023

HARLOW council has issued a statement following the report of a racially aggravated assault on a man near the Harlow Islamic Centre.

A Harlow Council spokesperson said: “We are concerned by the reports of a racially aggravated assault on Paringdon Road on Sunday 14 May.

“This was a cowardly act, and such attacks have no place in our town.

“Our thoughts are with those who have been affected by this incident. Our Community Safety team is stepping up patrols in the area to reassure the community.

“The police are investigating, and we are urging anyone with any information to call Essex Police on 101 quoting incident 971 of 14 May. Information can also be reported online www.essex.police.uk.”

Source: yourharlow.com

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

https://www.yourharlow.com/2023/05/16/harlow-council-issues-statement-over-racially-aggravated-assault-near-harlow-islamic-centre/Tue 16th May 2023

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Prosecutor seeks 3 years jail for rape-accused scholar Ramadan

16-05-23

Swiss prosecutors said on Tuesday they will seek a three-year sentence for scholar Tariq Ramadan, a former Oxford University professor charged with rape and sexual coercion.

“It would be right to hand down a sentence of three years: 18 months imprisonment (to be served immediately) and 18 months suspended,” lead prosecutor Adrian Holloway told the three judges at the Geneva Criminal Court.

Ramadan denies the allegations. He told the judges on Monday, the first day of his trial, that he had let himself be kissed by his accuser but insisted there were no sexual relations between them.

The complainant, also Swiss, is a convert to Islam and says she has faced threats and therefore wishes to be known under the assumed name of “Brigitte.”

In a calm and confident voice, the complainant said she feared she would die when Ramadan attacked. “I was beaten... and raped,” she said.

She was in her 40s at the time of the alleged attack on October 28, 2008.

In a Geneva hotel room, Ramadan, 60, is accused of having subjected her to brutal sexual acts accompanied by beatings and insults.

In court, a screen was placed between Ramadan and Brigitte at her request, so that they could not see each other.

Ramadan had “acted to satisfy his sexual desire for a woman whom he used as an object. He did not hesitate to make this nightmare last for several hours,” the prosecutor said.

Holloway stressed the “consistency” of the complainant’s remarks as well as the evaluations of psychiatrists.

Ramadan obtained his doctorate from the University of Geneva, with his thesis focused on his grandfather, who founded Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood movement.

He was a professor of contemporary Islamic studies at Britain’s prestigious Oxford University until November 2017, and held visiting roles at universities in Qatar and Morocco.

He was forced to take a leave of absence when rape allegations surfaced in France at the height of the “Me Too” movement, over suspected attacks in France between 2009 and 2016.

Source: english.alarabiya.net

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https://english.alarabiya.net/News/world/2023/05/17/Prosecutor-seeks-3-years-jail-for-rape-accused-Islamic-scholar-Ramadan

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Musk reveals who he’d prefer to see as US president

17 May, 2023

Elon Musk, the CEO of SpaceX, Tesla and Twitter, has said he would like to see “a normal human being” with good managerial skills elected as the next US president.

During an interview with MSNBC on Tuesday, the billionaire was asked if he regretted voting for the incumbent Joe Biden at the 2020 election.

“I wish we could just have a normal human being as president. That’s what I want,” he responded.

“You know that old saying of, like, ‘We’re better off being run by people picked at random from a phone book than the Faculty of Harvard.’ I don’t know who said that, but it was someone very wise,” he added.

The quote in question is actually attributed to American conservative writer and political commentator William Frank Buckley Jr. and originates from the early 1960s.

Speaking about the qualities required for the person in the Oval Office, Musk said that “it actually matters if they’re a good executive officer. It’s not simply a matter of ‘Do they share your beliefs.’ But are they good at getting things done? There’s a lot of decisions that need to be made every day. Many of them are unrelated to moral beliefs.”

“You just want a good executive ‘cause they’re the CEO of America. We want a good CEO of America, don’t we?” he said.

The tech entrepreneur was also grilled about his previous claim that the 2020 presidential election had not been entirely fair.

“I don’t think it was a stolen election,” Musk clarified. However, he added that “if somebody is going to say that there was never any election fraud anywhere, this is obviously also false. If 100 million people vote, the probability that fraud is zero is zero.”

“There was some small amount of fraud, but there was not enough to change the outcome,” he said, adding that this fact should be acknowledged.

Those who keep insisting that the election was rigged, like Biden’s rival Donald Trump, will be corrected if they share those beliefs on Twitter, Musk insisted.

Trump, who had more than 88.9 million followers, was banned by Twitter after the US Capitol riots on January 6, 2021. Following his purchase of the social media platform last year, Musk allowed Trump to return, but the former president now prefers to stick to his own Truth Social platform.

Source: rt.com

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French ex-president’s conviction for bribery upheld

17 May, 2023

The Paris Court of Appeals has upheld former French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s conviction for corruption and influence peddling. In 2021, he was sentenced to three years, two of them suspended.

The 68-year-old, who led France from 2007 to 2012, was embroiled in several legal scandals after leaving office. The case reviewed on Wednesday involved bribing a judge and peddling influence to gain access to privileged information regarding an investigation into Sarkozy’s election campaign finances.

French law enforcement wiretapped Sarkozy’s two official phone lines and discovered that he had a third secret one, which he used to communicate with his former lawyer, Thierry Herzog. Further investigation uncovered what prosecutors dubbed a “corruption pact.”

During the appeal hearings, which started in December last year, Sarkozy denied any wrongdoing. The records of his conversations with Herzog were played in court for the first time.

The original conviction allowed Sarkozy to serve his term at home with an electronic bracelet monitoring his compliance.

In a separate trial in 2021, Sarkozy was sentenced to a one-year term for violating election financing rules. Prosecutors accused him of spending nearly double of the amount allowed under French law on his failed 2012 re-election campaign and of hiring a friendly PR firm to cover up the wrongdoing.

Source: rt.com

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Pakistan

 

PTI blames intelligence agencies for violence

May 17, 2023

ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party accused intelligence agencies on Tuesday of being responsible for shootings and arson during violent protests that followed his arrest last week.

“We have ample amount of evidence to present to any inquiry that the arson and in some places, shootings were done by (intelligence) agencies men who wanted to cause mayhem and blame it on PTI so the current crackdown would be justified,” the party said in a statement.

“PTI believes that identification of elements involved in this unusual incident of violence and chaos through a credible investigation is inevitable,” the statement said.

It did not offer any evidence for the claim.

More than 7,000 people have been detained or arrested since the unrest broke out.

At least 19 senior PTI officials have been arrested, some in overnight raids on their homes, after being accused of instigating the violence. The PTI statement came a day after top commanders vowed to try those involved in damaging military installations in military courts.

Source: brecorder.com

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Perpetrators of May 9 violence should never be forgiven: PM Shehbaz

May 16, 2023

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said on Tuesday that “perpetrators, planners and facilitators” of May 9 violence should not be spared at any cost, Aaj News reported.

In his televised address after chairing the meeting of the National Security Committee, he underlined that “even the prime minister of Pakistan should not be allowed to pardon the culprits.”

He was referring to violence that broke out across Pakistan on May 9 following the arrest of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan.

He regretted that the culprits destroyed and burned the Jinnah House (Corps Commander House) in Lahore.

“Jinnah house is sacred and it was destroyed during the wave of violence,” said PM Shehbaz.

“The perpetrators, planners, and facilitators of the attack fall under the label of terrorism.”

Even the enemies of Pakistan were not able to harm Jinnah House in the history of the nation, he said.

“The martyrs and armed forces were insulted,” the PM lamented. “The General Headquarters (GHQ) and ISI office in Faisalabad were also targeted. It was a heart-wrenching scene.”

Citing that the government and people of Pakistan stood with the armed forces, he condemned the violence that took place last week.

“We are indebted to the armed forces and their families,” he said. “Perpetrators, planners, and facilitators of the attack should not be spared. They will face the law.”

They should be punished to put an end to this activity once and for all, he said.

“We will punish them according to the constitution,” the PM said.

Earlier on Saturday, PM Shehbaz gave a 72-hour deadline to law-enforcement authorities to arrest planners, attackers, and instigators of violence.

“We will create an example out of the miscreants who vandalised and attacked state institutions so that such an incident never takes place in Pakistan again”.

“Everyone is saddened except for miscreants. They are no lesser than terrorists.”

Following Imran’s arrest, protests erupted throughout Pakistan that transformed into violence.

Nearly 2,000 people were arrested and at least eight were killed.

Hundreds of protesters blocked highways and main entry, and exit routes to all major cities, attacking and burning state buildings, police, and public vehicles and rampaging through army installations.

The protests dampened on Thursday after the Supreme Court of Pakistan ordered the “immediate release” of Imran.

Source: brecorder.com

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PML-Q to hold rallies in support of army from today

May 17, 2023

LAHORE: Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) on Tuesday announced to hold rallies in all major cities of the country to express solidarity with Pakistan Army and other state institutions.

The decision was taken in a meeting, chaired by Chaudhry Salik Hussain. The meeting slammed the attack on military installations.

The first rally will be held in Lahore on May 17, followed by rallies in Quetta (May 18), Karachi (May 19), Peshawar (May 20), Islamabad (May 21) and Gilgit on May 22.

Salik Hussain said that attacks on national security institutions were intolerable. The PML-Q will play a significant role in the development and stability of the country, he added.

Source: brecorder.com

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Business community condemns 9th May mayhem, supports army

May 17, 2023

LAHORE: Business community leadership has expressed solidarity with Pakistan Army while strongly condemning the incident of 9th May and attacks on army personnel and sacred state installations.

Prominent businessmen of Pakistan, including Gohar Ejaz, Mian Aamir, Mian Idris, Mian Ahsan, Almas Haider, Khurram Mukhtar and others from Lahore, Karachi, Multan, Faisalabad and other industrial hubs held a meeting in Lahore on Tuesday evening to discuss the current scenario in the wake of tragic incidents of 9th May.

They emphasized the need of national consensus amongst all the stakeholders to address the ongoing political instability at priority so as to restore public confidence, reinvigorate economic activity and strengthen democratic process.

Talking to the media, Gohar Ejaz said the business community has resolved to support all such efforts to reach this much needed consensus. He said the incidents of 9th May are highly condemnable and detriment to the national cohesion.

According to him, the business community would call on the political leadership including Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, former President Asif Zardari and PTI Chairman Imran to mitigate their differences in the larger national interest. He said the community leaders have resolved that Pakistan Army with the full support of people of Pakistan will defeat all nefarious designs of the enemies of Pakistan.

While taking cognizance of the current political crises prevalent in the country, he said, the participants discussed the current volatile situation arising out of political chaos and instability which has brought the economy at the verge of total collapse and likely to lead to a large scale unemployment and create difficulties for common man, besides hampering the exports of Pakistan.

Speaking on the occasion, Mian Aamir Mahmood apprehended that the ongoing situation would also be a recipe for anarchy and God forbid, it will bring the country a permanent loss. It was also discussed that the perception of Pakistan in the international market has tarnished to a great level and negative news about the country were bringing the exports and other perceptions about Pakistan to a drastically low level beyond repair for a long time.

He stressed that the overall situation must be promptly arrested to hold further downfall before it’s too late. At the same time, leaders and representatives of the business community showed complete solidarity towards the beloved nation and were hopeful that if things are brought to order and start mending their ways and all the stakeholders sit down, all the problems can be resolved.

Mian Idris offered to sit down with all the political parties and all other stakeholders and try to sort out the situation to the satisfaction of all because they felt that this kind of a situation was very dangerous and any further deterioration in this regard would be very bad for Pakistan and of course for the all the businesses of Pakistan.

Expressing his views, Mian Ahsan said the business community was too perturbed over the ongoing situation, hence, all the stakeholders, particularly the political parties must exhibit flexibility in the larger interest of the country as our survival depends on the survival of our beloved motherland, hence, the entire business community of Pakistan was eager to sit together with all political parties and other stakeholders so that the issues could be amicably resolved.

Almas Haider said the business community wants to strengthen all the institutions in every possible manner so that they can resolve this problem. The business community highly respects all the institutions including political parties, judiciary and the armed forces of the country and would like to see all of them strengthening and working collectively to save the country from plunging into further disaster.

Khurram Mukhtar said the business community has full confidence on Pakistan and they believe that Pakistan is there to survive till the doomsday but everyone has to work together with each other.

Source: brecorder.com

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US report slams blasphemy card against Imran

May 17, 2023

WASHINGTON: An annual US report has once again criticised the Pakistan Democratic Movement government for using the blasphemy card against former prime minister Imran Khan.

