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Islamic World News ( 24 March 2022, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Editors and Journalists Appeal Institutions to Uphold Constitutional Mandate in the Wake of Brazen Calls for Attacks against Religious Minorities, Especially Muslims

New Age Islam News Bureau

24 March 2022


Editors drew attention to how calls for annihilation of Muslims were made at a religious event in Haridwar in December last year.

File photo


• Muslim Leaders in North and South America Agree to Establish Independent Body for Sects to Implement the Makkah Charter

• A Step Against the “Unfair” Closure of Mosques; French Court Annuls Government’s Decision to Close Al Farouk Mosque

• Pak Activists Pay Tribute to Bhagat Singh, Raise Demand to Rename Lahore's Shadman Chowk after Him

• Kelantan’s Shariah Criminal Code Law Affects the Marginalised and Minorities



• Pakistan Opposes India as a member of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation

• Delhi police stopped Friday prayers in mosques on Shab-e-Barat

• Youth created fake Muslim identity to threaten BJP MLC in Karnataka

• India rejects Chinese foreign minister’s remarks on Kashmir at OIC meeting

• Karnataka education minister justifies boycott of Muslim traders

• Hijab Ban: SC refuses urgent hearing on plea against HC order

• Hijab issue: Bengaluru activist Pasha is hopeful of better verdict in SC


North America

• Turkiye's UN envoy demands end to Ukraine war, says it has no ‘victors’

• US puts onus on Iran to decide to return to nuclear deal

• UN Officials Felicitate Nowruz



• Iran’s FM in Syria to discuss Ukraine war, ties with Arabs

• Netherlands, UAE to collaborate on hydrogen use amid ‘burgeoning demand for energy’

• Former member of defunct French far-right group arrested in murder of Argentine rugby player

• Turkiye to benefit most from EU agricultural support for candidate countries



• OIC Vows to Protect Muslim Ummah’s Common Interests

• Big blow to Imran Khan ahead of no-trust vote, 3 major allies decide to join opposition

• OIC adopts 70-point Islamabad Declaration

• Institutions heartily backing democracy, says President Alvi

• COAS, Wang Yi discuss regional security, further enhancing bilateral defence cooperation

• First public school for Sikhs nears completion in Peshawar


Southeast Asia

• Sosma decision in Dewan does not violate MoU, says Loke


South Asia

• EU Deplores Taliban’s Restriction on Girls’ Schools

• UN Secretary-General: postponement of girls’ schools is deeply damaging for Afghanistan

• Norwegian Refugee Council asks Taliban to reverse their decision over suspension of schools for teenage girls

• China Foreign Minister Wang Yi makes surprise visit to meet Taliban in Afghanistan

• IEA’s cabinet meeting: government is impoverished; people must assist


Arab World

• Lebanese President Sparks Christian Anger By Defending Hezbollah At The Vatican

• Islamic Affairs Ministry Prohibits Iftar Donation Collections In Mosques

• Egypt requests IMF support as economy buffeted by Ukraine spillover

• Under sweeping sanctions, Iran hawks its weapons in Qatar

• Iraqi parliamentary blocs agree on naming president, premier nominees



• Palestinians Call for World Bank Pressure on Israel over Withheld Funds

• Iran's Revolutionary Guards warn Israel over more attacks

• Ahead of Ramadan, Israel prepares control measures in Jerusalem amidst rising tensions

• IRGC Commander Warns Israel against Repetition of Mischiefs

• AEOI Head Declares Iran's Plan to Unveil New N. Achievements

• Iranian President Hopes for Further Broadening of Ties with Pakistan

• Senior Yemeni military leader killed in car bombing in Aden, sources say



• 7,000 Boko Haram, Other Terrorists Surrender In Northeast Nigeria In A Week

• Somali forces kill 2 al-Shabaab terrorists at Mogadishu airport

• Tunisian journalists to strike against attempts to control media

• Turkey urges Libya to avoid steps that could renew clashes

• First cruise ship in three years with over 700 passengers docks in Tunisia

• Food crisis looms in Sudan amid economic crisis

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau



Editors and Journalists Appeal Institutions to Uphold Constitutional Mandate in the Wake of Brazen Calls for Attacks against Religious Minorities, Especially Muslims


Editors drew attention to how calls for annihilation of Muslims were made at a religious event in Haridwar in December last year.

File photo



Several editors and journalists have made an appeal to all institutions to uphold their constitutional mandate in the wake of brazen calls for attacks against religious minorities, especially Muslims, under the guise of everything ranging from Covid-19 to hijab.

“The concerted amplification of hatred has been growing over the past years and months, as has the attendant advocacy of violence. Sometimes, the occasion is an election, at other times it is a political gathering, a so-called ‘Dharam Sansad’, or a controversy over clothing. Or even the screening of a movie,” stated the appeal signed by more than 20 editors and journalists.

Among the signatories to the appeal are former editor-in-chief of The Hindu N. Ram, senior journalist Mrinal Pandey, executive editor of The Caravan Vinod Jose, founder editors of The Wire Siddharth Varadarajan, Siddharth Bhatia and M.K. Venu, co-editors of Sabrangindia Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand and The Telegraph editor R. Rajagopal.

They highlighted how systematic hate campaigns are unleashed at regular intervals against minorities and how top political leaders have been silent while sections of the mainstream media played along.

“Months before, we saw systematic hate being propagated against Muslims under the pretext of Covid-19, including calls by legislators for their socio-economic boycott. Disturbingly, the term ‘corona jihad’ was fabricated and amplified by sections of the media establishment,” the appeal said.

It drew attention to how calls for annihilation of Muslims were made at a religious event in Haridwar in December last year and Muslim women were systematically targeted through social media platforms and the Bulli Bai app.

“Since December 2021, well-synchronised calls for the annihilation of Muslims have been made, beginning with a religious meet in Haridwar that month. Muslim women and girls have been systematically targeted in 2021 and 2022 through social media platforms, including the pernicious Bulli Bai App. The ugly controversy over the hijab in Karnataka has resulted in Muslim women in different parts of India being harassed and humiliated,” the appeal said.

It cited how even The Kashmiri Files, a film about what the makers call a “genocide” of Pandits in the Valley, is being used to whip up hatred against Muslims. “Most recently, the screening of The Kashmir Files — a film that cynically exploits the suffering and tragedy of the Kashmiri Pandits by using their plight as a pretext for the promotion of hatred against Muslims — has seen orchestrated attempts inside and outside movie halls to incite anti-Muslim sentiment.”

“Attempts have been made from the highest levels of government to stifle fully justified criticism of the film and of the violent reaction it is generating by claiming there is a ‘conspiracy’ afoot to ‘discredit’ it,” noted the signatories.

The letter pointed out that India now stands at “a dangerous place, with the founding values of our secular, democratic and republican Constitution coming under flagrant assault from prejudiced ideas, acts of prejudice, discrimination, and violent incidents, all planned and orchestrated as part of an anti-constitutional political project”.

“That we have seen elected officials and others who have sworn an oath under the Constitution amplifying some of these multiple and connected instances of orchestrated hate through acts of commission and omission, with sections of the media assisting this project, makes the situation even more urgent,” the signatories noted, urging constitutional institutions to assert their independence.

“That is why it is both urgent and crucial that India’s constitutional institutions, and especially the President, the higher judiciary, and the Election Commission, discharge their mandate under our Constitution and that the media perform their responsibility to the people of India by asserting their independence and speaking truth to power.”

Source: Telegraph India

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Muslim Leaders in North and South America Agree to Establish Independent Body for Sects to Implement the Makkah Charter


Mohammed Al-Issa, secretary-general of the Muslim World League (MWL), addresses the forum in Washington. (Asharq Al-Awsat)


23 March, 2022

Muslim leaders in North and South America have agreed to establish an independent body that would bring together different sects to implement the Makkah Charter, a turning point in contemporary Islamic thought.

Mohammed Al-Issa, secretary-general of the Muslim World League (MWL) and chairman of the Association of Muslim Scholars, launched the first forum of Muslim leaders in the Americas, during an event in Washington, which was also attended by prominent supporting partners, including members and advisors in the US Congress, and an elite of non-Muslim religious, community and governmental leaders.

Workshops during the forum focused on a number of important topics, including the means to benefit from the Makkah Charter in the Americas, as a comprehensive document that seeks to strengthen brotherly ties and address youth and women’s issues. Participants pledged to work on building the capacities of religious leaders and promote religious diplomacy.

They also agreed to establish the international forum for the Makkah Charter, which would be entrusted with coordinating common goals and topics, promoting the values of brotherhood and coexistence and building bridges of understanding between followers of different religions and cultures in the Americas.

In this regard, Al-Issa noted that the Makkah Charter, which was signed by more than 1,200 muftis and scholars and more than 4,500 Islamic thinkers from 139 countries, emphasized the importance of soft power and called on Muslim scholars around the world to stand up to their own fatwas, as each country has its own circumstances and environments that are observed by Islamic Sharia.

The Makkah Declaration - known as the Charter of Makkah - was signed in May 2019 in Saudi Arabia. The document was presented by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz, with the aim to create a pan-Islamic set of principles that supported anti-extremism, religious and cultural diversity, and legislation against hate and violence.

Source: Aawsat

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A Step Against the “Unfair” Closure of Mosques; French Court Annuls Government’s Decision to Close Al Farouk Mosque


Al Farouk Mosque/ File photo


Yusuf Ozcan  



A French court on Wednesday annulled the government’s decision to close a mosque near the city of Bordeaux.

Sefen Guez Guez, the lawyer of the association of the Al Farouk Mosque, said that the Bordeaux Administrative Court annulled the Gironde Governorate’s March 14 decision to close the mosque for six months.

Noting that the court’s decision was a step against the “unfair” closure of mosques in recent years.

Guez added that Muslims can come together in the mosque.

The Al Farouk Mosque in the Pessac district near the city of Bordeaux was closed for allegedly defending "radical Islam" and “spreading Salafist ideology.”

In August, France’s highest constitutional authority approved a controversial “anti-separatism” law that has been criticized for singling out Muslims, striking down just two of its articles.

The bill was passed by the National Assembly in July, despite strong opposition from both rightist and leftist lawmakers.

The government claims that the law is intended to strengthen France's secular system, but critics believe that it restricts religious freedom and marginalizes Muslims.

The law has been criticized for targeting France's Muslim community – the largest in Europe, with 3.35 million members – and imposing restrictions on many aspects of their lives.

It allows officials to intervene in mosques and associations responsible for their administration as well as control the finances of Muslim-affiliated associations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). It also restricts the educational choices of Muslims by making homeschooling subject to official permission.

Under the law, patients are also prohibited from choosing their doctors based on gender for religious or other reasons.

France has been criticized by international organizations and NGOs, especially the UN, for targeting and marginalizing Muslims with the law.

Since Feb. 2018, France has controlled nearly 25,000 mosques, schools, associations, and workplaces and closed 718 of them, including over 20 mosques, according to a report published on March 2.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Pak Activists Pay Tribute to Bhagat Singh, Raise Demand to Rename Lahore's Shadman Chowk after Him


Pakistan activists pay tribute to Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev on their 91st martyrdom day at Shadman Chowk in Lahore where they were hanged in 1931.


