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Islamic World News ( 7 Feb 2023, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Do not conduct mock drills depicting Muslims as terrorists, Bombay High Court tells police

New Age Islam News Bureau

07 February 2023

Bombay High Court. | Wikimedia Commons

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• Muslim Personal Law Board’s approval not required to implement Uniform Civil Code: UP Dy CM

• Earthquakes kill over 4300 people in Turkey, Syria

• Bomb kills soldier, wounds 11 people in southwest Pakistan

• Taliban policies threaten aid delivery to millions, says US Envoy for Afghanistan

• Malaysia PM Anwar enters Thai peace talks with separatist rebels

• Islamic Jihad Vows Retaliation After Israeli Forces Martyr Seven Palestinians Near Ariha

• US cautions citizens in Sweden over possible attacks in retaliation for Koran burning

• OIC reaffirms support to resolve Libyan crisis

• UK officials who oversaw funding of extremist Muslim groups must be sacked: counterterrorism expert

 

India

• India dispatches first consignment of earthquake relief material to Turkey

• SC to hear on March 17 pleas related to religious conversions, state laws

• Modi’s Muslim outreach continues, will inaugurate Arabic Academy in Mumbai

• Sangh journal pushes for Uniform Civil Code; leaders say want it through states, not Centre

• Bajrang Dal Reiterates Commitment to Check 'Love-Jihad'

• 'Frontier Gandhi stood for unity of Hindus & Muslims'

• Twitter slams R Madhavan for 'Islamophobia' after his old joke on polygamy and Muslim men resurfaces

• Anupam Kher reacts to Kangana Ranaut’s tweet on ‘Muslim actors’, defends her freedom of speech: ‘She is brave’

• Shahi Eidgah Mosque secy booked for ‘power theft’ in Mathura

• MP: Muslim cleric among two stabbed, injured in Khandwa; 3 minors detained

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Arab World

• At least 20 escape Syria prison holding ISIS inmates after earthquake

• Saudi Arabia, Arab nations send condolences to Turkiye, Syria over deadly earthquake

• 50,000 contestants from 165 countries for international Qur’an recitation, adhan competition

• Syrian opposition rescuers say hundreds of families still under quake rubble

• Ghanaian footballer who played in Saudi Arabia missing after Turkey earthquake

• Lebanese banks to start open-ended strike, to keep ATMs working: Association

• Syria requests international aid after massive earthquake

• Another 7.5-magnitude earthquake hits southeast Turkey, felt in Lebanon

• Beirut blast judge postpones interrogations over dispute

• UAE, India, France to work on climate change, biodiversity

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Pakistan

• Pakistan dispatches rescue team as death toll in Turkiye-Syria quake tops 4,000

• All Parties Conference on terrorism postponed for the second time

• Musharraf’s funeral prayers to be held in Karachi’s Polo Ground today

• Rs10m reward for information about Peshawar mosque suicide bomber, facilitators

• Pakistan will lose moral ground on Kashmir if it gives recognition to Israel, says Imran Khan

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South Asia

• Organization of Islamic Cooperation Holds Meeting for 49th Foreign Ministers Session

• French-Afghan Photojournalist Detained by Taliban

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Southeast Asia

• Perlis Islamic council gets green light to intervene in Hindu mum Loh Siew Hong’s custody order for unilaterally converted children

• Turkiye, Syria quake: FT mosques, surau to hold special prayers

• Mohd Na’im: Special committee set up to print, distribute quran nationwide

• The state of ethnic democracy in Malaysia

• Indonesia to open Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Solo before Ramadan

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Mideast

• Israel to aid Syria, says Netanyahu

• In Turkey, night fills with screams and crying as earthquake rescues go on

• Israeli forces kill Palestinian teen in West Bank raid: Palestinians

• Five Palestinians killed by Israeli troops during dawn raid in Jericho

• Top Commander: US, Europe Waging Hybrid War Against Iran After All-Out Failure

• Iran: No Undeclared Activity at Fordow Nuclear Facility

• Iran Calls for Access to South Korea-Blocked Assets

• Iran Advises Ukraine Not to Sacrifice Interests for US, NATO Expansion Policy

• Parliament Speaker: Foiled Enemy's Plot Supreme Leader

• Iran Offers Help to Quake Victims in Turkey, Syria

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North America

• Biden ‘deeply saddened’ by Turkey, Syria earthquake; pledges US aid

• Blinken tells Turkiye to ‘let us know’ what US can do after earthquake

• Biden, Erdogan to speak 'very soon' following quakes: White House

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Africa

• African leaders express condolences over deadly quake in Türkiye

• Jordan Gaming Lab hosts video game development events across the country

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Europe

• Attack On Salman Rushdie: A Look At Events Since The Issuance Of The Fatwa

• Member of Islamic State 'Beatle' Cell to Go on Trial in UK on Terrorism Charges

• Muslims of Europe, Southeast Asia denounce desecration of Quran

• Rescue teams from Netherlands, Romania on way to Türkiye over powerful quake

• Russian FM: US playing with fire, encouraging separatism in Kurdish region in Syria

• Dismissing Wall Street Journal report, Iran says not working with Russia on drone production

• EU to send rescue teams to Turkey after deadly earthquake kills hundreds

• France condemns expulsion of director of human rights division of UN mission in Mali

• Aid campaign launched in Berlin for quake-hit Türkiye

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: https://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/muslims-terrorists-bombay-high-court/d/129051

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Do not conduct mock drills depicting Muslims as terrorists, Bombay High Court tells police

Feb 07, 2023

Bombay High Court. | Wikimedia Commons

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The Aurangabad Bench of the Bombay High Court has directed the Maharashtra Police to not conduct mock drills depicting Muslims as terrorists till the next hearing on February 10, Live Law reported on Monday.

A division bench of Justices Mangesh Patil and SG Chapalgaonkar passed the order while hearing a public interest litigation filed by social worker Sayed Usama. The order was passed on February 3.

In his petition, Usama had argued that mock drills were being conducted by the police during which personnel dress up as men from the Muslim community to play the role of terrorists, according to Bar and Bench. He also alleged they shouted religious slogans as part of the mock drill.

“The conduct of aforesaid mock drills wherein a Muslim community is deliberately shown as ‘terrorist’ by the police authorities and the state clearly shows their bias against Muslim community,” the petitioner said in his plea, according to Live Law. “It sends a message that terrorists have a particular religion and this act of the police amounts to defaming the Muslim community.”

Source:Scroll

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

https://scroll.in/latest/1043389/do-not-conduct-mock-drills-depicting-muslims-as-terrorists-bombay-high-court-tells-police

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Muslim Personal Law Board’s approval not required to implement Uniform Civil Code: UP Dy CM

6th February 2023

Keshav Prasad Maurya [File photo]

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New Delhi: Strongly criticizing the All India Muslim Personal Law Board’s (AIMPLB) announcement of a struggle against the Uniform Civil Code (UCC), Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya said that the UCC has been part of the BJP’s main agenda and Parliament did not need to take the approval of the Muslim body to implement it.

He said that the people of India had given a mandate to the saffron party for the UCC.

On Asaduddin Owaisi’s protest, Maurya said that the former had a habit of protesting.

Talking to the media in the Parliament House complex on Monday, the Deputy CM said that the construction of a grand Ram temple in Ayodhya, abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, and implementation of the UCC have been part of the BJP’s agenda.

He said that the temple is being built, Article 370 had been revoked and the remaining work (UCC implementation) would be completed on time.

Speaking on the action being taken against the burning of Ramcharitmanas’ copies in Lucknow, Maurya said that the law is taking its own course and the culprits will not be spared.

Maurya, while refusing to comment on the uproar over RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat’s speech, said that it was not proper for him to comment on the matter as Bhagwat’s words are considered as guidance.

Source:Siasat Daily

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https://www.siasat.com/aimplbs-approval-not-required-to-implement-ucc-up-dy-cm-2520030/

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Earthquakes kill over 4300 people in Turkey, Syria

07.02.23

Turkey requests help from NATO allies.

File Photo

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The confirmed death toll continues to rise and rescue operations are underway in Turkey and Syria following a huge earthquake. Turkey declared a week's national mourning. Here's the latest:

Death toll rises to 2,921 in Turkey, and more than 1,400 in Syria

Rescue workers continue to search for victims in rubble

Turkish President Erdogan declares a week's national mourning

World powers rush to offer Turkey, Syria aid over quakeTurkey requests help from NATO allies

A 7.8 magnitude quake struck near Gaziantep early Monday, followed by a new 7.5 tremor after midday

Turkey observes seven-day mourning period

Death toll in Turkey and Syria rises to over 4,300

The death toll from the devastating earthquakes in the Turkish-Syrian border area has risen to more than 4,300.

An official with Turkey's disaster agency said at least 2,921 people were killed and 15,834 others injured in the south of the country.

And at least 1,400 people have died in Syria, according to the Health Ministry and rescue organization White Helmets.

EU is helping Turkey to cope with the aftermath of earthquakes

Turkey activated the EU civil protection mechanism, a structure designed to deal with manmade and natural disasters, BalazsUjvari, the spokesperson for humanitarian aid and crisis management at the European Commission, told DW.

Firstly, the EU dispatched almost 20 rescue teams coming from 17 European countries for Turkey.

"They are on their way to Turkey. In fact, some of the teams have already arrived," Ujvari said.

As a second step, Ujvari said, the EU is looking into the possibility of mobilizing emergency medical teams, which is also part of Turkey's request for help.

"Some of such offers already have been made by EU member states. For example, there is a Spanish team ready to go," he said, adding that in the coming hours and days more and more European personnel would be arriving in Turkey.

The situation in Syria, however, is different, as it has not activated the EU civil protection mechanism, Ujvari said. "We would only be able to send such teams if we received a formal request from the Syrian authorities," he added.

According to the spokesperson, the European Union can operate in Syria through humanitarian operations.

Western countries have limited access to Syria. Russia, an ally of the Syrian government, has a military presence in the Middle Eastern nation.

Turkish and Syrian authorities revise casualty figures

Turkey's emergency and disaster management agency says the death toll from the quakes has risen to 2,379, with 14,483 injured.

In Syria, authorities have reported 711 deaths in government-controlled areas.

The White Helmets organization in rebel-held Syria said at least 700 people had died.

Search and rescue operations continue after the two major tremors and multiple aftershocks across a broad region in southern Turkey and northern Syria. All the responsible authorities have warned they are likely to find more victims.

Turkish and Syrian authorities revise casualty figures

Turkey's emergency and disaster management agency says the death toll from the quakes has risen to 2,379, with 14,483 injured.

In Syria, authorities have reported 711 deaths in government-controlled areas.

The White Helmets organization in rebel-held Syria said at least 700 people had died.

Search and rescue operations continue after the two major tremors and multiple aftershocks across a broad region in southern Turkey and northern Syria. All the responsible authorities have warned they are likely to find more victims.

Historic sites in Aleppo, Syria damaged

Some historical buildings were destroyed as a result of the quake in the provinces of Aleppo, Hama, and Tartus, the Syrian Cultural Ministry said.

The most notable damage reported was that which hit the historic Aleppo Citadel, among the world's oldest and largest castles.

The ministry said it sustained "little to medium" damage, including the collapse of parts of its Ottoman mill, and the destruction of its entrances. The dome of the minaret of the Ayyubid mosque inside the citadel also sustained damage.

Technicians were inspecting the UNESCO-listed Aleppo Old City, the ministry said.

Elsewhere in Hama, the ministry reported the collapse of some historic buildings, as well as parts of the minaret of Imam Ismail Mosque.

Meanwhile in Tartus, parts of the Marqab castle, a medieval fortress near the coast that was a major stronghold for a Christian order of knights during the Crusades, collapsed due to the quake.

Greece offers aid amid diplomatic standoff

The quake in Turkey and a rapid offer of assistance from Greece on Monday prompted the first direct contact between President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in months.

"I just spoke to President [Erdogan]," Mitsotakis wrote on Twitter on Monday. "On behalf of the Greek people, I extended my deepest condolences for the devastating loss of life and reiterated our readiness to provide all further assistance necessary."

Mitsotakis' office said that Erdogan had thanked the Greek prime minister.

Erdogan had declared 10 months ago that he would sever ties with the Greek leader amid a longstanding dispute over territorial rights in the Aegean Sea and the eastern Mediterranean.

But on Monday morning Greece was among the first countries to dispatch rescue workers and offer further support as Turkey requested it.

The two NATO members share an exposure to earthquakes, sometimes both suffering from the same tremors near their borders.

They have a past history of cooperation on quake relief which in turn has played a role at times in improving their often-frayed ties.

Erdogan declares 7-day period of national mourning

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that the country will observe seven days of national mourning in response to the fatal earthquake.

"A national mourning period has been declared for seven days. Our flag will be hoisted at half-mast until sunset on Sunday, February 12, 2023, in all our national and foreign representative offices," Erdogan said on Twitter.

Idlib residents hope for international aid

On Idlib's streets, residents spoke to DW about the horrors they witnessed. One described how he spent hours searching for his friend's family under debris.

"We kept on searching for them until 6 in the morning. We found his wife and two of his children dead. And this is what people are going through."

Many called for international support, saying that though immense, the White Helmets' effort was not enough.

"I hope that humanitarian organizations can just help us remove the debris. Just equipment and medical help, nothing more," one said.

Another resident described the moments of the quake, saying: "Horrifying moments that we experienced at 4 in the morning. We have never witnessed such an earthquake. Many buildings collapsed. My family and I survived and the neighbors did too, but five people died here. The civil defense [the White Helmets] is putting in all its effort. This seems to me like it was the Day of Judgment."

UN appeals for international support

The UN General Assembly observed a minute's silence in tribute to the victims on Monday.

It also appealed to other countries to provide assistance to a region already scarred by conflict with only limited access for humanitarian aid.

"Our teams are on the ground assessing the needs and providing assistance," Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said. "We count on the international community to help the thousands of families hit by this disaster, many of whom were already in dire need of humanitarian aid in areas where access is a challenge."

DW rounds up the international responses and pledges of support so far in this story.

UN appeals for international support

The UN General Assembly observed a minute's silence in tribute to the victims on Monday.

It also appealed to other countries to provide assistance to a region already scarred by conflict with only limited access for humanitarian aid.

"Our teams are on the ground assessing the needs and providing assistance," Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said. "We count on the international community to help the thousands of families hit by this disaster, many of whom were already in dire need of humanitarian aid in areas where access is a challenge."

DW rounds up the international responses and pledges of support so far in this story.

Ghanaian football star Christian Atsu reportedly among the missing in Turkey

English Premier League club Newcastle United said they were "praying for some positive news" over the fate of its former player Christian Atsu.

The Ghana international winger plays for Turkish side Hatayspor and is reportedly among those trapped under the rubble in Kahramanmaras.

He spent several years with Newcastle and Chelsea before signing with Hatayspor last summer.

The club's sporting director TanerSavut, was also reportedly missing

Domestic football matches in Turkey have been called off following Monday's quake.

UN appeals for international support

The UN General Assembly observed a minute's silence in tribute to the victims on Monday.

It also appealed to other countries to provide assistance to a region already scarred by conflict with only limited access for humanitarian aid.

"Our teams are on the ground assessing the needs and providing assistance," Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said. "We count on the international community to help the thousands of families hit by this disaster, many of whom were already in dire need of humanitarian aid in areas where access is a challenge."

DW rounds up the international responses and pledges of support so far in this story.

Ghanaian football star Christian Atsu reportedly among the missing in Turkey

English Premier League club Newcastle United said they were "praying for some positive news" over the fate of its former player Christian Atsu.

The Ghana international winger plays for Turkish side Hatayspor and is reportedly among those trapped under the rubble in Kahramanmaras.

He spent several years with Newcastle and Chelsea before signing with Hatayspor last summer.

The club's sporting director TanerSavut, was also reportedly missing

Domestic football matches in Turkey have been called off following Monday's quake.

Turkey deploys nearly 10,000 to help with rescue operations

Turkey's disaster agency, AFAD, said nearly 9,698 search and rescue personnel had been deployed to help search for survivors.

AFAD said the death toll from the 7.8-magnitude quake that struck the country's southern region early on Monday had risen to 1,498 people, with at least another 7,634 people injured.

It said a least 2,834 buildings were destroyed in the quake.

On top of other emergency supplies, the agency was also handing out thousands of tents, blankets, and beds to help the survivors cope with the frigid weather.

Source:TelegraphIndia

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

https://www.telegraphindia.com/world/earthquakes-kill-over-3500-people-in-turkey-syria/cid/1914820

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Bomb kills soldier, wounds 11 people in southwest Pakistan

Feb 6, 2023

During a prayer ceremony for victims of last Monday's suicide bombing in Peshawar, in Lahore, Pakistan, Saturday. (File photo: AP)

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QUETTA: A bombing near a vehicle carrying Pakistani paramilitary troops in southwestern Baluchistan province killed a soldier and wounded 11 people, mostly civilians, police and security officials said Monday.

The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, which took place on Sunday.

Pakistan has been battling an insurgency in Baluchistan for more than a decade, with separatists in the province demanding complete autonomy or a larger share of the province's gas and mineral resources. The outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan - or TTP as the Pakistani Taliban are known - and other militants also have a presence in the province, which borders Iran and Afghanistan.

Sunday's bombing took place near the Musa Khan checkpoint in Quetta, the Baluchistan provincial capital, said local police official Mohammad Khan. He provided no further details.

Shortly after the bombing, the Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility, saying the attack was carried out by a suicide bomber. Police and security officials have not given confirmed the source of the blast.

The latest incident comes a week after a suicide bomber killed 101 people at a mosque in the northwestern city of Peshawar, drawing nationwide condemnation and prompting Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif to convene a meeting of opposition politicians and his allies to discuss how to respond to the surge in militant violence.

The conference was initially planned for Tuesday, but has been pushed back to Thursday.

Pakistani officials have blamed the TTP, which maintains sanctuaries in neighboring Afghanistan, for orchestrating the Peshawar bombing. The TTP has denied involvement. The militant group, however, has stepped up its attacks since November, when it ended a cease-fire with the government in Islamabad.

Sharif has invited his predecessor and opposition leader Imran Khan to Thursday's talks, but Khan has yet to confirm his participation.

Since the Peshawar attack, members of civil society groups have staged rallies across the country, holding prayer ceremonies for the victims and demanding government take action to curb the surge in militant attacks.
Source: Times Of India

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https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/bomb-kills-soldier-wounds-11-people-in-southwest-pakistan/articleshow/97644051.cms

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Taliban policies threaten aid delivery to millions, says US Envoy for Afghanistan

February 06, 2023

Photo for representation

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New Delhi: The US special envoy for Afghanistan, Thomas West, has concluded his four-day visit to Pakistan, Germany and Switzerland, where he discussed issues related to Afghanistan.

