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Islamic World News ( 23 Sept 2022, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Chief Of All India Imam Organisation Imam Ilyasi says RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat is 'Rashtra Pita, Rashtra Rishi' (Father Of The Nation, Sage Of The Nation)

New Age Islam News Bureau

23 September 2022


RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat and All India Imam Organization chief Imam Umer Ahmed Ilyasi


• US Sanctions Iran’s Morality Police, Six Individuals After Mahsa Amini’s Death

• European Islamophobia Report Raises Alarm Over Institutionalization Of Islamophobia In Europe

• Israeli PM Lapid Backs Two-State Solution With Palestinians

• Army, Police Search Operation Ongoing In Pakistan’s Swat Valley Amid Fears Of Taliban Comeback


• Bhagwat, RSS on same page as us on need for Hindu-Muslim reconciliation: Najeeb Jung

• Maharashtra Appoints Tata Institute Of Social Sciences To Conduct Study On Socio-Economic Status Of Muslims

• After India, Now The UK Also Has To Wrestle With Hindu-Muslim Clashes

• Gyanvapi Case: Hindu Petitioners Seek Carbon Dating Of 'Shivling' In Mosque

• 'Land Jihad' In Delhi: Did AAP Convert Hauz Khas' Deer Park Into A Muslim Cemetery?

• Hijab Part Of A Student’s Right To Privacy, Supreme Court Told

• Demand to resume India-Pak bus, train services before Guru Nanak’s birth anniversary gains strength


North America

• US: Rights group condemns congressman's attack on Muslim university officer

• US thanks Türkiye for its support in Russia-Ukraine prisoner exchange

• Türkiye may reach $100B trade volume with US 'in a short time': President



• Palestinians warn British PM Truss against following Trump, moving UK embassy to al-Quds

• London mayor Sadiq Khan's appeal to Hindus, Muslims in UK. It's personal for him

• UK deepening links with fellow democracies like India, Israel, Indonesia, South Africa: Truss

• Western nations concerned by presence of extremist groups in Afghanistan

• Armenia accuses Azerbaijan of ‘unspeakable atrocities’ during UN summit



• Ahead of Jewish new year, Hamas warns over Israeli raids on Aqsa Mosque

• Iranian President Warns against NATO Expansion As Threat to Independent States

• Iran Calls on US to Surrender Trump to Justice over Assassination of Gen. Soleimani

• Iran Showcases Ballistic Missiles, Radar and Missile Systems During Military Parades

• Top Commander: Iran, Russia, China to Stage Joint Naval Drill in Indian Ocean

• Iran president says woman's death that sparked protests ‘will be investigated’

• Four security personnel among 11 dead in Iran protests over Mahsa Amini’s death

• Iran’s Guards call for prosecuting those spreading ‘false news’ over woman’s death



• Govt Rejects Criticism On Transgender Bill, Says Linking It To Homosexuality Is ‘Misconception’

• Transgender law rebellion against Quran: Fazl

• Pakistan's ex-PM Khan apologises to avoid contempt charges

• Imran Khan lauds PM Modi, slams Nawaz Sharif for owning billions of properties abroad

• Anti-Ahmadi Hate Speech Used for Electoral Purposes in Pakistan

• JUI-F calls for early completion of repair work on CRBC


Arab World

• US-Backed SDF Thwart ISIS Suicide Attack On Syria’s Al-Hol: CENTCOM

• Saudi Arabia Celebrates National Day With Arts, Theatre, Air Shows And Music

• Israel to sell air defence system to UAE: Report

• Saudi youth empowerment critical to Vision 2030, Princess Reema tells summit

• Saudi Arabia appoints Hala al-Tuwaijri as new head of Human Rights Commission

• Turkish security forces ‘neutralize’ 3 PKK/YPG terrorists in northern Syria


Southeast Asia

• Indonesian Minister Sticks To His Guns On Church Permit

• Former mosque executive chairman charged for accepting bribe in the form of shares

• Former Cabinet minister speaks about what it takes to create a M’sia for all Malaysians

• Don’t compare Najib’s prison treatment with mine, says Anwar



• We’ve been vindicated – Islamic group hails Soludo over ban on mini-skirts

• Ivory Coast’s president calls for release of 46 troops detained in Mali in UN speech

• Floods sweep away 1,500 corpses from cemetery in northern Nigeria

• Jordan’s Royal Marine Conservation Society launches ‘Clean up the World 2022’ campaign


South Asia

• US Announces More Than $241m In Humanitarian Aid For Rohingya Muslims

• Pushback against Afghan refugees continues as Iran deports over 7,000 migrants in past week

• Backbreaking work for kids in Afghan brick kilns

• US Launches Alliance For Afghan Women’s Economic Resilience To Empower Afghan Women

• Thousands of Afghan Refugees Forcibly Deported from Iran

• China calls on US to 'end theft of Syria’s national resources'

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau



Chief Of All India Imam Organisation Imam Ilyasi says RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat is 'Rashtra Pita, Rashtra Rishi' (Father Of The Nation, Sage Of The Nation)


RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat and All India Imam Organization chief Imam Umer Ahmed Ilyasi


SEPTEMBER 22, 2022

After meeting RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat on Thursday, Imam Umer Ahmed Ilyasi, the chief of All India Imam Organisation said that Mohan Bhagwat is ‘Rashtra Pita (father of the nation) and a ‘Rashtra Rishi’ (sage of the nation ).

Talking to IANS after the meeting, Ilyasi said: “Mohan Bhagwat visiting us is a privilege. Bhagwat came to Imam House for a meeting and he is our Rashtra Pita and Rashtra Rishi. The unity and integrity of the country should be maintained. We may all worship in a different way, but before that we all are human. We live in India and are Indians."

“India is on the verge of becoming Vishwa Guru and we all should strive for it," he said.

When asked if he referred to Bhagwat as ‘Rashtra Pita’, Ilyasi said, " Absolutely, he is ‘Rashtra Pita’ (father of the nation)."

Umar Ilyasi’s brother Suhaib Ilyasi said, “Our father had an old relationship with the Sangh. Mohan Bhagwat had come to the mosque on the death anniversary of Jameel Ilyasi. It was a family programme and it should be seen in that context only."

Bhagwat had held discussions with Muslim intellectuals for strengthening communal harmony, Suhaib Ilyasi said.

The RSS Chief met Imam Umer Ahmed Ilyasi at his office in a mosque at Kasturba Gandhi (KG) marg in the national capital.

Providing details about the meeting, RSS prachar pramukh said, “RSS chief meets people from various sections of society. It is a part of continuous conversation (Samvad) process. "

Bhagwat, who has been trying to reach out to Muslims, in August too had met Ilyasi. Recently, Bhagwat had held discussions with Muslim intellectuals for strengthening communal harmony.

In the August 22 meet, Bhagwat had met former Chief Election Commissioner S. Y. Quraishi, former Delhi Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung, former Aligarh Musilm University vice chancellor L-G (retd) Zameer Uddin Shah, former MP Shahid Siddiqui and Industrialist and social worker Saeed Sherwani.

Source: News18

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US Sanctions Iran’s Morality Police, Six Individuals After Mahsa Amini’s Death


The United States has accused Iran's morality police of violence against Iranian women and blamed it for the death of a young woman being held in custody.


22 September, 2022

The US on Thursday issued sanctions against Iran’s morality police and six Iranians after this week’s deadly protests and the killing of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini.

“Mahsa Amini was a courageous woman whose death in Morality Police custody was yet another act of brutality by the Iranian regime’s security forces against its own people,” Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen said.

She condemned “this unconscionable act” and called on Tehran to end violence against women and the ongoing violent crackdown on protesters. “Today’s action to sanction Iran’s Morality Police and senior Iranian security officials responsible for this oppression demonstrates the Biden-Harris Administration’s clear commitment to stand up for human rights, and the rights of women, in Iran and globally,” Yellen said.

Amini, a Kurdish-Iranian woman, fell into a coma shortly after being arrested by Iran’s morality police last week for “improper hijab.” She died on Friday, prompting protests on social media and on the streets.

At least 31 civilians have been killed by Iranian security forces during the latest protests, according Iran Human Rights (IHR).

“The Iranian government needs to end its systemic persecution of women and allow peaceful protest. The United States will continue to voice our support for human rights in Iran and hold those who violate them to account,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said after the sanctions were announced.

The Treasury Department also designated seven senior leaders of Iran’s security organizations: the Morality Police, Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS), the Army’s Ground Forces, Basij Resistance Forces, and Law Enforcement Forces. “These officials oversee organizations that routinely employ violence to suppress peaceful protesters and members of Iranian civil society, political dissidents, women’s rights activists, and members of the Iranian Baha’i community,” the Treasury Department said.

Source: Al Arabiya

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European Islamophobia Report Raises Alarm Over Institutionalization Of Islamophobia In Europe




Merve Berker  


Islamophobia remains a growing threat across Europe, with several countries enacting policies that have contributed to the institutionalization of an issue that should instead be stamped out with urgency, a new report has warned.

According to the European Islamophobia Report 2021, Islamophobia was “as pressing a problem” across the continent as it was in previous years.

It said countries such as the UK and France became “the main spots of anti-Muslim hatred and Islamophobic incidents.”

“Furthermore, anti-Muslim campaigns of far-right parties in EU member states dominate the discrimination against Muslim individuals and communities,” read the report, which focused on 27 European countries and was prepared with contributions from 35 leading academics and experts in the field.

The report links the persistence of anti-Muslim racism to “the backdrop of a general worrisome trend: the decline of liberal democracy in Europe.”

It warns that major forces within Europe, singling out countries like France, are still “investing less in the fight against Islamophobia, and more … into normalizing Islamophobia.”

“The Islamophobia becoming normalized and institutionalized by liberal democracies such as Austria, Denmark, and France is alarming,” the report said.

Apart from Islamophobic incidents across Europe, the report details systemic discrimination faced by Muslims in all areas of life, from employment to health care, education and the justice system.

Islamophobia in numbers


As many as 1,061 anti-Muslim hate crimes were recorded in Austria.

Most of the cases were online (68%), came from politicians (32%), and were in the public sphere (25%), the report said.

“The vast majority of perpetrators were male (76.9%) and the victims were primarily women (69%),” it added.

Citing data from another anti-racism watchdog ZARA, the report said 1,977 racist and anti-Muslim acts were documented, which primarily targeted women.


Women bore the brunt of Islamophobic and racist attacks in Belgium, according to the report.

It said 89% of all cases reported to the Collective for Inclusion and Against Islamophobia in Belgium pertained to Islamophobia against women.


A total of 852 hate crimes were recorded in 2020.

“Most of the hate crimes (88.5%) were due to national-ethnic origin (75.8%) and religion (12.7%),” the report said.


There were 213 anti-Muslim incidents recorded in France in 2021.

“Among them, half (109) concern damage to Muslim places of worship, cultural centers, and cemeteries, and 22% concern attacks on persons,” the report said.

It said 2021 saw “a higher level of violence in France both in terms of language (with increasingly hateful and worrying Islamophobic discourses) and approach (with laws repressing religious, visible, organized and vocal Muslims) — a violence that highlights the secondary place granted to French Muslims in their own country.”


There were 732 Islamophobic crimes registered across Germany last year, according to the report.

These included 54 cases of attacks on mosques and 43 incidents where individuals were targeted.


The report said 14 cases of Islamophobic incidents were recorded in Greece in 2021.

“Politics, religion, media (both printed and online), and the Internet continued to be the primary four realms playing a significant role in the reproduction of Islamophobia in the Greek public domain throughout 2021,” read the report.

“Islamophobia in Greece was expressed primarily by certain political parties and politicians of the right and extreme right, (self-proclaimed) neo-liberals, figures of the Orthodox Church of Greece, printed and electronic media, and journalists including their posts on social media.”


Spain has seen a surge of 41% in hate crimes over the past five years.

“From these crimes, 678 (37.6%) were racially motivated or xenophobic,” the report said, citing Spanish Interior Ministry data.


There were 996 cases based exclusively on religious grounds between 2017 and 2021 in Sweden, while the overall number of hate crimes over the period stood at 14,710.

“However, most complaints of religious discrimination were directly related to ethnic discrimination numbering 4,298 during this period,” the report said.

“Muslim children are over-represented in statistics published by the Swedish public health agency, where almost 20% of non-European children, have experienced abusive treatment due to their ethno-religious background and more than 15% have experienced discrimination in school.”


Citing figures from Switzerland’s Federal Statistical Office, the report said 12% of the population exhibited hostile attitudes toward Muslims, while 34% tend to strongly believe negative stereotypes about the community.


There was “a continuing increase in the overall number of reported cases” in the UK, with authorities registering a 9% rise from 2020 to 2021.

At least 45% of all “religiously aggravated” hate crimes involved people of Muslim faith and background.

The number of these crimes has increased by 291% in the past 10 years, the report said.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Israeli PM Lapid Backs Two-State Solution With Palestinians


Prime Minister of Israel Yair Lapid


22 September, 2022

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid called on Thursday for a two-state solution to decades of Israeli-Palestinian conflict and reasserted that Israel would do “whatever it takes” to stop Iran from developing a nuclear bomb.

His mention of a two-state solution, the first by an Israeli leader in years at the United Nations General Assembly, echoed US President Joe Biden's support in Israel in August for the long-dormant proposal.

“An agreement with the Palestinians, based on two states for two peoples, is the right thing for Israel's security, for Israel's economy and for the future of our children,” Lapid said.

He added any agreement would be conditioned on a peaceful Palestinian state that would not threaten Israel.

Lapid spoke less than six weeks before a Nov. 1 election that could return to power the right-wing former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a longstanding opponent of the two-state solution.

Israel captured East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza - areas that Palestinians seek for an independent state - in a 1967 Middle East war. US-sponsored Israeli-Palestinian peace talks collapsed in 2014.

In his speech, Lapid again denounced Iran and voiced Israel's determination to prevent its longtime foe from gaining a nuclear weapon.

“The only way to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon is to put a credible military threat on the table,” he said. “We have capabilities and we are not afraid to use them.”

Widely believed to have the Middle East’s only nuclear weapons, Israel regards Iran as an existential threat. Tehran denies trying to develop a nuclear weapon.

Palestinians, US react

Efforts to reach a two-state Israeli-Palestinian deal have long been stalled.

Palestinians and rights groups say Israel has entrenched its control of the occupied Palestinian territories through its military rule over millions of Palestinians and persistent settlement construction.

Wasel Abu Youssef, a senior member of the Palestine Liberation Organization, told Reuters that Lapid's words “mean nothing.”

“Whoever wants a two-state solution must implement it on the ground,” he said, by respecting previously reached agreements, stopping settlement expansion and recognizing East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state.

US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides called Lapid's speech “courageous” for supporting the two-state solution.

Lapid praised efforts by Middle Eastern countries to normalize relations and cooperate with Israel. He urged Muslim countries, from Indonesia to Saudi Arabia, to make peace with it.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Army, Police Search Operation Ongoing In Pakistan’s Swat Valley Amid Fears Of Taliban Comeback


Army soldiers and police stand guard on a foot patrol in a secured area of Mingora, Pakistan, on July 6, 2011. (AFP/File)


September 22, 2022

MINGORA: Army and police have launched a joint search operation in Pakistan’s northwestern Swat District against Pakistani Taliban militants, officials with direct knowledge of the activity said, amid widespread reports the group is attempting to regain a foothold in the mountainous area they once ruled with an iron fist.

Insurgents from the Pakistani Taliban, or TTP, took partial control of Swat Valley in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in 2007, before being ousted two years later in a major military operation hailed as a telling blow against militant violence.

During this time, militants unleashed a reign of terror, killing and beheading politicians, singers, soldiers and opponents. They banned female education and destroyed nearly 200 schools for girls.

Last month the Pakistani military denied reports TTP fighters had returned to Swat, calling the news “grossly exaggerated and misleading.”

But local elders as well as police and government officials interviewed by Arab News this week reported the return of up to 300 Taliban militants to the valley and said localized joint operations by police and the army had been launched to quell the movement.

Locals’ fears of a Taliban comeback were most visible last week when hundreds of people took to the streets in Swat Valley to demand peace and protection.

The protest came just days after a bombing claimed by the TTP killed eight people, including influential anti-Taliban leader Idrees Khan, in what was the first major bombing in the area in over a decade.

Taliban militants last week also kidnapped 10 employees of a telecom company and demanded Rs100 million ($418,000) for their release, according to a police report filed with the local counterterrorism department.

