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Thu Aug 06 2020, 02:54 PM

Islamic World News ( 23 May 2020, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Eid In Lockdown: Vaishno Devi Shrine Board to Provide Special Recipes on Eid To Muslims In Katra Quarantine Centre






• Imams in Saudi Arabia To Raise Eid Takbeer,Prayer Chant, No Mosque Prayers amid Pandemic

• Face Masks And ‘Prayer Shifts’ As Italy’s Muslims Return To Mosque

• Pakistan Should Be Made Accountable for HR Abuses in Balochistan. Speakers Urged At PIF Conference

• Zarif Tweets Anti-Israel Poster, Crops Out Image of Soleimani Plastered On Al-Aqsa

• Muslim American Police Officer Sues Department Over Islamophobic Comments

• Filipino Muslims Thankful for Pray-At-Home Eid This Year

• Grand Mufti Congratulates Muslims for Praying for Liberia

 

India

• Eid In Lockdown: Vaishno Devi Shrine Board to Provide Special Recipes on Eid To Muslims In Katra Quarantine Centre

• How Indian Muslims Are Preparing to Offer Eid Namaz amid Coronavirus Lockdown

• Muslims Help Perform Last Rites of Kashmiri Pandit InTral

• Mumbai: Muslims To Shun Extravagance, Reach Out to The Needy with Help

• Pakistan Expresses Sadness Over Deaths Caused by Cyclone Amphan In India, Bangladesh

• Maulana of Jama Masjid in Vadodara dies of Covid-19

• Pak witnesses India’s ‘veto power’ at OIC

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Arab world

• Imams in Saudi Arabia To Raise Eid Takbeer,Prayer Chant, No Mosque Prayers amid Pandemic

• Muslims worldwide go virtual for Eid Al-Fitr celebrations

• Khashoggi’s Fiancee Rejects Family Pardon Offer To Killers

• Egypt Pardons 3,157 Prisoners, Including Man Jailed For Singer Suzanne Tamim’s Murder

• Iraq’s new finance minister seeks Gulf funds to stave off fiscal collapse

• Egyptian forces kill 21 militants in North Sinai planning attacks during Eid holiday

• Saudi Arabia orders the return of its ambassador to Iraq as soon as possible

• Coronavirus: Saudi Residents Face Deportation For Gathering In Weddings, Funerals

• Coronavirus: World is facing unprecedented health pandemic, says Saudi King Salman

• Expatriate laborers stage protest in Qatar over unpaid wages

• Tawakkol Karman attacks Khashoggi’s son for pardoning killers from death penalty

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Europe

• Face Masks And ‘Prayer Shifts’ As Italy’s Muslims Return To Mosque

• Ramadan 2020: Germany’s President Pledges To Fight Islamophobia

• 100-Years Old British Muslim Raises $243K For Virus Victims While Fasting

• Global Report: Muslims Face Curfews Ahead of Eid Amid Covid-19 Crisis

• EU justice agency seeks to charge returning ISIS ‘foreign fighters’ with war crimes

• Coronavirus brought EU, Turkey ‘closer’

• UK, Germany and France press Ankara for Libya ceasefire

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Pakistan

• Pakistan Should Be Made Accountable for HR Abuses inBalochistan. Speakers Urged At PIF Conference

• Pakistan celebrates Eidul Fitr with instructions from PM to forgo traditional festivity

• Two survive Pakistan plane crash that claimed 97 lives

• 72pc of Covid-19 patients in Pakistan are 50 plus

• Clerics lambast Fawad for making Eid announcement

• Schools violating fee cut law will face action, SHC told

• Poor handling of pilgrims from Iran led to Covid-19 controversy: report

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Mideast

• Zarif Tweets Anti-Israel Poster, Crops Out Image of Soleimani Plastered On Al-Aqsa

• Rouhani Vows to Reopen Shrines, Resume All Jobs

• Iran to Establish Online Embassy to Palestine

• Iran: Sanction Imposers to Face Same Fate as Saddam's

• Coronavirus: Iran begins opening businesses, religious sites for Eid al-Fitr

• Iran will respond in kind if US makes trouble for Venezuela-bound oil tankers in Caribbean: President Rouhani

• Rouhani Vows to Counter US Hostile Act against Iran’s Tankers

• FM Spokesman: Noble Iran Never to Accept Captivity

• Former Envoy Calls for Forming Club to Contravene US Sanctions

• Coronavirus: Palestinians report first coronavirus death in Gaza

• Gaza reports first novel coronavirus death amid potential catastrophe

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North America

• Muslim American Police Officer Sues Department Over Islamophobic Comments

• Trump Hopes Muslims Find Comfort, Healing on Eid

• Trump’s Israel-Palestine plan doomed: Baker Institute

• US presses for Libya ceasefire amid concern over influx over weapons

• FBI investigates terrorism-related shooting at Texas naval base

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Southeast Asia

• Filipino Muslims Thankful for Pray-At-Home Eid This Year

• Indonesian President Urges Restrained Celebration of Idul Fitri

• A CMCO Raya: Muslims turned away from Masjid Negara after attempted Raya prayers

• Virus lockdowns stifle Eid celebrations as infections rise

• Indonesians abroad celebrate lonely Idul Fitri

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Africa

• Grand Mufti Congratulates Muslims for Praying for Liberia

• Sudan confiscates $4 bln of assets from ex-president Bashir

• Sudan’s push to normalize relations with Israel nothing but mirage: Hamas official

• UN peacekeepers in Sudan quarantined on COVID-19 fears

• Al-Shabaab blamed for being threat to Somalia's quest for peace and stability

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South Asia

• Khalilzad Reacts to Declaration Of Ceasefire By Taliban And Afghan Government During Eid Days

• Taliban, Ghani Declare Three-Day Cease Fire for Eidul Fitr

• Bangladesh To Celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr On Monday Amid Covid-19 Shutdown

• Myanmar Dossier Will Be ‘Milestone’ In Rohingya Genocide Case, Says Report

• Walking the talk: Bangladeshi man, 100, channels Ramadan spirit for COVID-19 relief

• Prominent Taliban commander succumbs to injuries in Kunduz province

• Airstrike kills 6 Taliban militants a day after similar raids killed 31 in Jawzjan

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: https://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/eid-in-lockdown--vaishno-devi-shrine-board-to-provide-special-recipes-on-eid-to-muslims-in-katra-quarantine-centre/d/121937

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Eid In Lockdown: Vaishno Devi Shrine Board To Provide Special Recipes On Eid To Muslims In Katra Quarantine Centre

May 24, 2020

Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board which has been taking care of several people put up in quarantine centres in Katra in Jammu and Kashmir has decided to serve special recipes to Muslims housed in quarantine centres on the occasion of Eid on Monday, March 25.

Eid or Eid-ul-Fitr will be celebrated in India on Monday since the moon could not be sighted on Saturday as per Delhi Jama Masjid’s Shahi Imam.

The shrine board said they have been providing Sehri and Iftar meals to the Muslims after changing their schedule to meet the requirement of food for those fasting early morning and in the evening. Now, for Eid they will make special recipes and provide to the faithfuls.

“We were informed that Muslims at the quarantine centre are observing fast & need food early in the morning & in the evening. So we changed our schedule accordingly. We will try to provide special recipes to them on Eid,” ANI quoted Ramesh Kumar, CEO of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board as saying.

He added that the board has been providing meals to around 500 Muslims quarantined at Aashirwad Bhawan in Katra during the holy month of Ramazan.

“In the month of Ramazan, the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board has been working overnight to provide sehri and iftari to our Muslim brethren in the morning and the evening,” he said.

Aashirwad Bhawan in Katra has been turned into a quarantine centre after the epidemic broke out in India in the month of March.

Chief executive officer of the board Ramesh Kumar said the facility has 500 beds and most of the Muslims staying there were labourers who fasted during the day during the month of Ramazan.

“We are running a quarantine centre at Aashirwad Bhawan, which has a capacity of 500 beds. Since it’s the holy month of Ramzan and the government of Jammu and Kashmir has been bringing back its residents from different parts of the country, we converted Aashirwad Bhawan in Katra into a quarantine centre in the month of March,” Kumar claimed.

He said the decision was taken in line with the spirit of brotherhood as per the best traditions of Jammu and Kashmir.

“Those brought to Aashirwad Bhawan are mostly labourers, who are fasting during the month of Ramazan. So, we decided to provide them sehri and iftari everyday,” he was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

Several of these migrant labourers have come to the state riding on special Shramik trains and buses which dropped them to Udhampur town. Katra is around 40km away from Udhampur.

The shrine board, according to Kumar, has also been providing food to others housed in different quarantine centres in Katra and that their services were not limited just to Aashirwad Bhawan.

He said other people who have not been fasting have been given breakfast, lunch and dinner in other government-run quarantine facilities in Katra.

The Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine is one of the most famous Hindu shrines located in Jammu and Kashmir is also considered to be among the richest.

The board has spent Rs 80 lakh on providing food to the needy people since March 20 in various quarantine centres at Katra, Kumar claimed. In addition to this, it has also spent Rs 1.5 crore to fund the fight against Coronavirus.

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/eid-in-lockdown-vaishno-devi-shrine-board-to-provide-special-recipes-on-eid-to-muslims-in-katra-quarantine-centre/story-Fb74f7gWWWv2B24n9YEtFL.html

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Imams In Saudi Arabia To Raise Eid Takbeer, Prayer Chant, No Mosque Prayers amid Pandemic

22 May 2020

Imams across Saudi Arabia will sound the Eid Takbeer prayer chant via loudspeakers, according to the Kingdom’s Minister of Islamic Affairs, adding that no Eid prayers will be held inside mosques given restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Muezzins inside mosques will be allowed to raise the Eid Takbeer via external loudspeakers on the first day of Eid al-Fitr starting after Fajr prayer until the time of Eid prayer should begin,” Minister of Islamic Affairs, Call and Guidance Sheikh Dr. Abdullatif bin Abdulaziz al-Sheikh said in a statement.

The Shawwal crescent moon was not been sighted in Saudi Arabia on Friday night, meaning that Ramadan will last 30 days this year and Eid al-Fitr will begin on Sunday, May 24.

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

Al-Sheikh said it is permissible for Muslims to perform the Eid al-Fitr prayer at home since the coronavirus pandemic has forced mosques around the world to close.

The prayer can be performed individually or in a group, according to Saudi Arabia’s Grand Mufti.

On the first day of Eid, Muslims should begin the prayer 15 or 30 minutes after sunrise and continue it until the Duha prayer – the voluntary prayer between the obligatory sunrise and noon prayer, according to Sheikh al-Sheikh.

Eid al-Fitr celebrations follow the sighting of the crescent moon, ending the holy month of Ramadan and the dawn-to-dusk fasting of millions of Muslims.

Muslims follow a lunar calendar consisting of 12 months in a year of 354 or 355 days. Sighting a crescent moon heralds the start of Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, and the Eid al-Fitr which marks the end of the holy month.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/coronavirus/2020/05/22/Coronavirus-Imams-in-Saudi-Arabia-to-raise-Eid-takbeer-no-mosque-prayers.html

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Face masks and ‘prayer shifts’ as Italy’s Muslims return to mosque

May 23, 2020

ROME: Mosques in Italy are beginning to reopen their doors for the first time in months, implementing government measures to contain the spread of coronavirus.

Worshippers at Milan’s Via Meda Mosque are required to wear masks and there are ‘prayer shifts’ to avoid overcrowding.

“It is for our safety, for our good, so we must do as required,” one worshipper named Saleh told Arab News. “This way we reduce risks for us and our families. At least we are back here to pray together. It’s a really good thing. I have been waiting long for this moment. Now we hope the pandemic will finish soon and that we can all go back to our lives, to our habits and customs without fear.”

Italy went into lockdown on March 9, with mosques closing that same date, and restrictions were eased earlier this month as the country embarked on a phased return to normality.

The capacity of the Via Meda Mosque has decreased from 250 to just 70, and it has been decided that Muslims will pray in shifts until the pandemic ends.

Posters in Italian and Arabic at the mosque’s entrance and on its walls urge everyone to wear masks and socks.

Prayer mats are sanitized between shifts so that the next person can use them safely. Shoes are placed on racks outside the room in a well-spaced fashion to avoid a crush. Handshakes and hugs are forbidden, so people greet each other by putting their right hand on the heart.

Imam Yaha Pallavicini used his sermon to thank Allah for the health of the whole community, and prayed that the last days of Ramadan could be lived “in a safe way so that physical and spiritual health of all the faithful, throughout Italy, may be preserved.”

In Vicenza, which is around 50 km from Venice, WhatsApp was used to ensure that social distancing could be maintained and that only those who could fit in the place of worship would attend.

In Biella, an industrial city in the northwestern Piedmont region, authorities allowed the call to prayer to be transmitted on loudspeakers every Friday during Ramadan.

But most of Italy’s mosques remain closed until after the end of Ramadan following an appeal from the Union of Islamic Communities in Italy.

“We might not guarantee that the social distancing rules would be respected,” Imam Abdullah Tchina told Arab News, saying that a big turnout would be expected in the final part of the holy month.

May 18, which was the date set for the reopening of mosques, coincided with this important period of Ramadan and discouraged many imams to hold prayers, especially in smaller places of worship. “We have thus been able to balance the need for physical health with the spiritual one,” Yusuf Abd Al-Hakim Carrara, from the national Italian Muslim association Coreis, told Arab News.

But the Grand Mosque in Rome, the largest in Europe, is “indefinitely closed” according to a note on its main gate.

Abdellah Redouane, secretary-general of the mosque’s Islamic Cultural Centre, invited Rome’s Muslims to keep complying with state rules about the containment of COVID-19 and to avoid gatherings. “Eid Al-Fitr can be naturally celebrated at home with families,” he said.

https://www.arabnews.com/node/1679031/world

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Pakistan should be made accountable for HR abuses in Balochistan. Speakers urged at PIF Conference

May 24, 2020

Paris, France : Today on 22nd May 2020, a Paris based organization named Paris Integration Forum organized a conference titled “Prevent genocide in Balochistan and end eliminations with impunity”.

Event was moderated by Mr. Munir Mengal the President of Baloch Voice Association (NGO). And the Prominent speakers were Ex-Ambassedor of Pakistan to USA, H.E. Hussain Haqqani, Baloch Senior Politician and Chairperson of Baloch Peoples Congress (BPC) Madam Prof. Naela Quadri, Prominent Human Rights Defender and Vice President of Voice for Baloch Missing Persons Mama Qadeer Baloch, Italian Freelance Journalist Madam Francesca Marino, German Politician and Lawyer Madam Claudia Wadlich, Mr. Waja Siddique Azad Baloch Secretary General of Baloch peoples Congress (BPC), Swdish Politician Mr. Kristopher Lundberg, Kashmiri Senior Politician and Chairman of United Kashmir National Peoples Party (UKPNP), and Sindhi Senior Politician and President of International Friends of Sindh (IFS), Mr. Salim Sanai.

“Right now I am talking from Baloch missing persons family members camp Quetta, Only in the last week many people got missing from different parts of Balochistan, particularly the students are being victims of enforced disappearances. Mr. Sana Baloch a university student and a M.Phil student was involuntary disappeared by the Pakistani forces in front of many witnesses. Similarly from Absar Turbat Nasir son of Pullan Baloch, Javed Son of Mohammad Raffique student of Zakria Bahauddin University, a student of Uthal university also has been wisked away by Pakistani secrete agency I.S.I., many other students numbered in thousands have been involuntary disappeared . The Pakistani Forces see Corona Virus condtions more suitable to wisk away people in Balochistan. Almost every family in Balochistan has atleast one member missing including females and children. We have a list of more then 350 females and 200 enfants list who are victims of involuntary disappearances. I request from United Nations, European parliament, Amnesty International to interveen and make safety measures for the people of Balochistan as per the UN Charter.” Mama Qadeer Baloch briefed at the Conference.

The ex-Ambassedor of Pakistan Mr. Hussain Haqqani said, The Baloch people are small in number and the Pakistani forces are eliminating them steadliy some say that is a genocide of the Baloch. The only thing can save them is the international recognition of the their issue and international support. The allegations of abuse of Human rights on Pakistan should be checked and investigated unfortunated that has not been done yet. “Enforced disappearances, eliminations with impunity and kill and dump policy in Balochistan must end”. Hussain Haqqani pleaded

The Chairperson of Baloch Peoples Congress said that, Pakistan is an idealogy of religious terrorism to loot the resources of people and dominate them. The genocide of the Baloch people is being due to the occupation and division of Baloch land. Baloch were ruling their land from centries. The Britishers made an agreement or a contract to the idea in 1947 to leave india. Those agreements endose the soverignity of the Baloch people on their land. Even the parts divided by the Britishers also were mean to be given back to Balochistan.

Pakistan and Pakistani text books makes Baloch other people , as not human beings and secondly for them Baloch mean people to be eliminated because theu need our resources and need strategic depth on our land that is why Islamic state of Pakistan has a strategic policy to eliminate Baloch people.

In her briefing Prof. Naela Quadri said in details that, Pakistan need our resources, they are looting our resources and feeding her army. But for Baloch land means mither land that is why the struggle to regain their soverignity on their land is continued from decades. The Baloch will never back from struggle even the Baloch mothers, sisters, and daughters, Fathers, Grand fathers and grand mothers are also part of it. Even some one thinks to eliminate all Baloch still they will not get the Baloch land.

“The closing of eyes from Baloch people killings means he/she has an interest in Baloch killing more then hundred military operations have been done only in the month of April 2020. Today is a day of technology and statelite but how the world is ignorant Baloch genocide and has kept quite”. Madam Qaudri said.

“Balochistan and Baloch people are derived of all basic facilities, there is no infrastructure in Balochistan and the state is building Madressas in Balochistan for her strategic purposes. This cancer of Pakistani religious terrorism will spread again and again will burn the whole world. When this strikes again to the international and neighboring communities then only them will realise.” She Warned.

Madam Francesca Marino in her speech said, The genocide in Balochistan is being done silencely, A European MEP stated this fact that they Mass graves have been found in Balochistan but later on we did not found any action by the European Union.

The Italian Freelance Journalist briefed in her speech that, the death of Baloch Journalist in Sweden, after aproximaly two month his dead body was found from Upsala river, similarly another a Pakistani Journalist Waqas Goraya wasassulted, beaten and threaten in another European country. This all is being done for a strategic purpose This is a big message to all do not say or write anything against Pakistan.

The Baloistan issue is a Political issue not only a human rights issue. But still European countries i.e. Italy and others are selling weapons to Pakistani aggressive army. I as a European is concerned about that. Not targetting Pakistan where there know it perfectly that Pakistan will use that against civilians. United States B 2 Bombardmenet Jets and helicopter have been used against the Baloch. If we allowed cases like Sajjid Hussain to happen without proper investigation then every one should be concerned. This is a matter of hummanity.” She raised her concerns.

The President of International Friends of Sindh said that, In Balochistan the Pakistan army is killing people in a hollocast style. That is not limited to only on to Balochistan they are doing it in Sindh as well. The state backed religious organizations are targetting and killing the sindhi minority people particularly the females. They kidnap and forcefully marry and convert them to Islam. The hind girls are being victimzed on daily basis by the double aged islamic clercs with the state backing. This is being done on daily basis. The state has banned Sindhi political organization.

JSQM a very popular party of Sindhi people has been banned. Many Sindhi Political and Human rights activists have been involunatry disappeared by the Pakistani state forces. The Sindhi Mothers, daughters and sisters are also protesting for the safe recovery of their loved one daily basis. The Sindh vallies are also facing military operations because their voices and views are not identical to the state views. Many villages of Hindus have been eliminated systematically and have been forced to migrate to India and other parts of World. Mr. Mir Saleem Sanai informed the participants.

German lady Politician in her briefing said that, I have been observing the Balochistan confliuct issue from years. I have found that all is being unnoticessed because the Baloch do not have lobbying at international level. Balochistan holds a very important Geo-strategic position and lots of resources, many are interested in that, but due to lack of structured lobbying all are silent even have joined hands with Pakistan for example my country Germany is also also exporting arms to Pakistan but as per the laws, Germany can not sell arms to an aggressive state and army. Even European Union is silent.

“Pakistan is playing with USA for her strategic interests as China is already there. Therefore USA is not noticessing the abuse of rights in Balochistan. The strategic interest in that region has stopped many countries to interveen. Even the common Europeans do not know about Balochistan. Therefore there is a need of structured and well planned lobbying.” Madam Claudia Wadlich adviced.

German Human Rights Defender Lady Anna Caetano, in her intervention said that, Some I have been monitoring the human Rights situation in Balochistan from more then Two years. I have found the situation is very alarming. Today is a day we have to act there is an urgancy and we plan to make to make UN and other international organizations. We shall write pleas, applications,

The secretary General of Baloch Peoples Congress said in his speech that, Balochistan was illegaly occupied through military operation by the Islamic state Pakistan. Pakistan was created by the divison of the Indian subcointinent in 1947. More then three Mass Graves have been found in different parts of Balochistan containing dozens of mutalated tortured dead bodies of Baloch political and human rights activists.The current military operation statrted in Balochistan statrted , since 2002 The Pakistani forces have killed thousands of Baloch people.Baloch have proved through history that they are secular, and peaceful people. Balochistan issue is political, and need to be solved through UN intervention and negotiations.

