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Islamic World News ( 6 Jul 2022, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Christian Mechanic in Pakistan Gets Death for ‘Blasphemy’; He Said ‘Jesus Is Supreme’

New Age Islam News Bureau

06 July 2022


Handcuffed and chained, Masih, who was sentenced to death by a Lahore court. | @Twitter


• Ajmer Dargah Cleric, Salman Chisti, Arrested For Call to 'Behead' Nupur Sharma for Her Remark against Prophet Mohammad

• Arab Hip-Hop Culture Takes Centre Stage at BeatRoots, Inspired By New York-Style Block Parties, In Riyadh

• Racial Profiling: More than Half of 'Suspicious Activity Reports' Targeted Arabs and Muslims in Chicago

• Muhammad Tops Boys’ Name Rankings in UK


• Muslims Participate With Gusto in Inclusive Festival of Durga Puja in Kolkata

• Muslim Religious Leader Hailing From Afghanistan Killed In Maharashtra's Nashik: Report

• Hindutva Leaders Call for ‘Economic Boycott’ Of Muslims at Haryana Panchayat

• Assam recognises native status of 40L Assamese-speaking Muslims

• BJP Leader Gets FIR Lodged Against Muslim Cleric for Derogatory Remarks Made Around Christmas Of 2021

• Madras High Court Permits Tiruppur Mosque to Function Until Disposal Of Appeal By Housing Secretary

• Court slams UP cops for 'faulty probe', frees 8 in anti-Nupur stir case

• Will we be hanged or sent to life imprisonment? Udaipur killers ask

• Kanhaiya Lal murder: NIA questions Bihar man in Hyderabad



• Eight Pak Soldiers Injured In Suicide Attack in Restive North Waziristan: Police

• Pakistan: Shehbaz Sharif’s coalition partners voice concern over ISI’s special powers

• Parliamentary body to keep eye on talks with TTP

• Imran irked by courts turning ‘blind eye’ to PTI workers’ harassment


Arab World

• Grand Mufti’s Meeting With Ismail Haniyeh, Head of Hamas’ Political Bureau to Discourage Hamas from Normalizing with Regime

• Thousands of Maskless Muslim Pilgrims Kick Start Largest Haj of Covid Era in Saudi Arabia


North America

• US says own experts examined Israeli bullet that killed Shireen Abu Akleh

• Turkish, Greek Cypriots should benefit natural resources in, around Cyprus: UN

• US Senator says will do all in his power to support sale of F-16s to Türkiye



• France’s Macron Urges New Israel PM To Make Historical Peace with Palestinians

• France Repatriates 16 Mothers, 35 Children Born In Daesh/ISIS Camps In Syria

• Belgium-Iran treaty that could free Iranian ‘terrorist diplomat’ draws criticism

• Belgian man held in Iran for four months for ‘espionage:’ Brussels

• Sweden's top diplomat slams local party for promoting PKK terror group

• British Chancellor Sunak, Health Secretary Javid resign


South Asia

• Dire Situation of Shiite Muslims in Balkhab after Taliban Attack

• Islamic Emirate Policies Keeping 'Sanctions in Place': Rina Amiri, US Special Envoy

• Turkish Security Forces’ Fire at a Vehicle Kills an Afghan Child

• Taliban dig-up their founder Mullah Omar’s vehicle buried 21 years ago


Southeast Asia

• Zahid's Corruption Trial: Judge to Visit Two Country Heights 'Bungalows' Allegedly Converted For Islamic Studies

• Indonesian vice president visits the Prophet's Mosque



• Hajj Pilgrims Attend Mecca Conference on Palestine, Islamic Ummah’s Duties

• Iran can make a nuclear bomb within ‘matter of weeks,’ US envoy Malley warns

• Revival of Saudi-Turkey ties, strategic need of Bin Salman, Erdogan

• President: No Place for Nukes in Iran’s Defence Doctrine

• Palestinian president and Hamas chief hold rare meeting

• Palestinian killed during Israeli raid in West Bank



• Sudan Civilians Reject Army’s ‘Tactical Retreat,’ Urge More Protests

• Ethiopia’s PM says he has agreed with Sudanese leader to settle dispute

• Tunisian judge freezes bank accounts of former parliament speaker, ex-PM

• Morocco puts migrants on trial after Melilla tragedy

• Sudan’s army won’t take part in political talks, leader says

• Tunisian president calls for 'yes' vote on new draft constitution

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau



Christian Mechanic in Pakistan Gets Death for ‘Blasphemy’; He Said ‘Jesus Is Supreme’


Handcuffed and chained, Masih, who was sentenced to death by a Lahore court. | @Twitter


Revathi Krishnan

5 July, 2022

New Delhi: More than five years after his arrest, a Christian mechanic booked on the charges of blasphemy was sentenced to death by a Lahore court Monday. Masih has been in jail since 2017 and his case riddled with adjournments. The accused, who has a wife and a daughter, also lost his mother in 2019 while he was behind the bars.

According to reports, in June 2017, Masih got into a dispute with a Muslim customer in Lahore after he repaired the latter’s bike. When Masih asked for payment, the customer did not pay the entire amount and asked for a waiver on grounds that he was a religious devotee. Masih refused the request, saying he believed in Christ. The issue of money led to a heated argument and a crowd gathered, accusing Masih of “disrespecting” the Prophet Muhammad. The mechanic had allegedly said that for Christians, Jesus was supreme. This was enough for his arrest.

Since 2019, the case has witnessed multiple adjournments, rescheduling, judge not showing up, witness failing to turn up and even the complainant’s lawyer not registering their presence.

In 2019, Masih was released on parole to attend his mother’s funeral. After he was arrested, it has been reported that the family fled from Lahore in fear.

On multiple occasions, in different court appearances, Masih can be seen chained and in handcuffs.

This is not the first time a judge in Pakistan has sentenced someone to death under the blasphemy law. In September 2021, a local Lahore court sentenced a school principal to death. The charge against the principal was that she had claimed to be the ‘Prophet of Islam’ in pamphlets she distributed and denied the finality of Prophethood.

In yet another incident in January this year, a 26-year-old woman was sentenced to death for posting ‘blasphemous material’ as her WhatsApp status. She had sent caricatures of Prophet Muhammed.

Pakistan inherited the blasphemy laws after Partition in 1947. However, during General Zia-ul Haq’s regime between 1980 to 1986, a number of clauses were introduced that included a provision to punish blasphemy against Prophet Muhammed and the penalty for this was “death, or imprisonment for life”. It has been used in these cases of death sentences.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has said that Muslims constitute the majority of people booked under the blasphemy laws, followed by the Ahmadi community. According to data by the National Commission for Justice and Peace, 776 Muslims, 505 Ahmadis, 229 Christians and 30 Hindus have been booked under the blasphemy law from 1987 to 2018.

Source: The Print

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Ajmer Dargah Cleric, Salman Chisti, Arrested For Call to 'Behead' Nupur Sharma for Her Remark against Prophet Mohammad


Ajmer Dargah video: The video was shot before June 28 but was released later. (File)



A cleric of the Ajmer Dargah, who on camera allegedly offered his house to anyone who beheads now-suspended BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma for her controversial remark against Prophet Mohammad, has been arrested, police said on Wednesday.

The Ajmer police had registered an FIR against 'Khadir' Salman Chisti on Monday night.

"Salman Chisti was caught last night (Tuesday)... He is a history-sheeter at the Dargah police station," an official said.

In the video, the cleric is purportedly seen and heard announcing he would gift his house to anyone who brings Sharma's head to him. Chishti is also allegedly heard saying he would shoot her dead for insulting the Prophet.

"You have to give a reply to all Muslim countries. I am saying this from Ajmer, Rajasthan, and this message is from Huzur Khwaja Baba ka darbar," he purportedly says in the video, referring to the Sufi shrine that sees many Hindu visitors, apart from Muslim devotees.

Last week, four people were arrested in connection with another provocative speech allegedly delivered at the main gate of the Ajmer dargah on June 17.

Though that video was in circulation earlier, the arrests were made following the killing of an Udaipur-based tailor Kanhaiya Lal by two men, who said they were avenging an insult to Islam.

The two men were, however, caught by the police when they were fleeing on a motorcycle in Rajsamand. In all, five people have been arrested in connection with the murder case, which is being handled by the National Investigation Agency.

Source: Telegraph India

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Arab Hip-Hop Culture Takes Centre Stage at BeatRoots, Inspired By New York-Style Block Parties, In Riyadh


Photo: Arab News


Nada Alturki

July 06, 2022

RIYADH: The Saudi hip-hop music scene was in the spotlight at the weekend when local talent took to the stage in Riyadh at BeatRoots, a special music event that took place on Friday at AlMashtal Creative Space, in collaboration with Bahraini record label Museland.

The event, inspired by New York-style block parties, featured live performances by six Saudi and Bahraini artists, plus graffiti artists, b-boy dancing, and a market selling sneakers, street fashion and vinyl records.

AlMashtal, a creative incubator, regularly hosts collaborations with creators of various kinds, including musicians, visual artists and fashion designers. Its goal is to provide a platform to help creative talents to develop their crafts, grow and showcase their work.

“We really like to focus on these local talents, these up-and-coming artists that need a space to express themselves, to have their own audience, a chance to showcase themselves in front of an intimate audience; the right type of audience, the right type of space,” Elham Ghanimah, AlMashtal’s creative labs curator, told Arab News.

The night began with a mellow performance by Bahraini musician and graffiti artist Du$t. His music is inspired by diverse elements such as B-boy dancing, graffiti and surrealist art. He explained that it is important for his craft that he thinks outside of the box when creating his music, and said that he is pleased to see his style of music building a following in Saudi Arabia.

“It’s amazing to see it growing here as well,” he told Arab News. “In Bahrain (we’ve done) the same event there, so to bring it here and to see that everyone is involved brings a nice feeling.”

BeatRoots is a creative experience developed by Museland’s founder, Ali Al-Saeed. It is already a regular event in Bahrain and now the label is expanding to other parts of the region.

“Everyone’s happy; the energy is really good, everything is positive, the crowd is really enjoying it,” Ghanimah said. “I think at the end, that’s really what matters.”

Many people assume the hip-hop scene is relatively new to Saudi Arabia but its origins can be traced back at least as far as the early 2000s, with interest in the genre fueled by the growth of the internet.

“In general, everyone focuses on hip-hop in English … It’s OK to get inspiration from the West but it’s also good to see what you have here, to connect with your own culture, with your roots,” Ghanimah said.

Hip-hop artist and rapper Dattune told Arab News: “We already had a hip-hop culture (in the Kingdom) but we didn’t have enough spaces to either perform or connect with each other. That’s what I love about these kinds of events. I’ve met a lot of people that I wouldn’t have met if we didn’t have these spaces. The talent is already there; all we need is a chance to perform.”

In addition to Dattune and Du$t, the BeatRoots lineup included Fizzy, Septemba, Str8tup Rkls, and hip-hop artist, rapper, and crowd-favorite Albakri, who gave a hardcore yet heartfelt performance that included two as-yet-unreleased songs.

Albakri said his inspiration comes from looking inward, citing his culture and personal identity as huge influences on his work.

