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Islamic World News ( 11 March 2023, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Ending Islamophobia A Prerequisite for World Peace, Saudi Envoy Tells UN at A High-Level General Assembly Event

New Age Islam News Bureau

11 March 2023

 

Mohammed Alateek, the Kingdom’s deputy permanent representative to the UN

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• Saudi Arabia-Iran Chinese-Brokered Patch-Up Takes World by Surprise

• Student Seen Ripping Pages from Qur'an 'A Concerning Incident of Islamophobia,' Says Ontario School Board

• Class 10 History Book Taught In Pakistan: Jammu Muslim Genocide by Hindus; India Upset Balance of Power in Region

• Over 500 People Graduate from Jihadist Religious Schools in Helmand in Afghanistan

 

Arab World

• Nasrallah: Tehran-Riyadh rapprochement can open up new horizons in region

• UAE, Iraq Kurdistan Region leaders discuss ties, Erbil-Baghdad relations in Abu Dhabi

• Temperatures in Middle East rise twice as fast as global average, GCC countries act

• UAE sends 14 tonnes of aid to Ukraine

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North America

• US welcomes China-backed Saudi-Iranian deal to restore ties, White House says

• Iran-Saudi détente spells a ‘catastrophe for US hegemony’: Analyst

• China to US: Stop plundering Syrian resources, pull troops out

• Dozens of NGOs warn Biden against supporting Israel against Iran

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India

• Maharashtra Minister Mangal Prabhat Lodha's 1 Lakh 'Love Jihad' Cases Claim Sparks Reactions in House

• Indian police arrest three after Muslim man killed for possessing beef

• Kashmir Times Editor Anuradha Bhasin’s Article, “Modi’s Final Assault On India’s Press Freedom • Has Begun” In New York Times Angers Centre

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South Asia

• Bangladesh: 189 Houses, 50 Shops of Ahmadi Muslims Looted and Set on Fire, Says Bitter Winter Report

• Afghan Caretaker Government Calls on UN to Give Afghan Seat to Islamic Emirate

• 181 Afghan Inmates Handed Over To Islamic Emirate by Iranian Officials

• Explosion Rocks Kabul City, Two People Injured

• Afghan diaspora in Vienna hold anti-Taliban protest

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Southeast Asia

• Selangor Sultan: Preaching Accreditation Necessary to Preserve Islam

• Indonesia has surplus food ahead of Ramadan, Eid al-Fitr: Ministry

• Jakarta supervising food distribution to markets ahead of Ramadan

• Malaysia’s former PM Muhyiddin Yassin arrested on multiple graft charges

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Pakistan

• Pakistan FM Warns the Global Community against Underrating Anger Caused By Islamophobia Like the Burning Of Holy Books

• Pakistani Forces Kill Five TTP Militants in Waziristan

• Pakistan praises Saudi Arabia and Iran for resuming diplomatic relations

• Saudi-Pakistani telehealth platform to train 1,500 Afghan doctors

• Police, Ulema vow to maintain peace in Bannu

• China-Pakistan joint AI cancer screening lab put into operation

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Europe

• UK's Largest Islamic Bank: Soccer Boosting Gulf Property Investments

• Killer of Afghan refugee who had sought ‘a safer life’ in London jailed for 10 years

• UK police investigating after worshipper set on fire outside mosque

• Denmark ends arms sale ban against Saudi Arabia, UAE

• UK provides $6.31 million in assistance to Rohingya in Bangladesh

• Swedish minister says new bill to fill hole in anti-terrorism legislation

• Trilateral mechanism with Türkiye to continue even after Finland, Sweden’s NATO accession: Finnish Foreign Ministry

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Mideast

• Senior Cleric: Poisoning Students Enemies' Plot to Undermine Iran's Security

• Israel opposition sees Saudi-Iran deal as Netanyahu failure

• Iran: EU States Failed to Launch INSTEX Mechanism

• Iran Blasts West's Double Standards in Syrian Crisis

• Erdogan officially calls Turkish elections for May 14

• Settler kills suspected Palestinian gunman in West Bank

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Africa

• Islamic State Claims Responsibility for East Congo Village Attack

• Ramadan: CBN told to release more new naira notes

• Tunisia’s president to restore diplomatic ties with Syria

• More than 1,000 Africans rescued in one night: Tunisia coast guard

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL:   https://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/islamophobia-peace-saudi-un-assembly/d/129302

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Ending Islamophobia A Prerequisite for World Peace, Saudi Envoy Tells UN at A High-Level General Assembly Event

 

Mohammed Alateek, the Kingdom’s deputy permanent representative to the UN

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Ephrem Kossaify

March 10, 2023

NEW YORK CITY: Saudi Arabia on Friday called on all UN member states to condemn violence against Muslims, and to promote a culture of peace that rejects discrimination and extremism and fosters the mutual respect required for peace and understanding.

Mohammed Alateek, the Kingdom’s deputy permanent representative to the UN was speaking at a high-level UN General Assembly event ahead of the first International Day to Combat Islamophobia, on March 15.

The UN event was organized by Pakistan, which currently holds the rotating presidency of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and General Assembly President Csaba Korosi.

It called for international cooperation in efforts to combat discrimination, xenophobia, intolerance and violence against peoples based on their religion or beliefs, including rhetoric that “leads to racial profiling, discrimination, negative stereotyping and stigmatization of Muslims,” organizers said.

Another aim was to promote international action to encourage global dialogue that promotes a culture of tolerance that is rooted in respect for human rights, they added.

Speaking on behalf of members of the Arab Group at the UN, Alateek said the large turnout in the Assembly Hall for the event on Friday reflected the solidarity that exists between the wider international community and Muslims in the fight against Islamophobia.

The Arab Group believes observance of an International Day to Combat Islamophobia will help to strengthen dialogue, promote a culture of peace and enhance respect for human rights, said Alateek.

“This is an important occasion that allows us to highlight all of the manifestations of hatred and Islamophobia against Muslims, which sometimes lead to abominable acts, the (most recent) of which were (those) perpetrated in Sweden (by) a group of extremists,” he added.

In January, a far-right activist from Denmark was granted permission by Swedish police to stage a protest outside the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm, during which he burned a copy of the Qur’an and made disparaging remarks about immigrants and Islam.

Alateek urged the international community to condemn such extremist acts, to “serve as a basis for the promotion of a culture of peace to combat discrimination and extremism and to strengthen dialogue between cultures and religions in order to establish peace and security and mutual respect.”

This is a prerequisite, he added, for an environment that is conducive to peace and understanding at the regional and international levels.

In his opening statement at the event, Pakistani Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, who is the current chair of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s Council of Ministers, highlighted some of the ways in which Islamophobia persists and often goes unreported.

“The dangers of Islamophobia often gain international attention when a heinous act of violence and terrorism strikes innocent Muslims, while the daily, silent drip of discrimination, hatred and hostility against Muslims remains largely ignored and underreported,” said Bhutto Zardari.

He called for the appointment of a UN special envoy for combating Islamophobia, along with “the adoption of international measures for the protection of holy sites; the adoption of laws to outlaw hate speech; the provision of legal assistance and appropriate compensation; and the establishment of national and international judicial mechanisms and laws to hold those responsible for acts of Islamophobia accountable.”

A UN resolution proclaiming March 15 as International Day to Combat Islamophobia was unanimously adopted by the General Assembly on that date in 2022. It was chosen because it is the anniversary of the attacks on two mosques by a lone gunman in Christchurch, New Zealand, in 2019 that left 51 people dead and 40 injured.

When the resolution was introduced, the representative from Pakistan said that Islamophobia has emerged as a new form of racism that includes, among other things, discriminatory travel bans, hate speech, and the targeting of girls and women for the ways in which they dress.

The text of the resolution called on the international community to encourage tolerance and peace that is rooted in respect for human rights and the diversity of religions and beliefs.

Alateek said the resolution illustrated the need “to pool our efforts, at the international level, to take serious measures to bring an end to discrimination and hatred and Islamophobia.”

He reiterated, in the name of Arab Group members, the call for all UN member states to ensure the resolution is implemented “in its entirety, because it is a question of our shared civilization and we have the obligation to combat discrimination based on religion.”

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said during Friday’s event that the nearly 2 billion Muslims in the world reflect humanity in all its magnificent diversity but they often face bigotry and prejudice “for no other reason than their faith.”

He added that the connection between anti-Muslim hatred and gender inequality is undeniable.

“We see some of the worst impacts in the triple discrimination against, mostly, women because of their gender, ethnicity and faith,” Guterres told the gathering.

“The growing hate that Muslims face is not an isolated development. It is an inexorable part of the resurgence of ethno-nationalism, neo-Nazi white supremacist ideologies, and violence targeting vulnerable populations including Muslims, Jews, some minority-Christian communities, and others.”

He added that discrimination “diminishes us all and it is incumbent on all of us to stand up against it.”

Alateek commended the efforts of the president of the General Assembly “to strengthen the values of religious tolerance,” along with those of the secretary-general, and the office of the UN’s Alliance of Civilizations.

He concluded by pointing out the need to combat Islamophobia is part and parcel of the purpose and principles of the UN, beginning with the pursuit of peace, security and the protection of human rights.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2266391/world

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Saudi Arabia-Iran Chinese-Brokered Patch-Up Takes World by Surprise

 

China’s top diplomat Wang Yi stands as Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Secretary Ali Shamkhani and Saudi Arabia’s National Security Adviser Musaad bin Mohammed Al Aiban shake hands after historic agreement between the two countries to resume ties, on Friday.—Reuters

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March 11, 2023

TEHRAN: Regional powerhouses Iran and Saudi Arabia agreed on Friday to restore ties and reopen diplomatic missions in a surprise, Chinese-brokered announcement that could have wide-ranging implications across the Middle East.

In a trilateral statement, Tehran and Riyadh said they would reopen embassies and missions within two months and implement security and economic cooperation deals signed more than 20 years ago.

Friday’s announcement, which follows five days of previously unannounced talks in Beijing and several rounds of dialogue in Iraq and Oman, caps a broader realignment and efforts to ease tensions in the region.

“Following talks, the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have agreed to resume diplomatic relations and reopen embassies and missions within two months,” said the joint statement, which was published by both countries’ official media.

Riyadh cut ties after Iranian protesters attacked Saudi diplomatic missions in 2016 following the Saudi execution of revered Shia cleric Nimr al-Nimr — just one in a series of flashpoints between the two longstanding rivals.

The detente between Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil exporter, and Iran, a pariah for Western governments over its nuclear activities, has the potential to reshape relations across a region characterised by turbulence for decades.

The agreement, signed by Iran’s top security official, Ali Shamkhani, and Saudi Arabia’s national security adviser Musaad bin Mohammed Al Aiban, agreed to re-activate a 2001 security cooperation accord, as well as another earlier pact on trade, economy and investment.

China’s top diplomat Wang Yi described the deal as a victory for dialogue and peace, adding that Beijing would continue to play a constructive role in addressing tough global issues.

A White House national security spokesperson said Saudi Arabia, which is looking to expand its partnership with China, had kept the United States informed about the talks in Beijing but that Washington had not been directly involved.

According to the Saudi Press Agency, an agreement has been reached to resume diplomatic relations and re-open embassies and missions within a period not exceeding two months.

The agreement also includes both sides’ affirmation of the respect for the sovereignty of states and the non-interference in internal affairs of states.

They also agreed to implement the Security Cooperation Agreement and the General Agreement for Cooperation in the Fields of Economy, Trade, Investment, Technology, Science, Culture, Sports, and Youth, which was signed in 1998.

‘Hash out their differences’

“It kind of sets the scene for the region’s two superpowers to start to hash out their differences,” said Dina Esfandiary of the International Crisis Group.

“The potential downside of that, of course, is that if they are the ones who are divvying up the region and sorting things out amongst themselves, you start to lose sight of regional contexts and grievances, which could potentially be problematic.”

Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian welcomed the rapprochement and said Tehran will “actively prepare other regional initiatives”.

“The return to normal relations between Tehran and Riyadh offers great opportunities to the two countries, the region and the Muslim world,” he tweeted.

Saudi Arabia’s top diplomat Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud said the agreement stems from the kingdom’s preference for “political solutions and dialogue” -- an approach it wants to see become the norm in the region.

Iraq, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar all hailed the announcement.

The White House too welcomed the deal, but said it remains to be seen whether the Iranians will “meet their obligations”.

The head of Lebanon’s Hezbollah, an Iran-backed militant group, called the agreement a “good development”.

“It could open new horizons in the region,” said Hassan Nasrallah, who is often critical of Saudi Arabia.

Pakistan welcomes normalisation

Pakistan also warmly welcomed the normalisation of diplomatic relations between the Saudi Arabia and Iran, facilitated by China.

In a statement issued on Friday, the Foreign Office said Pakistan firmly believed that this important diplomatic breakthrough will contribute to peace and stability in the region and beyond. “We commend the role played by China’s visionary leadership in coordinating this historic agreement which reflects the power of constructive engagement and meaningful dialogue,” it said. The statement lauded the sagacious leadership of Saudi Arabia and Iran for this very positive development.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1741556/s-arabia-iran-patch-up-takes-world-by-surprise

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Student Seen Ripping Pages from Qur'an 'A Concerning Incident of Islamophobia,' Says Ontario School Board

 

Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board says they became aware of a 'concerning' incident of Islamophobia on March 3 at Courtice Secondary School after a student damaged a copy of a Qur'an. The Qur'an had apparent damage on the front and had missing pages on the inside. (Submitted by Munawara Mazlomyar)

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Sara Jabakhanji

Mar 10, 2023

Students at a high school east of Oshawa, Ont., are taking their concerns to the school board after a video appearing to show a student tearing up pages from a Qur'an and crumpling them up began to circulate last week.