The US report on international religious freedom, which was released in Washington on Monday, noted that several political leaders used inflammatory religious language to attack their political rivals last year. The annual report covers 2022 events.

“On Sept 13, Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz party leader Javed Latif, in a press conference, accused former prime minister Imran Khan of ‘attacking the basic principles of Islam’ by ‘supporting’ the Ahmadiyya community while he was in office,” the report pointed out.

“Mr Latif accused Khan of giving interviews to foreign media in which he promised that Qadianis [Ahmadis] will be given religious freedom,” the report added.

The report also noted that JUI-F leader Maulana Fazlur Rahman tweeted messages on Sept 7 calling Mr Khan a “pro-Qadiani” and a “Jewish agent”. Leaders of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf responded by accusing the government of “spreading religious bigotry and hatred”, the report added.

Initial report

The US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), which compiles the annual report, raised this issue in its initial report as well, which was released on May 1, noting that “the new government under Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif, which took office in April 2022, weaponised the country’s blasphemy laws against Mr Khan and his cabinet members”.

The issue was also raised at a US State Department news briefing earlier this month when Spokesperson Vedant Patel said the United States “strongly oppose(s) laws that impede the ability of any individuals … to choose a faith, practice a faith, change their religion, not have a religion, or tell others about their religious beliefs and practices”.

The USCIRF report, which is sent to Congress as an official document, noted that blasphemy cases in Pakistan “remained a substantial threat to religious freedom, as did the sort of mob violence that has long accompanied such accusations”.

It called on Pakistan to repeal the blasphemy law, and until such repeal, enact reforms to make blasphemy a bailable offence.

According to the report, police in Pakistan “at times killed, physically abused, or failed to protect members of religious minorities. And courts continued to enforce blasphemy laws, punishment for which ranged up to the death penalty”. The government, however, has never executed anyone for blasphemy, the report added.

Quoting reports by various civil society organisations, USCIRF reported that at least 52 persons were accused of blasphemy or related religion-based criminal charges during 2022, the majority of whom were Ahmadis.

At least four individuals charged with blasphemy during previous years received death sentences in 2022, two Christians and two Muslims.

The report noted that individuals convicted and sentenced to death in well-publicised blasphemy cases dating as far back as 2014, including Nadeem James, Taimoor Raza, and Junaid Hafeez, remained in prison awaiting action on their appeals.

Ramzan Bibi remained free on bail while awaiting trial for blasphemy.

In 2022, courts overturned some blasphemy convictions upon appeal and acquitted or granted bail to some individuals who had spent years in prison on blasphemy charges.

Those acquitted or released on bail include Qamar Aqash, Nadeem Samson, Stephen Masih Salamat, Mansha Masih, Mubasher Ahmad, Ghulam Ahmad, Ehsan Ahmad, Asim Aslam, and Mohammad Shahid Khan.

Source: dawn.com

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India

 

Muslim Congress MLA, Irfan Ansari, To Build Country’s Largest Hanuman Temple in Jharkhand's Jamtara

17th May 2023

By Mukesh Ranjan

RANCHI: Elated with the party’s historic victory in Karnataka Assembly polls, suspended Muslim Congress MLA Irfan Ansari has announced to build the country’s largest Hanuman Temple in his Assembly Constituency, Jamtara.

According to Ansari, his faith in Lord Hanuman has increased after the party's thumping majority win in Karnataka polls. He visited the Hanuman temple immediately and expresses his gratitude. He believes that Lord Hanuman belongs to everyone.

Notably, Ansari along with two other Congress MLAs were suspended by the Congress for hatching a conspiracy to topple the JMM-led alliance Government in Jharkhand after being arrested with 50 lakh cash in their vehicle in Kolkata.

“Though I am a follower of Lord Hanuman since the beginning, but after the historic victory of the Congress party in Karnataka polls, my faith in Lord Hanuman has further increased and hence, I announce that I will build the country’s largest temple of Lord Hanuman in Jamtara,” said Ansari. The temple to be built will be the historical and largest of all the Hanuman temples in the country, he added.

Answering the query about arranging funds for the construction, Ansari said even if he has to sell his kidney, he will construct the temple.

Ansari also warned those who are doing politics in the name of religion. He informed that the land for the temple has already been identified as Satsal and construction for the same will start very soon.

Incidentally, Lord Hanuman had taken centre stage in the Karnataka elections after the Congress in its manifesto said that it would ban the Bajrang Dal and popular front of India if voted to power.

Responding to it, BJP said that Congress’s proposal to ban Bajrang Dal was an attempt to lock up Hanuman and his devotees who chant ‘Jai Bajrangbali.’ In all his public meetings Prime Minister

Narendra Modi made it a point to chant ‘Jai Bajrangbali.’

Retaliating, Congress demanded PM Modi’s apology accusing him of hurting the religious sentiments of devotees by “equating” Lord Hanuman with Bajrang Dal.

Source: newindianexpress.com

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Ex-BJP MLA Issues Veiled Threats towards Muslim Community, After His Defeat in the Karnataka Assembly Polls

ByPriyanka Rudurappa

May 17, 2023

A former BJP MLA on Monday issued a veiled threat directed towards the Muslim community, after his defeat in the Karnataka assembly polls.

Former Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator from Hassan City constituency Preetham Gowda on Monday issued a veiled threat directed towards the Muslim community, holding them responsible for his defeat against Janata Dal(Secular) candidate HP Swaroop in the recently concluded Karnataka assembly elections.

In a widely shared video on social media, Gowda is heard threatening “one community” and purportedly saying he would show “his power.”

“I have worked for five years while others were sleeping. But people from that one community have shown us. In the coming days, we’ll show what we are... I honestly tried to take all communities along with love and faith...,” Gowda is heard saying in the video, without taking any names.

HT could not independently verify the veracity of the video.

In December last year, another video of Gowda had gone viral, in which he was heard threatening Muslim constituents to vote for him or else he “wouldn’t work for them”. He went on to say that he treated Muslims with “love and affection”, but the community has “ditched” him.

In the assembly polls, HP Swaroop, who got the JD(S) ticket following differences within the Deve Gowda family, defeated BJP MLA Preetham Gowda in Hassan with a margin of 7,854 votes. The region is considered a stronghold of JD(S). In the 2018 assembly elections, Gowda had defeated Prakash by 13,006 votes.

In the run-up to the polls, the constituency attracted attention due to difference within former prime minister HD Deve Gowda’s family over finalising a candidate for the seat.

Bhavani Revanna, wife of former minister HD Revanna, had announced that the party leadership had decided to field her from the constituency.

However, former CM and JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy, had declared that he would field an “ordinary party worker” from the seat.

The rift within the Gowda family over the Hassan ticket had widened to the extent that Kumaraswamy invoked the battle of “Kurukshetra” from the epic Mahabharata to allege that some “Shakunis” — a character from the epic — were trying to brainwash his brother Revanna.

Source: hindustantimes.com

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https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/bengaluru-news/former-bjp-mla-from-hassan-city-threatens-muslims-for-defeat-in-karnataka-polls-101684266012618.html

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Neither love jihad will work, nor will we allow vicious cycle of religious conversions: MP CM Chouhan

May 16, 2023

Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh) [India], May 16 : Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Tuesday said that the state government took the issue of 'love jihad', 'religious conversion' and promotion of 'terrorist activities' seriously and will not allow such practices in the state.

CM Chouhan made the remark while talking to the reporters about the recent action of Madhya Pradesh Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) against members associated with the radical Islamic organisation Hizb-ut-Tahrir (HuT) in the state capital Bhopal on Tuesday.

"We are getting into the depth of the facts that have come to the fore in connection with the HuT members. One thing is clear that we have taken the issue of love jihad, religious conversion and promotion of terrorist activities very seriously. I want to make it clear that neither love jihad will work, nor we will allow the vicious cycle of religious conversion in the state," CM Chouhan said.

He further said, "Earlier also, we have destroyed SIMI's (Students' Islamic Movement of India) network and will not tolerate such activities at any cost. The investigation into the arrest of HuT members is underway. Madhya Pradesh ATS is working along with the Central Agency."

The chief minister also reacted about name of Islamic preacher Zakir Naik came to light in connection with the religious conversion of one of the arrested HuT members and said the investigation was going on, whoever is guilty would not be spared.

Notably, father of one of the accused, Mohammad Salim (earlier Saurabh Raj Vaidhy), alleged that his son underwent religious conversion and became Salim due to the influence of Zakir Naik.

On May 9, Madhya Pradesh ATS had arrested ten members associated with HuT from Bhopal, one member from Chhindwara district and five members were arrested in Hyderabad on the input of MP police. The team had also recovered anti-national documents, technical equipment, radical literature and other materials from the accused.

Disclaimer: This post has been auto-published from an agency feed without any modifications to the text and has not been reviewed by an editor

Source: lokmattimes.com

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BJP’s Muslim outreach in UP civic elections gets favourable return

May 16, 2023

LUCKNOW: The Bharatiya Janata Party's Muslim outreach during the recently held urban local body polls threw up some encouraging, if not spectacular, outcomes for the party. It fielded Muslim candidates on 395 seats, including five Nagar Palika Parishad (NPP) chairmen, 32 Nagar Panchayat (NP) chairmen, 80 corporators and 278 members for NPPs and NPs. According to the state election commission data, 61 of them emerged winners.

Although it couldn't win any NPP chairman's post, the BJP won five NP chairman seats, two corporators (one each in Lucknow and Gorakhpur) and 55 members in Muslim-dominated pockets of NPP and NPs. Considering that the party success rate on NP and NPP member seats, which are dominated by Independents, was 25% and 19% respectively, the victory of 15% BJP Muslim candidates is a decent start for a party which has just started experimenting with minority outreach, says a political analyst.

UP BJP minority morcha chief Kunwar Basit Ali maintained that the party would continue to make consistent attempts of reaching out to the Muslim community in future also. “The community is gradually showing its support for the BJP,” he said, asserting that the community benefited considerably from the various welfare schemes initiated by the Modi government and the Yogi government.

BJP lost NPP chairman seats in Rampur, Tanda (both in Rampur), Afzalgarh (Bijnor), Mubarakpur (Azamgarh) and Kakrala (Badaun). In Rampur, its candidate Musarrat Mujib lost to Aam Aadmi Party candidate Sana Khanam by 11,000 votes. So was the case in Tanda where BJP candidate Mehnaz Jahan lost her deposits. Sahiba Sarfaraz, an independent, was the winner.

Likewise in Afzalgarh NPP of Bijnor, BJP candidate Khatija Khatoon lost to independent candidate Tabassum. BJP candidate in Azamgarh’s Mubarakpur NPP, Tamanna Bano, too, met the same fate – she lost to independent candidate Saba Shamim. In Kakrala NPP of Budaun, BJP candidate Margoob Ahmad Khan lost to Intekhab, an Independent.

The five NP chairman seats on which BJP won included Dhaura Tanda in Bareilly where saffron party candidate Nadeem-ul- Hasan defeated Vakil Ahmad of Samajwadi Party by a margin of around 1,000 votes. Likewise, in Sultanpur Chilkana NP of Saharanpur, BJP candidate Phul Bano defeated Akbar of BSP.

In Sirsi, BJP candidate Kausar Abbas defeated Mohammad Wasim of BSP. SP candidate Musahib Hussain Naqvi stood fourth. Similarly in Bhojpur NP of Moradabad district, BJP’s Farkhanda Zabi humbled Mohsina of SP. In Gopamau NP of Hardoi, BJP candidate Wali Mohammad defeated Naushad, an independent by a wafer thin margin of 55 votes. But for Wali Mohammad and Kausar Abbas, the other three are Pasmanda Muslims, a socio-economically backward community among the Muslims which the BJP has been reaching out to.

The two Muslim corporators of BJP who could register a win included Lubna Ali Khan who won from Hussainbad ward in Lucknow and the Hakikun Nisha who won from the newly constituted Baba Gambhirnath Nagar in Gorakhpur, the political backyard of CM Yogi Adityanath.

Source: timesofindia.indiatimes.com

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Fadnavis orders SIT probe into Muslim group forcing way into Trimbakeshwar temple, police file FIR

May 16, 2023

Maharashtra Deputy CM has ordered the setting up of a Special Investigation Team to probe the alleged attempt by a group of Muslims to enter the Trimbakeshwar temple. The incident took place on May 13, when a group of Muslims tried to enter the temple, which only allows Hindus to enter. Several videos of the incident have been doing the rounds on social media platforms. The group was stopped by security guards outside the temple.

