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Islamic World News ( 7 Oct 2022, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Eight Hindu Poets to Participate In Mushaira Praising the Prophet as Part of the ‘Prophet for All’ Campaign

New Age Islam News Bureau

07 October 2022


'Prophet for All' campaign launched in Mumbai (Image Source: ABP Network | Special Arrangement)


• Mob Enters Mosque Grounds in Karnataka's Bidar to Perform Puja on Dussehra, 9 Booked

• Islamophobic Hate Crimes Skyrocket in England, Wales, Official Figures Reveal

• Pakistan’s Oscar Entry, Joyland, Has Malala Backing but Fate of Transgender Act Tells a Different Story

• Poll: Majority of Young Americans Oppose Arms Sales to Israel



• Aman Chopra Network 18 Anchor Gleefully Calls Gujarat Police’s Public Flogging of Muslims As ‘Dandiya’

• UP: BJP to field candidates in minority-dominated wards in civic elections

• 5 Bajrang Dal Men Held For ‘Assaulting’ Muslims at Garba Venue Out On Bail

• Tribunal to adjudicate if ban on PFI is valid

• Karnataka police on high alert after Hindus perform puja in Bidar Madrassa

• RSS chief’s speech aimed at creating communal animosity: Kerala CM

• India abstains from voting for debate on China’s treatment of Muslim Uyghurs



• Pope Francis to meet Muslim leaders, small Christian community in Bahrain

• Türkiye works to preserve cultural footprint in Balkans

• Turkish, Azerbaijani, Armenian leaders meet ahead of summit in Prague



• Solution to Islamophobia Lies In Spreading Knowledge, Wisdom: Federal Minister

• MQM Canada holds protest against state brutalities in Pakistan

• Another audio leak drops, this time allegedly of Imran strategising on horse-trading in parliament

• India-Pakistan border blurs in Kartarpur as Bishan Singh Bedi and Intikhab Alam catch up over some jazz


North America

• US Army Says It Took Out ‘Senior’ Islamic State Jihadist in Northeast Syria

• US approves sale of NASAMS, air defense systems to Kuwait in deal worth $3 bln

• US lawmakers introduce bill to pull troops from Saudi Arabia, UAE

• US lawmakers pushing to cut military support for Saudi Arabia in response to OPEC+ oil cuts

• Reconsider Travel To Pakistan Due To Terrorism And Sectarian Violence: US In Travel Advisory


South Asia

• Taliban ‘Reversed’ Decade-Long Economic Growth in Afghanistan, Reveals UN Report

• Gardener Killed by Unidentified Men in Northern Afghanistan

• WFP Plans to Provide Food Assistance for 15 Million Afghans Each Month

• Mortar Shell Explosion Kills Child in Eastern Afghanistan


Southeast Asia

• Terengganu Amanah Chief Asks Malaysia to Explain Abstention on Vote to Debate Xinjiang Issue at UNHRC

• VP asks Muslim clerics to preach about stunting prevention

• Despite royal audience, Malaysia PM non-committal on House dissolution

• King revokes emergency proclamations for Gerik, Batu Sapi and Bugaya

• Budget 2023: Malaysia banks on strong fundamentals, reforms amid external headwinds

• Panel’s report on claims against JPA head sent to chief sec


Arab World

• Lebanese Premier Says Border Demarcation Deal with Israel Close To Completion

• US military kills three senior Islamic State leaders in Syria strikes

• Shia Cleric Freezes All Armed Factions in Iraq except One Province

• Iran Tells Iraq Will Not Tolerate Terrorist Acts from Kurdistan

• Hamas delegation to visit Syria this month aiming to revive ties: Sources

• Lebanon sets Oct. 13 session to again try to elect a head of state

• Syrian troops clash, expel US forces from village in oil-rich Hasakah



• Iran Regime Incapable Of Reform, Protesters Expect More Support from West: Activist

• At least 82 people killed in Iran crackdown in Zahedan since September 30: Amnesty

• Iran denies security forces killed 16-year-old, says she fell off roof-Iranian media

• Iran's state TV airs 'confessions' by 2 French nationals amid protests

• Palestinians creating new equations in face of Zionist regime, Islamic Jihad chief say



• Inquiry Launched Into Brighton Mosque Where Libyan Former Trustee Gave Terror Speech

• LEMU highlights roles of Muslim in nation building

• Africa Union welcomes commitment of Tigrayan, Ethiopian forces to peace talks

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau



Eight Hindu Poets To Participate In Mushaira Praising The Prophet As Part Of The ‘Prophet For All’ Campaign


'Prophet for All' campaign launched in Mumbai (Image Source: ABP Network | Special Arrangement)


Oct 07, 2022

By Jyoti Punwani

Mumbai: In the all-pervasive narrative of sectarianism, five Muslim men were thrown out of a Garba event in Indore a couple of days ago by Hindu right-wingers. That is only a half-story. The other half will unfold on Saturday, at Mumbai’s Islam Gymkhana, where eight Hindu poets will recite Naats, or hymns, in praise of Prophet Mohammed.

Farid Khan, who conceived the programme, felt it is possibly the first Mushaira of its kind. Khan, who is part of Urdu Markaz, the organisation behind the Bhindi Bazar Festival (held between 2009 and 2016), has arranged the Mushaira as part of the ‘Prophet For All’ campaign which began in Mumbai on September 28, 2022. The campaign seeks to dispel misconceptions by taking the life of Prophet Mohammed to influential sections of non-Muslims.

“Urdu has always been part of a secular culture,” said Khan. “Urdu poets have written about practically every Hindu festival. That’s part of our Ganga-Jamuna tradition. But even Urdu lovers may not know that Hindu poets have also written verses in praise of the Prophet.”

The mushaira will begin with a naat by Sagar Tripathi, a living legend in this field. Twenty-two thousand five hundred copies of his book of naats, called ‘Sayebane Rehmat’, have been printed, but not one of them sold. “I have given away all copies to mosques and libraries. I tell those who want a copy: if there’s an orphanage near you, or someone is sick and can’t afford medical care, or, if there’s a masjid nearby which needs a prayer mat or a water jug, please spend on those, and I will feel the cost of the book has been recovered,’’ said Tripathi, adding, “Such acts are the best tributes to Prophet Mohammed, who taught his followers to be humane to those around them, above all.”

The 73-year-old poet wrote his first naat about 20 years ago – the day he observed his first roza during Ramzan. The verses read: ‘Roshni ke ameen hain Aaka/ Rooh-e-maah-e-mubin hain Aaka/ Sirf ek kaum ke nahin hain woh/ Rehmat-e-alamin hain Aaka.’ It translates into, ‘Prophet Mohammed’s mercy is for the entire world, not just one community,’ and is recited at various functions.

Hailing from a village in Sultanpur, UP, where the Muharram tazia was decorated by the entire village, Tripathi went on to do his MA from Allahabad University. For some time, he was under the tutelage of poet Firaq Gorakhpuri, whose real name was Raghupati Sahai.

A Hussaini Brahmin (a sect of Brahmins who also mourn the battle of Karbala), Tripathi has read the Quran hundreds of times and also knows the Bhagvad Gita by heart. He is equally well-versed with the Vedas. Twenty-six generations of his family have been trustees of the Ram Lalla Vinyas temple in Ayodhya.

Tripathi, who has recited his religious hymns in all Islamic countries, has had to face critique from both communities. “But such fanatics have been few,” he said.

“Would you judge Hindus by looking at Asaram or Ram Rahim,” asks Tripathi. “Similarly, don’t judge Muslims by the acts of a few wrongdoers. Islam has nothing to do with the sword; its message is the same as the Hindu message of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam.”

Source: Hindustan Times

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Mob Enters Mosque Grounds in Karnataka's Bidar to Perform Puja on Dussehra, 9 Booked


Screengrab from the viral video shows a mob entering the mosque grounds in Bidar.


Sagay Raj Nagarjun Dwarakanath


October 6, 2022

The police in Karnataka's Bidar booked nine people on Thursday for allegedly entering the grounds of Mahmood Gewan Madarsa and Mosque and raising slogans.

The police action came following outrage over videos shared on social media that showed a mob entering the grounds of the mosque, which is a heritage site under the Archeological Survey of India. The mob was allegedly there to perform puja on Dussehra on October 6.

Members of the Muslim community filed a complaint with the police, alleging that the crowd tried to break open the gate and raised 'Bharat Mata ki Jai' slogans. They also alleged that the crowd threatened the security person there and dumped garbage on the wall of the mosque.

The complainants also warned the police to aggravate their protests on Friday if the accused persons are not arrested.

Following this, the police registered an FIR against nine people. However, no one has been arrested so far.

Superintendent of Police Dekka Kishore Babu said, "It is regular practice from the Nizam period of performing Pooja during Dasara. There is a minar inside the mosque complex. Usually 2-4 people visit but this time there were more number of people who entered the place. Nobody illegally broke the lock to enter the mosque. We have registered an FIR and will be arresting the miscreants."

Inspector General of Police, Gulbarga, said that for years, Hindus have been going near the masjid and performing puja to a tree. This time there was no tree, he said.

"We don’t know what happened after that. Hindus going near this masjid is not new. Every Vijayadashmi they go for puja," he said.

Source: India Today

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Islamophobic Hate Crimes Skyrocket in England, Wales, Official Figures Reveal




Ahmet Gurhan Kartal 



Islamophobic hate crimes in England and Wales have skyrocketed last year, according to statistics revealed on Thursday.

Muslims became the most targeted religious Group among others last year, according to the Home Office figures.

The number of religious hate crimes recorded by police and targeting Muslims was 3,459 in the year ending March 2022, showing a 42% increase since last year.

The number of hate crimes against Jewish people was 1,919 in a year, up 23% from the previous year, making them the second most targeted religious group.

Hate crimes recorded by police in England and Wales have skyrocketed for the year ending March 2022 by 26%.

According to government figures, there were 155,841 hate crimes on record – the biggest increase since the year ending March 2017.

The majority of hate crimes were racially motivated, accounting for over two-thirds of all such offenses (70%; 109,843 offenses).

The racially motivated hate crimes increased by 19% between the year ending March 2021 and the year ending March 2022 as the crime number for the previous year was 92,063.

Religious hate crimes increased by 37% (to 8,730 offenses), up from 6,383 in the previous year – the highest ever recorded number since the time series began in the year ending March 2012.

Disability hate crimes have also increased by 43% from 9,945 to 14,242 over the last year. This was the largest percentage annual increase seen since the year ending March 2017.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Pakistan’s Oscar Entry, Joyland, Has Malala Backing but Fate of Transgender Act Tells a Different Story


Nobel Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai


Gaurvi Narang

6 October, 2022

Pakistan has made a bold and inclusive choice for its submission to the Oscars. Writer-director Saim Sadiq’s queer drama, Joyland, has been chosen to represent the country for the 95th Academy Awards in the ‘International Feature Film’ category. Transgender actor, Alina Khan, who faced discrimination as a child, plays the protagonist, Biba. This selection is all the more surprising given that several religious groups have been pushing back against the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act 2018.

What’s more is that the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, who recently made her foray into films with her own production company Extracurricular Productions, joins the Joyland team, as an executive producer.

“I am incredibly proud to support a film that proves Pakistani artists are among the best in global cinema. Joyland invites us to open our eyes to the people closest to us — to see our family members and friends as they are, not colored by our own expectations or societal bias,” Malala said.

Sadiq’s story of transgender desire in Lahore is both funny and sad, and received rave views among international critics as well, and is set to release in Pakistan on 18 November. It was the first Pakistani film in the Cannes official selection this year and won the “Queer Palm” prize.

After premiering in Toronto, it is currently playing at the BFI London Film Festival and the Busan International Film Festival.

Actor Ali Junejo who plays Haider is a married Lahore man who falls in love with Khan’s character, Biba, after starting a job as her backup dancer. A taboo-breaking attempt, this audacious film is garnering wide support for its queer representation.

Khan reminds that professional success as an actor is no guarantee for respect in Pakistan, a society ridden with transphobia. From being called derogatory terms by strangers, to being isolated by her family, Khan has always fought for inclusivity and equality.

Joyland’s selection for the Oscars has put the spotlight back on the actor and the transgender community, especially at a time when religious parties in the country have called the law meant for the protection of  such persons as unIslamic.

Political parties like Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam and Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan are demanding amendments to Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act 2018, calling it ‘America’s agenda’. A petition has been filed by Senator Mushtaq Ahmad Khan from Jamat-e-Islami, a religious political party, in the Federal Shariat Court.

An old interview of Khan with The Pakistan Experience where she describes her childhood has re-surfaced in light of the recent controversy around the legislation.

It has sparked further conversation about the Act and transgenders in Pakistan.

Ayesha Rajab Baloch, the Parliamentary Secretary for Defence Production in Pakistan has also come out in support of the actress’ journey.

Shehzad Ghias Shaikh, a famous podcaster from Pakistan shared a clip from the viral interview, lauding the actress and her work.

“What I hope to bring to the table are the voices of women of color, and debut writers and Muslim directors and writers,” said Malala Yousafzai, who had earlier signed a deal for three films with Apple Inc.

Source: The Print

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Poll: Majority Of Young Americans Oppose Arms Sales To Israel


The file photo shows Israeli soldiers detaining a Palestinian teenager in the southern occupied West Bank city of al-Khalil.


06 October 2022

A new poll has found that a majority of young American people disagree with the continuation of US arms sales to Israel as the occupying regime presses ahead with perpetration of widespread atrocities and rights abuse against Palestinians.