School board officials say they became aware of a "concerning incident of Islamophobia" on March 3 at Courtice Secondary School after a student damaged a Qur'an earlier that day.

"While we cannot comment on individual disciplinary actions, the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board takes all allegations of discrimination seriously and is taking immediate steps to address this very serious incident," said board chairperson Steve Russell and superintendent of education Jamila Maliha in a statement Thursday.

"The [board] will not tolerate acts of hate towards persons or symbols of faith and are resolute in our commitment to the values of equity, diversity, inclusivity and the dignity and humanity of every individual," it added.

"We are committed to repairing the harm that has been caused to the Muslim community as a result of this incident."

CBC Toronto received video appearing to show the student's actions but was unable to independently confirm its authenticity. In the video, a boy appeared to open the Qur'an, tearing out pages and crumpling them, then pointing both middle fingers at it.

Qur'an taken at event meant to fight Islamophobia, says student

Munawara Mazlomyar, a Grade 12 student at the school, said the incident left her "stunned."

She said the school's Muslim Student Association (MSA) held an event that day called "Ask a Muslim a question," to engage with non-Muslim students about the religion and try and tackle Islamophobia.

"We had Qur'ans in English translation displayed because we wanted anyone who was interested in learning about our religion to be able to take it and read about it," Mazlomyar said.

Mazlomyar said a student grabbed one of the Qur'ans on display and that video later emerged of the same student ripping and crumpling pages from it. She said the student also encouraged others to put the book down their pants.

"I was extremely upset. I felt heartbroken because the the reason we had them on display was for people to gain knowledge about Islam."

Mazlomyar said as a visibly Muslim woman, the incident made her feel unsafe at the school.

Mazlomyar said students should have been made aware of the incident by school administration before finding out about what happened on social media or by word of mouth. She is now calling on the school and board to launch an educational campaign to counter Islamophobia and allow for classroom discussions on the issue.

Education minister condemns incident

Ontario's Education Minister Stephen Lecce condemned the actions on Friday.

"I don't want any child, particularly Muslim children in that school or around the province or country to be disheartened," Lecce said at a news conference unrelated to the incident.

"We believe in them, we support them and we're going to continue to fund the organizations that advocate for them so that we don't see these circumstances happen again."

Lecce added that he is pleased that the government continues to fund the Muslim Association of Canada to help train staff and for students to counter Islamophobia.

The school board meanwhile says it will continue to consult community groups for feedback and support the students and staff affected.

"As part of our next steps in response to this issue, we have reached out to several community groups to work collaboratively, answer questions and concerns, andhear their suggestions about how to repair the harm that this incident has caused," the statement reads.

Source: CBC

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

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/quran-torn-students-courtice-secondary-school-1.6774702

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Class 10 History Book Taught In Pakistan: Jammu Muslim Genocide by Hindus; India Upset Balance of Power in Region

 

The chapter explicitly on ‘Indo-Pak Relations’ pitches the Kashmir issue as the major reason behind the two nations not being able to develop friendly relations. Representational pic/ANI

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MARCH 10, 2023

Squarely blaming India for disturbing “balance of power” in the region with nuclear tests, accusing Hindus of “organizing Muslim genocide" and of not letting the Kashmir issue settle: the class 10 history book taught in Pakistani schools runs India down as a nation while wrongly portraying historical events. News18 has accessed the textbook, which is developed in line with the national curriculum, published by National Book Foundation (Federal Textbook Board, Islamabad).

The history book titled ‘Pakistani Studies-II’ dives into the administration and formation of successive governments in the state including its relations with the world and immediate neighbours where it repeatedly blames India for disturbing peace in the region. The book is full of similar anti-India and anti-Hindu content.

The first chapter on steps taken by the Nawaz Sharif government to resolve the “Kashmir dispute" labels India “arrogant”. “India was officially invited to resolve the Kashmir dispute, but these efforts did not succeed due to Indian arrogance. Hindu extremists demolished the historic Babri Masjid in 1992 and the National Assembly of Pakistan condemned this brutal incident by passing a resolution,” the text reads.

Further, the book not only blames India for “disturbing the balance of power in the region” but also accuses it of forcing Pakistan to launch a series of nuclear tests. “India conducted three nuclear tests in Pokhran on May 11, 1998, this disturbed balance of power in the region. The government of Pakistan was hard-pressed to reciprocate. Nawaz Sharif made a historic decision to withstand all global pressure and go nuclear. Six nuclear tests conducted at Chaghi (Balochistan) on May 28, 1998, made Pakistan the 7th nuclear power of the world and the first one in the Muslim World. This historic event shattered Indian dreams of hegemony in the region,” it says.

The next chapter on Pakistan’s relations with its neighbours has a line that reads: “Afghanistan on the west and India on the east, are the two neighbours which have always created problems for us.”

The chapter on the history of the “Kashmir dispute" accuses “Hindus and Sikhs of organising genocide against the Muslim population”.

The textbook reads: “Under the Third June Partition Plan, rulers of the princely states were given final authority to decide the future of their respective states….Gandhi, Pandit Nehru and Viceroy Lord Mountbatten also pressurized the Maharaja of Kashmir for accession to India. The Maharaja started to disarm the Muslims living in the areas adjacent to the Punjab border, Poonch and Jammu areas. The Maharaja deployed his troops in the area. The Hindus and the Sikhs started organized genocide of the Muslim population. Half a million Muslims were expelled from their homes in the Hindu and Sikh majority areas of Jammu. Two hundred thousand Muslims lost their lives probably due to cold weather or epidemics, nobody knows how many of them were slaughtered on their way to west Punjab. Those who reach the west Punjab were in miserable condition.”

The chapter explicitly on ‘Indo-Pak Relations’ pitches the Kashmir issue as the major reason behind the two nations not being able to develop friendly relations. The blame for the issue, however, has been entirely put on India including that of the partition of East Pakistan in 1971 (currently Bangladesh).

Sample this: “History of conflict between India and Pakistan due to Kashmir issue dates back to the days of partition in 1947. Due to this issue, the two countries could never develop good neighbourly relations with each other. As soon as, after partition, the Indian forces occupied Kashmir against the will of the people of Kashmir and the unrest in Kashmir turned into full scale revolt. India played a key role in the separation of East Pakistan as well. Indian propaganda about West Pakistan’s exploitation of East Pakistan infused hatred in the people of East Pakistan which resulted in a full scale rebellion in the province and ultimate dismemberment of Pakistan. In 1971 East Pakistan was separated from West Pakistan and a battle between Indian and Pakistani forces was fought on western front as well.”

It then goes on to delve into the history of the Kashmir Issue, tracing it back to undivided India and showing it in a poor light while making anti-Hindu statements at the same time. “The 1947 partition was based on the principle of Hindu and Muslim majority areas, but unfortunately the Hindu Raja of Kashmir did not allow Muslim majority states to be annexed with Pakistan. Obviously the Muslim majority population wanted the state to be a part of Pakistan.”

It further stresses that Kashmir is important to Pakistan due to its “Muslim identity”.

“The Kashmir issue has always been a source of confrontation between India and Pakistan, but India is not ready to give Kashmir people their right of self-determination. Kashmir is like Pakistan’s jugular vein. Geographically, Kashmir has always been a part of the area which is now Pakistan. Above all, Kashmir is important for Pakistan due to its Muslim identity.”

The school textbook even goes to the extent of including Kashmir in the list of states/nations in the world for whose liberation Pakistan has been raising its voice. Under the subhead, ‘Pakistan and World Affairs’, the textbook reads: “During this period Pakistan raised voice in the favour of all these nations. Pakistan’s diplomatic efforts for the right of self-determination of the people of Indonesia, Libya, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Eritrea, Kashmir and Palestine, will always be remembered.”

Prof H Senapaty, who works at NCERT’s regional wing at Bhubaneswar, said that history books for any nation or society cannot show any other nation, religion or its people in a negative light. It has to be just facts and their elaboration, without any exaggeration. “In India, our approach to developing school curriculum is clear cut to be objective. Especially, textbook content on sensitive issues such as Kashmir or partition has to be entirely just on facts, without drawing any interpretations.”

Source: News18

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

https://www.news18.com/india/jammu-muslim-genocide-by-hindus-india-upset-balance-of-power-in-region-what-pak-teaches-kids-exclusive-7257247.html

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Over 500 People Graduate from Jihadist Religious Schools in Helmand in Afghanistan

 

Taliban officials reported on Friday that more than 500 people have graduated from Jihadist schools in Helmand, Laghman, and Sar-e-Pol provinces.

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By Nizamuddin Rezahi

March 10, 2023

Taliban officials reported on Friday that more than 500 people have graduated from Jihadist schools in Helmand, Laghman, and Sar-e-Pol provinces.

Bakhtar News Agency has reported that 300 people in Helmand, 160 in Laghman, and 50 others in northern Sar-e-Pol province have graduated from religious schools.

Following the collapse of the previous government, the Taliban-run Administration has focused on establishing Jihadist schools across Afghanistan.

Over the past 18 months, the ruling regime has also incorporated several religious subjects into the school curriculum and removed certain other courses that seemed unnecessary for the Taliban group.

According to the statements of the Minister of Education of the Taliban, the group is going to establish three to ten religious schools in each district throughout the country. 

A decree attributed to Hibatullah Akhundzada, Taliban Supreme leader, reveals that each religious school will have ten teachers and eight staff members – which will train between 500-1000 students each semester. 

It is also reported that each student at the Jihadi school receives 150 Afghanis per day. Additionally, each teacher at religious schools will receive between 15,000-25,000 Afghanis as a monthly salary, whereas, a teacher with an undergraduate degree receives only 9,000 Afghanis. 

Educationists and experts believe that the Taliban-run administration has drastically modified school and university curricula. They have completely removed certain subjects, which can negatively affect students in mastering modern subjects and will eventually lack competitiveness in the job market.

Since the return of the Taliban to power in August 2021, the de facto authorities have imposed restrictions on the rights of women and girls to attend education and work, which prompted worldwide criticism. Instead of easing or removing the gender-based bans, the group emphasizes establishing more and more Madrasas (religious schools) across the country.

Source: Khaama Press

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

https://www.khaama.com/over-500-people-graduate-from-jihadist-schools-in-afghanistan/

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Arab World

 

Nasrallah: Tehran-Riyadh rapprochement can open up new horizons in region

10 March 2023

Hezbollah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah has welcomed a surprise Chinese-brokered deal between Iran and Saudi Arabia to restore bilateral ties severed in 2016, saying it could open new horizons throughout the region, including Lebanon.

Nasrallah, who was speaking in a televised address aired on Friday, said the Iranian-Saudi reconciliation announced earlier in the day is a “good development” that will not be at the expense of the region’s peoples.

“An Iranian-Saudi rapprochement won’t be at the expense of Yemen, Syria and the resistance,” he said.

“It’s an important development, of course, and if it proceeds in its natural course it could open up horizons in the entire region, including in Lebanon,” he added.

After several days of intensive negotiations hosted by China, Iran and Saudi Arabia finally clinched a deal on Friday to restore diplomatic relations and re-open embassies, seven years after ties were severed over several issues.

‘No one can impose president on Lebanese’

Commenting on Hezbollah’s recent nomination of Suleiman Franjieh as the party’s candidate for the presidential race, Nasrallah said nominating a candidate for the election is the “natural and legal” obligation of any political party.

“We have called for dialogue over the president and no one has the right to prevent anyone from nominating anyone,” Nasrallah said.

The Hezbollah chief added that no party or individual had the right to impose their candidate on the Lebanese people.

“Some claimed that we want to impose a president on the Lebanese and Christians, but this is not the case,” he clarified. “If a country helps Lebanon, that does not grant it the right to impose a president.”

“We welcome any foreign assistance but we do not accept dictations,” Nasrallah asserted.

Syria at heart of Axis of Resistance: Nasrallah

Regarding the developments in neighboring countries, the prominent Lebanese figure said that what happens in Syria and Palestine reflects on the regional countries and has a strong impact on Lebanon in particular.

“Speaking about the present and future of Syria is like speaking about the present and future of Lebanon,” Nasrallah said.

He said that if the Daesh Takfiri terrorists, who had seized huge swathes of land in Syria and Iraq from 2014 to 2017, had remained in the region, it would have affected Lebanon as well.

“Had Syria fallen into the hands of Daesh, al-Nusra and the terrorists in the global war, what would have been the position of Lebanon and its people?” Nasrallah asked the Lebanese people.

The Hezbollah chief went on to dismiss recent rumors in diplomatic circles about growing division in the resistance front. It is not true that Syria will “leave the Axis of Resistance” in order to “join the Arab fold,” he commented. “Syria is at the heart of the Axis of Resistance.”

He reiterated that the developments in Palestine affected the Lebanese people in all various aspects. “Everything that happens in Palestine affects our country, its sovereignty, and its future,” he said.

“Imagine if Israel was strong and could impose its will on the entire region. Would the Lebanese have dreamed of oil and gas?” Nasrallah added.

In a gathering in Beirut on Wednesday night, Nasrallah pointed out that the resistance front was more powerful today than ever before.

The leader of Hezbollah, who was meeting with a large group of influential figures from various Arabic and Islamic countries, including intellectuals, politicians, and media celebrities, asserted that the axis of resistance had become strong enough to confront any aggressor threatening the nations in the region.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2023/03/10/699644/Nasrallah-Tehran-Riyadh-deal-can-open-new-horizons-region

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UAE, Iraq Kurdistan Region leaders discuss ties, Erbil-Baghdad relations in Abu Dhabi

10 March ,2023

UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan discussed diplomatic relations with Iraq’s Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani in Abu Dhabi on Thursday.