“I’m a guy of mixed identity: I’m Jordanian, I’m Palestinian and I’m Saudi. I’m all of these. So it’s just about how I can connect with those three cultures,” he told Arab News.

When it comes to his unique sound, he said his main inspirations come from around Riyadh, in particular his producers Leo, Mufasa and Dice, as well as DJs and friends such as Bucky Grooves, Vinylmode and Baloo. The rapper said he hopes to establish his own record label one day.

“I’m very happy that someone from Bahrain looked into (Riyadh) and was digging for artists … Seeing people open up to the genre, seeing collaborations between the hip-hop genre, the dance/house/minimal genre … and having a space, being a collective — all of that matters to the genre and the music in general,” he said.

AlMashtal’s stated aim with cultural events such as BeatRoots is to open the doors for discussions, cultural and artistic exchanges, and the promotion of creative ventures across the Arab region.

“We wanna do more collaborations just to put everything forward in a positive way,” Ghanimah said.

“Not everyone gets a chance and if people do get a chance, not everyone gets the right chance and the right type of support.

“So, you’re getting to showcase yourself not just at any space but at a creative incubator where the whole goal is to nurture these creatives and help them reach their goals.”

Source: Arab News

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Racial Profiling: More than Half of 'Suspicious Activity Reports' Targeted Arabs and Muslims in Chicago


Muslim women protest against US President Donald Trump in Chicago, Illinois, on 19 February 2017 (AFP)


5 July 2022

The Arab community is demanding an end to racial profiling after it was revealed that over 50 percent of "suspects" reported to the police, primarily for doing mundane things like texting or taking photos, were described as people of Arab descent in Chicago.

A few years ago, members of the Arab American Action Network (AAAN) started talking with members of the Chicago community about their experiences with law enforcement in the suburbs and in the city of Chicago. They began to collect stories and found that everyone had one to share: the mother of Muhammad Sankari, the lead organizer at AAAN, had been harassed. Sankari’s father's store was visited by law enforcement. And the stories went on.

So, AAAN obtained 235 “Suspicious Activity Reports” (SARs) through the Freedom of Information Act. The reports were made between 2016 and 2020 by the Chicago Police Department and Illinois State Police.

SARs are the documents produced by, “If You See Something, Say Something” - a campaign by the Department of Homeland Security that encourages people to report suspicious activity to their local law enforcement.

In the reports obtained by AAAN, 50 percent of SARs from the Chicago Police Department and 67 perecnt of SARs from the Statewide Terrorism Intelligence Center (STIC) with the Illinois State Police, included racial, ethnic or religious descriptions of the suspects.

Of the reports from the Chicago Police Department, 76.8 percent of the suspects were described as people of colour, including 53.6 percent who were described as “Arab”,  “Muslim”, “Middle Eastern”, or “olive-skinned”.

“It's not very surprising at all. We know just based on the reality of policing in this country, the role that police play in targeting communities of colour. It wasn't surprising to us that they were targeting Arabs and Middle Eastern people, people perceived to be Muslim,” Sankari told MEE.

The reports included various incidents, including one that took place in September of 2016 during the Major League Baseball playoffs. A man allegedly reported a “suspicious male individual, possibly Middle Eastern”, at the train station across from the baseball field. The suspect “appeared out of place while taking various photographs” and was “typing or texting, possibly in Arabic”.

In 2019, a school resource officer contacted STIC to report a 16-year-old Arab-American high school student who went to see his school guidance counsellor because he was upset that he’d never see his grandparents again.

The counsellor allegedly reported that the student claimed his grandparents were political Islamists living in Syria. The counsellor spoke with the boy’s father who confirmed that the grandparents were in Syria. The counsellor and school reported the student and father to STIC.

And so, the Campaign to End Racial Profiling was launched, with five demands by AAAN, including the immediate end to the use of SARs by all local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, particularly the Chicago Police Department.

The organisation is also demanding the closure of Illinois fusion centres and the immediate end of all data sharing between the police department, state police, and federal immigration and national security agencies.

Additionally, they want an end to federal, state and local Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) programmes, including all current manifestations; community control of the Chicago Police Department; and legalisation and citizenship for all undocumented and documented immigrants in the US.

“On the government side, the impact is this massive dragnet that they're pulling hundreds and hundreds of people into, and just creating these files and reports in the FBI database and other databases because of it,” Sankari said.

“That can lead to investigations, that can lead to arrests. That can lead to deportations and can have a whole host of negative effects on people's lives.”

Source: Middle East Eye

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Muhammad Tops Boys’ Name Rankings in UK


Prophet Muhammad's name in Arabic


July 6, 2022

Muhammad is the most popular baby name for boys in the UK this year, a list compiled by online media company BabyCenter has revealed.

Muslim names account for about 10 percent of all names in the top 100 rankings for both males and females, which were published in full by the Daily Mail.

In addition to Muhammad, the top boys’ names also include Ali in 31st position, Yusuf (53rd), Ayaan (61st), Ahmad (63rd), Omar (72nd), Abdullah (77th), Abdul (84th), Ibrahim (92nd) and Syed (94th).

Among the top girls’ names, Layla is the most popular Muslim name, in 24th place. It is followed by Fatima (27th), Nur (29th), Maryam (33rd), Aisha (37th), Aaliyah (60th), Raya (92nd), Nora (95th), and Anaya (98th).

Across the rest of the list, recent events appear to have strongly influenced the popularity of some common names in the UK. For example, the name Amber fell in the rankings following the recent high-profile court case between US film stars Johnny Depp and Amber Heard.

Meanwhile, a new name topped the girls’ list for the first time since 2015, with Lily overtaking Olivia.

Source: ABNA24

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Muslims Participate With Gusto in Inclusive Festival of Durga Puja in Kolkata

Jul 6, 2022

KOLKATA: At a time when the country is grappling with polarisation and divisions in society, Durga Puja in Bengal has remained a shining example of syncretism and communal harmony. In the city’s Muslim-dominated areas, Durga Puja is organised and celebrated by Muslims with as much enthusiasm as in Hindu-majority neighbourhoods. At the khunti puja of Shib Mandir Sarbojonin, for example, a Muslim social activist has been in charge of making the sweets that is distributed on the occasion for the last six years. This Sunday, he cooked kheer for 125 people and served it to guests. At another neighbourhood, local Muslims last year revived a Durga Puja that was discontinued 15 years ago.

Mudar Patherya has been living in the neighbourhood for 25 years. Six years back he took upon himself the responsibility of making the sweets on the day of khunti puja that marks the beginning of pandal construction for Durga Puja. “Initially, I funded the sweets but then I started cooking kheer with some of my Muslim friends and serving it to guests, club members and visitors. The kheer has now become part of Shib Mandir’s annual tradition,” said Patherya. He added that his participation in the festivities was initially prompted by his duty towards his neighbourhood but “considering the current scenario, it has become relevant now and is an attempt to build bridges between communities”.

Source: Times Of India

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Muslim Religious Leader Hailing From Afghanistan Killed In Maharashtra's Nashik: Report

July 06, 2022

Mumbai: A 35-year-old Muslim community religious leader hailing from Afghanistan was shot dead by a group of four unidentified persons in Yeola town of Maharashtra's Nashik district on Tuesday, police said.

A possible motive behind the murder was not immediately known.

The incident took place in the evening at an open plot in the MIDC area of Yeola town, around 200 km from Mumbai, the police said.

The victim, identified as Khwaja Sayyad Chishti, was popularly known as 'Sufi Baba' in Yeola, an official said.

He was shot with a firearm in the forehead by the attackers, following which he died on the spot, the official said.

After killing Sufi Baba, a citizen of Afghanistan, the assailants seized an SUV used by him and fled the spot, he said.

Source: ND TV

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Hindutva leaders call for ‘economic boycott’ of Muslims at Haryana panchayat

July 6, 2022

INDIA A panchayat of members of Hindutva groups like Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad in Manesar town of Gurgaon district of the Indian state of Haryana has called for an “economic boycott of Muslim businesspersons”.

The panchayat held at a temple in Manesar was attended by nearly 200 people from not just Manesar but also Kasan, Dharuhera and Gurgaon areas of the state, Indian Express reported. The panchayat also gave a call to take up arms if incidents like the murders of a tailor in Udaipur and a chemist in Amravati occur again.

This is not the first call for the economic boycott of Muslims by Hindutva groups and supporters. Indian media has earlier reported on attacks on Muslim-owned shops by Hindutva groups across India, who have accused Muslim people attempting to earn a livelihood of ‘mehendi jihad’, ‘bangle jihad’, ‘narcotics jihad’, ‘economic jihad’ and even ‘juice jihad’.

Earlier this year, following the Karnataka government’s declaration in the state assembly that non-Hindus are not allowed to do business in and around temple premises, Muslim traders were widely reported as having being evicted from temple fares by Hindutva groups. In many situations, Hindutva activists destroyed Muslims’ shops and their wares too.

Similar to the claims in Karnataka, speakers at the Haryana panchayat said juice shops and salons run by Muslims in the area had “Hindu names and names of Hindu deities” and claimed that this was part of a conspiracy.

Panchayat attendees also submitted a memorandum for the deputy commissioner to a duty magistrate calling for the eviction of “illegal immigrants”, a term used for Muslims.

“Many Rohingya, Bangladeshis and Pakistanis are illegally staying in Gurgaon and Manesar by hiding their real identities,” Devender Singh, general secretary, VHP Manesar, also said at the panchayat. He claimed that economic boycott is the only solution and claimed Muslims’ shops are not meant for business but are a part of “jihad” or religious warfare.

Many others at the panchayat reiterated this call for an economic boycott, asking attendees to stop renting to Muslims, buying fruit from Muslims’ shop, or getting haircuts in Muslim-owned salons. The panchayat attendees also asked that an FIR lodged against those involved in a rally on Friday, July 1, at Gurugram, in which anti-Islam remarks were made, be cancelled.

Source: ABNA24

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Assam recognises native status of 40L Assamese-speaking Muslims

Jul 6, 2022

GUWAHATI: The Assam cabinet recognised Tuesday around 40 lakh Assamese-speaking Muslims of the state as “indigenous Assamese Muslims” and a sub-group of the greater native Assamese community.

These people do not have any history of migration from East Pakistan (now Bangladesh).

This group was earlier loosely known as “indigenous Muslims”, but did not have any official recognition. The BJP-led state government’s approval makes a clear distinction between native Muslims and Bangladesh-origin Bengali-speaking immigrant Muslims, comprising most of the state’s Muslim population.

Assam has the highest proportion of Muslims after Lakshadweep and J&K. The 2011 Census states that out of Assam’s total population, Muslims account for over 34%, of whom just a little over 37% are native Assamese-speaking Muslims.

The cabinet decision has also recognised the long aspiration of Assamese-speaking Muslims for whom their identity as native Assamese preceded their religious identity.

Cabinet minister Keshab Mahanta said, “The cabinet has approved a new nomenclature for five Muslim groups — Goria, Moria, Jolah (only the ones living in tea gardens), Desi and Syed (only the Assamese-speaking). They will henceforth be known as indigenous Assamese Muslims.”