Waja Siddique Azad Baloch detailed in his speech that, today the most worsening issue is the systematic abuse of human rights. Baloch are suffering torture and inhuman trateament The world knows that Pakistan army is notoriusly known for making money through religious terrorism and even the world community has been victim of her. Despite of all this world is silent on the actions of the Pakistani Army.In balochistan Pakistan army is burning houses, waging military operation, killing Baloch youths, students, doctors, lawyers, business people hence people from all walks of life have been victimized by enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings.

“Baloch Journalist Mr. Sajjid Hussain was killed in Sweden only because of his writings. Even Reporters Without Borders organizations has suspected that Pakistani agency ISI is behind the kidnaping, killing of Mr. Sajjid Hussain. No one can rule out the hand of Pakistani agency against the killing of Sajjid Hussain. This is the normal treatment to the Baloch journalists, wrriters and Human rights activists in Balochistan by the hands of Pakistani forces”. The Grand Father of Sajjid Hussain reported the case of killing of Sajjid Hussain.

“We are deeply sadened and silent by the demise of the Baloch intellectual, writer and journalist Sajjid Hussain. This is a trajic loss for the Baloch people. Their is a no safe place for the Baloch people to survive. Pakistan radical army survives due to the conflict with India. And the international community silent against the rough Islamic terrorist army. Pakistan army receives military aid from British, European Union, and USA. On the other side Baloch minds are filled with entire villages burned. Under the International law the abuse of human rights in Balochistan is a crime, and is punishable, there is no other argument as all evidences are there. The world should stop supporting Pakistan, cut down relations with Pakistan and make accountable Pakistan. Pakistan is doing state terrorism and brutal crimes against humanity. Responsibily relies on the international communty and countries to take action. Otherwise the history of mankind will not forgive. UN shall take actions to pause the military operations in Balochistan and shall send investigators to investigate the cases of abuse of Human Rights in Balochistan.” He requested Intervention in Balochistan.

Dr. Joseph Chongsi said that abuse of rights in Balochistan is a clear violation of UN laws, conventions and treaties. Their is high need to activate the UN bodies particularly the treaty bodies. for that the Baloch Human rights defenders, organizations and political parties need to use the UN proceedures and get involve the UN bodies and rapporteurs to investigate the cases and make accountable the Islamic state of Pakistan. The Baloch organizations should access the International criminal court. Because as per the International criminal court if the proceedures exhusted in the Pakistani courts and justice has not been delivered therefore there is a liability on the international court to persecute the the perperators of abuse of Human rights in Balochistan.

The event was attended by high number of people . The journalists, and other participants including ngo representatives and other participants also asked questions and make interventions.

http://www.thesatribunenews.com/2020/05/24/pakistan-should-be-made-accountable-for-hr-abuses-in-balochistan-speakers-urged-at-pif-conference/?fbclid=IwAR2lMYNcvmsPNbCoRc8YjuWT0v7bVkE7maKV_t8TlUvyFaVC5jxrOXH7J3w

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Zarif tweets anti-Israel poster, crops out image of Soleimani plastered on al-Aqsa

23 May 2020

A tweet by Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif on Jerusalem drew criticism for his showing of only half of the photo posted, cropping out weapons, Hezbollah militants, and an illustrated poster of slain commander Qassem Soleimani plastered on al-Aqsa Mosque.

In his tweet, Zarif said Iran seeks a real solution to the Palestinian issue through a referendum. The tweet accompanied a half-cropped portion of an illustrated artwork of the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. The artwork was headlined “Palestine will be free” with a subheadline of “The final solution: Resistance until referendum.”

“Disgusting that those whose civilization found a "Final Solution" in gas chambers attack those who seek a real solution at the ballot box, through a REFERENDUM. Why are US and West so afraid of democracy? Palestinians should not have to pay for your crimes, or for your guilt,” Zafeer wrote in his post.

Javad Zarif

@JZarif

Disgusting that those whose civilization found a "Final Solution" in gas chambers attack those who seek a real solution at the ballot box, through a REFERENDUM.

Why are US and West so afraid of democracy?

Palestinians should not have to pay for your crimes, or for your guilt.

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The so-called “Final Solution” term has been historically used to refer to Adolf Hitler’s Nazi plan to exterminate Jews during the Holocaust.

Khosro Kalbasi

@KhosroKalbasi

#Iran Supreme Leader website http://khamenei.ir  has released a poster ahead of Quds Day.

Pictures of Ayatollah Khomeini, Qasem Soleimani, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, Hezbollah's Hassan Nasrallah

Flags of IRGC, Fatah, Iraq’s PMF/PMU and Kata'ib Hezbollah, Afghan brigade Fatemiyoun

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Some Twitter users posted the full picture of the illustrated artwork which was previously designed and posted by Iran Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s website. The full artwork shows armed militants carrying Hezbollah flags, and posters of Soleimani and Iraqi militia leader Abu Mahdi al-Mohandes plastered on a drawing of the al-Aqsa Mosque.

The second part of the picture which was hidden in Zarif’s tweet with symbols of violence contradicts the proposal of Iranian leader Khamenei to conduct a referendum for Palestinians, Arabs, and Jews to determine their fate.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2020/05/23/Zarif-tweets-Jerusalem-artwork-crops-images-of-Soleimani-plastered-on-al-Aqsa.html

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Muslim American police officer sues department over Islamophobic comments

Saturday, 23 May 2020

A Muslim American police officer has taken legal action against his department over Islamophobic comments.

Kamil Warraich, a Pakistani-American police officer in Asbury Park, New Jersey, filed the lawsuit over being repeatedly called a “terrorist” and "Taliban" during his over 15-year tenure, NJ.com reported on Saturday.

His search for justice has led to his dismissal from the department.

“Mr. Warraich was a trailblazer who wanted nothing more than to serve the people of Asbury Park,” David Castellani, one of Warraich’s lawyers, said in a statement. “Unfortunately ... Mr. Warraich faced a hostile work environment created by people within the APPD, who did not want to see a dark-skinned police officer.”

In the lawsuit, the Muslim officer also disputed multiple disciplinary charges and a failed fitness test, which made authorities fire him in 2019, despite having worked at the department since 2004.

Warraich joined other minority officers to form a new union last year after he was kept out of union activities along with other predominantly black officers.

The police officer also complained about being encouraged to use unnecessary force in minority communities.

“I only used force when it was justified and absolutely necessary," he said.

The suit also accuses city officials and the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office of mishandling his complaints.

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2020/05/23/625994/Islamophobia-Muslim-American-police-officer-sues-his-department

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Filipino Muslims Thankful for Pray-At-Home Eid This Year

May 23, 2020

MANILA: For as long as Dr. Potre Diampuan can remember, celebrating Eid Al-Fitr was about assembling at the local mosque for prayers, followed by a meet and greet with family and friends over an elaborate feast of piarun, rendang, sweet snacks and dates.

It has been the same routine for years.

On Sunday, however, Diampuan will join millions of other Muslims in the Philippines to observe the festival at home as part of government efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus across the country.

“There are only three of us who will celebrate Eid at home,” she told Arab News. “I'm going to prepare some food, but we are not expecting people to arrive.”

A core aspect of the Eid prayer is the khutbah (sermon) that precedes it, but social distancing makes congregational prayers and religious gatherings impossible.

“Islam has emphasized that if it is for the greater good, then let us join that where there is a benefit for the greater number of people. If staying at home will benefit the majority, then that is the better decision,” she added.

The Philippines, anticipating congregations for Eid and a spike in infections, banned gatherings at mosques and open spaces. Several areas in the country were placed under community quarantine.

To reiterate the importance of anti-virus measures the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) secretary, Saidamen Pangarungan, acknowledged in his Eid address that this year’s Ramadan was “unprecedented.”

“But this contagion has given us the golden opportunity to offer more supplications to Allah (swt) and read the Qur’an in the comforts of our homes,” he said. “It has afforded us precious time to reflect upon life’s travails with sab’r or patience.”

The pandemic also displayed people’s steadfastness as a nation during the crisis and showed their commitment to national unity, he added.

“I am proud of how all Muslim Filipinos have acted throughout Ramadan under lockdown. The pandemic exposed the weakness of most, but was also able to highlight one of the most important teachings in Islam, which is charity.”

He had previously urged Muslims to celebrate Eid “under the spirit of unity and solidarity” and to abide by government rules for people’s safety and well-being.

He was joined by NCMF spokesperson, Dimapuno Datu Ramos, Jr., who said that ensuring public health was a government priority.

“Ramadan teaches us about love for others, and there is no better way to do this than to ensure the safety of your family, friends and colleagues. Celebrate Eid Al-Fitr at home so that we may all live to experience next Ramadan,” he added.

A state-run television station will air the Eid prayer and khutba by Dr. Julkipli Wadi, from the University of the Philippines’ Institute of Islamic Studies, on Sunday as part of the government’s measures.

Bangsamoro MP Zia Alonto Adiong said that the last day of fasting coincided with the anniversary of the 2017 Marawi siege, the months-long battle between security forces and Daesh-inspired militants that devastated the Muslim city.

“For the Bangsamoro people, most especially the Meranao people, the threat of COVID-19 makes the rebuilding and rehabilitation of Marawi City all the more urgent and necessary. Our history teaches us that being a Moro and Muslim is not easy, but our faith also reminds us that we are not given burdens that we cannot bear. Let us welcome this year’s Eid with a heart filled with joyous spirit — grateful for the chance to worship as a community.”

https://www.arabnews.com/node/1679086/world

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Grand Mufti Congratulates Muslims for Praying for Liberia

May 24, 2020

Monrovia – Liberia’s Grand Mufti and Chief Imam, Abubakar Sumaworo has applauded Muslims in Liberia for being committed and for praying for the country during the entire fast month.

Sheik Sumaworo said Liberia is the only denominator for all Liberians and everyone’s collective efforts are needed to move the country forward. The Chief Imam noted that the Muslim Community stands ready to promote peace and togetherness.

He applauded Muslims in Liberia for their continued support and prayer to the peace process of the country.

He called on all Muslims the world over to observe social distancing and other health protocols being put in place by the governments in order to stop the transmission of the Coronavirus disease.

Imam Sumaworo said though it was a challenge for Muslims to fast while there is a health crisis, he added, “In the midst of the pandemic, Muslims all around the world mustered the courage and were committed in their prayers. We are glad that fast month has ended in peace.”

He continued, “It was not easy but you stood and showed your commitment to the process. Your prayers for our beloved country Liberia and the peace are commendable. We thank all of the philanthropists who provided their support during the period of fasting.”

The Grand Mufti specifically pointed a segment of the Muslim Community— Mandingo Muslims—who he praised for giving one of the ‘biggest contributions during the month. He added, “We are glad that we all stood together.”

“In the main time, we will like to extend our congratulations to all the Muslims of the world and the Muslims of Liberia in particular for their courage and commitment as well,” he said.

He thanked President George Weah for providing security for all Muslims during the period of the fast.

“We salute our President and send our gratitude to him for his solidarity, sympathy and his feelings he has for the Muslims. At the beginning of the Ramadan, he isolated everybody to be safe from the hands of this deadly Coronavirus.” Grand Mufti Sumaworo praised President Weah for not discriminating among religions in the country.

https://frontpageafricaonline.com/religion/grand-mufti-congratulates-muslims-for-praying-for-liberia/

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India

 

How Indian Muslims Are Preparing to Offer Eid Namaz amid Coronavirus Lockdown

May 23, 2020

NEW DELHI: "This is probably the first time in my life that I will not be able to offer my Eid Namaz. We have spent the entire month of Ramzan praying for relief and an end to coronavirus. There won't be any usual Eid celebrations," said Faisal (45), a businessman based in Delhi-NCR region.

Congregational prayers offered on the morning of Eid-ul-Fitr form the core of the festival which marks the end of the holy month of Ramzan. However, keeping in view of the lockdown measures community leaders and clerics have stepped-in to urge people to stay off-streets. Despite the relaxations announced in the fourth phase of lockdown, religious and other large gatherings are still banned.

Eid-ul-Fitr, known to many in India as "meethi-Eid" because of the sweet delicacies prepared on the occasion, will be celebrated on May 25 in the country.

The dates, however, may vary depending on the moon sighting. Kerala and most of the Gulf countries will celebrate Eid on Sunday while Ladakh celebrated Eid on Saturday.

Given the importance of the congregational prayers on the occasion of Eid, religious figures have urged people to not flock to mosques.

Islamic seminary Darul Uloom Deoband has issued a fatwa asking Muslims to offer their Eid prayers at home, instead of congregating at mosques.

The mufti of the Jama Masjid in Ghaziabad dedicated the entire sermon on the evening of 'khatam shareef' (the night when Quran recitation is completed during Ramzan) explaining people the procedure of how they can offer the Eid namaz at their home.

"Namaz is a big part of Eid celebrations. But we won't be able to congregate this year. This is why Mufti Mahtab Alam Qasmi dedicated the khatam shareef sermon educating people on how to offer eid namaz at home. The sermon was live-streamed on YouTube and everybody listened to it from their homes," said Masood, a Ghaziabad resident.

Clerics in Jalna, Maharashtra and Kolkata, West Bengal have also requested people to offer namaz at home on Eid-ul-Fitr.

With just one active case of coronavirus and zero casualties, festivities in Ladakh were sombre with people offering their prayers at home and markets lacking the hubbub of Ladakhis' usual festivities.

Celebrations across India are expected to be earnest with community leaders urging Muslims to not spend money on annual 'Eid shopping' and instead help someone in need of food or other basic supplies.

Mohammad Ammar, an HR professional based in Delhi, started a social media campaign two weeks into Ramzan, spreading awareness about social distancing norms and urging people to expand their charity budgets this year instead of splurging on clothes, gifts and food.

"Eid is the festival of happiness and when you do good to others, it brings you true happiness. We started the campaign to request people to celebrate this Eid by doing good to those truly in need," said Ammar.

While prosperous families still have the luxury to tone down celebrations, stranded migrants have no option but to spend the festival in isolation away from home.

Migrants from Bihar, students who are studying Madrasa in the Capital usually travel back home on Eid, but given restriction on movement, they are stuck in Delhi.

Mohammad Imran, who hails from Gaya in Bihar, said he has been stranded here for two months and has not been provided with adequate food and facilities to stay, reported ANI.

"We have registered ourselves but we have not received any message yet. Our parents are upset. It has been a year since they came here. The children are crying constantly. They want to go to their homes on Eid, but no one is providing any information to us," said Mohammad Adil, a madrasa teacher.

Meanwhile, in the old Delhi area surrounding Jama Masjid, known for its Ramzan festivities with bustling eateries and markets, now has only limited shops open selling essential items.

The popular sewai shops exclusive to Old Delhi have been shut as workshops in Jafarabad and Inderlok that supplied sewai stopped production during lockdown and now workers, mostly migrants, have left for their homes.

Meanwhile, prominent Muslim body Jamaat Islami Hind (JIH) has also urged the government to exempt places of worship under the ongoing lockdown and allow people to perform their religious practices while maintaining social distance.

JIH also issued an advisory for Muslims on how they should offer the Eid prayer at Eidgahs, Jama Masjids and the local mosques but depending on how many numbers of people are permitted; otherwise, the advisory said that prayers can be offered at home.

JIH also urged people to avoid crowding the markets in the last days of Ramzan.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/coronavirus-lockdown-muslims-prepare-to-offer-eid-namaz-at-home/articleshow/75920500.cms

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Muslims help perform last rites of Kashmiri Pandit in Tral

23rd May 2020

SRINAGAR: The Muslim neighbourhood in south Kashmir's Tral area helped perform the last rites of an elderly Kashmiri Pandit on Saturday.

According to details, as soon as the news of the death of 95-year-old Jagan Nath Bhat from Tral on Saturday spread, members of Muslim community came together to help in performing his last rites.

Many people visited the home of the deceased to express condolences with the family.

After militancy erupted in the Valley in early 90s, Pandit community was forced to migrate from Kashmir to Jammu and other parts of the country. A very small percentage of Kashmiri Pandits, however, stayed back and are living in Kashmir.

https://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2020/may/23/muslims-help-perform-last-rites-of-kashmiri-pandit-in-tral-2147084.html

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Mumbai: Muslims to shun extravagance, reach out to the needy with help

May 23, 2020

MUMBAI: Clerics, community leaders, civil society members have called for a simple Eid which will be celebrated on Sunday or Monday depending on sighting of the new crescent moon.

Coming amid the coronavirus-induced lockdown and resultant hardships, this Eid will be without usual gaiety, elaborate delicacies and joyous greetings. Instead of splurging on clothes and food, the prosperous in the community are being told to use the money to buy food, pay rent, utility bills or school fees of those families which have lost jobs, businesses and are cash-starved.

In its 11-point guidelines the progressive Muslims’ group Indian Muslims for Progress and Reforms (IMPAR) has asked the community members to donate the money saved to the suffering people irrespective of caste and creed. "We must shun all extravagant spending this Eid and use that money to help the needy in this crisis as this is the essence of paying zakat," said IMPAR central committee member and noted industrialist Saeed Shervani. One of the five pillars of Islam (other four are shahada, namaz, fasting and haj), zakat is 2.5 % of the annual savings Muslims give in charity. Though zakat can be given anytime through the year, most Muslims give it in Ramzan because it is believed that any good deed done in this month fetches divine blessings 72 times more than done in any other month.

In a video message Iqbal Memon Officer, president, All India Memon Jamaat Federation, called upon the community members not to buy new clothes for themselves and their children but buy essentials for the poor. "At the Federation we have decided to stop building new houses for the community members for sometimes and direct the funds to help the poor and the needy. The rich should not spend money on buying clothes for their children but use that money to buy food and clothes for those who have lost their jobs and means of survival. The rich must not show off their wealth and take care of the poor," said officer.

Many have reached out to the needy with Eid kits containing dry fruits, seviyan (vermicelli), sugar, milk and other items needed for cooking sheer khurma, a special dish on Eid. "Many families are finding it difficult to meet two square meals. To ensure such families are not deprived of the essentials to cook at least one sweet dish on Eid, we are giving out these Eid kits. So far we have distributed around 5000 such kits," said Bandra-based activist Shadaab Patel.

Since Eid is known for generating a lot of enthusiasm, bonhomie and physical contacts to greet people, consultant endocrinologist and diabetologist Dr Altamash Shaikh has counselled physical distancing during celebrations. "Greetings can be exchanged by flying handshakes, flying hugs, flying kisses, bown down or touching ones heart to show gratitude," said Dr Shaikh. He added that we will have to live with the new norms even post-lockdown since the pandemic is not going away so soon and we must prepare ourselves to live with it.

Full report at:

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/mumbai-muslims-to-shun-extravagance-reach-out-to-the-needy-with-help/articleshow/75922177.cms

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Pakistan Expresses Sadness Over Deaths Caused by Cyclone Amphan In India, Bangladesh

May 23, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Saturday expressed sadness over the deaths and widespread devastation caused by cyclone Amphan in India and Bangladesh.

Cyclone Amphan, the strongest to hit the region in nearly two decades, made landfall on Wednesday evening. It has killed over 85 people and directly affected around 1.5 crore others and destroyed more than 10 lakh houses in India.

In Bangladesh, it has killed at least 22 people and left many displaced in the coastal areas.

Pakistan Foreign Office said in a statement that the government and people of Pakistan are saddened over the deaths and widespread devastation caused by cyclone Amphan in Bangladesh and India.

Full report at:

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/pakistan-expresses-sadness-over-deaths-caused-by-cyclone-amphan-in-india-bangladesh/articleshow/75921775.cms

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Maulana of Jama Masjid in Vadodara dies of Covid-19

May 23, 2020

Salim Ghulam Mohammad Panagar (65), maulana of the Jama Masjid in Vadodara, passed away on May 22, two days after he tested positive for Covid-19. His wife, who was also admitted to the same hospital, has tested negative.

Panagar had reportedly developed pneumonia and complained of breathlessness before being rushed to a private hospital. Dr Mohammad Husain of the Baroda Muslim Doctor’s Association (BMDA) said, “Initially, he had mild symptoms and took medicines from a local family doctor. As his condition worsened, he came to me and we diagnosed him with pneumonia. We referred him for a Covid-19 test and it turned out positive. We shifted him to the Muslim Medical Centre in Panigate, which is a dedicated Covid-19 hospital now, but since he deteriorated, he was shifted to a private hospital and passed away.”

Panagar was a resident of Mogalwada, which has seen a high number of cases in the last two weeks. Dr Husain added that the maulana most likely caught the virus through local transmission.

“He was laid to rest in line with the Covid-19 protocol on Friday night, just hours after his death,” said Zuber Goplani, a socio-political activist who has been helping the district administration in coordinating health and community services during the pandemic.