Mar 24, 2022

BATHINDA: Transcending boundaries, Pakistan’s Lahore reverberated with the slogan of “Long live the memories of Bhagat Singh” on Wednesday, the 91st martyrdom day of the freedom fighter, along with a demand to rename Shadman Chowk in the city — where he was hanged along with Sukhdev and Rajguru — in 1931

The Pakistan-based followers of the freedom fighter paid tribute to Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev at Shadman Chowk in the capital of Punjab province, which was once a part of Lahore Central Jail where the trio was hanged on March 23, 1931.

Among them, the members of Progressive Students Collective demanded the place to be renamed after Shaheed Bhagat Singh.

Bhagat Singh Memorial Foundation chairman Imtiaz Rashid Qureshi said that the sacrifices made by them will always be remembered in the subcontinent.

“We want Bhagat Singh to be treated as freedom fighter in Pakistan and the chowk should be named after him,” Rashid Qureshi stated, adding founder of Pakistan Quid-I-Azam had appreciated Bhagat Singh in Delhi assembly on September 4, 1929.

He added Pakistan too had every right over the memory of Bhagat Singh as the freedom fighter was not only born in Faislabad village (now in Pakistan) but had spent most of the time of his short but meaningful life in Lahore. “Bhagat Singh was an icon of struggle for freedom and nobody has the right to snatch our rich heritage,” said Qureshi.

In April 2013, Qureshi had filed a petition in the Lahore high court for re-opening Bhagat Singh’s final case so that he can be declared innocent, on the basis of an FIR retrieved that year, where his name did not figure in the murder of assistant superintendent of police JP Saunders in December 1928.

Source: Times Of India

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Kelantan’s Shariah Criminal Code Law Affects the Marginalised and Minorities


The Kelantan state legislative assembly passed the Kelantan Syariah Criminal Code Enactment 2019 late last year. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa


24 Mar 2022


KUALA LUMPUR, March 24 — Late last year, the Kelantan state legislative assembly passed the Kelantan Syariah Criminal Code Enactment 2019, which human rights defenders in the country have accused of encroaching on personal liberties and victimising minorities there.

Coming into force on November 21, 2021, the new enactment has increased the number of acts that it deems as criminal under the Shariah code — containing 68 sections altogether, an addition of 33 sections from the previous version passed in 1985.

The enactment also provides for harsher penalties for several acts, listing the maximum possible punishment of RM5,000 fine, three years of imprisonment, and/or six lashes of the cane.

In a report released earlier this week, groups such as Sisters in Islam (SIS), Legal Dignity, and Justice for Sisters (JFS) accused the enactment of further victimising groups who are already marginalised by encouraging discrimination and stigma.

“We are looking at a total state intrusion that is unreasonable and really infringes on the privacy of all individuals — and by extension, it also infringes into the lives of non-Muslim persons,” JFS founder S. Thilaga told Malay Mail.

Malay Mail lists details on how the new enactment may adversely affect the lives of the marginalised and minorities among the Muslim community in the state administered by Islamist party PAS:


According to the report, the enactment has unfairly targeted women, in particular those who are still single, entrepreneurs especially in the line of beauty and cosmetics, human rights defenders, sex workers, lesbians, bisexuals, queer and trans women.

The enactment criminalises indecent acts or speech, the exposure of “aurat”, acts of “lesbianism” it calls musahaqah, non-cis gender expression that it deems as “changing gender or posing as the opposite sex”, and even disobedience to parents.

In Islam, “aurat” refers to certain parts of the human body that must be covered by clothing. Mainstream Muslim interpretation prescribes this as between the navel and the knees for men, and for women to only leave their face and palms uncovered.

In the report, the groups said that the enactment goes against Malaysia’s commitment as a state party to the United Nations’ Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (Cedaw).

It noted that in 2018, the Cedaw committee on Malaysia expressed concern about how the Shariah legal system has led to a gap in protecting women against discrimination.

It also took note that Malaysia falls short on the global Sustainable Development Goals, failing to commit on key targets such as ending discrimination against women and girls, ending violence and exploitation of women and girls, eliminating force marriages, universal access to reproductive rights and health, and the adoption of policies for gender equality.


While Section 60 of the enactment provides exemptions for children “who have not reached the age of puberty”, the age of puberty itself is not specified unlike in the civil Penal Code that applies to everyone nationwide ― which makes them more vulnerable by the Enactment.

According to the report, at least six sections of the enactment disproportionately affect children and the young, which include selling or giving a child away to a non-Muslim or morally reprehensible Muslim, exposing the aurat, female fleeing custody, wrongful cutting ties with immediate family, disobedience to parents and pregnancy out of wedlock.

“The criminalisation of pregnancy out of wedlock under Section 49 penalises women or girls if they are found to be pregnant, given birth to a child out of wedlock, or given birth to a child in less than 175 days and two lahzah,” it said.

“Lahzah” refers to two types of time periods to determine whether a child is legitimate and not born out of wedlock.

“Meanwhile, a man or boy who causes a woman to be pregnant out of wedlock is also penalised under the section. Both can be sentenced to RM 5,000 in fines, three years of imprisonment and six strokes of cane,” it added.

The report said that this section will not only increase fear of prosecution among unwed parents and people experiencing unintended pregnancies, but also shame and stigma related to pregnancy out of wedlock.


The Enactment introduces two new sections that prohibit so-called “change of gender” and criminalise trans men and masculine persons as well as gender-diverse persons through Section 20.

According to the report, these sections further reinforce misinformation about trans and gender-diverse people as well as gender identity, while causing severe impact on the availability of trans-specific healthcare, protection against discrimination and violence, among others for trans and gender-diverse persons.

“The spill over effect of the enactment on non-Muslim persons is clear in the context of LGBTQ and gender-diverse people.

“The criminalisation and non-recognition of LGBTQ and gender-diverse persons under Shariah laws extend to all persons regardless of religious backgrounds as evidenced by the lack of availability and accessibility to trans specific healthcare and LGBT affirming healthcare services in the national and private healthcare systems, legal gender recognition, protection against violence and discrimination against LGBTQ persons on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression,” the report said.

Human rights groups

Under the new Enactment, human rights groups may face additional barriers in carrying out their work, including providing life-saving support, information and services to those in need.

They face among others: Section 7 (distorting teachings and precepts of Islam), Section 9 (insulting or deriding laws), Section 26 (instigating husband or wife divorce), Section 27 (enticing away any Muslim from custody), Section 30 (words capable or breaking peace) and Section 36 (anything intoxicating).

Business and service providers

The report also claimed that businesses and service providers, ranging from bookstores, health services, beauty and wellness as well as cosmetic entrepreneurs and clothing stores are negatively affected by the enactment.

For example, Section 23 ― which criminalises exposing aurat in public places ― has an impact on the fashion industry and censorship.

“In 2021, the Film Censorship Board had instructed two local stations not to show undergarments being worn by a model or a mannequin during its home shopping segments, as ‘any indecent visual displays, including advertising ‘undergarments’ will still offend the community’,” it said.

“It should also be noted that in order for business owners to receive business permits from the local authority, the business owners must cover their aurat and ensure that their employees comply with the law on covering one’s aurat,” it added.

Earlier this week, the groups called on Putrajaya and the state government to pause and review the recently passed Kelantan Syariah Criminal Code Enactment 2019, which they insist are contrary to constitutionally guaranteed freedoms in Malaysia.

The groups said they found several overlaps with existing Federal Laws such as Penal Code, Criminal Procedure Code and the Dangerous Drug Act, with some provisions infringing on the Federal Constitution which stipulates what falls under the jurisdiction of the state.

“This enactment is problematic, redundant, unnecessary and a waste of resources as it introduces 31 new areas of criminality, most of which fall outside of state jurisdiction and infringe on the rights guaranteed under the Federal Constitution,” Thilaga had said during the report launch.

Malaysia practices a dual-justice system with Islamic matters falling under the purview of each of the separate states.

The Ninth Schedule of the Constitution states that among others the state can only legislate on matters involving the precepts of Islam, while civil and criminal law and procedure and the administration of justice falls under federal jurisdiction.

Last year, the Federal Court has ruled that a Selangor state law's provision which made unnatural sex a Shariah offence was invalid and went against the Federal Constitution, as such offences fall under Parliament's powers to make laws and not under state legislatures' law-making powers.

Source: Malay Mail

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Pakistan Opposes India as a member of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation

Mar 23, 2022

NEW DELHI: India is home to the world's third largest Muslim population, next only to Indonesia and Pakistan. It is projected to become number one by the year 2060. Yet, India is not a member of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.

OIC has at various times over the years weighed the prospects of India joining as a member. But it stopped well short of a consensus- the most vociferous opposition, not surprisingly, coming from Pakistan every time.

India was invited to the first OIC summit in 1969, and even addressed the session. But that did not go down well with Pakistan, and it used its influence to keep India out from further sessions.

The matter even came up in 2006, during the Saudi king's India visit. The Saudi team said it would be good if the proposal of India's membership to OIC is introduced by Pakistan.

As expected, Pakistan objected. Any membership aspirant should not have any dispute with an OIC member state, it said in its opposition.

The issue of OIC membership itself seems obfuscated on terms and conditions.

The OIC charter says, only 'consitutionally Islamic' countries that promote the organisation's goals are eligible for membership. Non-Muslim countries too can have observer status, if they fulfill conditions.

Source: Times Of India

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Delhi police stopped Friday prayers in mosques on Shab-e-Barat

23rd March 2022

The Muslim community in Delhi alleged that the city police stopped them from offering their Friday prayers in 16 mosques.

Muslims and Imams have alleged that the police suddenly stopped them and refused to offer an explanation or even show the worshippers a warrant.

The incident came to light when the former chairman of the Delhi Minorities Commission, Zafarul Islam shared the picture of the Inquilab newspaper which stated that on Friday, the Delhi police didn’t allow the Muslim community to offer prayer in mosques.

He tweeted,” No Namaz: Police disallowed Friday Namaz in 16 mosques in the Panchsheel area of Delhi. Imam of an old mosque said this is the first time in fifty years that Namaz was stopped here. From today’s Inquilab.”

The Imam of Lal Gumbad mosque, Niyaz Ahmad (50) was quoted by Maktoob media saying, “I have been living here since the 1980s and started Imamat in the 2000s in this mosque. Something like this has never happened before.”

Furthermore, he continued, “I thought that prayers were stalled because it was Holi. I told them that the situation here is peaceful and that there is nothing to be worried about. Every five years or so, Holi and Juma fall on the same day, but never before, were prayers stopped.”

The mosque Naim Imam Mohammad Khalid stated, “police came to us and said that today prayers won’t happen in the mosque. When asked why, they said that the Archeological department has ordered to stop prayers at 16 in mosques in Delhi. They asked for a written paper but they didn’t show anything”

“Later the Muslim community performed the namaz in the park. The administration is trying to repeat the Friday prayers boycott which took place at Gurgaon,” the Imaam added.

Source: Siasat Dailly

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Youth created fake Muslim identity to threaten BJP MLC in Karnataka

MARCH 23, 2022

The accused faces charges of creating a fake Facebook profile in the name of Mushtaq Ali and threatening family members of BJP MLC D.S. Arun, who is son of former chairman of legislative council D.H. Shankarmurthy

Bagalkot police have arrested Siddharoodha Srikant Nirale, 31, who created a fake online identity of a Muslim youth to threaten a BJP legislator. He was produced in court and remanded in judicial custody.