Maharashtra deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday ordered to set up a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe an alleged attempt by a group of Muslims to enter the Trimbakeshwar temple in Nashik on May 13. In Trimbakeshwar,an FIR was registered by police about the illegal gathering of a crowd at the main gate of the temple.

Local police officers said the incident took place on May 13, when a group of Muslims tried to enter the temple. Several videos of the incident have been doing the rounds on social media platforms. The group was stopped by the security guards outside the temple. The group returned after the trust members also opposed their entry.

As per the temple management, only Hindus are allowed to enter the temple which has one of the 12 Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva.

In a video clip, five to six people can be seen trying to enter the temple carrying green scarves.

The instructions from Fadnavis, who holds the home portfolio, comes a day after Nashik Rural superintendent of police (SP) Shahaji Umap attributed the incident to a “misunderstanding”.

“The incident seems to have happened due to a misunderstanding as the Muslims wanted to go inside the temple premises when their procession was underway. We called the group of Muslims who said they will not attempt to enter the premises if it is not allowed,” Umap said on Monday.

Fadnavis’s office tweeted about the incident on Tuesday morning. “Strict action to be taken by registering an FIR on the alleged incident of a certain mob gathering at the main entrance of the Trimbakeshwar temple. SIT will be formed under the officer of the rank of Additional Director General of Police to investigate the incident. The SIT will not only probe this year’s incident, but also last year’s incident, when a certain mob allegedly entered the Trimbakeshwar temple premises through the main entrance,” his office said.

The administrative officer of the Shri Trimbakeshwar Devasthan Trust sent a detailed letter of the incident to the Trimbakeshwar police inspector. According to the letter, during the procession of urus near the north gate of the temple, certain participants attempted to enter the temple premises. However, the security personnel promptly intervened and prevented the Muslims from gaining entry.

Mateen Sayyad, organiser of the urus clarified that they did not attempt to enter the temple. “This is misinformation being spread by some. We only tried to offer incense (through frankincense) from the doorstep of the temple because we also have faith in Lord Shiva,” Sayyad told reporters. He also demanded that the misinformation should be stopped as it can disturb social harmony.

Following the incident, Nashik rural police conducted a ‘harmony’ meeting between various religious people to maintain law and order situation in the district.

BG Shekhar, Inspector General of Police (Nashik) said, “There is peace in Trimbakeshwar and no problem in the law-and-order situation. We will proceed investigation as per the rules and will take further action. Our police inspector in Trimbakeshwar will conduct further investigation.”

Considering this incident, the police will have enhanced security measures around religious sites across Maharashtra to prevent any similar incidents in the future.

A case has been registered at Tribakeshwar police station against accused Akil Yusuf Sayyad, Salman Akim Sayad, Mati Raju Sayad and Salim Bakshu Sayad under sections of 295 and 511 of the IPC and further investigation is underway.

Source: hindustantimes.com

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3 pleas seek ASI survey of entire Gyanvapi mosque

May 17, 2023

The three applications were filed by nine applicants and will be heard by district judge Ajay Krishna Vishvesha on May 22.

Three applications were filed in the Varanasi district court on Tuesday seeking a survey by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) of the entire Gyanvapi mosque complex, including a disputed structure that Hindu sides call a Shivling but Muslim groups say is part of a fountain.

The three applications were filed by nine applicants and will be heard by district judge Ajay Krishna Vishvesha on May 22. Seven petitions related to the Gyanvapi Masjid matter were transferred to the district court in April. Lawyer Vishnu Shankar Jain, who represents the Hindu side, said the district court asked the Gyanvapi mosque management committee to file its reply to the pleas by May 19.

The first application was filed by four plaintiffs – Rekha Pathak, Lakshami Devi, Sita Sahu and Manju Vyas – who were among the five women whose plea asking for daily worshipping rights inside the mosque complex led to a controversial survey last year of a portion of the mosque complex. The last day of this exercise – which was conducted by three advocate commissioners appointed by the court – unearthed the structure that Hindu groups quickly claimed was a Shivling. The area is currently protected on orders of the Supreme Court.

The second petition was filed by Ram Prasad Singh, Ranjana Agnihotri, Shishir Chaturvedi and Rakesh Kumar Agarwal, devotees of lord Shiva and petitioners who filed a suit last year seeking permission for daily darshan and poojan of purported Shivling, said Jain.

Meanwhile, lawyer Vishnu Shankar Jain along with four women plaintiffs and other devotees on Tuesday offered prayers at the Kashi Vishwanath Dham to mark one year of the “discovery of the shivling” in the Gyanvapi mosque complex.

“On May 16 last year, Baba was found in the Gyanvapi mosque complex. We offered prayers and performed Rudrabhishek of Baba Kashi Vishwanath to celebrate his Prakatya Diwas,” said Jain.

Mahant Shiv Prasad Pandey, next friend and devotee of Bhagwan Adi Vishweshwar Virajman, filed the third application, Jain added. Next friend is a legal representative of someone incapable of maintaining a suit directly. “On behalf of the applicants, we have filed three applications in the district court Varanasi, urging that ASI survey of the entire Gyanvapi mosque complex should be done. The court accepted the applications and fixed May 22 as next date of hearing,” Jain said.

“Under the dome of the Gyanvapi complex, there is the remains of the pinnacle of the temple. Also, the western wall of the mosque is the remains of the temple,” he added.

Jain said that entire Gyanvapi complex should be surveyed by ground penetrating radar method, dating and whatever other means were suitable so that its basic condition and reality could be known. Rais Ahmad Ansari, the lawyer for the Anjuman Intezamia Masjid committee that manages the Gyanvapi mosque, said “We will file an objection in the district court.”

The development came days after the Allahabad high court set aside a Varanasi court order that rejected a demand for carbon dating of the disputed structure, and ordered a scientific survey to determine its age.

The Gyanvapi dispute dates back decades but in August 2021, five women filed a petition in a local court demanding the right of unhindered worship at the Maa Shringar Gauri Sthal, located inside the complex that houses idols of Hindu gods. In April 2022, the local court ordered a controversial survey of the complex, which quickly ran into protests. The survey was finally completed in May, but not before the Hindu side claimed that a Shivling was found in the final hours of the exercise.

The petition represents the most successful of a flurry of recent pleas filed by Hindu groups and individuals in courts in Mathura, Agra and Varanasi, demanding worshipping rights in Islamic holy sites.

Last year, Ranjana Agnihotri, Ram Prasad Singh, Rajesh Agrawal, Shishir Chaturvedi asked a Varanasi court, requesting permission to worship the structure.Pandey also filed a similar suit in the civil court last year.

Source: hindustantimes.com

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Arab World

 

Saudi Arabia committed to restoration of peace in Sudan: Cabinet

May 17, 2023

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Cabinet on Tuesday reiterated the Kingdom’s commitment to continue its efforts until security and stability are restored in Sudan and its people, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

Sudan’s warring sides agreed, at Saudi-US brokered talks in Jeddah, to follow humanitarian law and keep channels open for opportunities toward finding a permanent solution to the conflict, which has now been raging for over a month.

The ministers also welcomed the leaders of Arab League member states participating in the 32nd summit, which will be held in the Kingdom on Friday.

In a separate agenda item, the Cabinet reviewed the outcomes of the Islamic Development Bank Group annual meetings held in Jeddah, and highlighted the Kingdom’s contribution to launching many regional and international initiatives aimed at supporting economic recovery and facing development challenges.

Ministers also praised the achievements of anti-narcotic initiatives which have thwarted smuggling attempts by criminal networks in recent weeks.

Separately, the government approved the application of health insurance for domestic workers exceeding 4 persons, in accordance to rules to be set by a committee formed under the chairmanship of the Council of Health Insurance.

Source: arabnews.com

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Saudi ambassador to UK discusses Vision 2030 with Oxford university students

May 17, 2023

LONDON: Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to the UK Prince Khalid bin Bandar on Tuesday received a number of students from the University of Oxford to discuss the Kingdom’s transformation under its Vision 2030.

Prince Khalid welcomed the university delegation at the embassy in the capital, London, which included a number of students majoring in international relations, political science and international security.

During the meeting, the ambassador spoke about the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 and its economic goals, and plans for diversification by attracting foreign investment.

He also touched on the Kingdom’s education sector and its development over the past fifty years, as well as issues of regional and global concern to the Kingdom.

“It was a pleasure to hear the students’ questions about the Kingdom and the region,” Prince Khalid said in a tweet.

Source: arabnews.com

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Saudi Arabia sets example for green living in the region

May 16, 2023

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia is setting guidance plans for sustainability with mega projects in NEOM, Riyadh and other cities across the Kingdom.

The term “sustainability” includes all efforts that humans take, either directly or indirectly, to protect the environment and ensure their survival in the future, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency. This concept is important as humans are dependent on the environment and its natural resources for their existence.

Sustainable development as a concept became well known after 1972 when the UN highlighted it at a conference in Stockholm on the human environment, according to the Sustainable Development Commission.

In the corporate world, for example, although the majority of executives believe in sustainable importance, a little over half of them incorporate strategies that include sustainable goals, said Talal Rafi, an economist and management consultant, in his article on the World Economic Forum website.

Unlike the corporate world, many nations are broadcasting their plans for maintaining sustainability, and Saudi Arabia is one of the countries that is making efforts toward a more flourishing society.

Due to the harsh climate in Saudi Arabia, people previously weren’t as aware as they are now about sustainability. The climate is generally dry and warm in Saudi Arabia, making it challenging to form sustainable projects. 

However, with the Vision 2030 of Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, the Kingdom has taken a new approach to promoting sustainability, which in return enhances the quality of living in the country.

“Saudi Arabia is not only focusing on sustainability, but it has also embraced the concept of ‘Race to Zero’ as part of its Vision 2030 plan, aiming to reduce its carbon emissions and promote investment in renewable energy and green economy,” said Dr. Mohammad Al-Surf, a senior adviser for sustainability and climate action at Jacobs.

Al-Surf said that such an ambitious goal would lead the country to focus on building resilience to climate change and investing in green infrastructure, renewable energy and sustainability.

“With a plan to become a global leader in sustainability, Saudi Arabia’s ‘Race to Zero’ is an important step toward a greener future.”

“The National Program to Maximize the Utilization of Renewable Water Resources” is an idea and methodology proposed by the Saudi Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture. 

Through this program, the ministry aims to ensure sustainability in water use for agriculture and for national afforestation, Dr. Abdulaziz Alshaibani, deputy minister for water at the Ministry for Environment, Water and Agriculture, said in an article for SPA.

Dr. Faisal Alfadl, an architect and founder of the Saudi Green Building Forum, said in an interview with Rotana on Green Economy that more than 30 million trees have been produced in Saudi Arabia. There is also the 10 million trees project in Al-Ula, the biggest oasis in the world, and the Green Riyadh project, where 59,000 trees have been planted so far.

Saudi Arabia is expanding its ambitions through even bigger projects such as The Line in NEOM, a zero-car environment that is part of a 100 percent sustainable transport system.

Dr. Sultan Alshareef, an expert in sustainable development, told Arab News how sustainability benefits several sectors, resulting in  overall development.

“It takes into account financial sustainability and the diversity of non-oil sources of income, which sets out to achieve economic, social, environmental and political goals that make the Kingdom a role model for responsible and comprehensive development that is based on the pillars of true sustainability,” he said.

With such promising projects, sustainable development is thriving in the Kingdom.

Source: arabnews.com

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Saudi Arabia ‘will remain resolute’ in anti-drugs campaign, minister warns

May 16, 2023

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s campaign against illegal drugs is achieving dramatic results, with major strikes against traffickers and smuggling operations, the Kingdom’s Interior Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Naif said.

Speaking during a visit to the Central Operations Room at the ministry’s Riyadh headquarters, Prince Abdulaziz said that although the campaign is still in its early stages, the Kingdom “will remain resolute and not leave room for smugglers or dealers to target our youth or tamper with security in any way.”

The minister praised the efforts of security personnel in protecting the nation from the dangers of illicit drugs, and urged citizens to play their role by reporting traffickers and smugglers, saying that all reports will be dealt with confidentially.

He received a briefing from Maj. Gen. Mohammed Al-Bassami, director of general security, on the results of recent anti-drug operations.

The meeting was attended by Nasser Al-Dawood, deputy interior minister; Lt. Gen. Saeed Al-Qahtani, assistant minister of interior for operations affairs; Hisham Al-Faleh, ministry undersecretary; and Mohammed Al-Muhanna, the ministry’s undersecretary for security affairs.

