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Islamic World News ( 12 Dec 2021, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Darul Uloom Deoband – The Ideological Fountainhead Of The Islamist Proselytising Movement, Tablighi Jamaat, Sniffs ‘Western Plot’ Behind Saudi Arabia’s Ban

New Age Islam News Bureau

13 December 2021

 

Darul Uloom Deoband Islamic Seminary in Uttar Pradesh | PTI

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• Taliban Spokesperson Of The Taliban Zabiullah Mujahid Asks China To Help Them Get Recognized

• Naftali Bennett First Israeli PM To Visit UAE

• CAIR Defends, Zahra Billoo, Who Blamed Jews For Islamophobia

• UK Imposes Bans On Iranian Reporter, TV Producer Despite Claims To Advocating Free Speech

 

India

• India won direct war against Pak, will win ‘indirect’ war too: Rajnath Singh

• JeM recruit killed in J&K gunfight with forces

• Kin of lone Afghan Muslim killed in Kabul Gurdwara attack reach Delhi: ‘Want better life’

• Gurgaon Muslim Council members to meet deputy commissioner on Monday

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South Asia

• Women Rights Fully Realized In Islamic Government; Taliban Leadership Issued A Very Comprehensive Decree On Women’s Rights

• Taliban Thanks Delhi For Aid Stating That Ties Between The Two Countries Is "Very Vital"

• 20-year-old boy shot dead by Taliban in Afghanistan's capital Kabul

• Third batch, Afghanistan International Bank receives $19.2 million in cash

• Taliban welcomes US decision over allowing money transfer to Afghanistan

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Arab World

• Saudi Film Festival Cancels Screening Of ‘Amira’ Amid Palestinian Anger

• Saudi Arabia approves 2022 budget, first without deficit in nearly a decade

• GCC summit will discuss several issues, especially regional security: Saudi FM

• 4 Hamas members shot dead at Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon

• Bahrain condemns Beirut hosting press conference for ‘hostile personnel’

• Authorities seize captagon shipments in Lebanon, Syria destined for Saudi Arabia

• Abu Dhabi's Mubadala says investing in crypto ecosystem: Report

• In first, UAE team to participate in Israeli-hosted football tournament

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North America

• US bill drops negative references to Pakistan

• US military claims end of Iraq combat role but keeps 2500 troops

• US says held 'productive' talks with Europeans on Iran nuclear deal

• US House panel approves bill to ban Iran’s military drones amid Vienna talks

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Europe

• France's Zemmour Calls For Defence Of Armenia, A ‘Christian’ Nation In ‘Islamic Ocean’

• Turkey stresses support for sovereignty, territorial integrity of Bosnia

• Bosnia's dissolution inevitable if issues cannot be solved: Serb leader

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Pakistan

• Trial In Killing Of Priyantha Kumara, A Lankan Man To Be Conducted On Daily Basis

• In First Attack Since End Of Truce, TTP Fighters Kill Cop On Polio Duty

• Simultaneous scrutiny of parties’ funding sought

• PM Imran assures Gwadar protesters of action against illegal fishing

• Pakistan snubbed US democracy summit to please China

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Southeast Asia

• Mahathir Criticises Overreach By Shariah Authorities

• Umno can ensure secularism, linking with Amanah and DAP

• Dr M says wasn’t forced to make Guan Eng finance minister, needed his skills to deal with Najib’s financial mess

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Mideast

• Iran’s Chief Negotiator: Vienna Talks Progressing in Serious Atmosphere

• Iran warns of ‘heavy price’ after report of US-Israeli military drill plans

• Turkey not yet ready to give up on Muslim Brotherhood

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Africa

• UN Support Mission In Libya Encourages All Sides To Unify State Institutions

• Al-Shabaab kills 4 African Union peacekeepers in Somalia

• Sudan’s PM replaces acting state governors named after coup

• Bomb blast kills 1, wounds 2 regional lawmakers in southern Somalia

• Benin opposition leader gets 20 years behind bars on terrorism charges

• Tunisia protest group calls for rallies to mark revolution anniversary

• Tunisia’s Ennahda rejects attempts to abolish 2014 constitution

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL:  https://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/darul-uloom-deoband-tablighi-jamaat-saudi-arabia/d/125949

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Darul Uloom Deoband – The Ideological Fountainhead Of The Islamist Proselytising Movement, Tablighi Jamaat, Sniffs ‘Western Plot’ Behind Saudi Arabia’s Ban

 

Darul Uloom Deoband Islamic Seminary in Uttar Pradesh | PTI

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Dec 13, 2021

AYODHYA: Days after Saudi Arabia banned the Islamist proselytising movement, Tablighi Jamaat, calling it the gateway of terrorism, top leaders of the Jamaat, the Shura and leading Islamic seminary Darul Uloom Deoband – the ideological fountainhead of the Jamaat – have reacted with shock and anger, blaming “a western plot” to defame a “puritanical” outfit with global footprint.

Majority sympathisers and followers of the Jamaat, headquartered at Delhi’s Nizamuddin West, said the Saudi decision was dictated by “an influential western power” that wants to cripple Riyadh’s centuries-old affiliation to the Muslim Ummah.

Spokesperson of Tablighi Jamaat, Nizamuddin Markaz, Sameeruddin Qasmi, defended his members as purists, who reformed deviant Muslims and served as a bulwark against global terror. "It is an unfounded allegation against Tablighi Jamaat. We have no connection with terrorism. In fact, we stop, condemn and disown terrorism. We don't allow our members to speak against any religion, community or country and focus on five pillars of Islam. None of our men has ever been found involved in terrorist activity. The Saudi government has been misled," he said in a video message from London.

Mohammad Miyan, member of the ‘Shura’, a prominent breakaway Tablighi faction, said, "Our Jamaats are working all over the world and even in Saudi Arabia. We are bringing Muslims to the path of the prophet. The Shura will not comment on the ban, but our Jamaats will continue to work fearlessly in Saudi Arabia."

Darul Uloom Deoband has condemned the Saudi government. Taking Riyadh head-on for the first time, chief rector Maulana Abul Qasim Nomani warned Saudi Arabia to desist from wrongdoing and withdraw the ban as it would send a wrong message to Muslims across the world.

Talking to TOI, prominent Muslim activist Zafar Sareshwala said, "I am surprised by the Saudi decision as the Tablighi Jamaat was an antidote to extremist ideas with its strong disapproval of jihadist ideology. Even Taliban have spoken out against the Jamaat. Calling it the gateway of terrorism is unbelievable and unacceptable." A senior faculty in Darul Uloom Nadwa, Maulana Fakhrul Hasan Khan, said, "We are receiving the news from the media. We will react conclusively after talking to our members in Saudi Arabia."

Source: Times of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/lucknow/darul-sniffs-western-plot-behind-saudis-jamaat-ban/articleshow/88245275.cms

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Taliban Spokesperson Of The Taliban Zabiullah Mujahid Asks China To Help Them Get Recognized

 

Taliban Spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid

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13 Dec 2021

Deputy Minister of Information and Culture and spokesperson of the Taliban Zabiullah Mujahid said that they (Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan) need recognition and the world countries especially China must help them in this regard.

Zabiullah Mujahid in a news conference in Kabul on Sunday, December 12 said that China is one of the most important countries in the region, and having good relations with the country will be the Taliban’s great achievement.

Deputy Spokesperson of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan Bilal Karimi citing Zabiullah Mujahid said, the Taliban do not want to interfere in other’s affairs and that they will not allow others to do so either.

“We hope all traders in particular Chinese investors to invest in Afghanistan and the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan will ensure their security.” Reads a Twitter post of Bilal Karimi.

China on Sunday inaugurated a construction project in Kabul that will benefit the people of Afghanistan.

Chinese ambassador to Kabul Wang Yu who attended the inauguration ceremony said they are committed to peace and stability in Afghanistan and peace and development are China’s common aspiration.

Source: Khaama Press

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

https://www.khaama.com/taliban-asks-china-to-help-them-get-recognized-7868768/

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Naftali Bennett first Israeli PM to visit UAE

 

HH Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan (R) welcomes Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on December 12. — AFP

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December 13, 2021

ABU DHABI: Israel’s Naftali Bennett arrived in the United Arab Emirates on Sunday for the first official visit by a prime minister of the Jewish state, after they established diplomatic ties last year.

The trip announced by Bennett’s office comes with Israel making a renewed diplomatic push against international talks which global powers resumed with its arch foe Iran over the Islamic republic’s nuclear programme.

Bennett on Monday meets Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan to discuss “deepening the ties between Israel and the UAE, especially economic and regional issues,” the prime minister’s office said.

Just before 4:30pm, Bennett’s office announced his plane had taken off from Ben Gurion Airport in central Israel on what the premier called a “historic” visit and “first of its kind”.

A spokesman for Bennett, Matan Sidi, later confirmed: “The entourage of the prime minister has landed now in Abu Dhabi, the UAE, for PM Bennett’s first visit to the country.” Before boarding the plane, the prime minister said his trip “is aimed at deepening the cooperation between the countries, in all fields”.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1663470/naftali-bennett-first-israeli-pm-to-visit-uae

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CAIR Defends, Zahra Billoo, Who Blamed Jews For Islamophobia

 

Zahra Billoo, Executive Director, Council on American Islamic Relations (San Francisco)

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December 12, 2021

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) defended one of its leaders Saturday after criticism of a November speech in which she said Jewish organizations and synagogues are a part of an “Islamophobia industry” working to dehumanize Muslims.

Zahra Billoo, executive director of CAIR San Francisco, described Jewish or Zionist organizations as “enemies” who take part in a “conspiracy” of Islamophobia during a speech at American Muslims for Palestine’s Annual Convention on Nov. 27, The Jerusalem Post reported Sunday.

“We need to pay attention to the Anti-Defamation League, we need to pay attention to the Jewish Federation, we need to pay attention to the Zionist synagogues, we need to pay attention to the Hillel chapters on our campuses,” Billoo said in her speech.

“In the wake of her speech, anti-Muslim websites misquoted Zahra’s remarks and falsely claimed that she had discouraged Muslims from working with Jewish groups at-large,” CAIR said in its defense of Billoo on Saturday.

“Throughout her speech Ms. Billoo blamed America’s Jewish institutions – from civil rights orgs to respected campus orgs to charitable orgs to virtually every synagogue in the US – for a variety of America’s illls, including Islamophobia,” Jonathan Greenblatt, chief executive of the Anti-Defamation League, said Sunday.

Billoo “discouraged engagement, dialogue & partnership with the Jewish community. By her standard, no synagogue from any major Jewish movement—including the OU, USCJ, URJ, Reconstructionist, or Renewal— should be welcomed, because they are all her ‘enemies’ and ‘polite Zionists.’ She spins a vast conspiracy around Jewish orgs supporting poverty, homelessness, and police brutality and attacking Muslim Americans for their opposition. Claiming that American Jews are working to subject our fellow Americans to poverty and brutality is wildly antisemitic,” Greenblatt said.