The opinion poll was conducted and published by the Eurasia Group Foundation (EGF), which interviewed 2,002 American adults from September 2 to 8 on the US role in the world’s conflicts and a number of different foreign policy views.

The findings of the poll showed that 53 percent of those respondents aged between 18 and 29 years old disagreed with the continuation of arms sales to Israel, which is the largest recipient of US military aid, receiving an annual $4bn from Washington for military purposes.

“Respondents who were against selling arms to Israel said that it violates human rights through its enduring occupation of Palestine,” said Zuri Linetsky, a research fellow at EGF.

The annual $4bn aid has largely bipartisan support in the US Congress, however, in recent years several prominent politicians have called for the aid to be restricted due to Israeli rights abuses against Palestinians.

The EGF's survey was congruous with other polling in recent years that more Americans, and particularly younger Americans, are harboring increasingly critical views of Israel.

A Pew Research poll earlier this year found 61 percent of younger Americans - respondents under 30 years of age - had favorable views of the Palestinian people.

A month prior to Pew's poll, a survey released by the University of Maryland found less than one percent of respondents viewed Israel as one of Washington's top two allies.

Israeli forces have been recently conducting near-nightly raids and killings in the northern occupied West Bank, mainly in the cities of Jenin and Nablus, where new groups of Palestinian resistance fighters have been formed.

More than 150 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in the Israeli-occupied territories since the start of the year, including 51 in the besieged Gaza Strip during Israel’s three-day assault in August.

More than 30 of those killed were either from Jenin or were killed in the Jenin region.

The Israeli regime has also recently ramped up incursions into the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the occupied Old City of al-Quds, with Hamas warning that such infringements upon the holy site could lead to “explosions” in the region.

A general strike has been called across the West Bank in commemoration of those martyred and in protest against the latest Israeli aggression.

Most Americans oppose arms sale to Saudi Arabia

The EGF’s poll also found that nearly 70 percent of respondents disagree with the continuation of US arms sales to Saudi Arabia, with nearly 35 percent strongly in opposition to such arms sales.

The results came as the administration of US President Joe Biden proceeds with the provision of arms to countries in the Middle East with questionable rights records, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates.

In August, Biden approved a massive $5bn weapons sale to Saudi Arabia and the UAE, both involved in a years-long devastating war against impoverished Yemen.

Saudi Arabia launched the destructive war on Yemen in March 2015 in collaboration with its Arab allies and with arms and logistics support from the US and other Western states.

The objective was to reinstall the Riyadh-friendly regime of Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi and crush the popular Ansarullah resistance movement, which has been running state affairs in the absence of a functional government in Yemen.

While the Saudi-led coalition has failed to meet any of its objectives, the war has killed hundreds of thousands of Yemenis and spawned the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

Source: Press TV

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 Aman Chopra Network 18 Anchor Gleefully Calls Gujarat Police’s Public Flogging of Muslims As ‘Dandiya’

6th October 2022

Senior Editor of Network 18 and prime-time news anchor Aman Chopra encouraged police brutality by posting a video of police publicly flogging a few Muslim men and calling it ‘New form of ‘Dandiya’ by Gujarat Police.’

The video shows a group of Gujarat police officials publicly assaulting a few Muslim men who are allegedly accused of pelting stones at a Garba event last week during Navratri festivities.

The men were tied to a pole and beaten in full public view. A cheer can be heard in the background. The police in the video can be seen constantly asking the alleged accused to apologise.

In the nearly six-minute video, Chopra keeps repeating the same sentence in different ways. At the start of the video, he gleefully asks his crewmen to show the video with ‘good angels and audio.’

Many eminent journalists have criticized Chopra for his insensitive presentation of news.

Journalist and fact-checker who is one of the favourites to win this year’s Nobel Peace Prize award Mohemmed Zubair tweeted about the incident and asked Twitter India to bring down the video.

Journalist and author Swati Chaturvedi called Chopra a ‘bigot on air.’

She further called Reliance Group which Network 18 works asking them to justify such garbage as “news.”

Alishan Jafri, another prominent journalist tweeted about the incident calling it unlawful.

Samriddhi K Sakunia, a journalist with bylines from Indian Express, The Wire, Caravan Magazine, and Article14 Live etc called out Chopra for being neither a journalist nor a sane person.

National Editor and Diplomatic Affairs Editor of The Hindu Suhasini Haider called out National Human Rights Commission, India called them out for not taking any action against police flogging.

Source: Siasat Daily

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UP: BJP to field candidates in minority-dominated wards in civic elections

Oct 7, 2022

LUCKNOW: In what could mark a paradigm change in its poll strategy, the BJP plans to field Muslim candidates in the urban local bodies (ULB) elections scheduled in UP by the year-end.

Highly placed sources in the BJP said the party has identified around 1,200 minority dominated wards - straddling across 17 municipal corporations, 199 nagar palika parishad (NPP) and 438 nagar panchayats (NP) - where Muslim candidates may to be fielded. In 2017 ULB polls, UP had total 11,995 wards - 1,300 in municipal corporations, 5,261 in NPP and 5,454 in NP. "The narrative about BJP will certainly undergo a change as Muslim candidates may be fielded from some wards. BJP now transcends across all castes and communities," UP BJP minority wing chief Kunwar Basit Ali told TOI. UP BJP chief Bhupendra Chaudhary had also hinted at fielding Muslim candidates in ULBs during a party meeting in Muzaffarnagar recently.

The move to field Muslims, though applying on a small number of wards (10% of total wards as against 19% voting population of Muslims), could set out a contrasting feature about BJP which has been desisting from fielding Muslims in any direct polls since 2014 LS elections.

The party had not fielded any Muslim candidate in 2017 ULB elections as well. In fact, BJP, which claims to be the ‘biggest political party in the world’, does not have a single Muslim MP in either Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha since July 7 this year, when the tenure of then minority affairs minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi ended in the upper house. BJP does not have a single Muslim MLA in 31 states and Union Territories. While the BJP is yet to announce the names of the minority dominated wards where it will field Muslims, sources said most of the wards are situated in Rampur, Azamgarh, Meerut, Agra, Muzaffarnagar, Bareilly, Agra, Bijnor and Saharanpur.

BJP’s plan to field Muslims in ULB polls gained much pertinence months after it won byelections in Azamgarh and Rampur — the two districts having a sizeable population of Muslims. Though the party did not field any Muslim in the two bypolls, the win has well positioned the saffron outfit in the minority dominated districts. Despite its Hinduistic image, BJP has been making concerted attempts to woo the Muslim community.

Source: Times Of India

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5 Bajrang Dal men held for ‘assaulting’ Muslims at garba venue out on bail

October 7, 2022

Five Bajrang Dal members arrested on October 4 for allegedly assaulting Muslim men at a garba venue in Ahmedabad on September 27, were released on bail a day later.

On September 27, one Salman Sheikh, suffered injuries to his head, with videos showing him bleeding and being dragged by his neck on the road by a man, after he, along with others, purportedly tried to enter a garba venue at Rajpath Rangoli Road at RK Party Plot.

The five arrested, who are members of Bajrang Dal, as confirmed by Sarkhej police station inspector VJ Chavda, are aged between 25 and 28 years and are residents of Ghatlodia and Memnagar in Ahmedabad.

While the FIR was filed against “unidentified persons”, the five arrested were Hiren Rabari, Nilesh Prajapati, Jitendra Koli, Sahil Dudhkiya and Tarun Mistry.

Chavda said that the five were produced before court the next day – October 5 – and were released on bail since the offences are bailable.

An FIR was lodged upon the police’s complaint on September 29 after videos of the incident went viral.

The FIR was lodged under IPC sections 143 (unlawful assembly), 147 (rioting), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 294 (b) (utters obscene words), 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion).

During Navratri, Vinod Bansal, the national spokesperson, Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) had announced that Bajrang Dal has decided to post its “volunteers” outside many garba venues in Gujarat and conduct surprise checks at such venues so as to “guard” such events from the ‘non-believers’, and prevent them from spreading “love jihad”.

Source: Indian Express

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Tribunal to adjudicate if ban on PFI is valid

Oct 6, 2022

NEW DELHI: The Centre on Thursday set up a tribunal under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), comprising Delhi High Court judge Justice Dinesh Kumar Sharma, to adjudicate whether or not there is sufficient cause for declaring radical Muslim outfit Popular Front of India and its affiliates, associates and fronts as ‘unlawful association’ under the anti-terror law.

Constituting the tribunal, a mandatory requirement under UAPA, will give PFI and its fronts, associates and affiliates — of which Rehab India Foundation (RIF), Campus Front of India (CFI), All India Imams Council (AIIC), National Confederation of Human Rights Organization (NCHRO), National Women’s Front, Junior Front, Empower India Foundation and Rehab Foundation, Kerala, have specifically been declared as ‘unlawful association’ — an opportunity to contest the ban and present arguments and materials in support of its defence.

The home ministry, on its part, is confident of all the material and dossiers that it has put together on alleged activities of leaders and cadres of PFI and its fronts prejudicial to the security, sovereignty and integrity of the nation. The dossiers, said sources, have ample evidence of terror funding trail to PFI leaders and cadres, their involvement in stoking communal tension and riots and also holding arms training camps where “hit squads” were prepared for carrying out attacks on leaders and members of other communities, particularly Hindus.

The reaction to the ban on PFI has been rather muted, which government sources sought to attribute to proper management of the situation on the ground by the respective state police.

The Centre, in its recent notification banning PFI and its fronts, had stated that they have been involved in the violent terrorist activities with an intent to create a reign of terror in the country....(and) hence an immediate and prompt action is required against the organisation.

Source: Times Of India

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Karnataka police on high alert after Hindus perform puja in Bidar Madrassa

7th October 2022

Bidar: Karnataka Police is on high alert as Muslim organisations have warned of protest on Friday after Hindu activists barged inside the historical Mahmud Gawan madrassa in Bidar and performed puja.

The incident took place on Wednesday. Photos and videos of the incident have gone viral on social media.

According to police, a group of Hindu activists who participated in the Dussehra procession in Bidar barged inside the premises of the Mahmud Gawan madrassa on Wednesday night and performed puja.

Considered as a heritage building, the madrassa is maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India. The madrassa, built in AD 1460 is considered as one of the important monuments in India.

The Hindu activists who barged inside the protected monument by breaking open locks, raised “Jai Sri Ram” and “Jai Hindu Rashtra” slogans and conducted worship according to Hindu rituals in one of the corners of the building, police said.

Photos and video show a big group standing on the steps of the monument. Nine cases have been lodged in connection with the incident and three persons taken into custody.

The Muslim organisations in Bidar have protested against the incident. They have also demanded action against the accused and warned of a huge protest after Friday prayers.

AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi has also condemned the incident. “Extremists broke the gate lock and attempted to desecrate historic Mahmud Gawan masjid and mosque,” he charged.

Source: Siasat Daily

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RSS chief’s speech aimed at creating communal animosity: Kerala CM

6th October 2022

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday hit back at Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat’s community-based population imbalance remark, alleging that it was a “false propaganda” aimed at “unleashing communal animosity” in the country.

In a statement issued by his office, Vijayan alleged the RSS chief’s Vijayadashami Day speech was not based on any facts or figures; instead it was a “lie” aimed at the gains during the upcoming elections.

Bhagwat, on Wednesday, had said that the nation should frame a well thought-out, comprehensive population control policy applicable to all social groups equally and flagged the issue of demographic “imbalance” as he also asserted there was no danger to minorities.

He had also said that community-based “population imbalance” is an important subject and should not be ignored.

Reacting to his speech, Vijayan alleged that it was only a reiteration of the ages-old lie of the Sangh Parivar that Hindus would become a minority in the near future, said the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) statement.

The Chief Minister, in the statement issued by the CMO, said the population growth was measured in terms of ‘total fertility rate’ (TFR) which, according to the Union Health Ministry’s National Family Health Survey (NFHS) of 2019-21, has been decreasing more in the Muslim community as compared to other religions.

Citing figures in support of his claim, Vijayan said that TFR of Hindu and Muslim communities were 1.9 and 2.3 respectively, according to NFHS 2019-21 and in 2015-16 the TFR of Muslims was 2.6 and in 1992-93 it was 4.4.

Therefore, there was decrease of 46.5 per cent in the TFR of Muslim community since then, while that of Hindus decreased only by 41.2 per cent, he claimed in the statement.

He also claimed that according to the census figures, there has been a decline in Hindu population growth by 3.1 per cent, while at the same time there was a decline of 4.7 per cent in the growth of Muslim population.

It is when such figures are available in public that RSS spreads communalism by saying false things, he alleged in the statement.

Source: Siasat Daily

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India abstains from voting for debate on China’s treatment of Muslim Uyghurs

7th October 2022

Geneva: In a close diplomatic victory for China, the UN’s top human rights body on Thursday voted down a proposal from Britain, Turkey, the United States and other mostly Western countries to hold a debate on alleged rights abuses against Muslim Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in China’s western Xinjiang region.

At the 47-member state Human Rights Council, 17 countries voted in favour, 19 were against, and 11 abstained in a vote to hold a debate on Xinjiang at its next session in March.

The vote amounted to a test of political and diplomatic clout between the West and Beijing, and would have marked the first time that China’s record on human rights would merit a specific agenda item at the council.

The result, prompting a smattering of applause in the chamber, followed days of diplomatic arm-twisting in Geneva and in many national capitals as leading Western countries tried to build momentum on a report from former UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet’s office, released August 31, which found that possible crimes against humanity had occurred in Xinjiang.