The Emirates News Agency reported on Thursday that the two leaders “reviewed the prospects of advancing cooperation between the two sides.”

The meeting, which was held at the Qasr al-Shati palace, discussed the situation in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region, Erbil-Baghdad relations and investment opportunities, a statement released by the Presidency of the Kurdistan Region said.

“…both sides agreed that the resolution of the Erbil-Baghdad issues will help establish political and economic stability in Iraq and will open up broader prospects for progress,” the statement said.

They exchanged views on the latest developments in the region and “stressed the importance of strengthening cooperation among all parties to maintain peace and stability and to resolve conflicts,” it added.

The leaders also discussed investment opportunities for UAE private sector and expanding trade exchanges of the UAE with Iraq and the Kurdistan Region.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/gulf/2023/03/10/UAE-Iraq-Kurdistan-region-leaders-discuss-ties-Erbil-Baghdad-relations-in-Abu-Dhabi

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Temperatures in Middle East rise twice as fast as global average, GCC countries act

10 March ,2023

The Middle East and the Eastern Mediterranean are facing rising temperatures almost twice as quickly as the rest of the world, according to a report by The Cyprus Institute’s Climate and Atmosphere Research Center and the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry.

Findings conclude that the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region will see an increase of five degree Celsius in overall temperatures in the next 100 years if no considerable action is immediately taken by countries to remedy the situation.

Extreme weather conditions such as the deadly flash floods in Fujairah in the UAE, extensive droughts, natural disasters such as the series of earthquakes in Turkey, and generally low ground water levels can all be seen as indicators of the ways in which climate change can affect populations in the region.

It bodes all stakeholders well to remember that issues concerning climate change are more intersectional than they may seem at first sight. The effects of climate change can be seen on both the economy and society in terms of housing crises, reduced food security, shortage of potable water, rising crime rates, and an adverse influence on primary sectors such as fishing, agriculture, forestry, and mining.

Climate change, despite the polarized opinions or because of them, has reached an un-ignorable stage. In fact, a global poll by the United Nations’ Children’s Fund (UNICEF) revealed that climate change has made young people across the world reconsider their plans for parenthood, underlining their uncertainty about the future of the planet.

What makes matters worse specifically in the Middle East and the larger Global South are the instances of armed conflict across Afghanistan to Somalia, Mali to Yemen, and Palestine to Israel. When risks involved with climate change and extreme weather conditions are combined with the effects of war, the consequences are multiplied several folds – making vulnerable populations in these conflict zones even more exposed to the drastic impact of climate change.

According to the study, what makes the Middle East more susceptible to higher rises in temperatures than some other parts of the world are geographical features such as large expanses of desert and lower ground water levels.

The good news

The silver lining is that the Middle East has the knowledge, resources, and distinct opportunity to take a global leadership role in climate technology, which can exponentially define the region’s response to climate change and curtail the adverse effects of it on everyday lives of the people living in the Middle East.“The region has nature-given advantages including some of the most competitive solar energy output in the world that make it a very low-cost producer of renewable energy,” said Dr. Yahya Anouti.

The run up to COP28 in the UAE is another optimistic step in the right direction as private and public entities in the country continue to launch programs that address climate change issues.

Earlier this year, Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC) announced its ‘Climate Finance Training Series’ aimed at helping financial services practitioners understand the “COP28 process, global trends in climate finance and best practice approaches to developing and implementing the net zero strategies.”

Given the region’s current economic dependence on crude oil and the complex nuances concerning both energy consumption and production in the region, a goal for net zero strategies is challenging but necessary.

The UAE Net Zero 2050 initiative is a national campaign to reach net-zero emissions by the year 2050. The initiative is in line with the Paris Agreement, which focuses on reducing greenhouse gases and limiting the rise in global temperatures.

With the $500 billion mega project NEOM, Saudi Arabia is embarking on its own journey to fight against the effects of climate change. NEOM’s ethos includes being a “blueprint for tomorrow in which humanity progresses without compromise to the health of the planet.”

Recently, NEOM also announced plans to train Saudi chefs to work in what is being deemed as the “world’s most food self-sufficient city.” In collaboration with the ethical food project CARE, the plan is to oversee that the “journey of food from the planet to the plate” is carried out with the utmost care for the natural environment – minimizing any contribution to exacerbating climate change issues.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/03/10/Temperatures-in-Middle-East-rise-twice-as-fast-as-global-average-GCC-countries-act

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UAE sends 14 tonnes of aid to Ukraine

11 March ,2023

The UAE sent 14 tonnes of aid for war-ravaged Ukraine on Friday.

The aid delivery included blankets, LED bulbs and personal care supplies, the Emirates News Agency reported.

“These supplies are part of the UAE’s ongoing humanitarian assistance aimed at alleviating the suffering of the Ukrainian people amid the crisis,” the report said.

The delivery will be sent to the Polish capital city of Warsaw before making its way to Ukraine.

In October of last year, the UAE announced a $100 million of aid for Ukrainians.

The UAE sent 11 aircrafts carrying approximately 550 tonnes of relief supplies.

At least 2,520 generators and six ambulances have been delivered to support Ukrainians, both in the country and for refugees in neighboring Poland, Moldova, and Bulgaria.

Polish President Andrzej Duda met with UAE leaders during an official trip to the Gulf country this week. The war in Ukraine was discussed, with Poland’s president thanking his Emirati counterpart for supporting refugees.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/gulf/2023/03/11/UAE-sends-14-tonnes-of-aid-to-Ukraine

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North America

 

US welcomes China-backed Saudi-Iranian deal to restore ties, White House says

10 March ,2023

The US welcomes the recent agreement between Saudi Arabia and Iran to re-establish ties and has “long encouraged direct dialogue” between the two, a White House official said Friday.

Saudi Arabia and Iran said that they had agreed to restore diplomatic ties, reopen embassies and exchange ambassadors within two months, the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported,

“Generally speaking, we welcome any efforts to help end the war in Yemen and de-escalate tensions in the Middle East region,” a National Security Council official told Al Arabiya English. “De-escalation and diplomacy together with deterrence are key pillars of the policy President Biden outlined during his visit to the region last year.”

Saudi Arabia severed ties with Iran after two of its diplomatic posts were attacked in Tehran and Mashhad in 2016.

In the latest agreement, Riyadh and Tehran vowed to activate a security cooperation agreement signed in 2001 and the trade, economy and investment agreement signed in 1998. According to the statement, China’s President Xi Jinping had made an initiative to host and sponsor talks between delegates from Iran and Saudi Arabia to resolve disputes via dialogue and diplomacy.

The NSC official said the US had “long encouraged direct dialogue and diplomacy to help reduce tensions and reduce risks of conflict.”

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/03/10/US-welcomes-Saudi-Iranian-agreement-to-restore-ties

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Iran-Saudi détente spells a ‘catastrophe for US hegemony’: Analyst

10 March 2023

An American geostrategic analyst and writer has said that the restoration of diplomatic relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia is “a catastrophe for US hegemony, which is founded on permanent instability between any potential allies and competitors.”

After several days of intensive negotiations hosted by China, Iran and Saudi Arabia reached an agreement on Friday to restore diplomatic relations and re-open embassies in each other’s countries; seven years after ties were severed over several issues.

Daniel Patrick Welch said in an interview with Press TV on Friday, “It's huge.”

“Without the Shia-Sunni split for the US to exploit, where the world could be headed?” he asked poignantly. 

“The US and its imperial watchmen never sleep, and are always on the lookout for things like this. Their fake veneer of ‘diplomacy’ and ‘values’ are, in fact, the very opposite of what they portend. China's role is the hallmark of a new era. Without having to rely on two-faced US ‘diplomats’ who are, usually, largely managing their own interests, nations, societies and cultures at odds could--gasp!--instead of spending trillions on destroying each other, might actually work...dare we say it, together?... for the advancement of humankind,” he stated.

“By contrast, the US, brimming with the hubris of an out-of-touch rich uncle, treats this role with none of the same sincerity. Like strolling into Kazakhstan and saying things like 'we are a leader in Asia,'” the analyst noted.

“Or, another example would be to use brazen acts of terror and violence--like blowing up gas pipelines between Russia and Germany--to turn potential allies into adversaries at war. Backstabbing acts of evil which turn out to be the distress signal of a dying empire,” Welch concluded.

Iran and Saudi Arabia reached an agreement in the Chinese capital of Beijing to restore their diplomatic relations and re-open embassies and missions.

The deal was struck on Friday following intensive negotiations between Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani and his Saudi counterpart in Beijing. It was officially announced in a joint statement by Iran, Saudi Arabia and China.

The statement was inked by Shakhani, Musaid Al Aiban, Saudi Arabia’s national security adviser, and Wang Yi, the director of the Office of the Central Foreign Affairs Commission of the Chinese Communist Party.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2023/03/10/699650/Iran-Saudi-d%C3%A9tente-spells-%E2%80%98catastrophe-for-US-hegemony%E2%80%99

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China to US: Stop plundering Syrian resources, pull troops out

10 March 2023

China has called on the United States to stop plundering the natural resources in Syria and withdraw its military forces from the country.

"We call on the United States to sincerely respect the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of other countries, and to immediately stop its illegal military presence and marauding in Syria," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning told a news briefing on Friday.

China also urged the US to lift the illegal sanctions slapped on Syria and to stop all actions that exacerbate the humanitarian crisis in the country.

"The United States has illegally intervened in military activities related to the Syrian crisis, which has led to the death of a large number of innocent civilians and a serious humanitarian disaster," Mao said, adding that his government calls on the US authorities to lift "illegal unilateral sanctions" against Syria and to stop actions that aggravate the humanitarian situation in the country.

According to the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, since 2014 the Syrian crisis in the country has resulted in at least 350,000 people losing their lives in the violence, and 14 million being in dire need of humanitarian aid.

In the meantime, the US Congress on Thursday rejected a bill calling for the exit of US occupation troops from Syria.

The majority of US House lawmakers, 321 to 103, voted against the Syria War Powers resolution which required US President Joe Biden to bring American troops home within 180 days.

The rejected bill, which was introduced by Florida Republican lawmaker Matt Gaetz, followed a recent incident in which four American soldiers were wounded while conducting a raid in the Arab country.

Gaetz slammed US lawmakers for voting against the bill, insisting that the US Congress had never authorized military action in Syria in the first place.

“There is no role for the United States of America in Syria. We are not a Middle Eastern power. We have tried to build a democracy out of the sand, blood, and Arab militias,” Gaetz said.

“Time and again, the work we do does not reduce chaos. Oftentimes, it causes chaos – the very chaos that then subsequently leads to terrorism. While today’s vote may have failed, my fight to end forever wars and bring our troops home has only just begun,” he added.

Gaetz further noted that several prior Inspector General Reports have concluded that a resurgence of Daesh in Syria is “unlikely,” instead claiming that the American presence has served as a “recruiting tool” for the terrorist group. 

US-led occupation forces invaded Syria in 2014 under the pretext of the emergence of the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group which had seized huge swathes of land in both Syria and neighboring Iraq and aimed to overrun Iran as well.

It took over three years for the national Iraqi and Syrian armies to liberate the areas from the grip of the world’s most notorious terrorist group.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2023/03/10/699630/China-US-Syria-Chinese-Foreign-Ministry-spokesperson-Mao-Ning-

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Dozens of NGOs warn Biden against supporting Israel against Iran

10 March 2023

Forty-five NGOs have urged US President Joe Biden to reject the remarks made by American ambassador to Israel Tom Nides who had said Washington would back Israel in “whatever action” they take against Iran.

In a letter, the organizations called on Biden to “clarify that these comments do not reflect US policy towards Iran for the sake of regional stability, future diplomacy, and respect for Congress’ constitutional responsibility for war powers.”

The NGOs expressed concern that the Israeli far-right cabinet would “perceive these remarks as tacit approval for military action, even when such action most likely will damage US national security interests, further embroil our military in regional conflict, and prevent future diplomacy.”

The warning comes as the US diplomat had recently said “Israel can and should do whatever they need to deal with [Iran] and we’ve got their back.”

The Israeli regime has on numerous occasions threatened to carry out attacks against Iranian facilities and infrastructure, claiming that Iran was close to building nuclear weapons.

The NGOs further asked Biden to express “opposition to the military option known, publicly and privately,” warning that aggression by Israel would lead to a broader regional war. “Publicly or even privately offering unconditional US support for unspecified military action by Israel, or any ally, sets an extremely dangerous precedent and risks further escalation,” they wrote.

“Ambassador Nides’ loose talk raises concerns that the administration may again ignore Congress’ constitutional role, and the public’s clear preference, by rushing into a conflict over which the people and their representatives have no say,” they added.

They also said that it is “confounding that Ambassador Nides implied that Israel’s unilateral decision-making would bind US foreign policy. The United States should never outsource its foreign policy to other states – to do so would be highly irresponsible and an abdication of the government’s responsibility to protect the American people.”

Meanwhile, there are reports that the Biden administration has drawn closer to Israel in recent weeks, conducting large-scale joint military exercises with the regime.