“She claims ‘Islamophobia is a well-funded conspiracy, a well-funded project’ by Jewish communal orgs,” Greenblatt said. “To so brazenly refer to the vast majority of American Jews as enemies solely because of their connection to the Jewish homeland, to repeatedly blame Jews for Islamophobia, and to unapologetically promote tropes used against Jews for millennia, is grotesque … Ms. Billoo’s speech, and CAIR’s support for it, are both blatant acts of antisemitism. CAIR obviously should reject such hate without hesitation but it has a long and problematic history of anti-Israel rhetoric,” Greenblatt said.

Billoo was voted off of the Women’s March national board in September 2019 following repeated accusations of antisemitism. At the time, Billoo blamed “an Islamophobic smear campaign led by the usual antagonists.”

Source: Daily Caller

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

https://dailycaller.com/2021/12/12/zahra-billoo-jonathan-greenblatt-anti-defamation-league-council-american-islamic-relations-antisemitism-islamophobia/

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UK Imposes Bans On Iranian Reporter, TV Producer Despite Claims To Advocating Free Speech

 

Iranian reporter and TV producer Ali Rezvani,

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09 December 2021

The British government, in its latest act of hostility to free media, has imposed sanctions on an Iranian reporter and TV producer on false charges of spreading “misinformation regarding political prisoners.”

During Wednesday session of Britain's House of Commons, Labour MP Chris Bryant, who co-chairs the UK’s All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Magnitsky Sanctions, read a list of Iranian individuals, including Ali Rezvani, a reporter and producer working for Iran’s official Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB).

The British government accused Rezvani, who is an Iranian state media journalist for the popular and highly-watched 20:30 news program, of being involved in the “interrogation of detainees,” and broadcasting their “forced confessions,” as well as spreading “misinformation regarding political prisoners, dissidents and hostages.”

The Iranian reporter was also accused of working with intelligence agencies and “peddling propaganda” on detained dual and foreign nationals.

In reaction to the move by the British government, IRIB head Peyman Jebelli commended Rezvani’s “media valor” and said the illegal measure was indicative of the British monarchy’s political idiocy.

“I express my felicitations to you on your media effort and valor that has made the arrogant British government angry and confused,” Jebelli said in a statement.

“The imposition of sanctions on a journalist by a monarchy whose record over the past centuries has been riddled with human rights abuses means that it has morphed into a political idiot much more than what was previously thought.”

The IRIB chief said, “Today, we have already felt London's key role in the inhumane sanctions imposed on the Iranian people. When this symbol of human rights violations boycotts a journalist, it means that we should weep for human rights across the world.”

Violating free media and free speech principles, the Western governments have over the past years targeted Iranian news channels, media outlets and journalists with restrictive measures, such as sanctions.

The allegations against the Iranian reporter come against a dismal backdrop by the British government to muzzle free speech and disregard for the rights of minorities as well as helping totalitarian governments in other countries to suppress their people. In October 2018, The results of the report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), showed that around 14 million Britons with disabilities, roughly a fifth of the UK population, have suffered from erosion of their rights.

The study, which reported its findings to the United Nations committee on disability rights, said that there was “deeply concerning” evidence showing that the situation of the disabled people across the UK is getting worse despite government pledges to improve their conditions.

Last October a report released by British NGO Action on Armed Violence (AOAV) showed that the British government has approved tear gas exports to numerous authoritarian Middle East regimes,  including in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain, over the past decade.

The report added that since 2008, the British government has approved arms export licenses to 70 countries, despite the fact that several of these states are on its own human rights priority list.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2021/12/09/672341/British-government-sanctions-Ali-Rezvani-Iranian-reporter-TV-producer

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India

 

India won direct war against Pak, will win ‘indirect’ war too: Rajnath Singh

Dec 13, 2021

NEW DELHI: India won the direct war against Pakistan in 1971 and will emerge victorious in the ongoing ‘indirect war’ of cross-border terrorism sponsored by its western neighbour as well, defence minister Rajnath Singh said on Sunday.

Inaugurating the 'Swarnim Vijay Parv' (Golden Jubilee celebration) at the India Gate lawns here to commemorate the 1971 Bangladesh liberation war, Singh said, “This war tells us that the partition of India on the basis of religion was a historic mistake. Pakistan was born in the name of one religion but it could not remain one.” At the event, a video message by Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, which was recorded a day before his death with 12 others in the Mi-17 V5 helicopter crash on December 8, was also played. “Apne senao par hei hame garv, aao milkar manaye Vijay Parv (We are proud of our armed forces, let's celebrate victory together),” said Gen Rawat in his message, paying glowing tributes to the Indian military personnel killed in the 1971 war with Pakistan.

“After the defeat of 1971, it is continuously fighting a proxy war. Pakistan wants to disrupt peace in India by promoting terrorism and other anti-India activities. The Indian forces had foiled their plans in 1971 and work to eliminate terrorism from its root is also underway. We have won in a direct war and the victory will be ours in the indirect war as well,” Rajnath said. He said India contributed to the establishment of democracy in Bangladesh, which has progressed rapidly on the path of development over the last 50 years, in an inspiration for the rest of the world.

Source: Times of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/india-won-direct-war-against-pak-will-win-indirect-war-too-rajnath-singh/articleshow/88245214.cms

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JeM recruit killed in J&K gunfight with forces

Dec 13, 2021

SRINAGAR: A Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist fresh out of training was killed in a gunfight with security forces at Awantipora in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district on Sunday, just over a month after he was inducted into the proscribed Pakistan-based outfit's ranks.

The slain terrorist was identified as Sameer Ahmad Tantray, a resident of Bargam in Awantipora. A police officer said JeM assigned him to its south Kashmir unit on November 2. In the police records, he was classified as a "C-category" terrorist.

Source: Times of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/jem-recruit-killed-in-jk-gunfight-with-forces/articleshow/88244689.cms

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Kin of lone Afghan Muslim killed in Kabul gurdwara attack reach Delhi: ‘Want better life’

by Divya Goyal

December 11, 2021

More than a year after Islamic State terrorists gunned down 25 people at Sri Guru Har Rai Sahib gurdwara in Kabul’s Shor Bazar, the family of Mahram Ali Shaghasi, the 43-year-old Afghan Muslim security guard who fell to their bullets that day, reached Delhi — to begin a “better life”.

Mahram’s wife Fariba Gul Rok (40), son Abdul Wahid (23) and daughters, Murwarid (24) and Geeta (19), were among the 94 people, mainly Afghan Hindus and Sikhs, who landed on a special flight Friday.

Mahram, from Qalai Zaman Khan of Kabul, was the sole breadwinner of the family. He was the lone Muslim who was killed in gurdwara attack, all other victims were from Sikh community.

On Friday, speaking to The Indian Express, Abdul Wahid said: “Our lives have been in danger there since the Taliban took over. There is no one to bring food and bear family expenses. Since my father’s death, we have had no breadwinner. There are no jobs and there is no scope to get educated. But our Sikh brothers, who my father died protecting, stood with us and helped us migrate to India.”

Referring to “the uncertain situation in Afghanistan”, Wahid said: “There’s hardly any hope there for a good future. We expect a better life here. We also plan to migrate to Canada after spending some time here… life has become terrible, especially since the Taliban took over.”

It was on March 25, 2020, that gunmen stormed the gurdwara and opened fire. Among the 25 people killed was a three-year-old girl. Security forces rescued at least 80 others, including women and children, who were inside the complex at the time. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack, which was described by India as a cowardly attack that reflected a “diabolical mindset”.

Following the attack, Wahid says the local Sikh community supported the family in “every possible way”. “They have borne our travel expenses and promised to provide us basic expenses for three months in India. They have also promised that they will help us apply to go to Canada,” he said.

Describing his father, and recalling the day of the attack, Wahid said: “He was a very honest and hardworking man, dedicated to his duty. He was committed to protect the gurdwara from any harm. Although he never had any weapons, he guarded the premises 24×7. That day, my father tried to stop a gunman at the entrance. He was shot in the shoulder and fell down. But he got up again to put up a fight but then was shot in the head.”

According to Wahid, Mahram shared a special bond with the Sikh community. “He knew that his job was very risky. But he loved doing it. He always respected the Sikh community and their faith. He used to say that all Sikhs and Hindus in Afghanistan are his brothers. He used to say that Sikhs are kind and nice people. In fact, he used to come home only once a week and stay at the gurdwara for the rest of the time. More than his family, he spent time with Sikhs and served the gurdwara,” he said.

Wahid says all that he wants is for the world to remember the sacrifice of his father and the fact that he never differentiated among people on the basis of religion. “Let the entire world know that he too died…while doing his duty, while protecting the gurdwara and his Sikhs brothers. Terrorists don’t know any religion. Had it been so, they wouldn’t have shot my father,” he said.

For now, Mahram’s family will be based in Delhi under the care of Sikh community at a gurdwara.

Source: Indian Express

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

https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/chandigarh/kabul-gurudwara-attack-taliban-sikhs-7666879/

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Gurgaon Muslim Council members to meet deputy commissioner on Monday

Dec 13, 2021

By Leena Dhankhar

A delegation of Gurgaon Muslim Council will meet Gurugram deputy commissioner on Monday to ask about the alternative sites for performing Friday prayers in the city, after permission for 20 designated locations was withdrawn following continued protests by the right-wing Hindu outfits, and following chief minister ML Khattar’s remarks on Friday that namaz in open public spaces will not be tolerated.

Altaf Ahmad, spokesperson for the Gurgaon Muslim Council, said a delegation will meet the deputy commissioner on Monday since the chief minister on Friday said that the Muslims need to discuss alternative sites for Friday prayers with the district administration. “Around five lakh Muslims stay or work in Gurugram, while there are only two mosques in new Gurugram and 11 in the old city with a total capacity of 15,000 people even if offer the Juma namaz in several jamaats (shifts). Hence, it’s extremely important that alternative sites are assigned to the Muslims until the Haryana Shehri Vikas Pradhikaran (HSVP) approves land for building multi-story mosques,” he said.

“The state Waqf Board and the administration have not been able to get waqf properties vacated from encroachers. Who is being held responsible for the same,” he said, referring to suggestions that the Muslims should use waqf properties to offer namaz or build mosques.

When contacted, a senior district administration official said they were waiting for “new orders from the state government”, based on which they will discuss the issue with both parties (Hindus and Muslims).

Sanjeev Balhara, assistant commissioner of police, said they have not received the new plan of action, and added that the “new orders are expected to come by Monday”. “The deployment (for Friday prayers) will be decided on Monday after fresh directions are received,” he said.

The protest against Friday namaz in open public spaces has been taking place in Gurugram since 2018. The same year, the administration designated 37 sites for Muslims to perform the Friday prayers. However, in November this year, the number of sites was cut down to 20 after members of the right-wing outfits continued to protest and disrupt prayers.

Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Friday said offering namaz in public places cannot be tolerated, even as the district administration withdrew permission for Friday prayers at 20 designated sites. “Such programmes (namaz) should not be held in the open. This practice of offering namaz at public spaces will not be tolerated as it is leading to controversies and confrontations. We have given directions to the police and administration to resolve the issue amicably. We will not allow any confrontation, and try to resolve it,” the chief minister said

Source: Hindustan Times

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

https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/others/gurgaon-muslim-council-members-to-meet-deputy-commissioner-on-monday-101639339204351.html

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South Asia

 

Women Rights Fully Realized In Islamic Government; Taliban Leadership Issued A Very Comprehensive Decree On Women’s Rights

December 13, 2021

The leadership of the Islamic Emirate issued a very comprehensive and unprecedented decree on women’s rights. The decree generally prohibits those abusive practices, oppressions, bans and injustices against women, which have unfortunately deep roots in our society since ancient times and are considered accepted norms and traditions by many people.

However, there is no doubt that these traditions in our societies are in direct conflict with our religious law and instructions, even they are beyond the humanity. These vicious practices against women have been existing from long ago, the religious scholars were supposed to oppose them at each and every time they lived and lead Muslims towards the right path but since the Muslims political leadership has remained

powerless for most of the post Islamic period, the religious scholars and preachers have been left out with only the worship and its virtues related affairs. That is why religious practices have been ignored and replaced with obvious misconceptions in the political, economic and academic areas of Islamic societies.

These vicious traditions have become such a shameful sarcasm among Muslims that even Westerners taunt us who do not have any proper family system and do not respect relations and other moral values themselves.

Thanks God, Now that the Islamic Government has taken over the country and we can implement and practice our social laws in accordance with our sacred Islamic law, our leadership also perceived this shortcoming and issued a decisive decree to cure it. If God is willing, the Afghan people will soon be free from such vicious practices. Now all the religious leaders of the country, social influential personalities and law enforcers will take serous steps to prevent the above mentioned practices.

It is so much important to fight against these injustices against women because the rest of the world considers these practices as part of Islam while Islam has given women an unparalleled status and guaranteed their rights in a way that is un precedent For example, Islam has given women the status of a mother, which the western world is completely deprived of, as well as a very honorable position as a daughter, sister and wife. Islam considers women to take care and look after children and home, a

status that is highly valued in terms of teaching human beings.

Source: The Kabul Times

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

https://thekabultimes.gov.af/women-rights-fully-realized-in-islamic-government/

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Taliban Thanks Delhi For Aid Stating That Ties Between The Two Countries Is "Very Vital"

Dec 13, 2021

KABUL: After India dispatched its first consignment of 1.6 metric tonnes of life-saving medicines to Afghanistan, the Taliban responded by thanking New Delhi stating that ties between the two countries is "very vital". The aid, which consisted of life-saving medicines was sent on Saturday from New Delhi to Kabul by a special flight.

Taking to Twitter, the Afghan ambassador to India, Farid Mamundzay said the aid will help many Afghan families in this difficult time.

"All kids need a little help, a little hope and somebody who believes in them.' The first consignment of medical aid from India arrived to Kabul this morning. 1.6 metric tonne of life-saving medicines will help many families in this difficult time."Gift from people of India," Mamundzay had tweeted.

In a tweet, Ahmadullah Wasiq, deputy spokesman for the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) on Saturday said that "India is a leading country in the region. Afghanistan-India relations are very vital."

The Ministry of External Affairs earlier yesterday said in view of the challenging humanitarian situation in Afghanistan, the government of India has dispatched a consignment of medical supplies on a return flight that brought evacuated Indians and Afghanistan.

Source: Times of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/taliban-thanks-delhi-for-aid/articleshow/88246099.cms

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20-year-old boy shot dead by Taliban in Afghanistan's capital Kabul

December 13, 2021

The Taliban on Sunday shot dead a 20-year old boy, Faisal who was attending an engagement function in Police District two of the Afghan capital Kabul.

Eyewitnesses and his uncle of whom the killed Faisal was attending the wedding said, they were directed to stop for check post and they did but were shot at, reported Khaama Press.

"We were returning from my engagement function and were directed to stop in a check post of the Taliban in Quwa-e-Markaz. We stopped and were searched by the Taliban and then they allowed us to go, when we went there were four other Taliban who started shooting and shot dead Faisal", said Faisal's Uncle.

Spokesperson of the Ministry of Interior Affairs Saeed Khostai confirmed the incident and added that two culprits have been arrested.

"The people were asked to stop to a check post and the Mujahideen started shooting at Faisal who was wounded and then succumbed to his wounds in hospital. Two people have been arrested in connection to the incident," said Khostai.

Source: Business Standard

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

https://www.business-standard.com/article/international/20-year-old-boy-shot-dead-by-taliban-in-afghanistan-s-capital-kabul-121121300100_1.html

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Third batch, Afghanistan International Bank receives $19.2 million in cash

13 Dec 2021

Afghanistan’s Central Bank (De Afghanistan Bank) on Sunday, December 12 said that the third batch of World Bank’s cash assistance to Afghanistan arrived in Kabul and was given to Afghanistan’s International Bank (AIB).

Central Bank in a statement said that the money is part of the World Bank’s humanitarian pledges to Afghanistan.

The cash was taken from Kabul International Airport to Afghanistan International Bank by the Taliban.

The cash is apparently best timing as the local currency (Afghani) is in its unprecedentedly lowest value- one dollar for 114 Afghani on Sunday.

It is believed that the fresh batch of dollars will help the value of local currency stabilize.

Common people are the real victims of the ongoing unpleasant economic situation in Afghanistan as the prices of everything in the country have been doubled.

Source: Khaama Press

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

https://www.khaama.com/third-batch-afghanistan-international-bank-receives-19-2-million-in-cash-986897/

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Taliban welcomes US decision over allowing money transfer to Afghanistan

13 Dec 2021

Afghanistan’s Foreign Ministry has welcomed the US decision over issuing licenses to banks to let Afghans living abroad transfer money to relatives in Afghanistan.

Spokesman of the Ministry in a series of Twitter posts said that the move is a good step and will allow Afghans access the services of the Western Union, Money Gram, and other banking channels.

“We appreciate this progress and hope the right of Afghans to access all services of the international banking system will be guaranteed.” Reads a Tweet.

US Treasury Department issued its 16th General license on Saturday, December 11, and allowed Afghans to send money to Afghanistan but acknowledged that the money should be for personal purposes only not for trade.

The US has said that the step was taken to address the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan and will not ease sanctions on the Taliban but the spokesperson of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan Zabiullah Mujahid said the decision is a result of their fruitful engagement with the US in Doha.

Source: Khaama Press

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https://www.khaama.com/taliban-welcomes-us-decision-over-allowing-money-transfer-to-afghanistan-3463463465/

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Arab World

 

Saudi film festival cancels screening of ‘Amira’ amid Palestinian anger

Ibrahim El-Khazen 

11.12.2021

Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea International Film Festival has canceled the screening of a controversial movie that has incited Palestinian anger.

"We regret the cancellation of the screenings of the movie Amira at the request of its producers,” the festival’s administration said on its website, without providing further details.

The film titled Amira, which translates to Princess, tells the story of a young girl born from smuggled sperm while her father was languishing in Israel's Megiddo prison.

However, the girl later realizes that the sperm that was smuggled out of the jail was actually that of an Israeli soldier.

The movie was shot in Jordan in 2019 and is a Jordanian-Egyptian-Palestinian co-production.

The film, directed by Egyptian director Mohamed Diab, was scheduled to represent Jordan at the 94th Academy Awards in the international feature film category in 2022.

However, the Royal Film Commission of Jordan said Thursday that it had decided to withdraw the film from the 2022 Academy Awards in light of the "recent huge controversy that it is detrimental to the Palestinian cause."

Withdrawing the film out of "respect to the feelings of the prisoners and their families," the commission stood by its "artistic value," and argued that it highlights the plight of Palestinian prisoners and "their willingness to live a decent life in spite of the occupation."

The movie was also condemned by Palestinian institutions concerned with prisoners' affairs for questioning the lineage of children born from smuggled sperm of prisoners inside Israeli prisons.

Saudi Arabia launched its first international film festival on Dec. 6 in the country’s western coastal city of Jeddah and is set to end on Dec. 15.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/culture/saudi-film-festival-cancels-screening-of-amira-amid-palestinian-anger/2444932

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Saudi Arabia approves 2022 budget, first without deficit in nearly a decade

13 December ,2021

Saudi Arabia said on Sunday it expected to post its first surplus in 2022 since nearly a decade, and it expected to continue implementing economic initiatives and reforms to enhance the quality of life of citizens.

“Expenditures in the total budget amount to 955 billion Saudi riyals ($254.6 billion), revenues estimated at 1.045 trillion Saudi riyals ($278.6 billion) and the surplus reached 90 billion Saudi riyals ($24 billion),” King Salman bin Abdulaziz said, according to state news agency SPA.

The Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said: “The budget was a confirmation of the results achieved from economic and financial reforms aimed at promoting economic growth and financial sustainability towards a vibrant society, a prosperous economy, and an ambitious nation.”

SPA reported that it is expected that the deficit in 2021 will reach around 2.7 percent of GDP compared to 11.2 percent in 2020.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/business/2021/12/13/Saudi-Arabia-approves-2022-budget-first-without-deficit-in-nearly-a-decade

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GCC summit will discuss several issues, especially regional security: Saudi FM

12 December ,2021

The upcoming GCC summit set to be held in Riyadh will discuss several issues especially regional security, according to Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan.

The foreign minister’s statement came at the end of a press conference in Riyadh after a meeting of the foreign ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries in the presence of their Egyptian counterpart.

GCC Secretary General Nayef al-Hajraf told reporters on Sunday that there are continuing consultations between the Gulf states and Egypt to enhance the stability of the region and the world.

Source: Al Arabiya

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https://english.alarabiya.net/News/gulf/2021/12/12/GCC-summit-will-discuss-several-issues-especially-regional-security-Saudi-FM

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4 Hamas members shot dead at Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon

Idiris Okuduci

12.12.2021

BEIRUT, Lebanon

Four Hamas members were killed in an armed attack during a funeral at a Palestinian refugee camp in southern Lebanon on Sunday, the group said.

In a written statement following the incident, the Palestinian resistance group Hamas accused the Fatah movement of the attack at the Burj Shemali camp.

The shooting took place during the funeral ceremony of a Hamas member at a mosque in the camp.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/4-hamas-members-shot-dead-at-palestinian-refugee-camp-in-lebanon/2445700

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Bahrain condemns Beirut hosting press conference for ‘hostile personnel’

12 December ,2021

Bahrain’s foreign ministry has denounced Lebanon for hosting a press conference for individuals it described as “hostile personnel” on terror lists with the purpose of “broadcasting and promoting abusive and malicious allegations against the Kingdom of Bahrain.”

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed its deep regret and denunciation that the Lebanese capital Beirut hosted a press conference for hostile personnel designated on supporting and sponsoring terrorism lists, with the purpose of broadcasting and promoting abusive and malicious allegations against the Kingdom of Bahrain,” the ministry said in a statement.

For the latest headlines, follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

Bahrain’s foreign ministry said it had submitted a “strong formal protest” to the Lebanese government regarding the recent move.