Full report at:

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/maulana-of-jama-masjid-in-vadodara-dies-of-covid-19-6424116/

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Pak witnesses India’s ‘veto power’ at OIC

Abhinandan Mishra

May 23, 2020

New Delhi: Pakistan faced a massive snub by member countries of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) after its effort to highlight the alleged “plight” of Kashmiris and “rising Islamophobia” was rejected by the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which was chairing the virtual meeting of the permanent representatives (PR) of OIC member states that took place on 19 May.

Pakistan’s PR to OIC, Munir Khan, wanted to form a “small informal working group” to take collective action against India at the United Nations in wake of the “rising” Islamophobia in India.

However, UAE rejected this demand of Pakistan and stated that forming of any new working group will only happen after it has been approved by all the foreign ministers of OIC member countries. Maldives, too, came out strongly against Pakistan’s move and rejected the idea of “any country specific statements”.

A dejected Khan, according to official documents accessed by The Sunday Guardian, after receiving the snubbing, stated that “it seems India has a veto (power) in OIC”.

The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, which is headquartered in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, is a major pressure group that has 57 Muslim-majority countries as members with a permanent delegation in the UN and European Union. It is regarded as the “the collective voice of the Muslim world” which “safeguards and protects the interests of the Muslim world’ while promoting international peace and harmony”.

India, for long, has been seeking OIC’s membership on the ground that it is the country with the largest Muslim population outside Muslim-majority countries. However, so far, OIC, bowing to the pressure of Pakistan which has been expressing its strong reservations to giving India a membership of the OIC, has ignored India’s application.

The 19 May incident comes exactly one month after OIC’s Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (OIC-IPHRC) on 19 April had called on the Indian government to take steps to protect Muslim minorities who were being “negatively profiled” and facing “discrimination and violence” amidst the Covid-19 crisis.

Full report at:

https://www.sundayguardianlive.com/news/pak-witnesses-indias-veto-power-oic

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Arab world

 

Muslims worldwide go virtual for Eid Al-Fitr celebrations

May 23, 2020

LONDON: Muslims across the globe are bracing themselves for an unprecedented Eid Al-Fitr, one where lavish lunches and rooms filled with relatives and loved ones will be replaced with laptops and tablets.

Saudi Arabia announced on Friday that Eid Al-Fitr will begin on Sunday, May 24. This year, however, Muslims around the world are being forced to adapt to new circumstances given the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Movement and large gatherings have been prohibited in an attempt to curb the spread of the virus.

“I’ve been pretty lucky to receive some ka’ak cookies from my aunties, but I’ll be spending Eid alone. My parents live in China. I might ask them to have a video call with me. I miss them,” Sara Ahmad, who lives in Cairo, told Arab News.

“I always used to go for Eid prayers with my family on the morning of, but since mosques are closed, I might do it alone at home,” she said.

“If I get really lonesome, then I might stop by an aunt’s house for breakfast. I’ll be sure to have no physical contact with her though,” Ahmad added.

Eid is neither the first nor only religious holiday to fall victim to the virus. Last month, Christians around the world also had to celebrate Easter at home. Pope Francis livestreamed his Easter vigil from an empty St. Peter’s Basilica after conducting a Good Friday service to usher in the festival weekend.

“I live in a hotel in India and I’m quarantined there. I asked permission from the hotel manager to let my Indian friend join me tomorrow,” Lebanese Sarah Siblini told Arab News.

“Otherwise I’ll be having a zoom call with my family and another one with university friends from around the world,” she said.

After traveling back to Lebanon from Dubai, Lebanese consultant Houssam Rifai was forced to self-isolate for 14 days following rules issued by the government for everyone coming into the country from abroad.

“It’s been very tough not seeing anyone for this long,” Rifai told Arab News on his ninth day of self-isolation.

“And now I’ll have to spend Eid in an Airbnb alone. Usually, we have a huge lunch at my grandma’s place with family from all over the country, even some who travel back to Beirut from abroad like me,” he said.

“I’ll have a video call with my parents and speak to my friends, but this is definitely not the Eid I was expecting,” he added.

Much like their Christian counterparts, Muslim community figures and imams have stated that they will be livestreaming their Eid prayers to ensure that people adhere to lockdown and curfew rules, wherever they are in the world.

In the UK, imams sought to use both livestreams and WhatApp groups to ensure the tradition continues, albeit with a few changes. Many, however, say that a virtual Eid is not the same as an in-person one.

“Usually, I would go to the market and get some food and desserts. Then at night, I would go to the mosque for Eid prayers and meet up with friends at restaurants afterward,” Syrian Zouhir Al-Shimale, who lives in London, told Arab News.

“I would also go visit my brothers and their families, but now everything has changed.”

While many have been adopting a virtual approach to Eid, others have chosen to still meet in person while maintaining the appropriate distance from one another.

“I’ve been going to my village almost every year since I was a baby. We are a big extended family, and we usually gather at my grandpa’s, but this year not everyone feels comfortable with gathering,” Beirut-based Aya Chamseddine told Arab News.

“Some feel guilty; they’ll just drive to say hi to grandparents and go back to Beirut,” she said. “It’s definitely not the same.”

https://www.arabnews.com/node/1678921/middle-east

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Khashoggi’s fiancee rejects family pardon offer to killers

23 May 2020

The fiancee of the slain Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi has rejected his family’s decision to forgive their father's murderers, saying, "no one has the right to pardon his killers.”

Hatice Cengiz, the Turkish fiancee of Khashoggi, made the comments after Salah, one of the late journalist’s sons, posted a brief statement on Twitter Friday, saying his family has pardoned those responsible for his father's murder.

"In this blessed night of the blessed month [of Ramadan], we remember God's saying: If a person forgives and makes reconciliation, his reward is due from Allah," he said.

"Therefore, we the sons of the Martyr Jamal Khashoggi announce that we pardon those who killed our father, seeking reward God almighty."

Cengiz took to Twitter, saying Jamal Khashoggi had become "an international symbol bigger than any of us, admired and loved."

"Jamal was killed inside his country's consulate while getting the docs to complete our marriage. The killers came from Saudi with premeditation to lure, ambush [and] kill him," she added.

Cengiz further noted that the heinous murder does not have a statue of limitations, adding that she will not stop until justice is served.

Many leading Saudi activists shared the sentiment, stressing that Khashoggi's murder is a political issue rather than a familial one.

"The murder of Jamal Khashoggi is not a family case, it is not a mistake in a normal context," said Yahya Assiri, the head of the London-based Saudi rights group ALQST.

"The authorities killed him because of his political work," Assiri said. "His case is political, so keep silent."

Under Islamic law, death sentences can be commuted if the victim's family pardons the perpetrator, but it is not clear whether that will apply in this case.

Activists argue that this applies to cases of family disputes or personal grievances, and not in a political case like Khashoggi's.

Some of them have also shared on social media a Saudi Supreme Court document from six years ago that said there can be no pardoning of perpetrators in homicide cases.

"The public prosecution's framing of the punishment [of Khashoggi's killers] as 'retribution' from the outset made it clear there was an intention to exonerate his murderers by way of a pardon from the family," said Abdullah Alaoudh, a Saudi academic at Georgetown University.

"Unfortunately, what happened was expected."

Khashoggi, a columnist for The Washington Post, who had become a critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was killed and his body dismembered by a Saudi hit squad after being lured into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on 2 October 2018.

Some Western governments, as well as the CIA, accused bin Salman of ordering the killing, an accusation that was initially rejected by Saudi officials. A year after the murder the crown prince accepted responsibility, saying "it happened under my watch.”

While 31 suspects were linked to the killing, only 11 were put on trial in the capital city of Riyadh behind closed doors. Based on the court ruling, five people were sentenced to death, three to jail and the remaining three were exonerated.

The United Nations and rights groups condemned the trials as they failed to convict the masterminds behind the brutal killing.

However, Salah Khashoggi said of the verdict that "it has been fair to us and that justice has been achieved."

This is while Salah still lives in Saudi Arabia, and there are suspicions he has been coerced into issuing the pardon.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2020/05/23/625958/Saudi-Arabia-Jamal-Khashoggi-murder-pardon-Hatice-Cengiz

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Egypt pardons 3,157 prisoners, including man jailed for singer Suzanne Tamim’s murder

24 May 2020

Egypt's president pardoned Saturday thousands of prisoners including a former policeman jailed over killing a Lebanese pop diva more than a decade ago, according to the official gazette.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi granted clemency to a total of 3,157 people jailed on different cases on the occasion of the Eid al-Fitr holiday marking the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

Among those pardoned was former policeman Mohsen al-Sukkari, sentenced in 2010 to 25 years for the murder of Lebanese singer Suzanne Tamim.

The court had found that Sukkari acted on instructions from Egyptian real estate tycoon Hisham Talaat Moustafa for a payment of $2 million.

The 2008 killing of Tamim, Moustafa's lover, sparked public outcry across the Arab region.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2020/05/24/Egypt-pardons-3-157-prisoners-including-man-jailed-for-singer-Suzanne-Tamim-s-murder.html

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Iraq’s new finance minister seeks Gulf funds to stave off fiscal collapse

23 May 2020

Iraq’s new finance minister was in Saudi Arabia on Saturday seeking emergency funds to stave off an impending financial crisis brought on by collapsing oil prices.

In his first trip abroad since becoming minister, Ali Allawi met the Saudi finance, energy and foreign ministers in Riyadh on Friday, Iraqi state media reported.

“In Riyadh, I met with Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister, Ali Abdel Amir Allawi, who was pleased with his visit to his second country, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and at the meeting we discussed the distinguished brotherly relations between the two countries, and the Kingdom's keenness to see Iraq enjoy stability and development, and we look forward to working together,” Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan tweeted on Saturday.

Iraqi officials wearing face masks and practicing social distancing visited Saudi Arabia this week, highlighting the new normal for state officials amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

In an interview with state television before his departure, Allawi said his priority would be to secure funds to plug gaps in Iraq’s budget.

“Iraq is in need of immediate monetary support so that the government can fulfil its obligations towards its employees,” he said.

Iraq is facing a liquidity crisis following the collapse of crude oil prices from more than $50 per barrel last year to around $20 per barrel in recent months.

That has prompted fears about the government’s ability to pay salaries to some four million state workers, as well as pensions and welfare to another four million people.

The government budgeted almost $4 billion a month for public salaries in 2020, but it only earned $1.4 billion in April by selling crude oil -- virtually the only way authorities can fund official expenditures.

Prime Minister Mustafa Kadhemi last week pledged that May salaries would be paid as usual, with officials telling AFP they would likely have to resort to internal borrowing.

Ahead of Allawi’s trip, an Iraqi government source told AFP the minister would also travel to Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates “to gather financial support for Iraq”.

Kadhemi also likely to visit the Gulf, the official said.

The prime minister took office in early May after months of political deadlock.

His appointment was welcomed by the United States, which swiftly granted Iraq a 120-day extension on a waiver allowing it to import Iranian gas to feed its worn-out power grid.

Washington has insisted that Iraq wean off Iranian energy and partner with American or Gulf companies to stand up its overstretched electricity sector.

Last year, Iraq signed a landmark deal with the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council for a transmission line to import 500 megawatts of electricity to its grid this year.

The 300-kilometer(200-mile) line would run from Kuwait to Iraq’s southern port of Faw and be financed by the GCC -- Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, Oman and Bahrain -- according to the electricity ministry.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2020/05/23/Iraq-s-new-finance-minister-seeks-Gulf-funds-to-stave-off-fiscal-collapse-.html

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Egyptian forces kill 21 militants in North Sinai planning attacks during Eid holiday

23 May 2020

Egyptian security forces killed 21 suspected militants in North Sinai, part of two groups that the interior ministry said were planning attacks over the Eid holiday that marks the end of Ramadan, state television reported on Saturday.

Two officers were wounded in an exchange of fire during the operation, according to a ministry statement cited in the report, which did not say when the operation took place.

The interior ministry said in a statement that police raided two hideouts of “terrorist elements” in North Sinai governorate, sparking a gun battle in which two officers were also wounded.

It said the two groups had been planning attacks during the major Islamic holiday of Eid al-Fitr, which starts in Egypt on Sunday.

Militants loyal to ISIS are active in the northern part of the Sinai Peninsula, where Egypt has been battling an insurgency for years.

In February 2018, security forces launched a nation-wide operation against militants, focused on North Sinai.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2020/05/23/-Egyptian-forces-kill-21-militants-in-North-Sinai-planning-attacks-during-Eid-holiday.html

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Saudi Arabia orders the return of its ambassador to Iraq as soon as possible

23 May 2020

Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Iraq will resume his duties as soon as possible, Saudi’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan al-Saud said on Saturday, according to state news agency SPA.

The move was to strengthen Saudi-Iraqi relations as per the Saudi leadership’s directives, the Prince added.

The announcement came during a meeting in Riyadh between Iraq’s deputy Prime Minister, Finance Minister and acting oil Minister, Ali Allawi, and a number of Saudi officials including, the Foreign Minister, Minister of Commerce, and Minister of Finance.

The two countries agreed to continue working to rebalance oil markets and stressed their commitment to output cuts agreed in mid-April by OPEC+, the group composed of OPEC, Russia and other oil producing nations.

The Saudi officials also discussed the land borders with Iraq and trade relations between the two countries, including: the start of the Saudi Commercial Attaché’s work in Iraq in the upcoming period and increasing the efforts to open the Jadeedah Arar port soon.

Later in the day, Saudi Arabia's Deputy Minister of Defense Prince Khalid bin Salman said the Kingdom stood with Iraq to support it in its path of progress and peace.

“We look forward to Iraq returning to being one of the Arabs’ pillars, strong and resurgent, and that its people live the life they deserve in peace and prosperity,” the Prince said on Twitter.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2020/05/24/Saudi-Arabia-orders-the-return-of-its-ambassador-to-Iraq-as-soon-as-possible.html

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Coronavirus: Saudi residents face deportation for gathering in weddings, funerals

23 May 2020

The Ministry of Interior said on Saturday that residents who violate nationwide coronavirus precautionary measures and gather for social occasions such as weddings, funerals, parties, seminars and the like will be deported and banned from ever re-entering the Kingdom.

The MOI also specified fines for violators of the ban on gatherings.

Visit our dedicated coronavirus site here for all the latest updates.

First time offenders: An establishment or the person in charge will be fined 30,000 riyals ($7,983). Anyone who attends the gathering or calls for the gathering will be fined 5,000 riyals ($1,330).

Second time offenders: An establishment will be fined 60,000 riyals ($15,966). Anyone who attends a gathering for the second time or calls for it will be fined 10,000 riyals ($2,661).

Third time offenders: The fine will be doubled, and the person in charge will be referred to the Public Prosecution. Anyone who attends a gathering for the third time or calls for it will also be referred to the Public Prosecution.

“In case a private sector establishment repeated the violation for the first time, it will be shut down for three months. If the violation was repeated for a second time, the establishment will be shut down for six months,” the MOI said.

“If a violator is a resident of Saudi Arabia, he will be deported from the Kingdom, and will be forever forbidden from re-entering it after his punishment is carried out,” MOI added.

The Kingdom had also said earlier this week that residents who gather in large groups inside or outside shops will face deportation as well.

Gatherings of more than five individuals remain banned in the Kingdom as part of the government’s precautions to contain the spread of coronavirus.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/coronavirus/2020/05/23/Coronavirus-Saudi-residents-face-deportation-for-gathering-in-weddings-funerals.html

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Coronavirus: World is facing unprecedented health pandemic, says Saudi King Salman

23 May 2020

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz has said that the world is facing an unprecedented health pandemic due to coronavirus, official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported on Saturday.

King Salman appreciated all the residents of the Kingdom for adhering to the rules of social separation during the Eid festivities.

“The safety and health of the citizen and the resident is one of our main concerns,” the King said.

“We are proud of our health and field staff that respond to the coronavirus pandemic,” he added.

“Based on its religious, humanitarian and national values, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has made every effort to resist this pandemic and seek to mitigate its effects. Your country has also provided generous support to the World Health Organization in support of its efforts to confront the pandemic, and has also provided generous support to local and international scientific research to discover a vaccine for the virus, or a viable drug that helps rid humanity of this epidemic,” the King said.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2020/05/23/Coronavirus-World-is-facing-unprecedented-health-pandemic-says-Saudi-King-Salman.html

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Expatriate laborers stage protest in Qatar over unpaid wages

23 May 2020

Migrant laborers staged a protest in Qatar over unpaid wages, the government said on Saturday, at a time of economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic and rock-bottom oil prices.

Images on social media showed more than 100 men blocking a main road in the Msheireb district of the capital Doha late on Friday, clapping and chanting as police looked on.

“In response to the late settlement of salaries, a small number of expatriate workers conducted a peaceful protest in the Msheireb area on May 22,” the labor ministry said in a statement.

“Following an immediate investigation (the ministry) has taken steps to ensure that all salaries will be promptly paid in the coming days.”

Legal action has been taken against the companies involved in non-payment of salaries, it added.

The Gulf is reliant on the labor of millions of foreigners, mostly from India, Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka.

Almost 90 percent of Qatar’s population are expatriate workers as the country completes dozens of mega-projects ahead of the 2022 World Cup.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/coronavirus/2020/05/23/Expatriate-laborers-stage-protest-in-Qatar-over-unpaid-wages.html

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Tawakkol Karman attacks Khashoggi’s son for pardoning killers from death penalty

23 May 2020

Yemeni activist Tawakkol Karman has criticized Salah Khashoggi, the son of murdered Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi, for pardoning his killers from the death penalty.

Khashoggi, a well-known Saudi journalist, was murdered on October 20, 2018, at the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul. On Friday, his son Salah released as statement saying that he and his brothers had pardoned the killers of their father.

Under Saudi Arabian law, the family of the victim has the right to pardon or grant clemency to the perpetrator. Once ratified, this pardon prevents the perpetrator from receiving the death penalty.

But on Saturday, prominent Yemeni activist Tawakkol Karman tweeted that it was not Salah’s “right” to “waive his father’s murder,” and suggested the move had been motivated by financial reward from Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman – known to some by the acronym MBS.

“When will Salah Khashoggi understand that it is not his right to waive his father’s murder—#JamalKhashogg? It is not a crime against him to waive it in an exchange for a villa from #MBS,” tweeted Karman.

“It is a crime against humanity and cannot be classified otherwise, and thus only humanity decides what to do! I believe that the moral consequences of the Khashoggi murder will hit the aging kingdom of Salman. Time will prove me right! 2/2” added Karman.

Tawakkol Karman

@TawakkolKarman

 • May 23, 2020

When will Salah Khashoggi understand that it is not his right to waive his father’s murder—#JamalKhashogg? It is not a crime against him to waive it in an exchange for a villa from #MBS. 1/2

Tawakkol Karman

@TawakkolKarman

It is a crime against humanity and cannot be classified otherwise, and thus only humanity decides what to do! I believe that the moral consequences of the Khashoggi murder will hit the aging kingdom of Salman. Time will prove me right! 2/2

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6:00 AM - May 23, 2020

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Karman has been a frequent critic of Saudi Arabia and a vocal supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood. She was previously a member of the Islah Party, which many consider to be the Brotherhood’s Yemen branch.

The Muslim Brotherhood is designated as a terrorist organization by Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and other countries.

Khashoggi’s trial and his son’s pardon

A Saudi Arabian court last December sentenced five people to death for the murder of Khashoggi, and three others were sentenced to a total of 24 years in jail.

Representatives of the embassies of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council as well as a representative from Turkey were present during the trials, according to the Public Prosecutor. Khashoggi’s sons and their lawyer were also present during the trials.

Salah said at the time that he was confident in the fairness of Saudi Arabia’s judicial system, after the public prosecution sentenced five people to death and three others to a total of 24 years in jail for the murder of his father.

“Today we have been granted justice as the children of the deceased, God willing, Jamal Khashoggi. We affirm our confidence in the Saudi judiciary at all levels, that it has been fair to us and that justice has been achieved,” Salah said in a tweet.

Salah’s more recent statement that the family was pardoning the perpetrators from the death penalty is in line with Saudi Arabian law.

The family can choose to pardon the perpetrator for any reason they see fit and pardons are given for a variety of reasons. During the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, known in Islam as the month of forgiveness and spirituality, public and private pardons are often instigated across the Islamic world.

However, the clemency given by the family of a victim in capital crimes does not absolve the perpetrator from responsibility or punishment for the crime they have been found guilty of committing. The perpetrator will still be sentenced accordingly under public law.

Karman’s Facebook controversy

Karman’s comments come shortly after she was at the center of controversy over her appointment to Facebook’s Oversight Board for content moderation.

Last week, the Twitter hashtag #Facebookcaliphate was trending after Facebook appointed Karman as one of the initial 20 members of its recently established “Oversight Board for Content Decisions,” the new system for internally policing content on the world’s most popular social media site.

“I am glad to join the Global Supervision Board for Facebook and Instagram Content. Thanks to social media platforms, government monopoly over the media and information is no longer possible,” Karman wrote on Facebook.