A simple majority of voting countries was required.

China locked down no votes among its usual allies, plus many African countries and Persian Gulf states Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

Somalia was the only African country, and only member state of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, to vote yes.

Turkey is in the OIC, but doesn’t have a council seat right now. Argentina, Brazil, India, Malaysia, Mexico and Ukraine were among countries that abstained.

The make-up of the council rotates among UN member states each year, and China a powerful country with a permanent seat on the Security Council has never been the subject of a country-specific resolution at the council since it was founded more than 16 years ago.

It’s always difficult for countries to vote against a permanent member of the Security Council,” said one Western diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.

He acknowledged it was a genuinely difficult call for some countries notably those with economic or political ties to China to sign on to the measure.

The proposal was for just to hold a debate, with no consistent monitoring of the rights situation, and amounted just about the least intrusive form of scrutiny that the council could seek.

The call stopped short of creating a team of investigators to look into possible crimes in Xinjiang, or appointing a special rapporteur a tacit acknowledgement by the Western countries that going after increasingly influential China would be a tall order.

Before the vote, Chinese ambassador Chen Xu said Beijing firmly opposes and categorically rejects the proposal.

He accused Western countries of seeking to turn a blind eye to their own issues on human rights and point a finger at others. He insisted that China never gave its support to Bachelet’s report, and warned of a bad precedent.

Today China is targeted, Chen said. Tomorrow any other developing country could be targeted.

Michele Taylor, the US ambassador, said the request for the debate aimed simply to provide neutral forum for discussion that would give China a chance to put its views on record and hear the views of others.

No country represented here today has a perfect human rights record, she said. No country, no matter how powerful, should be excluded from council discussions. This includes my country the United States and it includes the People’s Republic of China.

On Friday, as part of dozens of proposals before the council, member states are also to consider a proposal from 26 European Union countries to appoint a special rapporteur on Russia, citing a string of concerns about mass arrests and detentions; harassment of journalists, opposition politicians, activists and rights defenders; and crackdowns at times violent on protesters against President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine.

It’s part of a rare push against two permanent members of the Security Council: China and Russia. Some Western diplomats have insisted the two-pronged effort needed attention now.

Source: Siasat Daily

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Pope Francis to meet Muslim leaders, small Christian community in Bahrain

Oct 07, 2022

By Hannah Brockhaus

On the first-ever papal visit to the Kingdom of Bahrain, Pope Francis will close a forum on dialogue, meet with the grand imam of al-Azhar, and pray at a new Catholic cathedral.The Vatican released the full itinerary for the pope’s November 3-6 trip to the Muslim island nation in the Persian Gulf.The theme of the visit is “Peace on earth to people of goodwill,” inspired by Luke 2:14. The logo is a stylized image of two hands open toward God: one in the colors of the Vatican flag and one with the flag of Bahrain. An olive branch represents peace, while the text “Pope Francis” is in the color blue to represent the visit’s entrustment to the Virgin Mary.

Pope Francis will land in Awali, a small municipality about 12 miles south of Manama, Bahrain’s capital city, on Thursday, November 3. After a private meeting with the king of Bahrain, Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, Francis will address members of the government and civil society.

On the second day of the visit, the pope will give the closing speech at the Bahrain Forum for Dialogue: East and West for Human Coexistence. Ahmed el-Tayeb, the grand imam of al-Azhar, is also traveling to Bahrain to participate in the forum with Pope Francis. The religious leaders most recently met in September at an interreligious summit in Kazakhstan.Francis will meet privately with el-Tayeb before speaking to members of the Muslim Council of Elders at the mosque of Sakhir Royal Palace.The day will close with an ecumenical meeting and prayer for peace in Our Lady of Arabia Cathedral, consecrated on Dec. 10, 2021. The ark-shaped Catholic cathedral seats 2,300 people and was built as part of a 95,000-square-foot complex.On November 5, Pope Francis will celebrate Mass at Bahrain National Stadium and meet with youth. His final morning, November 6, will consist of a prayer meeting and Angelus with local Catholics at Sacred Heart Church in Manama.

Bahrain, located to the east of Saudi Arabia and west of Qatar, has a population of 1.7 million. The population is nearly 70% Muslim, with the majority belonging to the Shiite branch of Islam, the country’s state religion.

Source: Herald Malaysia

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Türkiye works to preserve cultural footprint in Balkans

Muhammet Tarhan 


Türkiye's state-run aid agency has restored more than 80 Ottoman-era structures in the Balkans as part of its efforts to preserve the common historical and cultural heritage of the empire's 550-year legacy in the region.

Centuries-old mosques, madrasahs, clock towers, public baths, and bridges that were built under the Ottomans and today dot the Balkan peninsula have long been in the sights of the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA).

Working out of 11 coordination offices in the Balkans, the agency has sought to protect the heritage left by the empire from the 14th century until the early 20th, including by reviving the dozens of mosques that were damaged through the decades since its dissolution.

TIKA has so far completed the restoration and renovation of 40 mosques in the Balkans, according to information compiled by Anadolu Agency for Oct. 1-7, a week that Türkiye devotes to mosques and religious officials.


The Ethem Bey Mosque, one of the eight large Ottoman-era mosques in the city of Tirana, was fully restored in 2021 after TIKA's efforts that lasted about four years.

The mosque, completed in the early 19th century, was reopened in Albania's capital in January 2022 with an event attended by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Also in Tirana, the Berat Bekarlar Mosque's restoration was likewise completed last year. It is listed as a World Heritage site by UNESCO.

In addition to its restoration work, TIKA also renovated seven other mosques, including the Preze Castle Mosque.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, one of most important historical and cultural monuments of the Ottoman period, the Ferhadija Mosque, was rebuilt in 2016 after its destruction during the Bosnian War in the early 1990s.

TIKA picked up reconstruction work for the mosque, whose towering minaret decorates the capital Sarajevo's skyline, in 2014 after a pause of several years.

The Emperor's Mosque, known to be the "oldest mosque" in Sarajevo, was restored in 2015 and opened in a ceremony in which Erdogan also participated.

Six other mosques, such as the Kursunlu Mosque, were also renovated by TIKA in Bosnia and Herzegovina.


After numerous renovations since its construction in 1620, the Semsi Pasha Mosque in the Sanjak region of Montenegro was rebuilt in 2015 by TIKA in accordance with its original form, repairing damage that went down to its foundations.

The Nizam Mosque, built by Sultan Mehmet II in the Ottoman cemetery of the town of Tuzi near the capital Podgorica, was also rebuilt by TIKA in 2015. The structure had been destroyed during World War II.


The restoration of the Sinan Pasha Mosque, a major Ottoman landmark in the town of Prizren, Kosovo, began in 2007 and was completed in 2011, when it was opened to worship.

In 2010, TIKA completed the restoration of the Fatih Mosque, a valued example of classical Ottoman architecture and Islamic artwork. It was also built by Sultan Mehmet II in 1460-1461.

TIKA also carried out the restoration of four other mosques in the Balkan nation.

North Macedonia

The Sultan Murat Mosque, the largest in the North Macedonian capital of Skopje, was built by Ottoman Sultan Murat II in 1436-37. After TIKA's extensive restoration and landscaping in 2016-2019, it was reopened to worshippers in 2020.

TIKA also completed renovation and landscaping work for the Ishak Bey Mosque, built in 1438 in southwestern city of Bitola. It enjoys an important place in the history of North Macedonia and Ottoman mosque architecture and was reopened in 2020.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Turkish, Azerbaijani, Armenian leaders meet ahead of summit in Prague

Diyar Guldogan



Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, his Azerbaijani counterpart Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan on Thursday had a brief conversation ahead of the European Political Community summit in Prague, the Czech capital.

Erdogan, Aliyev, and Pashinyan gathered at the foyer in Prague Castle.

French President Emmanuel Macron and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban also joined the chat.

During their conversation about the Organization of Turkic States, Erdogan told Macron: "Let's get you in too."

Erdogan then joined the leaders for a family photo.

The European Political Community has gathered leaders of the 27 EU states and 17 other European countries – Türkiye, the UK, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Albania, Armenia, Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Norway, Switzerland, Iceland, Lichtenstein, Moldova, and Georgia.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Solution to Islamophobia Lies In Spreading Knowledge, Wisdom: Federal Minister

October 6, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal on Thursday said that Muslims were undoubtedly facing a prejudice in the form of Islamophobia and the solution to this lies in knowledge and wisdom.

He was speaking at a two-day international conference on the topic of “Islamophobia & its impact on relations between Islamic & Western civilizations” held at the International Islamic University.

The conference is organized by Islamic Research Institute (IRI) in collaborations with Muslim World League, Makkah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Faculty of Shariah and Law and Faculty of Usuluddin of IIUI.

The minister also held that the real cause of extremism was prejudice because terming it a virus that destroys human rationale.

Meanwhile, commenting on the cause of ‘Islampophia,’ Ahsan Iqbal said that it was related to bigotry, which should be countered strategically instead of a conspiracy theory.

He said that knowledge and wisdom were the only ways that provide complete solutions to problems.

Referring to the teachings of the Prophet (PBUH), he said that the principles of Holy Quran and teachings that derive lessons from the life of Holy Prophet (PBUH) were a permanent and complete guarantee of peace.

Ahsan Iqbal said that the answer to hatred is not respond with hate because it was against the Islamic teachings and wherever it was practiced in the world it had led to destruction.

He said that peaceful coexistence was missing nowadays, the root of extremism and religious hatred was prejudice because it was a negative attitude that prevents speaking the truth.

Making social development a topic, he said that the secret of success lies in collectivity because a divided society can never progress. there is a need to adopt an attitude of tolerance towards each other, we need to live peacefully together and learn the manners of disagreement.

International Islamic University Rector Dr. Masoom Yasinzai expressed gratitude to Ahsan Iqbal for his special interest in the development of the university and hailed his important role in the completion of PC One of IIUI.

He expressed hope that this conference would be a platform for important proposals in resolving the biggest problem of our time, Islamophobia.

IIUI President Dr. Hathal Homoud Alotaibi said that more than 100 articles would be presented in this conference, which would be proven as important milestone in bringing forth important proposals regarding the remedy of Islamophobia.

He said that prevailing misunderstandings against Islam and Muslims must be addressed through research and a coordinated plan of action.

President IIUI said that Islam and its teachings of peaceful coexistence were the solution to instability across the world.

He also highlighted the scope of Islamic University’s constituent units and their services to Muslim societies.

He said that a strategic plan has been prepared for the development of the university, under which the work of making the university a top institution of high quality has started.

He said Islamophobia is the factor behind creating gap between Muslim world and west and spread of hatred.

He opined that research and education at the universities of Muslim world is the ultimate solution to the menace of Islamophobia.

Earlier, Dr Muhammad Zia ul Haq while describing the objectives of the conference said that IIUI is making efforts for social reconstruction of Islamic world.

In the light of strategic plan the conference has been organized to bring researchers and experts to address the core issues of the hour.

Source: Pakistan Today

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MQM Canada holds protest against state brutalities in Pakistan

7 October, 2022

Toronto [Canada], October 7 (ANI): Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) Canada Toronto Chapter held a protest in Mississauga against the state brutalities in Pakistan.

They protested against the burning of the MQM head office and parental residence of MQM founder leader Altaf Hussain in Azizabad, Karachi known as “Nine Zero” by paramilitary Rangers, the extrajudicial killing of its workers and the illegal arrest of former MNA Nisar Panhwar.

In the demonstration, Shahid Raza, a member of the Central coordination committee of MQM, Dr Nadeem Ehsan, advisor coordination committee, Asif Qazi, a member of the central executive committee of MQM, Iqbal Bahadur, joint central organizer of MQM Canada, members of the central organizing committee, Toronto chapter, office bearers and workers participated.

The protesters carried pictures of MQM founder leader Altaf Hussain, former MNA Panhwar and MQM flags. They carried placards against the burning of MQM leader Altaf Hussain’s residence and MQM centre known as Nine Zero, and extra-judicial killings of MQM activists, with words of condemnation written on them.

The protestors continued to express their feelings by raising slogans against the state atrocities on MQM workers and Muhajirs in Pakistan from time to time.

Talking on this occasion, member of the Central coordination committee Shahid Raza said that the set ablaze of Nine Zero is a part of the conspiracy and that the Sindh Rangers and PPP government of Sindh are responsible for this. He appealed to human rights organizations to take notice of the fire of Nine Zero and Play their role in recovering Nisar Panhwar.

Adviser Coordination Committee Dr Nadeem Ehsan expressed his views and said that all the judges of Pakistan’s judiciary, Supreme Court and High Court open the courts at night and provide justice to people of other nations but not for Muhajirs.

He appealed to the Supreme Court and High Courts that provide justice to the leader of Tehreek Altaf Hussain and his colleagues, and end cruelty, brutality and a double system of justice.

Asif Qazi, a member of the Central Executive Committee, said that Chief Justice Sindh High Court, DG Rangers Sindh and all related institutions should investigate the fire of Nine Zero and issue orders for the immediate recovery of Nisar Ahmed Panhwar.

Iqbal Bahadur Joint Central Organizer MQM Canada said that no matter what the circumstances, the Muhajir nation is always with its beloved leader Altaf Hussain and we all strongly condemn the burning of Nine Zero.