Three police officers in Swat, including one with direct knowledge of the operation, confirmed that a search operation led by police and military officials to identify and clear militant hideouts was ongoing.

A fourth security official said the “situation was fully being monitored,” without confirming an anti-TTP operation or whether the army was involved.

All officials declined to be named as they were not authorized to speak publicly about the activity.

Pakistan’s Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah and a spokesperson for his ministry, Ali Nawaz, did not respond to requests for comment. The Inter-Services Public Relations, the Pakistani military’s media wing, declined to comment for this story.

Representatives of the TTP could not be reached for comment on their tactics in Swat Valley.

“Law enforcement officials are alert and maintaining necessary vigil and alertness in the area and law and order is being maintained,” one security official said, declining to be named.

A senior police official said at least 300 Taliban militants had been identified as being present on the Shaur, Peuchar, Kanala and Balasoor mountain tops of the Swat District’s Matta Tehsil in recent months.

“A search operation has started, posts have been set up and Special Services Group’s commandos have arrived,” the official, who had direct knowledge of the operation, told Arab News.

Barrister Mohammed Ali Saif, a spokesperson of the KP provincial government, confirmed the “scattered” presence of Taliban militants in Swat and the launch of a police operation but did not confirm if the military was involved.

“There is no specific area with a permanent presence of the TTP. They roam quietly and they have some local supporters there already,” he said.

“But wherever there is information of their presence, action is being taken. When they appear, they are either arrested or are killed. The province takes actions against them whenever there is a report about their presence or there is information that they or anyone else is involved in any illegal or terrorist activity.”

Saif also said he could not confirm if a full-scale military offensive such as in the past was being planned, adding that the decision would be taken by the federal government and the army.

Zahid Khan, an anti-Taliban leader of the Swat Qaumi Jirga, told Arab News the group had complained to police four months ago about a growing Taliban presence, but their concerns were rebuffed.

“They dismissed us when we inquired from police and local administration about the return of the Taliban,” Khan told Arab News.

But the police officer involved in the search operation said militants were being identified and action would be taken: “We have the capacity to eliminate them.”

Fears of a Taliban comeback have surfaced while the group has been holding peace talks with the government. But isolated militant attacks and security raids on militant hideouts have continued, raising concerns that these talks could break in the coming months, if not weeks.

A formal ceasefire between Pakistan and the TTP is still in place.

Source: Arab News

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 Bhagwat, RSS on same page as us on need for Hindu-Muslim reconciliation: Najeeb Jung

by Sourav Roy Barman

September 23, 2022

RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat feels “a complete need for reconciliation” between Hindus and Muslims is imperative for India to march ahead, former Delhi Lt Governor Najeeb Jung, who was among the five intellectuals from the Muslim community who met Bhagwat last month, said on Thursday.

In an exclusive interview to The Indian Express, Jung said Bhagwat’s visits to mosques and madrasas in Delhi during the day also reflects that spirit.

He emphasised that Bhagwat and the RSS’s top leadership are also “on the same page that this cannot be allowed to continue”, and there should be steps to improve relations.

He said: “We came out with these words from the Sarsanghchalak (Bhagwat) that there is a complete need for reconciliation. He endorses this view…I am repeating his words that India has to go forward, and that can happen when there is reconciliation, when all communities go hand in hand. That is the clear message he gave us — not just a message, those were his words.”

Jung said he met Bhagwat two years ago as well but was unable to carry forward the dialogue process on account of the pandemic. So, “we thought this was the right time to go ahead,” he said. “We had very free and frank discussions on all kinds of things. Just singling out kaafir — or this, that and the other — will not be fair; it was a freewheeling discussion. I think he and the senior hierarchy of the Sangh are on the same page as us — that we need reconciliation and rapprochement; that this cannot be allowed to continue; and so steps should be taken to improve relations.”

The meeting, described as the first of many, took place in the RSS’s makeshift Delhi office, Udaseen Ashram. Besides Jung, former chief election commissioner S Y Quraishi, former Aligarh Muslim University vice-chancellor Lt Gen Zameer Uddin Shah (retd), Rashtriya Lok Dal vice-president Shahid Siddiqui and businessman Saeed Shervani took part in it.

Asked if future engagements will be held in a more structured form, Jung replied in the affirmative. He said they will also meet clerics of all faiths. Jung said he believes “hardened positions” will not help address matters.

“The liberals of today will say, why are you talking to RSS? Why do you trust me? I will say that of course I am going to talk to the RSS, my door is open. And I will talk to the Right, to the Left, to priests and clerics and academics and try to convince them that is the only way forward.”

Jung, who resigned as Delhi L-G in December 2016 after a tenure marked with repeated clashes with the AAP government, also said that there is no room for confrontation in the dialogue process.

He said: “There will be meetings with like-minded and non-like minded people across the spectrum. Because everyone has a point of view, from their perspective their point of view is legitimate. So if we feel their point of view does not carry weight with us, we should convince them or they should convince us. It is a process of dialogue. It is not a process of confrontation, or tu tu-mai mai. This is a long haul. The history of poor communal relations goes back hundreds of years.”

Source: Indian Express

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Maharashtra Appoints Tata Institute Of Social Sciences To Conduct Study On Socio-Economic Status Of Muslims

Sep 22, 2022

Mumbai The government has appointed Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) to conduct a study on the socio-economic and educational status of the Muslim community in 56 Muslim-dominated areas of the state over three months, in an attempt to uplift the minority community.

“To understand the social, educational and economic status of the Muslim community, TISS will study their ratio in literacy, employment, health status, standard of living, financial assistances from bank or other financial institutions, basic facilities in the Muslim-dominated areas and benefits taken by the minority community in various government welfare schemes,” states a government resolution (GR) issued by the state minority affairs department on Wednesday. It added that the study, for which the government has approved an expenditure of ₹33.92 lakh, will identify the reasons and constraints behind bringing the minority society to the mainstream and make recommendations to overcome the same.

In 2008, the state government constituted the Mehmood-ur-Rehman Committee to study the educational, social, and economic backwardness of Muslims and suggest measures to improve their condition. It was asked to study the findings of Justice Ranganathan Mishra commission report and Sachchar committee report that had given the actual status of the community in the country.

In its report submitted to the chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, Mehmood-ur-Rehman had recommended an eight per cent reservation to the community in government jobs and education among other recommendations.

The seven-member committee, appointed by former chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, was headed by retired IAS officer Mehmood-ur-Rehman and comprised retired IAS, IPS officers, as well as professors from institutes such as the TISS.

Islamic scholar and general secretary, All India Ulema Council, Maulana Mehmood Dariyabadi said that this is not the first time such a committee was formed. In the past, the central government and state government too had set up such committees and their reports were also submitted but nothing happened later.

“It is an open fact that Muslims are the most backward community in the country. In 2014, the state government had declared reservation to the community in government jobs and education. The Bombay high court scrapped reservation to the community in government jobs but allowed it in education. If the state government is really serious about backwardness of the community they should bring back reservation in education to the community,” Dariyabadi said.

Source: Hindustan Times

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After India, now the UK also has to wrestle with Hindu-Muslim clashes

September 23, 2022

Here in India, Hindu-Muslim clashes that threaten houses of worship, force shops to close and inflame passions on social media no longer constitute news. It is noteworthy, however, when they break out not in Madhya Pradesh but in the English Midlands.

Police in the city of Leicester have arrested dozens of people in recent days after what authorities described as “serious disorder.” Weeks ago, a game of cricket between India and Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates raised tensions, as such matches often do. Subsequently, Hindu revivalists marched through a Muslim-dominated part of Leicester, chanting religious slogans. A Muslim mob surrounded a Hindu temple and burned its saffron flag. Scuffles between the two groups broke out across the city.

Almost 40 per cent of Leicester’s residents are of South Asian origin and the city has often been held up as a successful model of integration. Even now, official statements and media reports about the violence have taken pains not to puncture that reputation. Some have blamed “outsiders,” especially from nearby Birmingham, for the trouble. Police have complained that disinformation spread through social media fired up the mobs. And many observers have stressed the pacifying influence of “community leaders.”

There’s some truth to all those statements. But they miss the larger story, which is that the sectarian politics of the Indian subcontinent can no longer be contained within the subcontinent. Such divides are being globalized, spreading alienation, disinformation, political partisanship, radicalization and violence in their wake.

Take social media. Today, political mobilization in South Asia is driven largely by online content — and, increasingly, by made-to-order misinformation. This is true for Hindus, Muslims and even Sinhala Buddhists in Sri Lanka. Indeed, the subcontinent is making new and innovative advances in hate speech. Bigots are no longer content to relabel and retweet incendiary videos; they are creating their own fake content and labeling it as “entertainment.”

Just last week, a viral video — retweeted by, among others, a spokesman for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party — appeared to show a Muslim clergyman abusing a young woman. The video was in fact created specifically for “educational” — rabble-rousing — purposes. The scenes it depicted were imaginary, according to a portentous disclaimer, “because the reality is too bitter to be told or shown.”

Social media has also dissolved boundaries between locals and “outsiders.” Technology makes it easy for angry co-religionists to collaborate and egg each other on, even if they aren’t physical neighbors. Until a decade ago, for instance, riots in India were predominantly an urban phenomenon. Then, in 2013, the advent of social media allowed mobs from different villages to launch a coordinated attack on Muslims in rural Uttar Pradesh, displacing tens of thousands of them.

The uneasy peace that has long held in places such as Leicester — negotiated by local faith leaders and maintained by separating the different communities — cannot survive this new age. If Leicester has more Hindus than Muslims, then a provocative march will be organized in a Muslim area. If the Midlands as a whole have more Muslims than Hindus, then they will in turn combine to intimidate Leicester’s Hindus. And on and on, to the level of the nation itself.

Nor will politics-as-usual solve the problem. Rather than speaking directly to minority voters, too many British politicians and administrators still rely on “community leaders” of doubtful opinions and increasingly limited authority. Why would a young British Asian man listen to his local imam or pandit when he consumes media from the subcontinent that is full of far more entertaining, and incendiary, voices?

Besides, it is too easy for politicians, in the UK as well as India, to exploit these sectarian divides. Priti Patel, until a few weeks ago the cabinet minister in charge of law and order, recently described her Tories and the BJP as “sister parties.” At least one Hindu Labour MP has accused his own party of employing a “divide and rule” policy in which, he implied, Hindus were at the bottom of the pile.

The worst possible outcome would be for Hindus and Muslims in the Midlands and the wider UK to start voting for different parties based on their religion. Then adoption of the subcontinent’s divisive politics would be complete.

That “divide and rule” comment — a reference to how the British supposedly controlled a diverse and divided subcontinent for two centuries — gets to the heart of the problem. Over the past fortnight, some in the UK have tried to examine how the echoes of empire still animate aspects of national identity. Yet they have failed to see how actual policies in today’s Britain, in what the state does and does not do, in its acceptance of ghettoized communities and its dependence on “faith leaders” as interlocutors, eerily reflect how the Raj once kept the peace half a world away.

Source: Business Standard

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Gyanvapi Case: Hindu Petitioners Seek Carbon Dating Of 'Shivling' In Mosque

22 SEP 2022

The Hindu petitioners on Thursday sought the carbon dating of the 'Shivling' claimed to have been found inside the Gyanvapi Mosque in Uttar Pradesh's Varanasi.

Following the petition seeking carbon dating, the Varanasi District Court asked the Gyanvapi Mosque management to file its objections to it which will be taken up in the next hearing of the case on September 29.

Five Hindu women have filed a petition seeking rights for daily prayers before the idols on the outer walls of the Gyanvapi Mosque in Varanasi. During the initial hearing of the case, a Varanasi court —from where the case was later transferred to District Court— ordered videography survey of the mosque compound. It was claimed that a 'Shivling' was found close to the "wazookhana" —a small reservoir used by Muslims to perform ritual ablutions before offering namaz— in the mosque premises. It is this 'Shivling' whose carbon dating has now been sought.

Carbon dating is a scientific process to assign age to an object. It is frequently used to assign age to archaeological finds.

Appearing on behalf of petitioner women, advocate Vishnu Shankar Jain placed the demand for carbon-dating of the "Shivling" before the court. The judge asked the mosque management to file its objections to the plea and fixed September 29 as the next date of hearing in the matter, district government advocate Rana Sanjeev Singh said.

The court did not entertain the mosque management's plea for fixing the next hearing eight weeks after the last date of hearing in the matter on September 12, he added.

Earlier on September 12, the court had ruled that the petition of Hindu devotees in the Gyanvapi Mosque case is maintainable, rejecting the challenge to the petition by Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee. The Muslim petitioners had challeged the maintainability of the Hindu petitioners' plea, arguing that it was not maintainable under the Places of Worship Act 1991 which prohibits conversion of any place of worship and mandates the maintenance of the religious character of any place of worship as it existed on August 15, 1947.

A total of 15 people had submitted applications in the court to become parties to the dispute. The judge said the applications of only eight people, who were present before the court, will be considered, Singh said.

The Gyanvapi Mosque is located next to the iconic Kashi Vishwanath temple and the case revived claims that the mosque was built on a portion of the Hindu structure demolished on the orders of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb.

Source: Outlook India

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'Land Jihad' in Delhi: Did AAP convert Hauz Khas' Deer Park into a Muslim cemetery?

September 22, 2022

The iconic and picturesque Deer Park, located in south Delhi’s Hauz Khas area, has now become the newest reason for a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) tussle.

BJP’s Shailender Singh Monty has accused AAP’s MLA Somnath Bharti of attempting to grab land in the park allegedly to build a graveyard for Muslims.

Monty has termed the incident as ‘land jihad, alleging that the AAP MLA is attempting to convert the Deer Park, spread across 200 hectares, into a graveyard for the Muslim community, and also alleged that the AAP MLA is trying to open a road through the forest area to benefit a Muslim realtor.

What’s behind the ‘grave’ issue? We try to uncover the truth in the matter.

The ‘land grab’ at Deer Park

The issue first came to light with former counsellor of Municipal Corporation of Delhi from Safdarjang Enclave area Shailender Singh Monty, accusing AAP’s Somnath Bharti of misusing the land and declaring it as a graveyard.

He further alleged that Bharti was trying to exert pressure to transfer it to the Waqf board.

In his accusation, Shailender said, “Somnath Bharti first placed a board in the graveyard inside the park. Later, his men came and cleaned the park. Then, on 10 September, a few people came and buried a body inside the park. Not even a single person was local. Now Somnath Bharti is pressuring the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) officers to declare the park as a graveyard.”

Shailender said that Bharti was committing the land grab in order to benefit his friend, a builder by the name of Liyaqat Ali. He added that Bharti wanted to now build a road across the park so that property rates would increase, benefitting his friend.

On Wednesday, Delhi BJP president Adesh Gupta held a rally at Malviya Nagar to raise awareness about Bharti’s alleged land grab.

At the demonstration, Gupta demanded the resignation of the AAP MLA. “Land worth crores of rupees, which is a part of the Deer Park in Hauz Khas, has been encroached upon for extending a graveyard at the behest of Kejriwal’s close aide and local MLA Somnath Bharti and the Waqf board. The land actually belongs to DDA.”

“After coming to power, the Arvind Kejriwal government is setting new records of corruption, but the BJP will continue to protest against the government-protected land mafia,” he said.

Gupta added that the protest will continue till concrete action is taken against AAP leaders on the issue of land grabbing.

He also demanded Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena punish the accused persons involved in the whole matter.

AAP’s Bharti hits back

The Malviya Nagar MLA belonging to the AAP has laughed off the allegations, saying it was the BJP’s attempt to communalise people for seeking votes ahead of the MCD polls.

“In order to get votes in Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) elections, they have started this communal Hindu-Muslim issue. No one came to Somanth Bharti for a graveyard nor have I taken any step in this case. The matter is not of a graveyard but corruption by local BJP politicians. They do not work for the welfare of people but as soon as elections approach, they start raking up communal issues. My constituency will not let this polarisation formula succeed,” Bharti said in a video released on his social media handle.

He added that he would soon be sending a defamation notice to BJP’s Shailender Singh.

This is not the first time that the two leaders have been attacking each other. In 2015, the AAP MLA accused Shailendra of building a hotel on DDA land. He revealed that he had also filed a complaint against him but no actions were taken.

The land in question

The Deer Park, which has led to the two parties fighting, is located in South Delhi and was named after famous social worker Aditya Nath Jha.