Twitter users, however, shared evidence that they suggested showed Karman was not suitable for the post alongside the hashtag #Facebookcaliphate.

“Facebook has been always the prime platform for extremists and terrorists to promote their ideologies & publicise hate speech. Kerman on face book as a supervisor will surely encourage these groups to continue their despicable efforts to influence public opinion #Facebookcaliphate,” wrote @monther72.

منذرآلالشيخمبارك

@monther72

Facebook has been always the prime platform for extremists and terrorists to promote their ideologies & publicise hate speech.Kerman on face book as a supervisor will surely encourage these groups to continue their despicable efforts to influence public opinion#Facebookcaliphate

View image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on Twitter

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5:46 AM - May 17, 2020

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The role of social media networks is to provide a platform, in which a user can benefit from the right of ‘free speech’, however, free speech should not be confused with hate’” Tawakkol is the quintessential extremist hiding behind the mask of activism!," tweeted another.

Hey, @Facebook, why dont you hire me in your board instead of hiring an extremist who is a public advocate for terrorists and militia groups like Hamas? @tawakolkarman is not a representative of us. She is a snake who aims to corrupt,” added Wael Ghonim.

Wael Ghonim 🦅

@Ghonim

Hey, @Facebook, why dont you hire me in your board instead of hiring an extremist who is a public advocate for terrorists and militia groups like Hamas? @tawakolkarman is not a representative of us. She is a snake who aims to corrupt.

Embedded video

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On Twitter, Karman alleged she has been the victim of a coordinated smear campaign against her.

My mission is to defend freedom of expression and human rights … to defend opponents before friends, and here is where I always stand,” she added in a tweet.

Tawakkol Karman

@TawakkolKarman

My mission is to defend freedom of expression and human rights… to defend opponents before friends, and here is where I always stand.

820

8:28 PM - May 14, 2020

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Karman won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011 for her role in the mass protests that led to the fall of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Following her award, the Muslim Brotherhood issued a statement describing her as a “Yemeni Muslim Brotherhood member,” sparking widespread criticism.

According to the National, the Yemeni Coalition for Civil Society Organizations also criticized the decision at the time and described her as a “war-monger not a peace messenger.”

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2020/05/23/Tawakkol-Karman-attacks-Khashoggi-s-son-for-pardoning-killers-from-death-penalty.html

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Europe

 

Ramadan 2020: Germany’s president pledges to fight Islamophobia

May 23, 2020

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier pledged to renew efforts to tackle anti-Muslim hatred in his country in an end of Ramadan message on Friday.

As the holy month of fasting approached its end, Mr Steinmeier said protecting Muslims was not only the duty of the state but of every individual.

Germany was shaken by a devastating attack in February that left nine people dead, most of whom were Muslims, in the city of Hanau.

Federal prosecutors said a 24-page manifesto written by the shooter pointed to “deeply racist views”.

The president said he had been deeply affected by the crime, which he described as an attack on peaceful coexistence and the values of tolerance, diversity and freedom of worship shared by all Germans.

"Hatred and exclusion, violent attacks targeting Muslims, attacks on mosques - we cannot tolerate this, we cannot allow this," Mr Steinmeier wrote.

Earlier in the day, a church in Berlin opened its doors to Muslims who were unable to fit into their mosque for Friday prayers because of social-distancing measures designed to limit the spread of coronavirus.

The Dar Assalam mosque in the Neukölln district of the German capital normally welcomes hundreds of Muslims to its Friday services. But it can currently only accommodate 50 people at a time under coronavirus restrictions.

The nearby Martha Lutheran church stepped in to help, hosting Muslim prayers in Arabic and German.

"It is a great sign and it brings joy in Ramadan and joy amid this crisis," said Mohamed Taha Sabry, the mosque's imam, who led his congregation in prayer watched over by a stained-glass window depicting the Virgin Mary.

"This pandemic has made us a community. Crises bring people get together."

The church's pastor, Monika Matthias, said she had felt moved by the Muslim call to prayer.

"I took part in the prayer," she said. "I gave a speech in German. And during prayer, I could only say yes, yes, yes, because we have the same concerns and we want to learn from you. And it is beautiful to feel that way about each other."

Places of worship reopened in Germany on May 4 after being shut for weeks under a coronavirus lockdown, but worshippers must maintain a minimum distance from one another of 1.5 metres.

https://www.thenational.ae/world/europe/ramadan-2020-germany-s-president-pledges-to-fight-islamophobia-1.1023424

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100-years old British Muslim raises $243K for virus victims while fasting

MAY 23, 2020

ABritish Muslim centenarian is being hailed as a hero for raising more than 200,000 pounds ($243,000) for coronavirus victims.

Dabirul Islam Choudhury, 100, walked 100 laps in his 80-meter garden while fasting during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

Choudhury told Anadolu Agency that initially, he was trying to raise 1,000 pounds for the virus' victims both in the U.K. and his home country Bangladesh but he surpassed that target within the first eight hours.

He said fasting "inspired" him and the more he fasted the healthier he became during the lockdown.

Choudhury said he will continue walking in his garden and raising funds even after Ramadan for the Ramadan Family Commitment (RFC), which is aimed to generate more funds with partner charity groups.

He said Muslims should "pray individually during Ramadan" due to the social distancing needed to stem the virus' spread.

Choudhury added that he will celebrate the Eid al-Fitr – the three-day holiday at the end of Ramadan – with his family.

"We will celebrate the Eid at home with family but observe social distancing," he said.

Choudhury was born on Jan. 1, 1920, in what is now independent Bangladesh.

In 1957, Dabirul moved to London to study English literature. He ended up as a community leader and settled in St. Albans, north London.

Choudhury was responsible for many community projects and also raised money for Bangladesh's struggle for independence in 1971.

An accomplished poet, he has also published over 1,000 poems.

Full report at:

https://www.dailysabah.com/world/europe/100-years-old-british-muslim-raises-243k-for-virus-victims-while-fasting

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Global report: Muslims face curfews ahead of Eid amid Covid-19 crisis

23 May 2020

Muslims worldwide prepared to celebrate Eid under lockdown, with the strictest governments bringing in 24-hour curfews for the holiday – but across the world the slow march is continuing out of coronavirus quarantine.

For the first time since the beginning of the outbreak, China said it had recorded no new cases of the virus; Spain joined Greece in saying it would be reopening to foreign tourists from July, and also said its football league would start again next month.

There was positive news from Africa, with World Health Organization’s office for the continent saying that the pandemic “appears to be taking a different pathway in Africa”. It has taken 14 weeks for the continent to reach 100,000 cases, and mortality rates have been lower than in Europe and the US.

Swift action to close borders and bring in lockdowns, as well as the continent’s relatively youthful demography – with more than 60% of the population under 25 – may have helped slow the spread of the virus and limited its impact.

“For now Covid-19 has made a soft landfall in Africa, and the continent has been spared the high numbers of deaths which have devastated other regions of the world,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO regional director for Africa.

“It is possible our youth dividend is paying off and leading to fewer deaths. But we must not be lulled into complacency as our health systems are fragile and are less able to cope with a sudden increase in cases.”

The global toll now stands at more than 5.2m cases and 339,000 deaths. Over a quarter of all confirmed infections and fatalities are in the United States; the UK has the second highest death toll; while Russia has the second highest number of cases.

In India, where case numbers are still rising two months into a lockdown, the government has pledged to organise special trains to get at least 3.6 million stranded migrant workers back to their homes. Many have walked hundreds of miles to escape cities where work abruptly dried up.

Muslims this weekend will celebrate Eid al-Fitr, marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan, but the coronavirus has cast a long shadow over one of year’s most important holidays. Normally a time to gather with friends and family, this year millions will be confined to their homes, worried about work, or without it.

There are round-the-clock curfews in countries including Turkey, Iraq and Jordan for the duration of Eid, to prevent any kind of gatherings. Egypt has extended a nighttime curfew. In Saudi Arabia, home to the holy cities of Mecca and Medina, people will be allowed to leave their homes only to buy food and medicine.

In Jerusalem the al-Aqsa mosque compound – the third-holiest site in Islam – will close for the three-day holiday, even though most lockdown restrictions have ended.

In Indonesia, the world’s biggest Muslim majority nation, authorities have brought in a travel ban, preventing people heading home to celebrate, in an annual migration that normally matches Christmas in the west, or China’s lunar new year.

Doni Monardo, the head of the country’s Covid-19 mitigation task force, said thousands were trying to slip home, with some even turning to smugglers and fake travel documents. “I’m afraid people who go to other regions will come back infected and all of our efforts will be wasted,” Monardo said.

The country’s death toll at 1,326 is the highest outside Asia, but low rates of testing means officials fear the reality may be much higher.

In Iran, which has endured the deadliest outbreak in the Middle East, authorities have imposed few restrictions ahead of the holiday aside from cancelling mass prayers in Tehran traditionally led by supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The Taliban in Afghanistan have declared a three-day Eid ceasefire starting on Sunday, a spokesman for the group has tweeted. It comes after fighting intensified between the warring sides despite the coronavirus pandemic.

“Do not carry out any offensive operations against the enemy anywhere, if any action is taken against you by the enemy, defend yourself,” wrote spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, adding that the ceasefire was declared solely for Eid festivities. The Afghan government has just welcomed the move.

Many religious groups have been pushing for places of worship to reopen, with Donald Trump on Friday adding his voice of support by ordering churches, mosques and synagogues open, even though he has no authority to do so.

But religious gatherings have repeatedly proved sources of mass infection, across faiths and continents. Most recently a cluster of more than 40 cases in Germany was traced back to a mass held in Frankfurt on 10 May, a few days after the church reopened for services. Six people were admitted.

In the US, the virus claimed another major corporate casualty. Car-hire firm Hertz, which is 102 years old, filed for bankruptcy protection, after revenue particularly from airport car hire dried up. But New York began a gradual opening up, where small groups of up to 10 people will be allowed to gather, if they stay six feet apart or wear face masks.

In China, despite a recent flare up of cases in the north, the virus still appears to be under control. The country has sealed its borders to all non-citizens for several weeks, to help prevent it resurfacing.

Full report at:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/may/23/global-report-muslims-face-curfews-ahead-of-eid-amid-covid-19-crisis

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EU justice agency seeks to charge returning ISIS ‘foreign fighters’ with war crimes

23 May 2020

The ISIS extremist group “foreign fighters” returning home from the conflict in Iraq and Syria should be charged with war crimes, an EU-backed body said on Saturday.

Many such suspects currently only face charges under domestic terrorism laws, said the Genocide Network, a body set up in 2002 by the European Union to coordinate between national investigators and prosecutors.

But they could face wider charges under international laws covering some of the worst crimes that happen during conflict, including genocide and crimes against humanity, said the network which is based at Europe's judicial cooperation agency Eurojust.

“ISIS should not only be considered as a terrorist organization,” it said in a new report.

The extremist group could be treated under international humanitarian law as a “party to a non-international armed conflict in Iraq and Syria acting as an organized non-state armed group,” it said.

“Therefore, its members and foreign terrorist fighters could be responsible for committing war crimes and other core international crimes.”

Examples of returned foreign fighters being prosecuted under cumulative charges already exist in France, Germany and the Netherlands, the network report said.

For instance, a German extremist who recorded a video on a mobile phone of him cutting off the ears and nose of a dead Syrian soldier outside the Syrian city of Aleppo, was sentenced to eight-and-a-half years behind bars.

He was convicted of the war crime of the war crime of “outrage upon personal dignity.”

In the Netherlands, a Dutch extremist fighter was sentenced to seven-and-a-half years for posing laughing next to a man crucified on a cross and sharing the picture on Facebook.

Eurojust and the Genocide Network say that such prosecutions could also be established on a global scale to prosecute other foreign fighters returning to their countries of origin.

“Prosecuting terrorism offences combined with acts of core international crimes ensures the full criminal responsibility of perpetrators, results in higher sentences and delivers more justice for victims, the report said.

“By recognizing and naming these crimes for what they are, justice can hence be brought to victims,” it added.

The report quoted a study done by the London-based International Centre for the Study of Radicalization in mid-2018, saying there were 7,252 people in eastern Europe and 5,904 people in western Europe associated with the IS group including former fighters, women and children.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2020/05/23/EU-justice-agency-seeks-to-charge-returning-ISIS-foreign-fighters-with-war-crimes.html

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Coronavirus brought EU, Turkey ‘closer’

Handan Kazancı 

23.05.2020

The European Union and Turkey got closer during the fight against novel coronavirus, which claimed hundreds of thousands of lives, a senior Turkish official said Friday.

“I think coronavirus crisis brought Turkey and the EU closer to each other but also demonstrated what Turkey can do in crisis times for the good and benefit of all of us in Europe,” said Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs & Director for EU Affairs Ambassador Faruk Kaymakci.

His remarks came during a video discussion with the head of the EU Delegation to Turkey Christian Berger on Turkey’s relations with the 27-member bloc.

The virus increased contact between Turkey and the EU as Turkish and European officials have spoken several times about what can be done to tackle the pandemic, including during a conference in early May attended by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Kaymakci added.

Erdogan told world leaders at the Coronavirus Global Response Summit that any vaccine should be the common property of all of humanity. The EU-hosted conference raised €7.5 billion ($8.2 billion) to help develop a vaccine and treatment.

Turkey applied for EU membership in 1987 and accession talks began in 2005. But negotiations stalled in 2007 due to objections by the Greek Cypriot administration, Germany and France.

“When we faced the coronavirus crisis we discovered again the importance of Turkey in Europe in terms of the medical industry, in terms of Turkey’s medical capacity but also in terms of Turkey’s logistic capacity,” said Kaymakci.

Even before the help of EU institutions was available, Turkey was “able to provide some medical assistance to some EU member states as well as some candidate countries,” he said.

Turkish authorities dispatched aid and medical equipment to 81 countries, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said earlier this week.

“At the same time the EU invited Turkey, as a candidate country, to enjoy the EU Solidarity Fund, usually for the member states when they face a major crisis. But this time the EU also decided to add candidate countries,” he said.

-'We need to work together'

Berger said the crisis showed one thing, especially: “We need to work together with our immediate partner and immediate neighbor.”

“This is exactly what we are doing,” he said. “From the early days on there is a consultation mechanism set up where Turkey was taking part.”

He praised the Turkish civil protection mechanism for helping thousands of EU citizens come home from across the world amid the pandemic.

“Now together with Turkey we are organizing flights from Central Asia and South America,” he added.

“And the most important is the conference that we had early May, where Turkey took part, and now the next step is we need to spend this money wisely to foster research to find a vaccine,” he added.

Full report at:

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/coronavirus-brought-eu-turkey-closer-/1851082

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UK, Germany and France press Ankara for Libya ceasefire

Callum Paton

May 21, 2020

The UK, Germany and France have pressed for a ceasefire in Libya in discussions with Turkey after Ankara’s intervention there.

In virtual meetings, foreign ministers from the four nations discussed the developing situation in Libya, the coronavirus outbreak and arrangements for the return of European tourists to Turkey, the German Foreign Ministry said.

“We observe with great concern that the call for a humanitarian ceasefire, particularly now in the month of Ramadan, has remained largely ineffective,” the ministry said.

“Instead, we are still in an escalation spiral with ongoing fighting and further arms deliveries.”

In the past month, forces aligned with the Government of National Accord in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, have achieved military victories in the west of the country, bolstered by militias sent from Syria by Ankara and Turkish air and logistical support.

On Monday the Libyan National Army, led by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, gave up control of the strategic Al Watiya airbase, a position the eastern-aligned forces had held since 2014.

European nations have sought to de-escalate violence in Libya by enforcing the country’s long-flouted arms embargo.

A re-commitment to stopping the movement of arms to the country was one of the key developments from the Berlin conference on Libya early this year.

In March, the EU launched Operation Irini, its naval mission in the Mediterranean to enforce the arms embargo with monitoring by satellite, in the air and at sea.

“With the EU Operation Irini, we will also do our part to implement the arms embargo. We also talked to Turkey about this today,” the German ministry said.

Fadi Hakura, a consulting fellow on Chatham House’s Europe programme, told The National that with its focus on the coronavirus outbreak, Europe only had a limited interest in Libya.

“At the moment Europe doesn't really care or is not really that concerned about external interventions in Libya,” Mr Hakura said.

“Turkey's ability to exploit that lack of focus” would be constrained, however, “by the domestic, economic and financial circumstances” in the country.

Mr Hakura said that Turkey’s ambition in Libya was partly economic but also motivated by psychological and ideological factors.

“Turkey wants to exploit any natural resources in the Mediterranean Sea, particularly gas reserves,” he said.

“Also, partly it is psychological in that Turkey has felt left out by some of its adversaries in the region, particularly Egypt, Cyprus and Greece.

"Turkey wants to reassert and wants to show that it cannot be ignored.”

Relations between Ankara, Brussels and EU nations such as Greece and Cyprus have become tense over disputes regarding natural gas deposits near Cyprus.

Turkey and its state oil companies have been accused of exploiting the decades-old dispute over Cyprus to ignore international law.

Turkey does not recognise Cyprus as a state and claims the north of the island as part of its own economic zone.

The longstanding disagreement over the eastern Mediterranean has increasingly intersected with the conflict in Libya, especially since November when the GNA and Turkey confirmed a maritime border deal in exchange for military co-operation.

The agreements, although not internationally recognised, would give Turkey access to lucrative natural gas reserves in the area.

Britain, France, Germany and Turkey also opened discussions into the prospect of tourists returning to Turkey after the pandemic.

“We hope that Turkey can soon become a destination for German and European tourists again," the German mministry said.

"However, we have to evaluate this in due course and according to strict health criteria.

Mr Hakura said Ankara was desperate for the return of tourists to help solve many its financial woes.

“Turkey is unlikely to benefit from the summer tourist season that brought in close to $35 billion [Dh128.56bn, last year] that Turkey critically needs at the moment,” he said.

Full report at:

https://www.thenational.ae/world/europe/uk-germany-and-france-press-ankara-for-libya-ceasefire-1.1023007

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Pakistan

 

Pakistan celebrates Eidul Fitr with instructions from PM to forgo traditional festivity

May 24, 2020

Eidul Fitr is being observed across Pakistan amid unique circumstances, as the nation struggles to come to terms with a deadly plane crash that killed 97 people and to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.

President Arif Alvi, in his message, said that he was dedicating this Eid to "martyrs of PIA [crash], labourers who have been trying to earn amid the coronavirus situation, doctors, nurses, corona patients, Kashmiris bearing Indian brutality, Muslims affected by Islamopobia in India, Palestinians and Muslim refugees".

In a bid to encourage people to stay indoors, the president said that he will offer Eid prayers at home. He urged people to "observe social distancing, wear masks and wash their hands so that they can keep themselves, their families and friends safe" from Covid-19.

In order to "facilitate Eid prayers at home", Pakistan Television will telecast prayers held in Faisal Mosque, Information Minister Shibli Faraz said in a tweet.

Last night, Prime Minister Imran had urged the nation to forgo traditional festivity in view of the lives lost in Friday's plane crash in Karachi and the hundreds of fatalities caused by the coronavirus.

Taking to Twitter on Saturday night, after the announcement regarding the sighting of the Shawwal moon was made, the premier said he wants the citizens to "observe this Eid in a different manner from the usual celebratory style".

"First, let us think of and pray for all those families who have been deprived of their loved ones by the plane crash tragedy and all those who have lost their lives to Covid-19," he wrote.

In a second tweet, he emphasised that people must remember to observe the standard operating procedures (SOPs) in place to prevent further spread of the virus.

"The disease is with us and social distancing must be strictly observed throughout the Eid holidays, including during Eid prayers. May Allah bless our nation."

Also on Saturday, the Prime Minister's Office reminded the public to celebrate Eid while following precautions.

"For the well-being of your loved ones, follow the SOPs provided by the govt. Avoid crowded places, observe social distancing, exchange Eid greetings from a distance and be there for the underprivileged affected by #COVID19 lockdown," it said in a tweet.

On Friday, a Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) passenger plane with an estimated 99 people on board had crashed in Karachi's Model Colony near Jinnah International Airport. Ninety-seven people died while two survived the crash.

The Muslim festival of Eid comes as Pakistan has so far recorded more than 53,000 infections of Covid-19, which has killed 1,123 people since the first case was reported on February 26.

Earlier this month, the government had announced the lifting of the countrywide lockdown imposed to curb the spread of the virus in phases, even as infections continued to rise in the country. The prime minister had cited the economic havoc the virus restrictions had wreaked on citizens as the reason behind the decision.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1559178

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Two survive Pakistan plane crash that claimed 97 lives

May 23, 2020

ISLAMABAD: The death toll from the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) plane crash on Friday has risen to 97. Only two passengers — Zafar Massod, chief executive of Bank of Punjab, and Muhammad Zubair, a young engineer — miraculously survived the crash.

Ninety-nine, including the crew, were aboard the plane when it crashed into a congested residential area in Karachi. Despite significant damage to several houses, there were no deaths on the ground.