Other Members of the Central Organizing Committee of MQM Canada strongly condemned the burning of MQM leader Altaf Hussain’s residence by state terrorists, extra judicial killings of MQM workers and the illegal arrest of Nisar Panhwar. They asked that war crimes against Muhajirs should be stopped.

The oppression of the Muhajir political activists in Pakistan — Muslim immigrants who migrated from various regions of India after the Partition of India, has continued in the country.

The state oppression against Muhajirs is being continued since the creation of Pakistan and was beefed up in the late 90s. To a rough estimate, the ghoulish military has so far executed 30,000 youth of the Muhajir nation.

Source: The Print

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Another audio leak drops, this time allegedly of Imran strategising on horse-trading in parliament

October 7, 2022

Another alleged audio of former prime minister Imran Khan was released on Friday, the latest in a series of leaks from the Prime Minister’s Office, purportedly featuring the PTI chief talking about horse-trading in parliament.

In the audio recording, a voice believed to be Imran’s says: “You have a misunderstanding that now the number game is complete […] don’t think this is over.”

“You see, 48 hours is a long long time. Big things are happening. I am making my own moves that we can’t make public,” Imran purportedly says.

The PTI chief allegedly goes on to say that he “is buying five” lawmakers.

“I have given the message that those five are very important. And tell them that if they secure these five […] and if he secures 10, then the game will be in our hands. The nation at this moment is alarmed. Across the board, people want us to win somehow.

“Hence, don’t worry about whether this is right or wrong […] even if they break one, it would create a huge difference,” the voice, believed to be Imran’s, adds.

The audio clip released on Friday is the third such featuring the PTI chairman. Last week, an audio clip purportedly revealed a conversation between Imran and then principal secretary Azam Khan about the cipher — shared by Asad Majeed, the then envoy to the US — which Imran has used to peddle his foreign conspiracy narrative.

In the clip, the former prime minister allegedly tells Azam to “play up” the cipher and turn it into a foreign plot to oust his government but adds that there is no need to name any country.

A day later, another clip surfaced — supposedly a continuation of the conversation in the previous recording — purportedly featuring PTI leaders Asad Umar and Shah Mahmood Qureshi discussing the “foreign conspiracy” cipher with the former premier and ex-principal secretary.

PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry on Friday did not disavow the contents of the latest audio clip but said that “everyone knows where and how the audios are being made”.

In a tweet, the former minister asked: “By joining voices such as these will you prove NRO 2 to be valid?”

Leaks reveal massive breach in security at PM Office

What began as an alleged and potentially embarrassing audio leak seems to have turned into an all-out national security incident as a slew of audio recordings of conversations between key government figures — including Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz and some members of the federal cabinet — were released last month.

The content of the recordings appear to be informal conversations in the PM Office — as opposed to recorded phone conversations.

First, a recording of PM Shehbaz surfaced where he was discussing with an unidentified official the possibility of facilitating the import of Indian machinery for a power project that was a concern of Maryam Nawaz Sharif’s son-in-law, Raheel.

Further recordings surfaced a day later, which were shared on social media by several PTI leaders, concerning former finance minister Miftah Ismail and the resignations of PTI lawmakers from the National Assembly.

One clip purportedly features a conversation between PML-N Vice President Maryam and the premier about Miftah, wherein a voice thought to belong to the former says he “doesn’t know what he is doing” and wishes for the return of PML-N stalwart Ishaq Dar.

A second clip allegedly concerns a conversation between the prime minister, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif, Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah and Ayaz Sadiq about the resignations of PTI lawmakers from the National Assembly.

A third clip purportedly features a conversation between Maryam Nawaz and PM Shehbaz regarding the return of former army chief retired Gen Pervez Musharraf.

PM Shehbaz has termed the surfacing of audio leaks a “very serious lapse” and announced that a high-level committee would be constituted to probe the matter.

Source: Dawn

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India-Pakistan border blurs in Kartarpur as Bishan Singh Bedi and Intikhab Alam catch up over some jazz

by Sriram Veera , Sandeep Dwivedi

October 7, 2022

“When the saints go marching in…” The jazz of Louis Armstrong floats in Kartarpur on the Ravi river’s west bank outside Lahore. A great Indian Sikh spinner, a respected Pakistani Muslim captain and a legendary African-American musician, who also sang gospel songs, have found a way to mingle at the fabled shrine.

“I could see tears welling up in his eyes when I sang that song,” Intikhab Alam says over the phone about meeting his old friend Bishan Singh Bedi at Kartarpur Sahib gurdwara on Tuesday. “We both go a long way and that song, too, plays a role in it. In fact, we all cried when we met.”

Bishan Bedi’s wife Anju, too, was left in tears. “Intikhab, Shafqat Rana (a Pakistan international from the 1960s), Bishan, all holding hands and crying. It was some sight. Right through Bishan’s illness and recovery, Intikhab would call every third day. So would Zaheer Abbas, who is not well these days. All the Pakistani players who live in England, like Mushtaq Mohammad, are all his buddies and would keep calling. Intikhab has been a great, true friend and Bishan has always been much loved in Pakistan,” she says.

In February 2021, three days after Bedi underwent a heart surgery, he suffered a stroke because of a brain clot. An emergency surgery was done. The progress was slow. Initially, he couldn’t recognise people around him and couldn’t walk. But Bedi recovered. And when they met in Kartarpur, Alam gave Bedi a watch. “He put it on Bishan’s wrist,” says Anju, who received several gifts from Alam and his family.

Before Kartarpur, Intikhab’s wife had pressed Anju with a “simple request”.

“She asked me to bring a mixer — steel-waali, that blender. She said ‘In Pakistan, you get plastic and glass ka mixie and it frequently gets broken. Can you bring a steel mixie from India?’ I bought two of them in Amritsar and wasn’t sure whether it would be allowed. My son Angad said, ‘Take it mummy, who is going to stop my dad?” says Anju, laughing.

“And so, I took it along with other gifts. No one in Customs here or there said anything. In fact, we had forgotten about the Covid test also but it was all done sweetly by the authorities without any problem. We went on a one-day visa,” she says.

The meeting in Kartarpur was Bedi’s great desire. Anju had kept Intikhab and his wife in the loop. “On October 3, we were celebrating our grandson’s birthday and Bishan said we should go to Kartarpur now. I told Intikhab’s wife, and they said ‘Don’t worry, we will be there’. When it happened, I was surprised that border forces from the Pakistan side were also dying to take photos with Bishan,” Anju says.

Intikhab says he didn’t need an invitation. “It was five hours of bliss. Old memories dusted up. Laughter. And as your countrymen will know, Bedi is a magnificent personality. What a heart. Courage. Honest man. And a humorous man. We laughed and laughed. Louis Armstrong was also part of our relationship. And it was Anju-ji who told me to sing,” Intikhab laughs.

Says Anju, “I told him now you have to sing that song. He said ‘Are you mad, we are in a Gurdwara’ but I said you have to sing. It was so lovely.”

The song connection dates back to the 1970s World XI vs Australia in a five-match unofficial Test series. Intikhab and Bedi were in the World team. “We had a Sunday club during that tournament. We had players from so many different countries. Someone would dance, someone would sing or play an instrument and so on. I used to sing this song the way Armstrong sang or tried to, and Bishan loved it. I guess he still does,” says Intikhab, a jazz lover who had picked up the song during his playing days in Scotland.

His family, Intikhab says, was the last in Shimla to flee to Pakistan during Partition. His father had played for the Maharaja of Patiala’s team, and had friends in the Army. He recalls that a brigadier had sent a truck that took the family to Ludhiana. They moved to Kalka, and then took a train to Lahore. “The first was a passenger train… But a wrong signal said the first train was a goods train, and the second was carrying passengers, and that’s how we made it across the border,” Intikhab says. “Very lucky. That was the last train. No other train came from India.”

He first met Bedi in a match. “I hit him for a six or two, and he joked ‘Bhai, why are you hitting me? There are other spinners also in the team.’ I immediately knew that we were going to hit it off. Then, that Australia tournament happened and we have been thick friends since.”

Referring to Bedi, he says, “Allah inko lambi umar dein and give him all the good health. Aise insaan toh kum paide hote hain aajkal (People like him are very rare these days. May God give him a long, healthy life).”

Anju says, “I know Bishan is much loved in Pakistan. But the way Intikhab, Shafqat and all his Pakistani friends have been in touch was amazing. They just hugged and cried.” Intikhab says, “When Bishan left, he told me ‘Come to India’. I have been there before and roamed Purani Dilli (Old Delhi) with him in the past. It’s been years now. I shall come, Inshallah.”

Source: Indian Express

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North America


US army says it took out ‘senior’ Islamic State jihadist in northeast Syria


6 October 2022

BEIRUT (AFP) — American forces killed a “senior” member of the jihadist Islamic State group Thursday in a pre-dawn raid on northeastern Syria, the US military’s Central Command said.

The operation is the latest US effort to clamp down on IS jihadists who have been territorially defeated but still orchestrate attacks in Syria and neighboring Iraq.

“CENTCOM forces conducted a raid in northeast Syria targeting a senior ISIS official,” spokesman Colonel Joe Buccino said in an emailed statement to AFP.

CENTCOM later said on Twitter that the raid had targeted “Rakkan Wahid al-Shammari, an ISIS official known to facilitate the smuggling of weapons and fighters.”

Shammari “was killed and one of his associates was wounded,” it said, adding that two others were detained and that the raid did not result in further casualties.

Syria’s state broadcaster had earlier said a US operation involving multiple helicopters left one person dead and saw several others captured in a government-controlled area of northeastern Syria, which is mostly dominated by Kurdish forces.

The targeted village, Muluk Saray, lies 17 kilometers (10 miles) south of the Kurdish-held city of Qamishli and is controlled by pro-regime militias, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Thursday’s raid was the first such airborne operation in government-held territory since the Syria conflict erupted in 2011, the Britain-based war monitor added.

The person killed in the operation “had been a resident of the area for years”, said the Observatory, which relies on a wide network of sources inside Syria.

The monitor said a Syrian and an Iraqi were captured in the operation.

Little-known target

A resident of the village said three US helicopters carrying troops had landed in the operation.

US forces raided a house, killing one person and taking others captive, the resident told AFP on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals.

“They used loudspeakers to call on residents to stay indoors” during the operation, the resident said.

The resident had identified the victim as Abu Hayel, a little-known displaced person from Hassakeh province.

The US leads a military coalition battling IS in Syria.

In July, the Pentagon said it killed Syria’s top IS jihadist in a drone strike in the northern part of the country.

Centcom said he had been “one of the top five” IS leaders.

The July strike came five months after a nighttime US raid in the town of Atme, which led to the death of IS leader Abu Ibrahim al-Qurashi.

US officials said Qurashi died when he detonated a bomb to avoid capture.

After losing their last territory following a military onslaught backed by the US-led coalition in March 2019, the remnants of IS in Syria mostly retreated into desert hideouts.

Source: Times Of Israel

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US approves sale of NASAMS, air defense systems to Kuwait in deal worth $3 bln

06 October, 2022

The State Department has approved the sale of National Advanced Surface-To-Air Missile System (NASAMS) and Medium Range Air Defense Systems (MRADS) to Kuwait in a deal worth $3 billion.

A statement from the Pentagon on Thursday said the sale would help Kuwait defend itself “against regional malign actors and improve interoperability with systems operated by US forces and other Gulf countries.”

According to the Pentagon, this sale would also support national security objectives of the US. The Pentagon cited Kuwait’s continued investment in defensive capabilities, which are crucial to protecting its borders, energy infrastructure and its residents.

This comes less than a month after the US approved operational and training rounds for M1A2 Abrams tanks to Kuwait in a separate deal worth $250 million.

Over 4,000 American citizens and military personnel live and work in the Gulf country.

The principal contractor for the latest weapons deal will be Raytheon Missiles and Defense.

Three US government and five contractor representatives will be sent to Kuwait to support the delivery of the NASAMS and to provide support and training.

Another six contractors are expected to be deployed to Kuwait in for three years for “follow-on support” of the equipment.

Source: Al Arabiya

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US lawmakers introduce bill to pull troops from Saudi Arabia, UAE

Michael Gabriel Hernandez  



A trio of Democratic lawmakers in the House of Representatives introduced legislation on Thursday that would require the removal of critical US military assets stationed in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The act's introduction comes one day after Riyadh and Abu Dhabi threw their weight behind OPEC+'s decision to cut the bloc's oil output by 2 million barrels per day starting in November. The decision is all but certain to raise US oil prices as Democrats head into November's midterm elections with hopes on maintaining their hold of both chambers of Congress.

There are currently about 5,000 of troops stationed in Saudi Arabia and the UAE, and the legislation put forward by Sean Casten, Tom Malinowski and Susan Wild would pull them from the countries alongside the removal of critical air defense systems such as Patriot missile batteries and the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system with 90 days of the act's passage.

The THAAD system and Patriot batteries would be relocated "to another location or locations in the Middle East, with the priority mission of protecting United States Armed Forces," the bill says.

The White House sharply lashed out at OPEC+'s decision on Wednesday, saying it is a "clear" indication that the bloc is "aligning with Russia" at a time when Moscow is continuing to press its war against neighboring Ukraine.

The act's sponsors said Saudi Arabia and the UAE have "long relied on an American military presence in the Gulf to protect their security and oil fields," and that following their support for OPEC+'s action, "we see no reason why American troops and contractors should continue to provide this service to countries that are actively working against us."