According to a report in Tolo News, Thomas said, “Taliban policies threaten aid delivery to millions.”

“Fortunate to meet in Geneva with the leadership of International Organization for Migration, World Health Organization, and other relief orgs, all undertaking life-saving work across Afghanistan – supporting migrants, healthcare systems, and disaster victims, among much else,” West added.

Major aid agencies in December warned that Afghans will die because of the Taliban order banning women from working at nongovernmental groups, and stressed that female staff are crucial for the delivery of life-saving humanitarian assistance across war-battered Afghanistan.

The dire prediction came after the Economy Ministry in December said women can no longer work at international or domestic NGOs, allegedly because they are not wearing the Islamic headscarf, or hijab, correctly at their workplace.

The order was the latest blow to women’s rights and freedoms since the Taliban took power in August 2021. The move has triggered international condemnation and calls for the Taliban to reverse their decision immediately, as the country grapples with a spiraling humanitarian crisis, a harsh winter, and an economic collapse.

Save the Children, Care, World Vision and the Norwegian Refugee Council had suspended their operations in Afghanistan in December.

Source: Firstpost

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

https://www.firstpost.com/world/taliban-policies-threaten-aid-delivery-to-millions-says-us-envoy-for-afghanistan-12109672.html

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Malaysia PM Anwar enters Thai peace talks with separatist rebels

February 5, 2023

BANGKOK -- Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim will make his first visit to Thailand next Thursday, officially stepping into decadelong peace negotiations between Bangkok and Thai-Malay separatist rebels along the shared border.

Malaysia's northern neighbor will be Anwar's fourth international visit since becoming prime minister in November. His meetings with counterparts in Indonesia, Brunei and Singapore have covered economic cooperation and regional security issues, which will also be on the agenda in Thailand.

Source:AsiaNikkei

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

https://asia.nikkei.com/Politics/Malaysia-PM-Anwar-enters-Thai-peace-talks-with-separatist-rebels

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Islamic Jihad Vows Retaliation After Israeli Forces Martyr Seven Palestinians Near Ariha

2023-February-6

Israeli media reported on Monday that the occupation forces are holding the bodies of the 7 martyrs, the Palestinian Information Center said, adding that the residents of the camp confirmed that they did not find the bodies of the martyrs.

The archaeological city of Ariha (Jericho) and its surroundings have been under a tight Israeli siege as the regime’s forces set up roadblocks and checkpoints at the city’s entrances and searched vehicles and check IDs of passengers, causing unsustainable delays and traffic jams.

On Sunday, the Aqabat Jabr refugee camp battalion of the Ezzedine Al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the Palestinian Hamas resistance movement, declared the beginning of three days of rage over the Israeli regime’s tight siege and incursions that have been taking place since 9 days.

On this note, the head of the Hamas political bureau, Ismail Haniyeh, issued a statement saying “the Al-Qassam Brigades will continue its operations with all the revolutionaries until the [Israeli] invaders are defeated.”

The statement said that “the ongoing killings carried out by the [Israeli] enemy in the West Bank will have disastrous repercussions on the Israeli regime,” adding that “all international or regional interventions will not succeed in stopping the revolutionary tide of our people, and the enemy will not enjoy calm”.

In turn, the Spokesman for the Islamic Jihad Movement, TareqEzzedin, said "the new crime committed by the criminal Israeli occupation at dawn today, Monday, against the Palestinian people and resistance fighters in Aqabat Jabr, will not terrorize them.”

“The occupation has been established on our land since the occupation of Palestine through killing, destruction and terrorism. It is an entity that only understands the language of force, and our Palestinian people are alive and will not back down from their resistance until they [Israel] are defeated and forced to pull out from the entire soil of Palestine,” he added.

The Israeli blockade on Ariha was imposed following an alleged shooting attempt at an Israeli-run restaurant located outside the West Bank city. No one was hurt in the purported incident, but the Israeli military alleges the shooter escaped into Ariha.

The development comes less than a day after Israeli forces killed an unarmed Palestinian man in the West Bank.

Over the past months, Israel has ramped up attacks on Palestinian towns and cities throughout the occupied territories. As a result of these attacks, dozens of Palestinians have lost their lives and many others have been arrested.

The Palestinian Hamas resistance movement also condemned the Israeli regime’s “racist occupation policies”, warning that illegal settlements will not be a safe haven for Israeli settlers, as Tel Aviv continues to build new illegal settlements and demolish more Palestinian homes.

Hamas said in a statement that the Israeli measures represent a dangerous escalation that will not bring security or stability to the illegal settlers, and will not grant the occupation legitimacy or sovereignty over the occupied Palestinian land, presstv reported.

It warned that the Israeli administration “solely bears responsibility for the consequences of housing settlers near the Gaza Strip and for putting them in danger, and it bears full responsibility for its settlement escalation throughout the West Bank.”

“We call on the international community to shoulder its responsibility in curbing those racist occupation policies that threaten peace and security in the region,” the statement read.

Earlier on the same day, the Israeli regime approved the construction of a new illegal settlement near the besieged Gaza Strip.

In a tweet, Israel’s far-right Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “In cooperation with the minister of construction and housing, Yitzhak Goldknopf, we decided today during a cabinet session to build a new settlement close to the Gaza Strip.”

The development comes days after Israeli officials gave the green light to plans to build nearly 1,200 units as well as other structures for commercial and public purposes on confiscated Palestinian lands in the neighborhoods of Al-Thuri, Jabel Al-Mukaber and Sur Baher, as well as in the illegal settlements of KiryatHaYovel, Arnona and Katamonim.

While Israel presses ahead to build and expand its illegal settlements, Palestinian communities and towns in occupied Al-Quds and several other areas in the occupied West Bank continue to be denied the right to build homes and property, or have to helplessly watch Israeli soldiers demolishing their homes, under various allegations meant to prevent the expansion of Palestinian towns and neighborhoods.

In this context, Israeli sources said on Sunday night that the regime is preparing to demolish a residential building that houses more than 100 Palestinians, including children, in Silwan town, south of Al-Aqsa Mosque.

The sources said more than 500 Israeli soldiers and police officers will demolish the entire property on Tuesday or Wednesday.

The increase in house demolitions in parts of Al-Quds and the West Bank reflects a policy formulated by extremist far-right ministers of the new Israeli administration spearheaded by extremist far-right Israeli lawmaker, Itamar Ben-Gvir. Israeli KAN Channel said Israeli security officials have warned that the move could lead to a round of violence in East Al-Quds.

Israel has stepped up its illegal settlement construction activities in defiance of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334, which pronounced settlements in the West Bank and East Al-Quds “a flagrant violation under international law”.

More than 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the West Bank and East Al-Quds. All Israeli settlements are illegal under international law. The UN Security Council has condemned Israel’s settlement activities in the occupied territories in several resolutions.

Source: Fars News Agency

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https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14011117000655/Islamic-Jihad-Vws-Realiain-Afer-Israeli-Frces-Maryr-Seven-Palesinians

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US cautions citizens in Sweden over possible attacks in retaliation for Koran burning

06 February ,2023

The US embassy in Sweden has warned Americans in the country of possible retaliatory attacks in response to an incident where a far-right politician burned the Quran.

“US citizens are advised to use caution when going to public venues frequented by large numbers of people,” said a security alert on the embassy’s website posted on Sunday, warning of possible attacks by unspecified actors in response to recent incidents in Europe where the Muslim holy book was burned.

A Swedish anti-immigration politician burned a copy of the Quran at a Stockholm protest last month against Turkey’s opposition to Sweden’s bid to join NATO.

“Gathering sites such as places of worship could be targeted. Please use caution when in, and around, all diplomatic facilities,” the alert said, advising US citizens to avoid crowds and keep a low profile.

The United States has not updated its travel advisory for Sweden, which currently tells Americans to exercise normal precautions in the country.

The protest in Stockholm drew sharp condemnation from Turkey, which said Sweden should not have allowed “anti-Islam” act, and suspended talks on NATO accession with Sweden and Finland.

Sweden’s foreign ministry advised its citizens in Turkey to avoid crowds and demonstrations.

The US embassy in Ankara, along with the missions of other Western nations, also issued security alerts over possible retaliatory attacks against places of worship, following the incident in Sweden and separate incidents in which the Quran was burned in the Netherlands and Denmark.

Sweden’s security service was aware of the US warning, said spokesperson Adam Samara, but referred questions to US authorities. The service’s own current assessment is that the threat of attacks remains “elevated” at level three on a five-level scale, Samara added.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/world/2023/02/06/US-cautions-citizens-in-Sweden-over-possible-attacks-in-retaliation-for-Koran-burning

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OIC reaffirms support to resolve Libyan crisis

February 06, 2023

JEDDAH: The Organization of Islamic Cooperation remains committed to resolving the crisis in conflict-ridden Libya, according to the organization’s Secretary-General HisseinBrahim Taha.

At a meeting in Jeddah recently, Taha met Saif Ahmed, director of the Islamic affairs department at the Libyan Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

During the meeting, Taha stressed the OIC’s position with regard to the support of Libya’s unity and territorial integrity.

In accordance with the OIC Charter and its principles, and the resolutions of the Islamic Summit and the Council of Foreign Ministers, Taha said the aim is to ensure a political solution in the North African nation, in line with the aspirations of its people.

Earlier, the OIC chief held a meeting with Abdullah Al-Washmi, secretary-general of the King Salman Global Academy for the Arabic Language.

This was on the sidelines of the celebration of World Arabic Day for the Muslim Ummah organized by the OIC in collaboration with the academy in Jeddah.

Arabic is the language of the Qur’an and an important component of Arab-Islamic culture.

The officials discussed ways to strengthen cooperation between the OIC and the academy, including joint action with various partners to promote and support the use of Arabic in international fora.

They also discussed ways to strengthen the identity and solidarity of the Islamic community.

They agreed to further develop a vision for creating programs and activities that would contribute to achieving their common objectives.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2246036/saudi-arabia

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UK officials who oversaw funding of extremist Muslim groups must be sacked: counterterrorism expert

February 06, 2023

LONDON: UK Prevent program officials who have overseen the public funding of Muslim groups that promote extremism should be sacked, a counterterrorism expert has said in The Times newspaper.

Prof. Ian Acheson, a senior adviser to the Counter Extremism Project, which contributed to the long-delayed Shawcross review of the government’s anti-extremism Prevent program due to be released this week, called for a stricter approach to Muslim groups that “undermine social cohesion.”

The review, led by William Shawcross, is expected to criticize Prevent for using its $48 million fund to provide money to controversial groups, ostensibly to support religious and community moderation in the UK.

Acheson, a former prison governor who published a review of Islamist extremism in UK jails in 2016, criticized Prevent’s “mission creep,” arguing that “‘securitizing’ growing numbers of young people for thoughts that will not translate into actions is a waste of time and scarce resources.”

He cited statistics showing that despite a surge in referrals in recent years — including 2,127 boys classed as “vulnerable” — a majority of terror attacks in the UK since the program’s launch were carried out by individuals known to the program.

Acheson wrote in The Times: “There will be huge concern at the Home Office with Shawcross detailing how Prevent funding has been given to those who have used it to undermine the effectiveness of the program.

“Inexplicably we lag behind other European governments — Austria for one example — who take a much dimmer view of non-violent Islamist groups who undermine social cohesion. Delegitimizing our counterterror strategy is an article of faith with some of these groups.

“We need to trace these funding decisions right back to the officials who made them.

“There must be accountability, if only on behalf of the huge numbers of British Muslims in this country who are wrongly associated with those who preach division and attack moderate Islam.

“We need to return to fundamentals here: Prevent exists to stop terrorists in the making — prioritizing stopping harm — not to provide a creche for an ever-widening cohort of disaffected young adults.

“Shawcross has done the state some service at some cost to his reputation, maligned by some figures. Politicians must not let him down.”

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2245656/world

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India

 

India dispatches first consignment of earthquake relief material to Turkey

Feb 7, 2023

NEW DELHI: Hours after the announcement made by the Prime Minister's Office, India has dispatched the first batch of earthquake relief material to Turkey aboard an Indian Air Force aircraft.

The shipment consisted of an expert National Disaster Response Force search and rescue team, including both male and female personnel, highly-skilled dog squads, an array of medical supplies, advanced drilling equipment, and other crucial tools required for the aid efforts.

"India's Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) capabilities in action. The 1st batch of earthquake relief material leaves for Turkey, along with NDRF Search and Rescue Teams, specially trained dog squads, medical supplies, drilling machines and other necessary equipment," Arindam Bagchi, spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs tweeted.

Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families and wished for a speedy recovery of the injured.

He also instructed officials to offer all possible assistance in coping with the aftermath of the earthquake, killing at least 3,400 people.

“Anguished by the loss of lives and damage of property due to the earthquake in Turkey. Condolences to the bereaved families. May the injured recover soon,” Modi said in a tweet.

Turkish Ambassador to India FiratSunel expressed his gratitude towards the Indian government's offer of assistance and said that "a friend in need is indeed a friend".

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/india-dispatches-first-consignment-of-earthquake-relief-material-to-turkey/articleshow/97673210.cms

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SC to hear on March 17 pleas related to religious conversions, state laws

6th February 2023

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday said that it will hear on March 17 pleas dealing with two separate issues of alleged “fraudulent conversions” and challenge to various state laws on religious conversions due to interfaith marriages respectively.

A bench headed by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud was urged by lawyer Ashwini Upadhyay, who has filed a PIL in his personal capacity, that his plea against fraudulent religious conversions was distinct from the batch of petitions which are challenging the validity of various state laws on religious conversions.

“I am neither supporting the state laws nor opposing them. My petition deals with separate issue of fraudulent religious conversions,” the lawyer told the bench which also comprised Justices PS Narasimha and JB Pardiwala.

Upadhyay sought hearing on his PIL separately.

“All the petitions are before us on March 17, 2023,” the CJI said and for the time being, ruled out the possibility of a separate hearing on the PIL.

The PIL has sought direction to the Centre and states to take tough steps to control fraudulent religious conversions.

Various petitions, including the one filed by Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind, were filed challenging the validity of various state laws on anti-conversion.

The Muslim body also seek transfer of 21 cases to the top court that have challenged state laws regulating religious conversions due to interfaith marriages.

On February 3, the top court had sought the responses of the Centre and six states on a plea moved by the Muslim body, seeking a transfer of 21 cases that have challenged state laws regulating religious conversions.

The Muslim body has sought a transfer of three petitions pending in the Gujarat High Court, five in the Allahabad High Court, three in the Himachal Pradesh High Court, three in the Jharkhand High Court, six in the Madhya Pradesh High Court and one petition in the Karnataka High Court, which have challenged the respective state laws.

Besides, two separate petitions have been filed by Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, challenging the interim orders of the respective high courts that stayed certain provisions of the state laws on conversion.

The Uttar Pradesh law relates to not only interfaith marriages but all religious conversions and lays down elaborate procedures for anyone who wishes to convert to another religion.

Source: Siasat Daily

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

https://www.siasat.com/sc-to-hear-on-march-17-pleas-related-to-religious-conversions-state-laws-2520161/

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Modi’s Muslim outreach continues, will inaugurate Arabic Academy in Mumbai

Feb 07, 2023

By Surendra P Gangan

Mumbai: On February 10, Narendra Modi will inaugurate the Dawoodi Bohra community’s Arabic Academy in Marol and share the dais with community leader SyednaMufaddal Saifuddin. The PM’s visit to the city less than a month after he inaugurated a slew of infrastructure projects here is seen as part of the BJP’s outreach program ahead of the forthcoming civic polls and the general elections.

After wooing Pasmanda or backward-class Muslims a few months ago, Modi more recently instructed his partymen to reach out to the minorities, including Muslims, “without expecting votes”. At the party’s national executive meet three weeks ago, he asked party workers to meet Pasmanda Muslims and Dawoodi Bohras as well as professionals from the Muslim community.

A BJP leader said that Modi’s inaugurating of the Arabic Academy sent out a “loud and clear” message. “The next parliamentary elections are crucial for us, and an inclusive approach is vital for victory,” he said. “The Bohra community is an influential one, hence the gesture.”

According to a rough estimate, the Bohras account for 10 percent of the total Muslim population in India. The community, which hails from South Asia, has ancestral ties to Gujarat.

Maharashtra BJP vice-president Madhav Bhandari said that Modi had “very cordial relations” with the community. “I witnessed it first-hand during the community’s global conclave held in 2012 in Surat,” he said. “The data from Muslim-dominated booths in Gujarat clearly shows that the Bohra Muslims stand by us there like they do in Mumbai.”

Shabbir Ansari, president of the All India Muslim OBC Organisation, was of the opinion that the BJP needed to support the Muslim backward classes rather than an elite community like the Bohras. “Being a mercantile community and having a strong base in Gujarat, Bohras have always been close to the BJP and Modi,” he said. “The PM has been speaking of the upliftment of Pasmanda Muslims, and he should stand by them instead of wooing the Bohras.”

Mumbai-based political analyst Prakash Akolkar said the BJP had strategically chosen the most elite class from the Muslim community for its outreach programme. “After the abrogation of Article 370 and the ongoing construction of the Ram temple at Ayodhya, the BJP’s next aim is to implement the common civil code,” he said. “For this, the party will need Muslim support, and it has thus chosen the most elite from the community. This will help them in the civic polls and general elections.”

Sarfaraz Arzoo, editor of Hindustan, the Urdu daily, said the Bohra community was peace-loving and kept out of controversies. “It is a minority within a minority and has always remained close to the establishment to be ‘politically correct’,” he said.

Source: Hindustan Times

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

https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/mumbai-news/modis-muslim-outreach-continues-will-inaugurate-arabic-academy-in-mumbai-101675711003131.html

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Sangh journal pushes for Uniform Civil Code; leaders say want it through states, not Centre

by Deeptiman Tiwary

February 7, 2023

Why should mosques, churches and gurdwaras be allowed to manage their affairs and finances, while the government exercises control over affairs of temples, and why should Muslim women be deprived of alimony after divorce, when Hindu women are entitled to it?

These are among questions that RSS-linked magazine ‘Indraprastha Samwad’ has raised in the editorial of its latest issue, pushing for the Uniform Civil Code (UCC).

“Democracy and rule of law means everyone is equal before the law without any discrimination. But is this the reality? Unfortunately, despite 73 years since the Constitution came into effect, UCC has not been implemented,” the monthly wrote in its editorial.

Arguing that while criminal law is the same for all, civil law differs from religion to religion, the editorial noted, “If you are a Hindu woman, you are entitled to alimony after divorce. But if you are a Muslim woman, you aren’t. Such discrimination should not be acceptable in a civilized society.”