The Sindh government confirmed on Saturday that 66 bodies — 43 men, 20 women and three children — had been shifted to Jinnah Hospital. The provincial health department said 50 bodies at the hospital were yet to be identified.

The health department further said that the remaining 31 bodies, of which six were women and 25 men, had been moved to the civil hospital.

In a telephonic interview with Geo News, Mohammad Zubair, a mechanical engineer working on a project in Gujranwala, shared details of the horrific incident. He was on his way home for Eid.

Recalling the plane’s sudden descent, he said that the pilot had announced the landing, after which two sudden jerks were felt by passengers.

Zubair said the plane hit the runway momentarily before it was flown upwards. “People began to pray ardently,” he said.

The pilot, according to Zubair, seemed to be searching for empty space to land the plane but was unable to find any, and the next thing he knew was that the aircraft had crashed. “I saw the area engulfed in flames and could hear screams from adults and children alike. I just unbuckled my seatbelt and jumped 10 feet down from the plane,” Zubair recalled. “I was first taken to Jinnah Hospital and then I was brought here (civil hospital),” he said.

Zubair said that the pilot had made a second attempt at descent 10 to 15 minutes after the first attempt. “When the second attempt to land was being made, the plane crashed two to three minutes after the landing announcement,” he said.

Full report at:

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/two-survive-pakistan-plane-crash-that-claimed-97-lives/articleshow/75925934.cms

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72pc of Covid-19 patients in Pakistan are 50 plus

Ikram Junaidi

May 24, 2020

ISLAMABAD: While 1,743 new Covid-19 cases and 34 deaths were reported in a single day on Friday, the data of the National Command and Operation Centre on coronavirus shows that as many as 72 per cent of total patients are over the age of 50 years.

Besides, 74pc of the patients are male and 72pc of them have comorbidities, which means that the patients are suffering from more than one disease at the same time. Conditions described as comorbidities are often chronic or long-term conditions.

According to the data, out of 34 new deaths, eight were reported from Lahore, five from Peshawar, three each from Karachi and Rawalpindi, two each from Charsadda and Now­shera and one each from Abbottabad, Bajour, Bannu, Dadu, Faisalabad, Gujranwala, Kasur, Kohat, Lakki Marwat, Mansehra and Mardan.

As many as 163 patients were on ventilators -- 78 in Punjab, 41 in Sindh, 40 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and four in Islamabad.

However, a positive development is that around 32pc patients have been fully recovered from the disease. 7,015 in Sindh, 5,906 in Punjab, 2,297 in KP, 762 in Balochistan, 427 in GB, 152 in Islamabad and 94 in Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

Documents show that overall 460,692 tests have been conducted in Pakistan of which 14,705 were conducted on Friday.

The global data shows that over 5.3 million have been infected with coronavirus and over 340,000 deaths have been reported. More than 2.1m patients have been fully recovered.

An official of Ministry of National Health Services, requesting not to be named, said that for the last some days the number of cases had started increasing due to relaxation in the lockdown restrictions.

“Unfortunately in coming days we will observe a huge surge in cases as markets and other places have been flooded with the people who have stopped following precautionary measures,” he said.

District Health Officer of Islamabad Dr Zaeem Zia, while talking to Dawn, said that the government had lifted lockdown to provide the people economic opportunities but unfortunately they had taken it as the disease had been eliminated.

Full report at:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1559269/72pc-of-covid-19-patients-in-pakistan-are-50-plus

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Clerics lambast Fawad for making Eid announcement

Kalbe Ali

May 24, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Fawad Chaudhry, Minister for Science and Technology, has invited the ire of religious segments by announcing that Eidul Fitr in the country will be held on Sunday (today), scientifically and logically.

The minister announced all coordinates of the new moon well ahead of a meeting of the Ruet-i-Hilal committee at the Met office in Karachi.

His announcement invited reactions from almost all circles, including federal Minister for Religious Affairs Pir Noorul Haq Qadri. Some even said that the Ruet-i-Hilal Committee was an organ of the state and ministers should be responsible in giving statements on this matter.

The religious affairs minister said that the final decision of Shawwal moon sighting and announcement of Eidul Fitr would be made by the ulema.

However, he tried to downplay the statement of Mr Chaudhry, sayings that “he was a good friend who relies on evidence and science but these days he was too much involved in the matter of moon”.

“But, as per the Islamic Sharia the decision of Eid will only be taken by the Central Ruet-i-Hilal Committee, and the people as well as the government of Pakistan will celebrate Eid according to the decision of the Committee,” the minister for religious affairs said.

“Science and modern tools can be used for evidence and vision, as a representative of the Ministry of Science and Technology was also included in the Central Ruet-i-Hilal Committee this year.”

A strong reaction was given by the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F) against Fawad Chaudhry’s statement, describing his talks as hallucinations with the delusion to conquer the moon and occupy it.

Maulana Rashid Mahmood Soomro, JUI- F’s secretary general, said in a statement that the Ruet-i-Hilal Committee was an official body which included scholars of all mainstream sects in the country.

“The whole nation will consider this announcement by Fawad Chaudhry as an undue government interference in the religious subject,” he said, adding, “but this will only spread anarchy and restless among the masses,” he added.

Maulana Soomro said Mr Chaudhry was habitual of making false claims just like he had said that Pakistan was set to make a world class ventilator which would be sold to the world.

Many hardliner clerics, including Maulana Abdul Aziz of Islamabad’s Lal Masjid, criticised the announcement by the federal minister and termed it interference in the Sharia.

Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) member and Shia Ulema Council secretary general Allama Arif Wahidi said: “It was responsibility of the prime minister to manage his cabinet members and teach them decency.”

He said that when there was a system in the country it should be allowed to operate, adding that such statements only created confusion in an already controversy-stirred subject.

“The serious issue in the country is that people do not concentrate at their own work — the Met office is under the Cabinet Division, Suparco is under the National Command Authority that is headed by the prime minister and the official responsibility of announcing the sighting of the moon is with the Ruet-i-Hilal Committee,” Allama Wahidi said, questioning, “where does the minister or the Ministry of Science and Technology fits in this scenario?”

Full report at:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1559266/clerics-lambast-fawad-for-making-eid-announcement

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Schools violating fee cut law will face action, SHC told

Ishaq Tanoli

May 24, 2020

KARACHI: A top provincial law officer has informed the Sindh High Court that the law about 20 per cent concession to parents in school fees was in the field and in case of any violation the authorities will take action against offenders.

A two-judge bench headed by Justice Mohammad Ali Mazhar directed the directorate of inspection/registration of private schools to file comments by June 3 in a petition moved by the parents of some students seeking implementation of the concession in tuition fee as provided in the Sindh Covid-19 Emergency Relief Ordinance, 2020.

The same bench also directed the provincial authorities to file comments in another petition moved by some private schools and associations challenging some provisions of the ordinance regarding 20pc concession in tuition fees of April and May.

The parents of students through their lawyer Mohammad Vawda moved the SHC for the enforcement and implementation of some provisions related to payment of school fees and reduction accorded by the provincial government during the Covid-19 pandemic under the emergency relief ordinance.

The petitioner requested the bench that during the pendency of their petition, directives be issued to the provincial education authorities to take action against those private schools violating the law.

Advocate general of Sindh Salman Talibuddin made a clear statement before the bench that the ordinance was in the field and in case of any violation the authorities concerned would take action in accordance with the law.

The bench issued a notice to the directorate of inspection/ registration of private schools to file comments till June 3.

The private schools and their associations had moved the SHC for the third time against the 20pc concession in tuition fees.

Counsel for the petitioners Arshad Tayebaly argued that they challenged the ordinance on the ground that the imposition of mandatory concession to even those parents not affected by the pandemic was unjust and in clear violation of the fundamental rights and right to trade and property.

The petitioners contended that they were willing to provide more than 20pc concession to those parents directly affected by the pandemic.

Initially, the directorate of inspection/ registration of private institutions had issued a notification on April 1 for private schools to provide relief in the form of concession of at least 20pc in the April and May fees in view of the Covid-19 outbreak. However, the private schools and their associations had challenged the same in the SHC, but the petition was disposed of for being infructuous since the directorate issued a special order about fee concession superseding the April 1 notification.

Full report at:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1559206/schools-violating-fee-cut-law-will-face-action-shc-told

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Poor handling of pilgrims from Iran led to Covid-19 controversy: report

Ikram Junaidi

May 23, 2020

ISLAMABAD: While it was alleged that the coronavirus reached Pakistan through pilgrims returning from Iran, a think-tank in a report said that the government’s poor handling of the pilgrims upon their return from the pandemic-stricken country intensified the controversy.

The report claimed that the pilgrims remained in quarantine for a minimum of 28 days and were allowed home only after they tested negative for Covid-19.

“In some instances, the pilgrims remained on quarantine for up to 50 days. Therefore, the pilgrims cannot be responsible for local transmission,” the report saod.

PML-N leader Khawaja Asif had alleged that pilgrims were allowed to enter Pakistan without tests on directions from Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Overseas Pakistanis Syed Zulfiqar Abbas Bukhari. However, Mr Bukhari denied the allegation.

The report, Covid-19 in Pakistan: The Politics of Scapegoating Zaireen was prepared by Islamabad Policy Institute (IPI).

The report, which said that around 7,000 pilgrims returned from Iran after the coronavirus outbreak there, looks into the handling of pilgrims at the Taftan border crossing, their transfer to the provinces and the political and media narratives about their return.

IPI Executive Director Sajjad Bokhari said there were genuine fears about the new disease but the row was driven mainly by intense political polarisation, undercurrents of sectarian bias and anti-Iran sentiments.

He noted that government’s communication on the pilgrim crisis was particularly “irresponsible” and could have consequences for a society with a delicate sectarian balance.

The report said the government had consistently tried to evade responsibility for the mishandling of pilgrims at the Taftan border by presenting it as a deserted and remote border outpost.

“As a matter of fact, it is a regular border crossing on a well-frequented land route between Pakistan and Iran which ought to have been better equipped and well prepared,” it said.

The report cites official figures stating that about 300,000 people use the border crossing annually. The inadequate facilities at Taftan often hit headlines at the time of peak traffic periods every year. Covid-19, however, underscored those inadequacies unlike before.

Shortcomings at Pakistan’s ports of entry were also pointed out in a World Health Organisation (WHO) evaluation in 2016 which showed that they were not fully prepared to prevent, detect and respond to health threats.

The IPI report said the haphazard closure of the border crossing on Feb 23 and absence of a proper explanation for shutting it down and then its subsequent reopening on Feb 28 contributed to the deluge at Taftan amidst aggressively spreading disease in Iran. This particular mistake led to allegations within Pakistan that the decision to reopen the border was politically influenced and motivated by sectarian considerations.

It said tests conducted at provincial quarantines showed that of the 6,834 pilgrims who had returned from Iran 1,331 were positive for Covid-19. This included 701 in Punjab, 280 in Sindh, 141 in Balochistan, 68 in KP, 139 in GB and two in AJK. No tests were done at Taftan.

Full report at:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1558991/poor-handling-of-pilgrims-from-iran-led-to-covid-19-controversy-report

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Mideast

 

Rouhani Vows to Reopen Shrines, Resume All Jobs

May 23, 2020

Rouhani also said that all workers will return to work next Saturday. "We have passed the three phases of the coronavirus," he added.

The first phase was to announce the disease and mobilize the country's capacities to rein in the outbreak. The second phase involved controlling the disease through social distancing measures and the third phase required smart distancing accompanied by gradual re-opening of the country, he explained.

"Sure, there are still regions that need work in the third phase. Now, it is the fourth phase, namely the containment phase," Rouhani said.

The virus containment phase has already begun in 10 out of 31 provinces where the situation is better and screening will intensify while infected patients will be separated from the rest of the population, he added.

The Iranian health ministry announced on Friday that 2,311 new cases of coronavirus infection have been identified in the country in the past 24 hours, noting that 82% of these cases have been outpatients.

“2,311 more patients infected with COVID-19 virus have been identified in the country since yesterday based on confirmed diagnosis criteria,” Health Ministry Spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour said on Friday.

He explained that 413 new patients were hospitalized and 1,889 others were outpatients.

Jahanpour noted that the number of coronavirus patients in the country has increased to 131,652 people.

He said that 82% of these cases have been outpatient and only 18% were monitored and hospitalized.

The spokesman said that a total number of 7,300 people have lost their lives due to infection to the virus in the last several months, including 51 in the past 24 hours.

Jahanpour, meantime, stated that 102,276 coronavirus patients have recovered and been discharged from hospitals, expressing concern that 2,659 patients infected with COVID-19 virus are in critical conditions.

He added that 763,913 coronavirus tests have been carried out in Iran so far, noting, “In the past 24 hours, 14 provinces reported zero deaths and 6 provinces had 1 death each.”

Iranian Health Minister Saeed Namaki stressed on April 7 effective measures to control coronavirus epidemic, expressing the hope that the disease would be controlled in Iran by late May.

“At present, the country is in the phase of disease management and we should not imagine that we have reached the harness and control phase. Today is the time for full-fledged combat against the virus. God willing, we will control coronavirus by late May. The virus should be controlled in the minimum possible time,” Namaki said, addressing the Iranian legislators in an open session of the parliament in Tehran.

He noted that at least 30% to 50% of hospital beds are still vacant across Iran and nearly 15,000 beds are ready to keep the patients who are recovering from coronavirus disease.

“We have now moved down to tank 6th in terms of deaths,” Namaki said, adding that the country’s situation in treatment of patients will improve in the next few days.

The coronavirus COVID-19 is affecting approximately all countries and territories around the world. The virus was first reported in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year. It has so far killed more than 340,000 people and infected over 5.3 million others globally.

The Iranian foreign ministry declared that despite Washington’s claims of cooperation to transfer drugs to Iran via the new Swiss-launched payment mechanism, the US is troubling the process amid the coronavirus outbreak in the country.

Although US claims that medicines and medical equipment are not under sanctions, they have practically blocked the transfer of Iran’s financial resources in other countries into the Swiss Humanitarian Trade Arrangement (SHTA), Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Seyed Abbas Mousavi said.

As the death toll from the virus surges, Iran intensifies its preventive safety measures. Closures of schools and most universities have been extended until further notice.

The government also imposed travel restrictions, specially on Iran’s North, which is among the red zones. The country has also adopted strict digital health control procedures at airports to spot possible infections.

Namaki announced last month that a new national mobilization plan would be implemented across the country to fight against the coronavirus epidemic and more effectively treat patients.

Namaki said that the plan will include all the 17,000 health centers and the 9,000 medical and clinical centers in all cities, suburban areas and villages.

He added that the plan will include home quarantine, noting that infected people will receive the necessary medicines and advice, but they are asked to stay at home.

Namaki said that people with a more serious condition will stay at the hospitals, adding that the public places will be disinfected, the entries of infected towns and cities will be controlled to diagnose and quarantine the infected cases.

He added that the necessary equipment and facilities have been provided, expressing the hope that the epidemic would be curbed.

According to the latest statistics of Health Ministry, the number of medical laboratories to test coronavirus infection has reached over 90 across the country.

The World Health Organization (WHO) says Iran's response to the virus has so far been up to the mark. Still, it says the US sanctions are a big challenge, and Washington would be complicit in the rising death toll in Iran if it would not remove its sanctions.

The World Health Organization has considered priorities in combating coronavirus and Islamic Republic of Iran obeys and follows up priorities as defined by WHO.

The WHO is dispatching separate delegations to all countries.

https://en.farsnews.ir/newstext.aspx?nn=13990303000561

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Iran to Establish Online Embassy to Palestine

May 23, 2020

According to the provisions of the parliamentarian law passed on May 18, 2020 to launch an Iranian online embassy or consulate to Palestine, the first coordinating session for examining and determining the way of implementation of the bylaw will be held after the holy month of Ramadan with the responsible officials of the foreign ministry in attendance.

Last week, Iran’s Parliament approved a double-urgency motion that outlines the manner of confrontation on the national and international scale against the Israeli regime. The document was then revised and approved at the Parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission before being endorsed by lawmakers today at the open session of the Parliament. The motion includes 16 articles.

The motion prohibits any direct or indirect cooperation with real or legal Israeli persons in exhibitions, conferences, and gatherings.

Any cooperation or espionage in favor of the Zionist regime will be considered as Muharebeh (waging war against God) and corruption.

Accordingly, it is forbidden for Iranian citizens to travel to the occupied Palestinian territories. In addition, all Zionists are prohibited from entering Iran.

On Friday, the Iranian foreign ministry blasted Israel for its "barbaric crimes" against the Palestinian nation, and said that the child-killing regime is expert of systemic torture in its DNA.

"The Zionist Israeli regime is a human killing machine by nature taking the lives of Palestinians indiscriminately. 20-year-old Rouzan al-Najjar was a Gazan volunteer first aid responder who was shot and killed in 2018. The merciless Israeli forces shot her deliberately,” the Iranian foreign ministry tweeted.

“Systematic torture is in the Israeli regime’s DNA. It is a violent Zionist regime with long-standing policy of torturing innocent Palestinians to death. Its systematic torture is against every law even the primitive one and fundamental human rights. This is an act of barbarity. #Covid1948,” read another tweet.

In another tweet, the foreign ministry wrote that the occupation is the backbone of the Apartheid Israel.

"However, the younger Palestinian generation is brave enough not to tolerate occupation any longer. Ahed Tamimi is a 19-year-old activist who is the beacon of the nationwide land liberation movement. #Covid1948 #Palestine," it added.

And in a separate tweet, the Foreign Ministry said, “In Long-suffering imprisoned Palestinian women and children are the main victims of the Zionist Israeli regime’s belligerence. They are severely beaten & routinely tortured while unjustifiably kept in the Israeli detention centers en masse. They must be freed immediately. #Covid1948.”

In relevant remarks on Friday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in an Arabic message described the International Quds Day as marking the last phase of the Israeli regime's occupation and settlement in Palestine.

"Quds Day is the day for the revival of the Palestinian rights, and end of occupation and settlements," Zarif wrote on his Twitter account.

"Israel is the largest human rights violator, the only holder of nuclear weapons in the region and the most serious chronic threat to international peace and security," he added.

The top Iranian diplomat pointed out that the conspiracy of the racist Deal of the Century proved that Washington is a partner to the aggressors and there is no hope for it.

"The referendum is the only solution," Zarif reiterated.

The International Quds Day is an annual event opposing Israel's occupation of Beitul-Muqaddas. Anti-Zionist rallies and demonstrations are held on the last Friday of Ramadan in Muslim and Arab countries around the world, specially in Iran, as well as a large number of non-Muslim states.

Full report at:

https://en.farsnews.ir/newstext.aspx?nn=13990303000201

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Iran: Sanction Imposers to Face Same Fate as Saddam's

May 23, 2020

The Iranian foreign ministry made the remarks on the occasion of Khordad 3 (Saturday, May 23), the anniversary of the liberation of Khorramshahr in Southwestern Iran from the Iraqi Baathist regime Of Saddam Hussein.

"The resistance of the Iranian people led to the failure of the violation of international law and war crimes by Saddam's regime in the blind bombing of cities and killing of innocent people," the foreign ministry said.

The unilateral and oppressive sanctions of the US and some European countries against Iran, which include basic and even pharmaceutical and medical items, have caused many problems for the Iranian people, specially for COVID-19 patients.

The Iranian forces launched the Beit ol-Moqaddas Operation in April 1982 and liberated Khorramshahr on May 24 of the same year. In retaking the city, the Iranians captured some 19,000 soldiers from the Iraqi army.

The liberation of Khorramshahr changed the balance of power in the Iraqi-imposed war in favor of the Iranian forces and cast doubt on the ability of Saddam’s war machine, which had been receiving the full economic, military and intelligence support of more than 20 countries led by the US.

Full report at:

https://en.farsnews.ir/newstext.aspx?nn=13990303000553

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Coronavirus: Iran begins opening businesses, religious sites for Eid al-Fitr

23 May 2020

Iran on Saturday moved to open businesses, religious and cultural sites as it eases restrictions imposed to contain the coronavirus pandemic.

Museums and historical sites are to reopen on Sunday to coincide with the Eid al-Fitr elebrations that end the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan, President Hassan Rouhani said on state television.

Holy shrines - some of which became focal points of the coronavirus epidemic in Iran - will reopen Monday.

Rouhani announces opening

Rouhani had said last week that the shrines would open for three hours in the morning and three hours in the afternoon. Some areas of the shrines such as narrow corridors will stay shut.

All workers in the country will return to work next Saturday.

“We can say we have passed the three stages regarding the coronavirus,” Rouhani said.

For more coronavirus news, visit our dedicated page.

The fourth phase is containment in 10 of Iran’s 31 provinces, where the situation is better and screening will intensify while infected patients will be separated from the rest of the population.

The president said last week that restaurants would reopen after Ramadan and sports activities would resume without spectators. Universities, but not medical schools, will reopen on June 6.