"If Saudi Arabia and the UAE want to help Putin, they should look to him for their defense," Casten, Malinowski and Wild said in a joint statement. "This decision is a turning point in our relationship with our Gulf partners."

Source: Anadolu Agency

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US lawmakers pushing to cut military support for Saudi Arabia in response to OPEC+ oil cuts

07 October 2022

A group of Democratic lawmakers has introduced a bill to end Washington’s military support for Saudi Arabia and the UAE as the Biden Administration is mulling a response to the recent OPEC+ decision to cut output by two millions barrels a day.

In the House, Representatives Tom Malinowski, Sean Casten and Susan Wild put forward a bill on Wednesday that seeks to slash American military support for Saudi Arabia and the UAE and the withdrawal of US troops from the oil-rich countries.

“We see no reason why American troops and contractors should continue to provide this service to countries that are actively working against us,” the lawmakers said, accusing the oil-producing countries of siding with Russia.

Pointing to Biden Administration’s efforts to “repair” relationship with Riyadh in a bid to stabilize the energy market, the lawmakers said that “Saudi Arabia and the UAE have now answered our overtures with a slap in the face that will hurt American consumers and undermine our national interests.”

OPEC+, which groups the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other producers including Russia, has refused to raise output to lower oil prices despite pressure from major consumers, including the United States.

Energy ministers from OPEC+ met in person at the group’s Vienna headquarters on Wednesday, deciding to introduce a major cut in output which experts believe can drive the oil price above $100 again.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Thursday that Washington was “reviewing a number of response options” to OPEC+ nations.

“As for the relationship (with Riyadh) going forward, we're reviewing a number of response options. We're consulting closely with Congress,” he said at a news conference in Lima alongside his Peruvian counterpart.

Meanwhile, Senator Chris Murphy, a vocal critic of Riyadh, hit out at the nature of Washington's relationship with the kingdom, saying that, even after turning a blind eye to its human rights violations and supplying it with arms, Saudi Arabia had turned its back on the US.

“I thought the whole point of selling arms to the Gulf states despite their human rights abuses, nonsensical Yemen War, working against US interests in Libya, Sudan etc, was that when an international crisis came, the Gulf could choose America over Russia/China,” Murphy posted on Twitter on Wednesday.

Also in an interview with CNBC, he called for a “re-evaluation” of ties with Saudi Arabia. “I think it's time for a wholesale re-evaluation of the US alliance with Saudi Arabia,” said the chairman of the Senate foreign relations subcommittee on the Middle East.

Saudi Arabia is the largest customer for US-made military equipment, with billions of dollars in orders approved by the State and Defense departments each year. In August, the Biden administration announced a sale to Saudi Arabia of Patriot missile interceptors and equipment worth up to $3.05 billion.

Source: Press TV

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Reconsider travel to Pakistan due to terrorism and sectarian violence: US in travel advisory

Oct 7, 2022

WASHINGTON: The US has urged its citizens to reconsider travel to Pakistan, especially its restive provinces, due to terrorism and sectarian violence.

In a travel advisory issued on Thursday, the US State Department urged its citizens not to travel to Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) provinces, including the former Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), due to terrorism and kidnapping.

"Reconsider travel to Pakistan due to terrorism and sectarian violence. Some areas have increased risk," it said, putting the advisory to Level 3.

Level 3 travel warning is issued when a long-term or serious situation puts travellers and visitors at risk, and non-essential travel to the destination should be avoided.

The advisory also recommended Americans not to travel in the immediate vicinity of the Line of Control (LoC) due to terrorism and the potential for armed conflict.

Noting that terrorist groups continue plotting attacks in Pakistan, it said a local history of terrorism and ongoing ideological aspirations of violence by extremist elements have led to indiscriminate attacks on civilian as well as local military and police targets.

“Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting transportation hubs, markets, shopping malls, military installations, airports, universities, tourist locations, schools, hospitals, places of worship, and government facilities. Terrorists have targeted US diplomats and diplomatic facilities in the past,” the advisory said.

Source: Times Of India

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South Asia


Taliban ‘reversed’ decade-long economic growth in Afghanistan, reveals UN report

7 October, 2022

Kabul [Afghanistan], October 6 (ANI): As Afghanistan continues to face a slump in the economy after the Taliban takeover of the country, the fragile economy of Afghanistan is reversed which took ten years to acquire, according to a statement of the UN report.

According to the UN report that was released on Wednesday by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the Afghan economy lost around USD 5 billion after the Taliban took control and had a gross domestic product of only about USD 20 billion before Taliban took control of Afghan soil, Khaama Press reported.

As per a UNDP analysis, prohibiting women from working could lead to a loss of up to USD 1 billion, or up to 5 per cent of the nation’s GDP.

Earlier in July, the UN mission in Afghanistan released a report and outlined the human rights situation prevailing in Afghanistan over the 10 months since the Taliban takeover.

The mission said that while the report highlights aspects of the Taliban’s human rights violations, it does not fully reflect the number of violations and abuses reflected in this report, and the full scope of the deterioration of the human rights situation since August of last year.

UNAMA has a vital role in monitoring and documentation of the violation and protection of human rights in Afghanistan.

The UN mission further stated that the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and the International Criminal Court (ICC) also have a significant role to play in preventing human rights violations and ensuring accountability, in line with Afghanistan’s international obligations.

The latest report shows the state of Human Rights in Afghanistan covering the period from August 15, 2021, to June 15, 2022.

Source: The Print

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Gardener Killed by Unidentified Men in Northern Afghanistan

By Saqalain Eqbal

06 Oct 2022

Unidentified men killed a gardener in the Qaisar district of the northern Afghan province of Faryab, local Taliban authorities said.

According to the Taliban officials, the incident took place on Tuesday night, the 4th of October, in the Zaafaran Afghania village of Qaisar district.

The Taliban administration’s Director of Information and Culture for Faryab province, Shamsullah Mohammadi, confirmed the murder and said that four people have been taken into custody in connection with the case.

While the Taliban official, Mohammadi, told the media that the arrestees were questioned as part of the investigation into the case of the murder of a gardener, he did not comment on the murder’s cause or motivation.

In the southern Afghan province of Kandahar, a man killed his three young sons—ages 13, 9, and 6—with a knife due to financial difficulties, as poverty is rife throughout the country.

The man had become depressed over his family’s financial situation, according to the Taliban officials, and the tragedy in which he killed and buried three of his sons was a direct result of that.

Source: Khaama Press

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WFP Plans to Provide Food Assistance for 15 Million Afghans Each Month

By Arif Ahmadi

06 Oct 2022

KABUL, Afghanistan – The World Food Program plans to provide more than 15 million people with food assistance each month until March 2023, according to sources, a day after the Europe, US and partners concluded humanitarian aid alone not enough to solve economic problems in Afghanistan.

Previously, the World Food Program (WFP) said that it will import 80,000 tons of wheat from Ukraine to distribute to the people in need in Afghanistan.

“To provide assistance to 15 million each month until March 2023 and to pre-position 150 metric tons of food in the rural areas before the paths are closed, we need $1.1 billion,” said a spokesperson for the WFP Afghanistan Wahidullah Amani, as TOLOnews quoted.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Economy said that it has made plans to alleviate economic challenges in the country. 

“There is a serious intention to root out poverty and to launch economic projects and to incentivize Afghan agriculture so Afghanistan will reach self-sufficiency,” said Abdul Lati Nazari, Deputy Minister of Economy.

But a number of Kabul residents complained over the lack of transparency in international aids, doubting whether such support will reach to the rightful persons. 

“There are the economic problems, and high prices and also unemployment. I haven’t received any aid,” said Samsor, an Afghan local who is vending on street.  

“We haven’t received the aid. We need aid but if the leaders pay attention to us,” said Bismillah, another Kabul resident. 

Last month, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the US will provide an additional $327 million in aid to Afghanistan to shore up humanitarian assistance – an effort to respond to the needs of over half the population of the country.

“This assistance from the United States will continue to support the scaled-up humanitarian response in Afghanistan and neighboring countries through international humanitarian organizations,” Blinken said in a statement.

International humanitarian organizations includes the United Nations Population Fund, International Organization for Migration, and other implementing partners in the region.

Meanwhile, Blinken said the US will continue to support Afghan people through various aids to respond to their basic and humanitarian needs.

“Our commitment to the people of Afghanistan is enduring,” he added. “We provide assistance to people in need, regardless of their gender, race, sexual orientation, disability status, religion, or profession.”

The funding includes almost $119 million from the Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration, and nearly $208 million in assistance from the US Agency for International Development’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance, the top diplomat said, as Tribune reported.

It will be used to provide cash aid, shelter, healthcare, and reintegration assistance for individuals either displaced internally in Afghanistan or those that fled the war-torn nation, according to the State Department.

Source: Khaama Press

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Mortar Shell Explosion Kills Child in Eastern Afghanistan

By Saqalain Eqbal

06 Oct 2022

A mortar shell explosion in the eastern Afghan province of Paktika killed one child and wounded two other people, local Taliban authorities said.

The Taliban-controlled Bakhtar state news agency reported that the mortar shell explosion took place on Thursday, the 6th of October in the Musa Khail village of the MataKhan district in Paktika province.

One child died and two others suffered injuries as a result of this incident, which took place when children were playing with an unexploded warhead.

Landmines, mortar shells, unexploded ordnance, and other similar weapons have long killed numerous civilians in Afghanistan, particularly children.

In 606 square kilometers of Afghan territory, according to the state minister for disaster management for the Taliban, there are mines and explosives, putting people at risk of permanent disability, disfigurement, and even death.

According to a State Ministry for Disaster Management and Humanitarian Affairs official, “more than 120 Afghans are killed or injured every month by landmines and explosive remnants of war.”

Source: Khaama Press

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Southeast Asia


Terengganu Amanah Chief Asks Malaysia to Explain Abstention on Vote to Debate Xinjiang Issue at UNHRC

October 7, 2022

PETALING JAYA: Terengganu Amanah chief Raja Kamarul Bahrin Shah has questioned why Malaysia did not vote on whether the UN Human Rights Council should debate the alleged abuses of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in China’s northwestern region of Xinjiang.

He said Malaysia’s decision to abstain from voting was “disappointing” and “embarrassing”.

In a statement, Raja Kamarul also cautioned that Malaysia may become “irrelevant”, especially among Islamic countries, by choosing not to take a stand on the issue.

“It appears that our country’s stance on protecting Muslim minorities in Xinjiang and Palestine is becoming weak despite claiming to be a Malay-Islamic government,” he said.

“Does the government approve of not investigating these crimes against humanity against Muslim minorities?”

Raja Kamarul pointed out that Malaysia had once decided not to extradite Uyghur refugees to China because of concerns over their safety.

He asked whether “commercial factors have now taken precedence over protecting Muslim minorities oppressed by powerful forces”.

The UN Human Rights Council yesterday voted 19-17 against holding the debate, with 11 countries abstaining.

Apart from Malaysia, the countries which abstained were Argentina, Armenia, Benin, Brazil, Gambia, India, Libya, Malawi, Mexico and Ukraine.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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VP asks Muslim clerics to preach about stunting prevention

October 7, 2022

Jakarta (ANTARA) - Vice President Ma'ruf Amin on Thursday asked Muslim clerics and preachers to deliver sermons on stunting and efforts to prevent it as more residents would heed instructions delivered by religious figures.

"Roles of Muslim clerics and preachers are vital because they will be present among the community. Sermons and religious assemblies are an effective medium to spread messages to the community, including stunting issues and efforts to prevent it," he said at the Vice Presidential Palace here on Thursday.

Indonesia was the 7th most religious country among 164 indexed countries in a survey conducted in 2021, and thus, religious figures must take part in disseminating information on secular issues, such as stunting growth issues, as more residents will trust them, he expounded.

"The characteristics of the Indonesian people provide an opportunity for religious-based education, which we must utilize, particularly as some 87 percent of the Indonesian population are Muslims," he said.

Amin, who also serves as the chair of the steering committee of the National Stunting Reduction Acceleration Team, said that according to the Indonesia Nutrient Status Study report in 2021, one out of every four infants in Indonesia is suffering from stunting.

"Stunted growth could bring more harm to children because it impedes brain growth, which could reduce their productivity once they grow to adulthood. Stunting is not merely a health issue, but is a humanity issue which could hinder the economy and national development in the future," the Vice President noted.

Indonesia's stunting prevalence was recorded at 24.4 percent in 2021, and the government has taken aggressive measures to achieve the 14-percent stunting prevalence target by 2024, he said.

"We must work promptly, prudently, and most important, collaborate with all parties, including religious figures and preachers," Amin added.

By disseminating information about stunting issues and ways to prevent it, Muslim preachers can contribute to efforts to encourage good and forbid wrong—a religious duty for Muslims, he said.

Meanwhile, Religious Affairs Minister Yaqut Cholil Qoumas said that preventing stunting through religious sermons is also an effort to implement religious commandments.

Source: Antara News

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Despite royal audience, Malaysia PM non-committal on House dissolution

Shannon Teoh

October 7, 2022

KUALA LUMPUR - Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob had an audience with Malaysia’s King on Thursday afternoon, a meeting that was closely watched for signs of whether they would discuss the dissolution of Parliament.

There was no official statement on whether Datuk Seri Ismail and Sultan Abdullah Ahmad Shah talked about the issue during their 45-minute discussion, although the premier raised the possibility just hours ahead of the meeting.

After leaving the palace, Mr Ismail was holed up with leaders from the ruling Umno party at its headquarters.