The Deer Park along with the connected District Park (that houses the Hauz Khas lake) and adjacent Rose Garden is collectively called the “lungs of Delhi”, owing to their heavy green cover. The park is a common favourite and a respite among Delhites looking for a break from the pollution and dust of the city.

Source: Firstpost

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Hijab part of a student’s right to privacy, Supreme Court told

Sep 23, 2022

NEW DELHI: Arguing against the Karnataka government’s decision to enforce uniforms in a bid to prohibit religion-linked attire, such as hijab, in educational institutions, the Muslim side on Thursday told the Supreme Court that choice of appearance and apparel is part of a female student’s inviolable right to privacy.

In the hearing that spanned two weeks and ended Thursday, 21 advocates argued for the Muslim side challenging the basis, intent, rationale and legality of the state’s February 5 decision, which was upheld by the Karnataka HC, and six in support of enforcing uniform without religious attire.

An SC bench of Justices Hemant Gupta and Sudhanshu Dhulia reserved the verdict on a bunch of 26 pro-hijab pleas. With Gupta set to retire on October 16, the verdict would be out before that date.

Huzefa Ahmadi, arguing for the Muslim side, said Thursday, “Banning hijab has resulted in girls dropping out of schools. If they are prevented from being educated in government institutions, they will be deprived of their fundamental right.”

As the hearing on the ban on hijab in some Karnataka educational institutes came to an end in the Supreme Court on Thursday, Huzefa Ahmadi said, “It was a puerile decision on the part of the state to issue a circular for strict enforcement of uniform by succumbing to a few students who wore saffron shawls to bully hijab-wearing Muslim girls. ”

The Muslim side engaged 21 lawyers, including senior advocates Dushyant Dave, Rajeev Dhavan, Devadatt Kamat, Salman Khurshid, Huzefa Ahmadi, Meenakshi Arora and Sanjay Hegde during the twoweek hearing. They referred to Constituent Assembly debates on secularism, constitutional provisions relating to freedom of expression, choice as well as religious practice and Quranic verses to argue that hijab, even if construed as a non-essential religious practice, was a matter of choice.

In contrast, the Karnataka government engaged only three law officers — solicitor general Tushar Mehta, state advocate general Prabhuling Navadgi and additional solicitor general K M Nataraj — to argue that the February 5 circular was a secular direction to educational institutions to enforce the prescribed uniforms and that it did not talk of hijab at all.

These three law officers were supported by senior advocates R Venkataramani, D S Naidu and V Mohana, who appeared for teachers from Karnataka and argued that educational institutions must not be the stage for exhibiting competing religious affiliations. An irreligious atmosphere is most conducive for imparting knowledge, they argued.

On the concluding day, Dave and Ahmadi said the solicitor general’s reference to Popular Front of India (PFI) allegedly fuelling the hijab row was not based on facts and hence cannot be taken on record, especially when the state government expressly declined to file counter affidavit to the petitions.

Source: Times Of India

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Demand to resume India-Pak bus, train services before Guru Nanak’s birth anniversary gains strength

Sep 22, 2022

AMRITSAR: Ahead of the birth anniversary of Sikh’s first master, Guru Nanak Dev, in November, the demand for resuming the Punjab Aab bus service and Samjhauta Express rail service between India and Pakistan is gaining strength.

While demanding the resumption of train and bus services between the two nations, former president of SAD(D), Paramjit Singh Sarana, asked why the “samjhauta (agreement)” was broken in the first place. “The bus and train services were a boon for the people of both the nations, not only for the pilgrims. It was the most convenient mode of transport for the divided families across the two countries,” Sarna said, adding SAD(D) would put forward its demand before the Centre as well as with Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee to put pressure on the Pakistan government for the resumption of these suspended services ahead of Baba Nanak’s birth anniversary.

Former president of Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, Bishan Singh, too said they want both the nations to resume the train and bus services so that not only the pilgrims but the businessmen and the divided families could easily commute between India and Pakistan as they used to travel before. “There couldn’t be any better time to make such an announcement than the pious occasion of the ensuing birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev in November.”

Notably, the service of Indian bus “Punj Aab” (named after five rivers in Punjab) and Pakistan’s “Dosti” (friendship) was suspended after India revoked Article 370 that gave a special status to Jammu and Kashmir, in August 2019. Earlier in 2015, citing security reasons, Pakistan had restricted the movement of Lahore-Amritsar, Nankana Sahib–Amritsar and Lahore–Delhi bus service up to Wagah (Pakistan) border only. Similarly, the Samjhauta Express was also suspended in 2019.

Bishan opined that Indian sangat should also take up the matter with the government so that both the services were again resumed giving much reprieve to the common man who aspires to travel across the border. “The people-to-people contact will also help to shed differences and clear the misunderstandings,” he said.

Source: Times Of India

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North America


US: Rights group condemns congressman's attack on Muslim university officer

22 September 2022

New York Congressman Lee Zeldin has come under fire from a leading Muslim rights organisation after attacking the Muslim American official tapped to lead a probe into a complaint of antisemitism at a university in New York City.

Saly Abd Alla, a former civil rights director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations' (CAIR) chapter in Minnesota, was chosen to lead an investigation into a complaint of antisemitism made by a CUNY Kingsborough Community College professor.

Abd Allah is the chief diversity officer at CUNY. After the news that she would be leading the investigation, Republican Councilperson Inna Vernikov accused her of being linked to antisemitism and terrorism.

Zeldin, a Republican from New York and co-chair of the House Republicans' Israel Caucus, joined the attacks and said both the CUNY employee and CAIR were "pro-Hamas" and "antisemitic".

"CAIR’s leadership has a long history of spreading antisemitic conspiracies and pro-Hamas propaganda," Zeldin said.

CAIR National and its New York branch responded to Zeldin's statement, saying his "decision to launch a vile, defamatory and Islamophobic attack against a Muslim woman because she once worked for our civil rights organization is shameful".

"Mr. Zeldin, a poodle for Donald Trump with a history of smearing Muslim women, has reached a new low and sullied his office."

Zeldin has a history of attacking Muslim leaders in the US. In 2019, after prominent American imam Omar Suleiman delivered a prayer at the opening of a session at the US House of Representatives, Zeldin launched a scathing rebuke of the speech, followed by a flurry of articles that accused Suleiman of being "militantly anti-Semitic".

At the time, Suleiman told MEE that the articles springing up in quick succession was "clearly part of an attempt to erase Muslim leaders from public life and also to keep deflecting from the real anti-Semitism of the right".


Earlier this year, Vernikov, a Ukrainian-born Jewish Republican representing parts of Brooklyn, was able to block $50,000 in CUNY's funding after claiming that professors at its School of Law were engaging in antisemitism following a decision to support the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

In a statement, Vernikov claimed CUNY, which enrolled more than 260,000 students in 2020, was rife with "antisemitism and anti-Israel sentiment".

Students at the university condemned the decision, telling MEE they experienced no such antisemitism on campus, despite Vernikov's claims. The funding the councilwoman blocked had been due to go towards providing free legal services to the local community.

Zeldin himself introduced a bill in March this year targeting the BDS movement in the US. The bill, if passed, would bar US citizens and companies from providing information to foreign countries and international organisations that "have the effect of furthering" the boycott of Israel.

It would also bar the US from participating in boycotts, or requests for boycotts, of "a country which is friendly to the United States".

Source: Middle East Eye

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US thanks Türkiye for its support in Russia-Ukraine prisoner exchange

Servet Gunerigok 



The US thanked Türkiye on Wednesday for its role in a prisoner exchange between Ukraine and Russia, hours after the Turkish president announced the swap.

"I would like to thank the Turkish government for helping facilitate the exchange of prisoners between Ukraine and Russia, building on their leadership on the grain deal," President Joe Biden's National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said on Twitter.

His tweet came after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that the two nations had exchanged 200 prisoners as a result of Türkiye's mediation and diplomatic efforts conducted with the leaders of the two countries.

Erdogan told reporters in New York City that the prisoner exchange under Türkiye's mediation was an "important step" towards ending the war between the two countries.

He said efforts to establish peace between Russia and Ukraine continue.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Türkiye may reach $100B trade volume with US 'in a short time': President

Servet Gunerigok  



Türkiye's trade volume with the US will reach $100 billion "in a short time" if the current momentum is kept decisively, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Wednesday.

Speaking at an investment event hosted by the Türkiye-US Business Council in New York, President Erdogan said the US and Türkiye are "friendly" and "strategic" partners and the cooperation between the two nations has contributed to the peace in certain regions around the world.

Erdogan said Türkiye’s trade volume with the US increased by nearly 30% in the first eight months of this year compared to the same period of the previous year and reached $22 billion.

"If this momentum is maintained with the right and decisive steps, our trade volume will reach the goal of $100 billion in a short time," he added.

He said direct investments from the US in Türkiye reached $14.1 billion and Turkish companies' investments in the US reached the level of $8.6 billion.

Erdogan recalled that the COVID-19 pandemic and Russia's war in Ukraine have disrupted supply chains mainly in the food and energy sectors and many countries are struggling with high inflation rates.

He said Türkiye managed to overcome these challenges in terms of growth, exports and employment, adding Türkiye's economy recorded 11% growth last year, which he said was the largest rate among G20 nations.

Despite the pandemic, Türkiye maintained its balanced growth, and its exports exceeded $250 billion on an annual basis as of September, said Erdogan.

Between 2003-2021, Türkiye attracted more than $240 billion in foreign direct investment and $14 billion last year, said the president.

Stating that Türkiye and the US have mutual trade and investment opportunities in almost every sector, Erdogan said Türkiye has a key role in diversifying routes and resources for energy security.

The president recalled that the US is Türkiye's second largest liquefied natural gas (LNG) supplier and said Türkiye wants to purchase more LNG "on favorable terms," adding it is ready for cooperation in the delivery of American LNG to other nations in the region.

The president also called for the lifting of US steel and aluminum tariffs imposed on Türkiye in 2018, which will significantly contribute to joint efforts between the two nations.

The president also said that Türkiye hosted more than 500,000 American tourists in the first seven months of this year.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Palestinians warn British PM Truss against following Trump, moving UK embassy to al-Quds

22 September 2022

Palestinians have expressed outrage over reports that British Prime Minister Liz Truss is considering relocating the UK embassy in Tel Aviv to the occupied holy city of al-Quds in a controversial decision that would follow in former US president Donald Trump’s footsteps.

Some Palestinians described the move as “a new Balfour Declaration” and said it proves Britain’s bias in favor of the Israeli regime.

The Balfour Declaration came in the form of a letter from Britain’s then-foreign secretary, Arthur Balfour, addressed to Lionel Walter Rothschild, a figurehead of the British Jewish community. It was published on November 2, 1917.

The declaration was made during World War I (1914-1918) and was included in the terms of the British Mandate for Palestine after the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire.

It is widely seen as the precursor to the 1948 Palestinian Nakba, when Zionist armed paramilitary groups, who were trained and created to fight side by side with the British in World War II, forcibly expelled more than 750,000 Palestinians from their homeland.

An unnamed Palestinian Authority official said the Ramallah-based and Fatah-controlled government body that exercises partial civil control over West Bank areas has not received an official statement from the British government regarding the relocation of the embassy.

The official warned that such “dangerous” moves would have a negative impact on the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The official pointed out that the reports about relocating the British embassy from Tel Aviv to al-Quds emerged shortly after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Truss met in New York, where they are attending the 77th United Nations General Assembly session.

Mustafa Barghouti, secretary general of the Palestinian National Initiative Party, said the British prime minister belongs to the “pro-Zionist” conservatives and is known for volte-face on her stances.

Barghouti stated that Truss and her friends were trying to win the support of the Jewish community in Britain.

“I wasn’t surprised because the positions of this British government are against the interests of Palestinian people,” Barghouti said in an interview with a local Palestinian radio station.

“But I don’t think they will succeed in moving the embassy because of the fierce opposition by the friends of Palestinians in Britain,” he noted.

Hamas, Islamic Jihad condemnations

Meanwhile, the Gaza-based Hamas and Islamic Jihad resistance movements condemned the reports about the relocation of the British embassy to al-Quds.

“The announcement by the British Prime Minister Liz Truss about her intention to move her country’s embassy to al-Quds is a flagrant bias toward the occupying regime,” Hamas spokesperson Abdel Latif Qanou said.

He warned that the move would not give Israel any legitimacy “over one inch of our land.”

Hazem Qassem, another Hamas spokesman, warned that moving the British embassy would be considered a new crime by Britain against Palestinian people.

Islamic Jihad senior official Mohammed Shalah accused Britain of continuing to display “arrogance” against Palestinians.

“We are not surprised by what Britain is doing in light of the ongoing Arab and Islamic silence,” Shalah said.

“We blame the Arab and Islamic countries that are supposed to support al-Quds.”

Another Islamic Jihad official, Tareq Salmi, warned that the controversial British plan would spark the anger of Arabs and Muslims.

He denounced the move as a “hideous colonial aggression” against Palestinians, adding, “Britain is directly responsible for the tragedy of Palestinian people.”

Trump sparked controversy by officially recognizing al-Quds as the Israeli ‘capital’ in December 2017, before moving the US embassy there from Tel Aviv in May 2018.

Guatemala and Paraguay later followed suit, before the latter reversed its decision after just four months.

Source: Press TV

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London mayor Sadiq Khan's appeal to Hindus, Muslims in UK. It's personal for him

Sep 23, 202

London mayor Sadiq Khan appealed to Hindu and Muslim communities to "not allow the politics of the sub-continent to spill over" into the UK.

“We should be eternally on our guard against extremist forces who seek to stoke up tensions between our communities for their own selfish ends. Everyone in the UK and around the world should have the right to live in peace and to practice their religion without fear or threats,” the London mayor said.

The appeal came after a spate of violent clashes between Hindu and Muslim communities in the eastern England city of Leicester following an India-Pakistan cricket match.

Sadiq Khan urged against letting "current or past tensions, and the wider politics of the region, be used as a pretext to stir up trouble on our streets". "British Muslims and British Hindus should always be allies, not adversaries," he added.

Source: Hindustan Times

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UK deepening links with fellow democracies like India, Israel, Indonesia, South Africa: Truss

Sep 22, 2022

UNITED NATIONS: The United Kingdom is deepening its links with fellow democracies like India, Israel, Indonesia and South Africa, British Prime Minister Liz Truss told world leaders at the 77th session of the UN General Assembly in New York.

"So, we are building new partnerships around the world. We are fortifying our deep security alliances in Europe and beyond through NATO and the Joint Expeditionary Force,” Truss said on Wednesday.

"We are deepening our links with fellow democracies like India, Israel, Indonesia and South Africa," she said, adding that the UK is building new security ties with its friends in the Indo-Pacific and the Gulf.

She said the UK has shown leadership on free and fair trade, striking trade agreements with Australia, New Zealand, Japan and many others, and “we are in the process" of acceding to the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

"Rather than exerting influence through debt, aggression, and taking control of critical infrastructure and minerals, we are building strategic ties based on mutual benefit and trust. And we are deepening partnerships like the G7 and the Commonwealth," she said.

Truss lamented that authoritarian states are undermining stability and security around the world.

"Geopolitics is entering a new era – one that requires those who believe in the founding principles of the United Nations to stand up and be counted. In the United Kingdom, we are entering a new era too,” she said.

Mourning the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, she said the late monarch "was the rock on which modern Britain was built. And she symbolised the post-war values on which this organisation was founded."

She said her country is safeguarding the security of its economy – the supply chains, the critical minerals, the food, and the technology that drives growth and protects the health and lives of its people.

"We won't be strategically dependent on those who seek to weaponise the global economy. Instead, we are reforming our economy to get Britain moving – and we want to work with our allies so we can all move forward together,” she said.

Source: Times Of India

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Western nations concerned by presence of extremist groups in Afghanistan

23 September, 2022

Some western countries expressed grave concern about the presence and operations of extremist groups in Afghanistan and said the Taliban were not meeting their counter-terrorism commitments.

Special envoys and representatives for Afghanistan of the European Union, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States met last week and released a joint communiqué on Thursday.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Armenia accuses Azerbaijan of ‘unspeakable atrocities’ during UN summit

23 September, 2022

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan used his address before the United Nations Thursday to accuse Azerbaijan of “unspeakable atrocities” during the latest clashes between the two rivals, including mutilating the bodies of dead soldiers.