The accused is a farmer from Shindi Kurbet village near Gokak in Belagavi district. Apart from cultivating crops, his family operates a nursery on the Gokak-Ghataprabha road.

The accused faces charges of creating a fake Facebook profile in the name of Mushtaq Ali and threatening family members of BJP MLC D.S. Arun, who is son of former chairman of legislative council D.H. Shankarmurthy.

Siddharoodha used some pictures from the social media profiles of random persons to build the profile. He began writing communally sensitive comments in response to news reports and statements of political leaders. He posted a series of comments after the murder of Harsha, a Bajrang Dal activist in Shivamogga. Later, he posted some communally sensitive messages using the social media handle ‘Mushtaq Ali’.

Siddharoodha also posted a message on D.S. Arun’s social media handle. One of his comments was: ‘You may think that a Hindu activist is dead today. But in the coming days, we will target your wife and children’.

The cyber, economics and narcotics police wing in Shivamogga had registered a case based on a complaint by the MLC.

In Bagalkot, police had registered a case following complaints by some right-wing activists. Investigators caught his digital footprint and confirmed his identity, police sources said.

“This case proves that whatever we read or see on social media may not be true. We appeal to the common people not to rely on social media posts blindly. They need to confirm and reconfirm all the claims made in social media posts before forming their opinions on any issue,’’ said Lokesh Jagalasar, Superintendent of Police, Bagalkot.

Source: The Hindu

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India rejects Chinese foreign minister’s remarks on Kashmir at OIC meeting

Mar 23, 2022

By Rezaul H Laskar

NEW DELHI: Ahead of a planned visit to New Delhi by Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi, India on Wednesday rejected his support for the Islamic world’s views on the Kashmir issue and said China has no locus standi to comment on the matter.

Wang made the comments while speaking at the opening ceremony of a meeting of the council of foreign ministers of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) hosted by Pakistan on Tuesday. Several leaders, including Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, expressed concern over the situation in Jammu and Kashmir and Wang endorsed their views.

“We reject the uncalled reference to India by the Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi during his speech at the opening ceremony,” external affairs ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said.

“Matters related to the union territory of Jammu & Kashmir are entirely the internal affairs of India. Other countries including China have no locus standi to comment. They should note that India refrains from public judgement of their internal issues,” he added.

The Chinese side has proposed a visit to India by Wang as part of his ongoing trip to the region. Wang is scheduled to be in Nepal during March 25-27. However, the Chinese and Indian sides have not made any official announcement regarding a visit to New Delhi.

While addressing the OIC meeting, the Pakistan prime minister accused India and Israel of committing “war crimes” in Kashmir and Palestine with impunity because Muslim countries had not effectively taken up these issues. “We have failed both the Palestinians and the people of Kashmir,” Khan said.

Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister Faisal bin Farhan reaffirmed his country’s support for the Palestine and Kashmir issues. He also expressed support for the Kashmiri people and the world community’s efforts to find a solution to the dispute.

Wang, the first Chinese foreign minister to participate in a meeting of the foreign ministers of OIC, said in his speech: “On Kashmir, we have heard again today the calls of many of our Islamic friends. And China shares the same hope.”

He also said China and Islamic countries need to be partners promoting security and stability. “China will continue to support the efforts by Islamic countries to use Islamic wisdom to solve current hotspot issues and to hold the key to peace and stability firmly in their own hands,” he added.

Source: Hindustan Times

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Karnataka education minister justifies boycott of Muslim traders

23rd March 2022

Karnataka Secondary and Higher Education minister BC Nagesh on Wednesday justified the anti-Muslim posters put up in Shivamogga. The posters encouraged the prohibition of Muslim traders from setting up shops at an annual local festival in the city.

It has been reported that a campaign was also organised on social media platforms against allowing Muslim shopkeepers to set up shops.

Nagesh, while speaking to the media, sided with the Hindutva groups and said that every action has an equal and opposite reaction.

“Everything has an equal and opposite reaction. Those people tried to oppose the law of the land and this is a reaction to it. Someone had a communal agenda and two months ago nobody had thought that the high court would pass an order against it and that Muslims would call for a statewide bandh over the court’s ban on the issue,” he said.

“Some people around Karnataka also supported the same (the state-wide bandh). And if there is a reaction to it please don’t politicize it,” he added.

The organizing committee of the festival, Kote Marikamba Jatra, was forced to allot the tender to a Hindutva group as the leaders of BJP, Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad had demanded that no Muslim be allowed to set up shops during the festival.

Source: Siasat Dailly

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Hijab Ban: SC refuses urgent hearing on plea against HC order

24th March 2022

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday declined to give any specific date to hear a plea challenging the Karnataka High Court order, which dismissed all petitions seeking direction for permission to wear hijab in classrooms.

Senior advocate Devadutt Kamat mentioned one of the cases on behalf of a petitioner, a Muslim girl student, and sought urgent listing of the matter. Kamat insisted that exams were approaching and urged the court for an urgent hearing on the matter.

A bench headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana said this has nothing to do with the exams. The Chief Justice told Kamat not to sensationalise the matter.

Kamat contended that the girl students were not being allowed to enter the schools, and they will lose one year. However, the bench moved on to the next item.

On March 16, the Supreme Court on Wednesday declined to grant an urgent hearing on a plea challenging the Karnataka High Court order, which held that wearing of hijab by the Muslim women does not form a part of the essential religious practice in Islamic faith.

Then, senior advocate Sanjay Hedge, representing the petitioners, mentioned the plea before a bench headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana. Hedge said there was urgency in the matter, as several girls have to appear in exams. The bench said others have also mentioned and the court will look into the matter.

Hedge had insisted that the exams are starting and there was urgency in the matter.

The bench said it needed time and it would post the matter for hearing. After brief submissions, the bench said the court may list it after Holi vacations. “Give us time, we’ll post the matter,” said the bench.

The plea filed through advocate Adeel Ahmed and Rahamathullah Kothwal said the high court order creates an unreasonable classification between the Muslim and the non-Muslim female students, and thereby is in straight violation of the concept of secularism which forms the basic structure of the Indian Constitution. The petitioners are Mohamed Arif Jameel and others.

The plea said: “The impugned order is also in sheer violation of the Article 14, 15, 19, 21 and 25 of the Indian Constitution and also violates the core principles of the International Conventions that India is a signatory to.”

It further added, “Being aggrieved by the impugned Government Order, as it is in violation of Indian constitution, the petitioner had approached the Hon’ble High Court by way of a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) petition challenging the validity of the same.

“The Hon’ble High Court vide the impugned order had sought to curtail the fundamental right of Muslim student-women by upholding the impugned Government Order which bars Muslim women from wearing the hijab and pursue their education. It is hereby submitted that the right to wear hijab is an ‘essential religious practice’ and falls within the ambit of the right of expression guaranteed by Article 19 (1) (a), the right to privacy and also the Freedom of Conscience under Article 25 of the Constitution. The same cannot be infringed upon without a valid ‘law’.”

Source: Siasat Dailly

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Hijab issue: Bengaluru activist Pasha is hopeful of better verdict in SC

23rd March 2022

Hyderabad: Muslims should seek guidance of scholars and Ulema in religious matters. Approaching courts in every religious issue could prove harmful. This opinion was expressed by Karnataka’s social activist and managing director,, Aalam Pasha.

Addressing a media conference in Hyderabad on Wednesday, he said Muslims had acted in haste right from Babri Masjid to triple talaq and the Hijab issue now. He blamed the religious leaders for not guiding the community the way they ought to have done with the result some people took these sensitive issues to the court. The verdicts have come against Muslim interest and as a result the community’s trust in judiciary is shaken.

Aalam Pasha, who is known for legal battles, has filed many cases against important politicians in respect of encroachment of Wakf properties in Karnataka. He announced his decision to take up the legal battle against encroachment of Wakf properties in Telangana also.

Expressing dismay at the court verdict involving the 1600 acre wakf land, he termed it the defeat of Telangana Muslims.

Source: Siasat Dailly

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North America


Turkiye's UN envoy demands end to Ukraine war, says it has no ‘victors’

Servet Gunerigok  



The Ukraine war is a "war without victors," Turkiye's envoy to the UN Feridun Sinirlioglu said Wednesday, calling for an immediate end to the fighting as Russia's war nears one month.

Speaking at a UN General Assembly special session on Ukraine, Sinirlioglu said the war is the result of the "blatant violation" of international humanitarian law by Russia, which he called "unacceptable."

"It is a war without victors. A war which should have never started. A war which should cease immediately," said the Turkish envoy.

Turning to the fighting in the besieged city of Mariupol, Sinirlioglu described the situation as "heart-breaking" and said "the victims of this violence are innocent people, first and foremost women and children."

He said 40 million Ukrainians are suffering inside their country and "they need our help," adding that 10 million others have already been displaced.

"For our part, we will not give up on our brothers and sisters in Ukraine," said the envoy. "As the host country to the largest refugee population in the world, we know what it means to flee the horrors of war."

Sinirlioglu also asked for support for a draft resolution, “Humanitarian consequences of the aggression against Ukraine,” in the "spirit of the founders of the United Nations, in our common quest for peace and respect for human rights, and, in our shared duty to humanity.”

"We must act now, for this is, in the truest sense of the word, a matter of life and death," he added.

The Russia-Ukraine war, which began on Feb. 24, has met international outrage with the EU, US, and UK, among others, implementing tough financial sanctions on Moscow.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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US puts onus on Iran to decide to return to nuclear deal

Servet Günerigök  



The US said Tuesday that it is unclear whether Iran will ever agree to a nuclear deal, but if it is willing to make “difficult decisions,” one could be reached “very soon.”

"We are still working through a number of difficult issues. As I said before, the onus is on Tehran to make difficult decisions," said State Department spokesman Ned Price.

"But we have negotiated for the better part of a year of course indirectly through our allies and partners in good faith in a constructive manner to get us to this point. We are still at a point where if those decisions are made, we could reach a mutual return to compliance very soon," he added.

Price said an agreement is neither imminent, nor is it certain.

"And so, that is precisely why for the better part of the year, we have been preparing for either contingency, for either scenario, a world in which we have a mutual return to compliance," he added.

Indirect negotiations between the US and Iran have been ongoing since April 2021. They have been facilitated by the other participants of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in protracted shuttle diplomacy.

The agreement placed unprecedented curbs on Iran's nuclear program and subjected Tehran to an international inspections regime verified by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Former US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from the JCPOA in 2018, in a futile effort to bring Iran back to negotiations for what his administration maintained would be a more wide-ranging agreement.

Trump re-imposed US sanctions lifted under the 2015 pact and imposed new economic penalties.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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UN Officials Felicitate Nowruz


Guterres emphasized in a twitter message that Nowruz can help people build a world full of peace, health and prosperity.

“As humanity faces unprecedented challenges, let us be guided by the Nowruz spirit of solidarity and renew our pledge to live in harmony and protect our planet,” the UN chief said, adding, "I wish everyone a happy, healthy and peaceful Nowruz.”