The cabinet note says, “This move will ensure their development in health, cultural identity, education, financial inclusion, skill development and women empowerment.”

The Assam Minorities Development Board had proposed a new nomenclature to recognise the ethnicity of the Assamese-speaking Muslim pollution in 2020. “There was no official definition of who is an indigenous Assamese,” said board chairman Muminul Aowal.

This group of Muslims trace their lineage to the 15th century and the majority of them took to Islam by conversion between 13th and 17th centuries and none of these groups can be called migrant Muslims. The Gorias and Morias worked for the Ahom kings and the Desis were originally Koch-Rajbongshis who converted to Islam. Muslims among the people brought by the British from the Chota Nagpur plateau to work in tea gardens are known as Jolha.

The migrant Bengali-speaking Muslims, comprising more than 63% of the state’s total Islamic people, have been the block around which electoral battles have been fought in the state. The Assamese-speaking Muslims have neither been the deciding factor in any election nor the beneficiaries of government funds for minorities because of their numbers.

The recognition given to native Assamese Muslims assumes significance as the state government has set up a high-powered committee to recommend measures to implement Clause 6 of the Assam Accord, which offers “to protect, preserve and promote the cultural, social, linguistic identity and heritage of the Assamese people”. The committee has also been authorised to define who an Assamese is.

Source: Times Of India

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BJP Leader Gets FIR Lodged Against Muslim Cleric for Derogatory Remarks Made Around Christmas Of 2021

JULY 05, 2022

FIR of June 28 pertains to remarks made around Christmas of 2021

The court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate in Ernakulam, on the basis of a complaint by Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Anoop Antony, last week directed the filing of a First Information Report (FIR) by the Cyber Crime Police Station, Kochi, against a Muslim cleric, Waseem Al Hikami, over certain objectionable comments made by the latter on the birth of Jesus Christ sometime around the festival of Christmas in 2021.

The FIR, dated June 28, 2022, has been filed citing Sections 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony), 295A (outraging religious sentiments), and 505 (statements conducive to public mischief), all under the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Mr. Antony said that “many people had complained” about the remarks which were, he said, derogatory to Jesus Christ and offensive, but “no legal proceedings were undertaken”.

“Following that I had handed over a complaint directly to the Director General of Police of the State and had also registered a petition in the Ernakulam Cyber Cell. The response was not as I expected and I approached the Ernakulam Chief Judicial Magistrate and the honourable court directed that the matter needed to be addressed, following which the State police registered an FIR,” he said. “The Kerala Police under the current government had speedily arrested P.C. George under similar circumstances, but hasn’t done anything with regard to this case,” he added.

Mr. Antony made it clear that he would be pursuing the case further till it is resolved.

Source: The Hindu

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Madras High Court Permits Tiruppur Mosque To Function Until Disposal Of Appeal By Housing Secretary

JULY 06, 2022

It directs the Secretary to dispose of the appeal against Collector’s refusal to grant NOC by July 26 and inform it to Waqf board within three days thereafter

The Madras High Court on Tuesday permitted a mosque-cum-Madrasa at Mahalakshmi Nagar in Velampalayam, Tiruppur city, to function as usual until the disposal of an appeal preferred by it before the Housing and Urban Development Secretary against the Collector’s refusal to grant No Objection Certificate (NOC).

A Division Bench of Justices R. Mahadevan and Mohammed Shaffiq also directed the Housing Secretary to dispose of the statutory appeal on or before July 26 and communicate the decision to the mosque management as well as the Tamil Nadu Wakf Board within three days thereafter.

The orders were passed after the mosque as well as the Wakf board, represented by its counsel S. Haja Mohideen Gisthi, filed individual affidavits undertaking to abide by the decision to be taken by the Housing Secretary. The judges had insisted upon filing such affidavits to permit the mosque to function till the disposal of the appeal.

The Division Bench was seized of a contempt of court petition filed by Venkateswara and Mahalakshmi Nagar Residents’ Welfare Association against the government officials for not having taken action against the mosque though it had been functioning since 2012 without obtaining NOC or building plan permission from the corporation.

When the contempt proceedings were pending, Tiruppur Collector S. Vineeth passed an order on May 8 this year refusing to grant NOC. Subsequently, the corporation officials decided to lock and seal the mosque leading to protests by the Muslim residents who indulged in road blockade for over two hours on June 30.

Source: The Hindu

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Court slams UP cops for 'faulty probe', frees 8 in anti-Nupur stir case

Jul 6, 2022

MEERUT: The court of chief judicial magistrate in Saharanpur terminated the judicial remand of eight youngsters who had been arrested on charges of "perpetrating violence" on June 10 during protests against remarks made by former BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma against Prophet Muhammad. The court ordered the immediate release of the accused in its order and pulled up the investigation officer (IO) in the case for a "faulty probe".

The court said, "Investigation in the case has shown no involvement of the accused. It was faulty and without credible evidence, yet the accused were put in judicial custody. Later, the IO admitted in court that he had no objection to the release of the accused under CrPC section 169 (release of accused when evidence is deficient), but at the same time, he neither filed a final report nor did he invoke the section. In such circumstances, the accused cannot be kept in judicial custody".

Soon after the arrests were made, the youths were booked for "rioting" and "attempt to murder" among other charges. Later, a video of them being thrashed inside a police station by the cops, even as they pleaded they had no part in the June 10 violence, had gone viral. However, cops initially insisted the video wasn't from Saharanpur.

Babar Wasim, the lawyer fighting on behalf of the youths, said, "Police went on a backfoot after we produced evidence of the accused's non-involvement. For instance, Mohd Asif was in a two-wheeler showroom at 5 pm on June 10. We obtained CCTV footage as evidence. On the contrary, police registered his arrest at 3.30 pm. Their charges couldn't stand in court. We had also filed a complaint in the NHRC with evidence to prove our point".

Source: Times Of India

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Will we be hanged or sent to life imprisonment? Udaipur killers ask

Jul 06, 2022

The brainwashed Islamist killers of the Udaipur tailor have only one fundamental question from their NIA interrogators: will we be hanged or given life imprisonment for our crime by the court? On June 28, Riyaz Attari and Ghous Mohammed enacted an ISIS-style killing on tailor Kanhaiya Lal in Udaipur for supporting Nupur Sharma.

The internal security agencies are alarmed at the level of radicalization of the killers and their accomplices as they are unrepentant about the savage crime, they committed but only worried about the punishment they will face for the murder.

The killer duo and their accomplices are currently under NIA custody even as the investigations reveal that the decision to murder Kanhaiya Lal was taken about a week before the crime with Ghous Mohammed volunteering to do the act of murder using the butcher knives crafted by welder Riyaz Attari. Both Riyaz and Ghous are Sufi Barelvi Muslims and were arrested while on their way to Ajmer Dargah to shoot a video claiming the dastardly crime.

Meanwhile, the Amravati killers of pharmacist Umesh Kolhe, who was done to death again for supporting Nupur Sharma, will be handed over to NIA custody after DG (NIA) Dinkar Gupta spoke to Maharashtra DGP Rajnish Seth for completion of custody transfer. While the Amravati Police Commissioner may claim that the murder of Kolhe was shown as robbery due to the sensitive and blind nature of the case, fact is that it took local police a full week to arrest the main accused despite having two of his accomplices in custody within a couple of days of the savage crime. While the investigation is still on, links with Islamist organizations in India who are the face of banned Muslim Brotherhood have come out at a preliminary stage.

The two savage crimes within a span of a week indicate rising religious fundamentalism in India, prompted by extremist organizations across the borders in Af-Pak region. “Religious extremism is a full-fledged industry in Pakistan with these organizations not only radicalizing the entire sub-continent in the name of conservative Islam but also caring two hoots for the law of the land,” said an Indian counter-terrorism official.

Source: Hindustan Times

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Kanhaiya Lal murder: NIA questions Bihar man in Hyderabad

6th July 2022

Hyderabad: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Tuesday questioned a native of Bihar living at Khalandar Nagar in the Santoshnagar area with regard to the murder of Kanhaiya Lal, a tailor who was beheaded by two Muslim men for allegedly posting message in support of Nupur Sharma on social media.

The man who was reportedly questioned by NIA officials has been identified as Mohammed Monouwar Hussain Asrafi (36 Years), a native of Machipur (Bagalpur) in Bihar. He is presently staying at Santoshnagar in Hyderabad. According to sources, he was reportedly served a notice by the NIA to appear at Jaipur on July 14 for enquiry with regard to the beheading of Kanhaiya Lal.

Asrafi was let-off on Tuesday after a search was conducted at his residence by NIA officials. The man who is reportedly a native of Baghalpur in Bihar runs an Islamic seminary at Santoshnagar. The NIA team came to his house and picked up for questioning on Monday night, sources added.

According to sources, the NIA, which is probing the Kanhaiya Lal murder in Udaipur (Rajasthan), reportedly found the mobile number of Asrafi in the phone and call details of one of the accused who has been arrested for killing the tailor at his shop. The man had reportedly received a phone call from one of the killers.

It is not known what the conversation was about. Based on the call details Asrafi had with the two accused, the team came to Hyderabad and reportedly questioned him in connection with the murder of Kanhaiya Lal.

Source: Siasat Daily

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Eight Pak soldiers injured in suicide attack in restive North Waziristan: Police

Jul 5, 2022

PESHAWAR, PAKISTAN: At least eight Pakistani soldiers were injured when a suicide bomber rammed his bike on a military convoy in the country's restive North Waziristan, police said on Tuesday.

The incident happened on late Monday night when the military convoy was on its way to Miran Shah in North Waziristan during which the bomber rammed his bike into one of the vehicles of the convoy, police said.

Eight soldiers were injured in the attack. The condition of three troops is stated to be critical. The injured troops were immediately shifted to Combined Military Hospital, Bannu, a senior police official said.

The forces launched a massive combing operation in the area to nab the perpetrators of the attack.

Eyewitnesses said Bannu-Miran Shah road was closed after the suicide attack near Khaddi market.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

North Waziristan often witnesses such attacks on the security forces.

Source: Times Of India

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Pakistan: Shehbaz Sharif’s coalition partners voice concern over ISI’s special powers

5 July, 2022

Islamabad [Pakistan], July 5 (ANI): Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s coalition partners – Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) on Tuesday voiced concern over the increasing role of country’s premier spy agency ISI on civilian affairs.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif granted the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) status of a Special Vetting Agency (SVA), thus empowering it to conduct verification and screening of all government officers before their induction, appointments and postings, as well as promotions.

Some members belonging to allied parties even criticised the prime minister for not taking the coalition partners and parliament into confidence, vowing to take the matter to the court, reported The Express Tribune.

They quipped that the premier should also consider including politicians in the notification as “most of the traitors” were there.

“This has been done behind the back of coalition partners and parliament,” Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) General-Secretary Farhatullah Babar said, asking why the decision was taken as it is not a single-party government.

In a tweet, Babar said that the decision must be unacceptable to many coalition partners, and they must protest to reverse it, adding that unilateral alteration in civil service rules must be challenged, reported The Express Tribune.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) former information minister Pervaiz Rashid also questioned the move in a tweet, saying that if the task of investigating civilian officers was included in ISI’s responsibilities, then the premier spy agency should also be placed under civilian control and be accountable to the parliament.