Israel, which possesses nuclear weapons and has refused to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), has made various covert attempts in recent years to sabotage Iran’s peaceful nuclear program by assassinating Iranian scientists and carrying out cowardly attacks on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

This is while Iran showed to the world the peaceful nature of its nuclear program by signing the JCPOA in 2015 with six world powers — the US, Germany, France, Britain, Russia and China. Iran fully observed its nuclear obligations under the JCPOA until 2019, a year after the US, under Israel’s influence, withdrew from the accord and targeted Iran with a “maximum pressure” campaign.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2023/03/10/699624/Dozens-NGOs-warn-Biden-supporting-Israel-against-Iran

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India

 

Maharashtra Minister Mangal Prabhat Lodha's 1 Lakh 'Love Jihad' Cases Claim Sparks Reactions in House

Mar 11, 2023

MUMBAI: Maharashtra women and child welfare minister Mangalprabhat Lodha's recent remark that the state had experienced more than one lakh cases of "love-jihad" sparked strong reactions in the House on Friday. NCP MLA Jitendra Awhad said the data was wrong while BJP MLA Ashish Shelar demanded a law against love-jihad.

While speaking in the assembly earlier this week, Lodha had said, "Maharashtra had more than one lakh cases of love jihad which has upset society. The inter-faith marriage committee that the state government has set up does not interfere in anyone's personal life or religion. But we want to prevent another Shraddha Walkar case. This is government's responsibility."

Objecting to Lodha's statement, NCP leader Awhad told the state assembly that the minister had provided wrong information. "Lodha has said there were more than 1 lakh cases of 'love jihad'. But there have been only 3,693 inter-faith marriages, according to the records. Such wrong information from the minister can create problems in society," Awhad said. Love jihad is a term used by right-wing groups to refer to an alleged campaign by Muslim men to lure Hindu women into marrying them and converting to Islam.

BJP MLAs Yogesh Sagar and Ashish Shelar objected to Awhad's statement. "There was no reference to any community in Lodha's statement. Is Awhad advocating the side of love jihad?" Sagar asked.

Shelar said that there should be a law against love jihad. "We are not scared to speak up if a single Hindu woman is fooled in this manner or she suffers atrocities. There should be a law against love jihad." He said there was no need for Lodha to apologise. Samajwadi Party MLA Abu Asim Azmi demanded that Lodha apologise for giving wrong information. "There is nothing called love jihad. They just want to drag religion into everything," he stated. Azmi's statement led to an outburst from water supply minister Gulabrao Patil. "How can you say love jihad does not exist? There are cases in my village. Awhad is saying this because his constituency is Mumbra and he wants votes," he alleged.

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/maharashtra-minister-mangalprabhat-lodhas-1-lakh-love-jihad-cases-claim-sparks-reactions-in-house/articleshow/98553401.cms

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Indian police arrest three after Muslim man killed for possessing beef

11 March ,2023

Police in India have arrested three men in eastern Bihar state in connection with the death of a Muslim man who was attacked because he was suspected of carrying beef, a police official said on Saturday.

The victim, Naseem Qureshi, 56, died earlier this week after being attacked by a mob on suspicion of carrying beef, the sale and consumption of which is restricted in some parts of the country by local governments.

Cows are sacred in Hinduism, and there have been frequent attacks on those accused of killing them for meat or leather, predominantly people from the minority Muslim population or those on the lower rungs of India’s ancient caste system.

Hardline Hindu groups have been demanding a complete ban on cow slaughter across India.

Self-styled Hindu cow vigilante groups have taken to enforcing the law themselves ever since Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist government came to power in 2014.

Bihar is currently ruled by a regional party, and Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party sits in the opposition.

In the latest incident in the state, the victim was allegedly surrounded by over twenty people and attacked, according to a police statement in court.

Police intervened but Qureshi died on the way to the hospital, according to the statement.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/world/2023/03/11/Indian-police-arrests-three-after-Muslim-man-killed-for-possessing-beef

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Kashmir Times Editor Anuradha Bhasin’s Article, “Modi’s Final Assault On India’s Press Freedom Has Begun” In New York Times Angers Centre

Muzaffar Raina   |   Srinagar 

11.03.23

The Jammu-based editor of the Kashmir Times newspaper has in an opinion piece published in The New York Times accused the Narendra Modi government of stifling press freedom in Kashmir and the rest of India, infuriating the Centre.

Anuradha Bhasin, owner and executive editor of the Kashmir Times, has in the article suggested that Prime Minister Modi might replicate “on a national scale” the “disturbing model” executed in Jammu and Kashmir.

“His Hindu-chauvinist movement, which has normalised intolerance and violence against Indian Muslims, has already put severe pressure on India’s once-rambunctious press, with journalists shrivelled and jailed, and the government using strong-arm tactics against media outlets to ensure favourable coverage,” says the op-ed article, published on Wednesday under the headline “Modi’s final assault on India’s press freedom has begun”.

Union information and broadcasting minister Anurag Thakur on Friday slammed The New York Times but chose not to mention the author, whose newspaper was among the very few to speak out against the government clampdown on Jammu and Kashmir after the dilution of Article 370 in August 2019. Bhasin had challenged in the Supreme Court the communication blockade imposed in the region in 2019.

Bhasin’s article in NYT says:  “In January, draft amendments to digital media guidelines were introduced that would essentially allow the government to block any content it doesn’t like.”

“An ignorant public and a government free of scrutiny and accountability are threats to democracy. But Modi appears intent on replicating this across India. The proposed amendments to national guidelines for digital media that were unveiled in January are strikingly similar to those imposed on Kashmir, empowering government fact-checkers to label online content as fake or false.

“Days after those changes were announced, the government ordered online platforms to block links to India: The Modi Question, a BBC documentary critical of the Prime Minister. Indian tax agents later raided the British broadcaster’s offices in India. Such raids have been used repeatedly to pressure critical voices in the media.”

Bhasin recently released her maiden book, A Dismantled State: The Untold Story of Kashmir After Article 370. She is presently in the US.

In her opinion piece, she has accused Modi of systematically debasing India’s democratic ideals, bending courts and other institutions to his will. “The media stands as one of the last remaining institutions capable of preventing India’s descent into authoritarianism. But if Modi succeeds in introducing the Kashmir model of information control to the rest of the country, it won’t be just press freedom that is at risk, but Indian democracy itself,” she says.

On Friday, Union minister Thakur tweeted:  “New York Times had long back dropped all pretensions of neutrality while publishing anything about India.” “NYT’s so called opinion piece on freedom of press in Kashmir is mischievous & fictitious, published with a sole motive to spread propaganda about India and its democratic institutions and values.”

The minister added: “This is in continuation with what NYT and a few other link-minded (sic) foreign media have been spreading lies about India and our democratically elected Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modiji. “Such lies can’t last long. Some foreign media nourishing a grudge against India and our Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi have long been systematically trying to peddle lies about our democracy and pleuritic (sic) society.” Thakur said that in India, media freedom was “as sacrosanct as other fundamental rights”.

“Democracy in India and We the people are very matured and we don’t need to learn grammar of democracy from such agenda driven media. Blatant lies spread by NYT abt press freedom in Kashmir is condemnable. Indians will not allow such mind-sets to run their decisive agenda on India soil,” he tweeted.

Bhasin has been trolled vigorously over the article by the Right-wing ecosystem, which has not spared her late father Ved Bhasin, an eminent journalist who supported independence for Kashmir.

Kashmir Times, the oldest English daily in Jammu and Kashmir, is headquartered in Jammu but also ran an edition from Srinagar. But it had to close its Srinagar edition a few months after the August 2019 clampdown because of a financial crunch, having been starved of government advertisements in an apparent act of reprisal.

In October 2020, the administration sealed the newspaper’s Srinagar office, which operated from government space allotted to the daily in 1993 along with some other newspapers and journalists.

Bhasin had called it a vendetta against her decision to approach the Supreme Court and for constantly talking about the curbs on civil liberties and lack of democratic space in Kashmir.

Bhasin’s NYT piece details the ordeal Jammu and Kashmir’s journalists faced after August 2019, when physical movement and Internet access were curbed.

“The shutdown lasted nearly six months, forcing hundreds of journalists to line up for hours to file their stories via a single designated site that had Internet access. Each had 15 minutes to do so. Internet speeds have been excruciatingly slow since,” the article says.

“Journalists are routinely summoned by police, interrogated and threatened with charges such as income tax violations or terrorism or separatism. Several prominent journalists have been detained or sentenced to jail terms.”

Bhasin writes that journalists work under a cloud of fear. “In late 2021, I spoke to a journalist, Sajad Gul, who was being harassed for his reporting. Fearing arrest, he told me he slept fully dressed each night and kept his shoes at his bedside — unusual in Kashmir, where shoes are customarily removed before entering a home — in case he had to make a quick getaway. He was arrested in January last year and remains in custody,” the article says.

“Many journalists self-censor or have simply quit. Fearing arrest, some have fled into exile overseas. The Indian government has put at least 20 others on no-fly lists to prevent them from leaving the country.” While the opinion piece has triggered a debate in the country and outside, most Valley journalists chose not to share or comment on it, perhaps for the fear of being hounded. The article mentions how the Srinagar office of the Kashmir Times was raided on October 19, 2020, evening while “its reporters and photographers rushed to meet deadlines”.

“Government officials and police swept into the offices in Srinagar, chased out the staff and locked the door that remains to this day,” it says. “The raid was punishment for daring to question the policies of PM Modi. The newspaper has been an independent voice in J&K since it was founded by my father in 1954, weathering tumultuous decades of war and military occupation. It may not survive Mr Modi. His repressive media policies are destroying Kashmiri journalism, intimidating media outlets into serving as government mouthpieces and creating an information vacuum in our region of about 13 million people.”

Bhasin claimed that Kashmiri journalism had flowered against heavy odds in the past but all of “that has disappeared under Mr Modi, whose government aims to silence any separatist voices or those advocating conciliation or a negotiated settlement in Kashmir”.

“Kashmiri newspapers are heavily reliant on government advertising and media subsidies, and the government uses that leverage to ensure that those newspapers tell the officially approved version of the truth. Today, few Kashmir news outlets dare to question official policy, and many have become blatant government mouthpieces just to stay in business,” Bhasin’s article says. “An information vacuum hangs over Kashmir, with the public under-informed — or misinformed — about what’s going on in the region. Important news is suppressed, downplayed or twisted to suit government ends.” Qazi Irshad, a photojournalist with the Kashmir Times, said that while the newspaper’s Srinagar office was shut, its Jammu office operated with skeletal staff. “Some two dozen staff lost their jobs when the print edition was closed here (in Srinagar),” he told The Telegraph.

“The tragedy is that when the government recently opened the (locks of the) Srinagar office, I happened to be around and accompanied them. I found all the things — old files, equipment including a generator worth lakhs — missing from one of the two buildings. I spoke to the editor who asked me to file a complaint with the police, which I did.

Source: Telegraph India

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

https://www.telegraphindia.com/india/kashmir-times-editors-article-in-new-york-times-angers-centre/cid/1921724

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South Asia

 

Bangladesh: 189 Houses, 50 Shops Of Ahmadi Muslims Looted And Set On Fire, Says Bitter Winter Report

9 March, 2023

Dhaka [Bangladesh], March 9 (ANI): In another attack on minorities, 189 houses and 50 shops of Ahmadi Muslims were either looted or set on fire in northern Bangladesh, in the city of Ahmednagar in Panchagarh district, the Bitter Winter reported.

In a previous incident in a grim sequence of events, Jahid Hasan, a young man around 25 years of age, was clobbered to death on March 3. An Ahmadi Muslim, Hasan was murdered on the day of the inauguration of the 98th annual convention of Bangladeshi Ahmadi Muslims in the city of Ahmednagar in Panchagarh district, the Bitter Winter reported.

Jahid Ahmadi was trying to protect the convention grounds from the aggression of a large group of thugs, and his assassination followed attacks over three nights, the report said, adding that four other Ahmadis were also hospitalised in critical condition while more than 100 suffered injuries.

The Ahmadiya Mosque of Darul Wahid Mohalla neighbourhood and the Ahmadiya Medical Clinic and Laboratory was set ablaze, the report stated further, adding that 189 houses and 50 shops belonging to Ahmadi Muslims were looted or set on fire. Alarmingly, all these incidents took place in broad daylight and under the eyes of the police, the Bitter Winter reported.

The detailed news of this extended violence and killing was broadcast by the International Human Rights Committee (IHRC), a non-profit and non-governmental organisation focusing on freedom of religion or belief based in London.

The IHRC confirmed that the mob, which stormed the Ahmadi convention, was incited by the preaching of extremist Sunni Muslim clerics, who consider the Ahmadis heretics.

IHRC was also alerted to rumours of imminent attacks against the Ahmadiya Centers of Nasirabad, Kafuria, Islam Ganj and Borchor in Bangladesh on 10, 2023, the report stated.

This was an unacceptable episode of persecution against believers, motivated by intolerance and hatred, which no religious doctrine can allow and no theological dispute should justify, the Bitter Winter reported.

Some schools of Islamic thought consider Ahmadis as non-Muslims.

Further, according to the report, the situation of the Ahmadis in Pakistan turned unbearable in the first half of the 1980s, compelling many to leave or suffer harsh discrimination and open persecution.

The government of Pakistan discriminates against the Ahmadiya Muslims in several forms, with gangs of violent people encouraged to attack them in the streets openly, beat them, and even kill them, often in front of police officers who do not intervene, the Bitter Winter reported.

Unlike Pakistan, Bangladesh has no state law discriminating against Ahmadiyas or declaring them non-Muslims. But there are fanatics who replicate the situation of Pakistan, whose Islamic fundamentalists are a source of inspiration for their Bangladeshi counterparts, the report said.