Fighting flared up last week between the Caucasus countries, leaving nearly 300 dead in the worst violence since a war in 2020.

“There are evidences of cases of torture, mutilation of captured or already dead servicemen, numerous instances of extra-judicial killings and ill treatment of Armenian prisoners of war, as well as humiliating treatment of the bodies,” he told the UN General Assembly.

“The dead bodies of Armenian female military personnel were mutilated, and then proudly video recorded with particular cruelty by the Azerbaijani servicemen.”

As Pashinyan spoke, Azerbaijan's Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov, who is set to address the global body this weekend, watched impassively.

Pashinyan went on: “No doubt, committing such unspeakable atrocities is a direct result of a decades-long policy of implanting anti-Armenian hatred and animosity in the Azerbaijani society by the political leadership.”

He also accused Azerbaijan of shelling civilian facilities and infrastructure deep inside his country's territory, displacing more than 7,600 people, as well as leaving three civilians dead and two missing.

“This was not a border clash. It was a direct, undeniable attack against the sovereignty and the territorial integrity of Armenia,” he said.

The speech comes just days after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken urged peace between the two sides in a meeting where he hosted both countries' top diplomats.

“Strong, sustainable diplomatic engagement is the best path for everyone,” Blinken said.

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, during a visit Sunday to the Armenian capital Yerevan, blamed Baku for “illegal” attacks on Armenia, condemning an “assault on the sovereignty” of the country.

Washington's ties are deepening with Yerevan whose traditional ally Moscow is distracted with its invasion of Ukraine.

Russia has close ties with both former Soviet states. It is obligated to intervene if Armenia is invaded under a security pact, but did not rush to help despite an appeal from Yerevan.

Armenia and Azerbaijan have fought two wars -- in the 1990s and in 2020 -- over the contested region of Nagorno-Karabakh, an Armenian-populated enclave of Azerbaijan.

A six-week war in 2020 claimed the lives of more than 6,500 troops from both sides and ended with a Russian-brokered ceasefire.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Ahead of Jewish new year, Hamas warns over Israeli raids on Aqsa Mosque

22 September 2022

Hamas has warned of "repercussions" over Israel incursions into Al-Aqsa Mosque in a warning issued days before the start of the Jewish holidays when settler raids on the super-sensitive compound mount.

"The continuation of the Zionist aggression and their brutality against al-Quds and the holy shrines will be the cause of a major battle," Mahmud Zahar, a senior member of the Gaza-based resistance movement, said on Thursday.

Pointing to Palestinian concerns that a long-standing convention by which Israeli Jewish settlers may visit but not pray in the holy site was being covertly flouted, Zahar said Israel would be held "fully responsible for the repercussions of such violations."

The warning was made after Beyadenu, an Israeli group that encourages the settlers to visit the al-Aqsa Mosque compound, said it was committed to increasing such visits on the occasion of the Jewish New Year on September 29.

"We broke the 50,000 visitor barrier on the Temple Mount" this past year, Beyadenu said, referring to the Jewish name for the al-Aqsa Mosque compound. Tom Nissani, the group's chief executive, said, "The goal is 100,000 visitors next (Jewish) year.”

Earlier in the day, at least 386 Israeli settlers, escorted by military forces, broke into the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the occupied Old City of al-Quds.

In what is viewed as a provocation, the Israeli settlers were reported to have entered the mosque’s courtyards through the Moroccan Gate and performed rituals and Talmudic prayers.

Such mass settler break-ins almost always take place at the behest of Tel Aviv-backed temple groups and under the auspices of the Israeli police in al-Quds.

The al-Aqsa Mosque compound, which sits just above the Western Wall plaza, houses both the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque.

Source: Press TV

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Iranian President Warns against NATO Expansion As Threat to Independent States


President Rayeesi made the remarks in a meeting with a group of American foreign policy experts on the third day of his trip to New York.

The Iranian president described NATO's expansionist policies as one of the causes of insecurity in different parts of the world and stated, "As foreign policy thinkers, advise politicians and statesmen so that the people of different parts of the world do not bear the cost of their mistakes".

On Afghanistan, he noted one of the main reasons for the emphasis of Iran on the non-interference of outsiders in regional issues is the "current situation of the Afghan nation after more than 20 years of occupation and intervention by the United States and NATO forces in this country".

"The disability of 35,000 children is just one of the results of two decade of occupation of Afghanistan," Rayeesi added.

"The largest volume of drug production is in Afghanistan, which was under the occupation and control of the United States and NATO forces. If Iran does not stop the drug trafficking, all of Europe and America will become a breeding ground for drug traffickers," the president noted.

"Iran itself has gone through the bitter experience of an eight-year war that was imposed on this country with the support and instigation of the United States and European countries, and therefore, it uses all its capacities to mediate and end it as soon as possible," he stressed.

On the nuclear talks, Iran's president stated that Tehran has not withdrawn from the existing agreement and has fulfilled all its obligations in the agreement.

"It was the United States that withdrew from the agreement, and it was the European countries that did not fulfill their obligations," he continued.

"From the beginning we declared that we are in favor of negotiations with the aim of reaching a fair and reasonable agreement and not negotiations for the sake of negotiations," Rayeesi emphasised.

Pointing out that no one has described Iran's demands as unreasonable, the Iranian president said, "The next point is, how long are the safeguard issues going to be abused as a pressure lever against Iran? How many cases have been opened in this field and each time it was announced that the claims made in it were not true?"

"The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has so far emphasised 15 times that the nuclear activities of the Islamic Republic of Iran are peaceful and do not deviate from the Agency's regulations. Are these reports invalid for Western countries?" he asked.

In response to a statement that the IAEA is an independent and non-political institution, the president noted, "In the same region where Iran is located, how many other countries have nuclear activities and even activities related to the production of nuclear weapons? How much of their activities are under the supervision of the IAEA, and even though they are making nuclear weapons, neither the IAEA nor some countries in the world are sensitive to them".

Back in July, Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei blasted the NATO as dangerous entity that knows no borders and boundaries and had to be stopped in Ukraine.

He made the remarks in a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Tehran.

“War is a harsh and difficult reality, and the Islamic Republic will in no way be happy if it entangles ordinary people,” the Leader said.

The Supreme Leader emphasized that the Western powers are opposed to the existence of a strong and independent Russia, arguing that the NATO is a dangerous creature, and if the path before it is left open, it realizes no borders and boundaries.

“If NATO’s path had not been blocked in Ukraine, a while later on pretext of the Crimean Peninsula they would have begun the same war,” he added.

NATO has undergone several waves of expansion between 1999 and 2020, swallowing up every former member of the defunct Soviet-led Warsaw Pact, three ex-Soviet republics and four republics from the former Yugoslavia. The expansion took place despite former US Secretary of State James Baker's verbal promise to Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1990 not to expand the alliance “one inch” East of the territory of the former East Germany following that country’s annexation by the Federal Republic.

Source: Fars News Agency

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Iran Calls on US to Surrender Trump to Justice over Assassination of Gen. Soleimani


“The leader who descended into the arena of the fight against terrorism was no one other than the beloved martyr Qassem Soleimani,” the Iranian president said, addressing the 77th annual session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Wednesday.

Holding up the picture of Lieut. Gen. Soleimani, Rayeesi noted that Trump had “effectively managed to sign the document of a savage crime and illegal crime and immoral crime".

Calling General Soleimani as Daesh's annihilator, the Iranian president underlined that the “previous president of the United States of America" should face a "fair tribunal" for the assassination of the anti-terror icon.

The proper pursuit of justice in the face of a crime admitted by the American president about endorsement [of the attack] will not be abandoned. We seek through a fair tribunal to bring justice those who martyred our beloved General Soleimani, Rayeesi added.

On the nuclear issue, Iran's president stated that the ideas put forward by the country's negotiators in the Vienna negotiations with the world powers prevented the talks from resulting in failure.

"Iran has been the main centerpiece of the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) survival by sticking to its commitments," President Rayeesi continued.

"Had it not been for the initiatives and flexibility of the Islamic Republic of Iran, negotiations would have stalled in the early days," he added.

The Iranian president stressed that Tehran is seeking guarantees from the Americans because it cannot trust Washington's loyalty to a new nuclear deal.

He once again reaffirmed that his country was not seeking an atomic weapon, and emphasized, "The Islamic Republic of Iran is not seeking to build or obtain nuclear weapons and such weapons have no place in our doctrine."

Rayeesi stated that Washington's maximum pressure policy on Tehran has “suffered an embarrassing defeat” and punishments imposed on the people of Iran are a form of weapons of mass destruction.

He underscored that the United States keeps equating militarism with security, and noted, “America has pursued its interests at the expense of other countries.”

Here is the full text of the speech of the Islamic Republic of Iran's President Seyed Ebrahim Rayeesi:

In the name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful

Praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds, and His Peace and Blessings be upon Muhammad and His Pure Household and His Select Companions

O Lord, send our greetings to the pure souls of the great prophets, "Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad", may God's blessings be upon them, who brought the message of "rationality, justice, spirituality and morality" to the world and destroyed the foundations of ignorance and oppression, so that people can build a better world for themselves.

Mr Chairman

Ladies and gentlemen

The basic yardstick for building a better world is justice. All human ideals are ultimately measured by justice. "Rationality based on revelation" believes in a broad framework for justice; Justice means negation of injustice. We are the standard-bearer of justice that negates all levels of oppression, including "oppression to oneself, God, society, and the universe". The desire to establish justice is a divine deposit in everyone's existence, and the accumulation of injustice causes nations to move in the form of popular revolutions. Although many movements did not reach the maturity of the revolution and many revolutions deviated from their original path, the success of some nations, such as the Iranian nation, in continuing the nature of their revolution, has kept the hope of establishing justice alive in the hearts of the people of the world. The Iranian Islamic Revolution was the crystallisation of the movement of the Iranian nation towards justice, which despite various seditions, has been able to protect the dignity and originality of its ideals. In the first step, the nation of Iran built the foundation of an advanced civil-political order based on "rationality emanating from revelation" in the name of the Islamic Republic, and in the second step, it seeks to form a "just international order and system". The key elements in this path are "godliness, awareness, altruism, and multilateralism".

Ladies and gentlemen

I am proud to represent a nation that has a great civilisational heritage. A nation that has always been free and has thwarted the attempts of hegemons to enslave its destiny for centuries. A nation that has always considered oppression as a cause of destruction and throughout its history has also fought against the captivity of other nations from "Babylonian captivity" to "Palestinian captivity".

We believe in a common destiny for humanity and support the universalisation of justice.

We wish for others what we like for ourselves and we do not impose on others what we do not like for ourselves. The Iranian nation believes that justice creates unity, and oppression creates war. If a country claims justice inside itself, but abroad, it trains all kinds of terrorists and kills the nations, or forces the nations to surrender by imposing various pressures, it should be a shame for humanity, freedom, and justice.

Humanity is not exclusive to a part of human beings, and human rights are not conceived except by securing the rights of all human beings. Inspired by religious beliefs and based on the spirit and text of its constitution, the Islamic Republic of Iran has one of the most efficient mechanisms in the protection of human rights, and with the most effective tools, considers the fulfilment of the violated rights of each person as a human mission, a sovereign responsibility, and a divine duty delegated to it by the people. The Islamic Republic considers the double standards of some governments in the field of human rights as the most important factor in the institutionalisation of human rights violations, which results in diverse and numerous positions towards an incident under investigation in the Islamic Republic of Iran and the deathly silence about the killing of dozens of helpless women in a short time in one of the Western countries. As long as this double standards persists, human rights will not be safe from repeated violations.

Above human rights, the rights of nations are easily trampled by oppressive powers. The right of Canadian indigenous communities whose children were buried in mass graves in schoolyards instead of school classes; the right to self-determination of the Palestinian nation, the right to development of nations under sanctions, the right to life of nations under occupation or victims of terrorism, the right to life of homeless refugees who keep children in cages separate from their mothers and fathers; all of them show that the position of the claimant and the accused in the issue of human rights should not be changed and that the real violators of human rights do not have the necessary moral competence to comment on human rights. Iran's unique role in the destruction of ISIS, which only one of its crimes was enslaving Kurdish, Yazidi and Christian women, is enough to show that we are in the position of the claimant and defender of human rights, and the supporters of ISIS are in the position of the accused.

Distinguished audience

Now we have come together in a situation where we are facing an important reality, that is, "turning and changing the world" and entering a "new era and order". The old world, the world of "unilateralism", "domination-seeking", "dominance of capital over morality, justice and virtue", "developer of poverty, discrimination and inequality", "use of violence, sanctions and violation of the rights of nations" and "use of international organisations and institutions as a tool of pressure on independent countries" and in a word, the world is unfair in every way. This unfair order has lost its legitimacy in the public opinion of the world and serious wills have been formed to change it. The decline of this old order is undeniable. Our region, that is West Asia, from Afghanistan to Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine and proud Iran, is the great museum of the decline of this old order.

In addition to that, the growing threat of terrorism and extremism, cultural decline and the deterioration of political ethics, the unprecedented weakening of multilateralism and the pathological growth of unilateral illegitimate actions have created great challenges on the path of comprehensive progress and human excellence.

We believe that there is no other option than solidarity and cooperation in the framework of multilateralism based on justice, and based on the principles and transcendent human values emanating from the teachings of divine prophets, to deal with ancient threats and modern global problems.

Distinguished audience

All the free nations have these high values, but this series of beliefs is the reason for all the enmity of the oppressors of the world against us. What we want is the rights of the Iranian nation and we do not tolerate a relationship based on oppression. We stand for the rights of our nation. We believe that any oppressive relationship is detrimental to global peace and security, and the most important threat to the global community is the "normalisation of oppression". Achieving global security through any means other than justice will not be sustainable, and that is what we expect the United Nations to do.

Yes, it is difficult to implement justice and maybe that is why many self-proclaimed advocates of peace are running away from justice. Our question to these governments is that if you do not have the will to implement justice, do you not have the desire to deal with oppression?

Our logic is rooted in the Qur'anic culture that said "Do not oppress and do not be oppressed." The fate of many nations is determined by this phrase. Those who do not benefit from the "power of logic" resort to "logic of force". Logic that is based on justice is powerful and rules hearts. A country that does not have logic, resorts to coups, occupation, military intervention, army killings, indiscriminate treatment of terrorism and many other atrocities and injustices. Did resorting to nuclear weapons lead the world to justice or did it become the basis of domination? The killing of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi, Yemeni, Syrian, and Afghan children was in the service of which human cause? Aren't these manifestations of oppression and injustice in the world?

Indeed, what did Iran demand other than demanding its legal and just rights, which has made world powers upset?

Dear colleagues

Today, hegemony and the spirit of the Cold War are scourging the world and a new era of unrest is threatening our world. The desire of the nations of the world to realise justice has become more intense and their will for progress, independence and security has become more serious. The fruitfulness of the doctrine of resistance is a clear manifestation of the determination of nations to realise justice.

But on the other hand, unilateralism seeks to hold countries back from their independent development path. America cannot accept that countries stand on their own feet, and is naïve o think that militarism is a source of security.

America's friends are not better off. What is happening in Europe today is a mirror of what happened in the past decades in West Asia. The nature of the deployment of troops to West Asia and the expansion of NATO to Eastern Europe are not different from each other, because in both, the fate of the countries is defined by the America who pursues its own interests at the expense of others.

Mr President, dear audience

The Islamic revolution was the beginning of the movement of the Iranian nation to reach its rightful position and during this period, it went through various crises such as coups, domestic terrorism, separatism, war, chaos and sanctions, none of which alone, could be tolerated by many countries.

More than 40 years have passed since the then President of Iran, Mohammad Ali Rajai, placed his foot on this podium, the traces of torture by the US-backed regime were visible on. After that speech, he was martyred by the American-backed terrorist group.

Four decades ago, the nation of Iran, under the leadership of Imam Khomeini (RA), mastered its own destiny by expelling foreigners from its country, and now the nations of the region are trying to take control of their own destiny by following that experience.

The Iranian nation, which itself has been a victim of terrorism, has today become the pillar of security in the region and the true vanguard of the fight against terrorism in the world.

The Iranian nation has paid a price to achieve its lofty and just goals; Whether it was when Saddam tore up the Algerian agreement and started a full-scale military war against us, and when the former American president violated the nuclear agreement and launched a full-scale economic war and unveiled a new form of crime against humanity.