Reports citing officials from the palace and the Prime Minister’s Office indicated that terminating the parliamentary term was not discussed during the audience with the King.

There was a flurry of activity earlier in the day, when the King, Sultan Abdullah Ahmad Shah, received a briefing on expected year-end floods in the morning, and the Premier met Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz at noon to put the finishing touches on the 2023 budget that will be tabled on Friday.

PM Ismail told reporters that he may discuss the dissolution of Parliament with the King, but refused to be drawn into whether this would leave the presentation of the budget moot.

He also said that the 4pm audience with the King was a routine weekly pre-Cabinet meeting.

“Let’s see, if we discuss (Cabinet issues) until Maghrib prayers, then there is no time to discuss other matters,” he said, referring to the evening Muslim prayers that take place after 7pm.

On whether the budget would be tabled as scheduled on Friday evening, he said: “Wait for tomorrow. If I say it now, then there is no more suspense.”

Even if the budget is presented, Parliament could still be dissolved in the coming weeks, ending debate on the supply Bill before it is approved.

Although polls are not due for a year, the Umno vice-president has been under increasing pressure from the faction in the party that backs Umno president Zahid Hamidi’s push to go to the ballot this year.

On Sept 30, Umno held meetings of its political bureau, supreme council, as well as the so-called “Top Five” made up of Zahid, his deputy and the three vice-presidents, including Mr Ismail, who is the first non-party chief to lead Malaysia’s government.

On Tuesday, divisional leaders were gathered at Umno’s headquarters and told to prepare for impending polls, with senior officials stating that the top leadership had agreed to an undisclosed date to hold elections.

While Mr Ismail has said he will call an election as soon as he is certain of Umno’s victory, he has yet to publicly commit to a date, and the Constitution gives the King discretion on whether to consent to dissolving the legislature.

Sultan Abdullah had requested Thursday morning’s briefing by the environment and water ministry, the draining and irrigation department, as well as the meteorological agency on the annual year-end monsoon weather and flood preparation.

After the event, Environment and Water Minister Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man confirmed that all 12 ministers from Perikatan Nasional (PN) had sent a letter to the King on Wednesday, stating that an election should be held only next year after the monsoon.

PN is the largest coalition in government, led by former premier Muhyiddin Yassin's Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia and includes Parti Islam SeMalaysia.

Datuk Seri Tuan Ibrahim is deputy president of the Islamist outfit. Bersatu vice-president Radzi Jidin, who is senior minister for education, also confirmed that the letter was sent to the palace.

Source: Straits Times

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Budget 2023: Malaysia banks on strong fundamentals, reforms amid external headwinds

06 Oct 2022

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 6 — Riding on solid economic fundamentals and steady growth thus far in 2022, Malaysia is set to transition from recovery strategies to structural reforms to strengthen its economic resilience and improve people’s wellbeing through Budget 2023.

At the same time, the country must keep on its toes amid external challenges mainly coming from China, the United States (US) and the United Kingdom.

Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz has remarked that Malaysia’s economic growth may even surpass the official forecast of between 5.3 and 6.3 per cent in 2022 as the country saw faster growth in the second quarter at 8.9 per cent and a strong performance is expected in the third quarter.

However, he also warned that Malaysia will not be spared from the expected global economic slowdown in 2023, as all three of the world’s major economic drivers — Europe, China and the US — are expected to grow at a slower rate next year compared with this year.

The International Monetary Fund has cut its global growth projection for 2022 to 3.2 per cent before slowing further to 2.9 per cent in 2023.

The revisions mark a downgrade of 0.4 and 0.7 percentage points, respectively, from its earlier projections amid uncertainties such as fallout from the war in Ukraine and rising inflation.

“As such, the country must be prepared to do what needs to be done to mitigate the anticipated impact from the economic slowdowns the world over,” he said recently.

Hence, reform has been among the key factors that have been emphasised going forward.

Based on the 2023 Pre-Budget Statement released in June themed “Strengthening recovery, facilitating reforms towards sustainable socio-economic resilience of Keluarga Malaysia”, the 2023 budget would be formulated based on three priority areas.

These are reinforcing the momentum of economic recovery, strengthening economic resilience against future shocks and implementing comprehensive reforms in the economic and social aspects for businesses, priority sectors and the nation.

Budget 2022 worth RM332.1 billion that was tabled on October 29, 2021, has benefitted mostly the Education Ministry which received highest ever allocation of RM52.6 billion, followed by the Health Ministry with RM32.4 billion and Higher Education Ministry with RM14.5 billion.

In the Pre-Budget Statement, the ministry also stressed on the need to implement targeted assistance under Budget 2023. Particularly, cash assistance programmes as well as fuel subsidies would be improved via more effective distribution mechanisms.

Budget 2023 is also expected to focus on education and healthcare.

Reforms to reduce fiscal deficit

As part of reforms, economists are expecting the government to provide a credible plan for fiscal consolidation in 2023. “After three years of high fiscal deficits, we expect to see a smaller deficit of 4.9 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) next year.

“That being said, there will be a fine balance between much-needed fiscal consolidation and a possible election budget,” HSBC Global Research economist Yun Liu said.

She said given the timing, major tax changes (such as the re-imposition of the goods and services tax) are unlikely, raising questions on how to boost tax revenues in line with regional peers.

In addition, another key point to watch for also in the upcoming budget would be the tax changes, especially after the decline in the country’s revenue over the years, Liu noted.

Meanwhile, whether subsidies become more targeted, and how that will be implemented, is worth watching out for, she said.

Bank Islam Malaysia Bhd’s newly appointed chief economist Firdaos Rosli said the bank expects the national budget allocation for 2023 to come in higher by 2.0-2.5 per cent compared to in 2022.

“Against this backdrop, the fiscal deficit would be lower at circa 5.8-6.0 per cent, with GDP growth in the range of 4.0-5.0 per cent. Inflation remains manageable at 2.1 per cent, while unemployment trends at around 3.5 per cent,” he told Bernama.

He said while keeping the fiscal constraints and growth headwinds in check, the government is likely to realign the present economic trajectory on track with the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP) targets.

Thus, the bank expects reforms in the pipeline.

Since the 12MP mid-term review report will be unveiled in a year, Budget 2023 should recalibrate policies towards the sustainability agenda, particularly in climate change and bridging the development gaps between states and regions, as well as inter- and intra-racial divides.

Political uncertainty

On a question of political uncertainty clouding the atmosphere, HSBC Global Research said the decision to bring forward the budget by three weeks is widely viewed as a signal to call for an early general election this year.

It said as the budget approaches, the focus will be on whether Parliament will be dissolved before the budget is passed. It typically takes one to one-and-a-half months for it to go through all three readings.

Source: Malay Mail

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Panel’s report on claims against JPA head sent to chief sec

October 7, 2022

PETALING JAYA: The report by a committee formed to investigate allegations that Public Services Department (JPA) director-general Shafiq Abdullah had publicly berated an immigration officer at KLIA in August has been handed to Chief Secretary Zuki Ali.

In a parliamentary written reply, law minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said the report was signed by all four members of the committee and presented to Zuki on Aug 22 “for further action”.

“The committee conducted interviews with witnesses on Aug 10, 11, 12 and 18, with a discussion held on the same day the report was finalised on Aug 19,” Wan Junaidi said in response to a question from Saifuddin Nasution Ismail (PH-Bandar Baharu) on an update on the committee’s investigation.

Headed by Attorney-General Idrus Harun, the committee also comprised Inspector-General of Police Acryl Sani Abdullah Sani, Auditor-General Nik Azman Nik Abdul Majid and Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) head Azam Baki.

Zuki previously said the committee was tasked with conducting a thorough investigation to ensure justice was served, adding that their recommendations would be presented to Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

The Cabinet agreed on Aug 5 that a committee be set up to investigate allegations that Shafiq allegedly berated immigration officer James Lee at KLIA on Aug 3.

JPA denied that Shafiq committed such an act, claiming that he rightly reprimanded Lee over non-compliance with procedures after he failed to check the director-general and his delegation for their travel documents and passports.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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Arab World


Lebanese premier says border demarcation deal with Israel close to completion

Wassim Seif El Din 



Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati on Thursday said that a maritime border demarcation deal with Israel is close to completion.

Following his meeting with Lebanese Maronite Patriarch Bechara Al-Rahi, he said that the deal will help prevent “a definite war in the region.”

Lebanon and Israel have been locked in a dispute over a maritime area of 860 square kilometers (332 square miles), according to maps sent by both countries to the UN in 2011.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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US military kills three senior Islamic State leaders in Syria strikes

Jared Szuba

October 6, 2022

American military forces in Syria killed three top Islamic State officials in two separate operations over the past 24 hours, US officials said.

The Islamic State’s deputy commander in Syria — one of the jihadist group's top-five ranking leaders whom US military officials named as Abu Hashum al-Umawi, aka Abu 'Ala — was killed in a drone strike in northern Syria around 6:23 p.m. local time on Thursday.

That strike also killed a second IS official, Abu Mu’ad al-Qahtani, whom US officials said was responsible for prisoner affairs. More than 1,000 hours of intelligence collection led to the operation, military officials said.

The precise location of Thursday’s drone strike was not immediately clear, but it came several hours after a rare helicopter-borne US special operations raid near the northeastern Syrian city of Qamishli left another Islamic State operative dead and saw at least two of his associates captured.

Rakkan Wahid al-Shammari, a senior IS official suspected of smuggling weapons and fighters for the jihadist group, was targeted by US special operators in the overnight kill-or-capture raid on Wednesday.

American forces were unable to capture Shammari alive, one US official briefed on the operation said, without elaborating further. That official and one other told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity that Shammari was involved in the recent beheading of two captured Syrian Kurdish militia officials.

Neither civilians nor US troops were injured as a result the raid, US Central Command (CENTCOM) said in a statement today. “US CENTCOM is committed to our allies and partners in the enduring defeat of ISIS,” spokesperson Col. Joe Buccino said.

Whether Shammari’s associates were affiliated with IS or local pro-Syrian regime militias was not immediately clear. A US official speaking not for attribution said Russian military units in the area were not alerted in advance of the raid, despite frequent use by both sides of a shared de-escalation phone line.

Why it matters: The strikes come less than a month after US and Kurdish forces rounded up more than 300 jihadist operatives inside the sprawling al-Hol detention camp for IS families in a weeks-long operation that provided a trove of intelligence.

Kurdish forces thwarted a major IS counterattack on the camp late last month after a vehicle bomb detonated prematurely on the way to the facility.

Some 900 US troops remain in Syria in support of Kurdish and Arab militias in the wake of the multinational war against the Islamic State. The jihadist group was defeated on the battlefield at the Battle of Baghouz in March 2019, but maintains a low-level insurgency in some rural areas of Iraq and Syria.

Some 56,000 family members of IS fighters remain in the al-Hol camp, dubbed “a humanitarian catastrophe” by the commander of all American military forces in the Middle East last month.

Pentagon officials continue to warn that al-Hol and the other makeshift facilities holding tens of thousands of IS prisoners in northeast Syria are not sustainable, and that the jihadist group’s remaining sleeper cells continue to try to recruit prisoners and stage breakout attempts.

What’s next: The US-led coalition shifted to the final phase of its defeat-IS mission in 2020, but there’s no sign of an American withdrawal on the horizon.

While much progress has been made training and equipping Iraqi and Syrian Kurdish forces, the Pentagon assesses both remain unable to sustain adequate pressure on the jihadist group without limited local US military support.

Without heavy weapons or aircraft of their own, Syria’s Kurdish militia forces are particularly vulnerable to attack from Turkey, whose government considers them a terrorist organization inextricable from the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

In July, Dana Stroul, the Pentagon’s top official for Middle East policy, publicly called for a resumption of peace talks between Turkey’s government and the PKK, warning that Ankara’s threats to attack the Kurdish forces in Syria risks springing some 10,000 IS fighters from prison.

Source: Al Monitor

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Shia cleric freezes all armed factions in Iraq except one province

Ahmad al-Dulaimy  



Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr announced Thursday the freezing of all his armed factions across Iraq, except the northern province of Salah al-Din.

Saleh Mohamed al-Iraqi, a leader of the Sadr’s movement, said the influential cleric also “banned the use of weapons in all provinces except Salah al-Din and Samarra city.”

It was not yet clear why Salah al-Din province was not included in the ban.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Iran Tells Iraq Will Not Tolerate Terrorist Acts from Kurdistan

06 October 2022

Iran’s foreign minister has told his Iraqi counterpart that the Islamic Republic will not tolerate continued acts of aggression against it by terrorist groups based in the Arab country.

“We will not tolerate the continuation of aggression and terrorist acts by groups that have taken refuge in the Kurdistan region of Iraq and targeted Iran's national security,” Hossein Amir-Abdollahian told Fuad Hussein in a phone conversation on Thursday.

The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) has pounded terrorist bases in northern Iraq with drones and artillery fire in order to ensure Iran’s border security.

Amir-Abdollahian touched on provocative acts originating from the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, saying after four decades and despite repeated commitments of the regional authorities, they continue against Iran's territorial security.

“While respecting and adhering to the development of privileged relations between the two countries, as stressed by the high military officials of the Islamic Republic of Iran, we will not tolerate the continuation of aggression and terrorist acts by these groups that have taken refuge in the region and target Iran's national security.”

Iran’s military officials have said the operations will continue until all separatists and terrorist acts against the Islamic Republic are neutralized.

On Tuesday, the IRGC targeted their positions in Sidekan, north of the regional capital Erbil, with multiple rocket launchers, precision-strike weapons and drones.