The Ministry added that an official note verbale of protest was sent to the General Secretariat of the League of Arab States in this regard, containing the Kingdom of Bahrain's denunciation of this unfriendly step by the Lebanese side. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs called on the Lebanese government to prevent such reprehensible practices that aim to offend the Kingdom of Bahrain, and are inconsistent with the most basic diplomatic norms and the brotherly relations between the two people,” the ministry added.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/gulf/2021/12/12/Bahrain-condemns-Beirut-hosting-press-conference-for-hostile-personnel-

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Authorities seize captagon shipments in Lebanon, Syria destined for Saudi Arabia

11 December ,2021

Security forces in Lebanon and Syria said Saturday that they had seized two separate shipments of the banned stimulant captagon, the latest in a string of similar busts.

Lebanon’s Internal Security Forces said it “thwarted an attempt to smuggle four million captagon pills” hidden in a coffee shipment destined for Saudi Arabia via Jordan.

For the latest headlines, follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

The pills were confiscated following raids this week on a storage facility in Bir Hassan, a neighborhood near Beirut’s southern suburbs, the ISF said on Twitter.

It said it arrested two men behind the operation, including one who was trying to flee the country through Beirut’s airport.

A video it posted online showed a man ripping open a bag of coffee stuffed with narcotic pills.

In a separate operation, Syrian authorities seized “hundreds of thousands” of captagon pills in the southern province of Daraa, the official SANA news agency said, citing a security source.

“The drugs were to be smuggled abroad via the Jordan border,” SANA said, without specifying the intended destination.

It said some arrests were made amid ongoing attempts to clamp down on remaining members of the smuggling network.

Captagon was one of the brand names for the amphetamine-type stimulant fenethylline and continues to be manufactured, mostly in Lebanon and Syria, for illegal recreational use, mostly in Saudi Arabia.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2021/12/11/Authorities-seize-captagon-shipments-in-Lebanon-Syria-destined-for-Saudi-Arabia

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Abu Dhabi's Mubadala says investing in crypto ecosystem: Report

13 December ,2021

Abu Dhabi state fund Mubadala has invested in the ecosystem around cryptocurrencies, such as block-chain technology, given the increase in the digital currency's market value, its CEO Khaldoon al-Mubarak told CNBC in an interview.

“I think, you know, this is a business that had, what $200 billion worth of crypto value two years ago, and it's two and a half trillion dollars today and growing,” Mubarak said.

“So I think while many people are sceptics, I don't fall in that category.”

Mubadala has $243 billion in assets.

For the latest headlines, follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

Mubarak did not give any indication of how much the fund would spend, but said the focus was on the related infrastructure.

“From our perspective, I think we look at the ecosystem around crypto. And I think we are investing in that ecosystem. That could be that's in the block-chain technology, energy usage, etc.,” he said.

The rapid growth of cryptocurrencies and in particular stablecoins - digital assets pegged to traditional currencies - has caught the attention of regulators that fear they could put the financial system at risk if not properly monitored.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/business/technology/2021/12/13/Abu-Dhabi-s-Mubadala-says-investing-in-crypto-ecosystem-Report

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In first, UAE team to participate in Israeli-hosted football tournament

11.12.2021

In a historic first under a controversial normalization deal, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) youth football team is set to play a friendly against Israel in a winter tournament on Sunday.

Organized and hosted by Israel, the tournament is set to start on Dec. 12 and will see the participation of the Russian and German youth teams.

“The UAE youth team landed at Israel and was warmly received by the CEO of the Israel Football Association (IFA), Yossi Sharabi,” the IFA said in Twitter on Friday.

The UAE Football Association (UAEFA) said the Gulf state’s participation in the tournament follows an agreement signed between the UAE and Israeli federations in December 2020 in Dubai.

It will be the first time an Emirati football team visits Israel, a development following Abu Dhabi and Tel Aviv signing a controversial US-sponsored agreement to normalize their diplomatic relations last year.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/in-first-uae-team-to-participate-in-israeli-hosted-football-tournament/2444925

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North America


US bill drops negative references to Pakistan

Anwar Iqbal

December 13, 2021

WASHINGTON: The US House of Representatives has dropped all references to Pakistan from a bill that sought to blame the country for enabling the Taliban to capture Kabul in August this year.

But this comes with a negative development too. Last week’s tragic death of a Sri Lankan factory manager in Sialkot seems to have increased concerns about the security situation in the country as the Americans become more secretive about official US visits to Pakistan.

The original text of the US National Defence Act for 2022 required the US secretaries of defence and state to certify before a relevant Congress committee that providing “covered support” to Pakistan was in the national security interest of the United States.

The amended version changed the text by striking off “Pakistan” and inserting “any country in the near abroad of Afghanistan”. Another reference in the original text sought to determine Pakistan’s role in Taliban’s surprising victory in Kabul. The amended text does not mention this reference either.

The act, however, retains a condition to probe the cause and effects of the US withdrawal. It suggests forming a commission to do so, with the authority to review the role played by Afghanistan’s immediate and distant neighbours.

Another indication of continued US interest in maintaining, at least, a working relationship with Pakistan came earlier this week when the Biden administration invited Islamabad to its first-ever democracy summit, held in Washington on Dec 9 and 10.

Commenting on the invitation, an influential Washington think-tank, Brookings Institution, cited two reasons for inviting Pakistan and not inviting Bangladesh, “which scores slightly higher” on the US democracy index.

“Since 2015, Pakistan’s score has improved slightly, while Bangladesh has worsened,” and another likely factor was the US “desire to balance India’s inclusion with a regional, if aspiring, democratic rival,” the report added. While India ranks in the middle tier of the index, its “scores on constraints on government powers, absence of corruption, and fundamental rights have significantly decreased” from 2020 to 2021, Brookings explained.

The negative impact on Pakistan’s image came from the lynching of Sri Lankan factory manager Priyantha Kumar on Dec 3.

Soon after the incident, a US Senate delegation visited Pakistan.

The delegation — which included Senators Angus King, Richard Burr, John Cornyn and Benjamin Sasse — met Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday and expressed the desire to maintain friendly relations with Pakistan.

But the news of their arrival, and meetings in Islamabad, was released after the delegation’s departure, apparently on US instructions.

The United States and other Western nations have had concerns about Pakistan since the 9/11 attacks in America. But Washington had slowly become less strict with the restrictions.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1663469/us-bill-drops-negative-references-to-pakistan

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US military claims end of Iraq combat role but keeps 2500 troops

12 December 2021

The US military has claimed the end of its combat operations across Iraq under the terms of an earlier agreement with Baghdad, but added that thousands of its troops will remain in the Arab nation as “advisers.”

"This is the natural evolution," Pentagon spokesman John Kirby boasted recently after the purported change of the American military’s role was finalized at the conclusion of technical talks between officials of both countries.

Kirby insisted, however, that the change will not result in any immediate change to the laydown and number of US forces in Iraq, saying that nearly 2,500 American soldiers still remain in the country and will continue advising and training Iraqi security forces after the “transition” was completed in the past week.

The US-Iraq agreement to pull out all American combat troops from the country by the end of this year was devised back in July following persisting demands by Iraqi lawmakers and community leaders for withdrawal of US forces after their terrorist drone assassination in Baghdad airport of visiting Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani along with other senior Iraqi and Iranian military officials early last year.

US President Joe Biden and Iraq’s Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi declared last summer that the US mission in Iraq will transition from combat to an “advisory” role by the end of the year.

“The delegations decided, following recent technical talks, that the security relationship will fully transition to a training, advising, assisting, and intelligence-sharing role, and that there will be no US forces with a combat role in Iraq by December 31, 2021,” Baghdad and Washington said in a joint statement on July 26.

The agreement, which has effectively given a mere new name to the US military presence in Iraq, has enraged Iraqi resistance groups, which have played a significant role in defeating the Daesh terrorist group in Iraq in 2017.

In October, Iraq's anti-terror Kata'ib Hezbollah group said all Iraqi resistance groups and factions will “use all the weapons at their disposal” against American forces in the Arab country if Washington refuses to withdraw its forces despite a parliament’s decision to expel them from Iraq.

Following the announcement about the change of US military mission in Iraq, however, the country’s anti-terror Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba movement fiercely rejected the move and reiterated its determination to continue the struggle to drive out all American occupation forces from their country.

“American forces cannot be identified as anything other than occupiers if they do not withdraw by the end of the current year. We express our support for the groups that are mounting resistance against occupying US forces,” the group's spokesman, Nasr al-Shammari, said in an interview with Lebanon’s al-Mayadeen television news network broadcast on Thursday evening.

Shammari, whose group is part of the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) or Hashd al-Sha’abi, termed retaliatory attacks against US troops in Iraq "a great honor", saying, “We announce an alliance with the groups that are targeting American forces.”

This is while US military officials and observers have expressed fears about the threat posed to the US troops remaining in Iraq from the country’s Shia militia groups, blaming them for persisting drone and rocket attacks on American installations across Iraq and Syria.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2021/12/12/672478/US-military-combat-operations-Iraq-keeps-troops-

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US says held 'productive' talks with Europeans on Iran nuclear deal

11 December 2021

The US State Department has said Secretary of State Antony Blinken held a "productive" meeting with his European counterparts on the nuclear agreement with Iran.

In 2015, six world powers, namely, the US, France, Germany, the UK, Russia and China signed a nuclear deal with Iran known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

However, in 2018, the US under its former president Donald Trump, exited the nuclear deal and began to unilaterally implement what it called a maximum pressure campaign against the Islamic Republic.

On Saturday, a US State Department spokesperson said that Blinken held talks with his German, French and British counterparts regarding the Iran nuclear deal.

"Secretary Blinken had a productive meeting with his E3 counterparts from Germany, France and the UK in Liverpool yesterday. They discussed the JCPOA talks and our way forward," the spokesperson was quoted by Reuters as saying.

Blinken has traveled to the northwest English port city to hold talks over the weekend with his G-7 counterparts.

Meanwhile, Iran's nuclear steps prompted other signatories to enter new talks earlier this year and the meetings resumed in Vienna with the UK, France, Germany, Russia and China on Thursday.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2021/12/11/672461/-US-Secretary-Antony-Blinken-Iran-Nuclear-Deal-JCPOA-

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US House panel approves bill to ban Iran’s military drones amid Vienna talks

11 December 2021

A US House panel has approved a bill to restrict the proliferation of Iran's military drone in the midst of negotiations over the removal of anti-Tehran sanctions in the Austrian capital of Vienna.

In a statement on Friday, Gregory W. Meeks, head of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, announced the passage of the Stop Iranian Drones Act (SIDA), which would impose a ban on the supply, sale or transfer of military drones to or from Iran under US law, by its members.

The SIDA bill, proposed earlier in the week by a group of Republican and Democratic lawmakers in the US House of Representatives, addressed what it claimed to be the growing threat of Iran’s unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) program.

In the statement, Meeks accused Iran of conducting “drone attacks in the Middle East,” and said, “Such activity will not be tolerated by the US Congress and is actively being addressed by the Biden Administration.”

The head of the House Foreign Affairs Committee said, “Our bill clarifies that existing conventional weapons sanctions against Iran include unmanned combat aerial vehicles and brings US code up to date with the UN’s categories of major conventional arms. By doing so, this legislation will allow us to better respond to the threat posed by Iran and its proxies’ aggressive UAV tactics to the US and our partners. This clarification makes clear to the international community that it is in everyone’s interest to work to stop Iranian UAV procurement and production.”