Pakistan, which is home to a Sunni majority, was born out of the Partition of India in 1947. The erstwhile East Bengal or East Pakistan also suffered the same fate.
Source: The Print

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

https://theprint.in/world/bangladesh-189-houses-50-shops-of-ahmadi-muslims-looted-and-set-on-fire-says-report-2/1430214/

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Afghan Caretaker Government Calls on UN to Give Afghan Seat to Islamic Emirate

By Mohammad Farshad Daryosh

The Afghan caretaker government called on the UN to give the seat of Afghanistan to its designated ambassador.

It has been more than 19 months since the Islamic Emirate came to power but the seat for Afghanistan in the UN has been held by the former deputy ambassador to the UN who is currently the chargé d'affaires of the Afghanistan Permanent Mission to the UN.

The Islamic Emirate’s spokesman, Zabiulllah Mujahid, said that chargé d'affaires of the Afghanistan Permanent Mission to the UN, Naseer Ahmad Faiq, cannot represent the Islamic Emirate and that the seat should be given to the caretaker government.

“Regarding the Afghan seat in the UN, it is our right to be represented in the UN. Also, Afghanistan’s assets which are frozen by the US also belong to Afghans. It (US) in exchange for ending its war and invasion is now using hateful policies,” he said.

The Islamic Emirate in September 2021 appointed Suhail Shaheen, who is currently heading up the political office in Qatar, as Afghanistan’s ambassador to the UN.

“The Afghanistan seat in the UN should be handed over to the Taliban because the Taliban are ruling in the territory. The UN had a clear message for the Taliban, that if they reopened the doors of the schools for the girls, they would give the seat to the Taliban,” said Aziz Maarij, a former diplomat.

But the question is why this seat has not yet been handed over to the Islamic Emirate.

“In the UN ... there are official conditions for recognition of Afghanistan. The rights of women, including their work and education, are a vital part of it and should be implemented in Afghanistan so that the UN can recognize Afghanistan,” said Toreq Farhadi, a political analyst.

Source: Tolo News

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

https://tolonews.com/afghanistan-182431

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181 Afghan Inmates Handed Over To Islamic Emirate by Iranian Officials

10 March 2023

Iranian officials handed over at least 181 Afghan inmates to the Islamic Emirate at the Islam Qala Port, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

The Afghan caretaker government reached an agreement with Iran to hand over the Afghan inmates in Iran’ prisons.

The deputy spokesman for the Foreign Ministry, Hafiz Zia Ahmad Takal, said that including these prisoners the total number of inmates transferred from Iranian prisons to the Islamic Emirate in the last week is around 900.

An agreement was made about transferring Afghan inmates who were in prisons in Iran. This is a good step but it needs to continue,” said Asifa, a refugees' rights activist.

Takal said that following negotiations with Iran, it was decided that the Iranian government would hand over a large number of Afghan prisoners to the Afghan government.

“Either a refugee or a migrant who is committing a crime, the host country has the right to arrest him/her based on international laws with access to a lawyer,” said Shakir Hayat, a political analyst.

The prison sentences of each inmate will be considered by courts in Afghanistan.

“The return of the criminal is allowed in the international judicial system. International countries can exchange the criminals or perpetrators based on an agreement," said Abdulhbib Wafa, legal analyst.

“Addressing the case of the citizens abroad is good, but there should be a guarantee that these inmates should not face treatment based on tribal and ethnic diversity and they should be treated without any political hatred," said Nisar Ahmad Shirzai, military veteran.

Source: Tolo News

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

https://tolonews.com/afghanistan-182437

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Explosion Rocks Kabul City, Two People Injured

By Fidel Rahmati

March 10, 2023

The Kabul police’s spokesman, Khalid Zadran, acknowledged an explosion in the city’s fifth district of Kabul on Friday evening.

The blast occurred at the intersection of Spin Kelly in the Khushal Khan Mina area, fifth district of Kabul, where two people were injured.

The police forces have gone to the place for investigation, Zadran said.

During the last week, security has deteriorated, and Islamic State Khorasan has intensified its attacks in the country.

Meanwhile, a suicide bombing on Thursday claimed the lives of the Taliban governor of Balkh in the northern province of Afghanistan and two others.

The report also said that another explosion occurred in provincial district five in Kabul city earlier Tuesday, having no casualties.

In addition, three people were killed, and three others were wounded in the Herat Western province of Afghanistan, including the General Director of water supply and water pipes regulation.

The Islamic State claimed responsibility for killing the Balkh governor and the General Director of Herat’s water supply in separate statements on Thursday.

The IS-Khorasan is the main challenge for Afghanistan’s Taliban-led government, killing Taliban members, foreign nationals, and people.

Despite the Islamic Emirate rulers’ repeated claims that the Afghan conflict is concluded, the de facto government still faces significant security challenges. Since the Taliban took over in August 2021, the extremist Islamic State Khorasan (IS-K) group has violently attacked the provincial capital Kabul and other areas.

Source: Khaama Press

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https://www.khaama.com/explosion-rocks-kabul-city-two-people-injured/

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Afghan diaspora in Vienna hold anti-Taliban protest

11 March, 2023

Vienna [Austria], March 11 (ANI): Afghan diaspora members incljuding women assoiciated with Afghan diaspora organizations AKIS (Afghanische Kultur, Integration und Solidaritat) staged a protest in Vienna against actions of the Taliban on women and children after regaining their control over Afghanistan.

On Friday (local Time), many prominent Afghan women diaspora members including Tamana Ayoubi, Fariba Sadig, Saleh Wasel, and Ali Baqeri protested at the entrance of the UN building in Vienna.

The AKIS was at the forefront of this protest.

Demonstrators raised slogans against the Taliban and also the interference of Pakistan in fghanistan Affairs.

They also spoke about the inhumane way Pakistan treats Afghan Refugees, especially women and children. Around 100 Afghan women participated in this demonstration. At the end of the protest, they also submitted a memorandum to UN authorities, urging all member states to act decisively on this issue.

The Taliban returned to power in Afghanistan in 2021, at least 20 years post they were ejected by US troops. Women’s rights have been neglected, ever since, under their harsh rule.

In November, last year, the Taliban intrusively disrupted a women’s press conference held in the Dasht-e-Barchi area and also arrested several women journalists, reported Khaama Press.

Taliban disrupted the event and took the women human rights protestors to an undisclosed place.

Since the Taliban took over Afghanistan in mid-August last year, it rolled back women’s rights advances and media freedom revoking the efforts on gender equality and freedom of speech in the country.

Taliban banned women from attending university last December, nine months after the Islamist group barred girls from returning to secondary schools amid a brutal crackdown on women’s rights since it seized power in 2021.

Taliban also announced a ban on female NGO workers – prompting multiple major foreign aid groups to suspend their operations in the country.

Not only in education, but Taliban had also rolled back women’s rights advances and media freedom revoking the efforts on gender equality and freedom of speech in the country.

Source: The Print

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https://theprint.in/world/afghan-diaspora-in-vienna-hold-anti-taliban-protest/1434915/

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Southeast Asia

 

Selangor Sultan: Preaching Accreditation Necessary To Preserve Islam

10 Mar 2023

SHAH ALAM, March 10 — The Sultan of Selangor, Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah has stressed that the need for Islamic preachers to obtain accreditation is not to prevent or make it difficult for them to teach, rather it is a preventive measure to fulfil the maqasid syariah (objectives of syariah) in relation to preserving Islam.

He said accreditation can only be granted to those who have extensive knowledge of Islam to allow them to teach or hold religious talks in mosques or surau throughout the state.

“To ensure that the religion of Islam continues to be protected from any element of wrong teachings, slander and ill will that can adversely affect the religion, society and the country, an accreditation is required,” he said through a Facebook post on the Selangor Royal Office page today.

Sultan Sharafuddin also called on Muslims in Selangor to understand and appreciate the message in the Friday prayer’s sermon entitled ‘Teaching Accreditation, a Necessity’ read in mosques across the state today.

The sermon urged preachers accredited by the Selangor Islamic Religious Council to always comply with the laws and instructions from religious authorities, among other things.

Stressing the importance of the message, the Selangor Ruler also said Islamic preachers should also use their teaching credentials in the right situation, not for personal gain and benefit.

“Do not insert jokes that are extreme as the public will only remember the jokes instead of the knowledge presented, which will eventually cause them to be more attracted to the speakers because of their jokes, not the knowledge,” he added.

He also cautioned the preachers against touching on party politics and causing enmity among Muslims, or between races or groups of people in this country or talking about matters that can incite hatred or contempt towards any religion and the government.

“The Selangor Islamic Religious Department often receives complaints that some mosques or surau are still inviting unaccredited preachers,” he said, adding that some unaccredited preachers continue to hold religious talks in mosques and surau despite knowing that they need to be accredited before they can preach.

Source: Malay Mail

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https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2023/03/10/selangor-sultan-preaching-accreditation-necessary-to-preserve-islam/58970

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Indonesia has surplus food ahead of Ramadan, Eid al-Fitr: Ministry

Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Trade Ministry has estimated a rice surplus of around 9 million tons, cooking oil surplus of around 352 thousand tons, and beef surplus of around 58 thousand tons for the January–April period this year.

With these figures, the ministry is sure of sufficient food supply ahead of the Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr periods.

"Based on the Food Balance of the National Food Agency, our food supply is sufficient to meet the needs of Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr," the ministry's acting director general for domestic trade Kasan said in Jakarta on Friday.

He informed that the government has continued to maintain the food supply and food price stability for the community at affordable prices, especially ahead of the 2023 Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr.

In addition, he said that the ministry has adopted several strategies to reduce the price and maintain food commodity supply ahead of Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr by streamlining the food supply chain to support equitable sustainable development.

Its strategies have included increasing and expanding the inter-island trade distribution network, utilizing maritime outlets, and increasing the range and quality of basic commodity data in the ministry's staples market monitoring system (SP2KP), which is reported real-time, with help from regional stakeholders, he addressed.

The ministry is also providing trade education through the electronic system and digitalization of markets and micro, small, and medium trading businesses (UDMKM), Kasan added.

"In addition, ahead of Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr, the ministry held a joint meeting with the Provincial and District/City Trade Services throughout Indonesia, which includes the discussion regarding supply chain preparations for staple goods," he said.

Kasan informed that at the end of February, the ministry imported sugar, meat, rice, garlic, soybeans, and one-day-old broiler chicken (DOC broiler) for chicken meat to meet basic needs for Ramadan, which is predicted to fall on March 23 and Eid al-Fitr on April 21.

The State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) Ministry, through its food holding or ID FOOD, also imported 237,575 tons of sugar and 100 thousand tons of beef.

Source: Antara News

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

https://en.antaranews.com/news/275235/indonesia-has-surplus-food-ahead-of-ramadan-eid-al-fitr-ministry

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Jakarta supervising food distribution to markets ahead of Ramadan

Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Jakarta Food Security, Marine, and Agriculture Office supervises food distribution to several markets in the capital city to ensure available supplies ahead of the Ramadan fasting month.

"We are monitoring distribution to the markets," head of the office Suharini Eliawati remarked here on Friday.

Eliawati noted that the Jakarta Provincial Government has the Food Security Task Force comprising related agencies, including the police, that had been tasked with ensuring smooth supply and distribution of food.

According to the office head, Jakarta's food supply areas, such as West Java and Central Java, are currently entering the harvest period.

Hence, she said, the supply of some food commodities, such as rice, chili, and shallots, is normal, as they are backed by the harvesting period ahead of Ramadan.

"The supply condition is normal in March 2023 because it is currently the harvest period," Eliawati explained.

She noted that the peak of the rainy season during the January-February 2023 period had disrupted several horticultural commodities, such as chili and shallots.

However, as the rainy season is coming to an end and several supplying regions are entering the harvest season, food supply is projected to be smooth, especially during the high demand ahead of Ramadan.

"Currently, the food supply in Jakarta is relatively safe. There had been a slight decrease in horticultural food supplies due to the high rainfall in supplying areas," Eliawati remarked.

Hence, with smooth supply and distribution, food prices can be controlled ahead of Ramadan despite her predicted slight increase in the prices of eggs that are in high demand.

"As it is happening, the current price increase is not significant, but the increase reached 0.96 percent to 10 percent last year," she pointed out.

Meanwhile, the provincial government, in collaboration with the Agriculture Ministry, has supplied 17 tons of chili and 175 tons of shallots to the Kramatjati Market in an effort to balance supplies.

Source: Antara News

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https://en.antaranews.com/news/275196/jakarta-supervising-food-distribution-to-markets-ahead-of-ramadan

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Malaysia’s former PM Muhyiddin Yassin arrested on multiple graft charges

March 09, 2023

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia on Thursday arrested former Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin and will charge him with graft, the country’s anti-corruption agency said.

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) said in a statement Muhyiddin was arrested after he was questioned over an economic recovery project launched by his government.

Muhyiddin, who was prime minister for 17 months between 2020 and 2021, will be charged under laws related to abuse of power and money laundering.

The ex-premier and his party have faced graft investigations since losing to Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim in a tightly contested election in November.

Anwar last year ordered a review of government projects worth billions of dollars approved by Muhyiddin, including COVID-19 relief programs, alleging they did not follow proper procedures.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2265381/world

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Pakistan

 

Pakistan FM Warns the Global Community against Underrating Anger Caused By Islamophobia Like the Burning Of Holy Books

Anwar Iqbal

March 11, 2023

UNITED NATIONS: Foreign Mini­ster Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari urged the global community on Friday not to underestimate the resentment and sense of injustice Muslims felt when faced with deliberate acts of Islam­ophobia, like the burning of holy books.

The foreign minister was speaking at a special high-level event at the UN headquarters in New York to highlight the International Day to Combat Islamophobia, which will be observed on March 15.