The UCC is a project close to the heart of the Sangh Parivar, and several BJP MPs have in the recent past brought private member’s Bills in Parliament on UCC.

Last year, the Uttarakhand government formed a committee for implementation of UCC, and the panel is currently taking suggestions from across the country on the issue. The Madhya Pradesh government has also announced the formation of a committee.

Sources said the Sangh believes the best way to push the UCC at the moment is through the states, and not through an all-encompassing Central legislation.

Sources in RSS also said the Sangh is in no hurry to push through the UCC. “The law for this needs far deeper study and wider consultation. This is not Article 370, which was just a matter of taking a decision — the UCC concerns every section of the society, and so taking everyone’s views is necessary. It is good that a debate is taking place in the country over it,” an RSS leader said.

Many leaders have pointed out that while Sangh’s overt concerns have been over exclusive practices under the Muslim law, and that it is wary of antagonising tribal communities in the country, whose practices of marriage and family life are rather diverse and different from ‘caste Hindus’, through a legislation on UCC.

However, an RSS leader said this concern, too, is diminishing. “According to our ground reports, the tribal communities are increasingly getting assimilated into the mainstream and now there are hardly any cases of polygamy or polyandry in these communities,” the leader said.

In its editorial, the Indraprastha Samwad mentioned that there should be no discrimination in ensuring basic religious rights.

“Hindus, too, must get the same religious rights that other religions enjoy,” it stated. “For example, the government exercises control over temples and their treasury. But this is not true for mosques, churches and gurudwaras. Temples and their income are subject to income tax, but mosques, churches and gurudwaras are not. Government interferes in the functioning of educational institutions run by Hindu organisations, but not in institutions run by other religions.

Source: Indian Express

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

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/sangh-journal-pushes-for-uniform-civil-code-leaders-say-want-it-through-states-not-centre-8428056/

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Bajrang Dal Reiterates Commitment to Check 'Love-Jihad'

FEBRUARY 06, 2023

The Bajrang Dal has reiterated its commitment to check and end religious conversions and love-jihad across the country.

The organisation, under its expansion drive, plans to reach out to every lane, locality, colony, village, block and city to protect and spread Hindu religion, culture and tradition.

National convener of Bajrang Dal, Neeraj Doneria, said, “The formation of Bajrang Dal was done in response to jihad and the organisation would be carrying out its activities extensively and none can pose any sort of hinderance to it."

He also asserted that “Bajrang Dal was the organisation to give befitting reply to anti-nationals.

Besides, the organisation is working tirelessly to serve and protect the Hindu community. “At a time when religious conversions and love-jihad are posing major challenge across the country, all the patriots are looking to the activists of Bajrang Dal to take up mass awareness and check religious conversions and love-jihad."

Source:News18

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

https://www.news18.com/news/india/bajrang-dal-reiterates-commitment-to-check-love-jihad-7009363.html

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'Frontier Gandhi stood for unity of Hindus & Muslims'

Feb 7, 2023

LUCKNOW: Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan popularly known as Frontier Gandhi was a Gandhian to the core and always advocated Hindu-Muslim unity, said experts on his birth anniversary on Monday.

Speaking at a seminar organised at press club, former head of Lucknow University's political science department Ramesh Dixit said: "Badshah Khan jantakenetathae (he was people's leader) who made people take path of Ahimsa."

He led a non-violent movement throughout the county against the British and was an advocate for Hindu-Muslim reconciliation in the Indian subcontinent, Dixit said.

Samajwadi party spokesperson Anup Sanda said: "Frontier Gandhi linked his community to Mahatma Gandhi's principle of non-violence and fought against religious bigotry."

"Life of Frontier Gandhi is a message for those who fight for peace and humanity," said in charge Bilal Noorani of AnjumanIslahulMuslemeen. He urged people to follow the path shown by Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan.

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/lucknow/frontier-gandhi-stood-for-unity-of-hindus-muslims/articleshow/97674362.cms?from=mdr

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Twitter slams R Madhavan for 'Islamophobia' after his old joke on polygamy and Muslim men resurfaces

Feb 07, 2023

An old video of actor R Madhavan has resurfaced and it shows him telling a joke about polygamy and Muslim men. Internet users have slammed the actor for ‘Islamophobia’.

The video shows Madhavan saying, “He is a very profound doctor, a gastroentologist and he got a call from his patient Mr Abdul and he said ‘Doctor saab, my wife is very very ill. She is in big pain, she has a stomach ache and she cannot sit. Can I come over to your clinic?’ The doctor said, ‘Yes, by all means’. And, like all patients today, Abdul had done his research he has gone to the internet and said usko ye ho saktahai wo hosaktahai (she may be infected with this one or that one)'. ”

The actor further said, “The doctor asked him not to worry. He checked her, and then told him ‘Let me tell you, she has an infected appendix. So I have to do a surgery and she will be fine. The surgery was done and she was fine. Abdul was a happy man. One year later, Abdul called the doctor again and said 'Sir, my wife has got a stomach ache, please do the appendix operation and she will be fine'.”

“Doctor said listen ‘I am the doctor, let me do the diagnosis, please bring her to the clinic, then we will fix it’.” Madhavan further detailed how Abdul kept insisting that the doctor must fix an operation date immediately and must not bother about the diagnosis at all.

“The doctor finally lost it and said 'Listen I am the doctor, let me do the diagnosis. Every human being only has one appendix and I have already taken out the appendix. So please do not tell me how to do my job’. Abdul patiently waited for the doctor to finish with his assumptions and then he shot back very meekly ‘Sir, I agree with you. Every human being can have only one appendix, but a man can have two wives, right?’”

Businessman Harsh Goenka shared the video on Twitter recently, and the reply section was flooded with users slamming the actor for Islamophobia. One of the users tweeted, “@ActorMadhavan ka Abdul se obsession jaanahirahahai (Madhavan'sobssession with Abdul does not fade). Islamophobia.”

“Would you have enjoyed the joke as much if the character was Rama Prasad and not Abdul and would @ActorMadhavan have cracked the joke if the joke was on Ranganathan? Let me add these emojis (laughing face) to make this tweet hilarious,” one of them wrote.

Source: Hindustan Times

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

https://www.hindustantimes.com/entertainment/bollywood/twitter-slams-r-madhavan-for-islamophobia-after-his-old-joke-on-polygamy-and-muslim-men-resurfaces-101675742823790.html

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Anupam Kher reacts to Kangana Ranaut’s tweet on ‘Muslim actors’, defends her freedom of speech: ‘She is brave’

February 6, 2023

Anupam Kher is good friends with Kangana Ranaut, who is also directing him in their upcoming political drama Emergency. Recently, Kher got candid about his relationship with Kangana and defended her right to tweet about any topic of her interest.

Not too long ago, Ranaut, who is pretty active on social media, shared a tweet where she stated that India is ‘obsessed with Khans and Muslim actresses.’ Her tweet read, “This country has only and only loved all Khans and at times only and only Khans…And obsessed over Muslim actresses, so it’s very unfair to accuse India of hate and fascism … there is no country like Bharat in the whole world.”

Anupam Kher said while art has its own place in such discussions, Kangana too has a right to freedom of speech: “I think art has its own place, and religion has its own place. Religion kewajah se koi film dekhnenahijaatahai, art kewajah se hi film dekhnejaatehain (People don’t go to watch the film based on religion, but based on art). You don’t go to mandir, masjid or gurudwara after watching a film. You go because you have faith in your religion. You have all the right to present your faith, but I don’t think anybody decides to say it like that.”

Kher, who has interviewed Kangana for his talk show, and has been seen with her on multiple occasions, said the actor is ‘brave’ and should be ‘applauded’.

“Like everybody has freedom of speech, why shouldn’t we give her the freedom of speech? I think Kangana is a brave girl. If we applaud woman empowerment, we should defiantly celebrate the success of Kangana,” Kher signed off.

Source: Indian Express

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

https://indianexpress.com/article/entertainment/bollywood/anupam-kher-reacts-to-kangana-ranauts-tweet-on-muslim-actors-8426557/

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Shahi Eidgah Mosque secy booked for ‘power theft’ in Mathura

Feb 06, 2023

By Hemendra Chaturvedi

AGRA The secretary of the management committee of Shahi Eidgah Mosque has been booked in a case of alleged power theft in Mathura. The case was lodged at the anti-power theft police station after a team from the electricity department allegedly found a 30-meter-long cable securing an illegal electricity connection from a pole near the mosque.

According to the FIR, the case has been registered under section 135 (theft of power through illegal temporary connection) of the Indian Electricity (Amended) Act 2003 by the electricity department official stationed at Masani sub-station in Mathura.

Tanveer Ahmed, the secretary for management committee of Shahi Eidgah Mosque at Mathura, has been named in the FIR as accused in the case as he was allegedly found on the spot when a team from the vigilance department and the anti-power theft team inspected the site on Saturday evening.

In view of the sensitivity of the location, sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) Neetu Rani, along with the required police force, accompanied the vigilance anti-power theft team of the electricity department. “Upon entering the premises of Shahi Eidgah mosque, it was found that a three-phase and four core black cable of 30-metre length was connected to an electricity pole. The set-up was connected to a previously-laid LT line in the premises through which power supply was being availed of in the religious place,” said the complainant power department official in the FIR.

Source: Hindustan Times

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

https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/others/shahi-eidgah-mosque-secy-booked-for-power-theft-in-mathura-101675696058030.html

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MP: Muslim cleric among two stabbed, injured in Khandwa; 3 minors detained

6th February 2023

Khandwa: A Muslim cleric and one more person were stabbed and injured on their way to the mosque in Khandwa in Madhya Pradesh allegedly by three minor boys, all of whom have been detained, a police official said on Monday.

The incident took place late Sunday night and ‘alim’ (scholar) Sheikh Uzefa and one Mohammad Talha, in his mid-20s, have been hospitalised in nearby Indore, the official said.

“Three minors were detained during the day for the incident. Uzefa is in stable condition while Talha is out of danger. Both were injured near the chest,” Khandwa Superintendent of Police Vivek Singh told PTI over phone.

Source:Siasat Daily

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

https://www.siasat.com/mp-muslim-cleric-among-two-stabbed-injured-in-khandwa-3-minors-detained-2520310/

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Arab World

 

At least 20 escape Syria prison holding ISIS inmates after earthquake

07 February ,2023

Prisoners mutinied in a northwestern Syria prison Monday following a deadly earthquake, with at least 20 escaping the jail holding mostly ISIS members, a source at the facility told AFP.

The military police prison in the town of Rajo near the Turkish border holds about 2,000 inmates, with about 1,300 of them suspected to be ISIS fighters, said the source.

The prison also holds fighters from Kurdish-led forces.

“After the earthquake struck, Rajo was affected and inmates started to mutiny and took control of parts of the prison,” said the official at Rajo jail, which is controlled by pro-Turkish factions.

“About 20 prisoners fled... who are believed to be [ISIS members].”

The 7.8-magnitude quake -- which was followed by dozens of aftershocks in the region -- caused damage to the prison, with walls and doors cracking, the source added.

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor said it could not verify whether prisoners had escaped, but confirmed there was a mutiny.

At least 1,444 people died Monday across Syria after the devastating earthquake that had its epicenter in southwestern Turkey, the government and rescuers said.

In parts of the country’s northwest, at least 733 people were killed and more than 2,100 injured, according to the White Helmets rescue group.

The incident in Rajo comes on the heels of an ISIS attack in December on a security complex in their former de facto Syrian capital of Raqa, which aimed to free fellow extremists from a prison there.

Six members of the Kurdish-led security forces that control the area were killed in the foiled assault.

The conflict in Syria started in 2011 with the brutal repression of peaceful protests and escalated to pull in foreign powers and global jihadists.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/02/07/At-least-20-escape-Syria-prison-holding-ISIS-inmates-after-earthquake

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Saudi Arabia, Arab nations send condolences to Turkiye, Syria over deadly earthquake

February 06, 2023

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia’s Foreign ministry expressed its solidarity and sympathy to Syria and Turkiye after an earthquake rocked both countries along their border, early on Monday morning.

The first earthquake – at 7.8 magnitude -  struck at about 4 a.m. local time on Monday, the second – at 7.7 magnitude – struck shortly before 2 p.m. as the search and rescue work continued.

More than 3,380 people are already known to have been killed in Turkiye with at least 1,500 in Syria, but the death toll continues to rise.

In a statement the ministry said Saudi Arabia was closely monitoring the situation in the disaster-hit area.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman offered his condolences to Turkiye’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, offering the Kingdom's support, while also offering his condolences to the families of victims and wishing the injured a speedy recovery.

The Saudi embassy in Turkiye said on Monday it had not received any reports of Saudi citizens affected by the disaster, and added it was following up with Turkish authorities to ensure that there were no citizens in the affected area.

Meanwhile, UAE President Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan also made two phone calls to President Bashar Assad of Syria and President Erdogan.

He offered his condolences to the two presidents and the citizens of both nations, and offered to provide assistance.

The Emir of Kuwait, Nawaf Al-Sabah in a letter to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan extended his condolences to the President and the families of the victims, wishing speedy recovery to the injured.

The Egyptian Foreign Ministry conveyed its condolences and solidarity with Turkiye and Syria in a statement, affirmed its readiness to provide help.

The Palestinian Foreign Ministry also extended its condolences to Turkiye and Syria.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2245701/middle-east

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50,000 contestants from 165 countries for international Qur’an recitation, adhan competition

February 06, 2023

RIYADH — The second edition of the International Qur’an and Adhan Competition (OtrElkalam) began with sorting the contestants, and those qualified in the first stage will be nominated to the second round of the competition, which is the largest of its kind in the world.

More than 50,000 contestants, from 165 countries of the world, have been registered to participate in the competition when registration was opened on Jan. 4. The General Entertainment Authority (GEA) is organizing the competition, which has prizes worth a total of SR12 million, the largest prize money for such a competition in the world.

The contestants have to go through four stages, three of which are electronic, in which they are nominated based on their level of performance via the website. The fourth stage will be in person in front of the jury and viewers in the OtrElkalam TV show, whose episodes will be broadcast during the holy month of Ramadan on the MBC and the Shahid digital platform.

The participation process begins with applicants registering via the competition website and uploading an audio clip for evaluation by a jury, which in turn nominates candidates over another three stages of qualification before finalists are selected. The competition enables the contestants to register in both Arabic and English on its website, through easy steps that involved opening a personal account, which includes their data and means of communication, to facilitate their screening and nominate the winners to the next stage of the competition.

Through the competition website, the contestants will get to know whether they are qualified for the following stage of the competition. They will also be able to review the audio files that they uploaded at various stages.

The contestants are sorted in each stage of the competition by specialized jury committees that work on evaluating the contestants in the tracks of the Qur’an recitation and adhan according to specific criteria that take into account transparency, integrity, impartiality, intonation skills, performance, and control of phonetic characters.

The OtrElkalam competition is the first initiative in the world to organize a joint competition of the recitation of the Holy Qur’an and the call to prayer at the same time. The competition aims to highlight the beauty and aesthetics of voices in reciting the Holy Qur’an and raising the call to prayer.

The objectives of the competition also include spreading the correct concepts of reciting the Qur’an and raising the call to prayer, through the directives of the jury taken from the fixed descriptions of the reading of the Prophet (peace be upon him) according to accurate criteria that take into account intonation, good voice, and performance.

Source: Saudi Gazette

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

https://saudigazette.com.sa/article/629606/SAUDI-ARABIA/50000-contestants-from-165-countries-for-international-Quran-recitation-adhan-competition

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Syrian opposition rescuers say hundreds of families still under quake rubble

07 February ,2023

Time is running out to save hundreds of families still trapped under the rubble of destroyed buildings after this week's devastating earthquake, the head of the Syrian opposition-run civil defiance service said on Tuesday.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/02/07/Syrian-opposition-rescuers-say-hundreds-of-families-still-under-quake-rubble

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Ghanaian footballer who played in Saudi Arabia missing after Turkey earthquake

06 February ,2023

Former Chelsea and Newcastle forward Christian Atsu is missing and believed to be trapped under rubble following the powerful earthquake that struck Turkey on Monday and left more than 2,500 people dead.

The Ghana international, who plays for Turkish club Hatayspor, is thought to be in a building that was destroyed, Hatayspor spokesman Mustafa Özat said, according to Turkish media.

Özat said club director TanerSavut was also believed to be in a building that collapsed and club officials couldn’t contact both men. They were likely trapped, Özat said.

At least two other Hatayspor players had to be pulled out of rubble but were now safe, Özat said. Atsu and Savut were the only two Hatayspor players or officials still unaccounted for, he added.

The 31-year-old Atsu joined Hatayspor, which is based in the southern city of Antakya, last year after a spell playing in Saudi Arabia.

The 7.8 magnitude earthquake rocked large parts of Turkey and neighboring Syria in the pre-dawn hours of Monday.

The quake was centered in Turkey’s southeastern province of Kahramanmaras, and was felt as far away as Cairo in Egypt. Hours later, a second 7.5 magnitude jolt, which was possibly an aftershock, struck more than 100 kilometers (60 miles) away from the epicenter of the earthquake and caused more destruction.

Turkish authorities said more than 3,700 buildings were destroyed. The death toll is expected to rise.

Ghana President Nana Akufo-Addo offered condolences to the people of Turkey on his official Facebook account and added: “We pray that our fellow Ghanaian, Christian Atsu, is found safe and sound.”

Ghana Football Association spokesman Henry Asante-Twum wrote in an email to The Associated Press that they had no news of Atsu and Ghana’s international relations department was seeking information from Turkish authorities.

Ibrahim Kwarteng, a friend of Atsu, said he had tried calling Atsu but couldn’t reach him.

“We are only praying that he will be found,” Kwarteng said.

Kwarteng runs a foundation in Ghana that helps former prisoners convicted of petty crimes to be reintegrated into society after their release from jail. He said Atsu was the single largest donor to the foundation.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/02/07/Ghanaian-footballer-who-played-in-Saudi-Arabia-missing-after-Turkey-earthquake

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Lebanese banks to start open-ended strike, to keep ATMs working: Association

06 February ,2023

Banks in Lebanon will start an open-ended strike from Tuesday but will keep ATMs operating for basic services, the Lebanese Banks Association said on Monday, urging authorities to pass overdue measures to deal with a deep financial crisis.

The decision came after a meeting by the association to discuss judicial measures against banks that have snowballed since the onset of the crisis, and “their impacts on banking workflow and the rights of depositors,” it said in a statement.

It called on Lebanese authorities to pass a capital control law that would enshrine informal restrictions on withdrawals in hard currency and Lebanese pounds, as well as legislation to restructure the country’s troubled banks.

Lebanon’s financial system imploded in 2019 after decades of profligate spending, corruption and mismanagement by ruling elites, leaving most depositors unable to freely access their funds and throwing thousands into poverty.