Iranian military experts and technicians have in recent years made great progress in developing and manufacturing a broad range of military equipment, making the armed forces self-sufficient in this regard.

Iran’s military drone capabilities have proved to be purely defensive in the face of aggressive moves by the United States and its regional allies, which have been fomenting chaos and tensions in West Asia and elsewhere.

Iranian officials have repeatedly underscored that the Islamic Republic will not hesitate to build up its defense capabilities, emphasizing such abilities are entirely meant for the purpose of defense and will be never subject to negotiations.

Last month, the Iranian Army intercepted two US unmanned aerial vehicles that had penetrated into the country’s airspace, giving them stern warnings to stay away from the zone where it was holding massive drills.

The ban imposed on the Iranian military drones on Friday comes as since April, Vienna has been hosting negotiations on a revival of the nuclear deal, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which would require the US to remove its anti-Iran sanctions three years after Washington walked out of the JCPOA and slapped the bans on Iran to kill the deal.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2021/12/11/672434/US-House-Stop-Iranian-Drones-Act-

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Europe

 

France's Zemmour calls for defence of Armenia, a ‘Christian’ nation in ‘Islamic ocean’

12 December 2021

Eric Zemmour, far-right candidate for the 2022 French presidential election, called on Sunday to better defend Armenia, a "Christian" nation in the middle of "an Islamic ocean".

During a visit to the monastery of Khor Virap, his first overseas trip as a candidate, Zemmour invoked what he described as a historical clash between Christianity and Islam.

“It is the great confrontation between Christianity and Islam which is reborn today,” he said. “We see it here with a Christian nation, which intends to remain so, in the middle of an Islamic ocean.”

Zemmour delivered the remarks following a Christian mass at the historic monastery located near the border with Turkey.

The 63-year-old presidential candidate for the Reconquete party has been described by some as "France's Trump" because of his hostile rhetoric on migration and Islam.

Upon his arrival at Yerevan airport in Armenia on Saturday, a small group of protesters shouted slogans against Zemmour, describing him as a racist, and some held up signs in French that read, “Not welcome, Eric Zemmour”.

The majority Christian Armenia and its predominantly Muslim neighbour Azerbaijan fought a short but bloody war last year for control over the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh, leaving 6,500 people dead.

The defeated Armenia was forced to agree a ceasefire and cede several Azerbaijani regions it controlled around this separatist region.

Since then, tensions have remained high and several incidents have raised fears of a resumption of fighting. France has repeatedly called for respect for the ceasefire.

However, this conflict between Baku, supported by Turkey, and Yerevan, which is part of an alliance led by Russia, has never taken on a religious tinge, with Azerbaijan being one of the most secular countries in the world.

"We have seen French people who fail in their duty because they talk but they do not really defend Armenia," said Zemmour.

Armenian genocide memorial

Zemmour is also scheduled to visit the Armenian genocide memorial near Yerevan.

France, home to a sizeable Armenian diaspora, is among some 30 countries that recognise the mass killings of Armenians during the First World War as "genocide".

An estimated 1.5 million Armenians were killed in Ottoman-controlled territory between 1915 and 1923, the majority before 1919, through systematic deportations, starvation and murder.

Source: Middle East Eye

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

https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/france-zemmour-armenia-christian-nation-islamic-ocean

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Turkey stresses support for sovereignty, territorial integrity of Bosnia

Burak Dag and Talha Ozturk 

12.12.2021

BELGRADE, Serbia

Turkey has underlined its determination to strongly support the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

It stressed this support after the National Assembly of Republika Srpska, one of Bosnia-Herzegovina's two entities, took decisions at an extraordinary session widely seen as moves towards secession.

"Turkey sees the decisions of the National Assembly of Republika Srpska as harmful to the constitutional and legal framework and detrimental to the peaceful and prosperous future of the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina," Tanju Bilgic, Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman, said late Saturday.

Bilgic said the decisions are also a challenge to the peace and stability of the Balkans and all of Europe.

"We will continue to strive, together with the international community, for Bosnia and Herzegovina to return to its real agenda, on the path of economic development, as soon as possible. With this understanding, we call on those who will bear the responsibility of harming peace and prosperity to abide by the constitutional and legal framework and resort to dialogue instead of unilateral actions," he added.

The moves were also criticized by European politicians.

In the session, the parliament of Republika Srpska decided to draft a new constitution, and proposed Banja Luka become Republika Srpska’s new capital.

It also moved to bring the powers of legislation and regulations governing the security, defense, tax administration, and judicial system to Republika Srpska.

Officials from the Democratic Action Party (SDA) officials called the moves a direct attack on the 1995 Dayton peace accords – which ended the 1992-95 Bosnian war – with serious repercussions.

Christian Schmidt, the high representative of Bosnia-Herzegovina, urged Serbian politicians to reverse their decisions.

"Serbian politicians should stay away from decisions that would be disastrous for Republika Srpska," he said in a statement.

The Croat and Bosniak members of the presidential council of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Zeljko Komsic and Sefik Dzaferovic, asked prosecutors to initiate necessary legal proceedings against those who are linked to the decisions taken in the Republika Srpska parliament.

Political dispute in Bosnia-Herzegovina

Bosnia-Herzegovina is currently embroiled in a political conflict between Bosniaks and Serbs living in the country.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/turkey-stresses-support-for-sovereignty-territorial-integrity-of-bosnia/2445542

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Bosnia's dissolution inevitable if issues cannot be solved: Serb leader

Talha Ozturk  

11.12.2021

BELGRADE, Serbia

A Serbian member of Bosnia-Herzegovina's joint presidency has warned that Republika Srpska will leave the country if the government fails to resolve the challenging political situation.

"It is inevitable that Bosnia and Herzegovina will break up and Republika Srpska would leave the country if we cannot overcome the difficult situations we are in," Milorad Dodik, the Serb member of the Bosnia's presidential council, warned on Friday.

The National Assembly of Republika Srpska, one of Bosnia-Herzegovina's two entities, convened an extraordinary session in Banja Luka, the administrative capital.

"The Republic of Serbia will not take military measures and if it comes under military attack, it will fight to resolve it by political means," he added.

"We will only continue our path through political means. Just because we lack military might does not imply that we have lost. I reject war," Dodik said during the session, and reiterated, "I call on this assembly to reject the war."

During the session, it was decided to draft a new Constitution, with Banja Luka proposed to become the capital of Republika Srpska.

In addition, within six months, the government of Republika Srpska must create legislation and regulations governing the security, defense, tax administration, and judicial system.

Meanwhile, members of the opposition walked out of the conference, claiming that Dodik's speech was a "pure election campaign."

The Democratic Action Party (SDA) officials said the resolutions being debated in the Republika Srpska parliament are a direct attack on the Dayton peace accord, with serious repercussions.

Christian Schmidt, the high representative of Bosnia-Herzegovina, urged Serbian politicians to reverse their decisions.

"Serbian politicians should stay away from decisions that would be disastrous for Republika Srpska," he said in a statement.

The Croat and Bosniak members of the presidential council of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Zeljko Komsic and Sefik Dzaferovic, asked prosecutors to initiate necessary legal proceedings against those who are linked to the decisions taken in the Republika Srpska entity assembly.

Political dispute in Bosnia-Herzegovina

Bosnia-Herzegovina is currently embroiled in a political conflict between Bosniaks and Serbs living in the country.

The dispute erupted after Valentin Inzko, former high representative for Bosnia-Herzegovina, amended the criminal code in July to ban the denial of genocide and the glorification of war criminals.

In response, Bosnian Serb lawmakers said that they would boycott the country's institutions.

Dodik denounced the amendments. "We will not live in a country where someone can impose a law by simply publishing it on his website."

The Serb politician, who denied all legal changes enacted by the Office of the High Representative, pledged to take drastic measures in the army, judiciary and tax systems if the Dayton Agreement, which ended the 1992-95 Bosnian war, did not return in its entirety.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/bosnias-dissolution-inevitable-if-issues-cannot-be-solved-serb-leader/2445176

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Pakistan

 

Trial In Killing Of Priyantha Kumara, A Lankan Man To Be Conducted On Daily Basis

December 12, 2021

LAHORE: The government of Punjab has decided to conduct the trial pertaining to the mob killing of Priyantha Kumara, a Sri Lankan factory manager in Sialkot, on a daily basis, Gulf News reported.

In a meeting of the cabinet committee on law and order, Law Minister Basharat Raja, who was presided over the sitting, directed the investigators to file the case challan in court within 14 days.

The prosecution was also directed to set up a special cell to monitor the case trial. The meeting was attended by all the regional police officers (RPOs) and commissioners of the province via video link.

The Gujranwala RPO gave a detailed briefing on progress regarding the arrest of those still at large and assured the remaining accused would also be apprehended shortly.

The committee also considered holding the trial of the suspects inside the prison.

A delegation of the Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan (SCBAP) a day earlier visited the Sri Lankan High Commissioner Mohan Wijewickrama to pay condolences. The delegation was led by Senator Syed Ali Zafar.

Zafar said the nation as well as the entire legal fraternity are deeply saddened and horrified and expressed solidarity with the Sri Lankan people and the family of the deceased and strongly condemned the killing of Priyantha at the hands of the mob.

He also reiterated the unequivocal message of Prime Minister Imran Khan that there would be a zero-tolerance policy for such incidents in Pakistan.

Source: Pakistan Today

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

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2021/12/12/trial-in-killing-of-lankan-man-to-be-conducted-on-daily-basis/

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In first attack since end of truce, TTP fighters kill cop on polio duty

Dec 12, 2021

Gunmen attacked two police officers who were providing security for polio vaccination workers in Pakistan’s restive Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, killing one and wounding the other, police said on Saturday, days after a terror group announced that it has ended a month-long ceasefire deal with the government.

Mohammad Khurasani, spokesman for Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the attack. It was the first attack since the TTP on Thursday announced the end of a onemonth cease-fire with the government. The truce had been announced in November amid peace talks between the two sides. The TTP has been targeting vaccination drives in Pakistan, claiming it was a Western conspiracy to sterilise children.

Source: Times of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/in-first-attack-since-end-of-truce-ttp-fighters-kill-cop-on-polio-duty/articleshow/88232529.cms

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Simultaneous scrutiny of parties’ funding sought

Mansoor Malik

December 13, 2021

LAHORE: The PTI government has called upon the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to simultaneously scrutinise the funding sources of three major political parties of the country — Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and Pakistan Peoples Party — and make them public.

In the second phase, the ECP should do the same for the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), Jamaat-i-Islami and Jamiat Ulema Islam (JUI-F).

The demands were made by federal Information and Broadcasting Minister Fawad Chaudhry and Minister of State for Information Farrukh Habib at a news conference at the Governor House on Sunday.

“Making ECP-registered political parties’ accounts scrutinised honestly and without any discrimination is mandatory for the commission as advised by the Supreme Court in the Hanif Abbasi case of 2016,” said the state minister.