According to the UN secretary general, the event unites over 300 million people, between generations and beyond borders; so, it is a time to learn about each other, our cultures and our world.

It promotes reconciliation and good neighborliness, Guterres said, noting that it echoes the values of the United Nations of peace, human rights and dignity.

Abdulla Shahid, the 76th president of UN General Assembly at United Nations, called for trying to learn values of Nowruz to help other people.

"Nowruz is all about healing and rebirth of the earth. It symbolizes patience, love and strength of forgiveness," he said.

"On this new day of spring, I call upon the kindness, humility, and grace of our fellow human beings to help us usher in a period of peace and unity," Shahid added.

He expressed hope that this year's Nowruz would be an opportunity to renew social, moral and spiritual commitment among human-beings.

The Islamic Republic of Iran's Permanent Representative to the United Nations Majid Takht Ravanchi organized a ceremony to mark Nowruz at the United Nations headquarters with the coordination of 11 other countries on Tuesday.

Also, President of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Collen Vixen Kelapile, who was also present in the ceremony, stated that Nowruz is an opportunity to renew human pledges concerning peace, friendship, human rights and dignity.

The ECOSOC chief urged all nations to commemorate the new opening with a strong determination to create a more united and synchronized world.

Nowruz, the start of the year according to the Persian calendar which marks arrival of spring was celebrated across Iran and several other countries.

Nowruz, which coincides with the first day of spring on the solar calendar (this year started on March 21), is mostly celebrated in 10 countries of Iran, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, India, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Pakistan, Turkey and Uzbekistan.

Source: Fars News Agency

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Iran’s FM in Syria to discuss Ukraine war, ties with Arabs

23 March ,2022

The foreign ministers of Iran and Syria, two allies of Russia, will discuss the ongoing war in Ukraine and other developments during a meeting in Damascus Wednesday, Syria’s foreign minister said.

Faisal Mekdad spoke to reporters at Damascus airport shortly after his Iranian counterpart, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, arrived for talks with top Syrian officials.

Iran is a strong ally of President Bashar Assad and has sent thousands of Iran-backed fighters from around the region to bolster Syrian government forces against opponents in the 11-year Syrian conflict.

Russia has also supported Assad militarily, turning the tide of the war in his favor. The Syria war has killed nearly half a million people and displaced half the country’s pre-war population of 23 million.

“We will discuss the huge developments today after Russia’s military operation in Ukraine,” Mekdad said. “We will discuss what is behind that and we will discuss our mutual stances toward these developments.”

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During his visit, Amir-Abdollahian is also likely to discuss the latest developments in Iran’s negotiations to restore Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers, Assad’s visit to the United Arab Emirates last week, which marked his first to an Arab country since the Syria war broke out, and meetings of the constitutional committee in Geneva between the Syrian government and opposition.

Amir-Abdollahian said in Farsi that strategic relations between Iran and Syria are at their best. He later made a rare comment in Arabic, saying: “We are in the same trench, and we support Syria’s leadership, government and people.”

Like Iran, Russia a strong ally of Syria and joined the war in 2015, which helped Assad’s forces regain control of much of the country. Russia has hundreds of troops deployed in Syria and an air base on the Mediterranean coast.

Nuclear negotiations nearly reached completion earlier this month before Moscow demanded that its trade with Iran be exempted from Western sanctions over Ukraine, throwing the process into disarray. Negotiators have yet to reconvene in the Austrian capital, and it’s unclear exactly what hurdles lie ahead.

Amir-Abdollahian’s visit also comes two weeks after two members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard were killed in an Israeli strike near the capital Damascus.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Netherlands, UAE to collaborate on hydrogen use amid ‘burgeoning demand for energy’

23 March ,2022

The UAE has signed an agreement with the Netherlands to partner on decarbonizing the energy sector and increasing the use of hydrogen, the Emirates news agency WAM reported on Tuesday.

“There is increasing pressure on current ecosystems to meet the burgeoning demand for energy resources without further eroding the ecosystem,” said the Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade, Liesje Schreinemacher, who reportedly attended the signing of the MoU.

The UAE was represented by the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure, Suhail bin Mohammed al-Mazrouei, and the agreement was signed at Dubai’s EXPO 2020.

The UAE and the Netherlands have been in conversation to identify common interests and create a partnership for decarbonizing the energy sector as part of the Joint Economic Committee.

This includes an export-import corridor between the two countries, which would also act as a gateway to the wider European region, WAM reported.

On March 22, Reuters reported that EU leaders will agree to jointly purchase gas, liquefied natural gas and hydrogen ahead of next winter.

The invasion of Ukraine by Russia, Europe’s top gas supplier, has caused energy prices to soar to record highs and put the EU on a mission to cut Russian gas use this year – a move that will require a jump in imports from other suppliers, Reuters reported.

Recently, the UAE and Austria signed an MoU to work together on advancing hydrogen production capacity in the emirates.

The agreement with Netherlands is also expected to support the Paris Climate Accords and help the countries reach net-zero emissions. The Netherlands is aiming for a 95 percent reduction in emissions by 2050, while the UAE is working towards a net-zero ecosystem by 2050.

Dutch minister Schreinemacher said: “Hydrogen Energy as an alternative to fossil fuel has an important place for both of our countries in our aim to achieve net-zero emissions. I very much welcome being here today to sign this important agreement in an effort to achieve our common goals for the future of our planet,” according to a statement carried by WAM.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Former member of defunct French far-right group arrested in murder of Argentine rugby player

Shweta Desai  



A former member of the now-defunct French far-right group suspected of shooting Argentine rugby player Federico Martin Aramburu was arrested in Hungary, prosecutors investigating the murder said Wednesday.

Loik Le Priol, a French former soldier and member of the former far-right students union Groupe Union Defense (GUD) had fled France after fatally shooting Aramburu, 42, on Saturday in Paris.

He was arrested late Tuesday on his way from Hungary to Ukraine, according to BFMTV news.

His alleged girlfriend, who helped in the drive-by shooting, was also indicted Tuesday for complicity in the shooting.

A second suspect, also a member of the far-former far-right group, is on the run and has a European arrest warrant.

The shooting occurred at a bar in the Boulevard Saint-Germain district where Arambu and former teammate Shawn Hegarty were patronizing.

The two had a heated argument with Priol and one of his friends which was initially settled by bar staff.

Later, as the two rugby players left, Priol and his friend followed in a car and shot several rounds of bullets.

Aramaburu, who sustained three bullet shots, was declared dead early Saturday.

He played for Biarritz, Perpignan and Dax from 2004 to 2010.

His family, stunned and saddened by his sudden death, denounced the heinous crime, France24 news reported.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Turkiye to benefit most from EU agricultural support for candidate countries

Agnes Szucs



Turkiye will benefit the most from the EU's €927 million ($1.01 billion) fund for pre-accession countries in agricultural and rural development, the European Commission announced on Wednesday.

The commission adopted assistance programs to support candidate countries in the field of agriculture in the 2021-2027 period, the EU executive body said in a press statement.

Set to receive €430 million ($472 million) from the fund, Turkiye is to be the biggest beneficiary of the EU grant.

Albania will receive €112 million, while North Macedonia will get €97 million and Serbia €288 million.

The commission estimates that the EU support, together with national public and private contributions, will generate in total over €2 billion of investments in the rural areas of the Western Balkans and Turkiye.

The pre-accession assistance for rural development (IPARD) programs support sustainable management of natural resources, climate action, efforts to raise living conditions by improving infrastructure, diversifying economic activities, and fostering employment, particularly among women and young people.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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OIC Vows To Protect Muslim Ummah’s Common Interests

Mar 24, 2022

ISLAMABAD   –   The Organization of Islamic Cooperation yesterday vowed to protect the common interests of the Muslim Ummah (nation) and adopt a unified stance on Palestine, Kashmir and other issues. In the joint statement titled Islamabad Declaration issued after the conclusion of the two-day OIC meeting here, the members resolved to unify efforts to address common challenges and leverage opportunities besides upholding the rights and interests of Muslim minorities in non-OIC countries. They pledged to promote and protect common interests of member countries and support the just causes of Palestine, Kashmir and other issues. The declaration vowed to pursue a shared vision for greater social, economic, scientific and technological development and integration within the Muslim world and beyond. It reaffirmed the collective desire to promote harmony, tolerance, peaceful co-existence, better standards of life, human dignity and understanding among all peoples. It proposed for convening a ministerial meeting, later this year or next, to evolve solutions, develop mechanisms and tools to prevent conflicts and promote peace. The declaration welcomed the operationalization of the Afghanistan Humanitarian Trust Fund. It appreciated the unanimous decision of UN General Assembly to proclaim 15 March as International Day to combat Islamophobia as well as the Council of Foreign Ministers’ decision to appoint a Special Envoy in this regard. The declaration rejected terrorism in all forms and manifestations and attempts this evil to any country, religion, nationality, race or civilization. It reiterated OIC’s strong position against attempts to equate the legitimate struggle of peoples for self-determination with terrorism.

Source: Nation Pakistan

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Big blow to Imran Khan ahead of no-trust vote, 3 major allies decide to join opposition

Mar 23, 2022

NEW DELHI: Just days ahead of a crucial no-confidence vote in the National Assembly, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has suffered a big jolt after three major allies decided to join the opposition alliance, local media reported.

According to Geo News, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan (MQM-P), Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) and Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) are expected to make the announcement about joining the opposition in the campaign to oust Imran Khan.

Imran Khan's party is facing an internal revolt, with several members of the National Assembly (MNAs) deserting the PTI and joining the opposition ranks.

Earlier, around 24 lawmakers announced to vote in favour of the no-trust move and dissociated themselves from the Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government.

The opposition parties in Pakistan had submitted the no-trust motion in the National Assembly secretariat on March 8.

While the PTI government has exuded confidence to defeat the no-trust motion, the opposition is sure that they will oust Khan.

Moreover, Khan has warned the opposition that he would be more dangerous for them if ousted from power. He has also called for a rally in the capital on March 27 to mobilise his support base or whatever is left of it.

Notably, in the 342-member National Assembly, the Imran Khan government requires at least 172 members to sail through the no-confidence vote.

Source: Times Of India

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OIC adopts 70-point Islamabad Declaration

Baqir Sajjad Syed

March 24, 2022

ISLAMABAD: The two-day meeting of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation’s Council of Foreign Ministers ended on Wednesday with affirmation of support for Palestine and Jammu and Kashmir disputes.

OIC Secretary General Hissein Brahim Taha, while speaking at a media conference at the end of the 48th meeting of the 57-member body, said: “Palestine remains high on the agenda of OIC and was discussed thoroughly. All participating ministers reiterated their support for the Palestine cause.

“The question of Jammu and Kashmir was thoroughly discussed. This is a just cause. It has our full support. The conference reaffirmed our stance and reiterated support for the right of Kashmiri people to self-determination.”

Forty-six countries participated in the moot at the ministerial level, while the other countries were represented by senior officials. Nearly 800 delegates attended the meeting hosted by Islamabad. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi was the special guest at the conference. It was the first time in OIC’s history that a Chinese foreign minister attended its foreign ministers’ meeting, indicating Beijing’s expanding role in the Muslim world.