Source: arabnews.com

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Saudi AI agency inaugurates center dedicated to the technology, launches Arabic AI app

May 16, 2023

RIYADH: The Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority, in cooperation with global technology company Nvidia, on Tuesday inaugurated the Center of Excellence for Generative Artificial Intelligence.

The authority also launched a beta version of its AI chat application, Allam, which supports the use of the Arabic language and is described as the first of its kind in the region.

The opening of the center of excellence is one of the results of a partnership between the authority and Nvidia, following the signing of a memorandum of understanding in February.

The center is an important step, officials said, as it includes an Academy of AI that will help Saudis to develop their knowledge and skills in the field through specialized training programs and courses for AI engineers, data scientists and researchers, that will provide graduates with professional certificates. It will teach subjects such as accelerated computing, deep learning, natural language processing, image generation, and large language models, in both English and Arabic.

The partnership between the authority and Nvidia will additionally offer training, and research and development in the AI field, officials said, and provide a platform for AI projects at the local and regional levels. It also aims to promote the development of neuro-linguistic models and machine learning, and allow the authority to benefit from the expertise of the Nvidia Institute for Deep Machine Learning.

The Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority will also work with Saudi organizations and, through high-performance computing, help them to develop the use of AI in fields such as energy, health, education and the environment.

Through such collaborations, the authority said it aims to position the Kingdom as a world leader in the AI field and a global technology center, to help achieve the goals of the Saudi Vision 2030 development and diversification plan.

Meanwhile, the newly released Allam application is aid to be the first in the country to include AI technology that can respond to Arabic queries. The current version draws on hundreds of millions of source documents in Arabic and English to answer questions in text or audio form using reliable sources of information from the Kingdom and the wider Arab world, developers said.

The topics on which it can answer queries include Saudi history, sports, health and education. It can also help restore and color old photos, and summarize documents.

Meanwhile, the authority’s “Generative Artificial Intelligence Accelerator Hackathon” challenge, organized in partnership with the National Technology Development Program and the New Native accelerator, will take place from May 18 to 21. The participants will work to create AI models.

And the authority has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Saudi Education and Training Evaluation Commission with the aim of developing generative AI applications that use the capabilities of the Allam app to improve education and training experiences, and integrating the technology into the services provided by the commission.

Source: arabnews.com

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Saudi Arabia sells $6 bln in two-tranche Islamic bonds: lead manager

16 May, 2023

Saudi Arabia has raised $6 billion from the sale of Islamic bonds, or sukuk, a document from a lead manager showed, returning to the debt markets for the second time this year, amid continued pressure on global oil prices and a cloudy macroeconomic outlook.

The kingdom sold a $3 billion six-year tranche at 80 basis points (bps) over U.S. Treasuries (UST) and another $3 billion in 10-year notes at 100 bps over UST, tighter than guidance released on Monday, amid strong investor demand.

Order books for the deal, open to investors in the United States, hit over $27 billion ahead of the launch, according to a separate bank document seen on Monday.

Proceeds from the sale will be used for general domestic budgetary purposes.

Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil exporter, last tapped the public debt markets in January, raising $10 billion.

High oil prices helped the kingdom tilt to its first fiscal surplus in almost a decade in 2022, but an uncertain demand outlook and macroeconomic headwinds have pushed prices lower this year.

On Tuesday, Brent crude was trading at around $75 per barrel at 1100 GMT, which is below the estimated breakeven price of $80.9 per barrel Saudi Arabia needs to balance its budget, according to the International Monetary Fund.

Saudi Arabia said it would trim oil production by 500,000 barrels per day starting this month, part of a surprise cut announced by the OPEC+ group in April.

Source: newarab.com

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South Asia

 

How China Treats 3.5 Million Uyghur Muslims, Other Minorities as Terrorists, Stuffs Them in 'Gulags'

MAY 17, 2023

Uyghur Muslims in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), a forcibly occupied territory in 1949, can’t follow any religious Muslim tradition. Dictated by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), children of the Uyghur population can’t get religious education or follow religious practices. Around 3.5 million Uyghur Muslims and other minorities of the Xinjiang province have been interned in prison camps that the CCP calls re-education centres.

The population of the Uyghur natives is down to half while the Han Chinese population from mainland China is now almost equal to them and dominates the province’s administration and income. XUAR is geographically the largest province in China.

The Chinese atrocities, described in detail in the 2022 ‘Report on International Religious Freedom’, which was released by the US Department of State this week, adds to the earlier investigative reports about the CCP’s cruelties in the province that many outside China call genocide.

The report says that as per US estimates, these re-education centres, which are described as concentration camps or gulags by many analysts, saw over a million Uyghur Muslims and other minorities of the province interned in the last six years. As mentioned above, other reports keep this number at as high as 3.5 million people jailed. Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) put the number of such camps at 380 in September 2020 in its investigative report.

The CCP thinks of Uyghurs of the province either as terrorists or terror sympathisers and corners them in these camps that are established under the country’s anti-terror operational mechanism. Entry into these camps means you are in a prison facility established under China’s national counterterrorism and regional counter extremism laws.

These Chinese gulags have treated 3.5 million Uyghur Muslims and other minority civilians as terrorists or suspected terrorists.

Uyghurs are arrested and put in these concentration camps that the CCP calls vocational skills education training centres with the sole purpose of ‘anti-extremist ideological education’ that can be equated to torture, pushing for religious alienation from Islam and political indoctrination towards Han Chinese culture and CCP’s ideology.

Around 900,000 Uyghur children have been separated from their parents. Their indoctrination begins early in life with them being trained in CCP ideology, Han culture, and Mandarin language.

The sole aim is to sinicise Xinjian absolutely. 2022 was the deadline.

In 1941, Uyghurs were 80% of Xinjiang’s population while Han Chinese were just 5%. Today, they are 42% of Xinjiang’s population, 37% up, while Uyghurs have seen their share coming down by 35%, at 45%.

The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) calls the Chinese treatment of Uyghurs serious human rights violations. The OHCHR says this can be categorised as international crimes targeting humanity. Forced disappearances, forced sterilisation, torture, political indoctrination, and sexual abuse are routinely observed. Adrian Zenz, a German research scholar on China, says the forced sterilisation policy could cut up to 4.5 million Uyghur births in future.

The CCP even assigns fake relatives to the Uyghur population, to live with them inside their houses to spy on them, the next step of Chinese surveillance on Uyghurs. These fake relatives are either CCP members or administration officials of the province.

The administration in the province has put up a mechanism that forces Uyghur neighbours to spy on each other as well. They are under 24/7 surveillance, both physical and virtual. They must update the Chinese authorities about their daily routine. Their phones, their home decoration, their religious preference, everything is governed by the CCP administration in Xinjiang. An Uyghur Muslim is jailed for a long period of time for owning a Quran or growing a beard.

Most of the Uyghur mosques are gone. According to the Washington-based Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP), China destroyed 10,000 to 15,000 Uyghur mosques and religious places between 2016 and 2019.

The country carried out a massive exercise in June 2022 when it screened 23 million Xinjiang minority residents for being terrorists. Those with international ties were immediately arrested. Uyghur Muslims are also used as forced labour for agriculture and industrial activities in the province. This is done through a “widespread and systematic programme", says a report by the International Labour Organization (ILO).

Source: news18.com

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‘Have legitimacy to serve the mission in India’: Afghan envoy on Taliban appointing CDA

By Shobhit Gupta

May 16, 2023

Afghan ambassador to India Farid Mamundzay on Tuesday strongly rejected the claims of Taliban appointing the Charge d'Affaires to replace him as the envoy in India and said that he was being appointed by a legitimately elected government and has the legitimacy to serve in India.

While speaking to news agency ANI, he said, "We categorically rejected the claims from the Taliban that they have appointed the Charge d'Affaires at the mission in India. I represent a republic or a government which no longer exists, but I was appointed by a legitimately elected government. I do have that legitimacy serving in this mission".

Claiming of being Afghanistan's legitimate representative and an accredited diplomat in India, he said that he has shared his concerns with the Indian government and look forward to their response over the matter.

The Afghanistan embassy in India on Monday said there is no change in its leadership following the claims that the Taliban have appointed a charge d'affaires to head the mission replacing incumbent Mamundzay.

Mamundzay was appointed by the Afghanistan's then Ashraf Ghani government and has been working as the envoy even after the Taliban acceded Afghanistan in August 2021.

"There has been an individual working at the embassy who defected to the Taliban and pledged allegiance to the Taliban. This incident has been weighing on since the last three weeks while I was travelling outside India and as soon as I get to know, I returned back to the mission", the Afghan envoy told ANI.

Mamundzay also alleged that Taliban carries out such acts to make wider contacts within the international community. "Taliban carries no legitimacy. No government has recognised their regime. The motive behind taking over the mission in such a way is to increase their contacts with the wider international community", he said.

"Taliban feel internationally alienated and isolated from the world. They need to form an inclusive government and begin to respect the rule of law, extend the required services and liberty to the people, especially women", he added.

India has not recognised the Taliban rule yet and has been urging for the formation of an inclusive government in Afghanistan.

Source: hindustantimes.com

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Afghan National On FBI Terror List Arrested Crossing Southern Border Illegally

May 17, 2023

A group of migrants and an Afghan national on the FBI’s terror watchlist were caught trying to enter the U.S. illegally last week.

According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection authorities, Fox News reported that the suspect—who has not been publicly identified—was apprehended Wednesday while attempting to cross the southern border at Otay Mesa in San Diego, California.

The FBI launched an investigation after a fingerprint scan on the Afghan national revealed that he was included in the Terrorist Screening Database.

“The FBI has no comment on your specific inquiry. We are vigilant in our efforts to detect and assess possible threats, and we work closely with our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners to keep our communities safe,” a statement from the FBI said, as quoted by CBS 8.

The suspect terrorists’ names and the nature of their alleged crimes are unknown. The incident occurred amid thousands of refugees’ asylum requests at the border.

“The lack of having a comprehensive good immigration program, we are creating those masses on the other side of the border by not having an understandable process,” Supervisor Desmond said, as quoted by CBS 8.

With more than 70 non-US citizens on the FBI’s terror watch list already detained during CBP’s most recent fiscal year, 2023 will probably see more arrests than the 98 made in the previous year.

During the Trump administration, the emergency measure made it easier for border officials to deport people from specific countries, while after Title 42 expired, thousands of migrants flocked to the border to request asylum in the U.S.

According to Department of Homeland Security data, less than 5,000 of the 77,000 Afghans resettled in the U.S. through a unique legal process have obtained permanent legal status for themselves and their families, and efforts to make them permanent residents are failing in Congress.

Tens of thousands of Afghan refugees who fled to the U.S. since the regime change in 2021, their legal status at risk and losing their work permits and protection against deportation this summer.

The Biden administration intends to give these Afghan migrants the opportunity to apply to stay and work in the country legally for at least another two years.

As a result of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) decision, Afghan evacuees who were resettled on a large scale in 2021 and 2022 will have the opportunity to renew their temporary work permits and protections from deportation under the parole immigration policy, CBS News reported.

Source: khaama.com

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Bangladesh Rejects Fifth Freedom Rights To United Arab Emirates Airlines

Bangladesh's aviation authority has rejected a proposal to grant fifth freedom rights to airlines from the United Arab Emirates. Nonetheless, the two countries have left the door open for a future agreement.

Fifth freedom proposal denied

The Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB) and UAE officials held a bilateral meeting this week to discuss the possibility of fifth freedom rights and increased flight operations. Fifth freedom rights would permit UAE carriers to carry passengers between Bangladesh and third countries.

Two days of talks concluded without any major breakthrough, with Bangladeshi authorities rejecting the request for fifth freedom rights amid concerns it would hinder the growth of local airlines.

As reported by BD News, the meeting was attended by 22 representatives from the UAE, including officials from the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), Air Arabia, Emirates, Etihad Airways and flydubai - Simple Flying has reached out to the airlines and will update this story accordingly.

Flights to remain the same

Another point on the agenda this week was the prospect of boosting flights between the UAE and Bangladesh, but this was also rejected - UAE-based airlines currently operate around 130 weekly flights to Bangladesh and want to further their presence in a growing aviation market.

Bangladesh's main international airport - Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport (DAC) - serving the capital Dhaka, is currently developing a third terminal and doesn't have the capacity to handle an increase in flights.

The CAAB added that proposals to increase flights would be "reviewed subject to future capacity expansion of airports." The third terminal is touted to open in 2024 - until that happens, the airport won't be able to handle a boost in flight operations.