Last Thursday, Washington confirmed that an American had been killed in Iran’s attack on the terrorist bases.

In their talks, Amir-Abdollahian also appreciated the Iraqi government’s efforts in securing the release of an Iranian pilgrim held in Saudi Arabia.

Local media confirmed the arrival of Khalil Dardmand on Monday via “the airway of a Persian Gulf neighboring country.” He had been arrested some three months ago by Saudi Arabian authorities during the Hajj pilgrimage.

Dardmand was reportedly arrested after posting on his Twitter account an image of legendary Iranian General Qassem Soleimani beside the Kaaba, the building at the center of the Masjid al-Haram mosque in Mecca.

Source: Press TV

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Hamas delegation to visit Syria this month aiming to revive ties: Sources

06 October, 2022

A Hamas delegation will visit Syria later this month, two sources told Reuters on Thursday, in a move by the Palestinian Islamist group to rebuild ties after shunning President Bashar al-Assad for years over his violent crackdown on protests.

A senior Hamas official said the visit would take place after a Hamas delegation concludes an Oct. 10 trip to Algeria to discuss reconciliation with the rival Palestinian Fatah movement of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

A second source, a Palestinian official familiar with the issue, confirmed details of the Syria trip.

A Palestinian source in Syria denied that a visit would take place, while Hamas officials in Gaza, the coastal enclave where the group has ruled since 2007, declined to comment. There was no immediate comment from the Syrian government.

Hamas leaders publicly endorsed the 2011 street uprising against Assad’s dynastic rule, and vacated their Syria headquarters in Damascus in 2012, a move that angered their common ally, Iran.

Hamas’s relations with Iran were later restored and Hamas officials praised the Islamic Republic for help with building up their Gaza arsenal of longer-range rockets, which they have used in fighting Israel.

Normalizing ties with Assad’s government could help restore Hamas’s inclusion in a so-called “axis of resistance” against Israel which also encompasses Iran and Lebanon’s powerful armed Shi’ite Hezbollah group.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Lebanon sets Oct. 13 session to again try to elect a head of state

06 October, 2022

Lebanese House Speaker Nabih Berri has set a new parliament session to elect a head of state on Oct. 13, just a few weeks before President Michel Aoun’s six-year term ends, though it is not expected to yield results.

In the first such session last week, lawmakers failed to elect a president, with the majority casting blank ballots.

Politicians have voiced concern about no successor being found - warning of even greater institutional deadlock amid a deep financial crisis. Lebanon has been without a fully functioning government since May.

The session is scheduled for 11 a.m. on Oct. 13, a statement from Berri’s office said.

A successful candidate would require the votes of 65 lawmakers following the first round of voting.

The presidency has fallen vacant several times since the 1975-90 civil war.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Syrian troops clash, expel US forces from village in oil-rich Hasakah

06 October 2022

Syrian government soldiers and US military troops have engaged in clashes as the latter conducted an airdrop operation in the energy-rich northeastern province of Hasakah, amid boiling public resentment over the presence of occupation forces in the war-ravaged country.

Russia’s Sputnik news agency reported that the confrontation between Syrian army troops and US occupation forces took place south of the city of Qamishli.

The report added that the skirmishes erupted after American forces carried out an airdrop operation on a village controlled by Syrian government troops.

Syria's state broadcaster said a civilian lost his life during the airdrop operation conducted by American attack helicopters in the village of Muluk Saray.

Lebanon’s Arabic-language al-Mayadeen television news network, citing informed sources requesting anonymity, identified the victim as Rakan Abu Hayel, a resident of Tuwaimin village in the eastern countryside of Qamishli.

It added that 50 US soldiers took part in the night operation, and they arrested Abu Hayel’s family members and several other people during the raid.

Back on September 13, Syrian government troops blocked a US military convoy as it was attempting to pass through a community in the energy-rich province of Hasakah.

According to a report published by Syria’s official news agency SANA, Syrian army troops, deployed at a security checkpoint in the Munsif district, intercepted the convoy of four armored vehicles and a pickup truck.

The American troops were subsequently forced to turn around and go back in the direction they came from. There were no reports of clashes or injuries.

Residents of Tal Aswad village on the outskirts of Qamishli city in Hasakah province blocked a US convoy from advancing in the region on July 21, and forced it to retreat.

SANA cited local sources as saying that the convoy was made up of four military vehicles that tried to rumble through a checkpoint, but was forced to return to where it had come from.

The US military has for long stationed its forces and equipment in northeastern Syria, with the Pentagon claiming that the deployment is aimed at preventing the oilfields in the area from falling into the hands of Daesh terrorists.

Damascus, however, maintains the deployment is meant to plunder the country’s natural resources. Former US president Donald Trump admitted on several occasions that American forces were in the Arab country for its oil wealth.

On August 30, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman denounced the illegal presence of US military forces in Syria, saying Washington’s continued looting of the war-torn country’s energy and mineral resources has only exacerbated the suffering of the Syrian people.

Source: Press TV

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Iran regime incapable of reform, protesters expect more support from West: Activist

07 October, 2022

The idea that the Iranian regime is capable of being reformed is a “myth,” Iranian-born Hollywood actress and activist Nazanin Boniadi said on Thursday, adding that the Iranian people expect greater support from the West amid ongoing anti-government protests in the country.

What the Iranian people want from the West is “solidarity and to stop turning a blind eye to their suffering in order to fulfil our own political objectives,” Boniadi told a panel at London’s Policy Exchange.

“For 43 years, we’ve only responded to the symptoms of the Islamic Republic’s malign activities, with a focus on countering Iran’s nuclear ambition and regional aggression,” she said. “But in order to address the cause, which is the regime itself, we must commit ourselves to intelligently supporting the Iranian people’s aspirations for representative government.”

Boniadi said the West’s policies should not be set up to empower reformists in Iran but must rather “focus on empowering Iranian democrats.”

Protests broke out across Iran after Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian Kurdish woman, died in the custody of the morality police after they detained her for allegedly not complying with the regime’s strict hijab rules in Tehran.

Since Amini’s death, protests have quickly escalated and turned political with demonstrations taking place across the country. Protesters have been chanting against Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, the country’s highest authority, and calling for the downfall of the regime.

General Kenneth McKenzie Jr, the former commander of US Central Command, said he believed the Iranian regime will go as far as imposing “genocidal measures” against its own people to protect itself.

“They’ll do that without blinking an eye,” he said.

“We kid ourselves if we think we can apply half-hearted measures externally and not have lots of people die inside Iran. And the very act of giving succour to [protesters] in Iran will tend to mobilize elements of the Iranian population against us and will give leverage to the Iranian regime to mobilize against the outside enemy which has always been a very important part of Iranian politics,” McKenzie said.

“So, I think we just need to be very open-eyed and very realistic about what the Iranian regime will do because their number one priority will be regime self-protection.”

The idea that the Iranian regime is composed of “reformists” and “hardliners” is a “problematic” one, Mohammed Alyahya, fellow at Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and a senior non-resident fellow at the Hudson Institute, said.

“The proliferation of proxies across the region happened under the so-called reformists. It happened under [former President Hassan] Rouhani and [former Foreign Minister Mohammad] Javad Zarif,” Alyahya noted.

“So, the idea that there is a reformist wing and a hardline wing in the Iranian government and that by crafty policy making one can manipulate the situation in order to create or to bring about a safer or a less hostile Iran is a problematic idea.”

Alyahya said one reason regional states are critical of Iran’s tattered 2015 nuclear deal, formally known as the Join Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), is because it excludes the countries affected the most by Iran’s destabilizing activities.

“Regional actors tend to criticize the nuclear deal or be uneasy about it because they see that they are the actors that are within range of Iran’s ballistic missiles, within range of Iran’s proxies, while the P5+1 (the US, the UK, France, Russia, China and Germany) is comprised of a set of countries none of whom are within range of Iran’s conventional capabilities,” he said.

“The worry today is that if there is a return to the JCPOA, there will be a situation where Iran will have a direct path to a nuclear weapon within the next nine years as the JCPOA’s sunset clauses expire and then dozens upon dozens of billions of dollars that will allow it to grow its regional proxy network across the region,” added Alyahya.

Former US President Donald Trump withdrew Washington from the deal in 2018, saying it was too soft on Iran, and reimposed sweeping sanctions on Tehran.

The Biden administration considers restoring the deal a top foreign policy objective and has been holding indirect talks with Iran aimed at reviving the deal since April 2021, but the two sides have yet to reach an agreement.

Former UK Defense Secretary Liam Fox described the lack of western support for protests in Iran in 2009, known as the Green Movement, as the “lowest moral point in recent western politics.”

“We had an opportunity in 2009 to actually come out and support the people of Iran. At the time of the Green Movement, we didn’t even give them moral support,” he said.

Fox said the west has an opportunity today to “make amends” by giving “much greater support” to protesters in Iran.

He added that the UK “should join the US in proscribing the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization.”

French diplomat Jacques Audibert, a former foreign policy adviser to the Elysee and lead negotiator on the 2015 deal, said women protesting in Iran “deserve our deep respect … because they are fighting for all the values we fight for.”

Today, Tehran wants the capability to make a nuclear weapon “more than ever because they see what’s happening to the Ukrainians who renounced their nuclear capability in 1994” in exchange for security assurances.

General Mark Carleton-Smith, who served as Chief of the UK General Staff from June 2018 to June 2022, said Iran appears less deterred by the US today.

“Iran today seems less deterred by American conventional capabilities than it once was, and as a result, it’s hard to find among the spawning range of crises across the broader Middle East one that does not have Iranian fingerprints on it,” he said.

“Even if you can picture a world where the regime is in full compliance with a deal,” Carleton-Smith said, “Tehran is still guilty of a range of wider destabilizing activity … it is a state sponsor of terrorism and it has an active program of destabilization with respect to its surrogates and proxies.”

Source: Al Arabiya

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At least 82 people killed in Iran crackdown in Zahedan since September 30: Amnesty

06 October, 2022

At least 82 people have been killed by Iranian security forces in the city of Zahedan in the southeastern Sistan-Baluchistan province since protests erupted there on September 30, Amnesty International said on Thursday.

In a violent crackdown after Friday prayers on September 30, security forces killed at least 66 people, including children, Amnesty said.

Since then, 16 people have been killed in an ongoing clampdown on protests, it added, warning the real toll is likely to be even higher.

With Iran already convulsed by protests over the death of Mahsa Amini who had been arrested by the Tehran morality police, the protests in Zahedan were triggered by anger over the reported rape of a teenage girl by a police commander in the region.

Amnesty said that security forces fired “live ammunition, metal pellets and teargas” at protesters, bystanders and worshipers when a group of people gathered for a protest outside a police station after Friday prayers on September 30 in Zahedan.

“Evidence gathered by Amnesty International shows that the majority of victims were shot in the head, heart, neck and torso, revealing a clear intent to kill or seriously harm.”

It added that the firing had come from the “police station rooftop.” At least three children were killed on September 30, it added.

Iranian officials have characterized the unrest as attacks by “extremists” on police stations that left five members of the Revolutionary Guards dead.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Iran denies security forces killed 16-year-old, says she fell off roof-Iranian media

October 07, 2022

DUBAI: Iranian authorities have denied reports security forces killed a 16-year-old girl during protests ignited by the death of a woman in police custody, Iranian media reported on Friday, saying she committed suicide by falling off a roof.

Social media reports and rights group Amnesty International have said Sarina Esmaeilzadeh was killed by security forces when she was struck with batons on the head during protests over the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in morality police custody.

Authorities earlier this week gave a similar cause of death — falling off a roof — for 17-year-old Nika Shakarami, who activists say was killed in Tehran while demonstrating over Amini’s death.

Rights groups say more than 150 people have been killed, hundreds have been injured and thousands arrested in a crackdown on nationwide protests marking the biggest challenge to Iran’s clerical leadership in years.

Women have played a prominent role, waving and burning headscarves. High school girls have also taken part.

The chief justice of Alborz province where Esmaeilzadeh died said a preliminary investigation showed her death was caused by suicide from a fall from the roof of a five-story building, the semi-official ISNA news agency said.

Chief justice Hossein Fazeli Herikandi said claims in opposition media about her death were “lies.” “Based on her mother’s account, Esmaeilzadeh had a history of suicide attempts,” he said. Police received a report of her death on Sept. 24, he said.

Reuters could not reach her family for comment.

Amnesty International, in a Sept. 30 report, said she was one of at least 52 people killed by security forces between Sept. 19 and Sept. 25, saying Esmaeilzadeh “died after being severely beaten in the head with batons.”

A video showing Esmaeilzadeh smiling and listening to music has been viewed around 147,000 times on the widely-followed 1500tasvir Twitter account.

Amini was arrested on Sept. 13 in Tehran for “inappropriate attire.” The authorities have said she suffered a heart attack after being taken to a station to be “educated.”

Her family have denied she had any heart problems. Her father has said she had bruises on her legs, and holds police responsible for her death.

The government has ordered an investigation.

Source: Arab News

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Iran's state TV airs 'confessions' by 2 French nationals amid protests

Syed Zafar Mehdi



Iranian state TV television on Thursday broadcast a video showing two French nationals detained by Iranian security forces for alleged involvement in recent protests in the country.

The video shows them apparently confessing to working for the French intelligence agency to "foment unrest" in Iran over the death last month of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in police custody.