The meeting agenda included deliberations on the situation in Palestine, Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) and Afghanistan. Also, issues pertaining to Africa and Muslims in Europe and developments in Yemen, Libya, Sudan, Somalia and Syria were taken up at the meeting. Islamophobia, international terrorism and cooperation in economic, cultural, social, humanitarian, and scientific domains were the other subjects that were discussed.

Islamabad Declaration

A wide-ranging Islamabad Declaration containing as many as 70 points was adopted at the meeting by the conference.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, while speaking at the conference, said Palestine and Kashmir were two glaring examples of injustice, oppression, occupation, and human rights violations.

Mr Qureshi said a ministerial committee of OIC would work with other states to “go beyond resolutions” on Kashmir and “chart the way forward”. An action plan will also be formulated in this regard, according to him.

He said the OIC Contact Group on Occupied Kashmir decided that its members would meet more frequently to coordinate their positions on the dispute and monitor human rights violations. “We have a clear plan of action (on Kashmir) for the members of contact group, the secretary general, the secretariat, the special envoy, and the OIC independent permanent human rights commission,” he maintained.

Islamabad Declaration renewed solidarity with the people of Kashmir and expressed full support for their inalienable right to self-determination. It, moreover, condemned the human rights violations in the IIOJK and rejected India’s illegal and unilateral actions related to Kashmir since August 5, 2019.

“We declare that the final settlement of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions is indispensable for durable peace in South Asia. We reiterate our call on India to: a) reverse its unilateral and illegal measures instituted since 5th August 2019; b) cease its oppression and human rights violations against the Kashmiris in IIOJK; c) halt and reverse attempts to alter the demographic structure and to redraw electoral constituencies in IIOJK; and d) take concrete and meaningful steps for full implementation of the UN Security Council resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir,” the OIC participants stated in the Islamabad Declaration.

Source: Dawn

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Institutions heartily backing democracy, says President Alvi

March 24, 2022

ISLAMABAD: President Arif Alvi has said national institutions are wholeheartedly backing democracy in Pakistan, declaring that the nation and all institutions want stability of democracy and rule of law, as they believe in it

“This [approach of the institutions] is the path to stability and development,” said President Alvi at the Joint Services Parade, the highlight of the ceremonies held across the country to mark 82nd Pakistan Day, in the federal capital on Wednesday.

The parade featured marching troops, military assets, including the recently acquired J-10C fighter aircraft, and cultural floats. This year’s annual event attained great significance as foreign ministers of the 57-member OIC as well as Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi witnessed the joint services parade along with Prime Minister Imran Khan, cabinet members, diplomats, senior civil and military officials and some prominent figures who have won accolades for their services to Pakistan.

The contingents of friendly countries, including Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and Bahrain, also participated in the parade.

In his address, President Alvi noted that Pakistan was faced with the challenges of extremism, intolerance, population growth, women rights and fake news. He called on all segments of society, especially the clergy, media, parents and students, to help in tackling these issues.

Recalling the national resolve to safeguard independence and sovereignty, he said a lot of sacrifices had been rendered and no compromises would be made in future. “We fought wars, defeated terrorism, and thwarted internal and external conspiracies,” he asserted.

Dr Alvi said Pakistan was a responsible nuclear state that wanted peace with all, respected sovereignty of other countries and believed in peaceful co-existence.

However, he pointed out that India’s expansionist designs and illegal occupation of Jammu and Kashmir were the major cause of instability in the region, asking the UN to stop the human rights violations by India in the occupied valley and calling for implementing the UN resolutions on Kashmir.

He said major challenges faced by the Muslim world included Palestine and Kashmir disputes, the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan and the rising tide of Islamophobia. “All these challenges could be dealt with through unity,” he advised the foreign delegates, stating that Pakistan wants the international organisation representing the Muslim world to be more effective.

The event at Islamabad’s Parade Avenue commenced with Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Zaheer Ahmed Baber Sidhu leading the fly-past of various formations of Pakistan Air Force fighter jets. including the newly acquired J-10C. Contingents of army, navy, air force, SSG, FC, Pakistan Rangers, Coast Guards and Islamabad police marched past the dais presenting salute to the chief guest. The marching columns of Armoured Corps, Artillery, Air Defence, besides infantry regiments and the women contingent of AFNS, were also highlight of the day-long event, adds APP.

Cultural floats

A special float of OIC member states was also showcased on the occasion, besides the cultural floats presenting artifacts, folk songs and dances in a show of national harmony.

Also, the Sherdil team of seven Karakoram aircraft presented enthralling aerobatics, leaving a colourful trail of smoke in the blue sky. The paratroopers of the three services made freefall jumps from the altitude of 10,000 feet and precisely landed at their designated targets in the ground.

Stars of the event

After the parade review, distinguished personalities, who were especially invited to the Pakistan Day event, were showered with praise for their meritorious services to the nation. They included Dr Amjad Saqib who laid the foundation of first interest-free microfinance Akhuwat Foundation; Malik Adnan who protected the Sri Lankan citizen with courage during a deadly attack; Parveen Bibi, a female rickshaw driver who started free female driving training; Zarghoona Manzoor, the first female SHO of Balochistan and widow of DSP Munawar Tareen who had embraced martyrdom in a terrorist attack; Dr Mimpal Singh who established an ICU for infants; Maria Shamoon, the first AC from minority community of Balochistan; Senator Krishna Kumari Kohli, the proud daughter of Tharparkar who chaired the Senate session on February 5, 2022 that passed a resolution on Kashmir; and Saima Saleem, the first blind female CSP officer.

Source: Dawn

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COAS, Wang Yi discuss regional security, further enhancing bilateral defence cooperation

March 23, 2022

By Mian Abrar

ISLAMABAD: Mr Wang Yi, State Counselor and Foreign Minister of the People Republic of China Wednesday called on General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) and discussed matters of mutual interest, regional security and measures to further enhance bilateral defence cooperation between the two friendly countries.

Chinese Foreign Minister said that Pakistan-China relationship is based on convergence of views and mutual respect. Appreciating professionalism of Pakistan Army, Foreign Minister said that world should acknowledge Pakistan’s efforts towards regional peace and stability.

He appreciated security provided to the Chinese compaies working on China, Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects and said that China believes in inclusive prosperity.

Referring to the OIC’s 48th Council of Foreign Ministers session, the COAS termed it a historic development for addressing the dire humanitarian situation in Afghanistan and bringing international community to a shared vision and joint strategy to find solution to emerging challenges in the region vital for peace and stability.

Source: Pakistan Today

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First public school for Sikhs nears completion in Peshawar

March 23, 2022

The first public school for Sikh community in Pakistan is nearing completion in Peshawar as “90 percent construction work” has been concluded, a news outlet reported on Wednesday.

According to the report, the work on the project practically started two years ago after a piece of land was purchased in the Jogan Shah Mohalla situated in the old city.

A woman living outside Pakistan had donated Rs20 million from which the community purchased eight marlas of land. After the purchase of land, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government started construction work.

The report said a school in Peshawar had been a long-standing demand of the Sikhs from the province and the tribal areas. Previously, about 300 children from the Sikh community were studying at an NGO-run school in Dabgri. The school operating in a rented house had to be shut down after the landlords asked the administration to evacuate.

However, after demands by the Sikh community for a new school, Atif Khan, the former provincial education minister and current food minister, announced the project for the first government school for the Sikh community.

The government tasked the Sikh community with purchasing space to make the construction of the school practical. After the purchase of land, the KP government started work on the site six months ago.

“The development of the special Sikh school would also send a message to those across the border,” the report quoted Dr Sahib Singh, chairman of the National Commission for Peace Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, as saying.

Source: Pakistan Today

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Southeast Asia


Sosma decision in Dewan does not violate MoU, says Loke

Reshna Reem Ganesan

March 23, 2022

PETALING JAYA: The rejection of a motion under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma) does not contravene the memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Pakatan Harapan (PH) and Putrajaya, DAP secretary-general Loke Siew Fook said today.

In a Facebook live post, he stressed that the decision by PH MPs to vote against the extension of a provision in Sosma for another five years does not threaten the MoU at all.

“The coalition had not violated their obligation even though we voted against this motion. It is our right as MPs,” he said.

Asked whether the government could raise this motion in Parliament again before the provision expires, Loke said that it was up to the government.

“They can bring it up again but our stance on this issue will remain the same,” he said.

Home minister Hamzah Zainudin had proposed that the Dewan Rakyat extend the enforcement of sub-section 4(5) under Sosma, which allows a maximum 28-day detention without trial, for another five years beginning from July 31.

But the motion was voted down with 84 votes in favour and 86 against. The remaining 50 MPs were absent.

Sub-section 4(5) of Sosma enables police to detain a person suspected of being involved in terrorist activities for a period not exceeding 28 days for investigations.

Sub-section 4(11), meanwhile, states that sub-section 4(5) shall be reviewed every five years and shall cease to have effect when both the Dewan Rakyat and the Dewan Negara vote against extending it.

This provision must be renewed by both houses of Parliament every five years to remain valid.

Loke also pointed out that there had been no discussion with the opposition on the extension of this provision.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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South Asia


EU deplores Taliban’s restriction on girls’ schools

24 Mar 2022

European Union deplored the announcement by the de facto authorities of Afghanistan that banned Afghan teenage girls to attend classes from 6th grade upwards.

The press release that is made public on Thursday, March 24, 2022, reads that access to education is a fundamental right of all humans that is essential for building a prosperous Afghanistan.

“Access to education for all is a fundamental right, enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and essential to building a prosperous and self-reliant Afghanistan. This decision is contrary to the previous statements by the Taliban where they had assured the Afghan people of their commitment to the right of education for all Afghan citizens.” Reads the press release.

The European Union has said, the announcement by the Taliban is a major setback for women’s and girls’ rights in Afghanistan.

The EU urged the Taliban to honor their commitments about school reopening and immediately reopening schools for Afghan girls and boys.

It has added that the actions of the Taliban matter both for Afghans and the International Community, not the pledges.

Source: Khaama Press

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UN Secretary-General: postponement of girls’ schools is deeply damaging for Afghanistan

24 Mar 2022

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres reacted to the Taliban’s decision over not allowing girls upper than grade 6 to attend classes and termed the announcement as disappointing and damaging for Afghanistan.

Ministry of Education of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan on Tuesday just hours after schools resumption across the country announced that girls can only attend primary schools.

The decision has not only broken Afghan students into tears but has shocked people inside and out of Afghanistan.

Antonio Guterres in a press release expressed concern over the decision and called it disappointment despite pledges by the de facto authorities of Afghanistan regarding reopening all schools for boys and girls.

“The denial of education not only violates the equal rights of women and girls to education, it also jeopardizes the country’s future in view of the tremendous contributions by Afghan women and girls.” Reads the press release.

Source: Khaama Press

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Norwegian Refugee Council asks Taliban to reverse their decision over suspension of schools for teenage girls

23 Mar 2022

Norwegian Refugee Council has condemned the decision of the Taliban over suspension of girls’ classes upper than grade 6 and added that this casts a dark shadow on the start of the school year in Afghanistan.

The council in a press release said to be hopeful that the concerning announcement by the Ministry of Education will be reversed.