Fujairah agreement, Wizz Air service

CAAB spokesperson Mohammad Sohel Kamruzzaman said that Bangladesh had reached an agreement with the Emirate of Fujairah to establish air service between the two countries, dependent on their respective airport capacities.

Wizz Air Abu Dhabi, the UAE-based offshoot of Hungarian low-cost carrier Wizz Air, has also been seeking rights to serve Bangladesh with flights. This has upset local airlines, who believe it will harm national interests and claim they were not consulted on the matter.

As reported by Dhaka Tribune, Biman Bangladesh Airlines Managing director and CEO, Shafiul Azim, commented,

Source: simpleflying.com

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Bangladesh Withdraws 'Extra Security' Protection for Foreign Envoys of India, US and 2 Other Countries

MAY 16, 2023

Bangladesh has withdrawn the “extra security escort” provided to top diplomats of India and three other countries, with foreign minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on Tuesday terming the service redundant, costly, and discriminatory.

Policemen equipped with riot gear used to escort in their vans the envoys of India, the United States, the UK, and Saudi Arabia during their movements in the city and an intensified security vigil for them was enforced following the July 1, 2016, Islamist militant attack in a posh Dhaka restaurant.

The attack killed 20 people — 17 foreigners including an Indian girl. Most of the other foreigners killed in the attack were however Japanese and Italians.

“The additional security protocol we were providing to ambassadors and high commissioners of some particular countries has been withdrawn. But the normal security measures for them are in place,” a diplomatic security division official of Dhaka Metropolitan Police said on Tuesday.

The official, who preferred anonymity, said the police gunmen will continue to accompany the envoys during their movements and the personnel from the designated police unit guarding the chancery complexes and residences of senior diplomats will also remain as usual.

The foreign minister said the existing law and order no longer required additional security measures for a few envoys and the decision to withdraw the extra protocols was taken as several embassies other than the four were demanding identical security rituals.

“We have decided not to provide additional security escort services to foreign ambassadors of any country,” the minister told the media at the sidelines of an event.

He added that if any country felt the need for additional security measures, they might hire the services.

Momen said many countries were now asking for a similar protocol “but we will not give it to anyone, because it is discriminatory (and) no one gives such benefits to our ambassadors abroad".

Shortly after Momen’s comments, Dhaka Police Commissioner Khandker Golam Faruq told reporters that the shortage of manpower prompted authorities to make the decision to refrain from providing any additional protocol to certain diplomats.

A foreign ministry official, familiar with the development, said a specialised unit of para-police Ansar Force was made ready to provide VIP protection services in exchange for payments and the foreign missions could hire them if they wanted.

Meanwhile, the Public Diplomacy Section of the US embassy here in a statement said: “The safety and security of our diplomatic personnel and facilities are of the utmost importance." “In accordance with longstanding policy, we do not disclose security details concerning the US Embassy. Per the Vienna Convention, the host country must uphold its obligations to ensure the protection of all diplomatic missions and personnel," Sean McIntosh, the counsellor in charge of the US Embassy Public Diplomacy Section said.

The three other embassies where envoys were getting the extra privilege made no comment on the development so far.

Source: news18.com

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875,000 Afghan Children Facing Acute Malnutrition: Rights Group

May 17, 2023

Kabul: Afghanistan remains one of the world's worst humanitarian disasters as Human Rights Watch in a recent report on Afghanistan said that two-thirds of the country's population is food insecure, reported Tolo News.

"Afghanistan has largely disappeared from the media, but it remains one of the world's worst humanitarian disasters," said the HRW report.

As per the reports, after the ban on women working for NGOs, the crisis has become more severe. It said 875,000 children face acute malnutrition, reported Tolo News.

"Two-thirds of the country's population is food insecure, including 875,000 children facing acute malnutrition. Women and girls remain most at risk," said Human Rights Watch.

According to the Human Rights report, drastic loss of aid will leave many Afghans poorer and hungrier, reported Tolo News.

"The additional information I have is that the humanitarian situation remains critical in Afghanistan and our operations also remain underfunded," said Stephane Dujarric, Spokesman for the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

Earlier, World Bank in its report had said that Afghanistan is among one of the seven countries which face a catastrophic level of food crisis.

According to the report, the seven food crisis-hit countries include Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Haiti, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, and Yemen.

The number of people experiencing food crises in these countries is the highest since the Global Report on Food Crises started reporting data in 2017.

Meanwhile, UNICEF has also warned that it is facing a lack of critical food aid in Afghanistan due to a shortage of funding, amidst a widespread humanitarian crisis in the country.

Melanie Galvin, chief of nutrition at the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), in a video message on Twitter, said that thousands of vulnerable children could die from severe malnutrition in Afghanistan this year alone.

Galvin further added the global food organization faces an urgent funding gap of USD 21 million to buy essential supplies for treating malnutrition and training health workers around the country.

The organization also faces a shortage of ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF), she said. RUTF is considered an essential ready-made food supplement that can cure children suffering from malnutrition, according to Khaama Press.

Years of conflict, poverty, and the broken and donation-based economy have forced ordinary people to suffer acute hunger and food shortage.

UNICEF in its report highlighted that Afghanistan is home to one of the world's worst humanitarian crises. More than 28 million people, including over 15 million children, need humanitarian and protection assistance this year, a staggering increase of 4 million people over 2022.

Since the return of the Taliban to power in Afghanistan in 2021, the economy has failed to recover, keeping millions of people on the verge of starvation.

Source: ndtv.com

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Two children killed in drone strike in Afghanistan’s Khost

16 May, 2023

Kabul [Afghanistan], May 16 (ANI): Two children were killed in a drone strike in Afghanistan’s Khost on Tuesday, Khaama Press reported.

A house in the Bahramkhel village of Ismailkhel and Mandozai district of Khost province was the target of a drone strike on Tuesday.

Two children were reportedly killed in the attack, while two others, including a woman and a child, were injured.

Those injured were transferred to the local hospital for medical treatment.

Shabir Ahmad Osmani, the Taliban’s director of information and culture in Khost, did not confirm the airstrike but said that a blast had occurred at a residential house and the matter is under investigation.

Locals in the Khost province reported that a drone had been hovering above the Ismailkhel and Mandozai district since Monday night and threw a bomb on a residential house at around 3-4 am on Tuesday, according to Khaama Press.

Several media reported that since the regime change in Afghanistan in August 2021, unknown drones have been flying in several regions of the country.

Officials in Pakistan expressed concern about the Tahreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) hideouts across the Afghan-Pak border area, which were rejected by the Taliban authorities. (ANI)

Source: theprint.in

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https://theprint.in/world/two-children-killed-in-drone-strike-in-afghanistans-khost/1577503/

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Mawlawi Abdul Kabir Appointed as Acting Prime Minister of Afghanistan

May 17, 2023

Taliban’s Supreme Leader Hibatullah Akhundzada in a special decree has appointed Mawlawi Abdul Kabir as the acting Prime Minister of Afghanistan.

It is reported that Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund the acting Prime Minister is ill and until he recovers, Mawlawi Abdul Kabir will serve as the head of the Taliban government, TOLOnews reported.

Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund has served as the Prime Minister of the Taliban government since the group’s return to power in 2021.

Although the Taliban authorities have not provided any details about Mullah Hassan’s illness, sources had previously said that he was suffering from heart disease.

Mawlawi Abdul Kabir is from the eastern Paktika province and it is said he belongs to the Zadran tribe. He served as the governor of Nangarhar province during the former regime of the Taliban from 1996-2001.

It is said after the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001, he then served as the head of the Peshawar Council.

Mawlawi Kabir is one of the senior members of the Taliban group who has played a significant role in the Taliban’s negotiations with the US in Qatar, which resulted in the signing of the Doha Agreement between the US and the Taliban.

After the Taliban’s return to power in August 2021, Mawlawi Kabir was initially appointed as the assistant to the economic deputy of Mullah Hasan and later as the political deputy of the Taliban’s Prime Minister.

Source: khaama.com

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https://www.khaama.com/mawlawi-abdul-kabir-appointed-as-acting-prime-minister-of-afghanistan/

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India & Bangladesh launch ’50 Start-ups Exchange Programme’

May 17th, 2023

The initial batch of 10 start-up companies participating in the 50 start-ups exchange program between India and Bangladesh have returned to Dhaka after a successful visit to India from May 8-12. These start-ups operate in various sectors, including e-commerce, health, transport and logistics, energy, education, and skill development.

The exchange program facilitates visits between 50 start-ups from Bangladesh and 50 start-ups from India, aiming to foster partnerships, expand business relations, share experiences and knowledge, and promote collaboration among young entrepreneurs. The framework of this program was established during recent bilateral summits between the Prime Ministers of both countries.

Other points of the news:

While in India, the participating start-up companies were familiarized with India’s ‘Start-up India’ initiative. They engaged in interactive sessions that covered topics such as setting up a start-up and developing a business model, the significance of incubators, marketing strategies for projects and services, cybersecurity and artificial intelligence with a focus on data protection, start-up evaluation, and securing funding.

The High Commission of India in Bangladesh organized an interactive session in Dhaka, where the group of 10 start-ups who visited India participated. High Commissioner Pranay Verma highlighted the vibrant start-up ecosystems in both countries, emphasizing their focus on innovation and technology. He emphasized the potential for Bangladeshi start-ups to enter the Indian markets, particularly in the North-Eastern states. The High Commissioner also highlighted the opportunity for collaboration between the start-up communities of India and Bangladesh, exploring ways to enhance ease of doing business, including trade settlement in local currencies and collaboration in digital payment platforms.

This visit by the 10 Bangladeshi start-ups to India marks the beginning of the 50 start-ups exchange program. The program has the potential to boost cooperation in new and emerging areas, cutting-edge technology, entrepreneurship, and innovation, as stated in an official press release.

Source: currentaffairs.adda247.com

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https://currentaffairs.adda247.com/india-bangladesh-launch-50-start-ups-exchange-programme/

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Africa

 

Kenya Religious Cult That Advocated Fasting To "Meet Jesus": Police Dig Up More Bodies

17-05-23

The death toll from the "Shakahola Massacre" in a forest in southeastern Kenya, where a sect whose leader advocated fasting to "meet Jesus" was meeting, has now risen to 201 after the discovery of 22 new bodies on Saturday, the region's prefect announced.

Police believe that most of the bodies discovered near the coastal town of Malindi are those of followers of the sect of Paul Nthenge Mackenzie, a former cab driver, self-proclaimed "pastor" of the Good News International Church that he created.

The area prefect, Rhoda Onyancha, said 26 people have been arrested so far, including Paul Nthenge Mackenzie and a "gang of goons" responsible for making sure no followers broke the fast or escaped from the forest.

Paul Mackenzie had surrendered to the authorities on April 14, after the police discovered the first victims in the Shakahola forest. About 50 mass graves have been discovered since then.

Investigators will pause the exhumations over the next two days to reorganize their operations, which are expected to resume on Tuesday, Onyancha said.

Autopsies on the first bodies indicate that most of the victims died of starvation, most likely after following the preaching of Paul Nthenge Mackenzie.

Some victims, however, including children, were strangled, beaten or suffocated, said the head of forensic operations, Johansen Oduor, recently.

The massacre has rekindled the debate over the regulation of religious worship in Kenya, a predominantly Christian country with 4,000 "churches," according to official figures.

President William Ruto has set up a task force to "review the legal and regulatory framework governing religious organizations".

Source: africanews.com

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https://www.africanews.com/2023/05/16/kenya-religious-cult-police-dig-up-more-bodies/

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Namibia recognises same-sex marriages contracted abroad

17-05-23

Namibia's Supreme Court on Tuesday recognised same-sex marriages contracted abroad between citizens and foreign spouses, a landmark ruling in a country where homosexuality is illegal.

The decision overturns a ruling reached last year by the High Court, which refused to accept same-sex marriages concluded outside Namibia.

Two Namibian nationals had sought recourse from the courts after the ministry of home affairs and immigration refused to grant permits to same-sex foreign spouses whom they had married outside the country.

"This Court accordingly found that the approach of the Ministry to exclude spouses, including the appellants, in a validly concluded same-sex marriage... infringes both the interrelated rights to dignity and equality of the appellants," the ruling said.

Annette Seiler, who is married to German national Anita Seiler-Lilles, brought the case along with Namibian citizen Johann Potgieter and his South African husband, Matsobane Daniel Digashu.

Their marriages were respectively concluded in Germany and South Africa

Namibia has seen a flurry of court cases on the rights of same-sex couples to marry, become parents and immigrate.