PPP Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar chided the premier on tasking the intelligence agency to vet government officers by “requesting” that PM Shehbaz include all public office holders in the notification at once. “Why discriminate against politicians?” Khokhar asked, adding that “after all, traitors are more common in our ranks”.

Similarly, PPP’s former chairman Senator Mian Raza Rabbani also said that the notification issued by the federal government, declaring the ISI as the SVA, was “surprising”, reported The Express Tribune.

“The verification and screening of all civil servants before their induction, appointments, postings and promotions by the SVA amount to ceding civilian space,” Rabbani said.

Besides, he added, the civil servants were already working under the pressure of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) law.

An official of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) said that the decision was surprising for the party too as no discussion had taken place in the party meetings on the issue.

With the special status and powers, some bureaucrats said, the spy agency would keep an eye on the moral and financial affairs of the government officers and would submit details to the promotion boards, especially the high-powered board and Central Selection Board (CSB).

The political set-up in Pakistan has been military-driven for ages and it is also perceived in Pakistan that politicians need the military’s backing to come to power, however, after the newest reform, many now fear that bureaucrats could also need the same support for their appointment and postings.

The move has placed the verification and screening of government officials in charge of postings, appointments, and promotions in ISI hands, leading to concerns of a shrunken civilian space.

Source: The Print

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Parliamentary body to keep eye on talks with TTP

Baqir Sajjad Syed

July 6, 2022

ISLAMABAD: The military on Tuesday secured the nod of the Parliamentary Com­­m­ittee on National Secu­rity’s for peace talks with the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakis­tan (TTP) after conceding to the Pakis­tan Peoples Party’s demand for the process to be overseen by a parliamentary committee.

“There was nearly a consensus that the talks should be held except for opposition by head of National Democratic Movement Mohsin Dawar,” one of the participants of the meeting told Dawn.

The Prime Minister Office, in a statement on the meeting, mea­nwhile, said: “The Parliamentary Committee on National Security formally approved the process of negotiations and approved the formation of a ‘Parliamentary Oversight Committee’.”

The parliamentary blessing for the process, which had for a large part been exclusively run by the military in complete secrecy, is being seen as a major endorsement of the controversial negotiations with the outlawed group that is responsible for the loss of nearly 70,000 lives in the country.

Lawmakers told negotiations being held for ‘strengthening regional and internal peace’, bringing conflict to an end

Negotiations with the TTP began in October last year on the demand of the Afghan Taliban, but broke down soon afterwards. The process was secretly revived in April after the TTP mounted a series of attacks on security forces and eventually a ceasefire was clinched. Currently, a three-month truce is being observed, while the talks are continuing.

Lately, the negotiations ass­umed a more public profile with the participation of tribal elders, some Pashtun politicians, and clerics.

The lawmakers were told by the military and intelligence officials that the talks with the TTP were being held for “strengthening regional and internal peace”. “It is an opportunity for bringing the conflict to an end,” the political leadership was told.

The four-hour-long meeting, chaired by National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, was attended by the 27 members of the high-powered parliamentary committee that comprises the prime minister, the leaders of the house and opposition in the Sen­ate and leaders of the parliamentary parties. Additionally, members of standing committees of the Senate and National Assem­bly on defence had been invited.

There was also a long list of about 62 special invitees, including JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman and Jamaat-i-Islami emir Sirajul Haq, chief ministers of the four provinces and Gilgit-Baltistan, the president and prime minister of AJK, special envoy for Afghanistan and other key parliamentarians.

Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, ISI Director General Gen Nadeem Anjum and Peshawar Corps Commander Lt Gen Faiz Hamid, who has been spearheading the talks, were also present on the occasion.

This meeting followed an earlier briefing by the military leadership on TTP talks for the parliamentary leaders at the PM House on June 22.

The demand for a parliamentary committee for monitoring the talks was made by PPP chairman and Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari.

The military leadership accepted that in line with the commitment given to the leaders of political parties at the last meeting that no extra-constitutional concessions would be given to the TTP in the ongoing dialogue and any deal made with the group would be subject to the parliamentary approval.

In the talks, the TTP has demanded withdrawal of security forces from the erstwhile tribal areas, annulment of the 2018 merger of tribal agencies with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, release of its fighters and compensation for the damages it suffered.

Pakistani authorities are, meanwhile, asking for disbanding of the banned organisation, laying of arms, and respect for the Constitution.

The PCNS was told that there could be no compromise on the merger of erstwhile tribal areas, respect for the Constitution, and disarming of the group. These were described as Pakistan government’s ‘red lines’.

An impression was given to the parliamentary leaders that the TTP had softened its position on these three issues.

A general amnesty is planned to be announced for TTP militants once a deal is reached.

The political leaders were informed that in case of a deal, up to 30,000 TTP militants and their family members are expected to return back to Pakistan.

Some members asked about the leverages enjoyed by the government in the talks. They were told that those were mostly economic.

Source: Dawn

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Imran irked by courts turning ‘blind eye’ to PTI workers’ harassment

Ikram Junaidi

July 6, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Decrying the “harassment” of Pakis­tan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) supporters, former prime minister Imran Khan continued his criticism of judges on Tuesday, questioning the silence of the country’s judiciary on the matter and asking whether fundamental rights, granted by the Constitution to the citizens of Pakistan, had been “suspended” under what he called a “fascist regime”.

“I want to ask a question from my nation… my judiciary… whether fundamental rights have been suspended in Pakistan. Before answering, please do clarify if martial law has been imposed. Does the Constitution permit such transgressions?” the former premier asked during an address via social media platforms.

“On May 25, we took to streets for a peaceful protest and we have a history of nonviolent protests … [but] on 25th police raided houses and harassed women and children,” Mr Khan said, recalling the crackdown on PTI workers in Punjab ahead of his recent long march on Islamabad.

He also spoke about the threatening calls received by pro-PTI journalists from “unknown numbers”, which had forced several individuals to flee Pakistan.

‘Will spill the beans’

During the address, Imran Khan warned that he would be forced to spill the beans and “expose” every character involved in the alleged conspiracy against him if attempts were made to corner him through such intimidation tactics.

The ousted premier was referring to the harassment of pro-party journalists, such as Sabir Shakir, Imran Riaz Khan, and Sami Ibrahim among others, the registration of cases against himself and other party leaders, as well as the release of audio tapes to malign the former ruling party.

He said he was aware of the central characters that were part of the alleged conspiracy against his government, but he did not name them for the sake of the national interest. “I am well aware of the conspirators and abettors… but I just want to inform the nation that I remained silent because I did not want to inflict any harm on my country,” the PTI chairman added.

In his remarks, Mr Khan once again referred to a “secret tape” where he claims to have named “each and every character and their role in the ouster of the PTI government”. According to the PTI chairman, if the harassment meted out to him and his party leadership did not stop, he would have no option to reveal the details of the alleged conspiracy.

At the outset, Mr Khan also compared himself with Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, saying that both their governments were ousted at the behest of the United States.

The US wanted Pakistan to pursue “the same old foreign policy where they would make a single phone call” and order Pakistan to make decisions in Washington’s favour, Mr Khan said as he referred to Pakistan’s decision to join the ‘war on terror’.

By-polls in Punjab

The PTI chief also referred to the upcoming by-polls in Punjab and reiterated his allegation that state machinery was being used to rig the elections in the province, slated to be held on July 17.

He also questioned the delay in the adjudication of a case against Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz and said that courts “opened at night” to decide a case against the PTI, whereas “despite a passage of two months” a decision on the petitions challenging the legitimacy of the current Punjab CM was still pending.

Meeting with British envoy

Separately, British High Commissioner to Pakistan Christian Turner called on Mr Khan at his residence in Banigala. During the meeting, the former PM said that developed countries should take steps to curb the illegal outflow of wealth from poor countries.

Mr Khan said that it was high time rich countries took “special measures” against money laundering that promoted global inequality and migration.

Imran Khan said that migration – fuelled by money laundering – from poor countries to rich countries also posed challenges to the developed world. He said that the governments should take steps to effectively curb money laundering globally and added that the British government could play a key role in this regard.

SC intervention sought

Meanwhile, PTI Central Senior Vice President Fawad Chaudhry sought the intervention of the Supreme Court over a relief package announced by CM Hamza Shehbaz ahead of the by-elections in Punjab in a bid to “influence” the outcome in the favour of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).

In a letter to the apex court, Mr Chaudhry claimed that the relief package violated the court orders and the election code of conduct as it attempted to “influence” the upcoming by-polls.

Source: Dawn

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Arab World

Grand Mufti’s Meeting With Ismail Haniyeh, Head of Hamas’ Political Bureau to Discourage Hamas from Normalizing with Regime

July 6th, 2022

The Syrian Islamic Council issued a video statement read out by its spokesman Sheikh Moutee’ al-Bateen, explaining the leaked recording in which the (opposition) Grand Mufti of the Syrian Arab Republic, Sheikh Osama al-Rifai, appeared alongside Ismail Haniyeh, head of Hamas’ political bureau. The recording provoked anger among Syrians.

Rifai, along with several Scholars of Islamic Countries in Istanbul, Turkey, attended a session honouring Saji Wissam Haniyeh, granddaughter of Ismail Haniyeh, for completing the preservation of the Holy Quran in full. This provoked angry Syrian reactions, especially since the meeting came days after the “movement’s” statements to normalize relations with the Syrian regime.

“The meeting of the scholars, led by Sheikh Osama al-Rifai, with the Hamas leadership was for the sole purpose of alerting the movement to discourage it from the decision to re-establish its relationship with the criminal regime,” the spokesman said in the statement.

He added: “During the meeting, a clear message was delivered from the scholars of the Islamic world in general and the Syrian Islamic Council in particular, that if the movement does not respond to the request of the scholars, the Syrian Islamic Council will issue a separate statement on this dangerous decision. The same applies to all other scholars who are still waiting for an answer.”

Bateen said the meeting lasted for many hours and focused on the seriousness of Hamas’ decision to restore relations with the regime.

The leaked photo “took place on the sidelines of the meeting, without prior arrangement at its conclusion, before the scholars left,” the spokesman said.

“The Syrian Islamic Council weighs the positions of countries, groups and individuals, near or far, in the scale of the Syrian revolution against the Syrian regime.”

Source: Syrian Observer

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Thousands of maskless Muslim pilgrims kick start largest Haj of Covid era in Saudi Arabia

Jul 6, 2022

MECCA: Thousand of maskless worshippers gathered to circle Islam's holiest site in Saudi Arabia's Mecca on Wednesday, kick-starting the biggest haj pilgrimage since the Covid-19 pandemic. The Haj is one of the five pillars of Islam and a once-in-a-lifetime duty for all able-bodied Muslims to perform if they can afford it.

Around one million people are expected to be in attendance in the holy city of Mecca in Masjid al-Haram (Grand Mosque) for the start of the ritual, Al Jazeera reported.