In a message condemning Islam­ophobia, UN Secretary General António Guterres urged all nations to “keep working together to advance the shared values of inclusion, tolerance and mutual understanding”. He warned that the “growing hate that Muslims face is not an isolated development but the resurgence of Ethno-nationalism”.

In 2020, former prime minister Imran Khan initiated the move that led to the recognition of March 15 as the International Day to Combat Islamophobia. The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) backed the move.

Seeks appointment of UN special envoy to combat Islamophobia; Guterres asks all states to advance shared values of inclusion, tolerance

March 15 was chosen as the anti-Islamophobia Day because it was on this day in 2019 that a gunman attacked two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, killing 51 people. The day will be observed in 140 countries.

OIC Secretary General Hissein Brahim Taha said in his message that March 15 was a reminder for all that “hatred could manifest into disastrous violence, when it’s committed on the ground of faith or religion”.

Addressing the event, UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief Nazila Ghanea underlined the need to collectively combat the forces of hate, saying: “An attack on one is an attack on us all.”

The Pakistani foreign minister, who chaired the proceedings with UN General Assembly’s President Csaba Korosi, pointed out how Islamophobia prevailed today, how Muslims were unjustly targeted because of their religion, and how the issue remained underreported.

“The dangers of Islamophobia often gain international attention when a heinous act of violence and terrorism strikes innocent Muslims while the daily, silent drip of discrimination, hatred, and hostility against Muslims remains largely ignored and underreported,” he regretted.

Mr Bhutto-Zardari offered a practical action plan which includes “the appointment of a UN Special Envoy to combat Islamophobia, the adoption of international measures for the protection of Holy Sites and the adoption of laws to outlaw hate speech”.

He also suggested providing legal assistance and appropriate compensation to the victims of Islamophobia and the establishment of national and international judicial mechanisms and laws to punish those responsible for such acts.

Mr Korosi said freedom of religion has been guaranteed by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and that “this is an international law that must not be breached”. The UNGA president urged member states to uphold this fundamental freedom.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1741537/bilawal-warns-against-underrating-anger-caused-by-islamophobia

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Pakistani Forces Kill Five TTP Militants In Waziristan

By Fidel Rahmati

March 10, 2023

At least five Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan militants have been killed in a special operation in North and South Waziristan district, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan, the military announced in a statement on Friday.

“Weapons, ammunition and a large quantity of equipment were also recovered from the killed terrorists,” the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said.

In a separate statement on Friday, Punjab Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) said 12 alleged militants were arrested linked to the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and al-Qaeda.

The statement said that the militants were arrested due to three separate special operations from three cities of the province, including Lahore.

Meanwhile, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said that the army was determined to eliminate the threat of terrorism from the country.

The statement also said that during the last three months, security forces had killed more than 150 terrorists in several special operations.

Security forces conducted 6,921 operations nationwide in the last three months, arresting at least 1,007 terrorists.

Only in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, around 1,960 operations have been conducted, of which 1,516 were area-domination operations, 301 were based on intelligence, and 143 were area-sanitization operations.

The statement read that only in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa were 89 militants killed, and 540 were detained due to security forces’ operations.

Source: Khaama Press

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https://www.khaama.com/pakistani-forces-kill-five-ttp-militants-in-waziristan/

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Pakistan praises Saudi Arabia and Iran for resuming diplomatic relations

March 11, 2023

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan welcomed the normalization of diplomatic relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran on Friday, calling it an “important diplomatic breakthrough” and applauding China’s role in helping the two sides reach an agreement.

The two Middle Eastern countries decided to restore ties and reopen diplomatic missions while reaching an agreement brokered by the Chinese authorities.

The development was announced in a trilateral statement which mentioned the reopening of embassies within two months along with renewal of bilateral cooperation in other fields.

“Pakistan firmly believes that this important diplomatic breakthrough will contribute to peace and stability in the region and beyond,” said the foreign office in a statement. “We commend the role played by China’s visionary leadership in coordinating this historic agreement which reflects the power of constructive engagement and meaningful dialogue.”

The foreign office praised the “sagacious leadership” of Saudi Arabia and Iran in the wake of the development.

“With a history of consistently supporting and coordinating efforts for bridging gaps between the two brotherly countries, Pakistan will continue to play a constructive role in the Middle East and the region,” it added. “We hope this positive step would define a template for regional cooperation and harmony.”

It may be recalled that the kingdom decided to downgrade its diplomatic relations with Iran after protesters attacked Saudi diplomatic facilities in 2016.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2266426/world

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Saudi-Pakistani telehealth platform to train 1,500 Afghan doctors

KHURSHID AHMED

March 10, 2023

KARACHI: A Saudi-Pakistani online education platform will start training more than 1,500 Afghan doctors, its CEO told Arab News, as the program received financing from the Islamic Development Bank.

The EduCast platform, based in Karachi, is a joint venture run by Pakistani expats in Saudi Arabia and professionals in Pakistan. It was established in 2016 and has since been providing services in Yemen, Pakistan and to Hajj pilgrims in Saudi Arabia.

For the platform’s eDoctors program, the IsDB has recently approved $180,000 under its technical assistance grant for setting up innovative online health education centers in Afghanistan, where the health system — understaffed, poorly equipped, and underfunded for years — is on the brink of collapse.

“EduCast has been awarded grant assistance from the IsDB to carry out the Afghanistan Medical Education uplift program and provide online specialist opinion services to Afghan doctors in six Afghan provinces,” Abdullah Butt, founder and CEO of EduCast, told Arab News on Thursday.

EduCast is already present in Afghanistan, where since last year it has been operating a teleconsultation with doctors at the Shefajo Hospital for women and children in Kabul.

The new program aims to train and certify 1,500 Afghan doctors through doctor-to-doctor online consultation and virtual seminars and provide in-person training at health institutions in neighboring Pakistan.

“Starting from the current month, we will set up telehealth education and clinical support facilities in six regional hospitals in Kabul, Jalalabad, Kandahar, Herat, Mazar-e Sharif and Khost,” Butt said.

“The online training program will be followed by in-person training for one or two months in Pakistan’s hospitals in Peshawar, Karachi and Islamabad in key health-related areas of high demand, including maternal and neonatal child health, and infectious and non-communicable diseases.”

Doctors practicing in Afghanistan have been lacking continuous medical education training in their relevant fields for years, and the situation further worsened when most of the international aid organizations withdrew from the country after the Taliban took control in 2021.

“Medical universities in Afghanistan do not offer CME-related programs, so establishing telemedicine and e-health as national platforms has been suggested to improve overall health care service delivery,” Butt said.

“In the IsDB-funded project, the provision of health care services in Afghanistan was identified as a solution to the adverse impacts of economic and political instability, after the withdrawal of international donor agencies from Afghanistan.”

Since its launching in 2019, about 1,200 doctors from all over the world joined the eDoctors program.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2266331/world

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Police, ulema vow to maintain peace in Bannu

March 11, 2023

LAKKI MARWAT: The local police and ulema have agreed to launch integrated efforts to maintain peace and promote harmony, tolerance and brotherhood in the society.

The consensus was reached at a meeting held here on Friday with district police officer Ziauddin Ahmed in the chair.

The religious figures hailed the police for result-oriented actions against criminals and anti-peace elements. They said strenuous efforts by police helped maintain law and order and eradicate crimes.

On the occasion, Mr Ahmed asked the ulema to promote sectarian harmony and use their influence to purge the society of vices and crimes. “Religious figures are placed in high esteem in the society, so they should raise awareness among people about importance of peace,” he maintained.

Also, the district police officer paid a visit to the University of Science and Technology and a medical college to check security arrangements there.

He went to different departments of the educational institutes and checked deployment of cops.

He also checked operational condition of weapons the policemen possessed and directed the cops to be vigilant.

EXHIBITION: The agriculture extension department arranged an exhibition of farm products at the commissioner’s office in Bannu on Friday.

Divisional commissioner Parweiz Sabatkhel inaugurated the exhibition.

Agriculture experts briefed the commissioner and other government officials about the locally-produced products, including rice, sesame, canola, sunflower and millet seeds, and oil extracted from sesame, canola and sunflower; besides vegetables, sugarcane, gur and banana.

On the occasion, the farmers, who got high yield, received cash prizes from the divisional commissioner.

Mr Sabatkhel asked farmers to take advantage of incentives offered by the government and use modern agricultural equipment to boost their per acre yield.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1741504/police-ulema-vow-to-maintain-peace-in-bannu

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China-Pakistan joint AI cancer screening lab put into operation

March 10, 2023

ISLAMABAD: China-Pakistan joint AI medical diagnosis lab in Islamabad has been put into operation, China Economic Net (CEN) reported on Friday. The lab, located in the Akbar Niazi Teaching Hospital, will provide free cervical cancer screening to 10,000 Pakistani women in its first phase of operation.

“It can also be used in the early diagnosis of other high incidence clinical tumors, such as breast cancer, gastric cancer, oral cancer, etc.,” said the project lead from Landing Med, a Chinese medical technology company that provided three cervical cancer screening devices along with 5,000 sets of supporting consumable items to Pakistan last December for the lab construction.

Different from traditional clinical procedure where patients have to visit the hospital several times for specimen collection, report analysis, and treatment, the AI-powered lab streamlined the operation by processing the specimen, scanning the slides and uploading them to the 5G cloud platform.

Once data upload is complete, a medical team in China can make diagnosis remotely and a report can be generated in about 5 minutes.

Up to now, the service has been available to surrounding residents after trial diagnosis for the hospital staff proved efficient and reliable.

Cervical cancer has become the third most common cancer in Pakistan after head and neck and breast cancers, and around 64 percent of Pakistani women who have this cancer lose their lives as they only discover the disease when it becomes almost incurable in the third or the fourth stage of cancer.

According to a study by the World Health Organization, cervical cancer incidence in Pakistan reached 4.7 per 100,000 women in 2020. However, from 2015 to 2019, fewer than 1 in 10 Pakistani women were screened for cervical cancer.

Thus AI-powered, efficient and effective screening services can greatly enhance screening coverage.

China-Pakistan AI Cervical Cancer Screening Program started in 2019 on the ninth meeting of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor Joint Cooperation Committee.

Source: Pakistan Today

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

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2023/03/10/china-pakistan-joint-ai-cancer-screening-lab-put-into-operation/

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Europe

 

UK's largest Islamic bank: Soccer boosting Gulf property investments

Jack Dutton

March 10, 2023

Gulf investment in northern England real estate is rising, and Middle Eastern ownership of British soccer clubs is helping to drive it, according to Andrew Ball, chief executive officer of the Bank of London & the Middle East (BLME). 

The London-headquartered BLME is the largest Islamic bank based in Europe, and the lender focuses on savings, wealth management and real estate investments. Around half of the bank's £750 million ($894 million) real estate portfolio in the UK is within Greater London, with the remainder outside.

In an interview with Al-Monitor, Ball said that five or six years ago London was nearly the sole British investment location for the lender’s Middle Eastern clients, but that has since changed as investors look for higher returns on property. 

London has long been considered a “safe haven” investment in real estate due to the stability of the city’s property market, while regions in the north often provide higher returns on investment. 

“Because of return profiles, and in general, the sophistication level of clients, we are seeing a lot of real estate investment in the [northern] regions,” Ball said. 

“One, because the clients see it as a better return, but secondly, where we get very sophisticated clients, they are actually doing the development themselves, so there's a lot of partnering with UK developers.”

The bank has seen investment in property in Northern England almost double in two years, from £67 million in March 2021 to £110 million today.

Ball said that popular investment destinations over the last couple of years include Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds.

Gulf countries are greatly investing in British soccer clubs, and that is likely helping drive property investment in northern English cities, Ball said. The Saudi Public Investment Fund bought an 80% stake in Newcastle United in October 2021, while Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan's Abu Dhabi United Group took over Manchester City in September 2008. Qatari and Saudi investors are reportedly interested in purchasing Manchester United from the Glazer family.

“We're seeing a lot of activity up in the northeast, probably in line with the [Saudi] Public Investment Fund investment in Newcastle United, so that's a very active market for us,” Ball added. 

Ball said that student accommodations as well as co-living and co-working spaces are popular with investors from Gulf countries. 

He said much of the focus was on residential development, as it is seen as a safe medium- to long-term investment given the uncertainties in the UK economy. 

Over the last six months, Britain has had three prime ministers, seen the value of the pound tank (before recovering), and has been predicted by the International Monetary Fund to be the only major world economy to fall into recession this year. High-interest rates are also making some investments less attractive, Ball said. 

Despite the recent political and economic turmoil in the UK, Ball said that there is still “a lot of continued interest” in the country from Gulf investors and believed that was set to continue. 

The weakness of the sterling against the dollar is helping to drive this, he said. Ball added that it was also because of many students from Gulf countries were studying at British universities and there being mature legal and financial systems in the UK, which has more Sharia-compliant banks than any other Western country. 

“Where clients would buy [property] quicker in the UK pre-COVID, [now] they're sort of being a lot more selective in terms of what they're looking for — longevity and long-term yields, but there’s certainly no shortage of appetite,” Ball said. 

Most of the investment BLME is seeing from the region is from Saudi Arabia but also Kuwait due to the bank being partially owned by Kuwait City-based Boubyan Bank. 

Ball said there was lots of wealth creation in the kingdom. “What we see is perhaps somebody might buy a buy-to-let property and an off-plan residential apartment block with a good income and take that as the first step, and then build up their portfolios here [in the UK].” 

BLME has also seen investment from Qatar, Bahrain and to a lesser extent the UAE due to the strong representation of Emirati banks in London. 