The statement further reads that the Taliban government is expected to allow all girls and boys across the whole country.

“We expect the Taliban government to allow all girls and boys across the whole country to resume their complete education cycle, in line with earlier public assurances they have given. Limiting girls’ schooling to primary education will devastate their future and the future of Afghanistan.” Reads the statement.

Meanwhile, spokesperson of the Ministry of Education of the IEA Aziz Ahmad Reyan said that they had submitted the office of Prime Minister the scheme regarding reopening of girls’ school that was refused only hours before school resumption.

Reyan added that further details will be given by the chief spokesperson of the IEA Zabiullah Mujahid.

Source: Khaama Press

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China Foreign Minister Wang Yi makes surprise visit to meet Taliban in Afghanistan

March 24, 2022

China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi arrived in Kabul on Thursday, a Taliban official said, a week before Beijing hosts a meeting of Afghanistan’s neighbors to see how they can help the country following the takeover by the hardline group.

“Chinese Foreign Minister arrives in Kabul for talks with Islamic Emirate leaders,” Ahmad Yasir, a top Taliban government official, said on Twitter.

Beijing has remained tightlipped about the details of Wang’s ongoing tour, and China’s official media has released statements and reports only after his meetings with the Pakistani leadership were over.

Earlier, the Foreign Minister attended the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) foreign ministers meetings in Islamabad, stating that China is investing US$400 billion in over 600 BRI projects across the Muslim world.

Wang’s attendance underscored China’s increasing influence among OIC countries — as well as the Islamic organization’s readiness to overlook charges of widespread attacks by Chinese authorities on the country’s minority Muslim Uyghurs.

In his speech at the conference, the Chinese foreign minister said China supports Russia and Ukraine continuing peace talks for the sake of a cease-fire, an end to the war and peace.

“We need to prevent humanitarian disasters and prevent the spillover of the Ukrainian crisis from affecting or harming the legitimate rights and interests of other regions and countries,” he said.

Source: Free Press Journal

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IEA’s cabinet meeting: government is impoverished; people must assist

24 Mar 2022

Cabinet meeting of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan said, had they (interim government) got enough money, they would have paid salaries for every single man and woman in Afghanistan but the government is impoverished so people must assist the government.

The three-day cabinet meeting was held in Kandahar and was headed by the supreme leader of the Taliban Mullah Hebtullah Akhundzada for the first time.

Deputy Minister of information and culture and chief spokesperson of the IEA Zabiullah Mujahid who was one of the participants of the meeting in a press release said, all government administrations were directed to make efforts in implementing Sharia law so that all Afghans live under the law.

“The meeting was concentrated on rules in government bodies, their activities, interaction with people, seeking a solution for ongoing economic difficulties, and absorbing all Taliban affiliates in security bodies.” Reads part of the statement.

The supreme leader directed Deputy Prime Minister and head of the economic commission of the IEA Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar to attract local and international investors and provide facilities for macro and microeconomic projects and for extraction of mines.

The second Deputy PM Mullah Abdul Salaam Hanafi was instructed to prevent further bureaucracy in financial and other sectors and reform all administrative systems of the government.

Source: Khaama Press

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Arab World


Lebanese president sparks Christian anger by defending Hezbollah at the Vatican

March 23, 2022

BEIRUT: Lebanese President Michel Aoun has sparked Christian anger by defending Hezbollah during his Vatican visit.

In an interview with the Italian daily La Repubblica, Aoun said that Hezbollah’s weapons had “no influence in any way” on the security situation of the Lebanese and that “resisting the (Israeli) occupation” was not terrorism.

His words led Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros Al-Rahi to reiterate his position on the importance of Lebanon’s neutrality.

Lebanon’s top Christian cleric told MTV on Wednesday that the country was not a ground for conflict and that its interest lay in neutrality which, he said, maintained its sovereignty and preserved it from Israel and other hostile elements.

There was online anger, with activists sharing photos of dates and events where Hezbollah’s weapons had been “directed at Christians and not in their defense.”

These included the assassinations of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, the pilot Samer Hanna, and Hezbollah opponents Hashem Suleiman and Luqman Slim.

The activists cited a military conflict from May 7, 2008, between Hezbollah militias and pro-government Sunnis after an 18-month-long political crisis spiraled out of control.

They also mentioned the clashes that erupted in Beirut’s Tayouneh neighborhood last October between Hezbollah and the Amal Movement, unidentified gunmen, and the armed forces.

Activists said the president’s position at the Vatican did not represent them and reminded him that Hezbollah was “listed as a terrorist organization by the nations of the world, including the Arab League and the Gulf Cooperation Council.”

On Wednesday morning, several young people in Tripoli, mostly Sunnis, wrote anti-Iran slogans on the city’s walls rejecting “Iranian occupation.” Their actions were documented on video and posted on social media.

Aoun visited the Vatican earlier this week under the slogan “Christians are well,” causing astonishment, especially in the Maronite Church, with one of its officials noting that the patriarch had been “constantly warning” in his sermons about the migration of young Christians and the collapse of sectors and institutions established by Christians.

The Vatican’s statement was limited to Pope Francis and Aoun’s meeting highlighting “the grave socio-economic problems the country is experiencing, and the situation of refugees.”

It expressed hope for the global aid reaching Lebanon, the organization of upcoming legislative elections, and that “the necessary reforms may contribute to strengthening peaceful co-existence between the various religious communities” who lived in the land of the cedars.

The statement also stressed the “demand for justice” in the Beirut port explosion case.

Messages on the platforms of Hezbollah and its supporters tried to imply that there was a disagreement “between the Vatican and Patriarch Al-Rahi vis-a-vis Hezbollah.”

Former parliamentarian Fadi Karam, secretary of the Strong Republic Parliamentary bloc, said: “Through his visit to the Vatican and his statements, Aoun tried to acquit Hezbollah, saying that it protects Christians in Lebanon, and that is the epitome of fabrication and offense to Lebanon and completely contradicts the truth.”

He told Arab News: “Hezbollah and Aoun are the ones who led Lebanon to its collapse and hell, and it is necessary to correct Aoun’s discourse as he is wrong.”

He denied there was any disagreement between the Vatican and Al-Rahi, and said the Vatican did not approve of Aoun’s discourse and that “it focused in its closing statement on Lebanon’s identity.”

He added: “Aoun tried to exonerate Hezbollah to allow his son-in-law Gebran Bassil, head of the Free Patriotic Movement, to become the next president in the next parliamentary elections on May 15.

Source: Arab News

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Islamic Affairs ministry prohibits iftar donation collections in mosques

March 23, 2022

RIYADH — The Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Call and Guidance has prohibited the collection of financial donations by mosque employees for iftar projects for fasting people in various regions of Saudi Arabia.

The ministry stressed that iftar projects are limited only to the prepared places and the courtyards of mosques, as well as it is a must to be under the responsibility of the imam of the mosque or the muezzin.

The ministry noted the importance of cleaning the places designated for iftar immediately after completion of the break fast meals.

The ministry’s decision included several directives for preparing mosques before the holy month of Ramadan, the most prominent of which are: the necessity of imams and muezzins commitment to their work and not to be absent during Ramadan.

It is also important to adhere to the times of the adhan according to the Umm Al-Qura calendar, the ministry said.

It noted the need to make sure of the time of Isha prayer at the time specified in Ramadan, confirming that the iqamah must be after the adhan according to the approved period for each prayer.

The ministry called on the imams of mosques to read useful books to the worshipers after the obligatory prayers and remind them of the provisions of fasting and the virtues of Ramadan, in addition to the topics that strengthen national cohesion.

Maintenance and cleaning institutions must ensure the cleanliness of mosques and women’s chapels.

The ministry has also issued earlier a series of regulations and guidelines for non-governmental societies and organizations that are under the ministry’s technical supervision with regard to implementing iftar meal projects during the holy month of Ramadan.

Organizations planning to hold iftar parties are obliged to submit applications for approval and obtain permits from the ministry.

Source: Saudi Gazette

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Egypt requests IMF support as economy buffeted by Ukraine spillover

23 March ,2022

Egypt has requested the International Monetary Fund’s support to implement a comprehensive economic program, the IMF said on Wednesday, adding that continued exchange rate flexibility would be essential to absorb external shocks.

The IMF is working closely with Egyptian authorities to prepare for discussion of the program, with a view to supporting sustainable, job-rich and inclusive growth, it added.

Egypt has faced new economic pressure linked to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which prompted foreign investors to flee emerging markets.

On Monday, Egypt let its currency depreciate sharply after it had remained mostly steady for several years.

Russia and Ukraine were the main exporters of wheat to Egypt - typically the world’s top importer - and major sources of tourism.

“The rapidly changing global environment and spillovers related to the war in Ukraine are posing important challenges for countries around the world, including Egypt,” the IMF said in a statement.
Source: Al Arabiya

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Under sweeping sanctions, Iran hawks its weapons in Qatar

23 March ,2022

Iran, under sweeping economic sanctions, was hawking weapons on Wednesday at a Qatari defense exhibit, a surprising sight at the major conference also showcasing American companies and fighter jets.

Hidden in the far-left corner of the carpeted convention center, commanders from Iran’s defense ministry marketed their missiles and air defense weapons systems. The defense ministry manufactures arms for both Iran’s military and its powerful paramilitary Islamic Revolutionary Guard, a group that plays a singular role in the creation and execution of Iran’s national security and foreign policy.

The DIMDEX exhibition serves to promote Qatar, a major non-NATO ally of the United States that’s home to the largest American military base in the Middle East. The tiny Gulf Arab country, however, also maintains good relations with Iran, with which it shares the world’s largest gas field.

Iranian commanders declined to speak with The Associated Press. They handed out brochures to an AP journalist promoting their homemade jet trainers, helicopters and hovercraft.

The Qatari armed forces chief of staff, Maj. Gen. Salem al-Nabet, toured Iran’s pavilion before the exhibition wrapped up, inspecting displays of lethal merchandise in glass cases and listening to a commander’s sales pitch about machine guns. A giant American flag representing US military contractor General Atomics Aeronautical Systems could be seen hanging just beside the Iranian stand.

Notably, Iran’s pavilion cannot be found on the conference map. The country’s defense ministry and armed forces logistics remain under crushing US sanctions over suspected illegal weapons trade.

The Revolutionary Guard, for its part, is widely regarded as a toxic business partner for its designation as a terrorist group by the Trump administration, its global reputation for meddling in regional conflicts and sanctions over its ballistic missile programs and alleged human rights violations.

With talks to restore Tehran’s tattered nuclear deal with world powers nearing a resolution four years after former President Trump abandoned it, the possible removal of the Guard’s terrorism designation has drawn fierce criticism from America’s Mideast allies, like Israel.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Iraqi parliamentary blocs agree on naming president, premier nominees

Ahmed Asmar  



The Al-Sadr party of Muqtada al-Sadr on Wednesday announced an agreement with the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Sunni Sovereignty Alliance on naming the KDP’s nominee Reber Ahmed for the Iraqi presidency and Mohammad Jaafar al-Sadr of Al-Sadr party for the position of Iraq’s prime minister.

Following a meeting among the three groups, Hassan al-Athari, the head of the Al-Sadr bloc, announced in a news conference the establishment of a new parliamentary bloc -- the Alliance to Save the Country.