"We are very excited and happy to be here... It's a great feeling to do something that is a core religious duty," Hammad Tahir, a pilgrim said a day before performing the Haj, Al Jazeera cited. Saudi Arabia eased several Covid-19 restrictions last month, including mask mandates.

In April this year, Saudi Arabia allowed one million visitors for the Haj pilgrimage. Muslims from inside and outside the country will be able to perform the Haj provided they are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 and no older than 65, the Kingdom has said, as reported by Al Jazeera.

Last year only a few thousand domestic pilgrims were allowed to perform the Haj due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Ministry of Haj and Umrah had said in a statement that pilgrims from abroad must also present a negative Covid-19 PCR test and that there will be additional health precautions.

At Mecca's Grand Mosque, pilgrims will perform the "tawaf", the circumambulation of the Kaaba, the large cubic structure draped in golden-embroidered black cloth that Muslims around the world turn towards to pray.

Source: Times Of India

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North America


US says own experts examined Israeli bullet that killed Shireen Abu Akleh

06 July, 2022

The US said Tuesday that experts on its own team investigated the bullet that killed Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, after Palestinians cried foul that Israel was not directly blamed.

The State Department said Monday that the prominent Al-Jazeera journalist was likely shot from an Israeli position as she covered an operation in the occupied West Bank on May 11 but that there was no evidence the killing was intentional and that the bullet was too damaged for a conclusive finding.

The Palestinian Authority had reluctantly handed over the bullet to the United States and said it was not giving it to Israel, fearing a whitewash. But on Monday, the Israeli army said in a statement that Israeli experts had done forensic analysis on the bullet in a laboratory in Israel.

State Department Spokesman Ned Price insisted that the examination was carried out by two members on the team of the US Security Coordinator (USSC), which liaises with the Palestinian Authority on security assistance.

He did not identify the experts by name or nationality, noting that non-Americans were on the staff, but said they had “a combined 42 years of experience.”

“Local experts, whether they were Israeli or Palestinian, did not conduct the USSC examination of the bullet,” Price said.

“The USSC had full custody of the bullet from the moment it was provided by the PA (Palestinian Authority) to the USSC until the moment it was returned by the USSC to the PA,” he said.

Price said the United States sought accountability but stopped short of recommending that Israel launch a criminal case. The Israeli Defense Forces say they are still probing the death.

“As a professional military force, the IDF... is in a position to consider steps to see to it that something like this can’t happen again,” Price said.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Turkish, Greek Cypriots should benefit natural resources in, around Cyprus: UN

Betul Yuruk  



The UN said the Turkish and Greek Cypriot administrations should benefit from natural resources in and around Cyprus and urged cooperation between both communities on energy projects in a report obtained Tuesday by Anadolu Agency.

These resources should "constitute a strong incentive for the parties to urgently seek mutually acceptable and durable solutions to disagreements," Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in the report which covers developments on Cyprus from Dec. 16, 2021, to June 14, 2022.

It said public confidence in the possibility of securing a settlement on the island has remained low.

Guterres voiced concern about tensions in and around the island and urged relevant parties to refrain from unilateral actions which he said could heighten tensions.

The report revealed that internal political developments and socio-economic issues dominated public debate and media attention in both communities.

"The Turkish Cypriot political landscape has been characterized by uncertainty and increasing polarization. In the Republic of Cyprus, unofficial campaigning for the presidential elections scheduled for February 2023 has started," it said.

The report also noted that prospects for reaching common ground on the Cyprus peace process remain uncertain for the time being, citing the continued absence of "substantive dialogue" on the issue between the two sides and given the prevailing socio-economic and political climate.

"It should be recalled that the future of the process remains in the hands of the parties. As we continue to support them in seeking common ground, the parties’ display of political will and flexibility remain of paramount importance," the UN chief said in the report.

Türkiye-Greece relations

The report also touched on relations between Ankara and Athens, saying the reporting period saw fluctuations in the regional situation.

"Relations between the guarantor powers, Greece and Türkiye, seemed to be improving, particularly in March, but tensions gradually increased again towards the end of the reporting period," it said.

Guterres urged guarantor powers to support dialogue and cooperation between the two communities and encouraged those on the islands to "engage actively in shaping the future of the island and to look forward with pragmatism."

"Continued efforts are needed to find a mutually acceptable way forward to ultimately bring the Cyprus issue to a settlement and bring peace and prosperity to all," he added.

The report said discussions have continued with the leaders of the two communities and their representatives, as well as representatives of Greece, Türkiye and the UK and Northern Ireland.

"As part of these discussions, Assistant-Secretary-General Miroslav Jenca visited Cyprus (10-13 April), Greece (3-4 May) and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (5-6 May)," said the report. "A visit to Türkiye and further discussions with the Cypriot leaders are also planned."

Decades-long dispute

Cyprus has been mired in a decades-long dispute between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, despite a series of diplomatic efforts by the UN to achieve a comprehensive settlement.

Ethnic attacks starting in the early 1960s forced Turkish Cypriots to withdraw into enclaves for their safety.

In 1974, a Greek Cypriot coup aimed at Greece's annexation led to Türkiye's military intervention as a guarantor power to protect Turkish Cypriots from persecution and violence. As a result, the TRNC was founded in 1983.

It has seen an on-and-off peace process in recent years, including a failed 2017 initiative in Switzerland under the auspices of guarantor countries Türkiye, Greece and the UK.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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US Senator says will do all in his power to support sale of F-16s to Türkiye

Rabia Iclal Turan  


US Senator Lindsey Graham has said he supports the Biden administration’s decision to sell F-16 fighter jets to Türkiye.

Graham visited Türkiye over the weekend, where he met with Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin on July 2.

According to a statement by the Turkish Presidency, the two officials discussed US-Türkiye bilateral relations, the fight against terrorism, cooperation in the defense industry, the Ukraine-Russia war, Black Sea grain shipments as well as other regional issues.

Cooperation in the field of defense and making progress on the F-16 issue will serve the interests of the two countries, the statement said.

In a tweet after the meeting, Graham said he had a “very productive trip” to Türkiye, which, he stressed, is a “member of NATO and a valuable American ally”.

“While we have had a problematic relationship at times, it is imperative Turkey and the US take steps to strengthen the ties between our two nations,” Graham wrote on Twitter.

“I will do all in my power to support the Biden Administration’s decision to sell F-16s to the Turkish Air Force,” he said.

He added that the fighter jets will bolster the Turkish military that is “most definitely in America’s national security interests.”

Source: Anadolu Agency

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France’s Macron urges new Israel PM to make historical peace with Palestinians

05 July, 2022

France urged Israel’s new prime minister, Yair Lapid, on Tuesday to restart peace talks with the Palestinians, but Lapid played down such prospects, citing rightist elements in his caretaker government ahead of a November election.

“The people of Israel is lucky” to have Lapid as its premier, French President Emmanuel Macron said ahead of a meeting between the two leaders in Paris.

Speaking to cameras, Macron said there was “no alternative” to political dialogue to ease tensions between Israelis and Palestinians.

“I know how much you can mark history if you relaunch this process, which has been broken for too long,” Macron said, adding that he believed Lapid “has what it takes” to succeed.

Lapid, a secularist and centrist, has long argued that restarting talks on Palestinian statehood that stalled in 2014 would be good for Israel’s long-time needs. But, having assumed the premiership from nationalist governing partner Naftali Bennett last year, he inherited a coalition that includes hawks opposed to ceding occupied land to the Palestinians.

“We spoke about the Palestinian issue, but it wasn’t the major part of the discussion,” Lapid told reporters in a briefing after his meeting with Macron.

“The government make-up remains what it is and the limitations remain what they are,” he said, adding that the French “have a full understanding of this” although their questions were “totally legitimate.”

Lapid said he did not rule out a meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, but said it was unlikely in the coming four months – a reference to the November 1 election.

“I don’t hold meetings for the sake of holding meetings. They should have positive prospective outcomes for Israel. That is not the situation right now,” he said.

Source: Al Arabiya

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France repatriates 16 mothers, 35 children born in Daesh/ISIS camps in Syria

Shweta Desai 



In a first-of-its-kind operation, France on Tuesday announced the repatriation of French mothers and their children born in the Daesh/ISIS terror group's camps in northeastern Syria, according to a statement by the Foreign Ministry.

The statement said 35 minor children, including orphans, and 16 mothers have been repatriated from Syria.

“The minors have been handed over to the child welfare services and will be subject to medical monitoring. The mothers have been handed over to the competent judicial authorities,” it added.

The ministry thanked local authorities in northeastern Syria for their cooperation to undertake the repatriation operation.

This is the first time the government has repatriated French mothers and their Syria-born minors, keeping aside its “case-by-case” approach to repatriation.

Paris has been reluctant to bring home French nationals and their families suspected to have joined the Daesh/ISIS terrorist organization in Syria, fearing the export of radicalized individuals to the mainland.

An NGO petitioning for the repatriation of French nationals, the Collective of United Families, welcomed the operation while lamenting the “wasted time which necessarily contributed to adding suffering to suffering and trauma to trauma.”

According to the organization, another 150 children and their mothers are believed to be in Camp Roj and needed to be repatriated immediately.

At least 1,300 French nationals are estimated to have traveled to Iraq and Syria since the beginning of the armed conflict in the region.

Since March 2019, 35 orphaned or medically sick children have been brought home in France from the camps controlled by the YPG/PKK terror group in northeastern Syria, formerly controlled by the Daesh/ISIS.

In its more than 35-year terror campaign against Türkiye, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Türkiye, the US, UK, and EU -- has been responsible for the deaths of more than 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants. The YPG is the PKK terror group's Syrian offshoot.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Belgium-Iran treaty that could free Iranian ‘terrorist diplomat’ draws criticism

05 July, 2022

A proposed treaty between Belgium and Iran that could potentially allow an Iranian diplomat sentenced to 20 years in prison on terrorism charges to be sent back to Tehran has drawn criticism from former and current US and European officials.

The prisoner swap treaty between Belgium and Iran, which the Belgian parliament will review this week, would allow Belgium and Iran to exchange jailed nationals.

However, it has drawn sharp criticism from former and current US and European officials, as it could facilitate the release of Assadollah Assadi, an Iranian diplomat who was found guilty of attempted terrorism in February 2021 over a thwarted bomb attack in 2018 in France against a rally of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), a French-based Iranian opposition group.

Assadi was sentenced to 20 years in prison in Belgium and is currently serving his sentence there.

A note from Belgium’s intelligence and security agency identified Assadi as an officer of Iran’s intelligence ministry who operated under cover at Iran’s embassy in Vienna, the Associated Press reported last year.

‘Stunning mistake in progress’

In a letter to the Belgian parliament dated July 3, nine former senior members of the US law enforcement and national security community described the proposed treaty as “a stunning mistake in progress.”

Iran will use the treaty to bring Assadi and his accomplices back to Tehran, the letter said.

“To allow these people to return to the country which issued their orders undoes accountability entirely. These Iranian terrorists will not serve prison sentences, but rather be returned to their official duties,” it said.

“From the 1996 Khobar Towers attack in Saudi Arabia, the 2011 plot to kill the Saudi ambassador in Washington, DC, the 2018 attempt to bomb the NCRI rally in France, to numerous other hostile acts, the Islamic Republic of Iran continues to prove itself the number-one state-exporter of international terrorism. This is not going to change,” the letter added.