Some time ago, the former president of the United States announced that ISIS (also known as Daesh or ISIL) was created by the United States; It doesn't matter to us that ISIS was created by which of the American governments. The problem is that a government on the other side of the globe decided to redraw the geography of our region at the cost of shedding the blood of hundreds of thousands of women and children, but the Islamic Republic stopped this project and then pushed it back. The commander and hero of this war against terrorism and the destroyer of ISIS was none other than Lieutenant General Haj Qasem Soleimani. The one who was martyred in the path of the freedom of the nations of the region and the former president of the United States printed his name on the case of this crime.

The fair trial of the crime to which the former American president has confessed is a service to humanity; So that the hearts of those who have been hurt by this oppression can somehow find relief from this oppression that has been done to the nations of the region. The fair treatment of the crime that the former president of the United States has confessed to is a service to humanity, so that from now on, cruelty will be silenced and justice will prevail. We will follow the implementation of justice and the trial of the commander and supervisor of the martyrdom of Lt. Gen. Qasem Soleimani through a fair court until a definitive result is reached.

Ladies and gentlemen

The story of the Iranian nation is the story of a nation that has learned to stand on its own feet and not rely on others; it learned this experience when it declared impartiality in both world wars, but was occupied militarily in both times; Or where it resorted to the United States in order to nationalise the oil industry to save itself from British colonialism, but they staged a coup against the Iranian government at the time; And since in a multilateral international agreement that was approved by the UN Security Council, it promised to lift the sanctions, but it found itself facing the most brutal system of sanctions.

Dear audience, ladies and gentlemen

Having the same attitude and those experiences, the Iranian nation has followed the policy of persistence and progress. It is because of the same advanced, stable and rational political and civil order that despite sanctions and threats, Islamic Iran is today a strong country, with huge scientific and technical achievements and unparalleled independence in the region and the world. We believe that today the world needs a "strong Iran".

Today, while exporting oil and gas, we have created a wide network of electricity and gas distribution throughout the country; we are leaders in advanced science and knowledge, including stem cells, space industries, bio and nanotechnology, and nuclear sciences; Iran's growth in Human development indicators are impressive. Social welfare infrastructures, including insurance coverage, have been widely established for Iran's 85 million population, and democracy has been comprehensively institutionalised in the ruling structure of the Islamic Republic and has become the basic procedure of the system. While we were sanctioned during the war, even to buy barbed wire, we have now reached the point of deterrence by acquiring the technical know-how of the most advanced military equipment. This is despite the fact that during all this period, we witnessed the increasing hostility of America against the progress of the Iranian nation.

People of the world

Dear audience,

Mr President

It was not our enemies who relieved the pressure, but it was our nation that drove every enemy out of the field. The Iranian nation, with its effective presence and comprehensive participation in the political order arising from the Islamic Revolution, was able to go through the first stage of the Islamic Revolution with strength and success while adhering to the values and inspiring the nations, and now in the second stage, "neighbourhood policy" and "deepening economic multilateralism" is the priority of its foreign policy agenda.

The Islamic Republic of Iran wants maximum interaction with all the countries of the world, especially its neighbouring and friendly countries. War is not the solution to crises, but the way to solve crises is dialogue and understanding. As a powerful country in the region, the Islamic Republic of Iran has the will and ability to help solve crises. In the past year, Iran's economic ties have been strengthened, and its regional trade has grown significantly, and with the expansion of sustainable economic cooperation infrastructure, a new chapter of friendship and mutual trust has emerged. This neighbourhood policy is a policy that creates security and stability. We have proved that we are friends of our neighbours during their hardships.

In all the numerous conversations I have had with regional heads and leaders, one of the most important common points is that the security of the region must be provided "endogenously and without external interference" and the way to achieve this is cooperation, not dividing the world into blocs. The upcoming era is the era of "stable cooperation, prosperity, stability and brotherhood", if the fate of the region is determined by the countries of the region. Occupiers and usurpers will be gone one day and neighbours stay for each other for good.

Once upon a time, they created a war between the two nations of Iran and Iraq, but today, the greatest symbol of brotherhood and cultural event in the world, namely the Arba'een procession, is held with the unparalleled effort of the people of Iraq and Iran and other nations of the world to commemorate Imam Hussein (AS), the progeny of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and glorify him who sacrificed his life and his family to free people from ignorance and free them from oppression.

Distinguished audience

I would like to draw your attention to one of the sad manifestations of injustice, which is the source of all crises in the region. Contemporary history has not seen a nation more oppressed than Palestine and crueller than the occupying regime in Al-Quds. The Zionist Regime, which has more than seventy years of apartheid, oppression and murder of women and children in its dark history, has built the largest prison on earth in Gaza, and the continuation of settlement construction and the images of the oppressed Palestinians crying due to the usurpation of their lands, homes and farms, and the killing of their children, show everyone that seven decades of oppression and occupation by Israel is not over.

Governments claiming freedom and democracy must answer why they are running away from the clear and fair formula of the Islamic Republic to solve the Palestinian issue? In oppressed Palestine, we believe in the policy of a single Palestine. All the land of Palestine "from the sea to the river" belongs to the original inhabitants of this historic and holy land. The solution to the Palestinian issue is only to refer to the votes of all Palestinians, including Muslims, Christians and Jews, in the form of holding a comprehensive referendum.

The occupying regime of Al-Quds, which continues to occupy the territories of other countries in the region, cannot be a partner in peace and security.

Honourable audience

Let me draw your attention to another manifestation of injustice, which is the West's double-standard position towards Iran's peaceful nuclear activities. While the basic pillar of global security is "global disarmament", some powers are trying to make the world forget the main issue of global disarmament by making Iran's peaceful activities a problem.

As the representative of the great nation of Iran, I explicitly declare that the Islamic Republic of Iran is not seeking to develop nuclear weapons and such weapons have no place in our defence doctrine. This ruling was announced in the fatwa of the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, and for the Iranian government and people, the religious fatwa of the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution is more effective than any international supervision.

This is despite the fact that the self-proclaimed governments have continued to produce and use nuclear weapons and have gifted these weapons to the Zionist Regime. Countries that have to be disarmed are rewarded, and countries that have adhered to their commitments are even deprived of the rights contained in the NPT. While Iran's peaceful nuclear programme includes only two percent of the world's nuclear programs, 35 percent of inspections are of our facilities.

Now, I would like to ask the audience to carefully pay attention to a few points:

The Islamic Republic accepted an agreement in 2015 in good faith and with a solid intention and fulfilled all its commitments in the first place, but the result was America breaking its promise and imposing sanctions which, according to their own admission, were the most unprecedented sanctions in history. Sanctions are a punishment for seeking justice and independence of the Iranian nation. Sanction is a weapon of mass murder, and accompanying or remaining silent towards it is aiding and abetting oppression.

It was America that left the agreement, not Iran. The International Atomic Energy Agency stated 15 times in its reports that Iran has fully adhered to the provisions of the agreement.

At the same time, Iran has paid the cost of complying with its obligations, but due to the violation of the promise of the American side and the non-compliance of the European side, Iran has not enjoyed the benefits of this agreement.

Based on the capacities seen in the agreement, we took legal measures so that the violating party returns to its obligations. By adhering to its obligations, Iran has been the main axis of the JCPOA's survival, and if it were not for the initiatives and flexibility of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the negotiations would have stopped in the first days.

Iran's negotiation logic based on a fair analysis of developments is only one sentence: "adherence to commitments". Reassuring assurances are not just about preparing for a contingency. We are talking about an experience. We have before us the experience of America's withdrawal from the JCPOA and the delay of the current American government in returning to its commitments for more than a year and a half. Today, when the American government is talking about its intention to return to its obligations, another voice is heard from inside that country, which questions the commitment of the United States. With that experience and this perspective, can we act with tolerance in the important issue of ensuring the stability of the agreement?

Of course, the Islamic Republic, with its vast facilities and wide connections with the world, has neutralised the effects of sanctions one after another and created new opportunities. According to the official admission of the US government, the policy of maximum pressure against Iran has failed shamefully.

Source: Fars News Agency

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Iran Showcases Ballistic Missiles, Radar and Missile Systems During Military Parades


On Thursday, the Iranian Armed Forces held military parades across the country and in the Persian Gulf waters to mark the Sacred Defense Week. Forces from the Iranian Army, the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), Police, Border Guards, and Basij are participating in the parades.

During the parade in Tehran, the Iranian Armed Forces unveiled a surface-to-surface ballistic missile, Rezvan, for the first time.

Rezvan is a liquid-fuel single-stage missile with a detachable warhead that has a range of up to 1,400 kilometers. It can be launched from a variety of fixed and mobile platforms.

IRGC Commander Major General Hossein Salami introduced the Rezvan Missile as the one capable of entering the atmosphere with a speed that is eight times higher than the speed of sound.

He noted it is a precision-guided and state-of-the-art missile with a medium ballistic range.  

During the parades, a missile system, dubbed Khaybar Shekan, was also put on display.

The missile, which has been previously unveiled, has a range of 1,450 kilometers and enjoys high agility. It is capable of striking its designated targets with pinpoint accuracy.

Khaybar Shekan is reportedly among third-generation long-range missiles indigenously developed and manufactured by military experts at the IRGC’s Aerospace Division.

It uses solid propellants and is said to be capable of penetrating into missile shields with high maneuverability during its landing stage.

The armed forces also showcased another strategic product, a radar system dubbed Quds.

Aerospace Force of the IRGC has also unveiled for the first time a sample of its missiles dubbed “Sevvom-e Khordad”- in Persian means the third day of the third month of the Iranian calendar year- with air defense system and 200-km range.

Sevvom-e Khordad air defense system is capable of countering different types of air targets including helicopters, fighters, drones and cruise missiles.

Military officials say the military power of Iran is strong, extraordinary and deterrent despite enemy sanctions and pressures, and hail the country's defense sector for its remarkable developments in the recent decades. They stress the Iranian Armed Forces’ deterrent power dissuades the United States and Israel from implementing its threats against the country.

The Islamic Republic’s military doctrine holds that the country’s armed capability solely serves defensive purposes.

Iranian military experts and technicians have in recent years made substantial headway in manufacturing a broad range of indigenous equipment, making the armed forces self-sufficient in the weaponry sphere.

Source: Fars News Agency

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Top Commander: Iran, Russia, China to Stage Joint Naval Drill in Indian Ocean


Speaking on the sidelines of nationwide military parades, Major General Baqeri stated Iran, Russia and China plan to hold joint naval drills within the next three months.

The military official told reporters that the maneuver would be held in the north of the Indian Ocean.

The top general noted that Pakistan, Oman and a number of other countries would probably take part in the drills.

In January, Iran, China and Russia held the '2022 Marine Security Belt' joint drills in the North Indian Ocean. The joint naval drill was participated by naval and airborne forces the Iranian Navy, the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Navy, and vessels from China and Russia.

Commander of the Iranian Navy Rear Admiral Shahram Irani has underlined that the joint drill was aimed at enhancing regional security.

"The recent naval drills by Russia, Iran an China set a new model for ensuring safety and security of maritime in international waters," Rear Admiral Irani underscored.

He reiterated that the continuous and effective presence of Iran's Navy in the world's water zones is very significant to promote sustainable maritime security.

Source: Fars News Agency

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Iran president says woman's death that sparked protests ‘will be investigated’

22 September, 2022

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi on Thursday said the death of a young woman that sparked protests in the Islamic republic needed to be investigated, but accused Western powers of hypocrisy for raising concerns.

At a news conference in New York where he attended the UN General Assembly, the clerical leader repeated a coroner's conclusion that 22-year-old Mahsa Amini was not beaten, a finding rejected by protesters.

“But I don't want to rush to a conclusion,” Raisi said.

“If there is a party at fault, it certainly must be investigated. I contacted the family of the deceased at the very first opportunity and I assured them personally that we will continue steadfastly to investigate the incident,” he said.

Protesters, many of them women, say Amini died in the custody of morality police who enforce the clerical state's dress code on women.

Hours after Washington imposed sanctions on the police unit, Raisi accused the West of “double standards,” pointing to killings by police in the United States and offering statistics on the deaths of women in Britain.

“Why not call for the exact same thing for those who lose their lives at the hands of law enforcement and other agents throughout the West -- Europe, North America, the United States of America?” he said.

“Those who suffer unjust beatings, why are there no investigations that follow up on them?”

Raisi did not reply to a question on the curbs on the internet inside Iran, where at least 17 people have died in unrest since Amini's death last week, but said he accepted peaceful protests.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Four security personnel among 11 dead in Iran protests over Mahsa Amini’s death

22 September, 2022

Eleven people, four of them security personnel, have been killed in growing protests over the death of a young woman in morality police custody, Iranian news agencies reported Thursday.

Three militiamen were stabbed or shot dead after they had been “mobilized to deal with rioters,” in Mashhad in the northeast, Qazvin in the center and Tabriz in the northwest, the reports said.

A fourth member of the security forces was killed in the southern city of Shiraz, they said, adding that a protester had also been stabbed to death in Qazvin.

Iranian officials had previously confirmed the deaths of six demonstrators.

Four died in Kurdistan, the home province of Mahsa Amini, the young woman whose death last week triggered the protests, and two in Kermanshah, another province with a large Kurdish community.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Iran’s Guards call for prosecuting those spreading ‘false news’ over woman’s death

22 September, 2022

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards called on the judiciary on Thursday to prosecute “those who spread false news and rumors” about a young woman whose death in police custody has triggered nationwide protests.

Protesters in Tehran and other Iranian cities torched police stations and vehicles earlier on Thursday as public outrage over the death showed no signs of easing, with reports of security forces coming under attack.

Mahsa Amini, 22, died last week after being arrested in Tehran for wearing “unsuitable attire.” She fell into a coma while in detention. The authorities have said they would launch an investigation into the cause of her death.

In a statement, the Guards expressed sympathy with the family and relatives of Amini.

“We have requested the judiciary to identify those who spread false news and rumors on social media as well as on the street and who endanger the psychological safety of society and to deal with them decisively,” the Guards, who have cracked down on protests in the past, said.

Pro-government protests are planned for Friday, Iranian media said.

“The will of the Iranian people is this: do not spare the criminals,” said an editorial in the influential hardline Kayhan newspaper.

The protests over Amini’s death are the biggest in the Islamic Republic since 2019. Most have been concentrated in Iran’s Kurdish-populated northwest but have spread to the capital and at least 50 cities and towns nationwide, with police using force to disperse protesters.

A member of an Iranian pro-government paramilitary organization, the Basij, was stabbed to death in the northeastern city of Mashhad on Wednesday, two semi-official Iranian news agencies reported on Thursday.

The Tasnim and Fars news agencies reports of the stabbing appeared on Telegram as both their websites were not functioning on Thursday. There was no official confirmation of the death.

Tasnim also said another member of the Basij was killed on Wednesday in the city of Qazvin as a result of a gunshot wound inflicted by “rioters and gangs,” bringing the total reported number of security force members killed in the unrest to four.

In the northeast, protesters shouted “We will die, we will die but we’ll get Iran back” near a police station which was set on fire, a video posted on Twitter account 1500tasvir showed.

The account focuses on protests in Iran and has around 100,000 followers.

Reuters could not verify the footage.

Another police station was set ablaze in Tehran as the unrest spread from Kurdistan, the home province of Amini and where she was buried on Saturday.

Personal freedoms

Amini’s death has reignited anger over issues including restrictions on personal freedoms in Iran - including strict dress codes for women - and an economy reeling from sanctions.

Iran’s clerical rulers fear a revival of the 2019 protests that erupted over gasoline price rises, the bloodiest in the Islamic Republic’s history. Reuters reported 1,500 were killed.

Protesters this week also expressed anger at Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. “Mojtaba, may you die and not become Supreme Leader,” a crowd was seen chanting in Tehran, referring to Khamenei’s son, who some believe could succeed his father at the top of Iran’s political establishment.

Reuters could not verify the video.

Reports by Kurdish rights group Hengaw, which Reuters could not verify, said the death toll in Kurdish areas had climbed to 15.

Iranian officials have denied that security forces have killed protesters, suggesting they may have been shot by armed dissidents.

With no sign of the protests easing, authorities restricted access to the internet, according to accounts from Hengaw, residents, and internet shutdown observatory NetBlocks.