Last July, BLME released research showing that the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions had little effect on real estate investment from Gulf countries into the UK.

Source: Al Monitor

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

https://www.al-monitor.com/originals/2023/03/uks-largest-islamic-bank-soccer-boosting-gulf-property-investments

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Killer of Afghan refugee who had sought ‘a safer life’ in London jailed for 10 years

March 11, 2023

BEIRUT: A 17-year-old was jailed on Friday for 10 years for stabbing to death an 18-year-old Afghan refugee who had come to the UK in search of “a safer life.”

Hazrat Wali died in hospital shortly after an attack at Craneford Way Playing Fields in Twickenham, London, on Oct. 12, 2021, that left him with a 10 cm-deep knife wound, the BBC reported.

A jury at the Old Bailey found the teenage attacker, who cannot be named for legal reasons, not guilty of murder but convicted him of the lesser crime of manslaughter. During his trial, he admitted carrying a weapon but said he had not intended to cause serious harm to Wali, who was a student and an aspiring cricketer.

Shortly before the fatal attack, the defendant had appeared at Wimbledon magistrates’ court where he was sentenced to a youth rehabilitation order for carrying a knife at a shopping center two months earlier.

Sentencing him on Friday, Judge Sarah Plaschkes K.C. told the killer: “When you stabbed Hazrat he was unarmed and outnumbered by you and your friends.”

She added that he had made a “deliberate decision to carry a fearsome weapon” that day, and added: “You told the jury that you took the knife to the magistrates’ court. You left it in some bushes outside and collected it once the hearing concluded.”

The court earlier heard that the defendant had attacked an employee at a McDonald’s restaurant just an hour after stabbing Wali. In that case, he pleaded guilty to affray and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2266461/world

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UK police investigating after worshipper set on fire outside mosque

March 10, 2023

LONDON: Police in the UK are looking for a man believed to have set another man on fire outside a mosque in London.

The 82-year-old victim was doused in a flammable liquid before the suspect allegedly used a lighter to ignite it, causing severe burns, outside the West London Islamic Center on Feb. 27.

The Metropolitan Police released a photograph of the suspect who, they said, had engaged the victim in conversation for at least five minutes as they both left the mosque before launching the attack.

“I know this will be an incredibly shocking incident for the community, and we are carrying out a full investigation into what happened,” said Detective Sergeant Steven Constable.

“Understandably, there is a great deal of local concern in the wake of this incident and local officers have been carrying out reassurance patrols daily at the mosque.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2266251/world

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Denmark ends arms sale ban against Saudi Arabia, UAE

Ebad Ahmed

11.03.2023

Denmark announced an end to an arms sales ban against Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in light of its new foreign policy doctrine of “pragmatic realism.”

Foreign Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen in an interview with the Politiken news outlet said Thursday that the bans imposed in 2018 and 2019 after the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi and in the backdrop of the war in Yemen will be reversed.

“You can be a country that is problematic in our eyes, and still have some legitimate security policy interests,” said Rasmussen. “And my line is that our line must be located in the same place as the lines of other European countries.”

The foreign minister, however, reiterated that his ministry will carry out a country analysis and security assessments on an annual basis to prevent Danish weapons from being used against its population or in wars where “the countries in question engage inappropriately.”

Media reports suggest that Denmark has more than 200 companies in its defense sector.

"We must find a balance that ensures that the Danish defense industry has the same opportunities to participate in international competition, create jobs and development as the others – and at the same time stand guard over some basic principles," he said.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/denmark-ends-arms-sale-ban-against-saudi-arabia-uae/2842695

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UK provides $6.31 million in assistance to Rohingya in Bangladesh

SM Najmus Sakib 

11.03.2023

The UK announced a new £5.26 million ($6.31 million) funding package Friday for persecuted Rohingya living in Bangladesh with a commitment to push for a long-term solution to enable their return to Myanmar.

Visiting Minister for the Indo-Pacific, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, announced the new package, according to a statement.

A total of £4.26 million will be distributed through the World Food Program (WFP) and £1 million will go through the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, for pressure cookers to reduce the consumption of cooking gas in refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar.

Bangladesh is currently hosting more than 1.2 million Rohingya in 33 squalid refugee camps in the southern border district of Cox's Bazar.

Trevelyan will visit refugee camps in Cox Bazar to set out how the UK is providing new humanitarian support through the WFP to supply food for 449,000 people living in the camps this month, according to the statement.

She will meet Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Foreign Minister A. K. Abdul Momen as well as hold talks with civil society organizations to strengthen UK-Bangladesh ties and partnership on climate action.

Trevelyan said that the UK is committed to supporting the Rohingya people who continue to live in Cox’s Bazar.

“The UK continues to push for a long-term solution that will enable the Rohingya to return to Myanmar on a safe, voluntary and dignified basis,” she said.

British High Commissioner to Bangladesh, Robert Chatterton Dickson, said: “This visit reaffirms the UK’s firm commitment to Bangladesh as a fast growing Indo-Pacific partner with strong people to people connections and our ambition to work even more closely together in the future.”

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/uk-provides-631-million-in-assistance-to-rohingya-in-bangladesh/2842660

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Swedish minister says new bill to fill hole in anti-terrorism legislation

Selen Temizer 

10.03.2023

BRUSSELS

A new bill will fill the gap in Swedish legislation on anti-terrorism, according to the country's justice minister.

Speaking to Anadolu, Gunnar Strommer said the new bill that was sent to parliament on Thursday will strengthen the Swedish anti-terrorist legislation.

"The meaning of the bill is that we will prohibit participation in terrorist organizations. We have, for many years, strengthened the Swedish anti-terrorist legislation. However, this was a hole that it was important for us to fill," he noted.

Strommer further noted that this bill now enables them to achieve the required amendment.

The new legislation will provide Sweden with a powerful new tool to prosecute those who support terrorism, but also align Swedish laws with those of its neighbors, he stressed.

Actions like logistic support and transportation or serving food to support and strengthen terrorist organizations will be considered a criminal offense, Strommer added.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/swedish-minister-says-new-bill-to-fill-hole-in-anti-terrorism-legislation/2842578

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Trilateral mechanism with Türkiye to continue even after Finland, Sweden’s NATO accession: Finnish Foreign Ministry

Aysu Bicer

10.03.2023

LONDON

The trilateral mechanism meeting between Türkiye, Finland and Sweden will continue even after the completion of the NATO accession process of Finland and Sweden, the Finnish Foreign Ministry said.

On Thursday, the third trilateral mechanism meeting between the three countries was held in Belgium and the fourth meeting will be held in spring.

In a statement, the Finnish Foreign Ministry said that during the meetings, the focus was on the implementation of the agreement signed in Madrid in June 2022.

Last June, Türkiye and the two Nordic countries signed a memorandum at the NATO summit in Madrid to address Ankara's legitimate security concerns, paving the way for their eventual membership in the alliance.

The memorandum addresses Türkiye's concerns, including arms exports and the fight against terrorism.

Following Thursday’s meeting, the Turkish presidential spokesman said that Finland and Sweden should take steps to address Ankara's security concerns.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/trilateral-mechanism-with-turkiye-to-continue-even-after-finland-sweden-s-nato-accession-finnish-foreign-ministry/2841797

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Mideast

 

Senior Cleric: Poisoning Students Enemies' Plot to Undermine Iran's Security

2023-March-11 

Addressing a congregation of people at Tehran's Imam Khomeini Grand Mosalla (congregational prayers site), Ayatolallah Khatami said,

Speaking at the sermons of Friday prayers held at Imam Khomeini Grand Mosalla (Mosque) in Tehran, Ayatollah Khatami said that the enemies sought to undermine the security by resorting to poisoning schoolgirls.

Pointing out that the leaders of the recent riots in Iran had 3 plans, the senior cleric said that deceiving young Iranians and taking them to the streets was the enemies' first plan.

"The second plan of the enemy was an armed conflict which didn't happen and failed," Ayatollah Khatami added.

He considered the enemies' third plan to be constantly annoy the great nation of Iran and added that consecutive poisonings are examples of this harassment.

He considered the enemy's other goal of creating serial poisonings to stop the scientific and educational progress of Iran's children and said that accusing the Islamic Establishment and religious people was one of the other goals of the enemies in that regard.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Khatami referred to the remarks of the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution regarding the issue of the schoolgirls poisonings and said that as Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei stressed, those who commit such crimes should receive capital punishment.

In a relevant development on Wednesday, the Iranian Intelligence Ministry assured the Iranian people that it will investigate carefully the recent health problems of female students, and disclosed that the root causes of some incidents have been unearthed.

The ministry of intelligence issued a statement on Wednesday night, assuring the Iranian nation that it will make all-out efforts to complete the ongoing probe into recent health problems of schoolgirls.

The statement emphasized that the intelligence ministry will provide the Iranian people with the results of investigations on different issues.

"On the health problems of some schoolgirls at some schools throughout Iran in recent weeks, the officers of the ministry kicked off investigating on the issue from the beginning in Qom city and the investigations have been used by other related entities," the statement read.

"However, the root causes of certain previous incidents were discovered, but the results cannot be generalized to all other cases; so, an interval is needed to reach precise results," it added.

Following the strong decree by Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei on the follow-up of the school incidents, as well as President Ebrahim Rayeesi’s presence in the intelligence ministry, the country's forces assure that they will use all equipment and technical capabilities in order to finalize the probe into the incidents, according to the statement.

The intelligence agents have been facing several challenges and complicated cases so far, and they made all-out efforts and sacrifices to stand against insecurity,it said.

The Iranian Intelligence Ministry also urged the Iranian people, especially parents of the students not to pay attention to foreign media hype and propaganda, which try to disturb tranquility of the Iranian society, it added.

The Iranian Interior Minister has reported that the country's security agents have detained several individuals in connection with the mysterious poisonings of female students.

Hundreds of cases of respiratory distress have been reported in the past months among Iranian schoolgirls in several cities, with some needing hospital treatment. In most cases, students suffered respiratory problems, nausea, fatigue and dizziness.

Mohammad Hassan Asafari, a member of the parliamentary fact-finding committee, has confirmed that around 230 schools in 25 out of Iran’s 31 provinces have been affected, and that more than 5,000 schoolgirls and boys have been poisoned.

On Monday, Ayatollah Khamenei called on Iranian officials to seriously investigate the case, and urged authorities to hand the perpetrators behind the heinous crime the severest punishment possible.

The Leader described the poison attacks affecting hundreds of girls at schools across several cities in Iran as "a major and unforgivable crime".

"If it is proved that the students were poisoned, the perpetrators of this crime should be severely punished," he underlined.

The Supreme Leader underscored that “no amnesty” will be offered to such people.

Denouncing the mysterious poisoning cases across Iran as a "crime and an inhumane act" committed by the enemies, President Rayeesi has also called for accurate and timely information on the incidents.

Iran's president warned on Sunday that the act is “another link in the chain of the enemy’s plots” which has been carried out to create chaos in the country, manipulate public opinion, and instill fear among the students.

The chief executive said the enemy, as part of a psychological war, is “seeking to create stress and anxiety among students and parents so that chaos is formed”.

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14011219000398/Senir-Cleric-Pisning-Sdens-Enemies'-Pl-Undermine-Iran's-Secriy

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Israel opposition sees Saudi-Iran deal as Netanyahu failure

10 March ,2023

Restoration of diplomatic ties between Saudi Arabia and Iran represents a failure of foreign policy by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his opponents charged on Friday.

They said he has neglected the country’s external relations to focus on domestic judicial reform, a project which has split the country and brought tens of thousands of protesters into the streets against what they see as a threat to democracy.

It is “a total and dangerous foreign policy failure of the Israeli government,” opposition leader Yair Lapid said on Twitter, echoing the sentiments of other key opponents.

Three years ago, however, foreign policy was Netanyahu’s triumph.

He hailed “a new era” in relations between Israel and the Arab world – most of which views Israel as a pariah – when his country and the United Arab Emirates agreed to normalize ties.

Under the US-brokered Abraham Accords, a similar deal was reached with Bahrain, and later Morocco.

Since the start of that process Netanyahu never hid his ultimate aim: to bring the world’s major Sunni Muslim power, Saudi Arabia, into the accords as part of a regional alliance against Israel’s enemy Iran.

That has not happened.

Instead, Riyadh and its regional rival, Iran, on Friday said they had agreed to restore ties and reopen diplomatic missions in a surprise, Chinese-brokered announcement.

Contacted by AFP, Israel’s foreign ministry had no immediate comment.

But several Israeli opposition figures viewed the Riyadh-Tehran rapprochement as a failure for Netanyahu, the country’s longest-serving prime minister.

He returned to power in December in a coalition with ultra-Orthodox Jewish and extreme-right allies.

“It’s a collapse of the regional defense wall that we began to build against Iran,” Lapid continued.

“This is what happens when you are occupied all day by an insane legal project instead of handling Iran.”

Israel’s entire political elite sees an existential threat in Iran’s controversial nuclear program. Tehran denies seeking to acquire an atomic weapon.

Justice Minister Yariv Levin, named to Netanyahu’s new cabinet in December, announced measures which would give more weight to the government in the committee that selects judges, and would deny the Supreme Court the right to strike down any amendments to Israel’s quasi-constitution.

Netanyahu staged his comeback to head the government 18 months after his ouster following 12 continuous years in office.

During his record term as premier, Netanyahu was a strong opponent of easing pressure on Iran.

Former defense minister Benny Gantz accused Netanyahu and his cabinet of a “coup d’etat” while “the enormous security challenges confronted by the State of Israel increase.”