The letter was signed by former FBI Director Louis J. Freeh, former National Security Advisor James L. Jones, former Commandant of the Marine Corps James T. Conway, and former Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey, among others.

In a separate letter to Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo dated July 3, three Republican US congressmen - Randy K. Weber and Louie Gohmert of Texas, and Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania - urged De Croo to “lead the Belgian Parliament in rejecting any deal between your government and the Islamic Republic of Iran that would return the terrorist, Assadollah Assadi -or any other convicted Iranian terrorist, for that matter - to the homeland.”

In another letter to the Belgian Parliament dated July 1, seven members of the European Parliament - three from Italy, two from Spain, one from Czech Republic, and one from Poland - warned that that the treaty “will pave the way for the release of Assadollah Assadi, the Iranian regime’s terrorist diplomat… and gives a green light to the religious fascism ruling Iran to continue its criminal activities and terrorism on European soil.”

“Such an agreement will result in more crimes and assassinations in Europe, and unless we all take a firm stand, this will not be the last of these deadly terrorist plots,” the letter said.

On Sunday, over 600 Iranian-Americans who attended the 2018 NCRI rally which Assadi planned to target urged the Belgian parliament to “uphold the values of human rights and the rule of law, and refrain from adopting any bills which include any language that would enable such a shameful act of returning a convicted terrorist to join his terror masters.”

“Europe will not be safe if Tehran is given a carte blanche to wage terror and easily get its terrorists off the hook,” they said.

“If the Belgian government proceeds with this [treaty], Iran’s regime will further turn Europe into a roaming ground for its terrorists, targeting not just Iranian dissidents but others also, as Tehran is essentially being told that it won’t pay a price,” Ramesh Sepehrrad of the US-based Organization of Iranian American Communities (OIAC) told Al Arabiya English.

Cameron Khansarinia, policy director of the US-based National Union for Democracy in Iran (NUFDI), told Al Arabiya English that if freed by Belgium, Assadi “will not only be celebrated by the regime in Iran but will [also] serve as inspiration for further terror attacks across Europe.”

Source: Al Arabiya

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Belgian man held in Iran for four months for ‘espionage:’ Brussels

05 July, 2022

Iran has been holding a Belgian man for the past four months under “espionage” charges, Belgium’s justice minister said Tuesday, as his country weighed a controversial prisoner swap treaty with Tehran.

The man was seized in Iran on February 24 and has been in “illegal” detention since, the minister, Vincent Van Quickenborne, told Belgian MPs without identifying him.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Sweden's top diplomat slams local party for promoting PKK terror group

Atila Altuntas  



Sweden’s foreign minister slammed one of the country’s socialist political parties Tuesday for promoting the PKK terrorist organization during Almedalen Week, an annual political festival being held on the island of Gotland.

“This is completely unacceptable. The PKK was branded a terrorist organization as early as 1984 by Olof Palme’s government. And with good reason. The PKK has many innocent human lives on its conscience,” Ann Linde said on Twitter, tagging Justice Minister Morgan Johansson.

Linde called on the Left Party to immediately stop supporting the PKK terror group.

Johansson also warned the Left Party by posting the same statement on Twitter.

The statement came after Left Party lawmakers Daniel Riazat, Momodou Malcolm Jallow and Lorena Delgado Varas posed with flags of the PKK, YPG and YPJ during the Almedalen political forum.

The forum is an event that sees each of the leaders of Sweden's main political parties give speeches and present policy suggestions.

Sweden and Finland shunned neutrality and applied to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) military alliance in May, a decision spurred by Russia's war on Ukraine.

But Türkiye, a longstanding member of the alliance, voiced objections to their membership bids, criticizing the countries for tolerating and even supporting terrorist groups.

Ahead of a NATO summit in Madrid last week, Türkiye, Sweden and Finland signed a memorandum after four-way talks that included the alliance.

The agreement allows the two Nordic countries to become NATO members but on the condition that they take steps over Türkiye's terrorism concerns and lift an arms embargo on Ankara.
Source: Anadolu Agency

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British Chancellor Sunak, Health Secretary Javid resign

Ahmet Gurhan Kartal 



British Health Secretary Sajid Javid on Tuesday resigned from his role, saying he could no longer continue his role “with a conscience," followed by Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak, who also resigned.

“I have spoken to the Prime Minister to tender my resignation as Secretary of State for Health & Social Care,” Javid wrote on Twitter.

“It has been an enormous privilege to serve in this role, but I regret that I can no longer continue in good conscience,” he said.

In his resignation letter, Javid said: “The tone you set as a leader, and the values you represent, reflect on your colleagues, your party and ultimately the country. Conservatives at their best are seen as hard-headed decision-makers, guided by strong values. We may not have always been popular, but we have been competent in acting in the national interest.

"Sadly, in the current circumstances, the public are concluding that we are now neither. The vote of confidence last month showed that a large number of our colleagues agree. It was a moment for humility, grip and new direction. I regret to say, however, that it is clear to me that this situation will not change under your leadership - and you have therefore lost my confidence too.”

Sunak also quit following Javid's resignation, tweeting: "The public rightly expect government to be conducted properly, competently and seriously. I recognise this may be my last ministerial job, but I believe these standards are worth fighting for and that is why I am resigning."

In his resignation letter, Sunak said: “I have always tried to compromise in order to deliver the things you want to achieve. On those occasions where I disagreed with you privately, I have supported you publicly.

"That is the nature of the collective government upon which our system relies and it is particularly important that the Prime Minister and Chancellor remain united in hard times such as those we are experiencing today.”

Sunak added: “I firmly believe the public are ready to hear that truth. Our people know that if something is too good to be true then it’s not true. They need to know that whilst there is a path to a better future, it is not an easy one. In preparation for our proposed joint speech on the economy next week, it has become clear to me that our approaches are fundamentally too different.”

Allegations against former deputy chief whip

The backdrop to the two high-profile resignations came after a scandal over Chris Pincher, a government MP who resigned as the deputy chief whip last week after allegations about an incident that occurred at a private members’ club.

Downing Street initially said British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was unaware of previous specific allegations against Pincher, but it later emerged that Johnson was in fact informed when he was the foreign minister in 2019 of previous instances of alleged misconduct on Pincher’s part.

Just before the resignations, Johnson apologized for appointing Pincher as the deputy chief whip.

Johnson told the BBC: “I think it was a mistake and I apologise for it. In hindsight it was the wrong thing to do.

“I apologise to everybody who has been badly affected by it. I want to make absolutely clear that there’s no place in this Government for anybody who is predatory or who abuses their position of power.”

Source: Anadolu Agency

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South Asia

Dire Situation Of Shiite Muslims In Balkhab After Taliban Attack

July 6, 2022

Taliban attacks on Balkhab district to arrest Mehdi Mojahed have started in the evening of June 23 in Dozdan Darreh, Qom Kotal and Abi Kalan areas.

Since then, many people of Balkhab have been displaced and harassed by the Taliban forces. Also, there have been various reports of committing war crimes against the Shiites of Balkhab by the Taliban forces.

These people currently do not have any security and livelihood support, and they need the immediate support of countries and international institutions.

After the Taliban came to power in Afghanistan, pro-Taliban local commanders took control of various areas in Afghanistan, including the district of Balkhab, some of whom, like Mehdi Mojahed, were non-Pashtun. The arbitrary actions of these local commanders in some areas led to disputes with the central Taliban, and some of these commanders were dismissed or imprisoned.

One of these rouge Taliban commanders is Mehdi Mojahed, a Hazara from Sar-e-Pol, who held the post of Bamyan intelligence commander in the Taliban government. He was ousted after criticizing the Taliban’s one-dimensional policies and behavior toward various ethnic groups in Afghanistan, and moved to Balkhab empty-handed after a few months in Kabul.

Mojahed clashed with Taliban forces in Balkhab over control of the area’s mines, marking the beginning of his tensions with the central Taliban government. In his remarks, he described himself as a defender and representative of the Hazaras and Shiites in the Taliban government. But the Hazaras did not welcome him, and the Shiites did not support him in the recent tensions with the Taliban. But his supporters in Balkhab are working hard to support him, urging people to stand up to the Taliban.

Balkhab district is one of the districts of Sare-Pol province in northern Afghanistan. Balkhab is known as “Qom Sani” (the second Qom) in Afghanistan due to the existence of dozens of religious schools, And in the past, students and religious scholars from Shiite Afghanistan used to visit this district to study.

Source: ABNA24

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Islamic Emirate Policies Keeping 'Sanctions in Place': Rina Amiri, US Special Envoy

July 6, 2022

The US special envoy for Afghanistan’s human rights and women, Rina Amiri, said there is no reason that girls are not in school and “what continues to keep sanctions in place are the Taliban’s policies against the Afghan population.”

Talking to BBC’s Yalda Hakim, Amiri said that the “Taliban rendered Afghan women invisible.”

“It is the most repressive regime in the world. It is a situation which Afghan women are describing as gender apartheid. It is the worst situation in the world,” she said. “There is no Muslim majority country in the world that supports” the actions of the Islamic Emirate, she added.

Afghan female activists believe that the Islamic Emirate will not be recognized if it does not provide women with their rights.

“If the Taliban maintains the treatment of women like this—not providing the right to education for girls and the right to work for women, I am sure they will never be recognized by the international community,” said Darya Nishat, a women’s rights activist.

“The sanctions will continue on the Taliban no matter what, but the Afghans are mostly suffering from its economic effects,” said Torek Farhadi, a political analyst.

It has been over 10 months that the schools have been closed for female students in grades 7-12.

Source: Tolo News

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Turkish Security Forces’ Fire at a Vehicle Kills an Afghan Child

By Saqalain Eqbal

05 Jul 2022

According to local Turkish media, Turkish security forces in eastern Turkey opened fire on a van carrying a group of Afghan migrants, killing a four-year-old Afghan boy.

According to reports, the tragedy happened on Sunday, July 3rd, in the Saray area of the eastern Turkish province of Van.

The incident also resulted in the injuries of 12 other migrants, including the boy’s mother.

The driver of the van carrying the migrants allegedly disregarded a stop warning, according to witnesses cited in reports.

The Van provincial government office issued a statement confirming one migrant’s death and the injuries of 12 others, but it withheld information regarding the victim’s age or country. It claimed that the car accommodated 40 migrants.

Later on Twitter, the governor’s office for the province of Van stated that only the car’s wheels had been shot and that the four-year-old had been killed by a “ricocheting” gunshot.

This is even though Turkey recently conducted forced deportations, expelling a large number of Afghan migrants and according to reports from the local police, it will deport over 300 migrants in the coming future.

Source: Khaama Press

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Taliban dig-up their founder Mullah Omar’s vehicle buried 21 years ago

Jul 6, 2022

Kandahar, July 5 : Mullah Omar, the elusive and reclusive one-eyed founder of the Taliban, once hid his personal vehicle by burying it when the US forces invaded Afghanistan in 2001 in retaliation to the 9/11 attacks, media reports said.