Homosexuality is illegal in Namibia under a rarely-enforced 1927 sodomy law dating to its period under South African rule.

South Africa, under its liberal post-apartheid constitution, is the sole African nation which allows gay marriage, legalised in 2006.

In March this year, the same paramount court overturned a decision by a lower court to grant citizenship to a gay couple's four-year-old son who was born in neighbouring South Africa through surrogacy.

Source: africanews.com

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https://www.africanews.com/2023/05/16/namibia-recognises-same-sex-marriages-contracted-abroad/

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Court Grants Bauchi Imam, Abdulaziz, Bail

By Hassan Ibrahim

Wed, 17 May 2023

A Bauchi Chief Magistrate Court yesterday granted bail to the Chief Imam of Dutsen Tanshi Jumaat Mosque, Dr Idris Abdulaziz, who has been arraigned by the police for making comments capable of inciting public unrest in his sermon.

Chief Magistrate Abdulfatah Sekoni, on Tuesday, granted him N1m bail with three sureties in the like sum who must be his district head, a permanent secretary in state service, and a renowned Islamic scholar in the state.

He said the remand order earlier made on Monday was to allow the court to study the First Information Report (FIR) and the circumstances surrounding the case.

The magistrate explained that having meticulously gone through the case, it was ideal to grant the applicant bail as to do otherwise would amount to injustice to him.

The court has adjourned the case till May 24 for hearing.

Meanwhile, the Students Committee of Imam  Idris Abdulaziz under the auspices of Dutsen Tanshi Majlis Foundation Nigeria has appealed to his followers and other sympathisers to remain calm and not to embark on protests or any act that might breach the peace in the state.

A statement signed by the President of the Students Committee, Yau Idris, said that the appeal became necessary in order to avert a development whereby the situation would be hijacked by hoodlums.

Source: dailytrust.com

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https://dailytrust.com/court-grants-bauchi-imam-abdulaziz-bail/

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African peace mission to visit Ukraine and Russia

17-05-23

South African president, Cyril Ramaphosa, announced on Tuesday that six African leaders are planning to travel to Ukraine and Russia to help find a solution to the war.

Ramaphosa added that Russian president Vladimir Putin and the Ukrainian leader Zelenskyy had agreed to receive the African peace mission in their respective capitals.

"The two leaders that I had occasion to speak to, that is President Putin and President Zelenskyy, agreed that they would be willing to receive a mission of the African heads of states in both Moscow and Kyiv. I agreed with both of them that we would commence with the preparations for the engagements with these African heads of state. The Secretary General of the United Nations was also briefed and so is the African Union office also briefed", said the South African president.

The initiative was drawn up by Zambia, Senegal, the Republic of Congo, Uganda, Egypt and South Africa.

The announcement came a day after Ramaphosa said South Africa had been under "extraordinary pressure" to pick sides in the conflict, following accusations from the United States that Pretoria supplied weapons to Moscow, a move that would break with its professed neutrality.

Source: africanews.com

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https://www.africanews.com/2023/05/16/african-peace-mission-to-visit-ukraine-and-russia/

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Deaths as Senegal protests turn violent

17-05-23

At least three people died in Senegal during protests supporting opposition leader Ousmane Sonko before he was supposed to attend a since postponed rape trial in a court in Dakar on Tuesday.

The judge of the criminal chamber of the Dakar high court postponed Sonko’s trial to give lawyers for key witnesses time to go over the court files.

The delay came after 24 hours of unrest linked to the case against the prominent politician in the West African nation.

Two people were found dead in Dakar and Ziguinchor after the protests, and one police officer died when an armoured police car accidentally hit him, the interior ministry said.

Buses were burned, some shops were attacked and people clashed with police in the capital Dakar and in Sonko’s hometown, Ziguinchor, during violent demonstrations on Monday night.

“It’s politics what’s going on,” said Abdoulay Sy, a Senegalese IT engineer and U.S. resident, who was caught by surprise by the protests while visiting his family in Keur Massar at the outskirts of Dakar.

“This is our stuff, we pay taxes, this is our staff if they burn it, they are destroying our things” the 35-year-old engineer said, adding that every time there were elections, unrest and “bad things” happen.

He said a lack of opportunities for young people further fuelled the demonstrations, and called on all sides to restore peace.

Meanwhile Sonko remained in Ziguinchor, where he is the mayor, and where the unrest started on Monday when his supporters tried to protect him from a possible arrest to force him to be present in court.

Sonko was charged based on a woman's accusations that he assaulted her when she worked at a massage salon.

He denies the charges and said there was a plot to remove him from the presidential race.

If convicted, Sonko faces up to 10 years in prison and would be barred from running for president in 2024.

He recently received a 6-month suspended prison sentence in a defamation case against the Minister of Tourism Mame Mbaye Niang, who he should pay about $330,000.

The opposition leader declared he would no longer respond to court summonses.

Sonko challenged President Macky Sall in Senegal's 2019 presidential election and was elected mayor of Ziguinchor last year.

Heavy police presence was seen in Dakar, Ziguinchor and elsewhere in Senegal.

Source: africanews.com

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https://www.africanews.com/2023/05/16/deaths-as-senegal-protests-turn-violent/

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North America

 

US Voices Support for Freedom of Expression without Any Violence in Pakistan

May 17, 2023

WASHINGTON: Amidst domestic turmoil in Pakistan, the United States (US) has voiced support for freedom of expression without any violence and reiterated that a strong, stable and prosperous Pakistan is crucial to its ties with the country.

“Our belief is that individuals should have the freedom to express themselves, but do so without participating in any violence, violence that would put government employees in government buildings in harm’s way. And specifically on the arrest, I spoke a little bit to this last week,” US State Department’s Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel told reporters at his daily news conference in Washington.

Responding to a question on the ongoing developments in Pakistan, Vedant Patel said “The US does not have a position on one political party or one candidate or other. Our view is a strong, stable and prosperous Pakistan is crucial to US-Pakistan relations and that for any arrest that such an individual is affronted basic human rights in accordance to their laws.”

Asked about the freedom of press in Pakistan, the State Department deputy spokesman said he is not going to be prescriptive about the current situation.

“I do not have an assessment to offer from here. But broadly, we are very clear about the need for access for media and the access for information and the free flow of information between the government and journalists,” he added.

Source: brecorder.com

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https://www.brecorder.com/news/40242511/us-voices-support-for-freedom-of-expression-without-any-violence

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Senate Dems Host Event Celebrating Islamic Terrorists Killing Jews

May 17, 2023

(May 17, 2023 / JNS) In Israel, Inga Avramyan, 82, died under a collapsed ceiling. The elderly immigrant from Armenia heard the sirens warning of an Islamic terror strike, but did not reach a bomb shelter in time because she was trying to help her disabled husband make it along with her.

Sergei, Inga’s husband, had lost a leg in a car accident and needed a wheelchair to get around. The rocket smashed through the side of the building, the ceiling collapsed and Inga was killed.

Four days before the Palestinian Islamic Jihad rocket killed Inga, Senator Bernie Sanders helped host an event in the Senate building promoting the terror group.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy had cancelled a House event by anti-Semitic politician Rep. Rashida Tlaib commemorating “Nakba Day”—mourning the failed effort by invading Muslim armies to exterminate Israel’s Jewish population.

“I think it’s outrageous that Speaker McCarthy threw them out of a room they had reserved,” Sanders fumed.

The socialist senator then arranged to have the terrorist supporters host their event promoting the destruction of the Jewish state by abusing his chairmanship of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) committee to use its hearing room.

What does the Senate’s oversight of pensions have to do with destroying Israel? Ask Bernie.

Inside the event, Noura Erakat boasted, “It is of utmost importance to say that here because we are within the very institution that has sustained the ongoing Nakba.”

The institution is the United States government, and the Nakba [“catastrophe” in Arabic] is the existence of Israel.

In Canada, Erakat had generated a political controversy when a Ontario New Democratic Party (ONDP) politician retweeted her message calling dead Islamic Jihad leader Khader Adnan a “martyr.” In the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C., Erakat read a quote about “resisting,” a euphemism for terrorism, from the dead terrorist.

Palestinian Islamic Jihad is not just a problem for Israel. The terrorist group was spun off from the Muslim Brotherhood’s Islamic Jihad operation in Egypt. That terror group, often described as Egyptian Islamic Jihad, to avoid confusion, became part of Al Qaeda and eventually took it over.

In the months before 9/11, Islamic Jihad and Al Qaeda became a single organization. When Al Qaeda’s hijacked planes killed thousands of Americans, the U.S. Capitol, suspected to be the target of the last plane, was rapidly evacuated.

Now Al Qaeda’s stepbrother terrorists are hailed in the offices of the Senate.

Khader Adnan, hailed in the offices of the Senate, has been described by the media as an “activist,” “detainee” and a “hunger striker.” Those are long-winded ways of saying terrorist. The “martyr,” whose hunger strike was a prolonged suicide, can be seen on video at the funeral of another terrorist, urging the crowd on to more attacks.

“Who among you is Hassan Abu Zaid [the suicide bomber, who murdered seven people]?” he demanded. “Who among you is the next martyrdom-seeker? Who among you has the next explosive belt? Who among you will carry out the next shooting?”

The New York Times responded by comparing the Islamic Jihad terrorist to Gandhi. And the Senate allowed Sanders to hijack its facilities to hold an event promoting the destruction of Israel and celebrating an Islamic terrorist.

There’s no room in the Senate to discuss an 82-year-old woman crushed under a ceiling while trying to help her amputee husband reach safety, but there’s always room to praise terrorists.

Nor was it Noura Erakat’s first time in Congress.

When Pelosi and the Democrats took Congress, Erakat, a key BDS figure, became a legal counsel for the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. She attained this position even though her uncle, Saeb Erakat, was a top official in the PLO terrorist group. Her cousin, Ahmed Erekat, was killed while carrying out a terrorist attack that injured a female Israeli officer.

This is the murderous terrorism that House and Senate Democrats choose to enable.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, who when politically convenient occasionally claims to be Jewish, was not outraged over Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s murder of Inga Avramyan, but by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy denying Rep. Rashida Tlaib space in which to promote the terrorists trying to kill Jews.

The only reason that Rep. Tlaib had to resort to the socialist senator’s assistance was that Republicans held the House majority. Had Pelosi and the Democrats still been in charge, there is no doubt that the event celebrating terrorism and attacking Israel would have gone forward.

“People should be allowed to congregate, to have discussions, to express their viewpoints and ideas,” Rep. Pete Aguilar, the third ranking House Democrat, had complained about Speaker McCarthy’s decision to cancel Tlaib’s Nakba event “That’s who we are.”

Supporting Islamic terrorists killing Jews is who the Democrats are.

Senate Democrats, who could have intervened and stopped this ugliness, carefully ignored it. Senate Majority Leader Schumer’s allies claimed that he was “totally unaware of this event.”

Sen. Bill Cassidy, the Republican ranking member on the pension committee, condemned Senate Democrats for allowing the hearing room to be used to “legitimize anti-Semitic bigotry.”

Once controversial, antisemitic House members like Rep. Tlaib and Rep. Omar have been embraced by Biden and the Democrat establishment. When Speaker McCarthy booted Rep. Omar from the Foreign Affairs Committee, Democrats held the line in supporting the antisemitic politician. The hate fest at the Dirksen Office Building shows where the Democrats are headed.

Democrats defiled the Capitol by turning into a haven for celebrating Islamic Jihad terrorists, who are backed by Iran and closely related to Al Qaeda. They did it while Islamic Jihad was firing rockets into Israel in a ruthless effort to kill Jews.

Islamic Jihad celebrated Inga’s murder by gloating that  “our Palestinian people raise their heads high with this blessed and sacred response from the Palestinian resistance.”

What better way for the Arab Muslim invaders to “raise their heads high” than with the “blessed and sacred” murder of an 82-year-old Israeli woman.

Perhaps Sanders can arrange to allow Rep. Rashida Tlaib to hold an event celebrating this latest heroic “resistance” of the Islamic Jihad in the Senate office building.

Source: jns.org

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https://www.jns.org/opinion/senate-dems-host-event-celebrating-islamic-terrorists-killing-jews/

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A section of NYC skateboarding ‘mecca’ Brooklyn Banks reopens in Chinatown

MAY 16, 2023

Parts of a long-neglected public space under the Brooklyn Bridge once known as the “mecca” of New York City skateboarding will reopen this month. On Wednesday, May 24, “The Arches,” a one-acre public space with basketball, pickleball, shuffleboard, and seating under the Manhattan side of the Brooklyn Bridge, will officially open after being shuttered for over a decade, Mayor Eric Adams announced last week. The new park sits next to Brooklyn Banks, a haven for skateboarders and BMX riders starting in the 1980s before closing in 2010.