Women have played a prominent role in the protests, waving and burning their veils, with some cutting their hair in public.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Govt rejects criticism on transgender bill, says linking it to homosexuality is ‘misconception’

September 22, 2022

Minister for Law Azam Nazeer Tarar on Thursday rejected criticism over the Transgender Persons (Protection of Right) Act, saying that “some friends” had created a misconception that the law had opened doors for homosexuality and was repugnant to Islamic injunctions.

The National Assembly had enacted the Transgender Persons (Protection of Right) Act in 2018 to provide legal recognition to transgender persons and ensure that discrimination against transgender persons in various walks of life shall be punishable.

The law was made after the Supreme Court held on Sept 25, 2012, that eunuchs were entitled to all the rights guaranteed by the Constitution and enjoyed by other members of society.

However, recently the bill was opposed by some sections of society. At a press conference on Wednesday, JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman said that it was against Islamic injunctions.

“Our team is busy preparing a draft which will be tabled in the assembly soon. No law that is against the spirit of Quran and Sunnah will be allowed to be passed as the parliament has no right to pass any bill that runs counter to the Quran and Sunnah,” he added.

At a press conference alongside Adviser to PM for Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan Qamar Zaman Kaira today, Tarar clarified that the bill was passed by the Senate and National Assembly in the presence of religious and political leaders.

“Whenever a law is passed, there is always a chance of weakness or misuse [of it]. Here too, complaints started coming after two years on a provision that there was a possibility that sections 3 and 4 could be misused.”

The minister elaborated that according to the aforementioned sections, after reaching the age of 18 years, transgender persons could “declare their genders” on their identity cards.

“Like when we fill our forms it is written there whether you are a male or female […] God has protected us from those disabilities […] so they had the right […] a section was made for them […] transgender he or she which is male or female transgender.”

Later on, Azam said an amendment was introduced. “JI Senator Mushtaq Khan said that this provision where transgender applicants were given an option to mention their gender […] it should be amended and made conditional after opinion from the medical board.”

This matter, he went on, was under discussion in the parliament. However, soon after, two petitions were filed in the Federal Shariah Court, the minister said. “The prime responsibility of the shariah court is to see whether a law is against the shariah and the principles of Islam.”

Tarar revealed that the government had submitted its responses on the pleas as well.

But, he said that “some friends” twisted this matter and claimed that the law was encouraging homosexuality. “It is also being perceived that entire law is completely negative.”

Subsequently, Tarar outlined the provisions of the law, starting off with the definition of a transgender person and contending that the law “nowhere says that any person can be a transgender themselves”.

“The first two provisions are being read in isolation when the matter of registration came up.”

There were also two provisions regarding recognition and identity. But, the matter will only be changed after the verdict of the shariah court, he said.

Apart from that, Tarar stated the law talks about discrimination, sexual harassment, the right to inheritance, the right to education, the right to health, and the right to employment for transgender persons.

“The reason for interacting with you today is that this is not about those arguments, this is about Constitution, law, shariah and human rights.

“We request you to spread this message further. And I expect the Pakistani people to [understand] that these people [transgender persons] are Pakistanis, they are a part of the society […] we can at least look at them in the society in a way which doesn’t violate their rights,” the minister added.

Meanwhile, PPP’s Kaira said that the law was not new and had been passed in 2018. “There is no need to create hue and cry over it. These days social media has become a platform for fake news and it is being used to create polarisation in the country.”

He said that the categorisation of gender in the law was “if anything, a way forward”.

Source: Dawn

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Transgender law rebellion against Quran: Fazl

September 23, 2022

RAHIMYAR KHAN: Condemning the Transgender Protection Act, President Pakistan Democratic Movement Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman said it is a rebellion against the Quran and the Sunnah. During the visit to the free medical camp for the flood victims, Fazl said Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam has been assisting the flood victims in every possible way since the beginning. Setting up a free relief camp for the flood victims is a welcome initiative and serving the suffering humanity is a great act of worship, he said.

Source: The News Pakistan

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Pakistan's ex-PM Khan apologises to avoid contempt charges

Sep 22, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's former Prime Minister Imran Khan apologized in court on Thursday over his outburst against a female judge during a rally last month that was seen as a threat to the judiciary and judges in general.

The apology, an option envisaged under the Pakistani legal system, may allow Khan to stay out of jail and avoid contempt charges. Khan, who was ousted in a no-confidence vote in April, has been campaigning for early elections and claims he was toppled under a U.S. conspiracy.

The development came just days after Pakistani police were ordered by a judge to drop terrorism charges against Khan in a separate case over threats to the same judge and also to police.

The legal cases followed a speech Khan gave in the capital, Islamabad, during which he vowed to bring a lawsuit against the Islamabad police chief and a judge for allowing police to question Shahbaz Gill, chief of staff at Khan's Tehreek-e-Insaf political party.

Khan made the controversial remarks after being told that Gill had allegedly been tortured by police following his arrest on charges of inciting troops to mutiny.

During the August rally, Khan at one point directed his comments against Judge Zeba Chaudhry, saying: "You also get ready for it, we will also take action against you."

Khan, a former cricket star turned politician who became premier in 2018, is currently on bail, which shields him from arrest in several cases.

"I am ready to apologize ... if the court thinks that I have crossed a line," Khan said as he appeared before the Islamabad High Court on Thursday.

"I assure the court that this won't happen again in the future," he added.

Chief Justice Athar Minallah said Khan's gesture was appreciated but that the former prime minister needs to submit his apology in writing before Oct. 3, at which point Minallah would review the text and decide whether to drop the contempt case.

Khan's lawyer, Faisal Chaudhry, who is not related to Judge Chaudhry, later told reporters that Khan's apology would be submitted in writing to the court shortly.

Dozens of Khan's supporters had gathered outside the court building to cheer him on and hundreds of police were deployed to prevent violence and to keep the crowd from pushing its way into the court Thursday.

Since his ouster, Khan has alleged - without providing evidence - that Pakistan's powerful military took part in an alleged U.S. plot to oust him. Washington, and the government of Khan's successor, Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif, have denied the allegation. Sharif has also rejected Khan's demand, saying elections will be held on time next year.

Source: Times Of India

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Imran Khan lauds PM Modi, slams Nawaz Sharif for owning billions of properties abroad

Sep 22, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's former Prime Minister Imran Khan has once again lauded India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi while comparing with Pakistan Muslim League (N) supremo Nawaz Sharif on the issue of corruption.

In a video that went viral on the internet, former PM Khan was seen talking about the properties that Nawaz Sharif owns outside Pakistan (foreign countries).

He then made a scathing attack on Nawaz, saying, "no other leader except Nawaz in the world has properties worth billions."

"Tell me about one country whose Premier or leader has a billions worth of properties outside the country. Even in our neighbouring country, how many properties does PM Modi has outside India?" he said while addressing to the public gathering.

"No one can imagine how many assets and properties Nawaz possesses abroad," Imran Khan added.

This is not the first time when Imran Khan praised India. Earlier also, he was seen praising India's foreign policy.

Imran Khan praised India for buying the discounted oil from Russia and said that his government was also working on the same thing with the help of an independent foreign policy and slammed Pakistan Muslim League (N)-led government for "running around like a headless chicken with the economy in a tailspin".

"Despite being part of the Quad, India sustained pressure from the US and bought discounted Russian oil to provide relief to the masses. This is what our govt was working to achieve with the help of an independent foreign policy," Imran Khan tweeted while retweeting a piece of information about the reduction of petrol and diesel prices in India.

Earlier, in April also, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chief lauded India as "khuddar quam" (very self-respecting people) and said that no superpower can dictate terms to the neighbouring country, admitting that both New Delhi and Islamabad do not share a good relationship.

"Indians are khuddar quam (very self-respecting people). No superpower can dictate terms to India," he said on Friday during his national address on the eve of a controversial no-confidence vote that looks certain to dismiss him.

Imran Khan said both India and Pakistan got their independence together but Islamabad is being used as tissue paper.

Source: Times Of India

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Anti-Ahmadi Hate Speech Used for Electoral Purposes in Pakistan


by Massimo Introvigne

In April this year, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan was ousted from power by a no-confidence vote, after the opposition managed to persuade some of his own party’s members to defect and vote against him. He did not take it graciously, and immediately started to plan his comeback. In July, his party won a record majority in the provincial elections in Punjab. One of its members, Pervaiz Elahi, was elected Chief Minister, after a maneuver by the government to deny his victory was defeated by the Supreme Court.

General political elections are expected in 2023, but by-elections in 13 constituencies were scheduled for this month, although they have been postponed due to the devastating floods that hit the country. According to most polls, Khan is expected to win. He is conducting a campaign accusing the United States of having conspired to destroy him because of his pro-Chinese attitudes, although the present government appears to be equally favorable to Beijing.

The Ahmadis are a persecuted religious minority founded within Islam by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1835–1908). Conservative Muslims accuse Ahmad of having considered himself a “prophet,” in breach of the Islamic doctrine of the Finality of Prophethood, which maintains that there can be no prophet after Muhammad.

The Ahmadi formula for Ahmad, “at the same time a prophet and a follower of the Holy Prophet [ Muhammad],” is not enough to establish their orthodoxy in the eyes of Muslim clerics. For them, the Ahmadis deny the Finality of Prophethood and are non-Muslim heretics. They are severely persecuted in Pakistan through specific laws that make them second class citizens, prevented from voting and holding office. Their places of worship and cemeteries are attacked, and their devotees routinely killed by thugs who can count on the leniency of Pakistani courts.

In the present heated political situation, the Ahmadi issue is being used for courting the vote of radical Islamic movements, a powerful political constituency that is vehemently anti-Ahmadi. On September 14, Mian Javed Latif, a Federal Minister in the present anti-Imran-Khan government and a leader of the party Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) called a press conference where he exposed Imran Khan as pro-Ahmadi. Latif told the media that Imran “betrayed the basic principles of Islam” by promising Western governments that Ahmadis “will be given religious freedom,” which is anathema to Latif’s party.

The ousted Prime Minister’s party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), answered through another press conference where Noorul Haq Qadri, who had been the Minister of Religious Affairs in the government of Imran Khan, accused Latif and the government of “using religion to instill and spread hatred,” and hailed Imran’s unimpeachable Islamic credentials. Latif’s party retaliated by accusing Imran of “blasphemy,” a crime punished with the death penalty in Pakistan.

Whatever Imran may or may not have promised to Western leaders, the accusation that he made life better for Ahmadis is false. In 2021, The Diplomat assessed Imran’s attitude to freedom of religion and religious minorities. It concluded that the PTI Prime Minister had, if anything, “aggravated the problem.” In 2019, when Islamic fundamentalists started accusing Imran of being soft on the Ahmadis, his Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Azam Swati said in television that “both I and Imran Khan send Lanat (curses) on Ahmadis.”

There was no improvement for the situation of Ahmadis under Imran, nor are there signs that his position is changing. His newly elected Punjab Chief Minister Pervaiz Elahi has already enacted new anti-Ahmadi regulations.

Source: Bitter Winter

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JUI-F calls for early completion of repair work on CRBC

September 23, 2022

Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) parliamentary leader Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly Lutfur Rehman has asked the authorities concerned to complete repair and restoration work of Chashma Right Bank Canal (CRBC) at the earliest in order to ensure water availability for timely irrigation of lands.

He expressed these views while chairing a meeting which was attended by members of the Chamber of Agriculture Union and officials of the Irrigation and CRBC departments here at Shorkot area. During the meeting the farmers’ delegation headed by Haji Abdul Rasheed Dhap apprised the meeting about the problems being faced by growers and presented suggestions pertaining to ongoing restoration and repair work of the CRBC which was breached at several points due to recent flooding.

Source: Pak Observer

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Arab World


US-backed SDF thwart ISIS suicide attack on Syria’s al-Hol: CENTCOM

22 September, 2022

The US military announced Thursday that the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) they back foiled an ISIS suicide bombing on the al-Hol camp.

“At approximately 12:25 am on Sept. 20th, seven ISIS fighters in two vehicles headed in the direction of the Internally Displaced Persons camp at al-Hol were interdicted by US partnered Syrian Democratic Forces,” United States Central Command communications director Col. Joe Buccino said.

After one of the cars exploded prematurely, around 12 miles northeast of al-Hol, which CENTCOM said was the intended target, SDF forces arrived within minutes and surrounded the second vehicle.

Two ISIS militants got out of the car wearing suicide vests, and one detonated his vest. SDF fighters shot and killed the second man.

According to Buccino, their vehicle was rigged with at least 50 kilograms of explosives.

No SDF fighters were killed or wounded, and one ISIS fighter was taken into SDF custody. Four ISIS fighters were killed.

“By taking immediate action, and showing disregard for their own safety, the Syrian Democratic Forces demonstrated their professionalism and commitment to creating and maintaining a safe and prosperous region for the people who make it their home,” Buccino said. “The response of our partnered forces highlights not only dedication to their people, but also their tenacity and commitment to the enduring defeat of ISIS.”

Earlier this month, CENTCOM chief Gen. Erik Kurilla became the first US official to enter the camp and speak with detainees.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Saudi Arabia Celebrates National Day With Arts, Theatre, Air Shows And Music

September 22, 2022

The marking of Saudi Arabia’s 92nd National Day comes at a momentous time in the nation’s history because of its remarkable journey of transformation and development.

Citizens and residents alike will be celebrating over the course of the week to come, with events paying homage to the Kingdom’s heritage, art and culture.


Riyadh is set to celebrate Saudi National Day with a range of events and activities including music, theater and a specially designed Cirque du Soleil show.

In preparation, the capital city’s main roads have been bedecked with hundreds of green national flags.

The sky will light up with fireworks in front of Al-Thaghr Plaza on Sept. 23 from 9 p.m.

The Royal Saudi Air Force will have an acrobatics display with jets and civilian aircraft that can be viewed from Um Ajlan Park on Sept. 22 and 23 from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

The Royal Guard will conduct a parade at Riyadh Front to the tune of the national anthem played by a military band, ahead of a procession of classic cars on Sept. 23 from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Admission is free to the fireworks display, airshow and Royal Guard parade.

In addition, Jump Saudi will host a two-day showjumping competition. Tickets are SR57.50 ($15.30) and can be obtained online through Riyadh Platinum or Enjoy Saudi via the General Entertainment Authority website. The event will take place on Sept. 22 and 23 from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m.

This year, the national circus is presenting a specially designed Cirque du Soleil show entitled “The Wealth of a Nation” at Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University theater from Sept. 21 to 24 from 8 p.m. to 12 midnight.

Arab musicians Ahlam and Abady Al-Johar will perform on Sept. 23 at Abo Baker Salim stage from 9 p.m. to 12 midnight.

The Ministry of Interior is organizing its own festivities under the slogan “The Pride of The Nation” at Riyadh Front from Sept. 21 to 24. The event will also feature a live orchestra and 12 interactive pavilions.

A festival will be held at the Diplomatic Quarter’s Grassy Park from Sept. 21 to 24, which will include heritage shows, handicrafts displays, a dancing fountain, action games for children and food stalls.

The AMC-2 theater auditorium is set to feature a live 90-minute stand-up comedy show on Sept. 22 from 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., with three international acts alongside a Saudi performer.


The General Entertainment Authority has organized several events for Jeddah’s citizens and residents to mark the country’s 92nd National Day celebrations, including fireworks, air and marine military shows, music concerts, and interactive festivals.

The city’s coastline will be lit up with a massive, seven-minute fireworks show on Sept. 23 at the Jeddah Season carpark area, which is expected to be seen from any location in the city. This show will coincide with 17 other similar displays around the country.

For three days, from Sept. 18 to 20, Jeddah residents can enjoy an airshow near the Hilton Hotel on the corniche, beginning from 4:30 p.m. This will also be the location for a marine show on Sept. 23.

Jeddawis can also enjoy a military parade at 5 p.m. on national day organized by the Ministry of Interior at the Jeddah Art Promenade. The venue will also see fireworks displays from 9 p.m. on Sept. 22, 23 and 24.

In addition, the Jeddah Art Promenade area will feature a light-and-sound display on Sept. 23. There will also be a Saudi folklore show from 6 p.m. to midnight on Sept. 22, 23 and 24. Moreover, there will be “Layali Watan” events and activities held over the same period.

In addition, the Jeddah Art Promenade will feature a Mosaic Wall with various pieces of art on Sept. 22, 23 and 24, showcasing the history of the Kingdom.

The promenade will also have a National Day Corner, with a Photography Kiosk and an exclusive show for children on Sept. 22, 23 and 24.

The venue will have several music concerts, with Saud Sanan performing on Thursday Sept. 23, female singer Dukhuon on the same day, and Ahmed Ashour on Sept. 24.