Rouhani said on Saturday that 88 percent of the fatalities from COVID-19 in Iran were victims with underlying illnesses.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/coronavirus/2020/05/23/Coronavirus-Iran-begins-opening-businesses-religious-sites-for-Eid-al-Fitr.html

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Iran will respond in kind if US makes trouble for Venezuela-bound oil tankers in Caribbean: President Rouhani

23 May 2020

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani warns of retaliatory measures against the United States should Washington make "trouble" for Iranian tankers carrying fuel to gasoline-starved Venezuela.

"If our tankers in the Caribbean or anywhere in the world face trouble [caused] by the Americans, they (the US) will also be in trouble in kind," Rouhani said in a phone conversation with Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani on Saturday.

He added that Iran attaches special significance to regional security and emphasized that some US measures in different parts of the world have led to "unacceptable conditions" but "we will never initiate any tension or conflict at all."

Iran reserves the legitimate right to defend its national sovereignty and territorial integrity and secure its own interests, Rouhani said, adding, "We hope the Americans do not make a mistake."

The Iranian president stressed the importance of strengthening joint cooperation amid the current coronavirus pandemic and said, "However, the United States of America continues to make wrong decisions and keeps it inhumane approaches."

He once again emphasized that regional security should be maintained by countries in the region, adding, "We have always expressed our readiness for more cooperation with neighboring countries."

According to Refinitiv Eikon tracking data, a flotilla of five tankers carrying Iranian fuel for Venezuela is approaching the Caribbean, with the first expected to reach the South American country’s waters on Sunday.

The shipments have infuriated the United States as both Iran and Venezuela are under US sanctions. Washington has threatened to take measures in response especially against Iran, according to a senior US official, who did not provide further details.

In a letter to United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres last week, Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif issued a stern warning against the provocative acts by the US which has dispatched its naval forces to the Caribbean Sea with the goal of disrupting the course of the Iranian tankers heading to Venezuela.

Zarif described "the illegal, dangerous and provocative US threats [against the Iranian tankers]" as a form of piracy and a big threat to international peace and security.

Venezuela's Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez said Wednesday that Caracas will send planes and ships to escort Iranian tankers arriving with fuel to the country in case of any US aggression.

He added that Venezuela's navy and air force will welcome the Iranian tankers bound for the Latin American country, seeing them through the nation's maritime territory and into port.

Elsewhere in the Saturday phone call, Rouhani called for promotion of Tehran-Doha relations in various fields, particularly in economic and commercial sectors, and said both countries should revive economic cooperation in line with health protocols amid the deadly coronavirus outbreak.

Qatar to make utmost efforts to prevent new tension

The Qatari emir, for his part, said his country opposes any tension in the region and would do its utmost to reduce tensions.

Qatar strongly believes that regional security must be ensured through cooperation among all countries in the region, he added.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2020/05/23/625969/Rouhani-Tamim-al-Thani-Iran-Qatar-Venezuela-tankers-US

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Rouhani Vows to Counter US Hostile Act against Iran’s Tankers

May 23, 2020

“Although some of the US measures have created unacceptable conditions in different parts of the world, we will not be the initiator of tension and clash,” Rouhani said in a phone call with the Qatari Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.

Referring to the American moves in the Caribbean, he reiterated, “If our oil tankers face problems in the Caribbean Sea or anywhere in the world by the Americans, they will face problems reciprocally.”

We see the conditions today more apt for cooperation, especially given the outbreak of this disease; but the US continues its incorrect decisions and inhumane behaviors, the president noted.

He made it clear, “As before, we stress that the security of our region, particularly the marine security, is maintained by the regional countries and we have always announced that we are ready for cooperation with the neighboring countries.”

The Qatari Emir, for his part, underlined that the regional security should be maintained by the countries in the region and they should cooperate with each other to secure waterways in the region.

Hamad Al Thani also added that his country will try to deescalate tension.

Also, Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Hossein Bagheri on Friday warned Washington of the dire repercussions of any hostile move against Iran's interests, vowing that Tehran would not hesitate to strike back in case it is targeted by the US.

Bagheri noted Iran’s right to free shipment in the high seas, and stressed that the armed forces are constantly monitoring every small move of the enemies, including the adventurous, terrorist and antihuman American army in the region and faraway lands.

"We stand firm and decided to give the US an appropriate response for any miscalculation against the national interests of Iran," the top commander stressed, in a stern warning to the US to avoid any hostile move aganst five Iranian tankers carrying fuel to Venezuela.

Venezuela's defense minister said Wednesday that planes and ships from the nation's armed forces will escort Iranian tankers arriving with fuel to the gasoline-starved country to prevent any US aggression.

Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino López said Venezuela's navy and air force will welcome the five Iranian tankers, seeing them through the nation's maritime territory and into port.

He compared the fuel tankers to humanitarian aid that China and Russia have sent to help Venezuela combat the new coronavirus pandemic.

Meantime, Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami warned the US against any hostile move or trouble-making for the country’s oil tankers in international waters.

“Troubling the oil tankers is a violation of international laws and security. Both international organizations and countries which are sensitive to the laws and waterways’ security should certainly show reaction to such an act,” General Hatami told reporters after a cabinet meeting in Tehran on Wednesday.

He described any possible US trouble-making for the Iranian tankers in the free waters as “piracy”.

“Of course, our policy is fully clear and we have clearly announced that we will not tolerate any disturbance. The Americans and others know that we certainly do not hesitate to react to any such move and if the disturbances increase and continue, they will certainly face a firm response,” General Hatami said.

Reuters had quoted a senior official in President Donald Trump’s administration as saying last Thursday that the United States is considering measures it could take in response to Iran’s shipment of fuel to Venezuela.

“...we’re looking at measures that can be taken,” the official added, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Informed sources told Nour News website, close to Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), that the US has sent four of its combat warships along with Boeing P-8 Poseidon fighters to the Caribbean.

In response to the US threats, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif sent a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to caution over likely US menace against Iranian oil tankers in the Caribbean, stressing that America would be responsible for ensuing consequences.

Zarif described the US' provocative threats as piracy and a big threat to world peace and security, stressing that the US must stop bullying in the world and respect the rule of the international law, especially freedom of shipping in high seas.

Calling the US government responsible for the repercussions of any illegal move, the top diplomat underlined Iran's right to take necessary measures to counter these threats.

Furthermore, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi summoned the Swiss ambassador, representing US interests in Tehran, to express the country's intensive protest at US provocations.

Araqchi called on the Swiss envoy to convey Iran's serious warning to the US officials against any likely threat posed by the US to Iran’s oil tankers.

He noted that Iran and Venezuela enjoy "completely legitimate and legal commercial ties," adding that the US resorting to bullying measures will be considered as a menace to "free shipping, international trade and the free flow of energy."

Such measures, the Iranian diplomat said, are flagrant examples of piracy and explicit violation of international laws and, as such, defy the goals and principles explicated in the UN Charter.

He also warned that any threat against the Iranian ships will ensue Iran's prompt and categorical reaction, and the US administration will be responsible for their consequences.

The Swiss envoy, for his part, said he will instantly convey Iran’s message to the US administration and inform the Iranian government of the results as soon as possible.

Also, the Iranian foreign ministry warned on Monday that any hostile act by Washington against the country’s oil tankers in the international waters will face a crushing response.

“What the Americans have said about our oil tankers is illegal and if they make a move, they will face Iran’s reaction,” Foreign Ministry Spokesman Seyed Abbas Mousavi told reporters via a video conference.

He noted that Iran has given the necessary advice to the Americans via the Swiss embassy, which represents the US interests in Tehran, and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has also written a letter to the UN chief in this regard, expressing the hope that Washington does not make any “stupid” move.

“Free trade among independent states is a legitimate issue. The US in Trump era is disturbing the global order and is after global anarchism,” Mousavi said.

Also on Monday, Iranian Government Spokesman Ali Rabiyee confirmed his country’s exports of gasoline to Venezuela, warning against any US hostile act against Iran’s tankers in the international waters.

“Iran has sent the gasoline tankers at the demand of Venezuelan government. No state is duty-bound to implement the US-desired sanctions,” Rabiyee told reporters in Tehran.

He called on the international society to show reaction to the US illegal warnings about its imminent action against the Iranian oil tankers in the international waters, and said, “The US has a record of piracy.”

Full report at:

https://en.farsnews.ir/newstext.aspx?nn=13990303000758

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FM Spokesman: Noble Iran Never to Accept Captivity

May 23, 2020

“The crises are a criterion for evaluation of nations. Iranians have become champions of breaking the chains of dependence, sanctions and pandemic,” Mousavi tweeted on Saturday on the occasion of the 38th anniversary of liberation of Khorramshahr from the yoke of the Iraqi occupation during the 8-year Holy Defense.

He added that the ever-shining sun and the upright palm trees of Khorramshahr are the true narrators of epics of freedom.

The spokesman noted that the noble Iran can never be captivated and it is a mistake to try what has already been tried.

President Hassan Rouhani also glorified the day of liberation of Khorramshahr city in the Iranian history, adding that Iranian nation will not forget this day.

“It is an important day and the Iranian people always remember that day,” Rouhani said on Saturday.

He noted that after the liberation of Khorramshahr the Iranian nation proved that their resolve will overcome every obstacle even if the enemies possess the most advanced weapons.

Earlier in relevant remarks, Iranian First Vice-President Eshaq Jahangiri praised the nation's resistance at different junctures in time, stressing that unity and faith will materialize every impossible.

Jahangiri made the remarks through a twitter message on the occasion of the 38th anniversary of liberation of Khorramshahr during the 8-year war imposed by the US through Saddam of Iraq.

Full report at:

https://en.farsnews.ir/newstext.aspx?nn=13990303000703

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Former Envoy Calls for Forming Club to Contravene US Sanctions

May 23, 2020

"The increase in the number of countries sanctioned by the US has made a better potential to find alternative solutions to supply demands," Khatibi told FNA.

He referred to a swap of goods for goods or for gold as a practical method of dealing among sanctioned countries, saying that "sanctioned countries can get united to form an organized cooperation system against the US sanctions."

"All the sanctioned companies of different countries can also join the club', he noted.

Iran's recent exports of gasoline to Venezuela can be an opportunity to form the 'sanctioned countries club', Khatibi added.

Iran and Venezuela have always had relations in oil and gas fields and have enjoyed close relations," he said referring to the time when Iran was in need of gasoline back in 2011 and Venezuela met its demand.

He stressed that under the coronavirus conditions Iran's domestic consumption of gasoline has decreased and it can export the extra amount to Venezuela.

Khatibi said it is Iran's legitimate right to export its gasoline to any applicant country via bilateral treaties.

"Freedom of trade and commutation of ships in international waters is Iran’s natural right and no country can violate it," he underlined.

Khatibi added that Iran's gasoline exports to Venezuela have questioned US sanctions.

"Trading goods does not breach international trade protocols or shipping treaties," he underlined, "Therefore, there is no need for concealing Iran’s international trade."

The former OPEC official noted that Iran is now powerful enough to to give a harsh response to any likely aggression by enemies.

In relevant remarks on Friday, Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Hossein Bagheri warned Washington of the dire repercussions of any hostile move against Iran's interests, vowing that Tehran would not hesitate to strike back in case it is targeted by the US.

Bagheri noted Iran’s right to free shipment in the high seas, and stressed that the armed forces are constantly monitoring every small move of the enemies, including the adventurous, terrorist and antihuman American army in the region and faraway lands.

"We stand firm and decided to give the US an appropriate response for any miscalculation against the national interests of Iran," the top commander stressed, in a stern warning to the US to avoid any hostile move aganst five Iranian tankers carrying fuel to Venezuela.

Venezuela's defense minister said Wednesday that planes and ships from the nation's armed forces will escort Iranian tankers arriving with fuel to the gasoline-starved country to prevent any US aggression.

Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino López said Venezuela's navy and air force will welcome the five Iranian tankers, seeing them through the nation's maritime territory and into port.

He compared the fuel tankers to humanitarian aid that China and Russia have sent to help Venezuela combat the new coronavirus pandemic.

Meantime, Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami warned the US against any hostile move or trouble-making for the country’s oil tankers in international waters.

“Troubling the oil tankers is a violation of international laws and security. Both international organizations and countries which are sensitive to the laws and waterways’ security should certainly show reaction to such an act,” General Hatami told reporters after a cabinet meeting in Tehran on Wednesday.

He described any possible US trouble-making for the Iranian tankers in the free waters as “piracy”.

“Of course, our policy is fully clear and we have clearly announced that we will not tolerate any disturbance. The Americans and others know that we certainly do not hesitate to react to any such move and if the disturbances increase and continue, they will certainly face a firm response,” General Hatami said.

Reuters had quoted a senior official in President Donald Trump’s administration as saying last Thursday that the United States is considering measures it could take in response to Iran’s shipment of fuel to Venezuela.

“...we’re looking at measures that can be taken,” the official added, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Informed sources told Nour News website, close to Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), that the US has sent four of its combat warships along with Boeing P-8 Poseidon fighters to the Caribbean.

In response to the US threats, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif sent a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to caution over likely US menace against Iranian oil tankers in the Caribbean, stressing that America would be responsible for ensuing consequences.

Zarif described the US' provocative threats as piracy and a big threat to world peace and security, stressing that the US must stop bullying in the world and respect the rule of the international law, especially freedom of shipping in high seas.

Calling the US government responsible for the repercussions of any illegal move, the top diplomat underlined Iran's right to take necessary measures to counter these threats.

Furthermore, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi summoned the Swiss ambassador, representing US interests in Tehran, to express the country's intensive protest at US provocations.

Araqchi called on the Swiss envoy to convey Iran's serious warning to the US officials against any likely threat posed by the US to Iran’s oil tankers.

He noted that Iran and Venezuela enjoy "completely legitimate and legal commercial ties," adding that the US resorting to bullying measures will be considered as a menace to "free shipping, international trade and the free flow of energy."

Such measures, the Iranian diplomat said, are flagrant examples of piracy and explicit violation of international laws and, as such, defy the goals and principles explicated in the UN Charter.

He also warned that any threat against the Iranian ships will ensue Iran's prompt and categorical reaction, and the US administration will be responsible for their consequences.

The Swiss envoy, for his part, said he will instantly convey Iran’s message to the US administration and inform the Iranian government of the results as soon as possible.

Also, the Iranian foreign ministry warned on Monday that any hostile act by Washington against the country’s oil tankers in the international waters will face a crushing response.

“What the Americans have said about our oil tankers is illegal and if they make a move, they will face Iran’s reaction,” Foreign Ministry Spokesman Seyed Abbas Mousavi told reporters via a video conference.

He noted that Iran has given the necessary advice to the Americans via the Swiss embassy, which represents the US interests in Tehran, and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has also written a letter to the UN chief in this regard, expressing the hope that Washington does not make any “stupid” move.

“Free trade among independent states is a legitimate issue. The US in Trump era is disturbing the global order and is after global anarchism,” Mousavi said.

Also on Monday, Iranian Government Spokesman Ali Rabiyee confirmed his country’s exports of gasoline to Venezuela, warning against any US hostile act against Iran’s tankers in the international waters.

“Iran has sent the gasoline tankers at the demand of Venezuelan government. No state is duty-bound to implement the US-desired sanctions,” Rabiyee told reporters in Tehran.

He called on the international society to show reaction to the US illegal warnings about its imminent action against the Iranian oil tankers in the international waters, and said, “The US has a record of piracy.”

Full report at:

https://en.farsnews.ir/newstext.aspx?nn=13990303000807

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Coronavirus: Palestinians report first coronavirus death in Gaza

23 May 2020

Authorities in Gaza on Saturday reported the Palestinian enclave's first novel coronavirus fatality, after a sharp rise in confirmed infections in recent days.

“Fadila Muhammad Abu Raida, 77, from the Khan Younes governorate, died in isolation in hospital at the Rafah Crossing due to her infection with coronavirus,” the health ministry in Gaza said.

A wave of coronavirus infections among residents returning to Gaza has more than doubled the number of cases in the strip in recent days, raising fears of a bigger outbreak.

For more coronavirus news, visit our dedicated page.

The impoverished enclave had managed to limit the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases to no more than 20, with its borders with both Israel and Egypt closed to prevent the spread of the respiratory disease.

But in recent days, around 1,500 Palestinians who had been stuck in Egypt were allowed to return via the Rafah crossing, while smaller numbers were permitted to enter from Israel.

They were all placed in confinement, but 35 new cases have been confirmed among them, including 25 on Thursday, authorities announced, raising the total number to 55.

Health ministry official Yussef Abu al-Reesh said on Thursday that those infected had mingled with other returning residents, including in the quarantine centres.

Authorities were verifying whether any had met with people from inside Gaza before entering quarantine, he added.

In recent weeks, preventive measures in the enclave had been relaxed, with cafes and restaurants allowed to reopen.

Khalil al-Hayya, a senior official with Islamist movement Hamas, which runs the enclave, told a press conference on Thursday authorities were considering imposing a curfew.

The border with Egypt would be re-sealed until at least the end of June, he added.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/coronavirus/2020/05/23/Coronavirus-Palestinians-report-first-coronavirus-death-in-Gaza.html

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Gaza reports first novel coronavirus death amid potential catastrophe

23 May 2020

Medical authorities in the besieged Gaza Strip have reported the Palestinian enclave's first novel coronavirus death, amid a drastic increase in the number of infections in recent days plus critical shortages of drugs, protective equipment, testing materials and ventilators in hospitals.

“Fadila Muhammad Abu Raida, 77, from the Khan Younis governorate, died in isolation in hospital at the Rafah crossing due to her infection with coronavirus,” the Health Ministry in Gaza said in a statement on Saturday.

The ministry added that the woman had entered the Gaza Strip via the Egyptian border on May 19, and had been kept in quarantine since. She reportedly suffered from a prior chronic illness.

A wave of coronavirus infections among residents returning to Gaza has more than doubled the number of cases in the coastal sliver in recent days, raising fears of a bigger outbreak.

The impoverished enclave had managed to limit the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases to no more than 20, with its borders with both occupied territories and Egypt closed to prevent the spread of the respiratory disease.

But in recent days, around 1,500 Palestinians who had been stuck in Egypt were allowed to return via the Rafah crossing, while smaller numbers were permitted to enter from the Israeli-occupied land.

They were all placed in confinement, but 35 new cases have been confirmed among them, including 25 on Thursday, authorities announced, raising the total number to 55.

Health Ministry official Yussef Abu al-Reesh said on Thursday that those infected had mingled with other returning residents, including in the quarantine centers.

Authorities were verifying whether any had met with people from inside Gaza before entering quarantine, he added.

In recent weeks, preventive measures in the enclave had been relaxed, with cafes and restaurants allowed to reopen.

Khalil al-Hayya, a senior official with the Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, told a press conference on Thursday that authorities were considering imposing a lockdown.

The border with Egypt would be re-sealed until at least the end of June, he added.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2020/05/23/625981/Gaza-reports-first-novel-coronavirus-death-amid-potential-catastrophe

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North America

 

Trump Hopes Muslims Find Comfort, Healing On Eid

Anwar Iqbal

May 24, 2020

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump said in his Eidul Fitr message on Saturday that he hopes Muslims find comfort, strength and healing from the Covid-19 disease that has dampened the celebrations of this year’s festival.

Most Muslims across North America are celebrating Eid on Sunday.

“As Muslims observe the day of Eid al-Fitr, we hope they find both comfort and strength in the healing powers of prayer and devotion,” President Trump said in a statement put out by his office.

“Over the past weeks and months, as we have fought the coronavirus, we have relied on our faith, family, and friends to help guide us through these unprecedented times.”

At a White House news briefing on Thursday, Trump promised to issue new guidelines for reopening places of worship for enabling people to seek comfort from their faith in these difficult times.

“Now more than ever we are reminded of the reassuring peace, uplifting love, and heartening fellowship that religion brings into our lives,” he said in his Eid message. “We send our best wishes for a blessed and joyous Eid al-Fitr.”

Curbs on social gatherings to contain the spread of the coronavirus have affected Eid celebrations as well. But Muslims across the United States have found innovative ways to celebrate the three-day holiday, while adhering to social-distancing measures.

Arrangements have been made for Muslims to connect to their local mosques for live Eid sermons that will be aired on local television and streamed on social media. Many mosques have also arranged drive-thru facilities for children to receive Eid gifts.

People have also created prayer spaces inside their homes where families will listen to the sermon from their local mosques and pray together.

Since Eid and Chand Raat events are not being held, people are focusing more on decorating their homes and exchanging gifts by mail.

This year, Disney, the multinational entertainment conglomerate, is releasing a short film, titled American Eid. The film follows the lives of a Pakistani family who migrate to America.

The main character, an eight-year-old girl named Ameena, wants to celebrate Eid, but it is not recognised as an official holiday in the country. As a result, she takes it upon herself to create a petition and start a campaign in order for Eid to be recognised as an official holiday in the US.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1559268/trump-hopes-muslims-find-comfort-healing-on-eid

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Trump’s Israel-Palestine plan doomed: Baker Institute

May 23, 2020

LONDON: The White House’s peace plan all but assures the denial of Palestinian statehood, and may further alienate Israel from the international community, according to a new report by the Baker Institute for Public Policy.