Amini died after being detained by Iran's morality police for an alleged violation of the dress code. The cause of her death remains shrouded in mystery, and the official probe has yet to be concluded.

Major Iranian cities, including the capital Tehran, have been rocked by angry demonstrations in recent weeks and pitched battles between protesters and policemen.

The government has not given an official casualty toll from the ongoing protests, but international human rights watchdogs have put the death toll at more than 100.

The video posted by state media shows French nationals Cecile Kohler and Jacques Paris, both of whom are associated with France’s National Federation of Education, Culture, and Vocational Training.

Kohler, wearing a headscarf, introduces herself as an "operative" for the French spy agency aiming to "put pressure on Iran's government" to bring about regime change.

According to Iranian media, the short clip is part of a documentary that will be aired on state TV in the coming days to support claims made by top Iranian authorities in recent days of a "foreign hand" in the ongoing protests.

Reacting to the video, the French Foreign Ministry on Thursday described the confession as “shameful, revolting, and unacceptable."

“Cecile Kohler and Jacques Paris have been arbitrarily detained in Iran since May 2022, and as such are state hostages ... the staging of their supposed confessions is shameful, revolting, unacceptable and contrary to international law,” said a ministry statement.

Meanwhile, the European Union is reportedly mulling sanctions on Iran in the coming weeks, the bloc's foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Thursday, without providing further details.

In a phone call with Borrell on Wednesday, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian warned against any "hasty political action" by the European Union, saying Tehran will give an appropriate response.

Also on Wednesday, the top Iranian diplomat spoke to his Italian counterpart Luigi Di Maio, warning against what he called "hasty and ill-considered" action by the European bloc against Iran.

Last week, Iran’s Intelligence Ministry said that it had arrested nine foreign nationals from Germany, Poland, Italy, France, the Netherlands, and Sweden, among others, for alleged involvement in recent protests.

Many foreign envoys in Tehran have also been summoned in recent weeks over support for protesters.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Palestinians creating new equations in face of Zionist regime, Islamic Jihad chief say

06 October 2022

Secretary General of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad resistance movement Ziyad al-Nakhalah says Palestinians are creating new equations in the face of Israel, stressing that residents of the besieged Gaza Strip will spare no effort to fight off the Tel Aviv regime’s Judaization efforts in the occupied East al-Quds and West Bank.

Nakhalah made the remarks in a televised speech broadcast live from Gaza City on Thursday evening during a ceremony marking the 35th anniversary of the movement’s foundation.

“The Islamic Jihad movement was set up in order to deliver the message of unity against Zionists. Our martyrs drew up their wills with their own blood, and sacrificed their lives for the sake of what they passionately believed in. Al-Quds was certainly their direction, and they fought to see Palestinian territories liberated,” he highlighted.

Nakhalah noted, “Let us give praise unto our captive brethren, especially the heroes who tunneled out of Gilboa Prison. They are the flag-bearers of resistance in the West Bank," referring to six Palestinian detainees who escaped from the Gilboa maximum security prisons in occupied northern Palestine in September last year.

“It is in the best interests of the Muslim world to strengthen the Axis of Resistance, since the Israeli enemy has formed a coalition with the United States and its allies. Zionists and their aides have left no stone unturned to sever all our relations with supporters of the Palestinian cause, and isolate our nation,” the Islamic Jihad chief said.

“The Zionist enemy tries to downgrade the seriousness of the Palestinian conflict, and seeks  to turn the case into a mere humanitarian issue. The enemy has not stopped any efforts to target Gaza-based resistance fighters.

“Palestinians and resistance movements constitute a source of pride and inspiration for all Muslims. We will not take our hands off our occupied lands, and will victoriously march into the al-Aqsa Mosque compound at last,” Nakhalah said.

He said, “The Palestinian resistance front can sink Israeli forces to the depths of despair," stressing that Palestinians and resistance fighters are duty-bound to protect both Muslim and Christian sanctities in the occupied Old City of al-Quds.

“The resolute people of Palestine will never give in to enemy plots until the full liberation of their homeland,” Nakhalah highlighted.

The Islamic Jihad leader said Israel enjoys full support of its allies, the United States in particular, but Palestinians will not surrender to the Zionist enemy.

Israeli forces have been recently conducting near-nightly raids and killings in the northern occupied West Bank, mainly in the cities of Jenin and Nablus, where new groups of Palestinian resistance fighters have been formed.

More than 150 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in the Israeli-occupied territories since the start of the year, including 51 in the besieged Gaza Strip during Israel’s three-day assault in August.

More than 30 of those killed were either from Jenin or were killed in the Jenin region.

Source: Press TV

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Inquiry launched into Brighton Mosque where Libyan former trustee gave terror speech

Nicky Harley


Oct 06, 2022

A British mosque where a former trustee was convicted of giving a speech inciting terrorism is being investigated by the UK's charity watchdog.

Abubaker Deghayes, whose two sons died in Syria, was in April sentenced to four years in jail after making the speech on the steps of Brighton Mosque last November.

Despite the Charity Commission issuing the mosque with an official warning in May, it has now launched a statutory inquiry over concerns that an continuing dispute at the place of worship will leave it unable to protect itself from further harm.

The mosque had previously been used by hate preacher and convicted terrorist Abu Hamza, who is now serving a sentence in the US for trying to establish a terrorist training camp in Oregon.

"The commission opened the inquiry due to regulatory concerns resulting from a failure to resolve a dispute at the charity, which is having a detrimental impact on the charity’s governance and administration," the commission said in a statement.

"Earlier this year, the regulator issued the charity with an official warning after a former trustee was convicted of encouraging terrorism in a speech given on the charity’s premises.

"The Commission determined that the trustees knew or ought to have known the risk that this individual posed to the charity and set out the actions trustees should take to protect the charity and its beneficiaries from abuse.

"However, due to an ongoing dispute at the charity about control of its administration and management, there is an increased risk that appropriate actions will not be taken to protect the charity from further undue risk of harm.

The commission said the charity had been plagued by "financial management issues", resulting in late statutory annual returns over the past four financial periods.

"The commission is concerned generally about the impact of the dispute on the charity’s ability to operate sustainably and for the benefit of its beneficiaries," the statement said. "The parties to the dispute have not, as advised repeatedly by the commission, been able to appropriately settle the dispute in the best interests of the charity."

Deghayes, who is Libyan, had been a trustee at the mosque.

On the day of the incident he had given a 20-minute speech to about 50 people, including children and young adults.

His close relatives have a history of extremism and his brother Omar Deghayes is a former Guantanamo detainee.

Two of Abubaker Deghayes’s sons were killed while fighting in Syria.

Police first investigated Deghayes in 1997 after a report that he had been preaching in a manner that might “incite racial unrest” and that “reflected strong Al Qaeda sympathies”.

In 2014 three of his sons travelled to Turkey and then on to Syria.

Abdullah Deghayes was killed aged 18 by a sniper while fighting for an Al Qaeda-linked group in Idlib province. His death was followed, nine months later, by that of his brother, Jaffar, who was 17.

Source: The National News

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LEMU highlights roles of Muslim in nation building

By Shakirah Adunola

07 October 2022

Towards enlighten Muslims on the need to be involved in the country’s political system, Lekki Muslim Ummah (LEMU) has stressed the need for Muslims to actively participate in the formulation of policies, and enactment of laws that will affect them.

Scholars who spoke LEMU quarterly Da’war Workshop agreed that it is permissible for Muslims to vote in elections and nominate people for political sit in a democratic system of government.

The Chief Imam of Lekki Central Mosque, Imam Ridwan Jimoh, said it is paramount to ensure competent Muslims represent the ummah at the local and national levels.

“Appoint leaders who will keep the goals of sharia, which is the protection of faith, life wealth, intellect and family. A leader that will keep the public trust, resources, command virtues and forbid vices”

Director of Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), Prof. Lakin Akintola, charged Muslims to go into politics to change the narratives.

“We cannot be decision-makers if we do not participate in politics. We must be part of the decision-making process of the country, the engineers of the political architecture of this country.

He condemned the former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara’s, view on the Muslim-Muslim ticket, noted that Dogara Local Government could not tolerate the presence of Muslims.

“Taraba is a Muslim-dominated state and the Christian majority hold all the political position in all the local governments. Muslims were denied their inherent rights.”

The Founder of Ma’ad Al Baseerah, Dr Afeez Adeyemi, urged Muslims to be part of the decision-makers as most of the policies enacted affect Muslim families.

“There are so many precedents in Islam that justified and explain aiktiar (election).

For example, the first Khalifah in Islam, Seyidina Abu Bakr, was selected for the leadership of all the Muslim Ummah before he was giving bayat, likewise, other khalifas were selected before they were giving bayat.

He noted that a democratic system is a major form of shirks, its ruling cannot lead humans to Allah.

“Democracy is a kufr system and Muslims must be ready to preserve the law of Allah by participating in the electoral process.

This should not stop Muslims from participating in the electoral process, as long as you have the intention that all the objective of sharia would be preserved as Allah (SWT) want it. Whether you are aspiring for the presidency or governorship, you must know to have it at the back of your mind to protect the interest of sharia.”

“There is no way the present-day politics can lead one to the benefit which Allah ordained for us. It is a man-made law, though we cannot separate ourselves from the system, we must ensure that the sharia law prevails in our homes and wherever we find ourselves.”

Founder, Hijab Rights Advocacy Initiative, Barrister Mutiat Orolu-Balogun, lamented the incessant harassment of Muslims in Nigeria.

“ The population of Muslims in the United Kingdom is nowhere close to the population of Nigeria Muslims but they enjoy their right. Even if Muslims were the minority in the country, their right still needs to be protected.

She noted that the issue of Identity crises is a great setback to the ummah.

“ Some Muslims don’t want to identify with Islam publicly to avoid being backlash due to media propaganda.”

The Chief Imam, Light House Muslim Estate, Imam Nojeem Jimoh said the ummah must ensure that steadfast Muslims were among the country’s decision-makers as Muslims were the most disadvantaged.

He recounted how the majority of Muslims in the United Kingdom were not denied their fundamental right through political participation.

“Sometime back in England, we paid a visit to Markfield institute and we met the director of this institute and he narrated how the institute got approval. As they want England authorities to make the institute a place of Islamic studies.

“Markfield institute is based in Leicestershire, in the United Kingdom. This was one of the places where Muslims settled earlier in England. Many Muslims live there though. First, second and third years they applied, the application was rejected and they never got government approval.

“Looking at the number of Muslim living in the community, somebody came up with an idea to sponsor a Muslim candidate to go for the local election in the next local government election and the person won.

“That is for the first time in the history of England that a Muslim became a councillor in the local authority. This was like magic to the Muslims that they could have a representative in the local authority.

“The following year they sponsored two more candidates who run against the white British people and they won again, making three candidates in the local authority the same year the planning permit was given and Markfield became a place of Islamic studies.

“This only happened because Muslims in Leicestershire, went into local politics and suddenly they began to win.”

He added that Muslims living in the UK were not denied fundamental rights despite it being a Christian state.

“In England, all Muslim children wear their hijab and it is not even discussed, let alone debated. In the year 2014 GCSE exam falls in the summer during Ramadan and UK authority postponed the math and English exam to after Ramadan because the subject is a must to pass for all students and the Muslim children will be at a disadvantage if the exam holds during Ramadan.

“Muslim female police officers wear their hijab, designed by the metropolitan police and other police forces as part of the official police uniform in England. In England, Muslim female barristers wear their Hijab to court and it is never an issue of discussion. This happens because Muslims are part of the system they did not sit back.

“Today in England we have an association called North London Housing Muslim Association, a housing provider. They came about this because Muslims in governance speak out, that there is a certain minimum standard a Muslim house must meet and the government funded the association and today they provide Islamic homes to Muslims.

“When school fees were introduced to universities in England in 2012, it was a lot of money which attract interest. Muslims spoke that they were not allowed to pay interest and the government set up a board to look into setting up a sharia compliance student loan.

Source: Guardian Nigeria

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Africa Union welcomes commitment of Tigrayan, Ethiopian forces to peace talks

Andrew Wasike



African Union (AU) Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat welcomed Thursday a commitment by the government of Ethiopia and Tigray rebels to hold peace talks on the Ethiopian conflict.

The government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) both agreed on Wednesday to an invitation to peace talks in South Africa by the African Union for the restoration of peace and stability in Ethiopia.

Mahamat noted that the peace talks will be conducted through a high-level panel of eminent Africans established purposefully for the Ethiopian peace process.

“The panel is led by H.E. Olusegun Obasanjo, AU High Representative for the Horn of Africa and former President of Nigeria, along with H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta, former President of Kenya, and H.E. Dr. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, former Deputy President of South Africa and member of the AU Panel of the Wise,” the AU statement noted, adding the talks aim at bringing lasting peace in Ethiopia.

After close to two years of war between the rival forces, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed through his national security adviser Redwan Hussein agreed to the AU-led peace talks.

Ethiopia noted that the invitation to the peace talks is in line with the county’s principled position regarding the peaceful resolution of the conflicts.

In a letter to the AU chairperson, TPLF spokesman Getachew Reda said the government of Tigray is ready to participate in the proposed peace talks in South Africa, asserting its commitment to a peaceful resolution of the current conflict.

Thousands of people have been killed in Ethiopia as government forces have been fighting Tigrayan rebels since November 2020.

The conflict has also impacted other areas of the country, forcing at least 2 million people from their homes and leaving multitudes of civilians without access to critical humanitarian assistance and facing acute food insecurity.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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