The information minister said the incumbent government wanted that the funding sources of all political parties, registered with the ECP, should be open for all. Mr Chaudhry also gave some examples of huge amounts transferred to the PML-N and PPP accounts without disclosure about any sources.

Minister says ECP can complete in two months the process to ensure use of EVMs in next polls

He alleged that the PML-N leadership used its party account to whiten their ill-gotten money. “The PTI will continue pursuing this case since it is a complainant against the PML-N and PPP,” he added.

Mr Chaudhry said the PPP’s funds record for the years 2009-12 was not available and depositing of Rs420 million in a newly opened account in 2013 also lacked information about the funding sources.

He said that the PPP had got its company registered in the United States for which former ambassador to the US Hussain Haqqani had raised funds. There was no record of millions of dollars collected in the fundraising campaign, he added.

Farrukh Habib said the PTI had introduced a system of acknowledging its donors and the party had submitted 22 volumes of record of its 40,000 donors to the ECP. He said the commission had constituted a committee in 2017 to scrutinise the accounts of the PML-N and PPP but failed to conclude the exercise so far.

Mr Habib said the PML-N had nothing to say about its funding sources, adding that former premier Benazir Bhutto had written in her book that Nawaz Sharif had taken money to topple the PPP government. He also said the PML-N had got its party registered in the United Kingdom and the PPP in the United States.

Fawad Chaudhry said democracy would strengthen when political parties would have their own structures and funding system. He regretted that many extremist parties had got registered with the ECP and they had never given any detail of their funding sources.

“This is very serious issue and needs to be handled with care,” he said, adding: “There has been an objection that the JUI-F continues getting foreign funding, while there is no information about the funding sources of TLP,” Mr Chaudhry observed.

The minister, meanwhile, objected to the ‘threats’ hurled by Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah and asserted that he should refrain from criticising the federation. “Mr Shah is not ashamed of carrying Faryal Talpur’s purse but always remains ready to hurl threats of breaking Pakistan,” he said.

Punjab LG law, EVMs

Mr Chaudhry praised Punjab for finalising the Punjab Local Government Act (PLGA) 2021 that would devolve powers and resources to grassroots level and create an empowered government. Under the new law, he said, mayors would be elected through direct election in every district of the province and they would nominate their cabinets.

He said every mayor in a district would literally be a chief minister and all the funds sent to the provinces would ultimately reach the respective districts. “Prime Minister Imran Khan has fulfilled his promise of empowering local governments at grassroots level despite opposition from within the party,” he said.

Referring to a statement that the upcoming local government elections could not held by using electronic voting machines, the information minister asserted that these could be held by using EVMs by all means. “The ECP should issue a tender and the companies from all over the world would bid and it [commission] could select, purchase and use them in elections,” he said, adding that this process could easily be completed in just two months.

Stating that the ECP should take this matter a bit seriously, Mr Chaudhry acknowledged that the commission had constituted a committee and was heading towards the use of EVMs. In the upcoming LG elections, he said, all political parties would get a chance to show their muscles. He said PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari had destroyed the party and it would not even be able to get candidates in the next elections.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1663462

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PM Imran assures Gwadar protesters of action against illegal fishing

Saleem Shahid | Syed Irfan Raza

December 13, 2021

ISLAMABAD / QUETTA: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday said that demands of the coastal community of Gwadar were ‘very legitimate’ and announced that he would take up the matter with Balochistan Chief Minister Mir Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo.

The intervention by Prime Min­ister Khan came nearly a month after the Gwadar fishermen took to the streets to press the government for their dem­ands including halt to illegal fishing.

Mr Khan vowed to take ‘strong’ action against illegal fishing by trawlers. “I have taken notice of the very legitimate demands of hardworking fishermen of Gwa­dar. Will be taking strong action against illegal fishing by trawlers and will speak to CM Balochistan,” the premier tweeted.

While both CM Bizenjo and leader of the Gwadar protest movement Maulana Hidayatur Rehman hailed the PM’s tweet, the latter pointed out that the real issue was fulfillment of promises.

A senator belonging to the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), meanwhile, told the state-run TV channel that some demands of the local fishermen were unacceptable. “If some of these demands are met, the government will have to provide such facilities to all people of the country,” Senator Abdul Qadir, who hails from Balochistan, said.

Fishermen in large numbers along with women and children have been protesting on the shores of Gwadar for past 28 days to press the relevant authorities for elimination of illegal fishing by trawlers, removal of Gwadar Development Authority director general as well as Pasni’s deputy commissioners and assistant commissioner, cross-border trade with Iran, provision of clean drinking water, closure of wine shops, jobs, job quota for disabled and free 300 units of electricity.

Led by Maulana Hidayatur Rehman, Balochistan gen­­eral secretary of the Ja­­m­a­at-i-Islami, the protesters have vowed to continue their protest till the achievement of their ‘rights’. They blocked roads and other places by holding rallies and staging a sit-in.

Adviser to the CM on Home and Tribal Affairs Mir Ziaullah Langau told a PTV show that the Balochistan government had already fulfilled most of their 19 demands and vowed to take stern action against what he called “illegal trawlers mafia”.

Regarding one of the three remaining complaints, the CM’s aide said Maulana Rehman had recently admitted during a meeting that illegal fishing by trawlers had ‘declined’ though at the same time he feared a resurge in the activity if the protesters ended their sit-in.

About their boats and vehicles that had been confiscated under the Customs Act, the adviser said he had informed the protesters that it was an act of the federal government and was “out of the domain of Balochistan government”.

Speaking to Dawn, PTI Senator Abdul Qadir said some of their demands were ‘unacceptable’. “If some of these demands are met, the government will have to provide such facilities to all people of the country. For example, fishermen are demanding free 300 units of electricity, cross-border trade with Iran and use of non-custom duty paid cars,” he said before adding that people of Gwadar already enjoyed those facilities which were unavailable to those residing in other parts of Balochistan.

The senator said some ‘anti-state’ elements were provoking the fisherman against the government in order to create unrest in the port city.

The Gwadar rights movement leader also lauded the tweet of PM Khan saying: “We are not stubborn and believe in solution of the issues” though the prime minister took notice of the demands after their protest entered 28th day. He said the protest would continue as the people awaited practical steps to meet all the demands, which were very much legitimate.

He said the PM did not talk about some other important issues including opening of border, power and water issues and return of the confiscated boats and vehicles.

Despite official notifications issued by the provincial government, no step had been taken to fulfill those promises, he said. “We want implementation as our people are deprived of their livelihoods due to the restrictions,” he said.

Maulana Rehman had earlier said the protest would continue until the acceptance of two major demands — action against ‘trawler mafia’ and cross-border trade with Iran — out of the 19 demands.

While hailing the assurance given by the prime minister, CM Bizenjo said the assurance was encouraging. He claimed that the steps demanded by the Gwadar rights movement, which came under the purview of the provincial government, were already being implemented as per its policy.

“Relevant provincial departments are ensuring prevention of illegal fishing and trawling,” he said, adding that unnecessary checkpoints and token system for border trade had already been abolished. He said licences of wine shops had been canceled in Gwadar and funds had been released for urgent solution to the drinking water problems as well as for the Gwadar old city development plan.

“Some other demands, including electricity, are related to the federal government,” the CM said, expressing the hope that the demands related to the federation would also be resolved with better coordination between relevant departments and agencies to curb illegal trawling.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1663467/pm-imran-assures-gwadar-protesters-of-action-against-illegal-fishing

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Pakistan snubbed US democracy summit to please China

By FM SHAKIL

DECEMBER 13, 2021

PESHAWAR – Pakistan gave the US-sponsored virtual “Summit for Democracy” a miss after remaining ambivalent for days about joining the event in official fear of annoying its all-weather strategic ally China and thereby potentially jeopardizing over US$60 billion worth of Chinese investment in the country.

Pakistan’s foreign office did not explicitly announce that Prime Minister Imran Khan’s elected government turned down the US invitation but media reports indicate that’s what happened, likely under Beijing’s pressure.

China reportedly contacted Pakistani authorities in the two weeks before the summit to lobby them against participating. Days after Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi had a late-night telephone conversation with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi, Pakistan officially decided to skip the summit.

As Pakistan’s Foreign Office announced the decision, official circles in Islamabad were reportedly worried that Washington would be irked by the snub, though no official US statement was made on Pakistan’s non-participation.

Pakistan’s Foreign Office said in a statement:

“We remain deeply committed to further deepening democracy, fighting corruption, and protecting and promoting the human rights of all citizens. We value our partnership with the US, which we wish to expand both bilaterally as well as in terms of regional and international cooperation. We remain in contact with the US on a range of issues and believe that we can engage on this subject at an opportune time in the future. Pakistan will, meanwhile, continue to support all efforts aimed towards strengthening dialogue, constructive engagement, and international cooperation for the advancement of our shared goals.”

Last week, Pakistan Prime Minister Khan referred to the US democracy summit overture as a “Cold-War approach”, claiming that Pakistan did not want to be a part of any political bloc in the region but instead wanted to play a role in bridging the gaps between the US and China. However, Khan’s assertions did not allay fears that Pakistan virtually lent support to the Chinese bloc by skipping the US confab.

Mushahid Hussain Sayed, a Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz senator, told told Asia Times that the government took the right decision to skip the event. He said that the government wanted to send a message to the US not to take Pakistan for granted and treat it with the respect it deserves given the help Islamabad delivered for the US in Afghanistan – a view not shared by all in Washington.

He said the Biden administration’s attitude towards Pakistan has been either cold or hostile and often demeaning, including when US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman visited India in October but snubbed visiting Islamabad. Mushahid noted the US has not put forward any forward-looking proposals for bilateral relations, opting instead to blame Pakistan for its failures in Afghanistan.

“In my view, there were reasons for skipping the summit…Instead of thanking Pakistan for evacuating its citizens and assets out of Afghanistan – the CIA chief visited personally to Islamabad for that purpose – the US continued to scapegoat Pakistan, taking scant regard to its policy failures on Afghanistan,” Mushahid added.

China was the first to support Islamabad’s decision to snub the virtual summit meeting. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson and Director General Information Department Lijian Zhao wrote in a tweet: “Pakistan declined to attend democracy summit. A real iron brother! The people who sustain the worst losses are usually those who overreach, including all those who think they are calculating enough to play the “Taiwan card.”

The Biden administration peeved China by inviting Taiwan, which Beijing considers a renegade province rather than a self-governing country, to the democracy event.

Mushahid believes that the summit was not really about democracy promotion but rather played the democracy card to isolate China and Russia. “The summit was using the banner of democracy but the agenda was an ideological Cold War perspective to promote an anti-China conclave,” he said.

“We know the US reaction in the past when Pakistan took decisions contrary to Washington’s desires. It happened on our China policy under Ayub Khan in the 1960s or the nuclear program under Bhutto in the 70s or Mian Nawaz Sharif testing the nuclear Bomb in 1998. [But] whenever Pakistan faced US sanctions, we came out better in the end,”

He recalled that in the 1960s, following US sanctions, Pakistan started an indigenous defense production program and in 1990 after the Pressler Amendment, the country built its own nuclear capability. “In any case, the US should know that the road to peace, security and stability in the region lies via Islamabad and for the US in the region, Pakistan is the only game in town,” he added.