Egyptian singer Angham and her compatriot Ahmed Saad will perform at Benchmark Theatre on King’s Road at 9:30 p.m. on Saturday Sept. 24. According to the Ticketing Box Office website, all VVIP tickets have been sold.

There will also be festivals held from 5 p.m. to midnight at the city’s Prince Majed Park, from Sept. 21 to 24.

Eastern Province

The Eastern Province has a series of fun events for all ages to celebrate the Kingdom’s 92nd National Day including live performances, fireworks, and marine and air shows.

King Abdullah Park in Dammam is set to host a four-day celebration from Sept. 21 to 24 from 5 p.m. to midnight, featuring a variety of festivities including folkloric dances and fountain shows.

During the celebrations, performers will roam through the park dressed in traditional attire. There will be several action games and giveaways for families. The event is free and open to children of all ages.

Families are encouraged to dress up in traditional attire for the events throughout the week.

Dammam will host the annual fireworks show that will be visible from the corniche on Sept. 23 from 9 p.m. Admission is free and open to all ages.

Eighteen cities across the Kingdom will feature fireworks displays simultaneously with Dammam including Riyadh, Jeddah, Abha, Tabuk and Al-Ahsa.

Nearby Alkhobar will also be hosting a marine show led by the Royal Naval Forces. The show will take place on Sept. 23 from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the corniche.

Following the marine show, the corniche seafront will hold an airshow from Sept. 25 to 26 from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

In addition, King Abdullah Cultural Center in Jubail will hold live concerts featuring some of the most popular regional performers including Moudi Alshamrani, Sultan Khalifa, Shamma Hamdan and Khadijah Moath, from Sept. 21 to 24.

Children will not be allowed to attend the concerts. Tickets are available on the Enjoy Saudi website.

Southern and Northern regions

The southern and northern regions of the Kingdom are preparing to celebrate the 92nd National Day on Sept. 23 with various shows and concerts including “A Homeland Salute” by the Royal Saudi Air Force.

On Sept. 23 from 9 p.m., a massive five-minute fireworks display will be held across several cities.

In Jouf, north of the Kingdom, Sakaka’s residents will be able to gather at King Abdullah Cultural Center to watch the show.

In the Northern Borders region, spectators in Arar can see it at the city’s Water Tower Park.

In the southwest, it can be enjoyed in Al-Nahdah district in Najran, while in Abha in Asir they can do so at Sama Abha Park.

The activities include air and marine shows.

The Royal Saudi Air Force will perform for 10 days with Typhoon, F-15, Tornado, and F-15C fighter jets across 14 cities. The show is titled “A Homeland Salute,” to celebrate the country’s achievements under its leadership.

In Abha, the airshow will be held at Abha Airport Park on Sept. 22 and 23 at 5:30 p.m.

Various festivals with folklore dances, games and handicrafts will be held at several public parks from Sept. 21 to 24 from 5 p.m. to midnight.

People in the north can celebrate at Al-Nakheel Park in Sakaka, and in Al-Refa District in Arar.

Those commemorating the day in the south can participate at Sama Abha Park in Abha, and Aba Al-Rashash Park in Najran.

Source: Arab News

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Israel to sell air defence system to UAE: Report

22 September, 2022

Israel has agreed to sell an advanced air defense system to the UAE, two sources familiar with the matter said, in the first such known deal between them since they forged ties in 2020.

Israel and the US-allied UAE share an ultimate fear, that Iran obtains a nuclear weapon, an ambition Tehran denies.

Israel approved a UAE request in the middle of the summer and would supply the Gulf state with Rafael-made SPYDER mobile interceptors, two sources said, declining to provide further details due to the sensitive nature of the deal.

A third source said the UAE had acquired Israeli technology capable of combating drone attacks like those that struck Abu Dhabi earlier this year.

Israel's defense ministry and SPYDER manufacturer Rafael declined to comment. The UAE's foreign ministry did not comment.

It was not immediately clear how many interceptors, which are fitted to vehicles and can defend against short to long-range threats, would be supplied, or if any had so far been shipped.

Asked if Israel was providing the UAE with air defense systems, parliament Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Chairman Ram Ben-Barak told Israeli radio on Sept. 20 there was broad cooperation with the UAE, but declined further comment.

Rafael says SPYDER can defend large areas from threats such as drones, cruise missiles, attack aircraft, helicopters, and bombers, including from low altitude.

President Isaac Herzog, visiting the UAE in January when an intercepted strike took place, said Israel supported the UAE's security needs. And last week Prime Minister Yair Lapid said he was horrified by the attacks and Israel stood by and with the UAE.

Most of the strikes were claimed by the Iran-aligned Houthi militia, who the UAE has been fighting in the war in Yemen as part of the Arab Coalition seeking to restore the ousted government.

Anwar Gargash, diplomatic adviser to the UAE president, told reporters in July that the UAE would consider anything that protects the country from drones and missiles as long as it was defensive and not targeting a third country.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Saudi youth empowerment critical to Vision 2030, Princess Reema tells summit

23 September, 2022

Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the US has said supporting the empowerment of the Kingdom’s young generation is critical to ensure the continuation of the work of Vision 2030.

Princess Reema bint Bandar, spoke during the PRIORITY Summit, held in the US state of New York, on the sidelines of the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly, in which she stressed the importance in investing in the nation's youth.

“We Saudis are an emerging nation; 75 percent of our population are under the age of 35,” she said in her address, adding that the Kingdom has implemented strategies to build stronger job growth in the private sector, create entrepreneurship, sustainable development and renewable energy, and build a world-leading digital infrastructure.

She also said that as for the social level, the Kingdom has more women's empowerment, equity and cultural inclusion.

Princess Reema stated that the success of Saudi’s youth tomorrow “depends on our success today,” adding that the Kingdom has a strong belief in its young generation.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Saudi Arabia appoints Hala al-Tuwaijri as new head of Human Rights Commission

22 September, 2022

Saudi Arabia has appointed Hala al-Tuwaijri as the new head of its Human Rights Commission with the rank of a minister according to a royal decree, the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported on Thursday.

Prior to her appointment, al-Tuwaijri was the secretary general of the Family Affairs Council.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Turkish security forces ‘neutralize’ 3 PKK/YPG terrorists in northern Syria

Merve Berker  


Turkish security forces “neutralized” three PKK/YPG terrorists in northern Syria, the National Defense Ministry said on Thursday.

The terrorists, who opened harassing fire on Turkish soldiers, were targeted in the Operation Euphrates Shield zone, the ministry said in a statement.

Turkish authorities use the term “neutralize” to imply the terrorists in question surrendered or were killed or captured.

Since 2016, Ankara has launched a trio of successful anti-terror operations across its border in northern Syria to prevent the formation of a terror corridor and enable the peaceful settlement of residents: Euphrates Shield (2016), Olive Branch (2018), and Peace Spring (2019).

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Southeast Asia


Indonesian minister sticks to his guns on church permit

September 22, 2022

Indonesia's minister of religion affairs remains defiant after a Muslim group sued him for calling a city in Banten province intolerant for not allowing the construction of a church.

Minister Yaqut Cholil Qoumas said he felt no guilt about his recent statement related to the denial of a building permit to the Batak Society Christian Church (HKBP) Maranatha for constructing a church at Geram village in Cilegon city.

“What article [did I violate]? If I forbid people [to build houses of worship], it will become a problem,” he told reporters on Sept. 21.

Al-Khairiya, a Muslim organization based in Cilegon filed a lawsuit on Sept. 16 against the minister, who is a member of Nahdlatul Ulama, Indonesia's largest moderate Islamic organization.

Ahmad Munji, general secretary of Al-Khairiya said the lawsuit was filed in response to Quomas' statement on a widely-circulated video “in which he called Cilegon city as intolerant because of refusing permission to the HKBP Maranatha church.”

The group also sued the church’s leaders and its construction committee for its public outbursts that made headlines on Sept. 7.

A Muslim group calling themselves the Committee of Local Wisdom Savior staged a protest against the church in Cilegon city.

The church was founded in 1999 and has 3,903 members who usually go to another church located about 40 kilometers away from the village for Sunday services.

Reverend Hotman T.M. Marbun from the church said the concerned authorities had refused to give approval despite the church building committee abiding by a 2006 joint ministerial decree that regulates the places of worship.

The case prompted Quomas to summon the mayor and his deputy and ask them not to discuss the issue.

Petrus Selestinus, a Catholic and chairman of a lawyers' group set up to defend the state secular ideology of Pancasila hopes that Minister Quomas will continue to stand above the constitution in dealing with this issue.

"Don't let the tyranny of minorities rule this nation. I think it's time for the rules that discriminate to be abolished if we really are a Pancasila state," he told UCA News.

In Cilegon city there are no other houses of worship as the local people used the Serang district head’s 1975 decree providing for the closure of Christian places of worship in the area as an excuse.

According to the city’s Central Statistics Agency, there are 382 mosques and 287 other Muslim prayer rooms in the city and no houses of worship for other religions, although there are thousands of people of other religions, including 6,740 Christians, and 1,743 Catholics.

Source: UCA News

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Former mosque executive chairman charged for accepting bribe in the form of shares

Koh Wan Ting

23 Sep 2022

SINGAPORE: A former executive chairman in the management boards of two mosques was charged on Friday (Sep 23) with accepting bribes in exchange for providing advice on the price of quotes for works at the mosques.

Abdul Rahim Mawasi, 55, was the mosque executive chairman of the mosque management boards of Darul Aman Mosque at Jalan Eunos and Sallim Mattar Mosque at the MacPherson area at the time of the alleged offences around November 2019, his charge sheet states. 

The Singaporean allegedly obtained gratification in the form of shares belonging to travel firm, Amal Travel & Tour, from Mohd Mustaqim Kam @ Kam Hock Beng, the director of Zeal-Con Engineering, a construction-related firm.

The shares were allegedly a reward to Abdul Rahim for providing advice to Mustaqim on the price of Zeal-Con's quotes to the two mosques for works to be carried out.

Likewise, Mustaqim, a 64-year-old Singaporean, was also charged on Friday with one count of giving the bribe to Abdul Rahim.

Each man was handed one count of corruption under the Prevention of Corruption Act. They will return to court for a pre-trial conference on Oct 21.

Source: Channel News Asia

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Former Cabinet minister speaks about what it takes to create a M’sia for all Malaysians

Elly Fazaniza

23-09- 2022

KUALA LUMPUR: Many Malaysians will remember Tan Sri Leo Moggie Irok as one of the longest-serving federal Cabinet ministers. His almost three decade Cabinet career began as the first Energy, Telecommunications and Posts minister in 1978, under third prime minister Tun Hussein Onn.

He was also the secretary-general of the Sarawak National Party.

“I’ve never aimed nor dreamt of being a politician. I never thought much of ambition, and only wanted to live an honest and productive life,” he told theSun during an interview at his favourite restaurant in Bangsar.

Among historians, he was known as a rising star after his appointment to the Sarawak Cabinet as minister for Local Government in 1976. He still keeps abreast with the social happenings and developments in his hometown in Kanowit.

He said even after 59 years since the formation of Malaysia, there is still a need to increase understanding of the cultural ties between the different communities in Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia.

He cited the issue of religious practices in Sarawak and Sabah.

“The people practise whatever religion they believe in. They may be Muslims, Christians, Buddhists or practise traditional beliefs. Freedom of religion is well-recognised and practised there.

“From the perspective of Sarawakians, we sometimes feel that a greater appreciation of our multireligious society is necessary. We get the impression that in the peninsula, Islam is given greater importance over other beliefs, but the fact is that people should respect and appreciate our differences in terms of religion, culture and opinions.

“While there is nothing wrong with speaking about one’s religion, one must not belittle other religions in the process,” he added.

“There was less emphasis on religion during my time in the Cabinet. One of the main concerns for people like me is the increasing Arabisation of Malaysian society. I use this phrase in a considered way because I don’t think, from the Sarawakian perspective, it was meant to be like this.

“Malaysia was meant to be multiracial and diverse in its richness. Now, one senses the increasing pressure of religious fervour and moral policing which, to those like me, can only be described as ‘uncomfortable’.”

Leo advocates a review of the education system, which he says needs to present a more balanced view of the different cultures in Malaysia.

“It’s important to have an overall review of how our school system is operating. The issue of multiculturalism is increasingly more difficult to manage.”

He added that among comments made by politicians and leaders in Sarawak and Sabah was a call for more autonomy.

“(This means) allowing them to have a greater say in managing their states. This is a reaction to the over-dominance of a particular school of thought, where one religion and even racism seems to be increasing in Peninsular Malaysia,” he said, adding that it is time for the two states to be given more authority over their affairs.

Leo lauded the fact that Sarawak has made moves to allow English to be used as an official language in schools and among civil servants.

“It’s an excellent move that will make Sarawakians more competitive internationally. Sarawakians should be able to decide what is in their best interest,” he said, adding that Sabah and Sarawak are equal partners with the peninsular and not mere states in the Federation.

“When people in Sabah and Sarawak talk of MA63, part of it is a call to recognise what was provided for within the agreement, as some provisions may have been overtaken by changes through amendments to various laws since 1963. People are concerned over this.”

In conjunction with Malaysia Day, Leo called for more open discussions to define national unity and a Malaysia that includes the cultures, traditions and beliefs of all Malaysians.

Source: The Sun Daily

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Don’t compare Najib’s prison treatment with mine, says Anwar

'Ainin Wan Salleh

September 22, 2022

PETALING JAYA: Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim has rubbished claims that he was given VIP treatment in prison and cautioned critics against comparing his incarceration with that of former prime minister Najib Razak.

He said Najib’s supporters had claimed that Najib was entitled to be transferred to the Cheras Rehabilitation Hospital (HRC) because Anwar was given the same treatment while serving his sentence.

Anwar said he was only sent to a rehabilitation centre after serving more than 10 years in solitary confinement and that too on the advice of medical specialists after he had a major shoulder surgery.

“So, don’t ever compare (Najib’s experience) to Anwar’s experience. If he wants to be treated the same way, then he must serve 10 years first, then be brought to the rehabilitation centre,” he said at a press conference at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand (FCCT) in Bangkok.

Anwar also said when he was jailed, he had to sleep on the cement floor for weeks before doctors advised that he should be given a bed due to his back condition.

The PKR president, however, said if the doctors could explain Najib’s condition and that he was truly unwell, then he would not make an issue out of Najib’s transfer to the rehabilitation hospital.

Anwar was sentenced to six years in prison for corruption in April 1999, and another nine years in August 2000 for sodomy. He later served three years jail time for sodomy before receiving a royal pardon in 2018.

Yesterday, the prisons department said Najib had been transferred to HRC on Sept 19 for treatment and observation.

It said Najib was transferred to HRC after being referred by the Kuala Lumpur Hospital (HKL), and that he would be sent back to Kajang prison to continue serving his sentence after getting clearance from the specialists at HRC or HKL.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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We’ve been vindicated – Islamic group hails Soludo over ban on mini-skirts

September 22, 2022

By Don Silas

Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has hailed Governor Charles Soludo of Anambra State over a ban on the use of mini-skirts by school girls in public and private schools.

DAILY POST reports that as schools resumed last Tuesday, the Anambra State government said it has banned the wearing of short skirts by female students in schools.

The State commissioner for education, Prof. Ngozi Chuma-Udeh said the ban was for both public and private schools in the State.

Reacting to the development, MURIC argued that the ban is in consonance with the clamour for hijab by Muslim groups in Nigeria.

This was contained in a statement issued by the director of the human rights group, Professor Ishaq Akintola, on Thursday.

The statement reads: “The governor of Anambra State, Dr. Charles Soludo announced a ban on the use of miniskirts by school girls in public and private schools on Monday, 19th September 2022. We fully endorse this gesture. It is forward-looking, dynamic and patriotic.

“This is one of the ways of knowing genuine statesmen as opposed to ordinary politicians whose eyes are only on the next election. Statesmen think of the nation, whereas politicians think of the next election. Charles Soludo has elected the former and acted in the interest of the girl-child, morality and discipline.

“This is worthy of emulation by other state governors. There is no gainsaying the fact that the present school uniforms are inviting and provocative. They constitute a danger to school girls. We must protect the innocent girl-child from the prying eyes of sexually pervasive men.