The new park’s opening coincides with the 140th anniversary of the Brooklyn Bridge and the completion of the city’s renovation of the iconic overpass.

A majority of the space underneath the bridge’s vehicle onramps has been closed to the public since 2010 when DOT began work on the $800 million project. The bridge’s rehabilitation included a comprehensive cleaning of its granite stones for the first time since its construction and the replacement of mortar between stones.

The reactivation of the Arches is part of Adams’ “Working People’s Agenda,” announced during his 2023 State of the City address, which included an investment of $375 million into the creation of new public spaces across all five boroughs to improve the quality of life for New Yorkers.

The revitalization also follows a recommendation set forth in Gov. Kathy Hochul’s “Making New York Work for Everyone” action plan, which proposed a series of public realm improvements in all five boroughs, including underneath and around the Brooklyn Bridge.

“One hundred forty years ago, we opened the Brooklyn Bridge and connected two islands. This is a landmark 1883 moment for our communities, our public spaces, and our city’s recovery,” Adams said.

“These kinds of public spaces are a critical component of our administration’s strategy for an equitable, inclusive, and prosperous economic recovery for New York City. And we are delivering on that strategy with a $375 million investment and now two new spaces for the Chinatown residents, the skateboarding community, and all New Yorkers to enjoy.”

The Arches is just one section of the larger Brooklyn Banks, an area that became an integral part of the city’s skateboarding and BMX community from the 1980s through the 2000s, gradually becoming a favorite spot to ride due to its sloping brick, stairs, benches, and railings for sliding, according to the New York Times.

The non-profit organization Gotham Park envisions a sprawling nine-acre public park for the area, with six outdoor sections from Park Row to South Street. The Adams administration stated that it would host discussions starting this spring to reevaluate other spaces around the Arches that could receive potential upgrades, according to the Tribeca Citizen.

Tony Hawk’s organization The Skatepark Project partnered with Gotham Park in an effort to restore the Brooklyn Banks fully.

“Skating is my passion, and it’s allowed me to stay active throughout my life. Everyone deserves that opportunity, no matter who they are or where they live,” Hawk said in a statement.

“The Brooklyn Banks and the Arches will bring people of all backgrounds together, building community through creativity, action sports, and outdoor play. I’m honored to support this effort that will provide safe outdoor recreation for the tens of thousands of New Yorkers living nearby.”

In 2020, two students at Pace University started a petition to save the Brooklyn Banks, which captured the local community board’s attention. Plans to revive the iconic park moved forward in January when Adams expressed support for the new public spaces under the Brooklyn Bridge in his State of the City address.

Source: 6sqft.com

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https://www.6sqft.com/a-section-of-nyc-skateboarding-mecca-brooklyn-banks-reopens-in-chinatown/

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Rhiannon Giddens, Michael Abels on Winning Music Pulitzer for Opera About Muslim American Slave: “People Are Ready for These Stories”

MAY 15, 2023

Grammy-winning singer-songwriter-multi-instrumentalist Rhiannon Giddens was taking a walk after having dinner with her children and saw a tweet.

She had won the Pulitzer Prize for music. “It was literally a total shock,” she tells The Hollywood Reporter from Ireland, where she currently lives.

The work that won her the prestigious prize alongside composer Michael Abels is Omar, the opera about Muslim American slave Omar ibn Said. It is based on his autobiography A Muslim American Slave: The Life of Omar ibn Said, which was written in 1831 and is the only known memoir written by a slave in America in Arabic.

“I was minding my own business in my studio trying to be creative and my lawyer called me and said without any hello, ‘You just won the Pulitzer Prize!’ And it took me the rest of the call to be convinced that he wasn’t lying,” says Abels, who has scored films like Get Out, Us and Nope. “My texts started to blow up, and I knew that something was happening.”

Giddens and Abels started composing Omar before the pandemic. Giddens also wrote the libretto. Abels calls the collaboration “a relationship of deep trust” and describes winning the Prize — which was announced last week — like “having a dream where you’re flying.”

Omar was commissioned by the Spoleto Festival U.S. in Charleston, South Carolina, and premiered in 2022. It had its West Coast premiere at LA Opera and also visited University of Chapel Hill at North Carolina and Boston Lyric Opera, where performances wrapped this month.

“I think people are ready for these stories,” Giddens says of Omar Ibn Said, who in 1807 was captured and forced to leave his home in West Africa on a ship bound for Charleston, where he was sold into slavery. “We’ve had this very simplified version of what is the American story and who represents the American story. People who were brought to the States during the time of slavery — there’s never this idea that they were all different people from different places with different religions and different languages, and that they all had these lives before they came to the States.”

“I think people are ready for that narrative that we’ve been given for so long to be gone,” she continues. “There are a million and one stories of what it means to be in the United States, whether through immigration, through slavery, through being there as an Indigenous person. We really need to start telling many more of them rather than the same ones over and over again.”

Omar is the first opera both Giddens and Abels were fully immersed in. “When I was singing operas, if you’d have said, ‘One day, you’re going to write one,’ I’d be like, ‘Yeah, you’re crazy,’” Giddens explains.

They say the opera space is diversifying, and Omar is changing the landscape.

“Omar really invites people into the opera house who have never been there before. There are a lot of people who see Omar who have never experienced any opera, even La bohème or The Marriage of Figaro,” says Abels. “And I think it also genuinely works as a first opera for people in spite of the fact that it is, in some ways, completely unique in the opera world. Opera’s been one of the most exclusive spaces that we have artistically, and that is changing. And Omar is a prime example.”

Giddens is hoping to shift minds in the world of opera as she did in music. The performer, who has been told “different was her genre,” emerged as a member of the old-time string band The Carolina Chocolate Drops, where she sang and played banjo and fiddle. The group’s 2010 project, Genuine Negro Jig, won the Grammy for best traditional folk album. “The idea of Black people playing this music that it turns out we actually co-created — I know there’s a whole generation now of young Black people, young people of color who saw us onstage, and they were like, ‘I can do that.’”

“That’s why we wrote this opera,” she adds. “You can only change things by making new things. It’s not enough to be like, ‘Oh, let’s make sure we have a Black Figaro and an actual Japanese butterfly.’ It really is important to start putting our stories onstage because that’s the only way we’re going to get the next generation in any kind of numbers that make sense.”

Giddens reached out to Abels because she heard the epic music he created for 2017’s Get Out and knew they could bring Omar to life together. “I cold-emailed him. I was like, ‘Hey, you don’t know me, but do you want to write an opera with me?’”

He was game. Abels was riding off the success of Us and Get Out, which won Jordan Peele the Oscar for best original screenplay and changed the composer’s life. “I went from being completely unknown to suddenly meeting a lot of people in the industry,” he admits.

“In spite of living in L.A. my whole life, I was profoundly unsuccessful at convincing anyone I could score their film. Some of my concert music ended up on YouTube, where it got a few dozen views — one of them turned out to be Jordan Peele, who was looking for someone to score his first film back when he was known as ‘the comedy guy,’” he explains. “He was looking for someone who could write in a really scary, dissonant 20th-century orchestra style and someone who also understood the African American experience. So, in that way, he was looking for me.”

Us followed, then came last year’s Nope. Both compositions were shortlisted at the Academy Awards for the best original score. Abels also earned a pair of Emmy nominations in 2021 for his work on the HBO docuseries Allen vs. Farrow.

In addition to various projects, including a new album called You’re the One from Giddens in August, the pair will continue to tell Omar ibn Said’s story. The opera will head to the San Francisco Opera in the fall and eventually Lyric of Chicago.

“A lot of times people also have gone, ‘Why opera? Why is Omar’s story an opera?’ And well, first of all, I’m like, ‘Why not?’ And second of all, I’m like, ‘There’s something about opera,’” Giddens says.

“[With slavery,] we tend to focus on the violence and the violence was awful. To be honest with you, I don’t know how useful that is. What is that doing? I think movies are great, and they can do a lot of beautiful things, but there’s something that an opera like this can do with that kind of material that I think is better for the human psyche,” Giddens says.

“I think it’s important for us to know how terrible it was, but it was terrible in a lot of different ways, and I think we have a more holistic idea with opera. The intention is that you go there, but then you are carried to a better place before you walk out of that theater.”

Source: hollywoodreporter.com

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https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/music-news/rhiannon-giddens-michael-abels-winning-music-pulitzer-opera-muslim-american-slave-1235491925/

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Mideast

 

Islamic Jihad leadership: Elimination of our commanders will bring new, better ones

May 16, 2023

Ziad Al-Nakhala, the leader of the Islamic Jihad terrorist organization, spoke with the families of those who were killed in IDF air strikes in the Gaza Strip last week, including senior commanders of the Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front and the Mujahideen Brigades organizations.

Al-Nakhala noted that “the blood of the shaheeds will continue to be the fuel of the Palestinian resistance against Zionist terrorism", and added that it strengthens the determination "to continue on the path of jihad and fighting until the liberation of Palestine and the return of the refugees."

Meanwhile, Ahmed Al-Mudallal, a member of the political bureau of the Islamic Jihad, said that the Al-Quds Brigades, the military arm of the Islamic Jihad, and the other Palestinian Arab organizations still have the military ability to strike deep within Israel.

In an interview with Al-Quds Al-Youm TV, Al-Mudallal said that Israel understands that the elimination of a senior commander in the organization leads to the promotion of another, more competent and sophisticated commander.

He claimed that the most recent campaign, which the Palestinian Arabs titled the "Revenge of the Free People", established a new equation in the rules of the game with Israel, which believed that it could focus the fighting on the Islamic Jihad only, but it encountered a united Palestinian Arab line and the bombing of Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and many other towns.

Al-Mudallal pointed out that the last round of fighting advanced the Palestinian Arabs on the way to victory over the "Zionist enemy and its removal from the occupied land".

"The Prime Minister of the occupation Benjamin Netanyahu did not estimate that there would be five days of hell," Al-Mudallal claimed, adding that Netanyahu "surrendered to the conditions of the Islamic Jihad."

Source: israelnationalnews.com

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https://www.israelnationalnews.com/news/371542

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Tunisia’s moderate Islamist leader gets year in jail after trial decried as sham

By BOUAZZA BEN BOUAZZA

16 May 202

TUNIS, Tunisia (AP) — A court has sentenced moderate Tunisian Islamist leader Rached Ghannouchi to a year in prison for allegedly referring to police officers as tyrants in what his party said early Tuesday amounted to a sham trial.

Ghannouchi, 81, founder of the Ennahdha party, has refused to be removed from his place of detention for questioning or to attend Monday’s trial, considering that the cases are “political settling of scores targeting opponents of the regime,” lawyer Samir Dilou, a former party leader, said in an interview with The Associated Press.

Ghannouchi, a former speaker of parliament, is the most prominent critic of Tunisian President Kais Saied. He has maintained that Saied’s move in 2021 to take all powers into his hands amounted to a coup d’etat.

Ghannouchi was detained in mid-April on the charge of plotting against the security of the state. He has been called in numerous times for questioning on various matters, but this was the first time he was not released.

Monday’s case grew out of a complaint by a security union member claiming that Ghannouchi used the word “taghout,” or tyrant, while eulogizing a member of his party at a February 2022 funeral. According to a tweet by his daughter Soumaya, he said that the deceased “did not fear poverty, ruler or tyrant.” Ennahda condemned the decision to prosecute as “an unjust political ruling” and called for his immediate release.

His party said on its English-language Twitter account that Ghannouchi was charged with conspiracy against state security and ordered to remain in prison pending trial.

“Kais Saied is making a mockery of the judiciary, using it as a tool for political revenge and persecution,” his daughter tweeted.

About 20 other people, including the director of the respected radio Mosaique, Noureddine Bouttar, are currently detained on a variety of charges.

The crackdown on opponents comes amid growing social tensions and deepening economic troubles in Tunisia, the birthplace of the Arab Spring pro-democracy movement more than a decade ago.

Source: timesofisrael.com

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https://www.timesofisrael.com/tunisias-moderate-islamist-leader-gets-year-in-jail-after-trial-decried-as-sham/

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Jordan hands over ‘terrorist’ with Muslim Brotherhood links to UAE

17 May ,2023

Jordan handed over a wanted man with links to the Muslim Brotherhood, Khalaf Abdul Rahman Humaid al-Rumaithi, to the UAE.