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/03/10/Israel-opposition-sees-Saudi-Iran-deal-as-Netanyahu-failure

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Iran: EU States Failed to Launch INSTEX Mechanism

2023-March-10

Reacting to the decision of INSTEX shareholders to shut down the system, Kana'ani recalled that after the unilateral and illegal withdrawal of the United States from the JCPOA, the European governments had pledged to realize the continuation of Iran's economic interests from the JCPOA's sanctions lifting obligations by adopting the necessary solutions.

"One of the mechanisms that the Europeans proposed to fulfill this commitment was the establishment of INSTEX as a financial channel to facilitate trade between Iran and Europe," he cited.

Saying that although the Islamic Republic of Iran has never relied on this mechanism, Kan'ani emphasized that Tehran did not hesitate to provide any necessary cooperation for the operation of that channel.

"But unfortunately, European governments, in addition to their inaction towards their other obligations, also failed to effectively launch INSTEX and did not take the necessary and essential measures to activate it in the form of fulfilling Europe's obligations under the JCPOA," the senior Iranian diplomat added.

Kana'ani considered the main reason for the failure of INSTEX to be the lack of serious will and the inability of European governments to fulfill their obligations after the unilateral withdrawal of the United States from the JCPOA, as well as their cooperation with the illegal sanctions of the United States.

"These countries also did not inject any financial resources or long-term credit lines into the channel during the whole time of INSTEX's operation," he further said.

Kana'ani went on to say that blaming Iran for the closure of INSTEX is a false attempt to cover up the absolute failure of Europe to have the slightest ability to be financially independent of the US.

INSTEX is a system that European countries launched in 2019 to protect trade with Iran against US sanctions. High-ranking European officials have repeatedly admitted that since private companies cannot be forced to do business with a country, INSTEX is only a symbolic measure.

European countries announced on Thursday that they have shut down the INSTEX system.

The foreign ministers of France and Germany claimed that the 10 shareholders of Instex (Belgium, Germany, Finland, Denmark, France, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, and England) came to the conclusion that after Iran's refusal to work with this system, there is no reason to continue its operation.

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14011219000347/Iran-EU-Saes-Failed-Lanch-INSTEX-Mechanism

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Iran Blasts West's Double Standards in Syrian Crisis

2023-March-10

Hossein Amir Abdollahian made the remarks in a joint press conference with his Syrian counterpart Faisal Mekdad in Damascus on Thursday night.

Stating that Iran and Syria are friends at difficult times, Amir Abdollahian reiterated that Tehran welcomes the recent developments in Syria's relations with the countries of the region.

"We are happy that the countries of the region have adopted a realistic behavior towards Syria and the reality of Syria's important regional role and important position," he added.

The Iranian foreign minister went on to say that bilateral and multilateral regional dialogues are the key to the region's progress and development.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran welcomes any initiative, dialogue, normalization, and development of regional relations. In this framework, we welcome the quadrilateral meeting of Iran, Syria, Turkey, and Russia with the aim of achieving greater cooperation and getting the region out of crisis and misunderstandings," he added.

Tehran will continue its humanitarian and relief efforts to help the Syrian earthquake victims, he added.

The Syrian foreign minister, for his part, appreciated Iran's timely humanitarian aid to the quake-hit Syrian territories.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Mekdad also condemned the Zionist Israeli regime's occupation of Syrian territories in Golan Heights.

"We are optimistic about the current developments and we are trying to normalize the situation in the region and outside the region, as well as to have enough time to resist the policies that Israel has taken in the Golan region, Mekdad said.

He also said, "The hardliner government in Israel is trying to dominate the entire region and occupy more lands."

Referring to Tehran-Damascus ties, the Syrian foreign minister said that coordination between the two countries continues at the highest level.

The Syrian Foreign Minister also stated in response to a question that "The main priority is leaving Syrian lands by foreign and illegitimate forces, both in the northwestern and northeastern regions of Syria, and this is a priority for us and our friends. After that, the war against terrorism is one of our priorities, and as far as different countries rush to our aid, we will able to free the world from the suffering that terrorism can cause."

Regarding relation between Tehran and Damascus, Mekdad said that "the relations between Iran and Syria are not limited to these two frameworks, but are much broader than that. Since the beginning of the Islamic revolution, we had a lot of cooperation in economic fields and political coordination, developments that are important for both countries, both regional and international developments."

Stating that the role of the Islamic Republic of Iran is very important both in the region and the world, Mekdad said that Iran seeks security and stability in the region, and Syria also supports the establishment of stability and security in the region.

"This cannot be achieved when the occupation continues and we see the presence of foreigners in the region," he added.

Citing that Iran's role in the Astana Process and also in all stages of developments in Syria has been a positive role, the top Syrian diplomat called for the withdrawal of foreign forces from Syria.

"The role played by Iran in the Astana process as well as in all stages of developments in Syria has been a positive role. The role played by Iran has always been positive and shows the country's true belief in international laws and ending the problems in the region. From the very beginning, we welcomed Iran's joining the four-way talks between Syria, Russia, Turkey and Iran," the top Syrian diplomat further underscored.

In a relevant development on Thursday, Amir Abdollahian traveled to the Syrian province of Lattakia which was jolted by a devastating earthquake last month, where he underlined Tehran's determination to continue assistance to the Damascus government to overcome the crisis.

Amir Abdollahian was welcomed by the Lattakia governor upon his arrival on Thursday and visited quake-stricken areas in the province.

The top Iranian diplomat underscored that the Islamic Republic is a true friend of the Syrian nation and government, adding that Tehran would continue its efforts to provide help until the Syrian Government will overcome the crisis.

He said that the Red Crescent of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) have been providing aid to the Syrian people since the earthquake hit the Arab country.

During his two-day visit, the top diplomat also held talks with Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad and Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad.

Before heading to Syria, the foreign minister had traveled to Turkey and visited quake-hit areas in the country.

A 7.8 magnitude tremor, one of the strongest to hit the region in more than 100 years, and series of aftershocks struck Southeastern Turkey and Northwestern Syria in early February, killing at least 52,000 people, injuring tens of thousands more and reducing hundreds of buildings to rubble.

The UN has announced that at least five million people in Syria have been affected by the quake and need shelter, food and medicine. The disaster has multiplied the suffering of Syrians who have endured years of foreign-backed war and Western sanctions that left millions dead, displaced and impoverished.

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14011219000249/Iran-Blass-Wes's-Dble-Sandards-in-Syrian-Crisis

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Erdogan officially calls Turkish elections for May 14

10 March ,2023

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan officially set Turkey’s parliamentary and presidential elections for May 14, a month ahead of schedule, signing the decision in a ceremony shown live on television on Friday.

“Our nation will go to the polls to elect its president and parliamentarians on May 14,” Erdogan said in a speech after signing the election decision.

Erdogan set the clock ticking for the biggest test of his 20-year rule that will decide not only who leads Turkey but how it is governed, where its economy is headed and what role it may play to ease conflict in Ukraine and the Middle East.

On Monday, Turkey’s six-party main opposition alliance named Kemal Kilicdaroglu, leader of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), as its presidential candidate to challenge Erdogan.

Polls suggest that the presidential and parliamentary votes will be tight, with the opposition bloc running slightly ahead of the governing alliance.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/03/10/Erdogan-officially-calls-Turkish-elections-for-May-14

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Settler kills suspected Palestinian gunman in West Bank

10 March ,2023

An Israeli settler killed an assailant in the occupied West Bank on Friday, the Israeli military said, the latest bloodshed in a surge of violence in the Palestinian territory.

The incident occurred at Dorot Illit settlement in the north of the West Bank, the army said in a statement.

“A terrorist armed with knives and explosive devices arrived at the Dorot Illit area” before the settler spotted the assailant, opened fire and “neutralized” him, it said.

Contacted by AFP, the military confirmed the assailant had been shot dead. The Palestinian health ministry said the settler killed 21-year-old Abd al-Karim al-Sheikh at Qalqilya, a Palestinian city near Dorot Illit.

It came hours after a member of the armed wing of Hamas opened fire on a cafe in Tel Aviv, wounding three people before being shot dead by police.

One of the wounded remained in critical condition on Friday, said the hospital where he is being treated.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Galant said he had ordered the immediate destruction of the assailant’s house in Nilin, near the West Bank city of Ramallah.

Overnight, the Israeli army, the Shin Bet internal security service and border police deployed at the attacker’s home, the military said.

During the operation, “two members of the terrorist’s family were apprehended... for further questioning,” it said in a statement.

On Thursday morning, three armed Palestinians including two extremist fighters were killed in an Israeli military operation in the northern West Bank.

Extremists and Hamas vowed to avenge the deaths.

Since the start of the year, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has claimed the lives of 77 Palestinian adults and children, including militants and civilians.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/03/10/Settler-kills-suspected-Palestinian-gunman-in-West-Bank

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Africa

 

Islamic State claims responsibility for east Congo village attack

MARCH 10, 2023

Islamic State claimed responsibility for an attack that targeted the village of Mukondi, around 30 km (20 miles) south of the city of Beni in North Kivu province in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, the group's Amaq agency reported on Friday.

Islamist militants killed at least 35 people in an overnight attack on the village in retaliation for a military crackdown on rebel activity, an army spokesperson said on Thursday

Source: J Post

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

https://www.jpost.com/breaking-news/article-733976

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Ramadan: CBN told to release more new naira notes

March 10, 2023

By Don Silas

The Chief Imam of Nurul Yaqeen Jumma’at Mosque Life Camp, Abuja, Sheikh Yahya Al-Yolawi, on Friday called on the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to release more redesigned naira notes as the months of Ramadan is fast approaching.

Al-Yolawi made the plea while delivering his Jumma’at sermon, titled, “The Significance of Ramadan Fast: Health, Spiritual, Social and Psychological Benefits of Ramadan Fast,” in Abuja.

He noted that Muslims spend more money during Ramadan on charitable activities and food items.

The cleric said: “And that largely depends on the accessibility of cash in and out flow of individuals and organisations and that is essential in the world of business. Keeping that spirit even after Ramadan is very crucial to the growth and development of your business.

“I would like to use this medium to call on the Federal Government and the Central Bank of Nigeria to release more cash to the country as Ramadan is fast approaching.

“People are in utmost need of money for Ramadan expenses and other activities. May Allah make it easier for all of us, Ameen.”

This year’s Ramadan is expected to commence on Wednesday, March 22 and end in the evening of Friday, April 21.

Source: Daily Post Nigeria

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

https://dailypost.ng/2023/03/10/ramadan-cbn-told-to-release-more-new-naira-notes/

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Tunisia’s president to restore diplomatic ties with Syria

11 March ,2023

Tunisian President Kais Saied has said he plans to restore diplomatic relations with Syria, more than a decade after they were broken off in protest of Damascus's repression of political opponents.

“Nothing can justify the absence of a Tunisian ambassador in Damascus and an ambassador from Syria in Tunis,” Saied said during a sit-down with Tunisian Foreign Minister Nabil Ammar, according to a video released by the presidential office Friday night.

He went on to say that the “question of the regime in Syria concerns only the Syrians,” rejecting any interference in the affairs and “choices” of others.

Saied had mentioned his intention to “reinforce the diplomatic representation” of Tunisia in Syria back in February.

Tunisia expelled Syria’s ambassador in 2012 over the bloody repression of opponents of President Bashar al-Assad at the outset of the country’s civil war.

The diplomatic rupture, undertaken when former president Moncef Marzouki was still in office, was strongly criticised by the opposition at the time.

In 2015, Tunisia took a step toward re-establishing relations when it designated a consular representative to Assad’s regime to “follow” the situation of Tunisians in Syria.

Thousands took to the streets of Tunis in October to protest against a dramatic power grab by Saied that was later enshrined in a new constitution.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/north-africa/2023/03/11/Tunisia-s-president-to-restore-diplomatic-ties-with-Syria-

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More than 1,000 Africans rescued in one night: Tunisia coast guard

10 March ,2023

More than 1,000 Africans trying to reach Europe have been rescued in a single night off Tunisia, the coast guard said Friday, after a wave of violence against Black migrants.

Last month President Kais Saied ordered officials in the North African country to take “urgent measures” to tackle irregular migration, claiming without evidence that “a criminal plot” was underway to change Tunisia’s demographic makeup.

His comments fueled attacks, evictions and other retaliation against migrants, international rights groups said Thursday, after West African countries flew home hundreds of their fearful nationals.

Tunisia’s coast guard said in a statement that it had rescued 1,008 migrants overnight Thursday-Friday off the coast, which lies about 130 kilometers (80 miles) from the Italian island of Lampedusa at its closest point.

Most of the rescued migrants were from sub-Saharan Africa but 54 Tunisians were also rescued, the coast guard said.

Its spokesman added that at least 25 crossing attempts to Italy had been disrupted overnight.

Fourteen Africans drowned in the Mediterranean when two migrant boats sank off Tunisia this week, a spokesman for the court in charge of the investigation into the deaths said on Thursday.

According to figures from the Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social Rights (FTDES), drawn from official sources, around 21,000 undocumented migrants from other parts of Africa live in Tunisia, a country of about 12 million inhabitants.

Saied has seized almost total power since July 2021. Critics accuse him of seeking to install a new dictatorship in the country grappling with inflation and shortages of essential goods.

The World Bank effectively suspended new lending to cash-strapped Tunisia after Saied’s remarks.

On Wednesday he denied racism. “I am African and I am proud to be African,” Saied said in a video released by the presidency.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/north-africa/2023/03/10/More-than-1-000-Africans-rescued-in-one-night-Tunisia-coast-guard

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