Source: Asia Times

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

https://asiatimes.com/2021/12/pakistan-snubbed-us-democracy-summit-to-please-china/

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Southeast Asia

 

Mahathir criticises overreach by shariah authorities

December 12, 2021

PETALING JAYA: Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad has criticised the shariah system, arguing in his memoir that shariah courts and religious authorities have subjected non-Muslims to their jurisdiction in certain cases.

“Although Malaysian shariah law states that the shariah court only has jurisdiction over Muslims, religious authorities and the shariah courts have subjected non-Muslim spouses to their jurisdiction as well,” he said, referring to several contentious custody battles involving conversion of children to Islam.

“We are still unable to solve the complex problems arising from the overlapping jurisdictions when common law says one thing and shariah law says another.”

In his book, Capturing Hope: The Struggle Continues for a New Malaysia, which was officially launched today, Mahathir also criticised some actions of the religious authorities, saying it seemed they had exceeded their powers under the law.

He added that forcing shariah law on believers of other faiths was likely to cause protests, resistance and instability, calling it “an action abhorrent in the Quran” and “constitutionally impossible”.

He said the Quran stated an individual should not be forced to accept a religion or belief against his or her will.

Mahathir also cited protection for others to profess their own faith in the Constitution under Article 3(1), which states other religions can be practised freely.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2021/12/12/mahathir-criticises-overreach-by-shariah-authorities/?__cf_chl_jschl_tk__=MpMe10KGztqPOz9gM9qafFCGRUK9Cf3hP..Zd6EjZQk-1639382078-0-gaNycGzNC-U

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Umno can ensure secularism, linking with Amanah and DAP

K. Parkaran

December 13, 2021

Recent flip-flops by the federal government on matters involving non-Muslim liberties have led to some people accusing it of playing the “good cop, bad cop” game.

The issue of reversing its stand of asking the manufacturers of Timah whisky to do a name change was one among them.

Here, domestic trade and consumer affairs minister Alexander Nanta Linggi, a Sarawakian Christian, was seen as the hero by settling the matter in a most amicable manner, when it was not an issue in the first place. Level heads prevailed despite PAS’ stand on the matter.

Then came the finance ministry’s new regulation on alcohol sale and licensing fees which saw a barrage of protests from non-Muslims. It was not because all of them were alcoholics, but most felt that if allowed, the ruling could be the start of authorities infringing on the rights of non-Muslims in a constitutionally secular country.

In came MCA’s Wee Ka Siong, sounding like a knight in shining armour, making an announcement that the Customs department, which is under the finance ministry, would cancel the order. It’s obvious why the government tasked Wee with making the announcement when he was only the transport minister. Of course it was to score points with the Chinese community.

Then there is this current imbroglio on not allowing Thaipusam processions when huge Keluarga Malaysia gatherings were taking place in a seemingly uncontrolled manner. Even MIC deputy president M Saravanan, who is human resources minister, in a rare move took his government to task over this.

Can we expect another about-turn? Maybe Saravanan will be tasked to make the announcement that the Keluarga Malaysia government now listens to its family members and will rescind the decision for the celebration on Jan 18 next year?

Last week in Parliament, a PAS backbencher claimed the uniforms worn by MAS stewardesses was too revealing.

This subject, and a few other related ones, seem to surface on and off, especially when elections loom. Perhaps the MP should question if there is mismanagement in the national carrier that resulted in colossal losses instead of talking about attire which covers most parts of the stewardesses’ bodies anyway.

Well, with the next general election (GE15) looming, we can expect more of these kinds of flip-flops, and back to some “flop-flips” perhaps months after the election, going by past actions.

Are we seeing a silent battle between Umno and PAS, both trying to outdo each other on who’s more Islamic? Here, PAS and Bersatu are openly advocating for a huge Malay-Muslim majority to lead the country while Barisan Nasional, with its non-Malay component parties MCA and MIC, seems to be taking a more moderate stand of late.

Pakatan Harapan, on the other hand, is struggling with its image as a truly multiracial coalition as it is facing an uphill battle making Malays accept its secular approach, especially with how the strongest partner, DAP, has been demonised by PAS and Bersatu, and Umno before that.

In this context, some political observers are of the view that Umno has a key role in ‘taming’ PAS through the Muafakat Nasional platform so that pluralism becomes the only way Malaysia should go if it hopes to claw its way back to become the economic tiger it once was in Asia. Malaysia is way behind many countries, even in the Southeast Asian region.

Last week, the United Arab Emirates announced some big changes to fit into the global structure which is mainly secular, by transitioning to a 4.5-day work week, with weekends to consist of Friday afternoon, Saturday and Sunday.

That’s significant because the Muslim country wants to be more in line with Western schedules. Up until now, the UAE had a Friday-Saturday weekend, the standard in many predominantly Muslim countries.

“The extended weekend comes as part of the UAE government’s efforts to boost work-life balance and enhance social well-being, while increasing performance to advance its economic competitiveness,” the government declared.

Malaysia was founded on the precepts of secularism, but decades of heavily influenced race and religious politics, coupled with blatant social engineering has led to the huge split among Malaysians, which is still widening.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/opinion/2021/12/13/umno-can-ensure-secularism-linking-with-amanah-and-dap/?__cf_chl_jschl_tk__=FAQMNHR.VKQPzO.UpoexnAXH13CKkNWn1c1XtoVVK2U-1639382084-0-gaNycGzNCpE

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Dr M says wasn’t forced to make Guan Eng finance minister, needed his skills to deal with Najib’s financial mess

12 Dec 2021

BY G. PRAKASH

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 12 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has revealed that the appointment of Lim Guan Eng as finance minister after he became the prime minister for the second time was purely because he was confident in the latter’s ability to perform well.

Dr Mahathir said he initially did not expect any trouble over the appointment but the Opposition at that time seized on it to accuse him of being controlled by DAP.

In his latest book titled Capturing Hope: The Struggle Continues For A New Malaysia, Dr Mahathir told his version of the events that led to the abrupt collapse of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government he led in the aftermath of the landmark 14th General Election in 2018.

“I had confidence in Guan Eng’s ability to perform well — after all, he strengthened the finances of the state of Penang when he was chief minister and this was a skill we badly needed in order to deal with the financial problems created by Najib’s government.

“The allegation that I was being controlled by DAP was played up by Umno so relentlessly that I was unable to counter them,” he wrote.

He said that despite his arguments, Umno, which was the Opposition at the time, latched on to the idea that the government had somehow come under “Chinese” control.

“It’s a deeply racist and insecure idea but it was a key part of their strategy to undermine the government. No matter how we explained ourselves, they would repeat that Malaysia needed a Malay-Muslim government, and that the DAP was anti-Muslim and intended to destroy the Malays, and so forth.

“This was all propaganda, and it came from the side that lost the general election, but Malaysians who are not very knowledgeable about politics tend to swallow this hook, line and sinker,” he wrote.

He said Umno “cybertroopers” worked hard at encouraging the idea that DAP was becoming too powerful.

He said within months of his first year as the eighth prime minister, rumours were being circulated that Lim was dominating the government and controlling him.

“This was patently untrue. Like everyone else, Guan Eng listened to the views of others, and there was no way to impose his will on the Cabinet.

“Guan Eng was a very senior minister but he was also a member of a five-party Cabinet. The DAP won 42 seats at the general election and they had six Cabinet portfolios. Bersatu won 13 seats and we also had six ministers, one of whom was the prime minister and another was minister of home affairs.

“DAP never questioned me on this division, and to say that I was under the control of the DAP was a complete lie. For the most part, Guan Eng always referred to me and sought my approval on almost all his initiatives. In fact, even in Cabinet meetings, every time he proposed something, he would end it by saying ‘if the prime minister agrees,’” he said.

Dr Mahathir said when Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Umno started playing up the fear that DAP would somehow “destroy the Malays”, it resonated with the community as, for many years, people in Umno had claimed that DAP was the enemy.

“DAP members were communists, pro-Chinese chauvinists, and so forth, and now they were in the Government: of course, they were planning to destroy the Malays — so it was claimed.

“This kind of thinking is credible where the Malays are concerned, but the DAP was never in control of the Pakatan Harapan government, and was never out to destroy anyone.

“The DAP could not do anything without the consent of the Cabinet. They would put up a paper in the Cabinet, and we would debate. The Cabinet rejected many of their suggestions, which is the usual business of government,” he wrote.

Dr Mahathir said it is common and normal in Malaysia for each race to look after itself.

For example, he said the Chinese community will continue to demand that Chinese schools be maintained and that the Chinese language be used, and even to the point of inviting only Chinese-speaking people to apply for jobs.

Source: Malay Mail

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

https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2021/12/12/dr-m-says-wasnt-forced-to-make-guan-eng-finance-minister-needed-his-skills/2027773

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Mideast

 

Iran’s Chief Negotiator: Vienna Talks Progressing in Serious Atmosphere

2021-December-12

Baqeri Kani said that he is optimistic about reaching agreement; however, the country will surely not be simple-minded as "our people" have the bad experience of the other side('s disloyalty). 

The atmosphere within the talks is based on mutual respect and very serious, he added.

Baqeri Kani went on to say that each side should defend its stance and give its reasons.

As he stressed, no approach has been seen as interruption to the talks.

The deputy foreign minister said that full and comprehensive agreement has not been reached on many parts.

For instance, the two have reached agreement on the part of nuclear activities; meanwhile, some related issues had remained from the sixth round of talks about which the two have to continue negotiations, he noted.

At the end of the sixth round of talks in Vienna, removal of the sanctions, nuclear activities, and some other issues remained unresolved, and if any question remains unsolved during the fresh talks, it will be added to the previous ones, Baqeri Kani underlined.

Asked about the possibility of reaching an agreement, the top negotiator said the talks should proceed and the two sides should direct the talks to a result and agreement.

About the meetings between the two sides, he said the two sides will negotiate continuously based on the documents exchanged between them.

Iran and the five remaining parties (Russia, China, Britain and France plus Germany) to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) began the talks in the Austrian capital in April with the aim of removing Washington’s unlawful sanctions after the US voiced interest to return to the agreement.

Last week’s discussions followed a five-month hiatus that saw President Rayeesi come to office and Iran send a new team of negotiators to Vienna.

The fresh round of talks between the two sides started on Thursday.

Iran wants all sanctions imposed by Washington after it left the deal to be removed in a verifiable process.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian underlined Iran’s resolve to reach a “good agreement”, saying the Western sides have talked the talk in recent years but it is high time they walk the walk as well to secure a serious, good deal.

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14000921000410/Iran%E2%80%99s-Chief-Negiar-Vienna-Talks-Prgressing-in-Seris-Amsphere

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Iran warns of ‘heavy price’ after report of US-Israeli military drill plans

11 December ,2021

A top Iranian military official warned on Saturday of a “heavy price” for aggressors, state media said, after a report of US and Israeli plans for possible military drills to prepare for strikes against Iran’s nuclear sites if diplomacy fails.