“The problem with our society and many parts of the world today is the contradictions in our lives. In one fell swoop, we claim that we detest rape, yet we encourage indecent dressing in the form of body hugs, front and back cleavages and hot pants. Women now dress to kill, yet we expect the victims to just die without lifting a finger. How realistic is this?

“The world is still battling HIV and AIDS, yet we encourage the use of short and seductive skirts by school girls. Cleaners who work in school environments now pick more condoms on school premises than on pieces of paper, and we think we are doing the right thing.

“This is where the beauty of Islam lies. It has identified a major societal problem and recommended an effective solution for it. Islamic organisations in Nigeria who have been canvassing for the use of hijab in schools have been vindicated by Soludo’s eagle-eyed leadership. Soludo may not have been Nostradamus, the man who saw tomorrow, but he is sharp enough to see where the danger lies and bold enough to make a pronouncement on it. That is proactive leadership.

“Those who are still asking why Muslims are affirmative on the hijab question should ask Soludo what he saw in Anambra girls wearing short skirts to school. We have been vindicated.

Source: Daily Post Nigeria

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Ivory Coast’s president calls for release of 46 troops detained in Mali in UN speech

James Tasamba 


KIGALI, Rwanda

Ivory Coast’s president called Wednesday for the “immediate” release of 46 troops from his country who were arrested in Mali in July while addressing the UN General Assembly in New York City.

The soldiers were “unjustly arrested” as they are part of Ivory Coast’s logistical contingent to support its troops deployed under the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), said Alassane Ouattara.

“My country encourages the Malian authorities to focus their efforts on the fight against terrorism,” he added.

On July 10, Mali's transitional government arrested 49 Ivorian soldiers upon their arrival in the capital Bamako, accusing them of possessing weapons and ammunition of war “without a mission order” and considering them “mercenaries” to be prosecuted.

The military junta released three female soldiers in the group.

Last weekend, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the 46 soldiers are not mercenaries.

In July, the government said no Ivorian soldiers in the contingent were in possession of weapons and ammunition of war as alleged by the Malian authorities.

Mali’s junta leader Col. Assimi Goita has indicated that freeing the remaining troops would be tied to the extradition of Malians being sought on international warrants in Ivory Coast, a condition dismissed by Abidjan as “unacceptable blackmail.”

An extraordinary session of leaders of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is due Thursday in New York to discuss the crisis among other issues on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

Ouattara, however, reiterated Ivory Coast’s support for UN peacekeeping operations.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Floods sweep away 1,500 corpses from cemetery in northern Nigeria

Ibrahim Garba Shuaibu  


KANO, Nigeria

Around 1,500 corpses have been swept away by floods from a cemetery in northern Nigeria, an official said Wednesday.

The governor of Niger state, Abubakar Sani Bello, confirmed the news, saying a nearby river was littered with corpses.

The floods followed days of rains in the area and other neighborhoods and affected the 60-year-old cemetery in the town of Mariga.

According to Bello, the incident occurred as a result of the River Mariga overflowing its banks and washing away some of the graves in the area.

Bello confirmed that the cemetery is located near a river and that the activities of illegal miners exposed it to this disaster.

He said rescue workers have been deployed in the town to recover the bodies and rebury them at safer locations.

"It's true there was flooding that washed away some parts of the cemetery, and part of the area is also used by illegal miners for digging pits which contributed to the washing away of the graves,” he added.

Aliyu Muhammad, a resident of Mariga, told Anadolu Agency by phone that they recovered over 650 corpses and reburied them.

"It’s a terrible situation here in Mariga, but the bodies of (some of) the dead have been recovered and we were able to relocate them to a safer graveyard.

"The situation affected almost 2,000 graves in this community, and most of those washed away were buried in the last three to four months," he added.

The Director General of the State Emergency Management Agency, Ahmed Inga Ibrahim, confirmed that the decomposed bodies have been reclothed and buried.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Jordan’s Royal Marine Conservation Society launches ‘Clean up the World 2022’ campaign

September 22, 2022

AQABA: The Royal Marine Conservation Society of Jordan launched the “Clean up the World 2022” campaign in Aqaba on Wednesday, Petra News Agency reported.

The campaign is a social action program aimed at combating the global solid waste problem. Running in 130 countries it offers opportunities for people to contribute toward the conservation of the environment.

Its debut in Jordan attracted more than 700 volunteers from local businesses and institutions.

During the opening ceremony, Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority Chief Commissioner Nayef Bakheet said the campaign’s main objective was to foster a culture of environmental cleanliness, particularly in the marine environment, which attracts tens of thousands of tourists and diving enthusiasts to the Red Sea city.

Aqaba Governor Khaled Hajjaj said the campaign served to raise community awareness about reducing plastic waste that ends up in the sea.

“Organizing such initiatives is critical to having sustainable and pollution-free environmental resources in order to preserve tourist and archaeological sites, as well as marine natural heritage,” Mohammad Tawaha, director of the conservation society, said.

Source: Arab News

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South Asia


US announces more than $241m in humanitarian aid for Rohingya Muslims

September 23, 2022

WASHINGTON - The United States on Thursday announced more than US$170 million (S$241 million) in additional humanitarian assistance for Myanmar's Rohingya Muslims, including those outside the country such as in Bangladesh, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said.

"With this new funding, our total assistance in response to the Rohingya Refugee Crisis has reached nearly US$1.9 billion since August 2017, when over 740,000 Rohingya were forced to flee to safety in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh," Mr Blinken said in a statement.

The assistance comes about a month after the United Nations refugee agency said the funding to help Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh was "well short of needs".

More than a million Rohingya are living in squalid camps in southern Bangladesh comprising the world's largest refugee settlement, with little prospect of returning to Myanmar, where they are mostly denied citizenship and other rights.

The new round of US humanitarian assistance includes more than US$93 million through the State Department and more than US$77 million through the US Agency for International Development, Mr Blinken said.

About US$138 million was allocated specifically for programmes in Bangladesh, Mr Blinken said, adding that the US was working with the government of Bangladesh and with Rohingya Muslims towards finding solutions to the crisis.

The vast majority of Rohingya Muslims fled Mynamar to neighbouring Bangladesh during a military crackdown in 2017 that the UN has said that it was carried out with genocidal intent.

In his statement on Thursday, Mr Blinken said many of the Rohinya refugees were "survivors of a campaign of genocide and crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing".

Source: Straits Times

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Pushback against Afghan refugees continues as Iran deports over 7,000 migrants in past week

Sep 23, 2022

KABUL: As Afghanistan continue to remain under the grip of a humanitarian crisis, more than 7,000 Afghan refugees have been deported by Iran in the past week, the Taliban-led Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation said on Thursday.

Earlier, Iran's Ambassador to Kabul, Bahadur Aminian, said that around 3,000 Afghans per day are entering Iran illegally and the same amount is travelling to Iran with visas and legal documents.

"Most of those who go to Iran through illegal means face the risks of human trafficking and a lack of services," Aminian said.

According to Khaama Press, before the Taliban took control of Afghanistan, around 3.4 million refugees were living in Iran, of which roughly 2 million lacked the proper documentation to do so, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

For the past five years, Afghanistan's situation has been a peculiar one in the region with a steady increase of forcibly displaced people every year. Last year, Afghanistan's situation deteriorated dramatically with a 12 per cent increase of forcibly displaced persons by the end of the year compared to end-2020.

In Afghanistan, the number of internally displaced persons has been increasing rapidly in the past 5 years. Globally, Afghanistan remains the 6th largest IDP country and the largest IDP population in Asia and the Pacific region at 3.5 million -- a 20 per cent increase compared to the previous year.

By the end of 2021, there were 7,77,000 newly displaced Afghans during the year due to the deterioration in conflict and insecurity in Afghanistan. 58 per cent of the IDP population in Afghanistan are children under 18 and 21 per cent are women.

The UNHCR report has argued that durable solutions for Afghans include voluntary repatriation, resettlement to a third country, local integration, naturalization and return to the place of origin prior to displacement.

Source: Times Of India

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Backbreaking work for kids in Afghan brick kilns

Sep 22, 2022

KABUL: Nabila works 10 hours or more a day, doing the heavy, dirty labor of packing mud into molds and hauling wheelbarrows full of bricks. At 12 years old, she's been working in brick factories half her life now, and she's probably the oldest of all her co-workers.

Already high, the number of children put to work in Afghanistan is growing, fueled by the collapse of the economy after the Taliban took over the country and the world cut off financial aid just over a year ago.

A recent survey by Save the Children estimated that half of Afghanistan's families have put children to work to keep food on the table as livelihoods crumbled.

Nowhere is it clearer than in the many brick factories on the highway north out of the capital, Kabul. Conditions in the furnaces are tough even for adults. But in almost all of them, children as young as four or five labor alongside their families from early in the morning until dark in the heat of summer.

Children do every step of the brickmaking process. They haul cannisters of water, carry the wooden brick molds full of mud to put in the sun to dry. They load and push wheelbarrows full of dried bricks to the kiln for firing, then push back wheelbarrows full of fired bricks. Everywhere they are lifting, stacking, sorting bricks. They pick through the smoldering charcoal that's been burned in the kiln for pieces that can still be used, inhaling the soot and singeing their fingers.

The kids work with a determination and a grim sense of responsibility beyond their years, born out of knowing little else but their families' need. When asked about toys or play, they smile and shrug. Only a few have been to school.

Nabila, the 12-year-old, has been working in brick factories since she was five or six. Like many other brick workers, her family works part of the year at a kiln near Kabul, the other part at one outside Jalalabad, near the Pakistani border.

A few years ago, she got to go to school a little in Jalalabad. She'd like to go back to school but can't - her family needs her work to survive, she said with a soft smile.

"We can't think about anything else but work," she said.

Mohabbat, a 9-year-old boy, stopped for a moment with a pained expression as he carried a load of charcoal. "My back hurts," he said.

Asked what he wished for, he first asked, "What is a wish?"

Once it was explained, he was quiet a moment, thinking. "I wish to go to school and eat good food," he said, then added: "I wish to work well so that we can have a house."

The landscape around the factories is bleak and barren, with the kilns' smokestacks pumping out black, sooty smoke. Families live in dilapidated mud houses next to furnaces, each with a corner where they make their bricks. For most, a day's meal is bread soaked in tea.

Rahim has three children working with him at a brick kiln, ranging in age from 5 to 12. The kids had been in school, and Rahim, who goes by one name, said he had long resisted putting them to work. But even before the Taliban came to power, as the war went on and the economy worsened, he said he had no choice.

"There's no other way," he said. "How can they study when we don't have bread to eat? Survival is more important."

Workers get the equivalent of $4 for every 1,000 bricks they make. One adult working alone can't do that amount in a day, but if the children help, they can make 1,500 bricks a day, workers said.

According to surveys by Save the Children, the percentage of families saying they had a child working outside the home grew from 18% to 22% from December to June. That would suggest more than 1 million children nationwide were working. Another 22% of the children said they were asked to work on the family business or farm.

The surveys covered more than 1,400 children and more than 1,400 caregivers in seven provinces. They also pointed to the swift collapse in Afghans' livelihoods. In June, 77% of the surveyed families reported they had lost half their income or more compared to a year ago, up from 61% in December.

On one recent day at one of the kilns, a light rain started, and at first the kids were cheerful, thinking it would be a refreshing drizzle in the heat. Then the wind kicked up. A blast of dust hit them, coating their faces. The air turned yellow with dust. Some of the children couldn't open their eyes, but they kept working. The rain opened up into a downpour.

Source: Times Of India

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US Launches Alliance For Afghan Women’s Economic Resilience To Empower Afghan Women

By Arif Ahmadi

22 Sep 2022

KABUL, Afghanistan – The US Secretary of State Antony Blinken launched the alliance for Afghan Women’s Economic Resilience (AWER) on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, said the US Department of State in a press release Tuesday.

Earlier this week, the UN General Assembly was attended by Afghan women entrepreneurs, business leaders and civil society members, as well as representatives of the US and other foreign governments, including US special envoy for Afghanistan Thomas West and US special envoy for Afghanistan Women and Human Rights Rina Amiri.

The alliance aims to empower Afghan women’s in various areas – including entrepreneurship, employment, and educational opportunities – in Afghanistan and the third countries.

“AWER is a new public-private partnership between the Department of State and Boston University that aims to catalyze business, philanthropic, and civil society commitments to advance Afghan women’s entrepreneurship, employment, and educational opportunities in Afghanistan and third countries,” the press release wrote.

This came at a time thousands of Afghan women are being deprived of their basic rights, including rights to education, employment in government sectors, and freedom of free will since the beginning of the Taliban takeover in August last year.

“Now I don’t want to sugarcoat it (the alliance),” Blinken said at the event. “This is going to be hard, given the severe restraint imposed by the Taliban. But we are determined to safely deliver this support to women in Afghanistan.”

Secretary Blinken highlighted AWER’s first initiative, the Million Women Mentors Initiative for Afghan Women and Girls (MWMA), which aims to accelerate private sector and civil society commitments to mentor one million women and girls over the next five years.

“He noted Deloitte’s commitment to work with the Alliance’s first member Pod in mentoring 2,000 Afghan women under MWMA as an example of how AWER aims to foster economic opportunity for Afghan women and girls,” according to the release.

This announcement follows $1.5 million in additional Department of State funding for this effort, including funds from the Gender Equity and Equality Action Fund that supports the economic security of women and girls globally, to advance Afghan women’s access to business incubation and partnership with the private sector.

Source: Khaama Press

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Thousands of Afghan Refugees Forcibly Deported from Iran

By Saqalain Eqbal

22 Sep 2022

The Taliban Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation said that more than 7,000 Afghan refugees had been forcibly deported from Iran over the past week.

Calling for more aid, the Foreign Minister of Iran in a conversation with his New Zealand counterpart previously stated that the number of Afghan refugees in Iran totals 4.5 million.

The Iranian ambassador in Kabul, the Afghan capital also stated that as many as 6,000 Afghans enter Iran through the borders.

Before the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan, 3.4 million refugees were living in Iran, of which roughly 2 million lacked the proper documentation to do so, according to information provided by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

International organizations have also reported that since the Taliban took control of Afghanistan, both the number of people migrating to Iran and the number of people being forcibly deported from Iran have rocketed.

According to a Wall Street Journal article, the Iranian government deports between 2,500 and 4,000 Afghans per day, totaling millions of Afghans this year.

Approximately 500,000 Afghans were trafficked into Iran between August 2021, when the Taliban retook control of the country, and December 5 of that same year, according to UN statistics.

About 360,000 of them were forcibly expelled, facing mistreatment by the Iranian authorities, while 126,000 of them returned home as voluntarily.

Source: Khaama Press

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China calls on US to 'end theft of Syria’s national resources'

22 September 202

China has called on the United States to stop plundering Syria’s national resources and respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Arab country.

“We call on the United States to respect Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, unilaterally lift sanctions, and end the theft of Syria’s national resources,” China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a news briefing.

Wang said “this is not the first time that the United States military has stolen oil from Syria and they seem to be becoming more and more uncontrollable.”

The Chinese spokesman also said the US government has a duty to investigate robberies committed by intervening military forces, as well as to compensate for the damages caused.

The Syrian Oil Ministry said recently that the United States and its proxy militant groups pillaged over 80 percent of Syria’s daily crude production in the first half of 2022. According to the ministry’s data, the Syrian oil sector has lost “about 105 billion dollars since the beginning of the conflict until the middle of this year” as a result of the US oil theft campaign.

In August, a leading Chinese newspaper censured the continued plundering of the Syrian oil by the US occupation forces across the Arab country, saying that the looting is a “disgrace and a shame to Washington.”

China Daily made the assertion in an article published on August 13, following reports that a convoy consisting of more than 100 US military tankers had carried thousands of liters of crude oil from the northeastern Syrian province of Hasakah to the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region in northern Iraq.

The US military has stationed forces and equipment in northeastern Syria, with the Pentagon claiming that the deployment is aimed at preventing the oilfields in the area from falling into the hands of Daesh Takfiri terrorists. Damascus, however, maintains the deployment is meant to plunder the country's rich mineral resources.

Former US President Donald Trump admitted on more than one occasion that American forces were in the Arab country for its oil.

In infamous comments made in 2019, Trump said, “We’re keeping [Syria’s] oil. We have the oil. The oil is secure. We left troops behind only for the oil.”

Several countries, including Russia and China, have condemned US actions in plundering the Syrian resources and have called on Washington to stop its continued looting of the war-torn country’s natural resources.

Source: Press TV

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