Now, in 2022, the Taliban have dug up the vehicle of their founder in Zabul province, where it was buried 21 years ago, Express Tribune reported.

The Toyota vehicle was buried by Mullah Omar when he arrived at Zabul province in southern Afghanistan from Kandahar.

The car was found wrapped in plastic and mostly undamaged. The front mirror was, however, broken, a local said.

The vehicle will soon be displayed at the Afghan National Museum.

Born in 1960 in the southern Afghan province of Kandahar, Mullah Omar fought with the Afghan fighters against the Soviet army in the 1980s and lost his right eye in battle.

Some reports suggest the Taliban leader had himself cut out his wounded eye, while others suggest he was treated at a hospital in one of the neighbouring countries, Express Tribune reported.

After the Soviets pulled out in 1989, Omar was said to have returned to his native area as a prayer leader and teacher. He gathered a band of students which was later said to have become the Taliban.

Source: The Shilling Times

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Southeast Asia


Zahid's corruption trial: Judge to visit two Country Heights 'bungalows' allegedly converted for Islamic studies

By Ida Lim

06 Jul 2022

KUALA LUMPUR, July 6 — High Court judge Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah will be making a site visit to two "bungalows" in Country Heights, Selangor bought in 2017 with RM5.9 million of funds belonging to the charity Yayasan Akalbudi as part of Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi's ongoing corruption and money laundering trial.

During hearing this morning, defence lawyer Hisyam Teh Poh Teik invited the judge to make a site inspection since the two properties are the subject matter of one of the 27 money laundering charges against Ahmad Zahid.

"A lot has been said about the bungalows, perhaps we invite Yang Arif to have a site visit of the two bungalows and Yayasan Al-Falah," Hisyam said.

However, Datuk Raja Rozela Raja Toran, who is leading the prosecution argued against a site visit, saying it was unnecessary as photos of the two properties could be produced in court.

"But for us to actually take the trip, it's not really about what renovation, there was a purchase, I think I would decline the invitation to visit the bungalow lots. It's not necessary," she said.

But Hisyam insisted.

"It's important for Your Lordship to visit the said site because issues have been raised on this point, and to give clear picture to My Lord as regards the current status of both pieces of land, then My Lord will be able to visualise where the surau is, the location, the distance of both bungalow lots to the mosque in question," he said.

Raja Rozela then suggested that the site visit be arranged for dates that would not clash with the trial hearing in court if the judge believed it to be necessary.

Sequerah concurred.

"I think in the interest of justice, I think I would accede to the request for a site visit, but we can always fix that for another time. We can arrange the dates later," he said.

During cross-examination today, Ahmad Zahid was asked to described the two Country Heights properties bought with Yayasan Alkalbudi's money and said they were far from his own house that is in the same neighbourhood.

The former deputy prime minister said they were as "adjacent" to or at a "walking distance" from Surau An-Nur in Country Heights, which he described as the Islamic centre of the neighbourhood.

He first suggested a site inspection of the two properties by the court so they could make a personal assessment on the locations in yesterday's hearing.

"I ask the court to visit the houses, to see whether it is residence or pusat maahad tahfiz," the Umno president said yesterday.

Previously, Ahmad Zahid said the two lots of land with houses or two "bungalows" already built on them were purchased for the purpose of setting up a Quran studies centre for retirees and for tahfiz students who wish to learn and memorise the Quran.

Bungalows in the UK and other parts of the world typically refer to a small single storey house but in Malaysia and Singapore have evolved to refer to detached houses with more than one storey.

Ahmad Zahid is facing 47 charges, namely 12 counts of criminal breach of trust in relation to RM31 million of charitable foundation Yayasan Akalbudi’s funds, 27 counts of money-laundering, and eight counts of bribery charges.

One of the 27 money-laundering charges that Ahmad Zahid is facing alleges that he had engaged directly in a transaction that involves proceeds of unlawful activity, by giving instruction to buy the two "bungalow lots" for RM5.9 million using a cheque issued by the law firm Lewis & Co via a client account at Maybank, with the funds said to be illegal proceeds.

Throughout the trial, Ahmad Zahid and his lawyers have insisted that Lewis & Co is a trustee for Yayasan Akalbudi and holds funds on trust for it in a client account.

Source: Malay Mail

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Indonesian vice president visits the Prophet's Mosque

July 05, 2022

MADINAH — The Vice President of the Republic of Indonesia Dr. Ma'ruf Amin visited Tuesday the Prophet’s Mosque, where he performed prayers, and was honored to greet the Prophet, peace be upon him, and his two companions.

Upon his arrival at the venue, he was received by the Assistant President of the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques for the Prophet's Mosque Affairs, Dr. Mohammad Bin Ahmed Al-Khudairi, and a number of officials. — SPA

Source: Saudi Gazette

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Hajj pilgrims attend Mecca conference on Palestine, Islamic Ummah’s duties

July 6, 2022

A conference on the issue of Palestine and the responsibilities of the Muslim Ummah regarding Palestine was held in the holy city of Mecca.

The office of the Leader of the Islamic Revolution’s representative in Hajj organized the event on Monday with the participation of Hajj pilgrims from different countries.

Sayed Abdol Fattah Navab, the representative of the Leader of the Islamic Revolution in Hajj and Pilgrimage Affairs, in a message to the conference underlined the need for clarifying the cultural, political and military dangers of normalizing ties with the Zionist regime and the role of the United States in the normalization bids.

He also described Hajj as a manifestation of Islamic unity and said no other ritual can inspire the Muslim Ummah to walk on the path of reviving Islamic values and countering the enemies.

Sayed Navab highlighted the Leader of Islamic Revolution’s emphasis on maintaining unity and said there should be extensive planning and measures should be taken to clarify the importance of unity and convergence and the threats of divergence and disunity.

Head of Iran’s Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization Sayed Sadeq Hosseini was among the speakers at the conference. He elaborated on the need to promote the issue of Al-Quds and raising awareness about what the Palestinian people are going through. 

Source: ABNA24

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Iran can make a nuclear bomb within ‘matter of weeks,’ US envoy Malley warns

05 July, 2022

Iran has enough uranium to make a nuclear bomb within “a matter of weeks,” US Special Envoy for Iran Rob Malley said Tuesday.

“It would be something we would know, we would see, and to which we would react quite forcefully as you could imagine,” Malley said during an interview with National Public Radio (NPR).

Although he claimed that Tehran had not yet resumed its “weaponization program,” which is needed to develop a bomb, Malley voiced concerns over the country’s alarming progress in its uranium enrichment program.

The US and Iran held another round of indirect talks last week after negotiations were stalled for months due to Iranian demands that the US remove the IRGC from its terror blacklist.

But last week’s talks, held in Doha for the first time, were “more than a little bit of a wasted occasion,” according to Malley.

The US diplomat accused Iran of adding demands that had “nothing to do with the nuclear deal, things that they’ve wanted in the past.”

Iran had demanded guarantees that any future US administration would not pull out of the deal, as was the case when former US President Donald Trump took office. This is impossible for any US administration or official to do.

While Malley - as has been customary for Biden administration officials - blamed the current situation on the Trump administration, he warned Iran that it would need to decide whether it wanted to reach a deal or not. “They’re going to have to decide sooner or later because, at some point, the deal will be a thing of the past.”

He added that Washington’s assessment was still that a deal would serve US national security interests and that Iran had not yet decided whether it was interested in a deal or not.

There has been increasing bipartisan opposition in the US to reviving the 2015 nuclear deal, which the Obama administration brokered.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Revival of Saudi-Turkey ties, strategic need of Bin Salman, Erdogan

July 6, 2022

Turkey and Saudi Arabia have been at odds with each other in the Middle East for a long time. The tension between Turkey and Saudi Arabia started during the Arab Spring in 2011. The year that the President of Egypt, Mohamed Morsi, who was supported by Erdogan, was ousted by General al-Sisi, who was supported by Riyadh.

Saudi Arabia supported Egypt’s leader al-Sisi, who was accused by Turkey of staging a coup, and stood against Turkey in Libya and even in Syria. In 2017 and the sanctions imposed by Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the UAE against Qatar, Turkey came to Qatar’s aid. A year later, after the incident of Jamal Khashoggi, who was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, relations reached a state of complete freezing. Khashoggi’s murder was the peak of the crisis in the relations between the two sides.

Although the investigation of the case filed against Saudi Arabia for Khashoggi’s murder was stopped recently, with Turkey’s efforts bin Salman’s name was recorded in history as a murderer. But due to the fact that Turkey handed over the reasons and first-hand evidence about the crime to Saudi Arabia, there is no longer any threat left for Mohammed bin Salman.

Bin Salman’s visit to Ankara is considered part of the strategy of the economically damaged Turkey, which seeks to attract Saudi investments. Erdogan is well aware that his aggressive diplomacy will lead to a stalemate and he is trying to improve his strained relations with the UAE, Egypt, meanwhile, the Zionist regime.

For Turkey, which is struggling with serious issues such as the unprecedented drop in the value of the Turkish lira in recent months and the increase in the inflation rate, Saudi investment can have a positive impact in the short term in terms of having underground resources among the Persian Gulf countries.

It is expected that Saudi Arabia’s income this year from the sale of oil, the price of which has increased due to the war in Ukraine, will reach more than 400 billion dollars. Therefore, Saudi Arabia is looking for opportunities to increase foreign investments.

Prior to this trip, the Turkish authorities had carried out activities in order to sign contracts and agreements with Riyadh in various fields, especially trade and energy, but those activities have not been fruitful. One of the main topics of the meeting between bin Salman and Erdogan was the lifting of the Saudi embargo on Turkish exports. It is said that those sanctions will be lifted soon.

During the said trip, new agreements in the economic field were discussed and it was agreed to increase investment in Turkey. Turkey is going through a difficult time economically, so it attaches special importance to contracts and possible economic cooperation.

Riyadh is eyeing the companies that are in the Turkish financial fund and has planned for the entry of Saudi financial resources into the Turkish capital market. The currency that is likely to come with the funding could bolster Erdogan’s support ahead of crucial elections in June 2023.

Erdogan, who came to power 20 years ago in a bad economic situation in Turkey, wants to prove that he is ready to make any concessions to fill the coffers of the country. The government, which is desperately looking for foreign financial funds, has pinned its hopes on bin Salman. He has little time before the election to assure his voters that they will retain their purchasing power.

Polls show that the Justice and Development Party is in a difficult situation to regain power. The reserves of the Central Bank of Turkey are in a miserable state. Turkey is in dire need of money. Therefore, the meetings regarding the swap with Saudi Arabia will be important. The swap agreement with the Central Bank of Saudi Arabia will strengthen the reserves of the Central Bank of Turkey, reduce the risk factor to some extent and buy time for the Erdogan government.

If the swap agreement between Turkey and Saudi Arabia is signed, the Saudi bargaining will have a good result.

Also, the project of transferring natural gas extracted from the Black Sea to Europe through the island of Cyprus and the signing of the EastMed pipeline contract among Egypt, Greece, Cyprus, and the Zionist regime for the transfer of the regime’s gas is also important for Ankara.