“Providing conditions for military commanders to test Iranian missiles with real targets will cost the aggressors a heavy price,” Nournews, affiliated with Iran’s top security body, said on Twitter, citing an unnamed military official.

For the latest headlines, follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2021/12/11/Iran-warns-of-heavy-price-after-report-of-US-Israeli-military-drill-plans

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Turkey not yet ready to give up on Muslim Brotherhood

Pinar Tremblay

13.12.2021

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has often said that he wants to reconcile with the Gulf countries, Egypt and Israel. On Dec 7, Erdogan reiterated that better relations with Israel would benefit the regional peace.

But all these countries would like Ankara to curb its enthusiasm for the Muslium Brotherhood (MB), a global organization with different groups and political entities under its broad umbrella. MB has been declared a terrorist organization in countries such as Egypt, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Russia, UAE and Syria. Turkey has become a hub for exiled MB members after the Arab Spring. And today as Turkey wants to rebuild relations in the region, its support for MB is a major issue.

Since 2013, Qatar and Turkey have emerged as main supporters of MB. Unlike  Qatar, whose support was mostly financial, Ankara’s relations are multilayered and complex. Reports have emerged that Israel has asked Turkey to close Hamas offices in Istanbul. But a senior bureaucrat, speaking on condition of anonymity in Ankara, told Al Monitor, “This is not even an option open for negotiation for us.”

In Turkey, MB has domestic support and organic growth. Erdogan’s pragmatism is well known, but on MB issues over the last two decades his support has not wavered.

But Turkey’s foreign policy options in the Middle East are dwindling. Ankara wants to break its isolated stand. Erdogan’s need for higher domestic approval compels him to speak more amicably about different Middle Eastern rivals.

Turkey’s bargaining chips are scarce, and its support for MB is probably one of the few that still matters. But although it may be willing to agree to curb activities of certain MB opposition voices, for Ankara it is too soon and too risky to cut off links with MB.

Even if Ankara has the political will to end its support, what would happen to homegrown MB? The senior bureaucrat commented, “If we close Hamas’s offices and expel members of MB, then what will be the next demand, shut down IHH and others and prosecute them?

MB’s reach is wider than meets the eye. In May 2010, the Mavi Marmara flotilla was raided by Israeli commandos, and 10 Turkish citizens were killed in a mission to end the Gaza blockade. That ship was owned by IHH, Humanitarian Relief Organization, a Turkish Islamist NGO active in over 115 countries. Israel declared IHH a terrorist organization in 2008 because of IHH’s support for Hamas to fund its military activities. Indeed, IHH was under legal scrutiny in the 1990s, before AKP assumed power.

AKP has allowed several Islamic organizations to operate freely, filling in gaps for education and for social and economic aid both at home and abroad. IHH, for instance, is a force to be reckoned with for any politician. At the end of November, four young IHH volunteers lost their lives in a car accident, and their funerals drew condolences for IHH from all political party leaders and different Islamist NGOs.

On Nov. 29, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu tweeted support for Palestine. Yet Turkey’s support for Palestinians is neither unconditional nor for all Palestinians. Since 2019, Turkey has a $700,000 bounty on Mohammed Dahlan, a former Fatah leader who fled to UAE. Dahlan is seen as Hamas’ rival in Gaza. Given Turkey's economic and regional struggles, it would be unrealistic to expect an expansion of support for Hamas, but Ankara is not yet ready to bid Hamas goodbye.

Source: Al Monitor

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

https://www.al-monitor.com/originals/2021/12/turkey-not-yet-ready-give-muslim-brotherhood

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Africa

 

UN Support Mission in Libya encourages all sides to unify state institutions

12 December ,2021

The United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) on Sunday welcomed the meeting that took place between Gen. Abdulrazzak al-Nazouri and Gen. Mohammed al-Hadad in Libya’s Sirt.

“UNSMIL warmly welcomes the meeting that took place on [December 11] between Gen. Abdulrazzak al-Nazouri and Gen. Mohammed al-Hadad in Sirt,” the mission said in a statement shared on Twitter.

Al-Nazouri is the Chief of Staff of the Libyan Armed Forces, who was appointed by the Libyan House of Representatives, while al-Haddad is the Chief of General Staff of the Libyan Army in Tripoli.

“The Mission encourages all sides to take further concrete steps towards unifying state institutions, including military and security institutions,” the statement added.

On Saturday, al-Nazouri said that Libya’s military institution will unite.

“Our responsibility is to protect the homeland and the constitution, and to preserve the military institution,” he said.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2021/12/12/UN-Support-Mission-in-Libya-encourages-all-sides-to-unify-state-institutions

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Al-Shabaab kills 4 African Union peacekeepers in Somalia

Mohammed Dhaysane 

12.12.2021

MOGADISHU, Somalia

Twin blasts targeted Burundian soldiers serving under the African Union peacekeeping mission (AMISOM) in southern Somalia on Saturday, a security official said.

The official, who spoke to Anadolu Agency over the phone on the condition of anonymity due to restrictions on talking to media, said Burundian peacekeepers hit two improvised explosive devices while patrolling on foot between the vicinity of Buurane and Mahaday towns in the Middle Shabelle region.

Al-Shabaab, a Somali-based al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist group, claimed responsibility for the attack on the African Union peacekeepers, saying it had killed four Burundian soldiers in the attack.

Mahaday, which houses an AMISOM base, is an agricultural town located 118 kilometers (73 miles) north of the Somali capital Mogadishu.

The official said al-Shabaab terrorists flooded villages in the region on purpose to stop AMISOM and the Somali national army from traveling.

"By the way, al-Shabaab have deliberately flooded villages between Balcad and Jowhar after they broke the water reserves of Xawaadleey vicinity which was built during the 1970s to assist the Shabelle regions during the dry season. They are doing this because they fear military operations against their hideous," he said.

Earlier on Saturday, a bomb blast in the town of Jowhar killed one civilian and wounded five others, including two regional lawmakers.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/al-shabaab-kills-4-african-union-peacekeepers-in-somalia/2445228

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Sudan’s PM replaces acting state governors named after coup

13 December ,2021

Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok has replaced all acting state governors appointed by the country's military leader after a coup in late October, a document seen by Reuters on Sunday said.

The decision is part of efforts by Hamdok, who returned to the premiership under a deal with the military, to roll back changes made by the military following the takeover.

Hamdok's office confirmed the decision.

Hamdok has also replaced most of the caretaker deputy ministers appointed by the military, some of them veterans of the rule of Omar al-Bashir, who was toppled amid a popular uprising in 2019.

However, Hamdok has yet to name a cabinet of technocrats as stipulated by the Nov. 21 deal he struck with the military, and faces a challenge in doing so due to opposition to the deal from political parties and protesters.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2021/12/13/Sudan-s-PM-replaces-acting-state-governors-named-after-coup

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Bomb blast kills 1, wounds 2 regional lawmakers in southern Somalia

Mohammed Dhaysane

11.12.2021

MOGADISHU, Somalia

At least one civilian was killed and five other people were wounded, including two regional lawmakers, when a terrorist-claimed bomb blast targeted a restaurant in southern Somalia on Saturday, an official said.

An IED-type bomb was smuggled into the restaurant in Jowhar, a regional capital 90 kilometers (55 miles) north of the Somali capital Mogadishu, a police officer in Jowhar told Anadolu Agency over the phone.

"We know that a traditional elder was killed in the bomb attack, which also wounded five others including two MPs,” he said.

Al-Shabaab, an al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist group based in the Horn of Africa country, claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it had targeted lawmakers for Hirshabelle state, whose capital is Jowhar.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/bomb-blast-kills-1-wounds-2-regional-lawmakers-in-southern-somalia/2444958

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Benin opposition leader gets 20 years behind bars on terrorism charges

Aurore Bonny  

11.12.2021

DOUALA, Cameroon

A special court in Benin’s capital Porto-Novo on Saturday sentenced Reckya Madougou, opposition leader and former justice minister, to 20 years in prison over terrorism charges.

The Court of Repression of Economic Offenses and Terrorism sentenced Madougou to 20 years in jail and a fine of $86,000 for complicity in terrorist acts, local broadcaster ORTB reported.

Madougou, along with other opposition leaders, was jailed this March just weeks before April general elections in the West African nation of over 12 million people, and they were barred from contesting the polls.

She was accused of inciting terror and mayhem, as well as plotting to assassinate prominent officials during the April elections.

"I sacrifice myself for democracy," she wrote on Twitter after the verdict was announced, "and if my sacrifice may allow you, President, and your fellow judges to reclaim their independence from the government, then I would not have gone through this torture and horror unnecessarily."

One of her lawyers, Antoine Vey, criticized the court's "lack of impartiality and independence" as well as a planned trial, which she called a "mediatized political coup."

Mario Metonou, the court's special prosecutor, said Madougou was implicated, along with some members of her political party, on charges of maneuvers aimed at "provoking terror, chaos, and suspending the April 2021 electoral process."

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/benin-opposition-leader-gets-20-years-behind-bars-on-terrorism-charges/2444928

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Tunisia protest group calls for rallies to mark revolution anniversary

Alaa Hammoudi  

12.12.2021

TUNIS, Tunisia

A protest group has called for demonstrations on Friday to mark the 11th anniversary of the Tunisian revolution.

In a statement on Sunday, the “Citizens Against Coup” initiative called for the restoration of the elected parliament and defending the country’s constitution.

The protest group renewed calls for setting a date for holding early parliamentary and presidential elections as an exit from the country's ongoing political crisis.

On July 25, Tunisian President Kais Saied ousted the government, suspended parliament, and assumed executive authority. While he insists that his exceptional measures are meant to "save" the country, his critics accuse him of orchestrating a coup.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/tunisia-protest-group-calls-for-rallies-to-mark-revolution-anniversary/2445558

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Tunisia’s Ennahda rejects attempts to abolish 2014 constitution

Yousra Ounes

11.12.2021

TUNIS, Tunisia

Tunisia’s Ennahda movement on Saturday rejected attempts to abolish the country’s 2014 constitution.

“We express our rejection of the attempts to abolish the 2014 constitution, and the tendency to unilaterally engineer the political and legal system of Tunisia,” the movement said in a statement.

It also warned against violating the constitutional structure through presidential decrees which it said could usher the government “into an open crisis of legitimacy, with dire consequences for political stability and the future of the country."

The statement also appreciated President Kais Saied's recent call for coexistence and respect for difference, while also warning against "exploiting the exceptional situation and harnessing state institutions to impose personal and partisan agendas."

On Thursday, Saied said during a meeting with three constitutional law professors that his country's crisis lies in the 2014 constitution, adding that it was no longer valid and has no legitimacy in Tunisia.

The Tunisian president ousted the government on July 25, suspended the parliament and assumed executive authority. While he insists that his "exceptional measures" are meant to "save" the country, critics accuse him of orchestrating a coup.

Experts and observers have in recent weeks sounded alarms of the possibility of the Tunisian president taking a decision to suspend the 2014 constitution.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/tunisia-s-ennahda-rejects-attempts-to-abolish-2014-constitution/2445056

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