A parliamentary session is expected to convene next Saturday to elect the country's president, after which the new president will name a prime minister to form a new government within 15 days.

The alliance consists of al-Sadr’s Sairoon Alliance -- which won 73 seats in the 329-member parliament during the Oct. 10 elections last year -- the Sovereignty Alliance (a coalition of Sunni parliamentary groups with 71 seats in parliament), and the KDP with 31 seats.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Palestinians call for World Bank pressure on Israel over withheld funds


March 23, 2022

RAMALLAH: The Palestinian Authority has urged the World Bank to intervene in its dispute with Israel over more than $400 million in withheld tax revenues, senior Palestinian sources told Arab News.

The call comes amid warnings of “an existential threat” to the PA because of dwindling financial support from the US, EU and Arab nations, as well as the shortfall in tax income.

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh and Finance Minister Shukri Bishara met World Bank senior directors in Ramallah on March 22 and urged the bank to put pressure on Israel over the withheld tax revenue.

Israeli deductions from tax it collects on behalf of the PA reached $400 million last year, 42 percent of this year’s budget deficit, Bishara has said.

Taxes collected by Israel make up about half of the PA’s income. However, under a 2018 law, Israel calculates how much it believes the PA has paid in stipends to militants, and deducts that amount from the taxes it collects.

The shortfall in revenue, and a halt to US, EU and Arab financial support for the PA have led to “a financial crisis that forms an existential threat to its survivability,” a senior Palestinian official told Arab News.

At the Ramallah meeting, the two Palestinian leaders also discussed World Bank support for projects in the Palestinian territories, saying that development is essential to create job opportunities among youth and university graduates.

Shtayyeh reviewed administrative and financial reforms, adding that “these efforts must be accompanied by international pressure on Israel to stop its unjust deductions from our funds, release the withheld funds and resume international support for Palestine.”

A political solution is needed to ensure effective and practical improvements in living conditions, the Palestinian PM said.

Bishara told World Bank officials that the Palestinian leadership is working under “exceptional conditions unlike any faced by other countries.”

PA officials pointed to “Israeli violations that impede financial and development progress in the Palestinian territories.”

The World Bank manages aid provided by some European and Arab countries that are reluctant to provide direct support to the PA, supporting low-income families, and covering the salaries of public sector employees and several small projects through a trust fund.

However, there are unconfirmed reports that the fund is running low as many countries have ended their financial support for the authority.

Samir Hulileh, Palestine’s former deputy finance minister, told Arab News that in addition to the financing program that the World Bank undertakes for the PA, giving it $40-$50 million annually, “its reports and estimates on the performance of the authority greatly affect donor countries’ decisions” on further support.

Source: Arab News

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Iran's Revolutionary Guards warn Israel over more attacks

March 23, 2022

Hossein Salami, the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, issued a warning to Israel against more attacks targeting Iranian forces in the region.

Speaking in the city of Dezful at an event commemorating previous IRGC fighters, Salami said, “You saw in recent weeks how the Zionists, who constantly make mistakes in their calculations, were under the attacks of the IRGC missiles.” On March 13, Iran launched ballistic missiles into northern Iraq, claiming the target was a strategic center for Israel. The attack was in retaliation for two Iranian soldiers killed by an Israeli strike in Syria. In total, 12 missiles were launched, and Iraqi officials condemned the attack.

Salami continued, “We warn them to stop their wickedness, otherwise we will close these small holes that are open to you in the world.” In response to Iraqi criticism of the attack, Iran said that it has repeatedly warned the Iraqi government not to permit Israel to operate within the country, particularly in Iraq’s Kurdish region. 

Addressing Israel, Salami added, “Be careful. We not only conduct funerals and processions for our martyrs but we will immediately exact revenge.” He continued, “This is a real and serious message, and if it is continued, again you will experience IRGC missiles.”

The missile attacks, which hit a compound in Erbil, caused considerable damage but no casualties. More than anything, they signaled that Iran has taken its retaliation against Israel to the next level. For years, Israel has attacked Iranian and Iranian-backed forces in Syria. The acknowledgement of two Iranians killed in a recent attack and Iran’s immediate response suggests that tensions will continue to rise, and that each attack and retaliatory attack will be publicized.

The direct confrontation could also be heating up due to the possible revival of the nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. In a phone conversion with his Iraqi counterpart, Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said, “We are close to the final stages of the agreement.” He added, “On the few important remaining issues we presented initiatives from European intermediaries to the US.” Since the US exited the Iran deal in 2018, they are technically not part of the Vienna negotiations, but Iran needs US sanctions removed if they are to return their nuclear program to agreed-upon levels. Abdollahian said, “Now it is the Americans who must show their good intentions through actions. We are determined to achieve a good, stable and durable agreement.” 

Source: Al Monitor

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Ahead of Ramadan, Israel prepares control measures in Jerusalem amidst rising tensions

23 March, 2022

The status quo in the Al-Aqsa compound should be "upheld", said the US ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield on Tuesday  during a briefing at the United Nations Security Council in New York.

Greenfield said that the US is "deeply concerned about present-day tensions, including violence, in the West Bank and in and around Jerusalem", and welcomed the recent meetings between Jordan's King Abdullah and the Israeli chief of staff Aviv Kokhavi.

Last Thursday, Israeli foreign minister Yair Lapid met with King Abdullah in Amman and discussed coordination to defuse tensions in the city ahead of the Muslim holy month.

Meanwhile, according to Israeli media outlets, Israeli settler groups have issued calls to storm the Al-Aqsa compound.

On Monday, the Israel public broadcaster 'Kan 11' reported that King Abdullah will visit Ramallah next week and meet with Palestinian President Abbas to alleviate tensions.

Israeli outlets also reported that Jordan's ambassador to Israel has requested from the Israeli government not to allow Israeli settlers into the al-Aqsa compound during the second half of Ramadan when Palestinian Muslims gather in preparation for the Eid al-Fitr holiday.

On Friday, Israeli media reported that new control measures in Jerusalem are being undertaken by Israeli authorities, ahead of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, out of fears of a major escalation between Israeli police and settlers on one hand, and Palestinians in the city on the other.

The month of Ramadan will coincide this year with the Jewish Passover, in addition to the 74th anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba.

The time period will also mark a year since the wave of Palestinian protests launched during the month of Ramadan last year, dubbed "The May Uprising", triggered by Israeli authorities' violent dispersal of worshipers at Al-Aqsa mosque and attempts to displace Palestinian families in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood.

Tensions remain high in the city, following the killing of nine Palestinians in the West Bank, and Jerusalem. One of them, a 19-year-old, was killed by Israeli police after  he stabbed and injured two Israeli soldiers in Jerusalem's old city. Another 16-year-old was killed by the Israeli army during clashes in the town of Abu Dis, south of Jerusalem.

On Monday, Israeli forces raided the refugee camp of Qalandia, north of Jerusalem and clashed with local youth, wounding eight Palestinians, according to local media reports.

On Saturday, Israeli police shot a Palestinian young man in Jerusalem's Talpiot suburb after allegedly attempting to stab an Israeli settler. A video circulated on social media showed the 28-year-old Palestinian being shot after the attack had ended, while standing at distance from Israeli police officers. He survived and was arrested.

Earlier in March, Israeli police exceptionally decided not to impose a general closure on the West Bank during the Jewish holiday of Purim, in an attempt to defuse tensions.

Simultaneously, the Palestinian Islamic-Christian Commission for the Safeguard of Jerusalem issued a statement, warning of "an explosion of the situation" in case Israeli settlers continued to storm the Al-Aqsa mosque in the coming weeks.

On Wednesday, more than 100 Israeli settlers broke into the Al-Aqsa compound under the protection of Israeli police, and performed Jewish prayers, according to Palestinian press reports. Early on Sunday, several Israeli settlers stormed the sanctuary as well.

According to Israeli media, the Israeli police has identified four areas of potential violence: Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood, the Silwan neighbourhood just outside the old city, the Damascus gate, and in the old city, especially the Al-Aqsa compound and its surroundings.

"These are the places where Israeli police mostly harass Palestinians," Amjad Abu Assab, the spokesperson for the committee of families of Palestinian detainees in Jerusalem, told The New Arab.

"Israeli violence hasn't stopped in these places, nor the rest of the city," he added.

"In the past months, we have witnessed a ramp-up of arrests of Palestinians in Jerusalem," he noted. "Israeli police have arrested 240 Palestinians in Jerusalem in January and 171 in February, adding to the 3,500 Palestinians arrested, including 750 minors in 2021," he said.

"The Israeli police conducts daily random searches and harassments of Palestinians in the city for any reason, like if Palestinians gathered in a public space and had tea," said Abu Assab. "This is to be added to the series of demolitions of Palestinian property in Jerusalem in the past months."

Source: The New Arab

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IRGC Commander Warns Israel against Repetition of Mischiefs


Iran will retaliate because Iranians will not accept terrorism against their forces; so, retaliation is a real and serious message, General Salami said, addressing a ceremony in the Southwestern city of Dezfoul in Khuzestan province on Wedneday.

He warned the Zionist regime on the consequences of their constant miscalculations, urging them to stop evil acts.

Elsewhere in his remarks, General Salami said that the new Persian calendar century is the era of West's decline.

He added that the decline of the US and the western civilization has kicked off for many years and moreover, progress of the Islamic Revolution has been accelerated in recent years.

The last century was named the slavery era of Muslims, oppressed people as well as the century of modern ignorance, but the Islamic Revolution destabilized the status quo and revitalized Islamic world, the IRGC commander said.

On the need for leadership when it comes to resistance, he said that the Imam of Muslims stands confidently in the focal point of the global front, and that the enemies are retreating, because their policies seem to be fruitless as a result of nations' vigilance.

General Salami described the new Persian calendar century as the time for satanic powers to witness their own downfall, noting that such powers initiated big wars in the last century, which left hundreds of thousands of people massacred or displaced.

The current situation in Syria, Iraq and Yemen is the West's plot, General Salami said, arguing that the Islamic world continues progress to take back occupied territories, because the new century is the era of know-how and values.

The White House acknowledged that their strategies and sanctions ended up in empowering the IRGC; thus, such an acknowledgement by the enemy is the best judgment, he added.

In a statement earlier this month, the IRGC claimed responsibility for a missile attack against Israel's strategic center for conspiracy and evil, warning Tel Aviv that any wrong move will not go unanswered.

In reaction to the event, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said that Iran will never tolerate existence of a center of plotting on its borders.

IRGC Spokesman General Ramezan Sharif announced that the IRGC will not hesitate to strike other Israeli bases in Iraqi Kurdistan Region if its officials do not dismantle them.

“If Iraqi officials do not take action to remove other bases of the Zionists in that country while our security continues to be threatened from this region, we will respond without hesitation," General Sharif said.

He reiterated that "the Zionists had admitted themselves that their drones" which flew over a military base in Iran’s Kermanshah Province had taken off from their bases in Erbil (capital city of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region).

"It is our natural right to destroy any base from which any attack is carried out against the security of Iran and this is a redline for us," General Sharif said.

He pointed out that Iranian ambassador to Iraq Iraj Masjedi had on several occasions warned the Iraqi Kurdistan Region about the presence of the Mossad base, which was recently attacked by the IRGC.