Under the plan, “Palestinian statehood is conditioned upon a compilation of unreasonable and impractical thresholds,” wrote Gilead Sher, fellow in Middle East peace and security at the institute and a former Israeli government official.

“Given the total absence of Palestinian involvement in planning and implementing the deal, the current deal has no way of serving as is as a driver to resolving the conflict,” he said.

“Instead, it will further blur the borders between two states, as the Israeli right wing looks to ensure a continued presence in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank).”

The US plan, unveiled by President Donald Trump on Jan. 28, envisions a disjointed Palestinian state that turns over key parts of the West Bank to Israel.

The plan also sides with Israel on key contentious issues including borders, the status of Jerusalem and Jewish settlements.

The proposal offers Palestinians “little more than they already have,” and could “lead Israel down a perilous path to international demonization and social upheaval,” Sher wrote.

The plan not only creates problematic borders, but creates friction by “further entangling mixed populations,” he added.

Though the plan abandons the parameters of previous Israeli-Palestinian negotiations and lacks coherent policy, Sher believes it will continue to sit on the table for years to come.

But, he said, it will fail without significant Israeli restraint, complete resequencing and resourceful Palestinian initiative.

Full report at:

https://www.arabnews.com/node/1679046/middle-east

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US presses for Libya ceasefire amid concern over influx over weapons

May 23, 2020

The United States pressed for a ceasefire in Libya during calls at the weekend to the UN-recognised government in Tripoli and its main backer Turkey.

President Donald Trump raised the issue with Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday, the White House said.

"President Trump reiterated concern over worsening foreign interference in Libya and the need for rapid de-escalation,” spokesman Judd Deere said.

Mr Trump's call came a day after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged the Government of National Accord to accept a ceasefire with forces loyal to the rival administration in the east of Libya and criticised the flow of weapons into the country despite a United Nations embargo.

“A ceasefire leading to a political resolution is the only option for the Libyan people,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Twitter after speaking to the GNA Prime Minister Fayez Al Sarraj.

Secretary Pompeo

@SecPompeo

Important conversation with Libyan Prime Minister al-Sarraj today. A ceasefire leading to a political resolution is the only option for the Libyan people.

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12:12 AM - May 23, 2020

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The State Department said Mr Pompeo called Mr Al Sarraj to “reiterate US opposition to the continued level of weapons and munitions being brought into the country”.

The two men “emphasised the importance of an immediate halt to the fighting and return to political dialogue”.

Mr Pompeo did not name a country, but the GNA's key military supplier is Turkey, which signed a pact with Tripoli in November.

A report last month by the International Crisis Group said that Turkey had sent at least 100 military officers to Libya , as well as shiploads of weapons and aerial defences and at least 2,000 pro-Turkish fighters from Syria.

Mr Al Sarraj’s government this week rejected an offer of a ceasefire from forces allied to the House of Representatives administration based in eastern Libya and led by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar.

Ahmed Al Mismari, spokesman for Field Marshal Haftar’s forces, said they would withdraw up to three kilometres from Tripoli’s front lines in a “humanitarian gesture” for Eid Al Fitr.

The offer followed a series of successes by GNA forces in recent weeks, including the capture of the Al Watiya airbase near Tripoli on Monday, and was dismissed by GNA Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha as an attempt to disguise a retreat.

Full report at:

https://www.thenational.ae/world/mena/us-presses-for-libya-ceasefire-amid-concern-over-influx-over-weapons-1.1023708

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FBI investigates terrorism-related shooting at Texas naval base

Joyce Karam

May 22, 2020

US investigators are treating a shooting at a naval air base in Texas as “terrorism-related", the FBI said on Thursday.

The attack, which took place early on Thursday morning in Corpus Christi, left a US sailor with minor injuries.

The attacker was killed as he tried to rush into the gate.

”We have determined that the incident this morning at the naval air station in Corpus Christi is terrorism-related," FBI senior supervisory Special Agent Leah Greeves said.

Agents were working alongside local, state and federal police on the “fluid and evolving” investigation, Ms Greeves said, hinting at a second suspect who remains at large.

"We may have a potential second related person of interest at large in the community,” she said.

The base remains under lockdown, and the FBI is advising the community to stay vigilant and report any suspicious activity.

"Electronic media" was recovered at the scene, Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said.

The department is working with counter-terrorism authorities to “expeditiously investigate the circumstances of this event and all available evidence", Ms Kupec said.

Full report at:

https://www.thenational.ae/world/the-americas/fbi-investigates-terrorism-related-shooting-at-texas-naval-base-1.1023104

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Southeast Asia

 

Indonesian President Urges Restrained Celebration of Idul Fitri

MAY 23, 2020

Bogor. President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo on Saturday called on Indonesian Muslims to embrace a “different and difficult” Idul Fitri as the country is intensifying measures to curb the spread of the Covid-19 outbreak, saying people’s safety must take precedence.

Idul Fitri, the most important holiday for Indonesian Muslims, falls on Sunday after the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

“We will be celebrating Idul Fitri differently this time, because we have to sacrifice a lot by giving up travelling to our hometowns and the usual gatherings,” the president said in a video message from his official residence in Bogor, West Java, on Idul Fitri eve.

Jokowi has earlier announced he would not accept guests at his residence during Idul Fitri and asked Vice President Ma'ruf Amin, all ministers and other state officials to follow suit.

“I feel it very difficult myself but the safety of our loved ones is certainly much more important and a priority to all of us. I’m certain that if we stick together, the Indonesian people will get through this ordeal,” the president, accompanied by First Lady Iriana, said.

His remarks came when the country is entering its most difficult phase since the outbreak began in early March. Confirmed cases of coronavirus have been growing by at least 482 every day since May 12.

In the course of the last 12 days, there have been 7,477 more cases, or 34 percent of the overall tally of 21,745. The latest development indicates that the epicenter is shifting from Jakarta to East Java.

National Covid-19 Task Force head Doni Monardo said on Friday the week before and after Idul Fitri will come as a real test for the physical distancing policy and other social restrictions.

He expressed worry that post-Idul Fitri urbanization would trigger a second wave of transmissions of the virus in Jakarta and its satellite cities.

The government has banned the Ramadan exodus to prevent the spread of coronavirus from most-affected cities to other regions. Last year, at least 19 million people left Greater Jakarta to celebrate Idul Fitri in their hometowns.

The Religious Affairs Ministry and the Indonesian Ulema Council have issued directives calling on Muslims to perform their congregational Idul Fitri prayer at home and to refrain from gathering with relatives and friends during the festival. The Idul Fitri prayer is normally held in public squares or even roads to accommodate a big crowd.

https://jakartaglobe.id/news/indonesian-president-urges-restrained-celebration-of-idul-fitri

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A CMCO Raya: Muslims turned away from Masjid Negara after attempted Raya prayers

24 May 2020

BY IDA LIM AND FIRDAUS LATIF

KUALA LUMPUR, May 24 — Around 20 or so Muslims today attempted to continue the annual tradition of going to the mosque to perform Aidilfitri prayers to kick off the Hari Raya festivities, but were asked to leave the compound of the iconic Masjid Negara in line with the rule against public gathering under the new normal to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.

In the past, the first day of Hari Raya for Muslims in Malaysia would mean going to the mosque in the morning, performing prayers together led by the imam or Muslim leader at the mosque, before listening to the sermon that could also be heard over loudspeakers, and then greeting each other and lingering around for chats, before going home to celebrate Raya with their families such as by giving out duit raya (green packets with money) and feasting.

Unlike past years where the mosques would be crowded and packed with crowds and families in a festive mood on the first day of Raya, Masjid Negara in Kuala Lumpur today, however, had a quiet atmosphere with its gates shut.

Based on Malay Mail's observations at Masjid Negara today, there were initially about three people at the steps outside the national mosque's main entrance at around 8am, but by 8.30am those who went to the steps to start performing prayers increased to some 20 people — with most appearing to be foreigners.

These 20 or so individuals, who had prepared their own prayer mats, were seen taking off their footwear before praying while being spaced apart from each other.

But within minutes of the small crowd starting to perform prayers, several police personnel were seen asking them to disperse and return home, telling them that they could not gather outside the mosque.

The crowd did not object and complied with police instructions to disperse and leave the mosque area. The national mosque was quiet with no loudspeakers broadcasting prayers or sermons.

Shortly after the dispersal, several police and army personnel were seen standing guard and stationed at the Masjid Negara compound that was emptied out by 9am.

Malaysia is currently under a conditional movement control order (CMCO) until June 9 with bans on public gatherings and other restrictions to avoid crowds from forming, but mosques have been gradually allowed to resume activities but with limitations.

On May 15, Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jakim) director-general Datuk Paimuzi Yahya had said Friday prayers, daily prayers, tarawih prayers, and Hari Raya Aidilfitri prayers would be allowed to resume at Masjid Negara as it was within a green zone, but with numbers limited to a maximum 30 persons.

Rules for prayers in mosques under apply differently in different states as Islamic affairs is a state matter, with Kedah and Johor allowing Aidilfitri prayers on the first day of Hari Raya in mosques there with a maximum of 12 individuals allowed, while states such as Sabah, Selangor and Penang have disallowed Aidilfitri prayers at mosques this year with some states however allowing broadcasts from mosques and suraus.

Selangor had even gone one step further to say that Muslims are not to visit cemeteries of their loved ones either before or after Aidilfitri prayers or during Aidilfitri celebrations as in past years, advising them to recite prayers at home instead for the deceased family members.

Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob recently said that the National Security Council’s standard operating procedures have specified that no one is allowed to pray outside mosques during the CMCO period.

Full report at:

https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2020/05/24/a-cmco-raya-muslims-turned-away-from-masjid-negara-after-attempted-raya-pra/1869092

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Virus lockdowns stifle Eid celebrations as infections rise

AFP -May 24, 2020

RIYADH: Muslims around the world began marking a sombre Eid al-Fitr Sunday, many under coronavirus lockdown, but lax restrictions offer respite to worshippers in some countries despite fears of skyrocketing infections.

The festival, one of the most important in the Muslim calendar marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan, is traditionally celebrated with mosque prayers, family feasts and shopping for new clothes, gifts and sweet treats.

But this year, the celebration is overshadowed by the fast-spreading respiratory disease, with many countries tightening lockdown restrictions after a partial easing during Ramadan led to a sharp spike in infections.

Further dampening the festive spirit, multiple countries – from Saudi Arabia to Egypt, Turkey and Syria – have banned mass prayer gatherings, a festival highlight, to limit the spread of the disease.

Saudi Arabia, home to Islam’s holiest sites, began a five-day, round-the-clock curfew from Saturday after infections more than quadrupled since the start of Ramadan to around 68,000 – the highest in the Gulf.

Eid prayers will be held at the two holy mosques in the cities of Mecca and Medina “without worshippers”, authorities said on Saturday, citing a royal decree.

Mecca’s Grand Mosque has been almost devoid of worshippers since March, with a stunning emptiness enveloping the sacred Kaaba – a large cube-shaped structure towards which Muslims around the world pray.

Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque, Islam’s third holiest site, will reopen to worshippers only after Eid, its governing body said.

In Lebanon, the highest Sunni religious authority has announced the reopening of mosques only for Friday prayers. Worshippers, however, will be subject to temperature checks and sanitary controls before they enter.

Fears of ‘new peak’

Meanwhile, Muslims across Asia – from Indonesia to Pakistan, Malaysia and Afghanistan – thronged markets for pre-festival shopping, flouting coronavirus guidelines and sometimes even police attempts to disperse large crowds.

“For over two months my children were homebound,” said Ishrat Jahan, a mother of four, at a bustling market in the Pakistani city of Rawalpindi.

“This feast is for the kids, and if they can’t celebrate it with new garments, there is no point in us working so hard throughout the year.”

Pakistan, which gave into religious pressure by allowing mosque prayers throughout the fasting of Ramadan, is yet to make a decision over mass gatherings during Eid.

In Indonesia – the world’s most populous Muslim nation – people are turning to smugglers and fake travel documents to get around bans on the annual end-of-Ramadan travel that could send infections soaring.

More than 3,500 Tunisians who travelled home just ahead of the holiday will have to spend it away from their families, forced to quarantine for two weeks in hotels after arriving from abroad.

Atef Maherzi, a doctor repatriated Tuesday from Saudi Arabia, said she would be catching up with family over Skype, foregoing her usual role of host.

“Usually, I’m the mistress of the house, but this time, my husband will receive the guests alone.”

The Covid-19 death tolls across the Middle East and Asia have been lower than in Europe and the United States, but numbers are rising steadily, sparking fears the virus may overwhelm often underfunded healthcare systems.

Iran, which has experienced the Middle East’s deadliest outbreak, has called on its citizens to avoid travel during Eid as it battles to control infection rates.

Iran shut schools and places of worship and banned inter-city travel for the Persian New Year holidays in March, but the restrictions were recently eased.

Health Minister Saeed Namaki said that the country was focusing hard on avoiding “new peaks of the disease” caused by people “not respecting health regulations”.

The exact date of Eid has yet to be set in the Shiite-majority country, but will likely be Monday, in line with the Shiite community’s celebrations in Iraq, as announced by top cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani.

Sunnis in Iraq will mark the start of the festival on Sunday.

Comedy night

The neighbouring United Arab Emirates has tightened its lockdown, with the night-time curfew starting at 8.00pm (1600 GMT) instead of 10.00pm during Ramadan.

But that has not stopped some families from planning getaways to luxury beachfront hotels in Ajman or Ras Al-Khaimah emirates.

However, Muslims in many countries are set for frugal celebrations amid growing financial distress.

The twin shocks of coronavirus restrictions and falling oil prices have plunged the region into the worst economic crisis in decades.

The coronavirus restrictions have hit businesses hard, including retailers who would normally be preparing for the festive rush, as Muslims save their money for masks, gloves and other Covid-19 protective gear.

In the Syrian capital Damascus, Eid shoppers rummaged through flea markets for clothes at bargain prices as the war-ravaged and sanctions-hit country grapples with a much more entrenched economic crisis.

“The flea market is the only place I can buy something new to wear for the Eid holidays,” 28-year-old Sham Alloush told AFP.

“Had it not been for this place, I wouldn’t have been able to buy new clothes at all.”

But promising some laughs in these dire times, 40 Muslim comedians from across the world will host a virtual show on Sunday called “The Socially Distant Eid Comedy Night”.

“This Ramadan has been particularly difficult for communities around the world,” said Muddassar Ahmed, head of the Concordia Forum, the organiser of the event.

Full report at:

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/world/2020/05/24/virus-lockdowns-stifle-eid-celebrations-as-infections-rise/

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Indonesians abroad celebrate lonely Idul Fitri

May 24, 2020

Indonesian doctoral student Rahmandhika Firdauzha, 26, is no stranger to spending Idul Fitri far from home, having spent the past four years in Hsinchu, Taiwan, where he studies at the National Chiao Tung University.

This year’s holiday, however, was doubly lonely.

“I miss celebrating Idul Fitri with my family. But even though, for the past four years, we did not celebrate together, at least I could still gather with my fellow Muslims here and celebrate with friends from around the world,” he told The Jakarta Post on Friday. “That was before the pandemic.”

Rahmandhika is just one of many Indonesians abroad who are celebrating Idul Fitri in isolation in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic that has infected more than 5.2 million people and killed over 340,000 worldwide.

Besides being far from their friends and family, this Idul Fitri they are also deprived of the opportunity to celebrate with fellow Indonesians and the wider Muslim community – an Idul Fitri without gatherings, without mass prayers and without festivities unlike in past years.

Rahmandhika said that his university used to allow Idul Fitri mass prayers at one of the campus’s yards.

“But now, even the prayer rooms are closed,” he said. “All we have to look forward to is conducting video calls with our families and friends.”

For Abdul Fattah, a 25-year-old undergraduate student at Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Idul Fitri used to be a time of festivities -- with meals and various celebrations hosted by the Indonesian Embassy in Cairo.

In Egypt, COVID-19 has infected more than 15,700 people and killed around 700. The Egyptian government has scrapped all religious events, including Idul Fitri mass prayers.

“On the day of Idul Fitri, we [Indonesian students] used to be picked up by bus [to celebrate Idul Fitri together at the embassy]. This year, we will be celebrating Idul Fitri at our apartments,” Abdul said.

Sri Een Hartatik, a 35-year-old Indonesian worker in Tsu-city in Japan’s Mie prefecture, is expecting a similarly subdued holiday.

In the past five Ramadans, she would break the fast together with her colleagues at Mie Mosque during Ramadan.

“The Indonesian community [in Mie] used to provide food for the iftar once a week,” she told the Post on Saturday, referring to the breaking-of-the-fast meal.

Small joys – such as observing Idul Fitri prayers with a multinational Muslim community in Japan, walking or cycling with her friends to the mosque and participating in halal bi halal (post-Ramadan gatherings) – that used to be a balm for her homesickness are no longer available to her.

Sri said that, in Mie, iftar activities had been scrapped, as had tarawih (evening Ramadan prayers). Halal bi halal is also not allowed, while Idul Fitri prayers would still be held in the mosque, but only for men.

Despite the limitations, Sri said she tried to look on the bright side.

“First and foremost, we must be healthy now. Next year, we can celebrate Idul Fitri again in a normal situation like before,” she said.

Rahmandhika echoed that sentiment, saying the situation had taught him to be more grateful for God’s blessing.

Full report at:

https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2020/05/24/indonesians-abroad-celebrate-lonely-idul-fitri.html

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Africa

 

Sudan confiscates $4 bln of assets from ex-president Bashir

23 May 2020

Sudan has confiscated assets valued at $4 billion from former President Omar al-Bashir, his family members and associates, the country’s anti-corruption body said.

“Our initial estimates of the value of the assets, shares in different companies and buildings we have confiscated is $3.5 billion to $4 billion, Salah Manaa, a spokesperson for the Anti-Corruption and Regime Dismantling Committee, said in response to questions.

The body was set up late last year.

Bashir, who was overthrown by the army a year ago amid mass protests against his three-decade rule, was jailed in December after being found guilty of illicitly possessing millions of dollars in foreign currencies.

He has also been indicted by the International Criminal Court for alleged crimes against humanity committed in the western region of Darfur.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2020/05/23/Sudan-confiscates-4-bln-of-assets-from-ex-president-Bashir.html

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Sudan’s push to normalize relations with Israel nothing but mirage: Hamas official

23 May 2020

A high-ranking official with the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, has denounced Sudan’s decision to move toward forging normal relations with Israel, describing such attempts as nothing but a “mirage.”

“My message to the Sudanese government is: You are free in your internal and external policies, and we do not dictate anything to anyone. However, normalization with Israel is simply a … mirage as regards [national] interests,” Sudan’s Popular Congress Party, citing Khaled Meshaal, wrote on its official Facebook page late on Friday, the London-based and Arabic-language newspaper al-Quds al-Arabi reported on Saturday.

Meshaal was the Hamas political bureau chief. He now lives in exile in the Qatari capital city of Doha.

Meshaal added, “Khartoum has a special place in the Palestinians’ memory; so we do not expect you to irritate us with any concessions.”

The senior Hamas figure then pointed to the eagerness of his group to develop relations with Sudan’s Sovereign Council on the basis of non-interference in the internal affairs of the Northeast African country.

Meshaal then opposed any meeting of any Arab leader with Israeli authorities, describing the February 3 meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the head of Sudan’s Sovereignty Council, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, in the city of Entebbe in central Uganda as a “painful event.”

At the time, senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat called Burhan’s meeting with Netanyahu “a stab in the back of the Palestinian people and a flagrant walkout on the [so-called] Arab Peace Initiative,” according to a statement published by the official WAFA news agency.

The so-called Arab Peace Initiative, which was proposed by Saudi Arabia in 2002, calls on Israel to agree to a “two-state solution” along the 1967 borders and a “just” solution to the Palestinian refugee issue.

Meshaal finally emphasized that there is a general consensus among Palestinians about rejection of the controversial plan laid out by US President Donald Trump on the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict, dubbed ‘deal of century’, saying the initiative aims to liquidate the Palestinian cause.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2020/05/23/625970/Sudan-push-to-normalize-relations-with-Israel-nothing-but-mirage-Top-Hamas-official

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UN peacekeepers in Sudan quarantined on COVID-19 fears

Mohammed Amin  

23.05.2020

KHARTOUM, Sudan

The UN peacekeeping mission North Darfur, Sudan has quarantined most of its staff because of fears the spread of the coronavirus, it said Friday in a statement.

“The African Union – United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) wishes to inform about seven (7) suspected cases of the Corona Virus (COVID-19) reported amongst its personnel operating at the its Logistics Base in El Fasher, North Darfur,” according to the statement.