The crisis has been left to fester.

In April 2022 the government reached a draft deal with the International Monetary Fund for a $3 billion bailout, but nearly a year later has failed to complete the steps required to clinch the accord, leading the IMF to note “very slow” progress.

Capital controls and a bank restructuring framework are among the IMF preconditions for the bailout.

The banks association also called for banking secrecy regulations to be abolished, including retroactively, which would allow lenders to share data with authorities and the judiciary for financial investigations.

Because capital controls have been imposed ad hoc, banks have faced lawsuits from customers seeking their deposits.

There have also been an array of allegations of financial misconduct, including that influential people and bank shareholders transferred money abroad during the crisis at a time when most people were unable to do so.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/02/06/Lebanese-banks-to-start-open-ended-strike-to-keep-ATMs-working-Association

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Syria requests international aid after massive earthquake

06 February ,2023

The Syrian government on Monday urged the international community to come to its aid after more than 850 people died in the country following a 7.8-magnitude earthquake in neighboring Turkey.

“Syria appeals to member states of the United Nations... the International Committee of the Red Cross and other humanitarian” groups to support “efforts to face the devastating earthquake,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.

Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad said the Syrian government was ready “to provide all the required facilities to international organizations so they can give Syrians humanitarian aid”, after meeting with UN representatives and aid groups.

The quake killed at least 461 people and left at least 1,326 more injured in government-controlled parts of Syria, including the provinces of Aleppo, Hama, Latakia and Tartus, the health ministry said.

In rebel-held parts of the northwest of the country, at least 390 people were killed and more than 1,000 were injured, The White Helmets rescue group said.

More than a decade of conflict and years of economic sanctions have devastated Syria’s economy and its ability to respond to large-scale disasters.

The Syrian government’s main allies Iran and Russia have expressed willingness to send aid, in addition to some Gulf states that restored ties with Damascus, including the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.

The conflict in Syria started in 2011 with the brutal repression of peaceful protests and escalated to pull in foreign powers and global militants.

Nearly half a million people have been killed, and the conflict has forced around half of the country’s pre-war population from their homes, with many seeking refuge in Turkey.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/02/06/Syria-requests-international-aid-after-massive-earthquake

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Another 7.5-magnitude earthquake hits southeast Turkey, felt in Lebanon

06 February ,2023

A 7.5-magnitude earthquake struck southeast Turkey Monday afternoon, the US Geological Survey said, hours after an earlier quake killed more than 1,400 people in the region.

The shallow quake hit at 1:24 pm (1024 GMT) four kilometers (2.5 miles) south-southeast of the town of Ekinozu.

Syrian state media also reported that an earthquake had hit the Syrian capital Damascus on Monday.

Residents in the Iraqi provinces of Dohuk and Mosul and the Kurdish capital Erbil reported feeling a light tremor, state media said, following the earthquake in Syria.

More than 1,400 people were killed and thousands injured earlier in the day when a huge earthquake struck central Turkey and northwest Syria, pulversing apartment blocks and heaping more destruction on Syrian cities already devastated by years of war.

The magnitude 7.8 quake, which hit in the early darkness of a winter morning, worst to strike Turkey this century. It was also felt in Cyprus and Lebanon. It was followed in the early afternoon by another large quake, magnitude 7.7.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/02/06/Earthquake-hits-Syrian-capital-Damascus-State-media

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Beirut blast judge postpones interrogations over dispute

06 February ,2023

The Lebanese judge leading the investigation into the deadly 2020 Beirut port explosion said Monday he has postponed questioning of officials over a dispute with the country’s top prosecutor.

Judge Tarek Bitar resumed his probe last month after a 13-month hiatus amid vehement political and legal pushback, which now threatens to derail the investigation once again.

Reopening the case, he had charged several senior former and incumbent officials, including Prosecutor General Ghassan Oueidat.

Oueidat retaliated by charging the judge with “usurping power” and insubordination, and slapped Bitar with a travel ban.

Bitar told reporters on Monday he has postponed all interrogations planned for February due to the “lack of cooperation” from the prosecutor’s office, without setting new dates.

“There are charges accusing me of usurping power that must be resolved,” he said from his office in the Lebanese capital.

If these charges “are proven, then I must be held to account, and if the contrary happens, then I must continue the investigation,” Bitar argued.

One of history’s biggest non-nuclear explosions, the blast on August 4, 2020 destroyed much of Beirut port and surrounding areas, killing more than 215 people and injuring over 6,500.

Authorities said the mega-explosion was caused by a fire in a portside warehouse where a vast stockpile of the industrial chemical ammonium nitrate had been haphazardly stored for years.

The arm-wrestling between Bitar and Oueidat is the latest in Lebanon’s mounting woes, facing dire economic and political crises.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/02/06/Beirut-blast-judge-postpones-interrogations-over-dispute

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UAE, India, France to work on climate change, biodiversity

04 February ,2023

The United Arab Emirates, India and France on Saturday agreed on a trilateral initiative to undertake energy projects with a focus on solar and nuclear sources, fight climate change and protect biodiversity, particularly in the Indian Ocean region.

The countries will organize trilateral events in the framework of the Indian presidency of the Group of 20 rich and developing nations, and the UAE’s hosting of COP28 climate negotiations this year, said a statement by India’s External Affairs Ministry.

The foreign ministers of the three countries through a phone call decided to adopt a roadmap for the implementation of the initiative. The call was a follow-up of their September meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York.

They will expand their cooperation through initiatives such as the Mangrove Alliance for Climate, led by the UAE, and the Indo-Pacific Parks Partnership led by India and France. It was agreed that the three countries should focus on key issues such as single-use plastic pollution, desertification and food security in the context of the International Year of Millets, the statement said.

They agreed to explore the possibility of working with the Indian Ocean Rim Association to pursue projects on clean energy, the environment and biodiversity.

The association is a regional forum bringing together representatives of government, business and academia from South Africa, India, Mauritius, Australia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Tanzania and some other countries.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/world/2023/02/04/UAE-India-France-to-work-on-climate-change-biodiversity

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Pakistan

 

Pakistan dispatches rescue team as death toll in Turkiye-Syria quake tops 4,000

February 7, 2023

Rescuers in Turkiye and Syria dug with their bare hands through the freezing night on Tuesday hunting for survivors among the rubble of thousands of buildings felled in a series of violent earthquakes.

An official 51-member Pakistani rescue team was also set to touchdown in Istanbul today, federal minister Saad Rafiq said on Twitter.

The confirmed death toll across the two countries has soared above 4,300 after a swarm of strong tremors near the Turkiye-Syria border — the largest of which measured at a massive 7.8-magnitude.

Turkish and Syrian disaster response teams report more than 5,600 buildings have been flattened across several cities, including many multi-storey apartment blocks that were filled with sleeping residents when the first quake struck.

In the city of Kahramanmaras in southeastern Turkiye, eyewitnesses struggled to comprehend the scale of the disaster.

“We thought it was the apocalypse,” said Melisa Salman, a 23-year-old reporter. “That was the first time we have ever experienced anything like that.”

Turkiye’s relief agency AFAD on Tuesday said there were now 2,921 deaths in that country alone, bringing the confirmed tally to 4,365.

There are fears that toll will rise inexorably, with World Health Organization officials estimating up to 20,000 may have died.

In Gaziantep, a Turkish city home to countless refugees from Syria’s decade-old civil war, rescuers picking through the rubble screamed, cried and clamoured for safety as another building collapsed nearby without warning.

The initial earthquake was so large it was felt as far away as Greenland, and the impact is big enough to have sparked a global response.

Dozens of nations from Ukraine to New Zealand have vowed to send help, although freezing rain and sub-zero temperatures have slowed the response.

In the southeastern Turkish city of Sanliurfa, rescuers were working into the night to try and pull survivors from the wreckage of a seven-storey building that had collapsed.

“There is a family I know under the rubble,” said 20-year-old Syrian student Omer El Cuneyd.

“Until 11:00 am or noon, my friend was still answering the phone. But she no longer answers. She is down there.”

Despite freezing temperatures outside, terrified residents spent the night on the streets, huddling around fires for warmth.

Mustafa Koyuncu packed his wife and their five children into their car, too scared to move.

“We can’t go home,” the 55-year-old told AFP. “Everyone is afraid.”

Some of the heaviest devastation occurred near the quake’s epicentre between Kahramanmaras and Gaziantep, where entire city blocks lay in ruins under gathering snow.

‘Apocalypse’

Monday’s first earthquake struck at 4:17am (0117 GMT) at a depth of about 18 kilometres (11 miles) near the Turkish city of Gaziantep, which is home to around two million people, the US Geological Survey said.

More than 14,000 people have so far been reported injured in Turkiye, the disaster management agency said, while Syria said at least 3,411 people were injured.

Officials said three major airports have been rendered inoperable, complicating deliveries of vital aid.

A winter blizzard has covered major roads into the area in ice and snow.

Much of the quake-hit area of northern Syria has already been decimated by years of war and aerial bombardment by Syrian and Russia forces that destroyed homes, hospitals and clinics.

The conflict is already shaping the emergency response, with Syria’s envoy to the United Nations Bassam Sabbagh seemingly ruling out reopening border crossings that would allow aid to reach areas controlled by rebel groups.

The Syrian health ministry reported damage across the provinces of Aleppo, Latakia, Hama and Tartus, where Russia is leasing a naval facility.

Even before the tragedy, buildings in Aleppo — Syria’s pre-war commercial hub — often collapsed due to the dilapidated infrastructure, which has suffered from a lack of wartime oversight.

Officials cut off natural gas and power supplies across the region as a precaution, also closing schools for two weeks.

The UN cultural agency UNESCO expressed fears over heavy damage in two cities on its heritage list — Aleppo in Syria and Diyarbakir in Turkiye.

At a jail holding mostly Islamic State group members in northwestern Syria, prisoners mutinied after the quakes, with at least 20 escaping, a source at the facility told AFP.

The United States, the European Union and Russia all immediately sent condolences and offers of help.

President Joe Biden promised his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan that the United States will send “any and all” aid needed to help recover from a devastating earthquake.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky also offered to provide “the necessary assistance” to Turkiye, whose combat drones are helping Kyiv fight the Russian invasion.

Turkiye is in one of the world’s most active earthquake zones.

The country’s last 7.8-magnitude tremor was in 1939, when 33,000 died in the eastern Erzincan province.

The Turkish region of Duzce suffered a 7.4-magnitude earthquake in 1999, when more than 17,000 people died.

Experts have long warned a large quake could devastate Istanbul, a megalopolis of 16 million people filled with rickety homes.

PM Shehbaz to leave for Turkiye on Feb 9

Meanwhile, Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb has said that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif will depart for Turkiye on Feb 9, Wednesday.

She tweeted that the premier will meet Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and express condolences with the lives lost in the earthquake.

Separately, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said in a tweet that the destruction in Turkiye and Syria was mind numbing.

“24 hours after the devastating earthquake hit Turkiye& Syria, scenes of death and destruction are mind numbing. It breaks the heart to witness sheer scale of unfolding human tragedy,” he said.

The premier added that solidarity with Turkiye and Syria should translate into “tangible and timely material support for suffering humanity”.

First batch of relief items arrive in Turkiye

On Tuesday morning, the first batch of relief items from Pakistan reached Turkiye, a Pakistan Air Force spokesperson said.

“Pakistan Air Force C-130 Hercules aircraft carrying members of search and rescue teams and blankets from PAF Base, Nur Khan has landed in Turkiye,” he said in a statement.

The PAF aircraft is carrying relief goods from people of Pakistan for the earthquake affected brethren of Turkiye, the spokesperson added.

Earlier, the Pakistan Army’s media wing said that two contingents; urban search and rescue team — comprising rescue experts, sniffer dogs, search equipment and a Medical team comprising army doctors, nursing staff and technicians along with 30 bedded mobile hospital, tentage, blankets — and other relief items had been dispatched to Turkiye.

“The aid contingents have flown to Adana via a special Pakistan Air Force aircraft on the night of February 6-7, 2023, to undertake relief efforts for the Turkish people while working in close coordination with the Turkish government, AFs and their Embassy in Islamabad,” a statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said.

It stated that the contingents would stay in Turkiye until the completion of the relief and rescue operation.

“People and AFs of Pakistan stand with our Turk brethren and offer all available support in this hour of need,” the statement added.

Additionally, Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafique said that a Pakistan International Airline (PIA) airplane will take a 51-member rescue team to Istanbul today.

“PK-707 will depart from Lahore for Istanbul with the Pakistani rescue team and their special equipment,” he tweeted, adding that measures for the delivery of relief items had also been completed.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1735792/pakistan-dispatches-rescue-team-as-death-toll-in-turkiye-syria-quake-tops-4000

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All Parties Conference on terrorism postponed for the second time

February 7, 2023

The All Parties Conference (APC) — called by the incumbent government to discuss important security and economic challenges being faced by Pakistan — has been postponed for the second time this week.

The multi-party moot was first slated for Feb 7 (today). However, in a tweet yesterday, Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb had rescheduled the conference to Feb 9, Thursday. She did not mention why the meeting was moved.

In yet another tweet today, she said that the meeting has been once again postponed as Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif will be travelling to Turkey on Wednesday.

A powerful earthquake struck Turkey and Syria on Monday, killing more than 4,000 people. Rescue operations are underway in the countries as several people are believed to be stuck under the rubble.

In a tweet today, Aurangzeb said that the premier will meet Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and express condolences for the lives lost in the earthquake.

“Due to the prime minister’s visit to Turkey, the APC convened on Thursday February 9 is being postponed, a new date will be announced in consultation with the allies,” she added.

PM Shehbaz had decided to convene the multi-party moot last week in a move that was seen as significant development amid rising political temperatures in the country.

The invitation for the meeting was also extended to PTI chairman and former prime minister Imran Khan, which was formally delivered to party leaders Pervez Khattak and AsadQaiser by former speaker and federal minister, Sardar Ayaz Sadiq.

The conference comes at a time when the country is facing an uptick in terrorist activity. On January 30, a suicide bombing at a mosque in Peshawar Police Lines area claimed the lives of 84 people, mostly police officials.

At the same time, the country is also facing trouble on the economic front. Foreign exchange reserves have gone down to $3.09 billion, which analysts say covers less than three weeks of imports.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1735801/all-parties-conference-on-terrorism-postponed-for-the-second-time

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Musharraf’s funeral prayers to be held in Karachi’s Polo Ground today

Imran Ayub

February 7, 2023

KARACHI: Facilitated by the Foreign Office, a special plane from Dubai carrying the body of former military ruler Pervez Musharraf, with his family onboard, landed at Ka­­rachi airport on Monday night, ahead of his funeral in Malir cantonment today (Tuesday).

Guarded by a heavy contingent of Military Pol­ice (MP), the casket was driv­­en to Combined Mili­t­ary Hos­­pital, Malir Cantt, where his funeral prayers would be offered at the Polo Ground at 1:45pm, after which he would be laid to rest at the Army Graveyard near Chanesar Goth.

While there was no word from the authorities, a close aide said Gen Musharraf’s burial would be held “with full state and military protocol”.

“He would be buried in the military graveyard under state protocol with full military honours,” said Tahir Hus­s­ain, who has been Mushar­raf’s spokesman in Karachi since the ex-ruler formed a par­ty, the APML, in Oct 2010.

Hours before the plane landed, MP personnel, bac­ked by the Pakistan Ran­gers, cordoned off Karachi airport’s old terminal. Hea­vy security was also seen on route to the cantonment.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1735746/all-set-for-musharrafs-burial-today

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Rs10m reward for information about Peshawar mosque suicide bomber, facilitators

February 7, 2023

PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) has announced Rs10 million reward for any person providing information leading to the arrest of those involved in a suicide attack inside the police headquarters.

“The militant [images of the suspected militant before and after the suicide attack] carried out a suicide attack inside the police lines mosque which claimed lives of many worshipers and left behind many others wounded,” a statement issued by the CTD read.

It also stated that anyone giving information about the suicide bomber and the facilitators will be rewarded Rs10 million cash, adding “privacy of the informer will be ensured and the name of [the person] giving leads on the suicide bomber or his facilitators will be kept secret”.

Moreover, Inspector General Moazzam Jah Ansari visited the Peshawar police lines and inspected security measures adopted for different police units.

A statement issued by the office of the provincial police chief stated that the IGP was also accompanied by the capital city police chief, SSP operations and other officers.

CCPO Mohammad Ijaz Khan briefed the IGP about the security measures including installation of radio frequency identification (RFID) for visitors and body search besides other arrangements at the police lines.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1735699

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Pakistan will lose moral ground on Kashmir if it gives recognition to Israel, says Imran Khan

SHYAM NANDAN UPADHYAY

6 February, 2023

New Delhi: If Pakistan recognises Israel, it loses “moral ground” on Kashmir, Pakistan’s ousted premier Imran Khan said in a recent interview.

In the interview to The New Yorker, Khan sought to draw parallels between the “disputed” nature of Israel and Kashmir for justifying his support to the Palestinians who are locked in conflict with Israeli forces.

“Because Kashmir is a disputed territory between Pakistan and India, we do make statements on that. About Israel, it was the stated position of the founder of Pakistan and the situation is similar to what is happening in Kashmir,” he said, responding to a query about him not commenting about China’s atrocities towards Uyghur Muslims.

“If we recognise Israel, we then lose the moral ground of holding on to Kashmir—that they should be given the right of self-determination or homeland. I speak on these two issues,” he said, in the interview published Sunday.

One of the most militarised places in the world, Kashmir has been a bone of contention between nuclear-armed India and Pakistan ever since the two countries became independent in 1947.

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief highlighted Islamabad’s dependence on Beijing to explain how he had to be “selective” when it comes to supporting human rights.

“…when you become the Prime Minister, you have to think of the consequences of making a statement. Pakistan is heavily dependent on China. For Pakistan to make a statement, with the Chinese being very sensitive to such criticism, it could be very costly. That’s why I have to be selective when I say things about human rights,” he said.

Khan also described how Pakistan’s nascent years were akin to Israel’s after the former was carved out of India.

“Pakistan’s neighbour, six or seven times in size, is India. The state grew up with fear, much like in Israel, where there was this feeling that we have hostile neighbors much bigger than us, and therefore we need to protect ourselves. The reliance on security became paramount because there was fear that our existence was threatened,” he said, explaining how the military came into prominence in his country.

It was “too idealistic” to expect that Pakistan would suddenly become some Western democracy having absolute civilian supremacy, the cricketer-turned-politician said. “But we do hope to have some sort of a balance between the military and the civilians… A huge, immediate change is not possible, because our security apparatus has gotten very entrenched over the years.”