The state-run Emirates News Agency (WAM) reported on Wednesday that al-Rumaithi had been received by the UAE authorities from Jordan.

He faces charges in the UAE for “establishing a secret organization affiliated with the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood that aims to oppose the foundational principles of the UAE government,” according to the WAM report.

An arrest warrant was reportedly issued against al-Rumaithi and the handover was carried out based on the legal and judicial cooperation of the Arab Interior Ministers’ Council responsible for the prosecution of criminals who do not attend the local legal proceedings.

According to the UAE criminal law, al-Rumaithi will be retried on the same charges.

A court ruling in 2013 sentenced him in absentia to 15 years in prison. Reports from then placed al-Rumaithi in the company of nearly 100 Emirati nationals who were charged on the grounds of sedition - plotting to overthrow the government.

“The UAE reiterates maintaining its sovereignty and stability, and safety and security of its citizens and residents, and that it will not hesitate to go after those wanted for justice and prosecute them in fair judicial process,” the latest WAM report said.

Source: english.alarabiya.net

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https://english.alarabiya.net/News/gulf/2023/05/17/Jordan-hands-over-terrorist-with-Muslim-Brotherhood-links-to-UAE

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Victim of Palestinian Islamic Jihad rocket attack laid to rest

(May 16, 2023 / JNS) Inga Avramyan, who was killed by a Gazan rocket during “Operation Shield and Arrow,” was buried on Monday at the Alternative Cemetery in Kibbutz Givat Brenner.

Avramyan, 82, was killed on Thursday when a rocket scored a direct hit on her home in Rehovot, located 12 miles south of Tel Aviv.

The ceiling collapsed in her apartment as she tried to help her paralyzed husband, Sergei, who had not been able to reach a bomb shelter.

Avrayam was the only Israeli fatality during the five-day conflict against Palestinian Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip.

Five other people were wounded in the rocket attack, including Sergei, who was lightly hurt but has lost his primary caregiver.

Some 200 people attended the funeral, including Diaspora Affairs Minister Amichai Chikli, who represented the government.

“Inga was murdered by despicable terrorists who choose to indiscriminately fire at civilian population centers,” said Chikli. “The murderous, wretched terrorists will not succeed. Although we are forced to make sacrifices, we will never bow our heads to evil or surrender to it.”

A Palestinian man from Gaza who was killed by a rocket on May 13 while working in Israel was recognized on Sunday as a victim of terrorism.

Israel’s Defense Ministry and National Insurance Institute approved the measure, which entitles the family of Abdullah Abu Jaba, 34, to state benefits. Abu Jaba was killed by shrapnel from a rocket that hit an agricultural site near Moshav Shokeda in the western Negev.

Source: jns.org

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https://www.jns.org/victim-of-islamic-jihad-rocket-attack-laid-to-rest/

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Muslim devotees mourn Imam Jafar Sadeq on martyrdom anniversary

May 16, 2023

The mourners walked from the city’s Shohada Square to the Holy Shrine of Imam Reza, the eighth Shia Imam, in the city on Tuesday.

The day was a national holiday in Iran.

Here is a selection of images from the procession in Mashhad.

Source: ifpnews.com

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https://ifpnews.com/muslim-devotees-mourn-imam-jafar-sadeq-on-martyrdom-anniversary/

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Russia, Iran make progress on new oil and gas projects in Islamic Republic

17 May 2023

Russia and Iran have made progress regarding the participation of Russian companies in new oil and gas projects in Iran, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said during talks with Iranian Petroleum Minister Javad Owji in Tehran, Trend reports citing TASS.

"We are implementing projects to develop oil fields in Iran and have outlined new projects, where I expect progress soon," he said.

The Iranian minister, in turn, said the Russian and Iranian delegations had spent several hours at the negotiating table. Among other participants was Deputy Chairman of Gazprom Management Committee Vitaly Markelov. According to Owji, the delegations discussed issues related to oil and gas.

"I am pleased to announce that major Russian companies have already arrived in Iran, came to terms with Iranian companies, and contracts are already being fulfilled," he said, expressing hope that more contracts will follow in the future.

The sides also discussed the construction of nuclear power plants in Iran and other electrical power generation matters, Owji added.

Source: en.trend.az

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https://en.trend.az/world/russia/3749173.html

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Southeast Asia

 

Pig heads, BBQs: Mosque backlash tests S Korea religious freedom

By Raphael Rashid

17 May 2023

Daegu, South Korea – When Muaz Razaq left Pakistan for the first time in 2019 to study for his computer science master’s degree in South Korea, he never expected to become the lightning rod of a bitter battle putting the country’s religious tolerance to the test.

“South Korea stands out as a leader in software engineering and Kyungpook National University was my first choice owing to the positive things I had heard from my seniors and the presence of a mosque nearby,” the 27-year-old, who is now studying for a doctorate, told Al Jazeera.

“Some locals were curious about my traditional attire and beard, which reminded them of Korea’s past aristocrats, but I never felt animosity or direct discrimination.”

All that changed when the university’s approximately 150 Muslims decided to renovate the mosque they established in 2014 near the school’s west gate.

The dispute over the plan has turned the construction site into a target of virulent Islamophobia.

Officially known as Dar-ul-Emaan Kyungpook and Islamic Centre, the mosque is located in the Buk district of Daegu, South Korea’s third-largest city and a conservative stronghold about 240km (149 miles) from the capital Seoul.

There are about a dozen mosques around Daegu, mainly in the suburbs, catering to migrant labour populations of practising Muslims.

Students raised the funds to demolish their old building next to the university, which was too cramped and lacked proper heating, and put up a new two-storey structure. To secure the necessary planning permission, they had to buy the house next door, which now serves as a temporary prayer hall.

Soon after the new beams were erected in early 2021, the Buk district office abruptly issued an administrative order halting construction, citing complaints from local residents.

The concerns were apparently related to the smell from the students’ cooking inside the mosque, noise and obstruction of traffic – things Razaq says had not previously been mentioned as problems.

Source: aljazeera.com

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https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/5/17/pig-heads-bbqs-mosque-backlash-tests-s-korea-religious-freedom

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Kyungpook National University students, faculty to march in support of construction of mosque in Daegu

May 17, 2023

A group of Kyungpook National University students and faculty will be marching to protest the opposition to building a mosque in the neighborhood.

The group will march across the campus on Thursday and hold signs that condemn discrimination against Muslims.

Faculty members include professors Yuk Joo-won and Kim Yoo-kyeong.

The group has been staging an hour-long march every Monday and Thursday since May 1. Around 20 to 50 students participated each time.

The march follows the ongoing battle between residents and the Muslim community.

A house located 200 meters (656 feet) from the west gate of Kyungpook National University in Buk District, Daegu, was to be turned into a mosque, with construction starting in September 2020. 

Construction was halted in February 2021 due to residents filing complaints to the Buk District Office, claiming the mosque would make the neighborhood crowded and noisy. After years of conflict, construction resumed in April.

According to the Kyungpook National University professors, the march will be held every Monday and Thursday until May 29. The group plans to continue to hold marches in the future if residents continue to oppose the construction.

Source: koreajoongangdaily.joins.com

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https://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/2023/05/17/national/kcampus/korea-university-kyungpook/20230517150925996.html

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Penang Islamic department wants apology over 'seditious' video

17-05-23

The Penang Islamic Affairs Department (MAIPP) regards a viral video claiming that a condominium in the state has barred the use of loudspeakers for calls to prayer (azan) as ill-intentioned.

Penang Deputy Chief Minister Ahmad Zakiyuddin Abdul Rahman said the video is “confusing, dishonest, and was publicised without good intentions, no matter what the purpose.”

Zukiyuddin, who heads MAIPP, said a meeting on July 2, 2015, has stated that loudspeakers were allowed outside mosques and surau for the azan and religious talks.

He said the condominium’s management has stated it was not against the loudspeakers or azan and that the issue has been resolved.

“We regret the role played by a TikTok user named Mohd Sophian Mohd Zain, who made and publicised the controversial video on May 14, with a tone which angered the Muslim community in the whole country,” said Zakiyuddin (above, right).

“The issue was actually being managed in an amicable way by all sectors, including by most of the community, the surau committee, and the condo management,” he added.

“We want Sophian to apologise publicly for the seditious video which has angered the Muslim community,” he stressed.

“We are looking into the appropriate laws to deal with this matter.”

Issue since last year

Zakiyuddin was speaking at the Surau Saidina Umar in the Tri Pinnacle condominium in Tanjung Tokong, which has come under the spotlight for allegedly interfering with the volume of the loudspeakers for the azan.

The press conference was called following a viral video of a man accusing the condominium’s joint management committee (JMC) of banning the use of loudspeakers for the azan.

Mohd Sophian Mohd Zain

Sophian, who uploaded the video, also vowed to lodge a police report on the matter.

A separate video showed an argument with the JMC over the issue, with a man heard angrily saying: “The azan is compulsory for us Muslim, don’t interfere.”

Surau chairperson Mohd Nasir Abdul Majid said the incident happened on March 23 during the JMC’s annual general meeting.

He added the issue has persisted since last year when, following complaints, the surau management lowered the volume of the speakers.

However, Nasir said they were unable to fulfil the JMC’s request to only allow loudspeakers in the surau.

It was learnt that Permatang Pauh PKR Youth chief Fahmi Zainol will also lodge a police report on the matter.

According to Sinar Harian, the police have called up the JMC personnel to be interviewed in order to try and settle the “sensitive issue” amicably.

‘Show me the sedition’

Sophian, who was in the press conference with a group of supporters, refused to apologise unless Zakiyuddin can pinpoint any part of his video that is seditious.

“Show me any part of the video that is seditious and incites hatred between the races in the country and I will apologise,” he said.

Throughout the press conference, Sophian and his friends tried to intervene to ask questions and tell their side of the story.

However, a very patient Zakiyuddin told them to remain calm as their turn will come and they would have a chance to speak.

Meanwhile, JMC chairperson Alex Low apologised to the Muslim community for the controversial issue.

JMC chairperson Alex Low

He said there was no intention on the part of the JMC to ban or disallow the azan and the use of loudspeakers for it.

“We regret and feel disappointed that a private meeting has been made viral to the public,” said Low.

“The video created confusion. We tried to manage and resolve the issue amicably with the surau management team,” he added.

Also present at the press conference was Penang Mufti Wan Salim Mohd Nor and PKR Kebun Bunga assemblyperson Jason Ong.

The condominium has three blocks, each with 48 floors. Block A, a low-medium-cost apartment, has mostly Muslim residents.

Blocks B and C are medium-cost apartments with mixed residency.

Source: malaysiakini.com

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https://www.malaysiakini.com/news/665377

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Azalina: Umno ministers to raise ‘Allah’ appeal withdrawal in Cabinet

By Kenneth Tee

Tuesday, 16 May 2023

KUALA LUMPUR, May 16 — Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said today said she and other Umno ministers will seek a Cabinet discussion on the government’s withdrawal of the appeal against the High Court ruling quashing a ban on Christian publications using “Allah”, the Arabic word for God.

Azalina, who is the Umno information chief, said more “in-depth research” must be conducted in a manner fair to all parties, and the matter must be handled with care since it involved religious sensitivities.

“A comprehensive solution needs to be discussed and achieved, including a strong legal approach.

“Umno will continue to champion to uphold and defend Islam as the official religion of the Federation while at the same time respecting the principle of freedom of religion as enshrined in the Federal Constitution,” Azalina, who is the law and institutional reform minister, said in a statement.

The appeal had initially been scheduled for case management on May 19 but will no longer be brought up in court as the government has dropped the entire appeal, with a notice of discontinuance filed on April 18.

The move put an end to the 15-year-long legal saga that began when the government seized a Sarawak Bumiputera’s eight educational compact discs (CDs) that contained the word “Allah” and were for her own use.

On March 10, 2021, the High Court ruled in favour of the Sarawakian Christian from the native Melanau tribe, Jill Ireland Lawrence Bill, by granting three of the court orders she had sought.

These included the High Court’s declaration that a government directive issued by the Home Ministry’s publication control’s division via a circular dated December 5, 1986 is “unlawful and unconstitutional”.

The 1986 directive by the Home Ministry said the word “Allah” cannot be used in all Christian publications in Malaysia, and this was the government ban which the High Court had found to be illegal.

On March 12, 2021, the Malaysian government and the home minister filed an appeal against the High Court.

Source: malaymail.com

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https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2023/05/16/azalina-umno-ministers-to-raise-allah-appeal-withdrawal-in-cabinet/69500

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