“It is important to note that all affected personnel, including staff who have possibly come into contact with them, are currently adhering to strict quarantine and isolation set protocols. In addition, UNAMID has initiated its mandatory track and trace procedures that are part of the standard operating procedures while providing medical monitoring of the situation. Only the Mission’s Logistics Base is currently undergoing this investigation” it added.

Full report at:

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/-un-peacekeepers-in-sudan-quarantined-on-covid-19-fears/1851121

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Al-Shabaab blamed for being threat to Somalia's quest for peace and stability 23.05.2020

MOGADISHU, Somalia - Al-Qaida linked militants, the Al-Shabaab, still remains the biggest existential threat to Somalia's quest forpeace and stability, United Nations observed on Thursday, amid endless raids targeting civilians and security forces.

Throughout the Holy month of Ramadan, Al-Shabaab has continued to unleash terror across the country, although most of the raids havebeen effectively thwarted by diligent Somali security forces, who work closely with allies from AMISOM and the US.

For instance, Danab troops repulsed an attack targeting their camp in Gedo on Thursday, just a day after Kenya Defense Forces [KDF]troops in Bilis Qooqani thwarted an attack waged by the militants against regional Jubaland forces.

In his speech at the UN Security Council, special envoy to Somalia James Swan insisted that Al-Shabaab threats continue to "evolve"despite the fact the the group has been significantly degraded by elite forces in the ongoing crackdown.

Al-Shabaab, he noted, inflicts "intimidation and violence not only through Improvised Explosive Devices, mortar attacks andassassinations, although these continue". Also, he added, "They deploy extortion, illegal commercial activities and criminal tactics".

Cases of forceful taxation have been reported across the war-torn nation, with reports indicating that the money is used to amongothers, pay the over 5000 active fighters and purchase weapons from friendly nations which are believed to be sponsoring terror attacks.

The UN wondered why the group would not heed to calls by the Secretary General Antonio Guitteres for ceasefire. In March, Guitteresasked all armed groups to shift focus to the first against Coronavirus, which has literally grounded economic activities across the globe.

"We regret that al-Shabaab has not embraced the Secretary-General’s appeal for a global ceasefire, and that their terrorist operationscontinue unabated," read the statement in part.

"In regard to the specific IED threat, Somali security forces would benefit from additional support to counter this deadly menace. I lookforward to the briefing by the Director of the United Nations Mine Action Service later in this session," added the UN envoy.

Despite his threats from the group, security forces have managed to liberate strategic towns across Somalia, a move which however,gives hopes that someday, the group will eventually lose ground and surrender, he said.

On of the major tremendous takeover is the liberation of Janaale town in Lower Shebelle, which had been used as a source of income,given it's economic growth boosted by agricultural activities in the region, he added. Security forces seized the town on March 16.

"Somali-led forces have held the town since then, and efforts by the Federal and South West State authorities to return governance,justice, rule of law, and stability to the town, are ongoing, supported by UNSOS and UNSOM and other partners," Swan said.

He also lauded institutional reforms within the security forces, which have seen the United States reinstate aid to SNA, after months ofwithdrawal. All security forces are paid through bank accounts contrary to the previous approach where they were asked to queue.

The envoy also acknowledged the support by African Union Mission in Somalia, whose 20,000 troops have played an indispensable role inpushing the militants out of their hideouts in a bid to establish a functional state in Somalia, after decades of civil war.

The AMISOM troops are set to leave the war-torn nation in 2021, a reason why the United Nations is keen to boost capacity buildingwithin the Somali National Army [SNA] and the country's police force.

"I welcome the Federal Government’s commitment to revise the Somalia Transition Plan to update the timelines and identify key tasksand gaps in response to the evolved threat from al-Shabaab," he said. "The Government has signaled its commitment to reinforce the

Comprehensive Approach to Security, and we also welcome that."

Full report at:

https://www.garoweonline.com/en/news/somalia/al-shabaab-blamed-for-being-threat-to-somalias-quest-for-peace-and-stability

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South Asia

 

Khalilzad reacts to declaration of ceasefire by Taliban and Afghan government during Eid Days

24 May 2020

The U.S. envoy for Afghan peace Zalmay Khalilzad reacted to declaration of ceasefire by Taliban and the Afghan government during Eid Days.

“We welcome the Taliban’s decision to observe a ceasefire during Eid, as well as the Afghan government announcement reciprocating and announcing its own ceasefire,” Khalilzad said in a statement posted on Twitter.

Khalilzad further added that Coronavirus has disrupted Ramadan for the world, with special hardship for Afghans because of escalating violence.

“Although difficult challenges remain on both fronts, I believe both will be overcome, so long as leaders on all sides make the right decisions and put the interest of their people first,” he said, adding that “This development offers the opportunity to accelerate the peace process.”

He also added “Other positive steps should immediately follow: the release of remaining prisoners as specified in the US-Taliban agreement by both sides, no returning to high levels of violence, and an agreement on a new date for the start of intra-Afghan negotiations.”

“This is a momentous opportunity that should not be missed. The US will do its part to help,” Khalilzad said.

The Taliban group announced late on Saturday that the group will observe ceasefire during Eid Days, a move which was welcomed by the Afghan government which subsequently announced a ceasefire in response to Taliban’s announcement.

https://www.khaama.com/khalilzad-reacts-to-declaration-of-ceasefire-by-taliban-and-afghan-government-during-eid-days-08858/

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Taliban, Ghani declare three-day cease fire for Eidul Fitr

May 24, 2020

The Taliban and Afghanistan's president announced late on Saturday a three-day cease-fire ahead of Eidul Fitr that begins on Sunday to mark the end of the holy month of Ramazan.

The Taliban order, which was soon followed by an announcement via Twitter from Afghan President Ashraf Ghani announcing the government "extends the offer of peace,” comes just days after United States peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad was in Kabul and Doha.

Khalilzad on his trip urged both the Taliban and the Afghan government to reduce violence and move ahead with intra-Afghan negotiations, a key pillar of a US peace deal with the Taliban signed in February to allow American troops to leave Afghanistan. The deal was also touted at the time as Afghanistan's best chance for peace after nearly four decades of war.

The Taliban's cease-fire announcement follows an Eidul Fitr message from the Taliban leader which said the insurgent group was committed to the peace deal, was not seeking to monopolise power and promised to guarantee the rights of women and men under an Islamic system.

The directive ordered Taliban fighters not to fight but also not to fraternise with Afghan national security forces. The instructions seemed intended to avoid images that circulated during the last cease-fire in 2018, also during Eid celebrations, including Taliban fighters sharing ice cream and laughing with Afghan national security force soldiers.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres welcomed the announcement and urged all parties to seize the opportunity and embrace an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process, UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said.

Guterres, who called for a cease-fire in all global conflicts on March 23 to tackle the coronavirus pandemic stressed that “only a peace settlement can bring an end to the suffering in Afghanistan and said that the UN is committed to supporting the people and government of Afghanistan in this important endeavor, the spokesman said.

In instructions issued on Saturday, Taliban fighters were told "not to attack the enemy in any place but if there is attack from enemy in any place then a befitting defensive response shall be given". The order also warned Taliban fighters against entering enemy territory.

Since signing the peace deal with the US, the Taliban have not attacked US and Nato troops but have staged numerous attacks against Afghan National Security forces.

The peace deal calls for the full withdrawal of US and Nato troops by the end of next year but only if the Taliban honour their commitment to fight against terrorist groups and guarantee that Afghanistan cannot be used as a staging ground of attacks against America and its allies.

The agreement also calls for talks between Taliban and the often-bickering political leadership in Kabul to decide the future of a post-war Afghanistan. It also calls for the release of prisoners by both the government and Taliban as a good will gesture ahead of the talks.

An increase in attacks claimed by the militant Islamic State group's affiliate in Afghanistan, including a horrific attack on a maternity hospital in the Afghan capital last week, blamed on the IS affiliate, has given an urgency to finding a settlement between the government and Taliban. US Department of Defence officials speaking on condition of anonymity because they are not authorised to speak to the media, said the Taliban is seen as an asset in the fight against IS in Afghanistan.

Full report at:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1559332/taliban-ghani-declare-three-day-cease-fire-for-eidul-fitr

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Bangladesh to celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr on Monday amid Covid-19 shutdown

May 23rd, 2020

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will address the nation on Sunday evening on the occasion of eve of the Eid

Bangladesh will celebrate the Eid-ul-Fitr this year on Monday, amid the Covid-19 pandemic that has killed more than 450 people across the country since March.

The Shawwal moon was not sighted anywhere in the country on Saturday evening, the National Moon Sighting Committee announced at a press briefing at the Islamic Foundation office in Baitul Mukarram National Mosque in Dhaka.

In line with the Muslim lunar calendar, the last day of the fasting month of Ramadan will be observed on Sunday and the Eid will begin on Monday, said Religious Affairs Ministry Secretary Md Nurul Islam at the briefing held after a meeting.

The Eid is seen as a time of forgiveness and of giving thanks to Allah for helping people to complete their month-long spiritual fasting.

But this year, the biggest Muslim religious holiday will be celebrated in a different scenario, without any outdoor program and Eid congregations at Eidgah grounds across the country because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Eid is normally celebrated by families gathering together. But most Muslim majority countries, including Bangladesh, around the world have called on their citizens to limit their movement and face to face contact during this year's celebrations.

The ongoing pandemic has killed over 340,700 people globally until Saturday evening.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia, which has put in place a full curfew for the holiday period, will celebrate Eid on Sunday, authorities said on Friday.

The kingdom is the most affected among the Gulf countries, according to declared data, with more than 67,000 confirmed infections and 364 deaths from the Covid-19 respiratory disease.

Most of the Middle Eastern countries, including Jerusalem, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Qatar and Lebanon, also said celebrate Eid on Sunday.

Muslims in many areas in Bangladesh observe and celebrate various religious events on the same day as Saudi Arabia.

Govt directives on Eid prayers

The government has urged Muslim devotees to avoid Eidgah or other open places for Eid congregations, offer prayers at mosques maintaining recommended health advice, and to celebrate with only family members indoors instead of visiting relatives’ houses and outing around.

The Religious Affairs Ministry issued an emergency notification on May 14 in this regard, saying: “Although the Islamic Sharia encourages offering Eid prayer at Eidgahs or open places, the devotees are now requested to offer their prayers at nearby mosques due to the coronavirus situation.”

It also suggested disinfecting mosques before the Eid prayers and not rolling out carpets on the floors.

The devotees have been urged to bring prayer mats from home. Besides, arrangements should be made at the entrances of the mosques for washing hands, the notification added.

The devotees must wear masks inside mosques and avoid using prayer mats and caps that were stored earlier there.

Children, elderly people, people with physical ailment, and those who are involved in taking care of the sick will not be allowed to attend the Eid prayer.

Apart from these, the devotees were requested to shun handshaking and hugging after the prayer which has been a common practice throughout the world.

However, amid the risk of virus infection, thousands of people have already left the capital city to celebrate the Eid with their families at their respective village homes.

Eid prayers in Dhaka

In line with the government directives, Dhaka north and south city corporations have also decided to not hold any Eid jamaat on open spaces, including at the National Eidgah, in the city.

However, five Eid jamaats will be held at the Baitul Mukarram National Mosque like every year, according to Islamic Foundation.

The first one will be held at 7am on the Eid day. It will be followed by other four congregations at 8am, 9am, 10am and 10:45am, while maintaining social distancing and health guidelines properly among the devotees during the Eid prayers.

Besides, the historic Eid congregation at Sholakia in Kishoreganj has also been suspended this year in light of the worsening Covid-19 pandemic.

PM to address nation Sunday

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will also address the nation at 7:30pm on Sunday, on the eve of the Eid celebrations amid nationwide shutdowns and restrictions on movements, said the press wing of her office.

State-owned Bangladesh Betar and Bangladesh Television will simultaneously broadcast the address.

Private television channels and radio stations will also air the prime minister’s speech.

Meanwhile, Bhutanese Prime Minister Lotay Tshering on Saturday called Hasina over phone and extended greetings to her and the people of Bangladesh on the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr.

Tshering called her around 7:55pm and they talked for 15 minutes, said her Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim.

He said, during the conversation, Hasina extended Eid greetings to Tshering and the Bhutanese people too.

The press secretary said Tshering also enquired about the damages caused by cyclone Amphan and expressed sympathy for the loss of lives and properties.

Sheikh Hasina thanked him for the phone call, during which issues related to the ongoing coronavirus situation was also discussed by the two leaders, Ihsanul added.

17 prisoners to be released on Eid

On the occasion of Eid, the government will also release 17 prisoners who have been lightly convicted and have served more than half of their jail terms.

The Home Ministry issued an order in this regard on Wednesday, said Md Monzur Hossain, assistant inspector general at the Prison Directorate.

Full report at:

https://www.dhakatribune.com/bangladesh/2020/05/23/bangladesh-to-celebrate-eid-on-monday-amid-covid-19-shutdown

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Myanmar dossier will be ‘milestone’ in Rohingya genocide case, says report

May 23, 2020

LONDON: A coalition of leading scholars, practitioners and experts have released a report outlining their response to a dossier on the treatment of Rohingya Muslims expected to be filed by Myanmar to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Saturday.

The report, titled “No Place for Optimism: Anticipating Myanmar’s First Report to the International Court of Justice,” is authored by the Center for Global Policy’s Rohingya Legal Forum (RLF) and contains a foreword by US Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes (1997-2001) Prof. David Scheffer.

Scheffer says in the report foreword: “Myanmar’s anticipated report will provide an important milestone in helping the ICJ determine whether genocidal acts have been prevented and evidence of alleged acts of genocide preserved … or whether the government’s report reveals an intention by political and military officials to continue business as usual while claiming it falls outside the ambit of genocide.”

Gambia brought the ICJ case against Myanmar in 2019, when they argued that Myanmar had not fulfilled its obligations as a member country of the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crimes of Genocide, which places an obligation on member states to prevent and punish genocide.

Myanmar has said it will submit its report, due on Saturday, outlining its claims of compliance with ICJ orders to protect members of its Muslim Rohingya ethnic minority.

Myanmar’s military in August 2017 launched what it called a clearance campaign in Rakhine state in response to an attack by a Rohingya insurgent group. The campaign forced about 740,000 Rohingya to flee to neighboring Bangladesh and led to accusations that security forces committed mass rapes and killings and burned thousands of homes.

Authorities in Myanmar have argued the actions of its military against the minority did not constitute genocide, but initial court findings highlighted a need for more information to conclusively confirm that assertion.

The most significant measure taken by Myanmar's government since the court order appears to have been an April 8 presidential directive that all “military or other security forces, or civil services and local people under its control or direction do not commit (genocidal) acts.”

Meanwhile the Rohingya continue to be displaced, living in substandard conditions in one of the most densely populated regions in the world.

The RLF report states that Myanmar will respond within the designated timeframe set out, but will attempt to build a narrative of “war crimes” and move it away from accusations of “genocide.”

It also presents information on what Myanmar has done since 2019, data related to ongoing atrocities, and a discussion on why Myanmar’s response is likely to be insufficient in meeting the requirements of the ICJ.

Prof. John Packer, of the University of Ottawa and Neuberger-Jesin Professor of International Conflict Resolution who contributed to the report, said on Twitter that he was honored to have shared his expertise.

John Packer

@JP_Peacemaking

Honoured to have contributed with great group of jurists - deeply skeptical of what we foresee #Myanmar will pretend to have done to comply with @CIJ_ICJ ordered Provisional Measures. Easily foresee obfuscation and diversions. #RohingyaGenocide https://twitter.com/azeemibrahim/status/1263935299882811398 …

Prof Azeem Ibrahim

@AzeemIbrahim

With #Myanmar expected to report to the #ICJ tomorrow on #Rohingya genocide preventive measures, @CGPdc's Rohingya Legal Forum scholars have undertaken a comprehensive study on what we can expect. See the full report here:https://cgpolicy.org/articles/no-place-for-optimism-anticipating-myanmars-first-report-to-the-international-court-of-justice/ …

11

9:04 AM - May 23, 2020

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See John Packer's other Tweets

He added that he was “deeply skeptical of what we foresee Myanmar will pretend to have done to comply with the ICJ-ordered Provisional Measures,” and easily foresaw “obfuscation and diversions.”

Chan Aye, director general of the International Organizations and Economic Department of Myanmar’s Foreign Ministry, said Friday the government was working on the report, but would not discuss its contents before submitting it.

Full report at:

https://www.arabnews.com/node/1679051/world

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Walking the talk: Bangladeshi man, 100, channels Ramadan spirit for COVID-19 relief

May 23, 2020

LONDON: Dabirul Islam Choudhury, a centenarian living in the UK, remembers beating everyone at track events in college in Sylhet, Bangladesh, in the 1940s. In one long race, he said he came first, second and third when most of his competitors collapsed or gave up. He was told by the organizer to stop running, and he could just walk to complete the race. But that was not how he did things. “It is my habit to run,” he said.

Today he continues the race and refuses to stop, inspired by another centenarian, Captain Tom Moore, who in April pledged to walk 100 lengths of his garden to raise funds for the UK’s National Health Service.

Dabir Chacha, as he is called by those who know him, set a fundraising target of £1,000 for COVID-19 victims and walked laps of his yard while fasting during the month of Ramadan.

He has raised more than £150,000 for COVID-19 aid to Bangladeshi and Muslim communities in the UK and abroad. That, too, in just 17 days.

Dabir Chacha was born in Assam when it was still part of the British Raj and he witnessed the partition of the subcontinent in 1947, after which the state became a part of India, while his district, Sylhet, joined East Pakistan.

At the time of partition, he was studying at the prestigious Murari Chand College (MCC) in Sylhet. Six-foot-tall, Dabir Chacha led the MCC’s football team.

“I cried for the Hindu students who now had to go to India. They were brilliant students,” he told Arab News.

In 1957, he won a scholarship in the UK to study English literature at King’s College. He knows many plays of Shakespeare by heart, recites poems in Bengali, Urdu, Farsi, English, and is a prolific writer of poetry himself.

In the 1960s, Dabir Chacha started helping people from migrant communities in England — with immigration paperwork, in setting up bank accounts or finding places to stay. He settled in St. Albans and worked for communities in his area: Luton, Bedford, Bletchley and Milton Keynes.

What he is doing today is not out of the ordinary for him. In 1971 and 1973 he raised funds in the UK for war and famine relief in Bangladesh.

“Wherever I would go, I would somehow become a leader because I knew a few languages. This was god-gifted, and my experience in captaining in sports in college also helped me,” he said.

Today he is an iconic figure of the Bangladeshi community in the UK.

The funds he has raised will go the Ramadan Family Commitment (RFC), a charity set up by Channel S in the UK that calls itself the “voice of British Bangladeshis across the world.” The RFC is affiliated with Bangladeshi organizations and other charities such as Islamic Relief and Muslim Aid.

The UK is home to more than 4 million people of South Asian descent. Bangladeshis in the UK form 0.7 percent of the population and about half of them live in London. They have been hit hard by the pandemic.

Earlier this month, a report by the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) made waves when it released data on the economic and physical vulnerability of black, Asian and minority ethnic people in the UK to COVID-19. The report found that Bangladeshi men are four times as likely as white British men to have jobs in shut-down industries. Household savings, according to the report, are also lower than average among the group.

Since the virus outbreak, according to IFS, Bangladeshi hospital fatalities have been twice those of the white British population, and Bangladeshis are more than 60 percent more likely to have a long-term health condition that makes them particularly vulnerable to infection.

In this context, relief efforts by people such as Dabir Choudhury are significant for the community.

Full report at:

https://www.arabnews.com/node/1679081/world

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Prominent Taliban commander succumbs to injuries in Kunduz province

23 May 2020

A prominent Taliban commander to injuries which he had sustained following an airstrike in northern Kunduz province of Afghanistan.

The Ministry of Defense (MoD) in a statement said Habib Naseri, one of the prominent commanders of Taliban, succumbed to his injuries which he had sustained during an airstrike a week ago.

The statement further added that Naseri sustained injuries during an airstrike which the Afghan forces conducted in Kanam Village.

The airstrike killed multiple Taliban militants and wounded several others, the statement said, adding that Naseri died of his wounds on Friday night.

Full report at:

https://www.khaama.com/prominent-taliban-commander-succumbs-to-injuries-in-kunduz-province-08857/

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Airstrike kills 6 Taliban militants a day after similar raids killed 31 in Jawzjan

23 May 2020

An airstrike killed 6 Taliban militants in northern Jawzjan province of Afghanistan, a day after similar airstrikes killed 21 militants in the same province.

The 209th Shaheen Corps in a statement said the security forces conducted an airstrike in Aqacha district of Jawzjan province at around 10:30 pm local time on Friday.

The statement further added that the airstrike killed at least 6 Taliban militants.

The security forces conducted the airstrike as part of the ongoing operations to suppress the militants in Jawzjan, the 209th Shaheen Corps said, adding that a similar airstrikes killed 21 Taliban militnats in the same province on Thursday.

Full report at:

https://www.khaama.com/airstrike-kills-6-taliban-militants-a-day-after-similar-raids-killed-31-in-jawzjan-08855/

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