Balancing act with Army

Despite blowing hot and cold against the military after his ouster from power in April last year, Khan asserted that the Pakistan Army was the only institution intact in his country.

“Right now in Pakistan, there is only one institution that is intact and that gets things done. That’s the Army. And then we have unfortunately had these two crooked families who have weakened the institutions,” he said, referring to the Bhuttos and the Sharifs.

“If you want things done in Pakistan, it is a joint exercise between the civilian government and the apparatus of the military. …  So let me just be precise: the power must lie with the civilian government, which has the public mandate to run the country. But the Army will always play a big part,” he asserted.

Khan reiterated his opposition to retired Army chief General Qamar JavedBajwa whom he claimed “engineered the downfall” of his government.

“During my three and a half years in power, I would say that, for three of those years, the military and my government were on the same page. We had a very good working relationship. Whatever my policies were, they backed the policies. The military establishment, you must remember, is one man. The Army chief is all-powerful. So the only problem I had with him was, again, rule of law,” he said.

He also claimed the ex-army chief let the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) and the Pakistan Peoples Party off the hook despite the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) — the country’s anti-corruption watchdog — making corruption charges in 2018.

“I wanted the cases to move forward. But the NAB was actually controlled by this one man, the Army chief, who would not proceed with accountability for these powerful politicians. I discovered that my whole theme—rule of law, bringing the powerful under the law—failed because the Army chief just did not consider corruption to be bad,” the PTI chief said.

To a query about how his vision for Pakistan has changed after he entered the world of politics, Khan recollected how he was struck by the rule of law in England where he studied and played cricket.

“I could compare and contrast life in Pakistan with life in England. And what struck me most were two things. One was the welfare state. Second, and most important, was the rule of law, because in Pakistan we had martial law …Half the time, we had these two crooked families — mafia families — running Pakistan.”

Source: ThePrint

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

https://theprint.in/world/pakistan-will-lose-moral-ground-on-kashmir-if-it-gives-recognition-to-israel-says-imran-khan/1357432/

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South Asia

 

Organization of Islamic Cooperation Holds Meeting for 49th Foreign Ministers Session

By Fidel Rahmati

February 6, 2023

The statement said that the Preparatory Meeting for the 49th session of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation started in Jeddah on Sunday.

The statement also added that the 49th session would be held on March 16-17, 2023, in Nouakchott, Mauritania.

In his opening speech, the OIC Secretary-General, MrHisseinBrahim Taha, talked about the Palestinian cause as the core central issue for the organization, Afghanistan and Jammu and Kashmir situation.

He noted that the Afghanistan situation had remained the main focus of the extraordinary Meeting of the organization.

“The same applies to the situation in Afghanistan, which was the focus of the extraordinary Meeting of the Executive Committee that adopted several recommendations.

On the other hand, he also stressed that OIC continues its engagement with the Kabul administration to arrange a second visit for a delegation of scholars.

OIC “Continues engagement with the de facto authorities in Kabul through the Special Envoy, Ambassador Tarig Ali Bakheet, and arranging a second visit for a delegation of scholars.”

The OIC criticized the recent ban on Afghan female work and education by the Taliban-run administration and called them to reconsider their decision, saying it was in “violation of the purposes of Islamic law and the methodology of the Messenger of Allah.”

Source: Khaama Press

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

https://www.khaama.com/organization-of-islamic-cooperation-holds-meeting-for-49th-foreign-ministers-session/

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French-Afghan Photojournalist Detained by Taliban

February 06, 2023

Concerns are mounting for an award-winning photojournalist detained in Kabul by the Taliban for nearly a month.

MortazaBehboudi, who has dual Afghan and French citizenship, arrived in Kabul on January 5 for a reporting assignment. But he was arrested by the Taliban on accusations of spying after he applied for press accreditation, media rights organizations say.

A joint statement by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and journalists at several leading French news outlets on Monday called on the Taliban to “end this senseless situation.”

“We remained silent for 30 days about the detention of MortazaBehboudi,” the statement read. “Today, we are letting the world know that he was arrested in Kabul one month ago, on 7 January, in the hope that he will be released as quickly as possible and will be able to return to France.”

RSF reported that its assistance helpline received a call from Behboudi’s phone on January 15, but no message was left.

VOA contacted the Taliban for comment. A spokesperson said the Taliban would respond but as of publication, VOA had not received a response.

Behboudi’s journalism primarily focuses on refugees, including camps in Greece.

He has twice been forced into exile, first as a child when his family moved to Iran to escape Taliban rule, and later in 2015 when he requested asylum in France after being threatened for his journalism.

At that time, Behboudi had been living and working in Afghanistan, where he had returned in 2012 to attend university. His coverage of the opium trade made him a target for the Taliban, according to the Paris Institute for Critical Thinking.

Since seeking asylum in France, Behboudi has established himself as a renowned international journalist. He helped co-found Guiti News in 2018 — a media venture run by French and refugee journalists, and he freelanced for news outlets including Radio France, Liberation, and La Croix.

Behboudi’s contribution to media coverage of Afghanistan, including under Taliban rule, has been recognized with two Bayeux Prizes and the Varenne award for national daily press.

Since taking power in August 2021, the Taliban have briefly detained a handful of foreign journalists, including Foreign Policy magazine columnist Lynne O’Donnell and the American filmmaker Ivor Shearer.

Source: VOANews

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

https://www.voanews.com/a/french-afghan-photojournalist-detained-by-taliban/6950431.html

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Southeast Asia

 

Perlis Islamic council gets green light to intervene in Hindu mum Loh Siew Hong’s custody order for unilaterally converted children

By Kenneth Tee

Tuesday, 07 Feb 2023

PUTRAJAYA, Feb 7 — The Court of Appeal today allowed the Perlis Islamic Religious and Malay Customs Council's (MAIPs) appeal to intervene for the purpose of varying a custody order granted to Hindu mother Loh Siew Hong whose three children were said to have been converted to Islam unilaterally without her consent.

Datuk Has ZanahMehat, who led the three-judge panel, made the decision based on Order 15, Rule 6(2)(b) of the Rules of Court on the law of intervention read together with Section 96 of the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act.

“A reading of these two provisions would confer upon the applicant a legal right to intervene, premised upon and power pursuant to Section 7 of the Perlis Administration of the Religion of Islam Enactment.

“We will therefore allow the appeal and set aside the order of the High Court dated June 15, 2022 and make no order to cost,” she said of the unanimous decision delivered together with judges Datuk See Mee Chun and Datuk MohdNazlanMohd Ghazali on the bench.

Section 96 of the LRA stipulates that the court may at any time vary or rescind any order for the custody or maintenance of a child on the application of any interested person, where it is satisfied that the order was based on any misrepresentation or mistake of fact or where there has been any material change in the circumstances.

Has Zanah also said there was no necessity for the Court of Appeal to dwell on the legality of the three children's alleged unilateral conversion by Loh's ex-husband, since a judicial review on the matter is scheduled to be heard at the High Court on March 21.

In today's hearing, MAIP was represented by lawyer Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla while lawyers A. Srimurugan and Shamsher Singh Thind appeared for Loh.

Earlier in court, Mohamed Haniff argued in that MAIP — as the appellant — has a statutory duty to look after the wellbeing, education and guidance of Muslim converts, as well as offer financial support from tithe funds and religious guidance to converts.

Srimurugan later told reporters that MAIP would now need to file a separate application at the High Court to justify why the custody order in the divorce petition between Loh and her ex-husband should be varied following today's decision.

MAIPs filed the intervention application on March 7, 2022 to enable the religious authority to have the locus standi (legal standing) to apply for a variation on the terms of the sole custody order granted to the mother.

On June 15 last year, High Court judge Evrol Mariette Peters dismissed MAIPs’ application to intervene in the divorce proceedings after finding that MAIPs had failed to show that it was an interested party in relation to the children.

Peters said the children were not shown to be orphans and they do not belong to the Perlis state community. She added that the children's connection to the state is “fleeting” as they currently reside in Selangor with their mother.

Source:MalayMail

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https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2023/02/07/perlis-islamic-council-gets-green-light-to-intervene-in-hindu-mum-loh-siew-hongs-custody-order-for-unilaterally-converted-children/53788

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Turkiye, Syria quake: FT mosques, surau to hold special prayers

07-02- 2023

KUALA LUMPUR: Mosques under the supervision of the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (JAKIM), namely Masjid Negara in Kuala Lumpur and the Putra and TuankuMizan Zainal Abidin mosques in Putrajaya will hold special prayers tomorrow for the wellbeing of all those affected by the deadly earthquake in Turkiye and Syria.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs) Datuk Dr Mohd Na’im Mokhtar said they would be carried out after Maghrib prayer, and all mosques and surau under the supervision of the Federal Territory Islamic Religious Department (JAWI) are also asked to hold the same prayers.

He said the Yang di-PertuanAgong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah has called on mosques in this country to hold special prayers to seek Allah’s help and ease the burden of those affected by the calamity in Turkiye and Syria, and to grant them patience.

“May Allah ease all matters and the operations to rescue victims. Let us pray that all the victims and family members will be given patience,” he said in a statement yesterday.

A strong earthquake was reported to have jolted the southern region of Turkiye’sKahramanmaras province early Monday and the Turkiye Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) announced that the 7.4 magnitude quake which struck at 4.17 am local time (0117GMT) was centred in the Pazarcik district.

According to media reports, the disaster has claimed 912 lives in Turkiye, while 476 more fatalities were reported in Syria.

Source:TheSunDaily

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https://www.thesundaily.my/home/turkiye-syria-quake-ft-mosques-surau-to-hold-special-prayers-NH10602960

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Mohd Na’im: Special committee set up to print, distribute quran nationwide

06 Feb 2023

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 6 — The government has established a special committee to coordinate fundraising efforts to print and distribute a million Quran worldwide, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs) Datuk Mohd Na’im Mokhtar.

He said the committee was headed by the Islamic Development Department of Malaysia (Jakim).

“This effort requires coordination to fulfill the aspiration expressed by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to print a million copies of the Quran to be distributed worldwide,” he said when met after the launch of the Malaysian Islamic Economic Development Foundation (Yapeim) Local Community Development Plan at the Kampung Bharu Jamek Mosque here today.

Last January 28, the prime minister expressed his wish for Malaysia to print and distribute one million copies of the Quran worldwide in response to the burning of the holy book in Sweden.

Commenting on the advice by the Federal Territories Mufti to the Muslim community regarding the Thaipusam celebration, Mohd Na’im said it was aimed at preventing Muslims from participating in any religious rituals held during the celebration.

“It does not mean that Muslims cannot be with non-Muslims. We encourage the spirit of unity,” he said.

Regarding the Yapeim Local Community Development Plan, Mohd Na’im said its objective was to improve the socioeconomic status of the local community, their income and sustainability of life.

Source:MalayMail

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https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2023/02/06/mohd-naim-special-committee-set-up-to-print-distribute-quran-nationwide/53643

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The state of ethnic democracy in Malaysia

February 06, 2023

Malaysia held its 15th general election (GE) in November 2022 to put an end to the volatile political situation in the region — the fallout of two ruling coalitions in quick succession. Given the tectonic political landscape of Malaysia, the election delivered, unsurprisingly, the first hung Parliament of the country as none of the existing political coalitions secured a simple majority of 112 seats out of a total 222 seats in the Dewan Rakyat (lower house of Malaysian Parliament).

The unity government led by Pakatan Harapan (PH),(The Alliance of Hope) under the premiership of Mr. Anwar Ibrahim formed the government even though it fell short of a majority with its 82 seats. It could do so as it was backed by the former long-ruling coalition Barisan Nasional (BN) (National Front) led by the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) and regional parties like Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) and GabunganParti Sarawak (GPS) from the two states of Sabah and Sarawak of East Malaysia. The PH coalition is in power for the second time after its stint in 2018, and it advocates for a multi-cultural, inclusive, democratic, and modern Malaysia. As the PH coalition rises to power, Malaysian observers are asking the following questions — is transformative politics in the offing, can the PH coalition usher in democratic reforms and will ethnic democracy wither away in Malaysia?

Malaysia’s melting pot

Malaysia is a multi-ethnic, multi-racial, and multicultural country, comprising of an ethnic Malay majority, a plethora of indigenous communities, and ethnic minorities like the Chinese and the Indians. Malaysia adopted a consociational (a political system formed by the cooperation of different social groups on the basis of shared power) democracy, at the time of independence in 1957, as a viable governance model to manage its ethnic heterogeneous population effectively.

The ethnicity-based political system facilitated the formation of a multi-ethnic coalition, popularly known as the Alliance, to come to power. The Alliance was composed of the UMNO representing the Malay majority and minority ethnic political partners — the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) and the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC).

Consociational democracy was a successful political model from independence up until 1969. But after the unprecedented racial riot in 1969, the Alliance re-christened itself as the Barisan Nasional (BN) or the National Front, and embarked upon a model of politics to promote only Malay rights. This was unleashed by the UMNO which had a hegemonic political position in the ruling BN coalition which was in power for over six decades since independence until its replacement in the year 2018 by the Opposition forces led by the PH coalition. The UMNO assumed political legitimacy from its dominant position in the coalition and practised majoritarian politics. It used the Malaysian state as an apparatus to institutionalise Malay dominance, Malay language, Islam, and Malay culture in the public sphere. This hegemony was further accentuated through policy interventions.

The UMNO’s plan was to implement pro-Bumiputera (favouring Malay populations) policies in education, employment, and civil services heralding in Malay ethnocracy in Malaysia. Special provisions have been enshrined in the constitution to establish ‘Malay hegemony’ such as making Malay language the official language, Islam the religion of the Federation and reserving lands for Malay populations. With its pro-Malay measures, there has been a bulging of the Malay middle class and the nascent Malay capitalist class. Thus, the UMNO gradually crafted a dominant political narrative — Malaysia for the Malays.

The legitimisation of such an ethnic democracy was feasible in Malaysia because of the numerically lower immigrant and ethnic minorities, namely the Chinese and the Indians.

The consequences of an ethnic model

However, by pursuing pro-Malay public policies, the UMNO-led ruling BN coalition has severely damaged the social fabric of Malaysia. The ethnic minorities face relative economic deprivation because of skewed socio-economic policies favouring the Malay majority. The unveiling of a ‘cumulative marginalisation’ facilitated the escalation of an ethnic uprising in Malaysia. The Malaysian Indian community organised a massive street protest, ‘the Indian spring’ in 2007 led by the Hindu Rights Action Force (HINDRAF) which highlighted the socio-economic and cultural predicaments of the Indian community under the grip of ethnic democracy. The fuelling of race and religious identity-based politics by the UMNO led to the erosion of social harmony which in turn led to the spike of ethnic conflicts between the Malays and the Indians as evidenced by incidents such as the KampangRawa in 1998, and the Kampang Medan in 2001.

The cultural politics of the UMNO has resulted in the rise of political Islam, sectarianism, communalism, racism, xenophobia, polarisation, cultural insularity, and puritanism. Moreover, due to blatant political patronage, crony capitalism, and nepotism, the Malaysian economy has been reeling under the ‘middle-income trap’ for several decades. The ethnic model of UMNO politics propelled a glaring economic inequality across races and the rural-urban divide. It has led to political corruption and fed the rise of kleptocratic political figures like Najib Razak — the ex-UMNO President and the sixth Prime Minister of Malaysia who was convicted for his involvement in the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal.

An alternative

To counter the ethnic model of the UMNO, counter political narratives have emerged — ‘Malaysia for all Malaysians’ by multi-racial political parties like the Democratic Action Party (DAP) and the PartiKeadilan Rakyat (PKR). These parties are not homogenous and are afflicted with ideological ambiguities. For example, the DAP advocates for an egalitarian, secular Malaysia regardless of race and religion. The PKR, however, supports the special position of Malays, Islam as the state religion, preservation of Malay culture, and the promotion of Malay rights despite its progressive ideals and support for building a democratic, inclusive Malaysia for all Malaysians.

This ambiguity is represented quite clearly through Anwar Ibrahim, the tenth Prime Minister of Malaysia, the champion of inclusive and democratic Malaysia who heads the PH coalition. He has made it quite clear in his first statement that Malaysia is a multi-racial country with a special position for Malays, Islam, the Malay language, and Malay rights.

Given his liberal and democratic credentials, one can expect that the politics of ‘dominance without Malay hegemony’ may prevail under his regime instead of the politics of ‘Malay dominance with hegemony’ as in the case of the former long-ruling BN coalition led by the UMNO. As alternative politics is mired in contradictions, it is not a panacea for the ethnic model politics followed by the UMNO. Furthermore, the PH is facing a downward trend, despite the inclusion of newly enfranchised youth.

The current situation

Based on the outcome of the 15th general elections, even though the political legitimacy of UMNO-led BN is weakening, new coalitions like the Perikatan Nasional (PN) — an alliance comprising Parti Islam Se Malaysia (PAS), a conservative, Islamist party, and the Malaysian United Indigenous Party (BERSATU) — are gaining political legitimacy to carry forward the Malay agenda.

Therefore, race and religious-based identity politics are still a big challenge in Malaysia.

Due to the advent of competitive elite politics and the escalation of identity-based rhetoric, the fragmentation of political parties is looming large in the current Malaysian political landscape.

Given the fractured polity, multi-ethnic coalitions — the ruling as well as the opposition — are becoming more vulnerable as they are composed of political parties with conflicting ideologies and diverse interests.

Moreover, the fractured polity still favours the relevance of Malay hegemonic ethnic parties for political survival as well as for political stability (for both the ruling and the oppositional coalitions). For instance, the current ruling dispensation led by PH is backed by its arch-political rival the UMNO-led BN coalition.

Transformative politics or the politics of inclusion is not feasible in Malaysia under the current political circumstances. The new ruling political dispensation can therefore, only make cosmetic changes rather than deep democratic reforms.

Thus, within the fractured and divided polity of Malaysia, the paradoxical nature of alternative politics coupled with the discriminatory nature of the Malaysian constitution will ensure that Malaysia will follow an ethnic democracy, albeit a diluted version of it under the current ruling political dispensation.

Source:TheHindu

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https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/the-state-of-ethnic-democracy-in-malaysia/article66479158.ece

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Indonesia to open Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Solo before Ramadan

SHEANY YASUKO LAI

February 06, 2023

JAKARTA: The public opening of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Indonesia will take place before this year’s Ramadan, a religious ministry official said on Monday, as the government pins hopes on the new mosque to attract tourists and become a center for moderate Islam.

he mosque in Solo, Central Java, is a smaller replica of the popular landmark in Abu Dhabi named after the UAE’s late President Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan. It is a gift from UAE President Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, who inaugurated it alongside Indonesian President Joko Widodo in November.

Akmal Salim Ruhana, who heads the mosque affairs sub-directorate at the Ministry of Religious Affairs, said the mosque was currently in its final stages of construction before a public opening.