Ankara believes that in the shadow of the existing pipelines, it can play a key role in the transfer of underground reserves of Iraq and even the Zionist regime. Riyadh can play a facilitating role in the rapprochement of Egypt with Turkey.

At a time when global energy markets are in a fragile state, the most important order of US President Joe Biden’s visit to Saudi Arabia in July will be to request an increase in energy supply from Saudi Arabia and the oil-rich countries of the Persian Gulf in order to reduce dependence on Russian energy to zero.

Riyadh wants to remind both global and regional players that it is a country that everyone should cooperate with at times of crisis. With the decrease in trust in America, Riyadh and other Persian Gulf countries are preparing for the period after the decline of the US influence. During this period, Riyadh wants to expand relations with the countries of the region. Bin Salman wants to have several achievements from the trip to Ankara. One of those is to strengthen his position against Biden. He wants to show that he can, not only prevent some events but also take new steps.

The purpose of this trip is to start the process of complete normalization. However, it seems that bin Salman’s visit to Ankara was not as fruitful as was expected. Erdogan’s opposition parties had harsh criticisms against that trip.

Source: ABNA24

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President: No Place for Nukes in Iran’s Defence Doctrine


Nuclear weapons have no place in Iran’s defense doctrine, Rayeesi said, addressing a ceremony to laud the high-achieving professors and students at Iran University of Science and Technology on Monday.

“We have announced this many times,” he added.

Rayeesi also vowed “no retreat” and “no pause” in the country’s scientific progress under his administration, saying, “Once some believed in this country that we should not unveil satellites built by (Iranian) experts to avoid giving the enemy any excuses.”

“But the situation has changed today, and we will not tie the country’s scientific progress to others’ frowns or smiles,” he added.

Noting that Iran made considerable progress in areas targeted by sanctions, Rayeesi said that “we are allowed to neither retreat nor pause. We have only one option and that is to make progress in all fields”.

He also said that despite the pressure the Islamic Republic is facing, “we will not hesitate to take advantage of nuclear technologies and make progress in this regard”.

He also lamented that unlike Iranian scientists, there are scientists in the world whose scientific achievements have resulted in authoritarianism, obliteration, or created an obstacle in the path of people’s progress.

In the past few years, Iran has repeated ad infinitum that its nuclear program is for purely peaceful purposes and that it has no intention of developing nuclear weapons.

Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei has even issued a fatwa (religious decree) declaring that the acquisition, development, and use of nuclear weapons violate Islamic principles and are therefore forbidden.

Source: Fars News Agency

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Palestinian president and Hamas chief hold rare meeting

06 July, 2022

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh met publicly for the first time in over five years, on the sidelines of Algerian independence anniversary celebrations.

Algeria’s state broadcaster reported late Tuesday that representatives of the Palestinian Authority and the Hamas movement also attended this meeting, which it called “historic.”

The pair, who officially last met face-to-face in Doha in October 2016, were brought together in a meeting with Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune, whose country marked the 60th anniversary of independence from France.

Abbas’ secular Fatah party, which dominates the Palestinian Authority that rules the Israeli-occupied West Bank, has been at loggerheads with Hamas since elections in 2007, when the movement took control of Gaza.

Tebboune and Abbas also signed a document to name a street “Algeria” in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Palestinian killed during Israeli raid in West Bank

06 July, 2022

A Palestinian man was killed by the Israeli military during a raid in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday, the Palestinian health ministry said.

Rafiq Riyad Ghannem, 20, was “shot by the occupation (Israeli army)” near the northern West Bank city of Jenin, the ministry said in a statement, adding that he was killed in the town of Jaba.

The Israeli military did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

On Sunday, a 17-year-old Palestinian died after being shot a day earlier in another Israeli army raid in the same town.

At least 50 Palestinians have been killed since late March, mostly in the West Bank, among them suspected militants and non-combatants.

Israeli security forces have launched near-daily raids in the West Bank following a spate of attacks in Israel in recent months.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Sudan civilians reject army’s ‘tactical retreat,’ urge more protests

05 July, 2022

Sudan’s main civilian bloc, the Forces for Freedom of Change, Tuesday urged more protests and rejected a proposal by the country’s coup leader to make way for civilian rule.

Army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, whose coup last year ousted the FFC, had vowed Monday to “make room” for civilian powers to form a new transition government.

But the FCC called for “continued public pressure” on the streets and labelled al-Burhan’s move a “tactical retreat and a transparent maneuvers.”

It said the offer was “the result of sustained popular resistance” and urged sustained peaceful demonstrators to “compel the regime to step down.”

It argued that a “democratic civil authority” must be “built upon its ruins.”

FFC leader Taha Othman said “the coup leader’s speech is a giant ruse, even worse than the October 25 coup.”

“The crisis will end with the coup leaders resigning and the forces of the revolution forming a civil government.”

Hundreds of protesters continued Tuesday a six-day sit-in protest, despite al-Burhan’s offer made in a televised address Monday night.

Skeptical of the coup leader’s promises, demonstrators in Khartoum have erected barricades, demanding an end to al-Burhan’s rule.

“We have not and will not be part of a discussion about sharing power,” Sadiq al-Mahdi of the influential Umma party told reporters.

The FFC and the Umma had so far refused to take part in talks with military leaders, launched under international auspices in an effort to restore the transition to civilian rule.

Al-Burhan said Monday the military would no longer participate in the talks facilitated by the United Nations, African Union and the regional IGAD bloc.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Ethiopia’s PM says he has agreed with Sudanese leader to settle dispute

05 July, 2022

Ethiopia’s prime minister Abiy Ahmed said on Tuesday he had reached an agreement with the leader of neighboring Sudan to peacefully settle a border dispute that has led to clashes.

Abiy met Sudan’s military leader, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, in Kenya’s capital Nairobi, on the sidelines of a meeting for the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), an eight-member regional bloc for the horn of Africa and neighboring states.

“We both made a commitment for dialogue (and) peaceful resolution to outstanding issues,” Abiy tweeted on Tuesday.

There was no immediate statement from the Sudanese side about the meeting.

The long-running dispute over a contested fertile border region, al-Fashqa, has fueled a surge in tensions between the two countries in recent years, including clashes.

In the latest trading of accusations between both nations, last month Sudan accused Ethiopia’s army of executing seven Sudanese soldiers and a civilian who had been taken captive.

The men had been seized on Sudanese territory on June 22 and taken into Ethiopia where they were killed, according to the Sudanese foreign ministry.

Ethiopia denied responsibility and blamed the killings on a local militia.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Tunisian judge freezes bank accounts of former parliament speaker, ex-PM

06 July, 2022

A Tunisian judge has ordered a freeze on the financial assets of the former speaker of the country’s dissolved parliament, Rached Ghannouchi, former prime minister Hamadi Jebali and several other people, an official told Reuters on Tuesday.

He added that the list of people included Ghannouchi’s son Moadh Ghannouchi and son-in-law Rafik Abdessalem, who was a former foreign minister.

“There is an order from the anti-terrorism judge to freeze the bank accounts of those people, the Financial Analysis Committee asked the banks to implement the judicial decision,” said an official on the financial analysis committee, which is headed by central bank governor.

No further details about the case were known and Rached and Moadh Ghannouchi and Jebali could not immediately be reached for comment.

In May, a Tunisian judge issued a travel ban against several people including Ghannouchi, the head of the Islamist Ennahda Party and former speaker of dissolved parliament.

Ghannouchi, 81, is a fierce critic of President Kais Saied who seized executive powers last year, sacked the government, dissolved the parliament and started ruling by decree, moves critics describe as a coup.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Morocco puts migrants on trial after Melilla tragedy

05 July, 2022

The trial of 36 migrants accused of “illegally entering” Morocco started Monday but was immediately halted, lawyers said, days after a mass attempt to cross into a Spanish enclave.

The hearing came 11 days after at least 23 migrants died during a mass attempt to enter Spain’s Melilla enclave on Morocco’s northern coast.

“We have asked for a postponement to better prepare the case, as other lawyers had joined the defense team,” lawyer Khalid Ameza told AFP.

The defendants face charges of “illegal entry into Moroccan territory,” violence against security forces, forming an “armed mob” and “refusal to comply” with security forces’ orders.

The next hearing is set for July 12 in the northern Moroccan city of Nador, close to Melilla.

Another 29 migrants, including a minor, face a court hearing in Nador on July 13 on charges of “joining a criminal gang to organize and facilitate illegal immigration,” Ameza said.

The 65 defendants are among around 2,000 irregular migrants who on June 24 stormed Melilla’s heavily armed perimeter fence, one of the only land borders between Africa and the European Union.

While the authorities say 23 migrants died, rights groups say the number was at least 37.

Most come from Sudan and reached Morocco via Libya and Algeria, despite the border between the kingdom and its eastern neighbor being officially closed.

The death toll is the heaviest on record in years of similar attempts by migrants seeking better lives in Europe via Spain’s enclaves of Melilla and Ceuta.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Sudan’s army won’t take part in political talks, leader says

05 July, 2022

Sudan’s military leader General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan said on Monday the army would not participate in internationally led dialog efforts to break its stalemate with the civilian opposition, and urged political and revolutionary groups to start talks to form a transitional government.

Last October, Sudan’s military staged a coup, dissolving a transitional government formed after President Omar al-Bashir was toppled in a 2019 popular uprising.

The military takeover triggered frequent mass rallies demanding the army quit politics. The United Nations and the African Union have led mediation efforts to break the deadlock as the economic crisis has worsened, but there has been little sign of progress.

Burhan spoke on television as protesters in the capital Khartoum increased pressure on military rulers by holding days of sit-ins against the death of nine civilians on Thursday during anti-military rallies.

About 2,000 people were participating in one sit-in near the city center on Monday afternoon, a Reuters witness said.

On Monday, Burhan said the army’s decision not to participate in talks was to allow political and revolutionary groups to form a government. Since the coup, most civilian groups have refused to negotiate with the military, which has led to the current stalemate.

He called on civilian groups to start a serious dialog to bring the country back to a democratic transition. The military will be committed to implementing the outcomes of the dialog, he said.

Burhan said the ruling sovereign council that he leads, and which includes military and civilian members, would be dissolved after a new government forms.

A new Supreme Council of the Armed Forces would then be created and be responsible for security and defense tasks as well as related responsibilities in agreement with the government, Burhan said.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Tunisian president calls for 'yes' vote on new draft constitution

Yakut Dandashi and Yosra Wanas  


Tunisian President Kais Saied on Tuesday urged Tunisians to vote “yes” in a planned referendum on July 25 on an amended version of the country’s constitution.

“The new draft constitution reflects the spirit of the revolution and preserves rights and freedoms,” Saied said in a statement issued by his office.

Under the new constitution, the government will answer to the president not to the parliament.

The document also gives power to the president to dissolve the parliament who could serve for two terms of five years. The 142-article draft also says that Tunisia is a republic with a presidential system.

Saied said the state is seeking to achieve “integration”.

“This won’t happen without having all parties equally participate in drafting laws,” he added.

Tunisia has been in the throes of a deep political crisis that aggravated the country's economic conditions since Saied ousted the government, suspended parliament and assumed executive authority in July 2021.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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