Last week, Scores of ballistic missiles hit secret Mossad bases in Erbil, reportedly leaving several Israeli operatives dead.

Citing security sources, Iraq’s Sabereen News reported that two Mossad training centers were targeted by ballistic missiles in the early hours of Sunday.

Al-Mayadeen said a Mossad base on the Masif-Saladin street in Erbil was “fully razed to the ground and a number of Israeli mercenaries were killed or injured”.

In a relevant development last week, Iranian lawmakers in a statement voiced support for the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps' strong and eye-catching attack on the Zionist regime of Israel.

"The Iranian parliament supports the strong action taken to target the Zionist regime’s center of plot and evil through the IRGC precision missiles with pinpoint accuracy," the parliamentarians said via the statement at the end of their open session.

According to the Iranian parliament's statement, the IRGC has a good record in the fight against terrorism and the advisory presence in regional countries.

Source: Fars News Agency

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AEOI Head Declares Iran's Plan to Unveil New N. Achievements


The AEOI will unveil important programs and achievements in the fields of health, agriculture and radiation of products and food on National Nuclear Technology Day (to fall on April 9), Eslami said.

Referring to unveiling of salient achievements in various fields, he said that homegrown radiopharmaceuticals have been produced for the treatment of cancer and will enter its clinical phase after receiving license from the Ministry of Health and Medical Education.

Eslami hailed capabilities of the Iranian nuclear industry scientists and Iran's entry into club of powerful countries with nuclear technology, and noted that the issue of Iran's presence among the world's nuclear powers is very strategic and important.

Last week, US officials explicitly acknowledged for the first time that nuclear sanctions would have no effect on Iran, he emphasized.

Eslami also pointed to the slogan of the Persian New Year (started March 21, 2022) designated by the Leader as “Production: Knowledge-Based and Job-Creating”, and said that his Organization will make its utmost effort to materialize the objectives of the slogan in the current year.

In relevant remarks earlier this month, Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei underlined that Iran will not retreat from strengthening its regional power and peaceful nuclear industry in favor of any other benefits.

“It is vital for any country to have national power,” Ayatollah Khamenei said, addressing a meeting with Iran’s Assembly of Experts.

He said any nation seeking independence and resistance against the will of others needs to “stand strong, otherwise it will be fearful, weak, humiliated and constantly worried about the foreigners’ greedy eyes”.

Ayatollah Khamenei described national power as a “compound issue” and an “intertwined network” comprised of multiple factors.

The Leader said among the “pillars of national power” are “security and defense power”, “economy, public welfare and easy livelihood”, “the power of politicking and bargaining to fulfill national interests at the regional and global front” and “culture and lifestyle”, among other things.

Source: Fars News Agency

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Iranian President Hopes for Further Broadening of Ties with Pakistan


Rayeesi made the remarks in separate messages to Pakistani President Arif Alvi and Prime Minister Imran Khan on the occasion of Pakistan Day.

In the message to his counterpart in Pakistan, the Iranian chief executive expressed satisfaction with the amicable ties between the two neighboring countries, voicing the hope that the mutual exchanges would expand and consolidate more than ever.

Rayeesi also addressed Pakistani prime minister, saying that the brotherly and friendly relations between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan can expand increasingly as a result of empathy and cooperation among authorities of both states in various fields and in line with ensuring interests of both nations.

In a relevant development in September, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian and his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi in a telephone conversation underlined the need to expand mutual cooperation in different fields.

Source: Fars News Agency

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Senior Yemeni military leader killed in car bombing in Aden, sources say

23 March ,2022

A car bombing killed a senior Yemeni military leader and three of his entourage in the southern port city of Aden on Wednesday, three security sources and a local television station said.

The defense ministry confirmed that Brigadier General Thabet Gawas was killed in a “cowardly attack carried out by several terrorist elements” but provided no further details.

Gawas was returning from a personal visit when his car was hit by the blast in a suburb of the city, the security sources said.

Aden’s AIC Television announced his death and showed footage of a car in flames.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

Gawas had long been an enemy of Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi militia, fighting the group in their northern stronghold of Saada even before it ousted the internationally-recognized government from the capital, Sanaa, in late 2014.

He participated in operations that expelled the Houthis from the southern Lahj region in 2015, the year that an Arab Coalition intervened in Yemen against the Iran-aligned militia.

Source: Al Arabiya

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7,000 Boko Haram, other terrorists surrender in northeast Nigeria in a week

Adam Abu-bashal 


ABUJA, Nigeria

Some 7,000 members of the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) terrorist organization and Boko Haram surrendered in northeastern Nigeria in the past one week, local media reported on Wednesday.

An onslaught on ISWAP and Boko Haram militants has continued to record significant successes, Maj. Gen. Christopher Musa was quoted as saying by the News Agency of Nigeria.

Musa said that at least 7,000 Boko Haram and ISWAP members surrendered in the last week during the operations.

“This is evident as thousands of the insurgents comprising combatants, non-combatants, foot soldiers alongside their families, continued to lay down their arms in different parts of Borno to accept peace,” he said.

The surrendered terrorists and their families are expected to be carefully profiled by the Nigerian army and other stakeholders before they undergo rehabilitation processes, he added.

Boko Haram launched a bloody insurgency in 2009 in northeastern Nigeria but later spread its atrocities to neighboring Niger, Chad, and Cameroon, prompting a military response.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Somali forces kill 2 al-Shabaab terrorists at Mogadishu airport

Mohammed Dhaysane 



Two terrorists were killed and at least three police officers wounded in an al-Shabaab attack on the international airport in the capital Mogadishu on Wednesday.

The attackers used small weapons and hand grenades as they tried to infiltrate the Aden Adde International Airport, a police officer told Anadolu Agency.

“They tried to force their way into the airport but the security forces killed them,” said the cop, requesting anonymity as he was not authorized to speak to the media.

Several security personnel have been injured in the attack, he added.

The al-Shabaab terror group, which is affiliated with the al-Qaeda terrorist network, claimed responsibility for the attack.

It said the target was the Halane military compound inside the airport that houses forces of the UN and African Union peacekeeping missions, as well as diplomatic missions of several Western countries, including the US.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Tunisian journalists to strike against attempts to control media

Amena Alyaferni  


TUNIS, Tunisia

Tunisian journalists plan to stage a strike on April 2 to protest attempts by President Kais Saied to control the media, the country’s press union said Wednesday.

Tunisia "has become an authoritarian state that jails and intimidates journalists,” Mohamed Yassine Jelassi, the head of the Tunisian Journalists Union, told Anadolu Agency.

“Since July 25, the people are imprisoned for their thoughts and tweets and are tried militarily,” he added.

Jelassi accused the Tunisian authorities “of seeking to frighten journalists and disrupt them from doing their job.”

Last week, Tunisian journalist Khalifa al-Qasimi was arrested under the country’s terrorism law on charges of sharing news on dismantling a terrorist cell in the central city of Kairouan.

Tunisia has been in the throes of a deep political crisis since Saied dismissed the government, suspended parliament and assumed executive authority, in a move decried by opponents as a “military coup”.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Turkey urges Libya to avoid steps that could renew clashes

24 March ,2022

Turkey urged Libya to refrain from any steps that would lead to renewed conflict and called on authorities to follow democratic processes, amid a crisis over control of executive power in the country.

Libya’s political crisis has escalated since the collapse of a scheduled election in December that was planned as part of a peace process to reunify the country after years of chaos and war following a 2011 NATO-backed uprising.

Turkey has provided military support and training to Libya’s former internationally recognized Government of National Accord, and helped it fight off an assault lasting several months on the capital Tripoli by forces led by Eastern Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar. It still has military personnel and Syrian fighters in Libya.

Ankara has supported the peace process but remained largely silent since the latest turmoil in Libya after the formation of two rival governments.

After an almost 4-hour meeting chaired by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday, Turkey’s National Security Council (MGK) said a “calm in Libya that was achieved through big sacrifices” was an opportunity for peace.

The MGK called on parties involved in Libya to “refrain from steps that could cause new clashes” and urged authorities in the country to “follow democratic processes on a basis of legitimacy for the achievement of lasting peace and stability”.

An interim Government of National Unity, which Ankara backs, was installed last year to oversee the run-up to elections and reunify divided state institutions.

When the elections collapsed, the House of Representatives parliament in the east, based in Tobruk, said that the government’s term had expired and it designated a new administration and set elections for next year.

Source: Al Arabiya

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First cruise ship in three years with over 700 passengers docks in Tunisia

23 March ,2022

A cruise ship docked in a Tunisian port on Wednesday for the first time since 2019, carrying over 700 passengers and rare good news for tourism operators battered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Spirit of Discovery, run by UK operator Saga, landed at La Goulette port on the edge of Tunis where it was welcomed by camels and a band playing traditional Tunisian music.

“We were not trading for about 18 months... but we’ve been back in business since last July and this is our first call here to northern Africa,” said Captain Kim Tanner.

British tourist John Hilton, 75, said he was “absolutely delighted” to be in Tunisia.

“We’re certainly pleased to get out and see some of the world and get to some of the places that we haven’t seen,” he said.

The ship was carrying 724 passengers, mostly British but also German, Italian, and Spanish, according to Tourism Minister Moez Belhassen.

He said the cruise liner was the first of at least 40 expected to dock in Tunis this year.

“This is very important for many sectors... especially given the spending power of tourists,” he said.

After two disastrous seasons, Tunisian authorities are hoping to bring visitor numbers and spending back to 60 percent of 2019 levels, the best season since the North African country’s 2011 revolution.

In normal years, tourism makes up around 14 percent of Gross Domestic Product and provides a living for two million Tunisians, around a sixth of the population.

But the sector has suffered several crises since the 2011 revolt, which inspired revolutions across the Arab world.

In 2015, ISIS group-linked militants waged a string of deadly attacks at key tourist hotspots.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Food crisis looms in Sudan amid economic crisis

Mohamed Amin  



Around half of Sudan’s population will face acute hunger this year amid an economic crisis and poor harvests, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Program (WFP) warned on Wednesday.

“There are already worrying signs that access, affordability, and the availability of food is shrinking for most people in Sudan, which is pushing more people deeper into poverty and hunger,” Eddie Rowe, WFP Representative and Country Director in Sudan, said in a statement.   

The two agencies blamed the country’s economic crisis, poor harvests and rising food prices for worsening the food crisis in Sudan.  

"The combined effects of conflict, economic crisis, and poor harvests are significantly affecting people’s access to food and will likely double the number of people facing acute hunger in Sudan to more than 18 million people by September 2022,” they said. 

FAO and the WFP said that the Ukrainian conflict has even made the food situation in Sudan even worse. 

"The situation looks grim for millions as the conflict in Ukraine is causing further spikes in food costs, as Sudan is dependent on wheat imports from the Black Sea region,” the statement said. 

According to FAO, Russia and Ukraine are major global food producers and exporters.  

Russia is the world’s largest exporter of wheat, and Ukraine is the fifth-largest. Together, they provide 19% of the world’s barley supply, 14% of wheat, and 4% of maize, making up more than one-third of global cereal exports. 

Source: Anadolu Agency

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