“We have to open before Ramadan, because we have already prepared a bunch of programs for the holy month,” Ruhana told Arab News.

The mosque symbolized the close friendship between Indonesia and the UAE and will be managed by officials from both countries, Ruhana added, with both governments planning on developing an Islamic center in the same city soon.

“This is an expression of the good relations between the two countries, Indonesia-UAE diplomatic relations, and the closeness and friendliness of the two presidents,” he said.

Officials are also hopeful of the mosque’s potential to attract religious tourism.

“The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Solo has the potential to be a learning center for a moderate generation of Islam,” HenyErmawati, spokesperson of the Surakarta City Government — another name for Solo — told Arab News. “The beauty of this building can be a point of attraction for tourists from all over.”

The Indonesian government had sent architects to draw in detail the grand mosque in Abu Dhabi, and the structure in Solo is about one-fifth the size of the original, Ermawati said.

The mosque — which can accommodate up to 14,000 people — has design elements unique to the region, she added, such as the usage of batik patterns on the flooring and carpets. Batik is an ancient art form in Indonesia, traditionally made with wax-resistant dye on fabrics.

Though it is not yet open to the public, the mosque has already created a buzz in Solo and throughout the country, with residents and visitors of the city flocking to the area to get a glimpse and take photos.

“Even though the mosque isn’t operational yet, it is already bringing big benefits for the local public … it’s a new icon for Solo,” TeukuRezasyah, an international relations expert from Padjadjaran University in West Java, told Arab News.

The mosque can facilitate community programs, including youth and women’s empowerment as well as teachings on moderate Islam, Rezasyah said.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2246031/world

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Mideast

 

Israel to aid Syria, says Netanyahu

Reuters And New York Times News Service   |   Jerusalem  

07.02.23

Israel said on Monday that it had received a Syrian request for assistance with earthquake relief for the Arab state and that it was prepared to oblige, in what would be rare cooperation between the enemy neighbours.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a speech he had ordered Israeli aid sent to Turkey, the epicentre of Monday’s earthquake, with the airlifts due to depart towards evening.

“Since a request was also received to do this for many victims of the earthquake in Syria, I instructed to do this as well,” he said near Tel Aviv.

In later televised remarks to his party, Netanyahu said the request for relief for Syria had been relayed “by a diplomatic official” - whom he did not identify. “I approved this, and I reckon that these things will be carried out soon,” Netanyahu said.

Syrian officials have reported hundreds killed in the civil war-torn country, both in areas under Damascus’ control and in the Opposition-held northwest. Asked who had made the request regarding Syria cited by Netanyahu, an Israeli official told Reuters: “The Syrians”.

Asked if this referred to opposition members or to President Bashar al-Assad’s government, the official said only: “Syria”. There was no immediate Syrian response.

Putin condolences

Russian President Vladimir Putin in a phone call with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad offered condolences for the victims of the strong earthquake and pledged to send rescue teams and assistance, Syria’s presidency said.

India sending relief

India said it was sending medical squads, search and rescue teams and relief material to assist Turkey’s response. Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, said he was “anguished” by the loss of life in Turkey and Syria.

China concern

China expressed condolences and concern for the loss of life and property, and is in communications with both Turkey and Syria, a spokesperson from China International Development Cooperation Agency said.

EU dispatching teams

The EU said it was urgently dispatching search and rescue teams from Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, France, Greece, the Netherlands, Poland and Romania to Turkey to help. In a statement, the bloc also said it was directing its satellite system to support Turkish efforts in mapping the quake and its aftermath.

Source: TelegraphIndia

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

https://www.telegraphindia.com/world/israel-to-aid-syria-says-netanyahu/cid/1914757

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In Turkey, night fills with screams and crying as earthquake rescues go on

Feb 7, 2023

HATAY, TURKEY/DAMASCUS: The screams of people still trapped in the rubble filled the night early on Tuesday and relatives wept for their loved ones as the death toll in Turkey and in neighbouring northwest Syria rose to more than 3,700.

The magnitude 7.8 quake rippled through both countries early on Monday, toppling entire apartment blocks, wrecking hospitals, and leaving thousands more people injured or homeless.

Freezing winter weather hampered search efforts for survivors through the night into Tuesday.

Under a pile of rubble in the southern province of Hatay, a woman's voice could be heard calling for help. Nearby, the body of a small child lay lifeless.

Weeping in the rain, a local resident who gave his name as Deniz wrung his hands in despair.

"They're making noises but nobody is coming," he said. "We're devastated, we're devastated. My God... They're calling out. They're saying, 'Save us,' but we can't save them. How are we going to save them? There has been nobody since the morning."

Temperatures fell close to freezing overnight, worsening conditions for people trapped under rubble or left homeless.

In Kahramanmaras, north of Hatay, entire families gathered around fires and wrapped themselves in blankets to stay warm.

"We barely made it out of the house," said NesetGuler, huddled around the fire with his four children. "Our situation is a disaster. We are hungry, we are thirsty. It's miserable."

The earthquake, which was followed by a series of aftershocks, was the biggest recorded worldwide by the US Geological Survey since a tremor in the remote South Atlantic in August 2021.

In Turkey, the death toll stood at 2,316, the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) said, making it the country's deadliest earthquake since an earthquake of similar magnitude in 1999 that killed more than 17,000. More than 13,000 were reported injured in Monday's quake.

At least 1,444 people were killed in Syria and about 3,500 injured, according to figures from the Damascus government and rescue workers in the northwestern region controlled by insurgents.

Poor internet connections and damaged roads between some of the worst-hit cities in Turkey's south, homes to millions of people, hindered efforts to assess and address the impact.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, preparing for a tough election in May, called the quake a historic disaster and said authorities were doing all they could.

"Everyone is putting their heart and soul into efforts although the winter season, cold weather and the earthquake happening during the night makes things more difficult," he said. He said 45 countries had offered to help the search and rescue efforts.

In the Turkish city of Iskenderun, rescuers climbed an enormous pile of debris that was once part of a state hospital's intensive care unit in search of survivors. Health workers did what they could to tend to the new rush of injured patients.

"We have a patient who was taken into surgery but we don't know what happened," said Tulin, a woman in her 30s, standing outside the hospital, wiping away tears and praying.

In Syria, the effects of the quake were compounded by the destruction of more than 11 years of civil war.

A top UN humanitarian official said fuel shortages and the harsh winter weather were also creating obstacles to its response.

"The infrastructure is damaged, the roads that we used to use for humanitarian work are damaged, we have to be creative in how to get to the people... but we are working hard," UN resident coordinator El-Mostafa Benlamlih told Reuters in an interview via video link from Damascus.

In the government-controlled city of Aleppo, footage on Twitter showed two neighbouring buildings collapsing one after the other, filling streets with billowing dust.

Two residents of the city, which has been heavily damaged in the war, said the buildings had fallen in the hours after the quake, which was felt as far away as Cyprus and Lebanon.

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/in-turkey-night-fills-with-screams-and-crying-as-earthquake-rescues-go-on/articleshow/97673253.cms

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Israeli forces kill 5 Palestinians linked to the Islamic militant group Hamas in West Bank raid

February 6, 2023

Israeli forces killed five Palestinian gunmen linked to the Islamic militant Hamas group in a raid on refugee camp in the occupied West Bank on Monday, the latest bloodshed in the region that will likely further exacerbate tensions.

The Palestinian president's office called the violence a crime, urging the United States to pressure Israel to hold back on its incursions. The military said the raid was meant to apprehend a militant cell that staged a botched shooting attack on a restaurant in a Jewish settlement in the West Bank.

The violence extends one of the deadliest periods in years in the West Bank and comes during the first weeks of Israel’s new government, its most right-wing ever, which has promised to take a tough stance against the Palestinians.

The Israeli military said it was operating in the Aqabat Jabr refugee camp to apprehend the suspects behind a failed shooting attack last month at a West Bank restaurant, where attackers allegedly were thwarted by a weapon malfunction. The attackers then fled the scene, the military said, adding that they were members of Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip and has elements in the West Bank as well.'

Israeli forces killed five Palestinian gunmen linked to the Islamic militant Hamas group in a raid on refugee camp in the occupied West Bank on Monday, the latest bloodshed in the region that will likely further exacerbate tensions.

The Palestinian president's office called the violence a crime, urging the United States to pressure Israel to hold back on its incursions. The military said the raid was meant to apprehend a militant cell that staged a botched shooting attack on a restaurant in a Jewish settlement in the West Bank.

The violence extends one of the deadliest periods in years in the West Bank and comes during the first weeks of Israel’s new government, its most right-wing ever, which has promised to take a tough stance against the Palestinians.

The Israeli military said it was operating in the Aqabat Jabr refugee camp to apprehend the suspects behind a failed shooting attack last month at a West Bank restaurant, where attackers allegedly were thwarted by a weapon malfunction. The attackers then fled the scene, the military said, adding that they were members of Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip and has elements in the West Bank as well.'

Speaking at an event at the site of a recent deadly Palestinian shooting attack, Netanyahu confirmed earlier reports by Israeli security officials that five gunmen were killed.

Hamas said all five of those killed were members of its armed wing. Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem said the violence would be met with a response.

"Our people and their resistance will not delay in responding to this crime," he said.

The raid comes days after an earlier incursion in the Aqabat Jabr camp, which is near the Palestinian city of Jericho, a desert oasis in an area of the West Bank that rarely sees such unrest, where troops were also searching for the suspects.

Since the shooting at the nearby settlement, the Israeli military has blocked access to several roads into Jericho — a closure that has placed the city under a semi-blockade, disrupting business and creating hourslong bottlenecks at checkpoints that affected even Palestinian security forces, footage showed.

Monday’s violence comes days after an Israeli military raid on the Jenin refugee camp killed 10 Palestinians, mostly militants but also a 61-year-old woman. The next day, a Palestinian shooting attack outside an east Jerusalem synagogue killed seven people, including a 14-year-old.

The Israeli army has ramped up near-nightly raids in the occupied West Bank since a series of deadly Palestinian attacks within Israel last spring. Over the last year of escalating raids, Jericho has remained a sort of sleepy desert town, spared much of the violence.

The Palestinian Authority, in retaliation for the raid into the Jenin refugee camp, declared a halt to security coordination with Israel.

Nearly 150 Palestinians were killed last year in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, making it the deadliest year in those areas since 2004, according to figures by the Israeli rights group B’Tselem. Since the start of this year, 41 Palestinians have been killed in those territories. Palestinian attacks against Israelis killed some 30 people in 2022.

The Israeli army says most of the Palestinians killed have been militants. But stone-throwing youths protesting the incursions and others not involved in confrontations have also been killed.

Source: FoxNews

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

https://www.foxnews.com/world/israeli-forces-kill-5-palestinians-linked-islamic-militant-group-hamas-west-bank-raid

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Five Palestinians killed by Israeli troops during dawn raid in Jericho

MOHAMMED NAJIB

February 06, 2023

RAMALLAH: Israeli forces assassinated five Palestinians during a raid on a refugee camp near the occupied West Bank city of Jericho on Monday, according to Palestinian officials.

The office of President Mahmoud Abbas described the killings as a crime, and urged the US to put pressure on Israeli authorities to restrict incursions by their forces.

“The new Israeli government is continuing its series of crimes against our Palestinian people,” it said.

Israeli forces also injured three people, one of them seriously, and arrested eight in the early-morning raid, the Palestinian sources said.

Jihad Abu Al-Assal, the governor of Jericho and the Jordan Valley, said the military had so far refused to release the bodies of the dead.

The violence on Monday came days after an Israeli military raid on the Jenin refugee camp during which 10 Palestinians were killed. Most were militants but a 61-year-old woman was also among the dead.

In Monday’s raid, a large number of troops stormed the Aqbat Jaber camp at dawn. The five people killed in the confrontations that followed were named as: Raafat Wael Awadat, 21; Malik AwniLafi, 22; AdhamMajdiAwadat, 22; Ibrahim Wael Awaidat, 27 and ThaerAwadat, 28.

The Israeli army alleged that all of the dead were affiliated with Hamas. It released photos of rifles seized during the raid, which had the name of the military wing of Hamas written on them.

Israeli forces continued their siege of the city of Jericho and the Aqabat Jaber camp for a 10th day in a row on Monday. Main and secondary entrances to the city remained blocked by military checkpoints, restricting the movement of vehicles.

The killing of the five Palestinians sparked anger across the West Bank. Strikes took place in Jericho, Ramallah, and some other cities to mourn the dead. A protest march took place in the center of Ramallah, accompanied by chants condemning the Israeli occupation.

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh called on the UN to protect “our people and not to allow the perpetrators to escape punishment.”

He added: “With a sense of the ability to escape punishment, and motivated by the desire to practice killing according to a doctrine that shapes the thought and behavior of the perpetrators, the occupation soldiers continue to commit massacres against our defenseless people, in a scene that brings to mind the heinous crimes committed by the Zionist gangs against our people in cities and villages.”

The General Secretariat of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation condemned the killings, the siege on Jericho, injuries inflicted on Palestinian citizens, premeditated killings, the continuing Israeli settlements policy, the demolition of Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem, and the displacement of its residents.

The organization called on the international community to urgently intervene to help put an end to the attacks and daily crimes against Palestinians. It stressed the need to hold the perpetrators accountable and for the world to provide protection for the Palestinian people.

The Israel Defense Forces were put on alert following the killings in Jericho amid fears that Hamas would respond by firing rockets from Gaza at Israeli targets.

Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir warned Hamas not to launch any rockets from the Gaza Strip in retaliation. He said the response to any such aggression should be integrated and that for every missile fired from Gaza “we must respond with 50 missiles.”

He added: “This is my vision and I hope the government will implement it. I am optimistic and believe that this will happen.”

Palestinian political analyst Ghassan Al-Khatib told Arab News that he would expect any response by Hamas or its supporters to the killings in Jericho to originate in the West Bank and not the Gaza Strip.

“There is a great exaggeration and harshness in the Israeli oppression against the Palestinians, more than ever before, which will bring violent reactions against the Israeli occupation,” he added.

He said that the killing and abuse of Palestinians by Israeli authorities weakens the status and prestige of the Palestinian Authority.

In a joint statement, the Israeli military and the internal security service Shin Bet said that they had conducted counterterrorism activity in the Aqabat Jabr Camp to apprehend a Hamas terrorist squad responsible for shooting at a restaurant in the community of VeredYeriho on Jan. 28. It added that several armed assailants had been killed after they fired at IDF soldiers.

The Fatah movement said that what it described as the bloody massacre committed by the Israeli army during its aggression against the Aqabat Jaber camp reflected the fascist ideology of successive occupation governments.

“The neo-fascist government, which is trying, through this systematic terrorism, to export its internal crises and to practice the most brutal methods of bloody terror against the Palestinians through the policies of killing, execution, abuse, arrest and incursions into the Palestinian lands,” it added.

Fatah said attempts by the occupation to erase the Palestinian existence were doomed to failure. It also condemned the international silence about the Israeli actions and what it described as the US bias in favor of the occupation and its terrorist regime, which its said provides the occupation and its army with a guarantee that it can commit massacres and other crimes without being held accountable.

Hamas vowed to respond to the killing of five of its members. It said it would not tolerate the spilling of Palestinian blood by Israeli army bullets, and that it was ready to respond to the occupation with full force.
Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2245506/middle-east

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Top Commander: US, Europe Waging Hybrid War Against Iran After All-Out Failure

2023-February-6

In a message issued on Monday ahead of the 44th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, Maj. Gen. Mousavi hailed the perseverance of the 1979 revolution, which put an end to the ruling of Iran’s US-backed Pahlavi regime.

“By adopting different strategies in recent years, the enemy has been trying to block the path of the Islamic Revolution and deal a blow to the Islamic Republic,” he stated.

“However, with people’s tactfulness and resistance and the Leader’s wise leadership, the enemy’s plots have failed one after another. Therefore, relying on psychological and media operations, the enemy has organized an extensive hybrid war against the [Iranian] nation and the Islamic establishment,” the senior commander added.

He described the Islamic Revolution as “a major global phenomenon in the final decades of the 20th century” with wide-ranging regional and international effects.

“The Islamic Revolution took place at the era of modern ignorance, when communism and liberalism, based on atheism and apostasy, had dominated the whole world, and superpowers directly or indirectly designed and directed all important and strategic developments,” he said.

The revolution, he added, established an independent and powerful system in Iran by presenting a transcendental model relying on pure Islamic ideas.

“The Islamic Revolution took the path of development and excellence through its powerful resistance and perseverance, in a way that now, after 44 years, with the collapse of communism and the death of liberalism, it is rapidly moving towards the realization of a new Islamic civilization,” Maj. Gen. Mousavi said.

He also noted that the Islamic Revolution is still defending Iran’s interests and security and is standing against bullies and arrogant powers.

“Today, the Islamic Revolution is subject to the enmity of arrogant powers due to its nature and performance as well as its serious pursuit of ideals and loyalty to its main slogans,” he continued.

The commander further stressed that the Iranian Army has in recent years pursued its main missions of protecting Iran’s independence, territorial integrity and Islamic establishment.

Protests erupted in several cities across Iran over the death of MahsaAmini who fainted at a police station in mid-September and days later was pronounced dead at a hospital. The demonstrations soon turned violent.

An official report by Iran’s Legal Medicine Organization announced that Amini’s controversial death was caused by an illness rather than alleged blows to the head or other vital body organs.

Iranian officials blame Western countries for orchestrating the riots to destabilize the country.

The unrest has claimed the lives of dozens of people and security forces, while also allowing acts of terror and sabotage across the country. Iran's Interior Ministry has confirmed the enemy waged a hybrid war against the country to weaken national solidarity and hinder the country's progress, stressing that some 200 people lost their lives in the riots sparked by separatist and terrorist groups.

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14011117000405/Tp-Cmmander-US-Erpe-Waging-Hybrid-War-Agains-Iran-Afer-All-O-Failre

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Iran: No Undeclared Activity at Fordow Nuclear Facility

2023-February-6

Kana'ani on Sunday rejected claims by the US and the European Troika over Iran’s peaceful nuclear program.

"The International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA, was notified of the 60% enrichment in Fordow site on November 17, 2022," he said in a statement.

The spokesperson added that all the modes of enrichment have been specified in the data questionnaire.

"During the January 2023 inspection, no new measure happened that would be contradictory to the November 17, 2022 questionnaire and would, thus, make it necessary to inform the IAEA thereof," the statement read.

On Wednesday, the IAEA has announced in a report that its inspectors found a modification to an interconnection between two clusters of centrifuges that was substantially different than what Iran had declared to the agency. Director General Rafael Grossi has also noted that the change was “inconsistent with Iran’s obligations” under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and undermines the IAEA’s ability to “implement effective safeguards measures” at the Fordow site.

Tehran has lamented the IAEA's report about the country’s nuclear activities at Fordow facility, saying the nuclear agency's inspector’s interpretation of their visit to the nuclear plant was “incorrect", warning that the "unprofessional and unacceptable" behavior of the UN nuclear watchdog's chief would harm his reputation and that of the IAEA.

In a joint statement on Friday, the United States and the three European parties to the nuclear deal -- the United Kingdom, France and Germany -- said Iran's response to the IAEA's report was "inadequate" and accused Tehran of being inconsistent with its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Iran has always had full cooperation with the IAEA and allowed it to visit the country’s nuclear sites, but calls the nuclear agency's approach unconstructive and destructive. But Tehran has asked the IAEA to avoid politicizing the issue and focus on technical aspects in line with the organization’s mandate.

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14011117000176/Iran-N-Undeclared-Aciviy-a-Frdw-Nclear-Faciliy

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Iran Calls for Access to South Korea-Blocked Assets

2023-February-6

"Iran is seriously pursuing the financial claims in South Korean banks and will follow up until the collection of all national assets," Kana'ani told reporters about the legal follow-up of Seoul's debts to Tehran.

The diplomat stated that the Korean government has not shown "the necessary will" to solve the problem.

"We are trying to use these resources for some of Iran's needs. The government of the Islamic Republic of Iran is making a decision about the complaint and will take the necessary steps," the spokesperson continued.

Referring to the recent anti-Tehran remarks leveled by South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, Kana'ani said Iran has demanded "a convincing explanation" from Seoul about the interventionist comments, but the explanation was not "convincing".

"If we do not receive a clear and convincing answer, we will consider this as an official matter of the Korean government, which may have further negative effects on bilateral relations," he added. (READ MORE)

Seoul and Tehran are holding working-level consultations seeking ways to resolve the issue of Iranian assets frozen in South Korea due to US sanctions.

The frozen asset issue started in 2018 when former US President Donald Trump withdrew from a 2015 nuclear deal and reinstated economic sanctions against Iran.

Iranian officials stated the South Korean government is obliged to unfreeze the country's frozen funds, stressing that unilateral US sanctions cannot justify Seoul’s inaction in repaying debts to Tehran.

The two sides had previously agreed to use the funds for purchase of humanitarian items by Iran, something that has again been prevented as a result of Korea’s commitment to honor the sanctions.

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14011117000560/Iran-Calls-fr-Access-Sh-Krea-Blcked-Asses

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Iran Advises Ukraine Not to Sacrifice Interests for US, NATO Expansion Policy

2023-February-6

"The policy of the Islamic Republic regarding the Ukraine issue is based on not supporting the war and not supporting one side against another," Kana’ani told reproters on Monday.

The diplomat expressed hope that the Ukrainian authorities will look at "the root cause of the crisis", and would not sacrifice Kiev interests to the expansionist policy of America and NATO by adopting "the correct political approach".

The spokesman rejected the allegation of sending drones to be used by Russia in the war in Ukraine, expressing Tehran’s readiness to hold talks with Kiev to resolve misunderstandings.

He said a round of specialized talks was held in Oman, and if necessary, there is no problem with holding a new round.

“The first round of technical and expert-level discussions between the members of the two teams has been conducted. We do not have any particular problem in continuing the talks and initiating a new round. We can hold these talks at a suitable time, but the exact time for the second round of the discussions has not yet been decided,” Kana'ani added.

Kiev and its Western allies have repeatedly claimed that Tehran has provided Russia with arms to be used in the war in Ukraine.

Iranian officials have repeatedly rejected claims about Tehran's arms sales to Russia to be used in the ongoing war against Ukraine, stressing such allegations are aimed at legitimizing the West's military assistance to Kiev.

They reiterated that Tehran will not help either side in the Russia-Ukraine crisis, and cautioned that arming Moscow or Kyiv will prolong the conflict between the two neighbors.

In Late February, President Vladimir Putin stated in response to a request by the heads of the Donbass republics he had made a decision to carry out a special military operation. The Russian leader stressed that Moscow had no plans of occupying Ukrainian territories.

The US, the EU, the UK and a number of other states have imposed sanctions against Russian legal entities and individuals. They also increased supplies of weapons to the Ukrainian authorities. Russia has officially become the most sanctioned country in the world, surpassing Iran, Syria and North Korea, after launching a military operation against Ukraine.

Back in September, Iranian PresdientSeyed Ebrahim Rayeesi cautioned that the expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is a serious threat to the stability and security of nations.

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14011117000719/Iran-Advises-Ukraine-N-Sacrifice-Ineress-fr-US-NATO-Expansin-Plicy

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Parliament Speaker: Foiled Enemy's Plot Supreme Leader

2023-February-6

Qalibaf made the remarks in the Monday session of the Iranian Parliament in Tehran.

Concurrent with the anniversary of the victory of the Islamic Revolution, the Supreme Leader issued a pardon for a remarkable number of prisoners of the recent unrest as an act of kindness and fatherly gesture.

"From the onset of the recent riot, the Supreme Leader differentiated between those who had been excited and deceived and those who organized the unrest, so he played a unique role in social reconciliation and revitalizing national solidarity and unity," the Iranian parliament speaker said.

He pointed out the Supreme Leader’s agreement with the pardon shows the tradition of prophets and imams in forgiving when in power, which hindered the enemies’ conspiracies.

Qalibaf reiterated that all Iranian officials are tasked with following the Supreme Leader's attitude and pursuing social reconciliation, adding that the authorities should adopt kind stances to prevent foes and organized rioters from standing in the way of revitalizing the national unity.

In relevant remarks on Monday, Iranian Judiciary Deputy Chief KazzemQaribabadi hailed a decision a day earlier by the Supreme Leader to grant clemency to people detained in recent riots in Iran.

“Granting pardon to the accused is deemed an unprecedented initiative. Such an Islamic and humanitarian act is emblematic of the leniency practiced by and popularity of the Establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran – and indeed a big move in the field of human rights,” Qaribabadi tweeted.

On the 44th anniversary of the victory of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Khamenei agreed on Sunday to pardon or commute the sentences of thousands of convicts, including large groups of detainees found guilty of involvement in the recent unrest in Iran.

The Supreme Leader on Sunday agreed to a request by Judiciary Chief Gholam Hossein MohseniEje’i to pardon or reduce the sentences of inmates subject to mitigating circumstances. 

Ayatollah Khamenei issued the approval on the occasion of the 44th anniversary of the glorious victory of the Islamic Revolution and the birthday anniversary of the first Shia Imam, Imam Ali (AS).

The prisoners, who were granted clemency, had had their verdicts issued at courts of common pleas and Islamic Revolution tribunals, the Judicial Organization of the Armed Forces and the State Discretionary Punishment Organization.

The convicts to whom the amnesty applies should not be facing charges of espionage for outsiders, direct links with the foreign intelligence services, murder or intentional injuries, as well as vandalism or arson attack on governmental, military and public sites, and also should not be involved in a suit filed by a private plaintiff.

The clemency, however, does not apply to certain types of convicts, including those who have been sentenced for their role in the armed smuggling of narcotics, arms trafficking, kidnapping, acid attacks, rape, armed robbery, bribery, embezzlement, counterfeit money forgery, money laundering, disruption of economy, smuggling of alcoholic drinks, and organized smuggling of commodities.

The Leader regularly issues such verdicts on the occasion of religious festivities.

Iran's Constitution grants the Supreme Leader the right to pardon or commute the sentences of convicts upon a recommendation from the head of the judiciary. The clemency, however, does not apply to all types of convicts, including those who have been found guilty of armed fight against the country, armed or organized drug trafficking, rape, armed robbery, arms smuggling, abduction, bribery and embezzlement.

Protests erupted in several cities across Iran over the death of MahsaAmini who fainted at a police station in mid-September and days later was pronounced dead at a hospital. The demonstrations soon turned violent.

An official report by Iran’s Legal Medicine Organization announced that Amini’s controversial death was caused by an illness rather than alleged blows to the head or other vital body organs.

Iranian officials blame Western countries for orchestrating the riots to destabilize the country.

The unrest has claimed the lives of dozens of people and security forces, while also allowing acts of terror and sabotage across the country. Iran's Interior Ministry has confirmed the enemy waged a hybrid war against the country to weaken national solidarity and hinder the country's progress, stressing that some 200 people lost their lives in the riots sparked by separatist and terrorist groups.

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14011117000860/Parliamen-Speaker-Filed-Enemy's-Pl-Spreme-Leader

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Iran Offers Help to Quake Victims in Turkey, Syria

2023-February-6

Kana'ani expressed sympathy to Turkey and Syria on behalf of the Iranian nation on the severe earthquake, wishing the mercy of the almighty God for the victims of the tragice incident and a speedy recovery for the injured.

The spokesperson announced the readiness of Iran's relief, medical and health institutions to provide aid to the quake-hit areas of Syria and Turkey if needed.

Iranian President Seyed Ebrahim Rayeesi has also issued separate messages of condolences to his Turkish and Syrian counterparts, Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Bashar Assad, over the deadly earthquake.

Offering sympathy to the Syrian and Turkish nations, President Rayeesi announced Iran's readiness to provide urgent relief aid to the quake-hit countries.

Almost 1,500 people were killed and thousands more injured in two countries after one of the strongest earthquakes to hit Turkey in over 100 years sent tremors across the region, collapsing thousands of buildings and sending residents running into the streets.

Experts say the death toll is likely to keep rising over the coming days.

The Turkish authorities have declared the highest level of emergency, with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan mobilizing all rescue services and first responders to aid the affected provinces, while other government institutions are coordinating response efforts.

In Syria, Assistant Health Minister Ahmad Dumeira told SANA that all hospitals were mobilized to treat the victims, and additional ambulances and rescue teams were dispatched to areas hit by the disaster.

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14011117000506/Iran-Offers-Help-Qake-Vicims-in-Trkey-Syria

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North America

 

Biden ‘deeply saddened’ by Turkey, Syria earthquake; pledges US aid

06 February ,2023

US President Joe Biden said he was “deeply saddened” and promised his country’s assistance Monday after a major 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit Turkey and Syria, killing nearly 1,800 people.

“I am deeply saddened by the loss of life and devastation caused by the earthquake in Turkey and Syria. I have directed my team to continue to closely monitor the situation in coordination with Turkey and provide any and all needed assistance,” the president tweeted from his official account.

“Our teams are deploying quickly to begin to support Turkish search and rescue efforts and address the needs of those injured and displaced by the earthquake,” he added in a statement later released by the White House.

The statement said Biden had called on US officials to reach out to their Turkish counterparts to coordinate on assistance, and that humanitarian groups supported by the United States were responding to the destruction in Syria.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/02/06/Biden-deeply-saddened-by-Turkey-Syria-earthquake-pledges-US-aid

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Blinken tells Turkiye to ‘let us know’ what US can do after earthquake

February 06, 2023

WASHINGTON: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told his Turkish counterpart to “pick up the phone and let us know” what the United States can do to help after a huge earthquake hit the country on Monday, State Department spokesperson Ned Price told reporters.

The Biden administration’s top diplomat spoke to Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu by phone following the earthquake that killed more than 2,700 people across a swathe of Turkiye and northwest Syria.

“It was so important for the secretary to speak to his foreign minister counterpart, Foreign Minister Cavusoglu, in the first instance to offer condolences and to make clear...that anything Turkiye needed that we could provide, they should pick up the phone and let us know,” Price said.

Blinken asked his senior staff on Monday morning to identify what funding might be available to help Turkiye and NGOs working on the ground in Syria, Price said.

Washington has deployed a Disaster Assistance Response Team and is in the process of deploying two urban search and rescue teams from Virginia and California that are expected to comprise 79 people each, the US Agency for International Development said.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2246086/world

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Biden, Erdogan to speak 'very soon' following quakes: White House

Michael Hernandez

06.02.2023

WASHINGTON

US President Joe Biden and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan are slated to speak following a series of earthquakes that brought widespread destruction to southern and eastern Türkiye where over 1,700 people have died.

The leaders "will have an opportunity to speak very soon," White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters. The executive mansion is expected to provide a readout of the call after it transpires.

Earlier on Monday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke by telephone with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu to express Washington's condolences, and emphasized the US is "determined to provide any and all assistance to help those affected by these earthquakes."

"The Department of State is in close contact with our Turkish allies, and our humanitarian partners, and our initial assistance response is already underway," State Department spokesperson Ned Price said. "We stand in solidarity with our allies, our partners and the people of Turkey and Syria, affected by these terrible events."

National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said the US is "in the process of deploying" two 79-person teams in addition to personnel already on the ground "to support Turkish search and rescue efforts, and to help address the needs of all those who have been hurt or displaced by the earthquake."

The announcement comes after US President Joe Biden earlier on Monday said he directed his administration "to closely monitor the situation in coordination with Turkiye and provide any and all needed assistance."

At least 1,762 people were killed and 12,068 others injured in 10 Turkish provinces due to two strong earthquakes that jolted southern Türkiye on Monday, according to the country's disaster agency.

Early Monday morning, a 7.7 earthquake jolted Kahramanmaras and strongly shook several neighboring provinces, including Gaziantep, Sanliurfa, Diyarbakir, Adana, Adiyaman, Malatya, Osmaniye, Hatay, and Kilis.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/americas/biden-erdogan-to-speak-very-soon-following-quakes-white-house/2809013

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Africa

 

African leaders express condolences over deadly quake in Türkiye

Hassan Isilow and Mohammed Dhaysane

06.02.2023

JOHANNESBURG 

Leaders of African nations and continental bodies expressed their condolences and solidarity with Türkiye and Syria on Monday after a massive earthquake devastated parts of the two countries.

They included the presidents of South Africa, Nigeria, Senegal, Somalia, Burundi and Gambia.

The continental bodies included the African Union, the East African Community and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD).

"Africa stands in unwavering solidarity and sorrow with the government and people of #Turkiye and #Syria following the devastating earthquake that led to the deaths of more than a thousand innocent people and wreaking terrible infrastructural damage," African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat wrote in a brief statement on Twitter

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa expressed his deep sadness over the large-scale loss of life and the extent of the injuries inflicted by the earthquake.

“Our nation and Government are deeply saddened by the unthinkable loss of life in Türkiye and Syria, and by the vast damage to social and economic infrastructure with which the two governments and populations are now confronted,’’ Ramaphosa said in a statement.

He said his heart goes out to the families who have lost loved ones or are searching for relatives. He wished the injured survivors a full recovery.

Ramaphosa also expressed his appreciation to the South African humanitarian aid organization Gift of the Givers, which is joining the international response in Türkiye and Syria.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari pledged to support the two friendly countries in the wake of the earthquake, which has left at least 2,379 people dead and more than 13,290 injured in Türkiye. In Syria, at least 968 were killed and 2,403 others wounded, according to the state-run SANA news agency.

Buhari "wishes those injured a speedy recovery and assures that the prayers and thoughts of Nigerians are with the many affected by this severe disaster and its aftershocks," presidential spokesman Femi Adesina said in a statement.

Adesina added that the president had assured that Nigeria was ready to offer its "full support in any way possible" to both quake-hit nations.

MackySall, the president of Senegal, extended his heartfelt condolences to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad following the earthquake.

"Peace to the souls of the victims and speedy recovery to the injured," he wrote on Twitter.

Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud also offered his deepest condolences to the Turkish people and the president.

"On behalf of the Somali People and Government, I offer my deepest condolences to the Turkish people, and President @RTErdogan, due to the earthquake that occurred in Kahramanmaraş and felt in many cities, and wish a speedy recovery to the injured," he wrote.

Gambian President Adama Barrow also condoled with Türkiye and Syria, sending well wishes and prayers for the victims and their families.

Burundi's President EvaristeNdayishimiye also expressed sadness over the numerous deaths, devastation and destruction caused by the earthquake in Türkiye.

"This is one of the most powerful quakes to have hit the region, leading to the tragic loss of life and destruction of property. I assure the brotherly peoples of Turkey and Syria of my great compassion and of the goodwill of the people of Kenya in this time of profound grief," Foreign Minister Alfred Mutua said.

IGAD, a regional block in the Horn of Africa said it is deeply saddened by the tragic loss of lives and destruction as a result of the earthquake.

The Ethiopian Foreign Ministry also expressed its condolences to the families of those who lost their lives and wished a speedy recovery to the injured "in the tragic calamities."

The East African Community, a block of six countries, also offered its condolences to the governments and peoples of Türkiye and Syria.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/african-leaders-express-condolences-over-deadly-quake-in-turkiye/2808732

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Jordan Gaming Lab hosts video game development events across the country

February 07, 2023

AMMAN: The Jordan Gaming Lab, a project developed by the King Abdullah II Fund for Development, hosted a free, video game development event at several locations across the country. The two-day Global Game Jam took place over the weekend at the lab’s branches in Amman, Zarqa and Aqaba.

The participants were tasked with creating a video game based on a theme that was revealed during the opening ceremony for the event. Sixteen games were produced and uploaded to the GGJ website.

The aim of the challenge was to provide participants with hands-on experience of working with advanced technologies, while taking advantage of help and advice from professional game designers from around the world.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2246126/middle-east

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Europe

 

Attack On Salman Rushdie: A Look At Events Since The Issuance Of The Fatwa

07 FEB 2023

In his first interview since being stabbed, acclaimed author Salman Rushdie said he still has a feeling of gratitude. “Well, you know, I've been better,” he told The New Yorker's David Remnick during an interview published on Monday. “But, considering what happened, I'm not so bad."

Months after being stabbed repeatedly as he prepared to give a lecture, Salman Rushdie is blind in his right eye, struggles to write and, at times, has “frightening” nightmares.

A Booker Prize that catapulted him to the pantheon of global literary stalwarts to a fatwa by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini that forced him into hiding and years of death threats, Mumbai-born author Salman Rushdie was both idolised and demonised for a singular trait that defined his life and works — championing free speech.

As Rushdie’s long journey to recovery begins, we look at the timeline of all that followed since the issuance of a fatwa calling for his death after the publication of Rushdie's 1988 novel The Satanic Verses, which Khomeini deemed blasphemous to Islam.

Satanic Verses, 1988: 'Midnight’s Children', set against the backdrop of India’s journey from British rule to Independence and Partition, won him the prestigious Booker Prize in 1981, propelling him to literary stardom and global recognition. But years later, his other work ‘The Satanic Verses’, published in 1988 and a Booker Prize finalist, drew the wrath of Iran’s Supreme Leader.

February 1989: On February 12, 1989, a protest broke out in Islamabad, Pakistan and at least six people were killed following a fire exchange between police and gunmen. The crowd was protesting the sale of The Satanic Verses in the United States.

1989: On February 14, the Fatwa was issued by Khomeini calling on Muslims to kill Rushdie. Ten days following that, twelve people were killed in Mumbai after the police opened fire on them as a crowd of nearly 10,000 protestors marched towards the British High Commission. On May 27, the same year, pro-Iranian and pro-Iraqi factions clashed when some 30,000 Muslim demonstrators gathered outside the British parliament. A few months after that, on September 14, four bombs are planted outside bookshops in Britain owned by Penguin, publisher of The Satanic Verses.

1990s: Rushdie was forced into hiding for nearly a decade following the communal controversy over his book.

1991: Two translators of the book were attacked in different parts of the world following the communal row. On July 3, Ettore Capriolo, Italian translator of The Satanic Verses, was beaten and attacked with a knife in his Milan flat by a man who said he was Iranian. On July 12, Japanese translator Hitoshi Igarashi was stabbed to death in Tokyo by an attacker who later fled.

September 1995: After hiding and living under police protection for six years, on September 7, Rushdie appeared in public in London for the first time since the issuance of the fatwa.

1997: On February 12, the Iranian revolutionary 15th Khordad Foundation increases the bounty on Rushdie's head to $US2.5 million ($3.5 million).

1998: The year 1998 followed a series of events within Iran over a threat to Rushdie’s life. On September 22, Iranian president Mohammad Khatami says the Rushdie affair was "completely finished" and two days after that, the Iranian foreign minister informed Britain that no action would be taken against Rushdie. However, in the following months, Iranian clerics called on Muslims to kill Rushdie while several members of the Iranian Parliament stated that the death decree stood valid.

1999: The book was banned in several countries, even before the fatwa was issued against Rushdie. Among the countries that banned the book was India, the land of his birth in which he was barred from entering for over a decade. The ban was eventually lifted in 1999, 11 years later. Other countries that banned the book were Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. In the same year, on February 3,  the Indian government granted him a visa to visit his country of birth, triggering protests by Muslims.

June 15, 2007: Rushdie is awarded a knighthood by Britain's Queen Elizabeth for services to literature, prompting diplomatic protests from Pakistan and Iran and demonstrations in Pakistan and Malaysia.

2012-2016: The years in-between witnessed religious groups in Iran increasing the bounty for killing Rushdie. Meanwhile, on June 20, 2012, Rushdie won the annual PEN/Pinter Prize for his support for freedom of speech and his generous help to other writers. In October 2015, amid tight security at the Frankfurt Book Fair, Rushdie warned of new dangers to freedom of speech in the West. Additionally, the Iranian Ministry of Culture cancelled its national stand at the fair because of Rushdie's appearance.

June 1, 2022: Rushdie is made a Companion of Honour in the British Queen's annual birthday honours.

August 12, 2022: Rushdie was attacked by a 24-year-old man HadiMatar from New Jersey on stage before he was to deliver a lecture at the Chautauqua Institution in New York. The attack on Rushdie —he was stabbed in the neck and abdomen and was put on a ventilator with a damaged liver— sent shock waves around the world, with world leaders and literary stalwarts saying they were appalled at the attack on the author who championed free speech and lived under the threat of assassination for nearly half his life.

October 2022: Salman Rushdie's agent said that the author has lost sight in one eye and used a hand as he was recovering from the attack.

Source: OutlookIndia

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

https://www.outlookindia.com/international/salman-rushdie-a-look-at-events-since-the-issuance-of-the-fatwa-news-260085

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Member of Islamic State 'Beatle' Cell to Go on Trial in UK on Terrorism Charges

FEBRUARY 06, 2023

An alleged member of the Islamic State (IS) group’s ‘Beatles’ kidnap-and-murder cell will face trial in the UK this month on terrorism charges, a judge said on Monday.

Aine Davis is accused of belonging to the notorious group of hostage-takers, who grew up and were radicalised in London.

Active in Syria from 2012 to 2015, they were allegedly involved in abducting more than two dozen journalists and relief workers from the United States and other countries.

The group members were nicknamed the “Beatles" by their captives because of their distinctive British accents.

The hostages, some of whom were released after their governments paid ransoms, were from at least 15 countries, including Denmark, France, Japan, Norway, Spain and the United States.

The IS tortured and killed their victims, including by beheading and releasing videos of the murders for propaganda purposes.

Davis, 38, will go on trial on February 27 at the Old Bailey criminal court in London, judge Mark Lucraft said on Monday.

He faces two charges related to providing money for terrorist purposes and one of possessing a firearm for a purpose connected to terrorism.

The judge also extended Davis’s detention in custody to March 3. It was due to run out on Friday.

Davis did not appear in court and the video link to his prison was not working.

His lawyer, Mark Summers, said he had been able to speak to his client about extending custody.

The lawyer predicted the trial would take less than two weeks.

Davis was arrested in Turkey in 2015 and sentenced to seven and half years for membership of IS in 2017.

He was released in July last year and deported from Turkey the next month. He was then arrested when he arrived at Britain’s Luton airport.

In 2014, his wife Amal El-Wahabi became the first person in Britain to be convicted of funding IS jihadists after trying to send 20,000 euros — worth $25,000 at the time — to him in Syria.

She was jailed for 28 months and seven days following a trial in which Davis was described as a drug dealer before he went to Syria to fight with IS.

Two of the “Beatles", El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Amon Kotey, have received life sentences in the United States.

Source:News18

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

https://www.news18.com/news/world/member-of-islamic-state-beatle-cell-to-go-on-trial-in-uk-on-terrorism-charges-7013239.html

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Muslims of Europe, Southeast Asia denounce desecration of Quran

FEB 06, 2023

The Muslims in Europe and Southeast Asia continued to condemn the recent desecrations of the Quran and Islamophobia in Europe as a group of Muslims staged a protest in The Hague and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) denounced the incidents over the weekend.

Hundreds of Muslims marched toward Koekamp square as part of the "stop anti-Muslim hatred" protest organized by the Federation of Islamic Organizations (FIO) and the Haaglanden Region Islamic Organizations Association (SIORH).

Gathering in the square, they chanted slogans against the desecration of Islam's holy book, condemning such Islamophobic acts.

They also performed a prayer and recited verses from the Quran.

Speaking at the demonstration, Tahsin Çetinkaya, the head of the Turkish Islamic Culture Foundation, said Islamophobia has risen to "a new level" in the Netherlands.

"Muslims, mosques and other Islamic institutions have faced various Islamophobic acts over the years, including the sending of threatening letters to mosques, the hanging of pigs' heads on mosque doors and arson," he added.

Çetinkaya noted that the perpetrators of these acts are encouraged by the silence of government officials.

"Enough is enough. Stop holding grudges against Muslims and Islam," he said, stressing that Muslims living in the Netherlands are also part of the country.

Rasmus Paludan, an extremist Danish Swedish politician and the leader of the far-right Hard Line party, torched a copy of the Quran outside the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm on Jan. 21 with both police protection and permission from Swedish authorities.

The following week, he burned a copy of Islam's holy book in front of a mosque in Denmark and said he would repeat the act every Friday until Sweden is included in NATO.

Meanwhile, far-right Dutch politician Edwin Wagensveld, leader of the anti-Islam party PEGIDA, tore apart a Quran before setting it on fire at a demonstration in Enschede, the Netherlands in late January.

Sweden's NATO bid

Türkiye had already expressed concerns that Sweden was not sufficiently committed to fighting terrorists of organizations like the PKK, its Syrian affiliate YPG and the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ), as well as their sympathizers.

Since the two Nordic countries officially applied to join NATO in May last year, Hungary and Türkiye have been withholding their accession, which requires all 30 members to agree to new entrants. Ankara has been demanding tougher anti-terror laws and terrorist extraditions from Stockholm besides the lifting of an arms embargo.

A trilateral pact inked on the margins of a NATO summit in Madrid in June 2022 bound Sweden and Finland to a series of commitments aimed at assuaging Ankara’s security concerns while Türkiye has warned the process would a hit dead end if promises were not kept.

Unfortunately for Sweden, those concerns have not dwindled as demonstrations by PKK supporters targeting Türkiye and Erdoğan, as well as the desecration of the Quran under government authorization in recent weeks, have brought tensions to a boiling point and already slow NATO talks have come to a halt altogether.

Türkiye says the two countries, particularly Sweden, need to do more to fulfill their promises, especially in the wake of recent demonstrations by supporters of the PKK terrorist group and the burning of the Quran in Stockholm.

ASEAN joins the chorus

Foreign ministers from ASEAN members also slammed the incidents in Sweden, the Netherlands and Denmark as “blasphemy.”

"We condemned in the strongest terms the acts by extremist, far-right politicians in certain countries of burning and desecrating the Holy Quran last month," they said in a statement published on the bloc's website on Saturday.

"This act of blasphemy has hurt and tarnished religious tolerance. Freedom of expression must be exercised in a responsible manner. We reaffirmed ASEAN's commitment to continue encouraging dialogue and understanding and promoting the spirit of peaceful coexistence to achieve peace and harmony in a diverse global community," it added.

Source:DailySabah

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

https://www.dailysabah.com/politics/diplomacy/muslims-of-europe-southeast-asia-denounce-desecration-of-quran

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Rescue teams from Netherlands, Romania on way to Türkiye over powerful quake

Agnes Szucs

06.02.2023

BRUSSELS

Rescue teams from the Netherlands and Romania are already on the way to Türkiye to bring help after “the devastating earthquake,” the EU commissioner for crisis management said on Monday.

“The EU’s Emergency Response Coordination Centre is coordinating the deployment of rescue teams from Europe,” JanezLenarcic announced on Twitter.

“Teams from the Netherlands and Romania are already on their way,” he added, expressing solidarity with Türkiye "in the wake of the devastating earthquake."

At least 284 people were killed and over 2,320 others injured after a strong earthquake jolted southern Türkiye on Monday morning, according to the country's disaster agency.’
Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/rescue-teams-from-netherlands-romania-on-way-to-turkiye-over-powerful-quake/2807568

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Russian FM: US playing with fire, encouraging separatism in Kurdish region in Syria

06 February 2023

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says the United States is “playing with fire” with its activities on the common border between Iraq and Syria, especially by backing separatist militants affiliated with the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and encourage separatism.

Lavrov said at a press conference in Baghdad with his Iraqi counterpart, Fuad Hussein, that Washington “fosters separatism among locals of Kurdish-populated regions in Iraq and Syria. It is playing with fire.”

He added, “Americans encourage Kurdish separatism one way or another and ignore other matters, including the territorial integrity of Syria, warning that such an approach “exposes other countries in the region to ensuing dangers and threats.”

Security conditions have been deteriorating in the areas controlled by the US-led SDF in Syria’s northern and northeastern provinces of Raqqah, Hasakah, and Dayr al-Zawr amid ongoing raids and arrests of civilians by the US-sponsored militants.

Locals argue that SDF’s constant raids and arrest campaigns have generated a state of frustration and instability, severely affecting their businesses and livelihoods.

Residents accuse the US-backed militants of stealing crude oil and failing to spend money on service sectors.

Local councils affiliated with the SDF have also been accused of financial corruption. They are said to be embezzling funds provided by donors, neglecting services, and not meeting the basic needs.

The Russian foreign minister went on to note that Moscow continues to work on negotiations within the Astana format for the peaceful settlement of Syria conflict, and regards the peace talks as useful.

“We consider Iraq's observer status at the Astana talks, with Iran, Russia and Turkey acting as the guarantor states, to be very useful. We will continue our interactions and welcome participation of Iraq as an observer. Jordan and Lebanon also play the same role,” Lavrov said.

The Russian foreign minister went on to speak of a “vital importance” to “safeguard” bilateral economic ties with Iraq against “illegal sanctions” imposed on his country by the United States and its allies due to the conflict in Ukraine.

Lavrov said Russia had already invested some $13 billion in Iraq, arguing that Russian oil companies have not received outstanding payments because of the West’s coercive measures.

Elsewhere in his remarks, the top Russian diplomat underlined the importance of the Palestinian issue, saying that the West is procrastinating resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Hussein, for his part, termed Lavrov’s visit to Iraq as a remarkable development, stressing that Baghdad and Moscow will discuss problems linked to the work of Russian companies and Russian financial dues in the Arab country through meetings of the joint committee between the two sides.

The Iraqi foreign minister said he would discuss the issue of cooperating with Russian companies during an upcoming visit to the US.

Hussein said he would insist the US should refrain from imposing sanctions on Iraqi companies for working with Russian partners in Iraq.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2023/02/06/697713/Russian-FM--US-playing-with-fire-on-Iraq-Syria-border-by-backing-separatists

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Dismissing Wall Street Journal report, Iran says not working with Russia on drone production

06 February 2023

Iran has denied its participation in any project for the joint production of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) with Russia, rejecting Western media reports in this regard as “sheer lies.”

Nour News, which is affiliated with Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, made the remark in a Monday tweet.

“Iran does not participate in any independent or joint project for production of drones in Russia,” the agency said, adding, “Reports by Western media in this regard are sheer lies.”

It added, “Western strategists had better find more believable excuses for the continuation of the war of attrition in Ukraine.”

On Sunday, The Wall Street Journal cited unnamed "officials from a country aligned with the US" as saying that Moscow and Tehran have advanced plans to build an Iranian-designed factory in Russia to produce at least 6,000 combat drones.

"The two countries are aiming to build a faster drone that could pose new challenges for Ukrainian air defenses," the WSJ said, citing officials.

Tehran has multiple times rejected in the strongest terms the Western claims of Iran’s delivery of weapons and drones to Russia to be used against Ukraine, saying the country has been engaged in defense cooperation with Moscow for long and pursues a resolution of the conflict through dialogue and diplomacy.

In a statement last week, the Iranian Defense Ministry announced that one of its workshop complexes in the central city of Isfahan had come under attack from a number of Micro Aerial Vehicles (MAVs), but the complex’s air defenses successfully repelled the attack.

The ministry underscored that the unsuccessful attack did not cause any loss of life and only led to minor damage to the roof of a workshop. The complex, it added, continues its ordinary operations following the attack.

Reacting to the report, Mykhailo Podolyak, adviser to Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky, took to Twitter to express his joy. He said “Ukraine did warn you.”

An informed source told Nour News on Tuesday that Iran is likely to change its approach toward the Ukraine war in response to the Kiev government’s implicit admittance of responsibility for the foiled drone attack in Isfahan.

Russia focused on its own program of developing drones: Kremlin

Separately, the Kremlin spokesman was quoted by Russia's TASS news agency as denying The Wall Street Journal's claim about Moscow's cooperation with Tehran in drone production.

"Russia is focused on its own program of developing unmanned aerial vehicles,” Dmitry Peskov said on Monday.

Peskov added, "Russia has an array of its own programs for creating unmanned aerial platforms for very diverse goals and these programs are being implemented."

The Kremlin spokesman noted that at the end of December last year, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a list of instructions on developing unmanned aerial systems.

“The head of state also handed down an instruction to approve the strategy of developing unmanned aircraft through 2030 and for a period until 2035, which stipulates mass production of drones,” he added.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2023/02/06/697710/Iran-Russia-Ukraine-Wall-Street-Journal-Drone-Factory-Nour-News-Kremlin-spokesman-Dmitry-Peskov-

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EU to send rescue teams to Turkey after deadly earthquake kills hundreds

06 February ,2023

The European Union is sending rescue teams and preparing further help for Turkey after a major earthquake hit Turkey and Syria, the bloc’s crisis management commissioner said Monday.

“Teams from the Netherlands and Romania are already on their way,” with the EU’s Emergency Response Coordination Center overseeing their deployment, commissioner JanezLenarcic tweeted.

He said that the bloc’s Civil Protection Mechanism had been activated to respond to the quake, which hit Turkey and Syria, causing deaths and destruction in both countries.

His office said that Turkey had requested EU assistance.

Several governments in the EU pledged help, including French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

Belgium, Poland, Spain and Finland also said they stood ready to deploy teams and help.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/02/06/EU-to-send-rescue-teams-to-Turkey-after-deadly-earthquake-kills-hundreds

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France condemns expulsion of director of human rights division of UN mission in Mali

BeyzaBinnurDönmez

07.02.2023

France on Monday slammed the expulsion of the director of the human rights division of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA).

"France strongly condemns the decision taken by the Malian junta to demand the departure of the director of the human rights division of MINUSMA, Mr. Guillaume Ngefa-AtondokoAndali," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

"We commend the commitment and work of MINUSMA and its human rights division, which have brought to light the serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law of which the Malian populations are victims and of which In particular, terrorist groups are responsible, but also Wagner's Russian mercenaries," the ministry added.

The UN Security Council and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in their last strategic review underlined the need for Mali to respect the entire mandate of MINUSMA, including with regard to human rights, it added.

Mali on Sunday ordered Andali to leave the country within 48 hours after declaring him persona non grata in a government statement.

Last year, Mali indicated that deals with Russia’s Wagner Group were motivated by the French drawdown of its troops in the country.

Western leaders and rights groups have expressed concerns about the actions of Wagner in Mali and in particular about its alleged crimes against certain communities such as the Fulani.

But the Malian government has referred to Wagner personnel as instructors from the Russian military.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/france-condemns-expulsion-of-director-of-human-rights-division-of-un-mission-in-mali/2809214

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Aid campaign launched in Berlin for quake-hit Türkiye

Erbil Başay

07.02.2023

BERLIN

An aid campaign was launched Monday in the German capital Berlin after two powerful earthquakes struck southern Türkiye, leaving thousands dead and injured and causing massive destruction.

Organized by various Turkish non-governmental organizations in the city, volunteers began collecting materials and items such as diapers, clothing and blankets, which are urgently needed for those affected.

Aid materials brought to the Berlin Turkish Music Conservatory in Kreuzberg district will be delivered to the earthquake zone as soon as possible.

In a statement to Anadolu, one of the aid volunteers, ZuleyhaKafkas Ozturk, said they were deeply saddened by the earthquakes, adding: "People in Berlin have been mobilizing to help since the morning."

Blankets, overalls, winter clothes, gloves, boots and children's food were needed the most, Ozturk added.

She stressed that they aim to deliver the collected materials to the earthquake zone "as soon as possible."

At least 2,379 people were killed and 14,483 others were injured in 10 provinces of Türkiye due to two strong earthquakes that jolted the southern part of the country Monday, said Vice President FuatOktay.

Early Monday morning, a powerful magnitude 7.7 earthquake struck Pazarcik district of Kahramanmaras province and strongly shook several other provinces, including Gaziantep, Sanliurfa, Diyarbakir, Adana, Adiyaman, Malatya, Osmaniye, Hatay and Kilis.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/aid-campaign-launched-in-berlin-for-quake-hit-turkiye/2809192

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